Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Numbers 25 – Israel is encamped at Shittim (at the foot of the mountains in northeaster part of Moab). And the people go immediately astray—giving themselves to debauchery with the women of Moab and worshiping their gods. So God gets furious with them. He tells Moses that the leaders must be “impale[d]” (Jerusalem Bible 25:4). Moses turns this task over to the judges he has appointed.
Phineas (name of Egyptian origin, grandson of Aaron) executes judgment on…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 19, 2013 at 6:29am — No Comments
Numbers 22 - The Israelites camp on the plains of Moab, across the Dead Sea from Jericho. Balak, son of Zippor (a name very like Moses’ wife, Zipporah), is the king of Moab. He is afraid of the Israelites and sends elders from Moab and Midian to Balaam of Pethor on the Euphrates.
Balaam is a pagan prophet known for his occult powers. He is asked by Balak to come and curse the intruders. Now God Himself comes to Balaam (at night so perhaps in a…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 17, 2013 at 5:32am — No Comments
Numbers 21 – The king of Arad, just west of the Dead Sea in the Negeb, comes out to fight the Israelites and takes some captive. Verse 3 refers to a vague later time when the Lord will deliver them up to the Israelites but that time is not now apparently.
They set out on the Red Sea road to bypass Edom; and again the people grumble against God and Moses – this time about the wretched food. The Lord sends saraph [burning] serpents to punish them, and they repent and ask…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 16, 2013 at 6:14am — No Comments
Numbers 18 - In this chapter it is made very explicit that for all times only the Levites are to do service at the tent of meeting and of the Levites only those of Aaron’s family are to be priests of the sanctuary. Out of the offerings and sacrifices established the Levites shall be entitled to the meat.
They are also entitled to every first-born male but he is to be ransomed by payment of five shekels of silver. The Levites are entitled to this…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 13, 2013 at 6:03am — No Comments
Numbers 12 – Miriam and Aaron both complain to Moses of his marriage to Zipporah, whom they consider a “despised foreigner.”
But the complaint is a pretext for their jealousy of him. “The complained, ‘Is it through Moses alone that the Lord speaks? Does he not speak through us also?’” (12:2) The Lord orders the three of them to come out to the meeting tent where he has this to say: “Should there be a prophet among you, in visions will I reveal myself to him, in…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 9, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Numbers 11 – The first of what Schocken Bible editors call “rebellion narratives,” [there will be six] the people become discontented in the year following the second Passover celebration, angering God, so that “the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed the outskirts of the camp” (11:1).
Despite the organization of the people and the establishment of a kind of community order; despite the loving care of the Lord in providing manna and water for the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 8, 2013 at 5:38am — No Comments
Numbers 6 – Nazirite vows - nazir means “set apart as sacred, dedicated.” Those who take the vow may not drink wine or strong drink (anything from grapes). He may not cut his hair or enter where a dead person is—even family. If someone dies suddenly in his presence he must cut his hair seven days after, bring two turtle doves or pigeons to the priest to offer as sin offering and holocaust and renew his vow.
When the period of dedication is over, he shall…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 6, 2013 at 6:06am — No Comments
Introduction to Numbers:
The common Hebrew name for this book is “bemidbar” (in the wilderness). It seems to collect everything relevant relating to the wilderness travel of the Jews. Schocken Bible editors see it as a narrative about “the death of the old and the birth of the new.” It starts with life in the camp, goes on to stories of rebellion and challenge, both from within and later from without. It ends with preparations to enter the Holy Land. The book is…Continue
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Leviticus 26 – There can be no idols or sacred pillars and the Sabbath must be honored.
Then comes the setting forth of blessings and curses—this was common in contracts in the ancient Near East according to Schocken (632]. The reward for obedience will be God’s care—rain, harvests, food in abundance, security in the land, peace (26:5-6).
“I will set my Dwelling among you, and will not disdain you. Ever present in your midst, I will be your…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 4, 2013 at 6:57am — No Comments
Leviticus 24 –A perpetual flame of olive oil shall burn regularly in the lamp-stand of the sanctuary. “It shall burn there before YHWH from evening to morning continually. This is a perpetual law for your descendants: Aaron is to see to the lamps on the pure lamp-stand before YHWH, continually” (24:3-4).
Showbread of fine flour shall be baked into twelve cakes and put in two piles on the gold table that stands before YHWH (24:6). On each row, there must be…Continue
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Leviticus 22 – Priests must respect the offerings made by the people by remaining clean, sacred. Laymen may not eat of the sacred offerings. Such offerings—holocausts, votive offering or free-will offerings—must be unblemished males, at least eight days old.
Leviticus 23 – The holy days that must be observed are listed in this chapter:
Sabbath – “You may work for six days, but the seventh must be a day of complete rest, a day for…Continue
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Leviticus 18 – Chapters 18-26 are known as the “Holiness Code.” The Schocken Bible editor points out that beyond the “heightened moments” of perception that make human beings feel linked to the “primal powers of existence,” the Jews also longed for a perfection and completeness in behavior “in all areas of life, personal and communal (593).
The people are warned NOT to conform to the customs of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 29, 2013 at 5:46am — No Comments
Leviticus 16 - Day of Atonement—When Aaron goes into the sanctuary he needs to bring a young bullock for a sin offering and a ram for a holocaust. From the community he shall receive two male goats to the entrance and cast lots to determine which one will be for the Lord and which one will be for “Azazal” - a name for Satan the note suggests—it translates the word as “escaping goat” hence “scapegoat”. The one for the Lord shall be offered up as a sin offering…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 27, 2013 at 6:16am — No Comments
Leviticus 14 – Purification after leprosy. There are elaborate sacrifices to be made—of all kinds (holocausts, guilt offerings, sin offerings, wave, cereal).
Everything, including the houses used by lepers, must undergo cleansing, both actual and ritual. Cleansing of the house involves a ceremony with two birds that are ceremonially clean. One of the birds is sacrificed over an earthen jar of water. Then the water and blood are sprinkled on some cedar wood,…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 26, 2013 at 6:18am — No Comments
Leviticus 4 – Sin offerings [“hattat”] Schocken Bible note says “sin offering” is not a good translation. It is a “decontamination offering” for priests – for inadvertent sins.
When these are committed by the high priest, he brings guilt on all the people. He must offer a young, unblemished bull. Its blood should be brought into the tent and sprinkled toward the sanctuary seven times. Some of the blood should go on the horns of the altar of incense. …Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 19, 2013 at 5:56am — No Comments
Introduction to Leviticus:
Leviticus stands at the center of the five books Torah; and it all takes place at Sinai, so while there is much modern people find difficult about the book, we must admit that its place in Judaism must be central. Schocken editors see Leviticus as the “Book of Separations, the book in which are set forth distinctions between a whole range of aspects of ancient Israelite experience and practice: holy and profane;…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 18, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Exodus 39 – The vestments made and the work presented to Moses for his blessing are here described. The colors of everything are specified including even the color of the thread to be used (gold).
The names of the twelve tribes are engraved on a dark reddish gem mounted into gold. All the various garments are described in great detail and all are decorated with gems and gold. “The Israelites did all the work just as the Lord had commanded Moses. Moses…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 17, 2013 at 6:31am — No Comments
Exodus 32 – Moses takes a long time conferring with God on the mountain (40 days), and the people become restless and anxious. Throughout the wilderness journey, they express the same anxieties.
Back on earth, down the mountain, life is full of human frailty. So the people go to Aaron and ask him to “make us a god who will be our leader” (32:1). One of the commandments – the FIRST one by the Catholic count, is specifically NOT to make any such representation. …Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 13, 2013 at 5:56am — No Comments
Exodus 29 – The ceremony for the dedication or ordination of priests follows: “Take a young bull and two rams with no defects. Then, using choice wheat flour and no yeast, make loaves of bread, thin cakes mixed with olive oil, and wafers spread with oil. Place them all in a single basket, and present them at the entrance of the Tabernacle, along with the young bull and the two rams” (29:1-2).
Aaron and his sons are to be washed with water at the entrance of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 10, 2013 at 6:18am — No Comments
Exodus 27 – The altar or “slaughter-site” [Schocken] shall be a square – five by five cubits, three cubits high. It is to be made of bronze and there are to be “horns” on each corner of bronze. Like the ark, it too shall have poles so that it may be carried.
The courtyard of the sanctuary should be enclosed with linen curtains hung on silver hooks and rings. The curtain shall be decorated “with beautiful embroidery in blue, purple and scarlet thread”…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 8, 2013 at 6:10am — No Comments