Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Numbers, Chapters 6-9

Chapter 6

The Nazarites were the Israelite equivalent of Buddhist monks and nuns, apparently. It was normally temporary, and the vows were taken in expectation of wish fulfillment. They had to stay away from all grape products, and couldn't cut their hair. They also had to stay away from all dead bodies, even close family members. If someone does die nearby, they have to shave their heads and make sacrifices. Likewise when they finish their sojourn, they have to make a sacrifice and shave. The reward is, they can drink again.

Chapter 7
After Moses sets up the tabernacle, the princes of Israel show up with money and sacrificial animals. Each one sacrifices a bullock, a ram, a lamb and a kid goat, then 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 lambs, goats and rams. That is a lot of meat. Must have been one hell of a barbecue. At the end, Moses hears a voice coming from the Mercy Seat but it is not identified.

Chapter 8

God tells Moses to tell Aaron to light the candles. Then the Levites have to take a bath, shave all their body hair, and do laundry. Oh yeah, we're back on laundry. Then they have to sacrifice two bullocks. He says they are now his, because of the whole firstborn thing in Egypt and how he gave back the first-born Israelites so he could have all the Levites instead. So all Levites have to do temple service from ages 25 to 50.

Chapter 9

God reminds the Israelites to celebrate Passover. The cemetery workers' union demands to be let in, and it is decided that they, along with the Teamsters (or, if you prefer, men who are on a journey) can celebrate too, but a month later. Strangers can also celebrate the holiday.

Then, in a total non-sequitur, god appears as a cloud again, and starts playing keep-away with them. If the cloud left, they had to move. If it was there in the morning, they could stay. The first and last time in history that people prayed for foggy days.

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