(Take the five sisters Mahla, Noah, Hoglah
, Milcah, and Tirzah, for instance.) They offer a different spin on the infidelity of David or the celebration of the prodigal son.
You've got to really know your Bible to recognize Hoglah
as one of the daughters of Zelophehad the Gileadite, but, sadly, most people don't know the Bible that well.
But then you hit verse 33: Now Zelophehad, son of Hep her, had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah; then the census goes on its humdrum way as if nothing has happened.
Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah were standing there on the plains of Moab with everyone else about to take possession of the promised land, but they realized that the system and its policies were set up in such a way that some folks were going to be left out of the promise from the very start.
Whatever glorious inheritance was about to be celebrated, it didn't include Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.
There was no forum for Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah to voice their grievance.
Because Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah present their petition to Moses in public, their individual case will serve to change the Israelite inheritance law to include women, a law that has been on the books for centuries in a system that denied female land rights for virtually 2000 years (and that's longer than the ELCA's been around), and these five audacious women are trying to change it in a court that doesn't even allow their presence, much less their voice.
Shiprah and Puah figure in one more study, along with Mahlah and her sisters Noah, Hoglah
, Milcah and Tirzah -- all of them with names, for a change -- who struggle to secure their rights to inheritance.