Primitive Christianity Revived, Again
Numbers 31 - Twelve thousand men, 1000 from each of the tribes, are sent out by Moses to attack the Midianites and execute vengeance upon them in the name of the Lord. Phinehas is the priest of the campaign.
Every male is killed, plus five kings, and Balaam--women and children are taken captive along with other booty. They are taken to Moses at his camp on the plains of Moab. Moses becomes angry with the officers for their having spared the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 22, 2013 at 5:53am — No Comments
Numbers 29 - Continuing on with this reprise of the sacrificial offerings throughout the year:
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 21, 2013 at 5:30am — No Comments
Numbers 27 – The question arises what to do with the portion of property belonging to a family if no son is left, but there are daughters. Moses consults the Lord and He tells Moses their cause is just. Daughters should be able to inherit if there are no sons. If there are no daughters, the land should go to the man’s brothers or to his father’s brothers or the nearest relative in the clan.
The Lord sends Moses up into the Abarim Mountains (east of the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 20, 2013 at 6:23am — No Comments
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 23 – Balaam tells King Balak of Moab to build seven altars and to prepare seven bulls and seven rams for sacrifice on the altars. Then he goes off to consult the Lord.
When he returns, he delivers the following oracle: King Balak has called him to come and curse Israel, but “How can I curse whom God has not cursed?” (23:8) “Let me die the death of the upright, and let my end be like his!” (23:10) He can’t do it.
King Balak takes him to where…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 18, 2013 at 6:20am — 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 20 – The people arrive at Kadesh in the desert of Zin, southwest of the Dead Sea. Here Miriam dies. But the focus of the chapter is on another rebellion, this time over the lack of water at Kadesh. When Moses consults the Lord, He tells Moses to order water to issue from a rock to satisfy the people. When Moses does this he strikes the rock twice and orders it to yield the promised water, saying, “Listen to me, you rebels! Are we to bring water for you out of this…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 15, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments
Numbers 19 - This reading has to do with the preparation of “lustral water” which is necessary under the law for purifying or cleansing those who have had some kind of contact with death. The water is made first of all by sacrificing an unblemished red heifer as a sin [hattat] offering, outside the camp, burning its remains with some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet yarn, all suggestive of blood as is the color of the heifer.
The ashes from this burning are…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 14, 2013 at 6:00am — 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 17 - The Lord tells Moses to have the people bring him twelve wooden staffs, “one from each leader of Israel’s ancestral tribes, and inscribe each leader’s name on his staff” (17:1). Aaron’s name is to be placed on the staff of the tribe of Levi.
The staffs are to be placed in the Tabernacle “in front of the Ark containing the tablets of the Covenant. Buds will sprout on the staff belonging to the man I choose. Then I will finally put an end to the people’s…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 12, 2013 at 7:37am — No Comments
Numbers 16 – Two new rebellions—a) Korah’s rebellion and b) a rebellion led by Dathan and Abiram—The rebellions are conflated here, but they clearly are distinct. Korah, a Levite and Moses’ first cousin, leads 250 “men of note” (16:2) to Moses, complaining as follows: “’Enough from you! The whole community, all of them, are holy; the Lord is in their midst. Why then should you set yourselves over the Lord’s congregation?” This is the same old story—now the…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 11, 2013 at 6:44am — No Comments
Numbers 14 – The exaggerated reports of the scouts—that the Anakim are giants, etc—bring threats of revolt from the people. Again they yearn for the old slavery: “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt. . .Why is the Lord bringing us into this land only to have us fall by the sword?” (14:2-3)
They even agitate to appoint another leader who will bring them back! What does Moses do? He (and Aaron) prostrate themselves before the community, reassure…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 10, 2013 at 5:45am — 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 9 – The second Passover is celebrated and Moses, after consulting with the Lord, decides that uncleanness due to contact with the dead or absence on a journey will not totally prevent celebration of the holiday, but it will need to be celebrated in the second month, fourteenth day—not the first month.
The Israelites have been organized into the various offices, both military and religious that will characterize it during the time in the desert. We see in…Continue
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 7, 2013 at 7:07am — 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 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
Added by Irene Lape on 5th mo. 3, 2013 at 6:18am — No Comments