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 35 and 36, where the Lord provides last minute commands for life in the Promised Land. Some impressions from the text:
- Once again, provision for the Levites was made by contributions from every other tribe. The Levites served as ministers of the tabernacle and were to focus on that work rather than the temporal concerns of day-to-day living.
- “And as for the cities that you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.” This might be regarded as a form of progressive taxation. From each according to their means? Of course, in this case, the decree came from God and He called upon the tribes to contribute back what had been freely gifted them.
- Intent was key in determining the level of guilt for anyone who caused the death of another. If a death was inflicted intentionally, the murderer was to be put to death. If a death was the result of an accident, the manslayer would be consigned to a city of refuge until the death of the high priest. These cities of refuge seem to have operated as a hybrid of both prison and sanctuary.
- Through Moses, the Lord offers this peculiar command to the daughters of Zelophehad. “Let them marry whom they think best, only they shall marry within the clan of the tribe of their father.” On the one hand, this affirms their autonomy in the selection of a mate, something which many women in other nations and throughout history have not had. On the other hand, it limited their choices to those within their own tribe. This was about preserving property rights for the tribe as a whole.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
The book of Numbers lives up to its name. – Numbers 1-2
Tests and tributes. – Numbers 5-6
God leads Israel from Sinai into the wilderness. – Numbers 8-10
Rebellion and disobedience run rampant among Israel. – Numbers 11-13
Rebellion proves costly. – Numbers 14-15
Korah’s rebellion. – Numbers 16-17
Sin at Meribah, and the death of Aaron. – Numbers 18-20
Salvation. Our choice. His work. – Numbers 21-22
You can’t outmaneuver God. – Numbers 23-25
Preparing to enter the Promised Land. – Numbers 26-27
Honoring God with offerings and vows. – Numbers 28-30
Israel goes to war with the Midianites. – Numbers 31-32
Wrapping up forty years of wandering. – Numbers 33-34