The man was bewildered. As a member of an elite branch of his country’s defense forces, his frequent away from home time gave him time to think. Married to his childhood sweetheart, he had been overjoyed when she became large with child just a year after their marriage. Coming from generations of men known for their fighting skills, he had hoped for a son, someone to train and groom to join the family legacy of bearing arms.
While certainly joyous at the birth of his firstborn, his bewilderment grew as not only his first, but all successive children were beautiful little girls! His family grew until he was outnumbered six to one in the household! His lovely wife and five screaming, giggling, chirping, cooing, cuddling little girls! What to do? How could he relate to them? Who would carry on the family name, the family reputation and tradition?
The unorthodox view from his back yard the next spring was evidence to the fact that he had figured some things out. His wife shook her head as she watched their ten year old stick fighting vigorously with her dad back and forth across the grass. As the girls grew, numerous hiking and camping trips returned the girls, now ranging from toddler to preteen, sunburned, sporting a few scratches and bruises, and smiling from ear to ear!
The girls, trim, toned, and tanned, turned into beautiful, confident young ladies. Taught not only fighting skills, but smatterings of business and law at their father’s feet, they grew wise and independent, scaring off the more easily intimidated of their would be suitors. They took over more and more of the household duties as their mother, suffering from consumption, became weaker. When she finally drifted into sleep for the final time, the daughters clung to their father, wondering what would become of them.
When he left on his next mission, the girls were greifstricken, fearful of being alone. Speaking words of encouragement, reminding them of their training, he gently tore himself from their grasp. With each succeeding mission, the girls gained confidence and realized that they could indeed run the household together, managing the large garden, handling the livestock, even negotiating for fieldwork with local hired help.
One sun-filled day became dark as they watched a military courier bring his galloping horse to a stop in front of the house. They knew. The occasional words filtered through their sorrow,”regrets to inform you”, “grateful nation”, “great valor”, and they felt all alone again.
Before the week was out, the trusted friend their father had assigned to handle his estate paid a visit. The girls listened to his halting words, horrified to learn that the law did not allow female descendants to hold property. Their farm would revert to the community. How could this be? Weren’t they capable of managing their property? The absence of a male heir, was that their fault? What was to become of them? Their grief soon turned to rage and they pushed their way into the presence of the tribal leader, demanding to be heard.
Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” So Moses brought their case before the Lord, and the Lord said to him, “What Zelophehad’s daughters are saying is right. You must certainly give them property as an inheritance among their father’s relatives and give their father’s inheritance to them. “Say to the Israelites, ‘If a man dies and leaves no son, give his inheritance to his daughter. Numbers 27:4-8 NIV.
And so the law was changed in a male-dominated middle eastern culture hundreds of years before Christ. My Bible relates story after story of strong and capable women blessed by God. While it teaches roles for a man and a woman in a relationship, those roles are centered around a man loving and sacrificing to the death for a woman, even as Christ sacrificed Himself for us.
As a laboratory director, my working life is filled with committed, professional women. My home is centered around a lovely wife and two beautiful daughters. God has placed a high value on you since the beginning. May my words and actions do no less.
Note: While my imagination shared the story, the key facts are a matter of historical record, mentioned in three different books of the Bible.