A photo capturing an empty, dilapidated house with broken windows and overgrown weeds, symbolizing the loss and absence of a stolen inheritance as referenced in the Bible.

What Does The Bible Say About Stolen Inheritance?

Inheritance is an sensitive issue that can lead to conflict and strained relationships within families. When disputes over inheritance arise, people often wonder – what guidance does the Bible offer on this topic?

Specifically, what does the Bible say about stolen inheritance when someone feels they have been unjustly deprived of what should rightfully be theirs?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The Bible emphasizes justice and warns against greed and quarrelling over possessions. It encourages peaceful conflict resolution within families and communities.

Biblical Principles About Inheritance

Respecting Parental Wishes

The Bible teaches that children should honor their parents and respect their wishes (Exodus 20:12). When it comes to inheritance, parents often have specific instructions on how they want their possessions distributed after death.

As children of God, believers should carry out their parents’ final requests as an act of honor and faithfulness (Proverbs 13:22). This prevents unnecessary disputes and upholds godly principles.

Avoiding Greed and Quarrelling

Inheritance issues often breed greed, jealousy, and conflict among family members. The Bible warns against coveting and emphasizes being content (Exodus 20:17; Philippians 4:11-12). When disputes arise, Christians should aim for peace and reconciliation rather than escalating quarrels (Matthew 5:9).

Wise King Solomon wrote, “The prudent keep their mouths shut” when conflicts flare up (Proverbs 10:19). Believers must guard their hearts against greed and trust God as their ultimate inheritance (Psalm 16:5-6).

Pursuing Justice and Fairness

The Bible promotes just distribution of resources and acting with integrity (Psalm 106:3; Proverbs 11:1). When allocating an inheritance, it is important to evaluate each person’s situation fairly and divide resources equitably.

This may involve giving less to those who already have enough and dividing more generously with needier heirs. Pursuing fairness over favoritism prevents unnecessary disputes and upholds biblical principles of justice.

Resolving Disputes Peacefully

When conflicts over inheritance arise, the Bible encourages believers to resolve issues peacefully. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Wise King Solomon valued prudent, calm discussion over hasty quarrels, writing “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).

Christians should aim to settle disputes through prayer, mediation, and open communication rather than lawsuits which breed strife (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). This upholds godly principles of peace and unity.

Examples of Inheritance Conflicts in the Bible

Jacob and Esau

One of the most well-known examples of conflicts over inheritance in the Bible is the story of Jacob and Esau. As twins born to Isaac and Rebekah, Esau was the firstborn and entitled to a double portion of his father’s estate as his inheritance.

However, Jacob tricked his older brother into selling his birthright for a bowl of stew. Later, with his mother Rebekah’s help, Jacob deceived his blind father into giving him Esau’s blessing and inheritance.

This caused great bitterness between the brothers for many years (Genesis 25:29-34; Genesis 27:1-40).

The Prodigal Son

Jesus told a parable about a younger son who demanded his inheritance early from his father, then squandered it all away living recklessly. When a famine hit the land, the son was left destitute and envious of the hired servants in his father’s house who had food enough to eat.

So he returned home, repenting of his sins and selfishness, hoping his father might take him back as a servant. But the compassionate father welcomed him joyfully back into the family, even throwing a celebratory banquet, which made his older righteous brother quite indignant (Luke 15:11-32).

Disputes Over Land Inheritance

The Bible contains a few examples of disputes arising over the division of property and land inheritances:

  • Abraham gave gifts to his sons by concubines and sent them away, leaving the bulk of his estate to Isaac (Genesis 25:5-6).
  • The daughters of Zelophehad went before Moses and appealed for land inheritance since their father had no sons, leading to a new ruling (Numbers 27:1-11).
  • A man named Barzillai provided greatly for David, but declined the king’s offer of land, requesting it be given to his servant Chimham instead as inheritance (2 Samuel 19:37-40).

These examples provide principles about the importance of honor, unselfishness and justice regarding inheritance issues within families and society.

Steps for Resolving Inheritance Disputes

Pray for Wisdom and Guidance

When family members face conflict over an inheritance, it’s important to seek God’s wisdom and guidance through prayer (James 1:5). Pray for patience, understanding, and reconciliation. Ask God to help each person let go of resentment and approach discussions with grace and humility.

Scripture encourages believers to make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).

Discuss the Issues Openly as a Family

Have an open, honest family meeting to discuss the inheritance dispute. Give each person a chance to share their perspective without interruption. Listen with empathy to understand where others are coming from.

Discuss possibilities for a resolution that honors the deceased loved one’s wishes and treats each heir fairly. This gives the family a chance to communicate directly instead of through lawyers. Over half of inheritance disputes are resolved through family discussion.🌟

Seek Mediation if Needed

If unresolved tensions remain after transparent family discussions, consider Christian mediation before going to court. Mediation provides a neutral third party to help you find common ground. The mediator facilitates communication and proposes creative solutions.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 talks about the value of a third party bringing wise counsel and objectivity to complicated situations. Mediation often costs less than litigation and preserves family relationships. Over 85% of mediated inheritance cases reach resolution.👍

Inheritance disputes can fracture families. By pursuing open communication, prayerful discernment, empathy, and mediation if needed, families can redeem these challenging situations and honor God through the process.

With wisdom from above, inheritance can become an opportunity for spiritual growth and renewed relationships.


The Bible offers timeless principles about pursuit of justice, avoiding greed, and peaceful conflict resolution that can guide families struggling with disputes over inheritance. With open communication, mediation if necessary, and lots of prayer and good faith efforts, families can often reach equitable solutions and preserve relationships.

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