Saturday, October 3, 2009

28: Ransom

Exodus 30-32
There is a section at the beginning of Exodus 30 called Atonement Money. The wording here is priceless (no pun intended, you'll see). Moses is ordered by God, supposedly, to take a census of the Israelites. As they are counted they must each pay a ransom for their lives. Strangely, all of this money goes to Moses' tent of meeting. So maybe Moses just needed a nicer tent?

Again, Aaron is threatened with death, presumably at the hands of God, for a seemingly random reason. Moses is to make a basin of washing, and as Aaron enters the tent of meeting he must wash is hands "so he does not die". It could just be that God is worried about swine flu, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

God gives a recipe to Moses for a sacred perfume. He is pretty much supposed to smear it over everything God has told him to make so far. If anybody tries to reproduce this fragrance they are to be cut off from the people. Along those same lines, God gives Moses a recipe for incense. If anyone reproduces this they are also to be cut off from the people. I've been hoping for a penalty that wasn't death for awhile. However, I was hoping that the crime would be a little more significant than "smelling too good".

The sabbath, we are told again, is to be observed. Anyone who does not observe it is to be put to death. This is said twice so there is no confusion. Can we just cut them off from the people again? Wouldn't that be a sufficient punishment?

While Moses is up on the mountain, the people get bored. They tell Aaron to make them a God. So he tells them to take off all of their gold and he casts it into a golden calf. God tells Moses to go back down the mountain because of the calf. He also mentions that he is going to kill everyone. Moses talks him out of it. Huh? How does an all knowing all powerful God get talked out of something? The way he talks him out of it is even more ridiculous. He basically says "what are the Egyptians going to say if you kill all of your people".

Moses, upon seeing the people having fun dancing around the gold calf, burns it, grinds it into powder, puts it in water, and makes the Israelites drink it. He asks Aaron how he led them into this sin. Aaron responds by first blaming everyone else (the Israelites) by saying how evil they are. Then he, rather comically, claims that he just took their gold, threw it into the fire, and out came a golden calf. He couldn't have, you know, cast it and fashioned it with a tool or anything (see Exodus 32:4).

Moses asks for people that are still with him to gather around. Apparently only the Levites still like him and they rally around him. Then Moses said that God said to go through the camp and kill people. Wait a second, when did he say this? The Levites don't ask. Being loyal servants, they go through the camp and kill their friends, brothers, and neighbors (I'm not saying that for effect, that's the actual wording in the bible). It says that three thousand people died that day. Did they all deserve death? Really? Cruel and unusual punishment anyone? God blesses them, or so Moses says, for their morbid duty.

Moses says that if his people aren't forgiven that he should be blotted out of God's book. What book? I have heard no mention of any book. Is this the naughty and nice list?

3 comments:

  1. Maybe 'Gods Book' is referring to the bible? Its not like the writter of this story didnt know he was writting it so it would go into the bible.

    And whoever he was, clearly he hated egyptians. Who wouldn't? with thier nice pharohs, prosparity, enlightenment, inventiveness etc....

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  2. Did god trademark the incense and perfume? If not, then it seems like the fair use laws would apply?

    This whole thing is such a load of crap. I can't believe anyone takes this seriously.

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  3. I wonder: is stoning somebody in accordance with God's rules considered work? If so, do the stoners (pun intended) have to wait until the next day to kill the man who worked on the sabbath, or does God make an exception because he would rather the punishment happen immediately?

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