Their Own Tribe: Chapter 6

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In Numbers we read of a man by the name of Zelophehad who died leaving five daughters and no sons. In Israel only the sons could inherit the father's possession, so a special dispensation was granted (Num. 27:1-111Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah. 2And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, 3Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. 4Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father. 5And Moses brought their cause before the Lord. 6And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 7The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. 8And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. 9And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. 10And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. 11And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses. (Numbers 27:1‑11)) and the daughters received the inheritance. Later (Num. 36) the leaders of the tribe of Manasseh protested to Moses that if the daughters of Zelophehad married outside of their own tribe, then the possession would go to another tribe. In response to their plea, Moses said, "This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry." They were thus limited to marry men from the tribe of Manasseh.
From this ancient and divine decision, we may draw a lesson for this day. We have already seen that it is never right for a believer to marry an unbeliever, for that is a very serious infraction of the injunction against the unequal yoke. But what shall we say of a child of God marrying another child of God when they are not of the same mind in the things of the Lord? when one is associated with a group of Christians opposed to the position of the company with whom the other is identified? Such a marriage could not correctly be called an unequal yoke in the sense of one being a child of light and the other being a child of darkness, for they are both saved by the precious blood of Christ. It would not be linking Christ and Belial, a believer with an infidel (or unbeliever), or the temple of God with idols as found in 2 Cor. 6:14-18,14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:14‑18) and yet it would very likely be a most unhappy union, fraught with danger to both partners and to their posterity. It is in this connection that we would apply the marrying-in-their-own-tribe rule of Num. 36.
In this day when Christendom is all broken up into fragments of men's devisings, what makes a greater barrier in the Christian home than when one goes one way and the other goes another way in the matter of Christian fellowship. How can there be any unity of purpose in following the Lord when husband and wife are not one in His things. They may both be zealous Christians, may read the Word of God together in the home regularly, may pray together, but when Lord's day morning comes and one goes by himself to a place of his choosing to assemble with other Christians, and the other goes alone to remember the Lord elsewhere; what oneness is there in that? Or perhaps for the sake of peace one gives in and goes along to where he knows it is not the right place; is that a happy condition? A compromise is seldom, if ever, a satisfactory solution.
If any should find themselves in such a plight, we would suggest that they unitedly give themselves to prayer and waiting on the Lord for Him to show them each where He would have them both to go, for we know it is not His will that Christians should sit at home and have no place of united Christian worship. His Word says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Heb. 10:2525Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25). Neither have we any right to choose for ourselves where we should assemble together. If there is a division of thought between husband and wife on this most important matter, then one or the other, or perhaps both, are wrong. It will only be by humbly seeking the Lord's will in the matter and laying aside their own wills that harmony according to God can be achieved in the home.
When the Lord Jesus sent two of His disciples to prepare that last Passover supper, they did not separate and go to different places to prepare for the supper, nor did they agree on a place that they deemed would be suitable; they had no will in the matter, and in all simplicity asked the Lord, "Where wilt THOU that we prepare?" Luke 22:99And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? (Luke 22:9). That should be a pattern for all today. We should lay aside our thoughts and predilections and ask the Lord where He would have us answer His one request—"This do in remembrance of Me"—and otherwise assemble for prayer, ministry of the Word, and gospel activity.
Another sad result of a divided house in the matter of where to worship God, is that the children become bewildered, and frequently grow up going neither to the place of the father's choice, nor to that of the mother's, but seeking out some other religious connection of their own. Perhaps they may drift away into the world, forgetting the God of their father and mother. There can be many sad results of a division between father and mother in this essential part of Christian living.