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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb. Tselophchad', צְלָפְחָד , of uncertain etymology; Sept. Σαλπαάδ v.r. Σαλφαάδ, etc.), son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh (Joshua 17, 3). B.C. ante 1618. He was apparently the second son of his father, Hepher (1 Chronicles 7:15); though Simon and others, following the interpretation of the rabbins, and under the impression that the etymology of his name indicates a first-born, explain the term הִשֵּׁנַי as meaning that his lot came up second. Zelophehad came out of Egypt with Moses; and all that we know of him is that he took no part in Korah's rebellion, but that he died in the wilderness, as did the whole of that generation (Numbers 14:35; Numbers 27:3). On his death without male heirs, his five daughters, just after the second numbering in the wilderness, came before Moses and Eleazar to claim the inheritance of their father in the tribe of Manasseh The claim was admitted by divine direction, and a law was promulgated, to be of general application, that if a man died without sons his inheritance should pass to his daughters (Numbers 26:33; Numbers 27:1-11); and this led to a further enactment (ch. 36), that such heiresses should not marry out of their own tribe-a regulation which the five daughters of Zelophehad complied with, being all married to sons of Manasseh, so that Zelophehad's inheritance continued in the tribe of Manasseh. The law of succession as exemplified in the case of Zelophehad is treated at length by Selden (De. Success. ch. 22:23). (See INHERITANCE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zelophehad'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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