Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
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 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
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 5, 2013 at 5:57am — 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
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 3, 2013 at 6:18am — No Comments
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 17 – Every sheep, goat or ox must be presented as an offering to the Lord in front of the Dwelling before it can be slaughtered for food. The blood needs to be splashed on the altar and the fat burned.
Offerings previously were made to “satyrs” [goat-demons] but this shall be no more (17:7).
This differs from Deut.12 where slaughter is permitted as long as the blood is poured out—scholars disagree which practice came first, Schocken says. …Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 28, 2013 at 6:00am — 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 9 - On the eighth day, Aaron is to address the people, offering up a calf (hattat-sin) and a ram (holocaust–offering up) and encouraging the people also to offer up like offerings (he-goat sin offering, calf yearling and lamb yearling holocaust, an ox and ram for peace, and cereal offerings) “for today, YHWH will make-himself-seen by you!” (9:4)
When Moses and Aaron come out of the meeting tent at the end, “then the glory of the Lord was revealed to…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 23, 2013 at 6:09am — 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 26 – The dwelling tent shall be made of linen sheets of violet, purple and scarlet yarn, with cherubim embroidered on the sheets. Each sheet shall be 28 cubits [42’] high by 4 cubits [6’] wide. Five sheets are to be sewed together and then another five sewed together. Along the edge of the end sheet there should be loops of violet yarn (50 on each end sheet) and 50 clasps of gold to join the sheets. On top of this there is also to be another covering of woven goat…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 7, 2013 at 6:06am — No Comments
Exodus 25 – The next section deals with the construction of the “tabernacle” or “dwelling” [“ark of the covenant” and “holy shrine” are other translations used] in great detail. This tabernacle or ark will be carried by the people as they go on their journey to the Promised Land; it prefigures the Temple that will come later and perhaps even the Real Presence we celebrate as Christians and the Inner Light that guides us in our…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 6, 2013 at 6:09am — No Comments
Exodus 21 – Now we get into some of the details of the Mosaic Law, details that my Jerusalem Bible call the “Book of the Covenant” and notes that come from the “Elohistic” tradition.
This division of Old Testament texts into Jahwist, Elohist, Priestly and Deuteronomist traditions was very well established in the 20th century, but more recent…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 4th mo. 2, 2013 at 6:18am — No Comments
Exodus 17 – The people in the desert are thirsty and again they complain to Moses. Again, they belabor Moses with their complaints about the things they lack as “free” men. “Moses cried out to the Lord, “What should I do with these people? They are ready to stone me” (17:4).
God instructs Moses to take his staff, “the one [he] used when [he] struck the water of the Nile” (17:5) and to strike a rock at Horeb, near Mt. Sinai so that water will come out of…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 29, 2013 at 6:30am — No Comments
Exodus 15 – There follows here Moses’ famous “Song at the Sea” which the Schocken Bible editors aptly say, “provides a natural boundary in the book of Exodus. It sets off the Egypt traditions from those of Sinai and the wilderness, and brings to a spectacular close the sage of liberation.”
“So YHWH delivered Israel on that day from the hand of Egypt; Israel saw Egypt dead by the shore of the sea, and Israel saw the great hand that…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 27, 2013 at 6:39am — No Comments
Exodus 10 – The Lord says that the obstinacy of the Pharaoh and his servants is designed to make the signs and wonders of the Lord more glorious and memorable (10:1). The next plague, the eighth, is locusts. By now Pharaoh’s servants are begging him to let the Hebrews go. “’How long will you let this man hold us hostage? Let the men go to worship the Lord their God! Don’t you realize that Egypt lies in ruins?’” (10:7)
Pharaoh “caves” to his unhappy officials and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 22, 2013 at 6:14am — No Comments
Exodus 8 – The plague of frogs is brought about by Aaron stretching out the staff over the streams, canals and pools of Egypt. The Egyptian magicians match him in this one too. Pharaoh at first tells them he will let the people go, but he reneges (8:11).
Then Aaron stretches out his staff and turns dust into gnats – the third plague. This the magicians cannot match, but Pharaoh is not moved.
Then the Lord tells Moses to threaten swarms…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 20, 2013 at 5:50am — No Comments
Job 40 – Now God asks Job for some reply. And Job is brought low. “See, I am of small worth; what can I answer You? I clap my hand to my mouth” (40:4).
And God responds to him: “Gird your loins like a man; I will ask, and you will inform Me. Will you prove me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified? Have you an arm like God, and can you thunder with a voice like his?” (40:7-9).
The powers of man are second only to those of…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 15, 2013 at 5:55am — No Comments
Job 38 – Finally God speaks out of the tempest, the whirlwind:
“Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them” (38:2-3).
He is speaking to Job but really through Job to all of us: “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?” (38:4) In a way, God speaks the very same arguments Elihu spoke, but the difference is He is speaking directly and…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 14, 2013 at 5:46am — No Comments
Job 36 – Elihu speaks again. He speaks to “justify my Maker” (36:3) as a “man of sound opinions” (36:4). He, like the other “friends” refuses to let Job imply that God is not a God of justice or a God who cares for the poor. These are opinions all who love God will defend. The “fates” that men endure are fates that flow from God’s justice, he says. “If they will serve obediently, they shall spend their days in happiness. . . but if they are not obedient, they shall perish by…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 13, 2013 at 5:32am — No Comments
Job 34 – Elihu continues: The reason God gives us is meant to weigh arguments so that we can decide what is just and unjust. Job has declared that he is right and that God has deprived him of justice (34:5). But while he differs somewhat in how he thinks he’s come to truth, he essentially agrees that God does “repay people according to their deeds. He treats people as they deserve” (34:11).
“If God were to take back his spirit and withdraw his breath, all life…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 3rd mo. 12, 2013 at 6:07am — No Comments