Monday, March 1, 2010

Numbers 1-3

I'm guessing that Michele Bachmann has never read this book, for all that she claims to be a bible-reading Christian, because it deals with the first census.

Chapter 1

It's a year after they left Egypt, and God suddenly feels a war coming on. He tells Moses and Aaron to take some tribal leaders and find out how many men over the age of 20 there are. In total there are 603 550 adult males. How many armies today are that size? Up from a total population of 70 just 400 years ago. So in those 400 years, every woman would have had to give birth to 51 children with no deaths in order to produce these figures. Jerry, of course, pronounces them accurate and attributes it to god's bountifulness.

The Levites don't have to join the army, because they're needed in the tabernacle, and also to kill any foreigners that try to enter the temple. So much for that 'brotherhood of man' stuff from Leviticus.

Chapter 2

The tribes are enumerated again, told to make a standard for themselves, and where to camp.

Chapter 3

The census of the Levites. We are reminded that two of Aaron's sons died for using the wrong incense and he has two surviving. The rest of them are to become temple employees, especially security guards. Moses is ordered to count all the Levite males over 1 month old. We then get a list of how many Levites there were in each family, and what their specific tasks were to be in tabernacle care and upkeep. Altogether, there are 22 000 of them. Now, a while ago, god said all the firstborns were his. Now he changes his mind and decides the Levites are his instead. Problem: there are 22 273 first-borns, and only 22 000 Levites. Never one to turn down a money-making opportunity, god decides that the other 273 first-borns can 'redeem' themselves for 5 shekels, which will be given to Aaron. Apparently non-Levite Jews still give this money to the temple for their first-born sons.

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