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The upper register of folio 128r
Marriage of Female Heirs
British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV
Hexateuch
An Old English translation of the first six books of the Old Testament

An example of an unfinished illumination

Marriage of Female Heirs

36 The heads of the ancestral houses of the clans of the descendants of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh, of the Josephite clans, came forward and spoke in the presence of Moses and the leaders, the heads of the ancestral houses of the Israelites; 2 they said, “The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the Israelites; and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. 3 But if they are married into another Israelite tribe, then their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our ancestors and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so it will be taken away from the allotted portion of our inheritance. 4 And when the jubilee of the Israelites comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they have married; and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our ancestral tribe.” (Numbers 36:1-4)


Date: 2nd quarter of the 11th century-2nd half of the 12th century
Title: Old English Hexateuch (imperfect), comprising Ælfric’s preface (1r–v), Genesis (1v–72v), Exodus (72v–105v), Leviticus (105v–110v), Numbers (111r–128r), Deuteronomy (128v–140r) and Joshua (140v–156v)

Claudius B.iv. was probably compiled in the second quarter of the 11th century at St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. It incorporates translations and a preface by Ælfric of Eynsham, while the remaining parts of the translation were carried out by anonymous authors. Peter Clemoes suggests that Byrhtferth of Ramsey was responsible for the compilation as well as for parts of the translation.

Back to the Old English Hexateuch, British Library, MS Cotton Claudius B IV