Welcome Wednesday: Discovering Historic Sisters in the Bible

Guest Post by author Barbara M. Britton

Genre: Biblical Fiction

Books and Series:

It’s a David and Goliath story with five orphaned sisters who secured land rights for women. The story of the daughters of Zelophehad is buried in the book of Numbers in the Bible.

Discovering Historic Sisters in the Bible

Written by Barbara M. Britton

I enjoy teaching and writing about little-known Bible characters. For many years, I taught chapel to elementary students at a Christian school. My husband, who is an ordained minister, gave me advice that I applied to my teaching and later to my writing. He said, “The Bible is the most exciting book ever. Don’t bore people with the Bible.” He also encouraged me, “Don’t just tell kids a Bible story. Tell them why that story is in the Bible.” I remember my husband’s advice even today.

After teaching chapel for five years and being a Christian for over three decades, I thought I knew most of the stories in the Bible. I knew about the big hitters like Abraham, Jacob, Esther, Rahab, David, and Samson, and of course I knew about Jesus and His followers. I had taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School for years and could recite some of the stories without notes. But when I went in search of stories for my Biblical Fiction, I discovered I had missed some fabulous ones because they are buried in the Old Testament. Let’s face it, most Christians favor the New Testament.

My latest Biblical series is on the daughters of Zelophehad. Who? Exactly! Five orphaned sisters secured land rights for women and barely anyone, including myself, knew the story. How had I missed these brave girls in my read-through-the-Bible commitment? The daughters of Zelophehad are buried in the book of Numbers. Not the most popular book of the Bible. Many Scripture verses are devoted to these girls, not only in the book of Numbers, but also in the book of Joshua. Here was a David and Goliath story with girls and I had never taught about the sisters’ bravery in chapel, Sunday School, or Vacation Bible School. I was only going to write one book on these girls but wrote three books instead.

Sometimes it’s not that I don’t know a Bible story, but that I missed some important details in the story. For instance, I had taught the story of Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem’s wall many times in VBS and Sunday School. I probably still have big building blocks in my basement (Kids love to knock them down and build them up). Upon reading the Nehemiah story as an author, I learned that the daughters of Shallum helped build a portion of the wall. Really, women construction workers? And Nehemiah had opposition to his mission from his own people. A Hebrew prophetess—Noadiah–is a thorn in Nehemiah’s side. I never knew. Imagine how much fun I had bringing these new details to light in my novel.

You never know when you will stumble upon Scripture that is new to you. Years ago, I read the end to the book of Judges. Girls were stolen by the last remaining men of the tribe of Benjamin. What was going on here? Would this be scandalous to write about? Maybe, but without the kidnapping, the tribe of Benjamin would have died out. The world would have lost out on King Saul (Okay, not the most popular person), and the Apostle Paul. A small story in the book of Judges influenced the world several hundred years later.

Do you see why I like learning about the Bible and writing about Bible stories that aren’t the flavor of the day in Sunday School? “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16). Now, I realize that I write fiction. My goal is to compel people to go to the Bible and read these amazing stories for themselves. There is no replacement for Scripture.

Taking my husband’s advice, I hope I make Bible stories exciting, but I also hope you learn more about our awesome God when reading my Biblical Fiction.

I always say, “God has the best storylines.”

Are you a Biblical Fiction reader?

Where to Find Them

The daughters of Zelophehad can be found in Numbers 26:33, 27:1-11, 36:1-12 and Joshua 17:3-6 (How did I miss them!)

The daughters of Shallum and Noadiah are referenced in Nehemiah 3:12, 6:14 (Jerusalem Rising)

Wife napping in the book of Judges: Chapter 21 (Building Benjamin)

Book Blurb for Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey

The Daughters of Zelophehad, Book 1

While the Israelites struggle to occupy the Promised Land of God, Mahlah bat Zelophehad is orphaned and left to care for her four sisters. But daughters of the dead are unable to inherit land, and it will take a miracle for Mahlah to obtain the means to care for her sisters and uphold the vow she made to her dying mother.

Mahlah must seek Moses, the leader of her people, and request something extraordinary—the right for a daughter to inherit her deceased father’s land. A right that will upset the ox-cart of male inheritance and thrust her into the role of a rebel.

But, God is the protector of the orphan and the widow, and five orphaned daughters need His help. With God, anything is possible. Even changing man’s tradition.

Book Blurb for Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey

The Daughters of Zelophehad, Book 2

Noah bat Zelophehad has tended her father’s herds and flocks since she was a girl. With God’s gift of land, she plans to make her sisters wealthy with livestock. But when a conniving clansman takes a liking to the bold shepherdess, his scheme may snatch her from the fields she loves.

Only one person understands Noah’s gifts with the animals—Jeremiah, the mute shepherd who has been her field companion for years. After the walls of Jericho collapse, God stays silent in the battle of Ai, leaving Jeremiah wounded and Noah’s marital status in jeopardy. But, Noah remains faithful to God and her animals and trusts that she will be able to forge a future with her sisters, even when enemies abound.

Will the daughters of Zelophehad be able to settle their land together or will Noah get left behind.

Book Blurb for Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey

The Daughters of Zelophehad, Book 3

When the tribal elders make marriage a requirement for claiming her land, Milcah bat Zelophehad must find a betrothed straightaway. The only problem in finding a husband is that all her suitors were slain while conquering the land of Canaan. Men avoid her in order to stay alive.

After praying to God to send her a bold suitor, a man from her father’s clan plummets from a tree right on top of her. Is this God answering prayer or a foolish antic by Eli, the war-scarred brother from one of her clan’s rival families?

Will settling in Canaan sort out Milcah’s troubles, or have her woes just begun?

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  1. Your series sounds amazing, Barbara!
    I’ve considered writing Biblical fiction but haven’t ventured into it yet.
    Maybe someday…

    Good luck and God’s blessings

    Liked by 1 person

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