It’s my pleasure to welcome back fellow Pelican Book Group novelist Barbara M. Britton. Back before I signed my contract with Pelican, I was full of questions, so I took a shot and messaged an author I’d never met before. Barbara was generous enough to let me call her and ask away. I’ve since benefited from her wisdom and experience many times! So, without further ado, here’s Barbara!
by Barbara Britton
My latest work of Biblical fiction champions the daughters of Zelophehad. These five orphaned sisters upset a male-dominated society by asking to inherit their deceased father’s land. This was definitely a ground-breaking ask. Moses sought God and God agreed with the sisters.
The story about these brave daughters is in the book of Numbers. Not the most popular book for Christian reading. When I did research for my story, I discovered a bad boy of the Bible—Balaam son of Beor.
Balaam is in the book of Numbers, too. One of his stories involves a talking donkey. Sound familiar? Balaam also tries to curse the Israelites, but instead, God has him bless the Israelites. Harmless story, right?
There is barely a sentence about Balaam’s death in the book of Numbers (Numbers 31:8b). Don’t let this fool you about his wickedness. I found Balaam’s name maligned throughout the rest of the Bible, even in the book of Revelation. Peter puts it this way in II Peter 2:15: “He (Balaam) loved the wages of wickedness.” What did Balaam do that was so bad? He led the Israelites into idol worship and sexual immorality. Peter, Joshua, Jude, and John the disciple, call out Balaam’s attack on God’s people which is ultimately an attack against God. Balaam wanted to turn the faith of the Israelites toward the false gods of the day.
Balaam implemented his schemes during the time the daughters of Zelophehad lived and followed God. Who better for Balaam to meet in my story than a woman of strong faith and conviction? My Mahlah, the oldest daughter of Zelophehad, meets Balaam face-to-face. Who do you think wins?
I would never have known Balaam’s whole story unless I looked at the entirety of God’s Word. Cross-referencing Scripture passages gives us a better understanding of some of God’s stories.
Balaam seems harmless in the book of Numbers, but the rest of Scripture speaks otherwise. Check out Joshua 13:22, II Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14.
Maybe we should replace the story of Balaam and the talking donkey in our Bible lessons with the story of the daughters of Zelophehad. Young women who loved the One True God and changed history are a better read than a sorcerer who tried to turn people’s hearts from God.
On a side note, Emily always asks me about how many times the word God is used in my novels. A lot! God’s name is mentioned in “Lioness” 350 times. As I always say, God has the best storylines.
Where are the daughters of Zelophehad in Scripture? Numbers 26:33, 27:1-11, 36:1-12 and Joshua 17:3-6.
Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey
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 cast her in 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.
Barbara M. Britton lives in Southeast Wisconsin and loves the snow—when it accumulates under three inches. Barb writes romantic adventures for teens and adults in the Christian fiction and Mainstream markets. She is published in Biblical fiction and enjoys bringing little known Bible characters to light in her stories. Look for Barb to venture into Christian Historical fiction in 2020 with “Until June.” Barb is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Romance Writers of America and Wisconsin Romance Writers of America. Barb has a nutrition degree from Baylor University but loves to dip healthy strawberries in chocolate. Find out more about Barb’s books on her website or on Facebook and Twitter.
“Lioness: Mahlah’s Journey” tells the story of the daughters of Zelophehad from the book of Numbers. Travel through Joshua with the girls in “Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey” and “Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey.”
Enjoy this blog? Subscribe by email here!