Such delicacies and hidden mysteries are hidden in the Words of an ancient book called the Tanakh or Old Testament. Sometimes it causes me to need a napkin to soak up the juice of a fresh pomegranate, and other times a kerchief to dry my eyes. The Words can bring me to my knees and strike wonder in my heart. His Word can bring fear and cause one to think about the great flood and also the day of Jacobs trouble.
This morning I was reading about the daughters of Zelophehad. Have you heard of these strong women? Possibly not. There is only one man named Zelophehad in the whole Bible. His five daughters rose up and were heard. “Then 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, came near; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noah and Hoglah and Milcah and Tirzah.” Numbers 27:1.
Something I found very interesting is the father’s name may mean “Shadow of the fear.” According to Jewish encyclopedia, “The etymology of the name is very doubtful; some scholars think that the root is Syriac and means “first rupture,” indicating that he was a first-born son (comp. Zelophehad in Rabbinical Literature). But the Septuagint Σαλπαάδ or Σαλφαάδ (B in Chron., Σαπφαάδ) shows that the Hebrew was vocalized (=“the shadow [or “protection”] of terror“). NOBSE Study Bible translates the name as Shadow Of The Fear.
Strangely enough, he named one of his daughters Noah, but all his daughters’ names have a shadow of the end of days in my opinion. Let’s look deeper into this.
Zelophehad’s name also means to break or wound and also to join and become one. “Become One.” Yes, that’s what we long for. That’s what Jesus/ Yeshua prayed in John chapter 17, that we would become one as He and His Father are one. Again, Zelophehad’s name means to break, wound, and yes, the shadow of fear. Zelophehad’s father had a very curious name as well. His name was Hepher and could have meant “shame.” There were three men and one city named Hepher in the Bible.
“Hepher, a noun derived from חפר I (hapar) and read Well, Pit.
If the name Hepher comes from חפר I (hapar), it would mean Dig, but it may also come from חפר II (haper) and mean Shame. ”
These are descendants of Joseph’s son Manasseh. As we go through the names of these women don’t lose heart. I will be expounding on their great faith, power, and how they used their voice to change the Torah for all women, but first let’s dig deeper.
The first daughter, Mahlah means sickness and disease and the root of the word means “profane,” the opposite of holy. “Both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Disease.” You may be thinking why would someone name their daughter that, but names back then meant something. If this has to do with what the earth will look like before the return of the Messiah, then these names are more than a personal label. Let’s see if we can connect the names. The earth was corrupt before the flood came. The sickness was a matter of their hearts. The Bible says,
“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” Genesis 6:5-8 NASB. The Bible says that just as it was in the days of Noah so shall it be when the Son of man returns.
Why would a man name his daughter Noah? He knew who Noah was. He knew Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord Adonai. The female form of Noah means to shake, to rattle. The feminine name Noah (נעה) means Shaky Girl or Lady Wanderer.
According to Abarim publications, “The root-verb נוע (nua’) means to shake, stagger, quiver, tremble, etcetera. It’s used for trees that sway in the breeze (Judges 9:9), of lips that stammer (1 Samuel 1:13), of drunks who stagger (psalm 107:27). “
Hoglah means to hobble or hop. The name Hoglah is ascribed to an unused root חגל, which occurs in Arabic with the meaning of to hobble or hop. The Arabic derived noun means partridge, so scholars conclude that the Hebrew name Hoglah does the same. There’s nothing in the vocabulary of the Bible that comes close to the name Hoglah. Was she disabled and sick? Did she hop like a bird? When we look at sickness, a shaking and rattling and now to hobble and hop, we have a message that seems to be saying more.
“The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard And it totters like a shack, For its transgression is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again.” Isaiah 24:20 NASB. “Men will go into caves of the rocks And into holes of the ground Before the terror of the LORD And the splendor of His majesty When He arises to make the earth tremble.” Isaiah 2:19 NASB. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “YET ONCE MORE I WILL SHAKE NOT ONLY THE EARTH, BUT ALSO THE HEAVEN.” Hebrews 12:26 NASB.
The Father will shake the earth. We know this from passages concerning the end. An earthquake is coming that will split the earth and His Son Yeshua will stand on the mount of Olives in that day. “You will flee by the valley of My mountains, for the valley of the mountains will reach to Azel; yes, you will flee just as you fled before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD, my God, will come, and all the holy ones with Him!” Zechariah 14:5 NASB.
We have a story here in the names of these daughters. There is one man named Noah and one woman named Noah in the whole Bible. These five daughters are orphans and have no mother or father. The children of Israel had been marching around in the desert and now they have finally come to the Promise Land. We too wait for the day we will enter the glorious Kingdom of Yahweh. These daughters all have “Yah” in their names and they are determined to enter the promised land even though they are not men. Even though they had no inheritance. Even though their father may have acted shameful. They were going to pull up their boot straps and face the Man who God spoke to face to face. And they were going to ask so they could receive.
“They came forward and stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders and the whole assembly at the entrance to the tent of meeting and said, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among Korah’s followers, who banded together against the Lord, but he died for his own sin and left no sons. Why should our father’s name disappear from his clan because he had no son? Give us property among our father’s relatives.” (Give us property they said Give us salvation.)
“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.” Numbers 27:2-7 NIV.
These women had a father who died for his own sin. Possibly for breaking the Sabbath, but he was not part of the group attached to Korah. These women were bold as lions! Their case was brought before the Creator of the universe! So can yours.
Once we get to the last two daughter’s names we see what happens on that day we are reunited with our Messiah. We have the daughter Milkah or Milcah and according to Abrium publications the noun for that name means king. “The noun מלך (melek) is usually translated as king.” Kingship and royalty are attached to her name. The verb מלך (malak), to be or become king.
The King is coming and so is the promised land. The last daughter’s name suggest what we will be doing at that time. The last name is Tizrah and means to be accepted, favored and the root means to enjoy rest like a sabbath and also to delight.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had passed away, and the sea was no longer there. Also I saw the holy city, New Yerushalayim, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “See! God’s Sh’khinah is with mankind, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and he himself, God-with-them, will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will no longer be any death; and there will no longer be any mourning, crying or pain; because the old order has passed away.” Revelation 21:1-5 CJB.