Faith

Daily Bible Reflection 10/19

(ShutterStock)

Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.

Today’s reading comes from the book of Numbers, chapters 5 and 6, dispensing more laws for the people of Israel. Some impressions from the text:

  • Describing restitution in Numbers 5:5-10, the Lord again notes that harm should be repaid with more than what was taken, “adding a fifth to it.” This differs from the way we think of indemnification today, where we seek only to repay the assessed value of what was lost. It suggests that true restitution requires compensation for the inconvenience, along with replacement of the loss.
  • It’s reasonable to question why there was a mystical test for adultery administered to women, and no such test apparent for men. The focus seems to be on the wife suspected for going astray, rather than on any man who lay with her, and there is no similar concern expressed over men cheating on their wives. Critics may be quick to cite this as biblical misogyny. However, we should bear in mind that the Law revealed earlier in scripture called for punishing both parties to adultery.
  • The Nazirite vow, “to separate [one’s self] to the Lord,” was a way for any given Israelite to commit himself to the Lord voluntarily. Unlike the Levites, who were effectively conscripted into ministry, the Nazirite’s chose it. God values agency. He values choice.
  • Aaron’s blessing is well known, and densely packed with theology.
    • “The Lord bless you and keep you;” May God bestow his favor upon you and count you as his own…
    • the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;” May God both justify and sanctify you, so that you may approach his holy presence…
    • “the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” Enjoy God for who He is, and thus fulfill the purpose for which you were created.

Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.

Catch up on the previous entries:

Archived Genesis posts (scroll down in link).

Archived Exodus posts (scroll down in link) .

Archived Leviticus posts (scroll down in link).

The book of Numbers lives up to its name. – Numbers 1-2

The Levites take their place as ministers of the tabernacle. Numbers 3-4