Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Numbers 4 & 5

Chapter 4

Is a packing list. Aaron and his sons have to wrap all the sacred objects up, then the Kohathites have to carry it. If they look at anything, they die. Other tribes have to carry the poles and the curtains. It's that exciting.

Chapter 5

Off the census and onto rules. Lepers and other people with running sores have to be exiled. Nice compassionate god there, eh? Jerry says it's because god was in the camp, so things had to be clean. People who have sinned have to confess and give back anything they stole, plus 20 percent and a ram.

Women who commit adultery are impure, even if they don't get caught. If a man suspects his wife of adultery, he can take her to the priest and make a jealousy offering of barley meal. Then the priest brings the woman in front of god, mixes some holy water (possibly a euphemism for sperm!) with floor dirt, and then she has to drink it. If she's innocent, it won't hurt her, and she'll have children, but if she's guilty, she'll be infertile. There is no punishment for the jealous husband, whether he's a cuckold or not. Nor are there repercussions for unfaithful men.

Okay, first of all, this sounds a lot like magic to me, making a woman drink muddy jism and seeing if it hurts her. Jerry's down with it because it's god, but I'm not. At least it probably won't kill her, unlike say witch dunking. Second, why does an omniscient god need to go through this elaborate ritual to find out if she cheated or not?

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