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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Num. 5-6 (testing)

We start out okay.  Don't defile the camp.  Separate people with diseases and impurity.  Eh, okay.  Then, if you wrong someone, admit it and restore them to their previous status.  Yay!  Agreed.  What's next?  Uh oh, unfaithful wife.

Step one, if a husband is jealous or suspects his wife of cheating, take her to the priest. 
Step two, the priest creates a "bitter potion" that he tells the woman will only hurt her if she's been unfaithful.
Step three, the woman says, "Amen, so be it."
Step four, the priest writes it down and she drinks the potion.
Step five, see if her abdomen swells causing her to miscarry and become sterile.

So, that's just terrible and awful.  One commentary points out that magic potions and rituals like this are much more rare among the Hebrews than other people of that era.  Um, okay.  Also, less child sacrifice--that's the deal with Molek from earlier.  But this this the patriarchy in full glory. It is the people of God oppressing the people of God.  Can't really make excuses for it.

The next bit is about how a non-Levite can become a priest.  A man or a woman, btw.  Which is cool.  No booz.  No cutting of the hair.  No touching dead bodies--even if your immediate family dies.  If someone dies in front of you, they've got a procedure; it's okay.  All this is during the dedication period.  Afterword, you shave your head, kill some animals, then you can drink wine again.

We do wrap up with this chestnut, here in KJV:
24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Which is nice, right?


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