Wednesday, October 21, 2009

46: Trumpets

Numbers 8-10
Yet again we have a section that is rather wordy but pretty irrelevant. Shouldn't this book be filled with gripping passages that make me not want to put it down? We are talking about an all perfect writer after all. I guess that's too much to ask.

In Numbers 8 God (again) sets apart the Levites to be his special Israelites. They're the special, special people. They all have to shave their bodies and have animals sacrificed for them. Only the Levites that are 25 and under are allowed to work in the tabernacle.

God tells the Israelites to celebrate passover (he already said this). Some of the Israelites ask Moses what they are supposed to do if they are ceremonially unclean on passover (from a dead body of course). Moses consults God. God says that if they are unclean on that day then they are supposed to celebrate passover on the fourteenth day of the second month. But what if they are unclean on that day as well? I guess you're screwed. If you can't/don't celebrate passover you are to be cut off from your people. The moral of this story: stay away from dead bodies?

There is a cloud above the tabernacle. When it moves the Israelis move, when it doesn't they don't. Hmm, I said that in two sentences, why did it take the bible 8 verses (half a page)?

Numbers 10 is about two trumpets. One is for the east of the camp, one is for the south of the camp (there is no north or west of the camp?). If both are sounded then everyone is to come to the tabernacle, if only one is sounded then the respective side of the camp assembles. I'm not at all sure how they tell the difference between trumpets.

At the end of Numbers 10 the Israelites leave Sinai. Whenever the Israelites start moving Moses says "Rise up, O Lord! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you", and whenever they stop he says "Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel." I only mention this to bring up the irony of calling the Israelites "countless", considering they just counted them.
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