Perhaps having grown up in an agriculture area, I understand the holiness of the land.  It isn’t the houses and buildings on the land, but the actual land that is sacred.  People have fought wars over land.  Land is home. The Israelites understood this even more.

The decision that Zelophehad’s daughters could be land-owners wasn’t received without concern (Num 27:1-11).  If you remember the inheritance in a tribe was to be passed down to the sons so their land would stay in the family.  But what if the man had only daughters?  Moses then ruled that the inheritance of the land would pass to the daughters and they would own the land.  This was the case of Zelphehad’s daughters.

But now the tribe of Jospeh’s descendants had an issue with that.  They brought that issue to Moses.  It wasn’t a women’s rights issues and they didn’t twist it into that.  But if these young women married, then the land would automatically go to their husbands (which is why the land was passed from father to sons).  If that was the case, the whole nation would become a mess as land passed from one tribe to another.  At this point the boundaries would get fuzzy.

Moses then told them that what they thought was indeed right and it was a problem. He said this:

An inheritance belonging to the Israelites must not transfer from tribe to tribe, because each of the Israelites is to retain the inheritance of his ancestral tribe” (36:7).

Therefore to resolve this situation, he commanded that the daughters of Zelophehad had to marry within their tribe (think of it like marry someone from your state/province).  And “the daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses” (36:10).

Throughout the book of Numbers we see the holiness of the land.  The land was promised to the Israelites.  The land was plentiful.  The LORD would reside there (35:34).  Sin defiled the land (35:33).  The land was to be preserved by the tribes and not transfer from one tribe to the next (36:7).

The land of Israel was especially holy.  That is why even today it is called The Holy Land.

I wonder sometimes how much do we understand the holiness of the land we live in?  And the holiness of the land of Israel?