Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Exodus, Chapter 16

The people are bitching again, this time that they have no food. God promises to rain down bread from heaven (v. 4) every day, as a test of their faith. I wouldn't say this is the best loyalty test, giving food to starving people and asking if they like you. He says that on the sixth day, he'll give them twice as much. Moses and Aaron repeat this to the people, adding that when they complain about them, they complain about god, which is a nifty little way of keeping people in check, don't you think? God himself then appears, but still only speaks to Moses. Another aside: have you ever noticed that gods very seldom appear to everyone? They only talk to one 'prophet' who then passes the message on? Has it ever occurred to you how self-serving that could be for the prophet?

Anyway, god promises to send meat in the evenings and bread in the mornings. And he's as good as his word: the next day there are quails, then bread. They've never seen bread like it, and now I know that manna is a biblical expression. For those of you more familiar with Tolkien than the bible, this is like elvish bread, and apparently it tastes like wafers and honey.

He tells them to gather it daily according to need. Moses tells them to eat it all before morning, but some of them try to save it and it goes off and he gets angry. So they just gather what they need and eat it. On the sixth day, twice as much arrives and Moses tells them to bake it today and save some for tomorrow. Never mind that just five days ago, people who tried to save some had stinky wormy bread the next day. But this particular lot doesn't go off and Moses says to eat it today because the lord is resting and won't send them any. Some people, not trusting him, still go and look and don't find any. God peevishly asks Moses why people are refusing to obey him? Maybe you haven't killed enough people, god. Have you ever thought of that? So Moses explains again that on the sixth day, they'll get twice as much, but on the seventh day they have to stay home. And they do. For forty years, until they come to Canaan.

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