Many people have heard about Noah, either as an historical person or as a fable, depending on one’s world view. However not many seem to have heard of the other Noah mentioned in the Bible. My concordances don’t even mention her in their lists. She is mentioned in the later chapters of Numbers (chapters 26:28-34; 27:1-11; and 36:1-12). She is one of the 5 daughters of Zelophehad, a descendant to the tribe of Manasseh.

When the Israelites entered the Promised Land after their 40 years in the wilderness, the land was allotted to them by lot However Zelophehad had died during the journey, not because he had joined in any rebellion with other dissenters, but “for his own sins”. As he had no sons, his daughters made a special deputation to Moses requesting their father’s share of his inheritance. Moses took their request to the Lord who agreed to it and so the inheritance came to them. The only stipulation given to them was that they should marry their cousins from the tribe of Manasseh otherwise their land would be transferred to another Israelite tribe. (One may also see how this problem was solved in the Book of Ruth.)

The problems facing women continue to this day in a male dominated society. They had to struggle for many years to obtain the right to vote and they still struggle for equal pay for equal work.

Thank God we have many gifted female theologians in the Church today. I believe that women in the ordained ministry would complement that of men similar to the complementary role that men and women play in the wider ministry. The ordained ministry has a particular role to play in the Church and it is not to dominate the laity but to lead them in worship of the One who died for us. Each of us has direct access to God through Jesus.

Back to top