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Right to Inherit

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Right to Inherit

Government must not steal from inheritances.

Numbers 27:8-11

“And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter.  And if he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.  And if he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has not brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. And it shall be for the people of Israel a statute and a rule, as the LORD commanded Moses.’”

Ruth 4

Ancient Israelites knew nothing of the kind of inheritance taxes which have become typical in our society, and which are, in a very real sense, a form of government stealing from heirs. The logic behind such laws is fallacious, at best: the heirs did not own the property they now possess; thus, they have not paid taxes on it before, and must now.

No such right to steal the property of individuals or their heirs was a part of Israelite society or the Law of God, and all such forms of unjust taxation should be resisted. In ancient Israel great care was to be taken in order to ensure that a man’s property would pass decently and in order to his heirs, so that they could continue the family’s stewardship over what God had entrusted to them. Government’s only responsibility in this was to ensure that property was rightly and fully transmitted to the proper heirs. In our day it is every person’s duty to take whatever measures are available—trusts, wills, property transfers, legislation, etc.—to prevent government from stealing inheritances for its own purposes.

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In the Gates is a devotional series on the Law of God by Rev. T. M. Moore, editor of the Worldview Church. He serves as dean of the Centurions Program of the Wilberforce Forum and principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He is the author or editor of twenty books, and has contributed chapters to four others. His essays, reviews, articles, papers, and poetry have appeared in dozens of national and international journals, and on a wide range of websites. His most recent books are The Ailbe Psalter and The Ground for Christian Ethics (Waxed Tablet).

Scripture quotations in this article are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, (c) copyright 2001, 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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