Why is the story of the daughters of Zelophehad important?


The daughters of Zelophehad son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Makir, the son of Manasseh, belonged to the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. The names of the daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milkah and Tirzah. 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.”  Numbers 27:1-4
            Inheritances traditionally passed on through the sons, starting with the firstborn son.  As the Israelites prepared to enter the Promised Land, after forty years of wilderness wandering, these five daughters brought a case to Moses to solve—what do they do if there’s no son to pass the inheritance to and would they receive a share of the land in the new nation.
            In a male-centric community, you’d expect the answer to be “oh well, too bad” and give their land rights to some distant second male cousin, but no, God answered this query by saying “Yes, they have a right to the land.”  They received the inheritance and it showed that women have rights too and God respected them even back then.