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In this first book of the three-part Daughters of Zelophehad series—the others are Heavenly Lights: Noah’s Journey, and Claiming Canaan: Milcah’s Journey—author Barbara Britton imagines the lives of the five orphaned daughters of Zelophehad, historical Israelite women who lived during the time of Moses and the trek of God’s chosen people to the Promised Land. 

The story of the five women is recorded in the books of Numbers and Joshua. In a patriarchal society where land inheritance was passed from father to son and remained in perpetuity within the tribe, the five women boldly asked Moses for permission to inherit their father’s land after his death. The biblical narrative relates how, by God’s gracious command, the sisters were allowed to inherit the land, though they were not permitted to marry outside their tribe. 

Britton’s fictional narrative relates the story of Mahlah, Zelophehad’s oldest daughter, who had promised her dying mother to care for her sisters. Mahlah’s courage, passion, and sense of justice stand her in good stead as she faces the opposition a female upending the status quo could expect in a male-dominated society. However, the 17-year-old struggles with more than her culture’s expectations. The man she loves had married another woman, and they had a child. Now he is widowed, and Mahlah wonders if there is hope for their relationship. 

Written for a female audience, Lioness offers women spiritual insights into the cultural implications of God’s care for orphans and widows, interesting historical details about life in biblical times, and a wholesome romantic relationship. (Harbourlight Books)

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