Numbers Chapters 1 through 5

Chapters 1 through 4

It turns out that the name of this book is pretty accurate. It starts off with God asking Moses and Aaron to take a census of the entire congregation of Israelites…but only if they’re male…and over twenty years old…and able to go to war. This isn’t a census, it’s a draft.

The book goes on to list all of the individual tribes and the number of able-bodied men who will be going to war. I will not be adding up all of those numbers because I really don’t want to. The Levites will not be counted with the Israelites because they have to guard the tabernacle.

Chapter 2 is nothing but marching orders…seriously. The order and direction that the tribes will set out.

Chapter 3 is the all about the Levites. It talks about their duties, such as setting up and furnishing the tent of meeting. Then there’s another census, this time of the Levites. There is also the redemption of the firstborn of the Levites which God is now willing to accept. It’s a money grab.

Chapter 4 is about taking yet another census of yet more tribes. It describes the duties of these groups ad nauseum, including very, very detailed instructions about how to lay the cloths on the altar. It’s gripping stuff really.

Chapter 5

This chapter is one that makes me cranky. It starts off with directions for “unclean” people, both male and female. Anyone who is leprous or has a discharge, or anyone who had contact with a corpse will be sent out of camp because the defile it. The camp must not be defiled while the Lord is living there.

Confession and restitution comes next. A person who is wronged will be reimbursed the value of the wrong, plus one-fifth. If the injured party has no next of kin, then the restitution goes to the priest. Makes me wonder who’s writing this book.

The next section, and the section that makes me really cranky, is about an unfaithful wife. The worst part about this section is that a man need only have a feeling of jealousy that his wife was unfaithful. Perhaps in some cases she didn’t have her period when she should have or she was pregnant when it would not have possible if she was faithful to her husband. These things need not happen, he just has to notice that maybe she looked at the neighbor for a little too long, even if nothing happened between them. Anyway, if this happens, the husband brings the wife and a grain offering of jealousy. The priest will set her before the Lord and mix water and some dirt from the floor of the tabernacle. She will hold the grain offering and repeat an oath and then she has to drink the cursed potion (the water and tabernacle dirt). If she was not unfaithful, then nothing will happen to her. However, if she was unfaithful then the priest, at the instruction of God himself, will make her drink a potion that will cause an abortion to occur.

27When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people.


Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 292). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

There is no other way to describe this passage. God is condoning abortion. “But wait,” I hear you ask, “what if a husband is unfaithful?” That’s a good question. If a husband has been unfaithful to his wife, the first sign will be a new girl/woman in the harem.

Leviticus Chapters 16 through 27

I am still reading Leviticus as I write this, because this will be my last post on it. Leviticus is the laws given to Moses to give to the people. Biblical literalists claim that every word in this book (the whole Bible, not just Leviticus) must be taken literally. Of course, these people only say this so that they can cite Leviticus 20:13 and claim the moral high ground instead of letting people be people as they are. What about all of the other laws and rules put in place in this book? Do these people set fire to their leftovers if they’ve been in the fridge for more than two days? (Lev. 19:6)

I follow a Rabbi on Twitter and subscribe to her newsletter, Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, and I have learned that the Torah (Pentateuch) cannot be read as is, but requires Rabbinical study and knowledge of Hebrew. The translation gets the basic point across, but in order to fully understand it requires knowledge of the Talmud. This is where Christian literalists are clueless. Going back to the first paragraph, the verse as it is written in the NRSV is:

13If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 256). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

A quick Google search to a Jewish website explains something that isn’t quite obvious on the surface. First of all, other translations, including the NIV, do not translate this verse correctly according to the original Hebrew. Look at the first two nouns, “man” and “male”. According the Jewish Standard (website) the original Hebrew uses two different words, one for man and the other for male. Hmm, could there be a reason for this. Here is the article that I found, and there are plenty of other articles on this same subject. My advice is to stay away from Christian sources when looking for information on the first five books. They were written in Hebrew and Jewish scholars know way more about that than Christian amusement park owners.

Throughout this book, God seems to really picky about the animals that are burned for him. They must not have a blemish upon them, as if all animals don’t look the same after they’ve been barbecued. These sacrifices are not voluntary according to the reading. Moses and his people do not appear to be giving of themselves because they want to, but because of fear of reprisal if they don’t. However, reading further, it looks more like Moses and his priests are making this stuff up as they go along in order to get the best food for themselves. The people are instructed to bring the first fruits of the harvest and the best lamb to the priests as an offering. A burnt offering is to be eaten by the priests within the same day. I get it now, it’s a racket.

17Anyone who kills a human being shall be put to death. 18Anyone who kills an animal shall make restitution for it, life for life. 19Anyone who maims another shall suffer the same injury in return: 20fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; the injury inflicted is the injury to be suffered. 21 One who kills an animal shall make restitution for it; but one who kills a human being shall be put to death. 22You shall have one law for the alien and for the citizen: for I am the LORD your God. 23Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel; and they took the blasphemer outside the camp, and stoned him to death. The people of Israel did as the LORD had commanded Moses.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 265). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Prior to this passage, Moses handed down the law that blasphemers will be stoned to death. It’s good to know that blasphemy laws have been overruled by civil law. However, that’s not why I point this passage out. Biblical literalists tend to ignore verse 22. They treat their own in one way while expressing a desire to trample the rights of outsiders. Everyone should be treated equally regardless of their status.

It goes on in chapter 25 to be very specific that the laws stated here are for the Levites. A lot of monetary policy here along with directions of not charging interest to kin. It goes on about supporting kin and not charging them for food at a profit.

The book goes on about rewards for obeying the laws and punishments for disobeying. Obedience begets rains in the growing season, plentiful harvest, good luck in war, etc. Disobedience begets pain, pestilence, war, and death. So make sure that fatted lamb is cooked to absolute perfection…or else. It’s telling that the section on obedience is a couple paragraphs, but the section on disobedience goes on for pages and pages, as if God really likes talking about how he is going to hurt people who don’t follow every jot and tittle of the law. Chapter 26 is nothing more than torture porn in the highest degree.

Chapter 27 discusses votive offerings. If you pray for a man, it’ll cost the most and a female alien costs the least. If a person can’t afford the set cost of an offering, the priest will determine what they can afford. Also, God is the only one who can charge interest.

Leviticus is definitely not for modern times, at least not how it is presented here. It is a mixed bag of laws that have very little relevance to today and are already overruled by modern civil laws and statutes. Fully understanding the law written in this book requires knowledge only available to scholars of the Torah.

I hope I didn’t bore you too much with this post. I will now be moving onto Numbers, but I have a feeling it will be more of the same.

Leviticus Chapters 12 through 15

Chapter 12

This chapter is about the purification of women after childbirth. If a women bears a male child, she is unclean for seven days (on the eighth, the boy gets the snip-snip) and her blood purification takes thirty-three days where she can’t touch anything holy or go into the sanctuary. Oh, double all of that if she has a girl because…of course.

After the purification, then she has to bring a lamb and pigeon to the tabernacle. The lamb is for a burnt offering and the pigeon is for a sin offering. Is that a sin offering because she is a woman or because she gave birth? My guess is the latter since it was in Genesis that God made childbirth a punishment.

Chapter 13

What’s that? You want to know everything about leprosy? You’ve come to the right chapter.

I am not going to go over everything in here because this is a long chapter and there is a lot of repetition. This chapter is regarding diseases of the skin and not just leprosy, but it’s all collected under the same banner. The priest examines the skin and makes his determination whether the person is clean or unclean and might require confinement. If it is determined to be leprosy, then that person’s clothing is burned. Of course, if the disease didn’t spread further, then only the section of cloth that touched the diseased tissue will be cut out.

I understand that people in those days had very little knowledge of diseases such as these, but the way this is written, it could have simply been a chart. I’m sure the cleansing process in the next chapter with be totally scientific.

Chapter 14

It’s not. Not. At. All.

The cleansing ritual is for a person who has apparently recovered will be sprinkled with bird blood. That doesn’t seem sanitary at all. I am not going to go through this chapter. It’s a lot of sprinkling of blood with cedarwood, red yarn, and hyssop. Also, tearing down houses if it’s believed that the disease is still in there.

I feel like it’s these previous two chapters that results in people believing that illness is a result of moral failure rather than a virus, bacteria, or genetics. There’s a lot of “guilt offering” or “sin offering” after a person recovers from a disease in these chapters. No, disease is not the result of sin.

Chapter 15

This whole chapter talks about bodily discharges including blood (for women), semen, and other discharges that sound like gonorrhea. Essentially, everything that people touch, sit on, or  wear during this time is unclean and they must be purified.

Naturally, the once the person is no longer having the discharge, then they have to burn animals, cut open birds, and pray at the tabernacle because they’re filthy sinners or something. They also have to bathe and wash their clothes.

Honestly, these past few chapters have been hard to read because of all of the repetition. Not only repetition within the chapters, but between the chapters. I mean, why couldn’t God make a chart? Put the animals and birds on one axis, the reason for the sacrifice on the other axis and then just put an X in the square. That would be a lot easier.

I feel like I could write this book better. Also, I don’t think anyone wants pictures for the last three chapters.

Staying Optimistic

I needed to take a break from the Bible for a bit. Believe it or not, it’s not the positive, uplifting book that so many people claim it is (I knew that going in, I’m being sarcastic). Also, the daunting task of reading through the laws has set me back a bit. Anyway, I will be getting back to the main objective of this blog soon enough, I just needed to step back and retain what’s left of my sanity.

The world is a complex place and a lot of stuff happens in it all at once, but it seems like way too much stuff is happening at the same time right now. That’s why I’ve been away from here. You see, part of what gives me ideas for Saturday Sermons and other topics I tweet about is a list I keep on the Twitter account. It’s a private list filled with the popular Christian apologists and evangelical pastors. You would probably recognize some of their names, but I won’t name them here because I don’t want to be blocked (one of them is Frank Turek, but I’ve quote-tweeted him, so he knows). I have had to stay away from that list because it makes me weep for humanity. For the record, I do follow a few pastors, a Jesuit priest, and a rabbi and that’s no joke. They are all good people and reading their tweets gives me hope for humanity.

I also mentioned that I’m reading another book and that is Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. I have been meaning to read it for quite a while and recently treated myself to a new Kindle so I can read distraction free. I’ll probably continue reading the bible that way as well.

Final bit of news in case you don’t follow all of my other accounts, I do a podcast called The Illuminati Social Club (ISC), which is casual conversations about science, conspiracy theories, UFOs, religion, and other related topics. I also have a blog for that podcast where I am planning on writing and, of course, recording more episodes.

This is the stuff that keeps me staying away from doom scrolling Twitter and keeping me in a positive frame of mind. If you would like to know more about ISC, you can follow on Twitter @IlluminatiPod and visit the blog http://www.illuminatisocialclub.com. I would appreciate it.

Thank you for putting up with my inconsistency as of late. I’ll get back on track soon.

PS–Note to future self, talk about “toxic positivity” sometime.

Giving Thanks

I have a list on my Twitter account (@AlienBiblical) where I keep an eye on apologists, dime store preachers, and a certain ark replica owner. I stayed away from the list during this long weekend because I don’t need to read these holier-than-thou types asking how somebody who doesn’t believe in their variations of God can possibly celebrate Thanksgiving. I can. I do. I don’t see Thanksgiving as a religious holiday since it is, in the United States, a civic holiday. I don’t need to believe in the God of the Bible or any other gods in order to be thankful.

I’m thankful for my girlfriend who is a wonderful, supportive partner through thick and thin. She’ll deny all of this, but it’s all true.

I’m thank for my family who are also supportive, loving, caring, and helpful. I can never repay them for all that they’ve done for me over the years.

I’m thankful for my job, which I absolutely love doing. I have a great boss who respects my feedback when it comes to my work environment. Also, I work by myself, which is my kind of job.

I’m thankful for those people who respect those around them. I have to assure to myself that they are in the majority.

I’m thankful for a great many things too numerous to mention here. And I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to read this and the rest of my blog. It’s a labor of something that I’m doing here, but I’m not sure what.

I would like to wish all of you a Happy Holiday season, and I will be back to posting the Bible study next week.

Site Update and Message

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. It was fully my intention to get a Saturday Sermon up on either Saturday or Sunday, but Saturday I got sidetracked when I was able to get my COVID booster and then came home to do a smaller home repair (attic railing was about go kaput) and just lost track of time. Sunday, I spent the day wondering where purple made noise, yes that’s supposed to sound like nonsense because unlike COVID shot #1, COVID shot #2, and the flu shot, COVID booster told me to sit on the couch and drift in and out of coherence. Still, though, worth the weird feelings. I highly encourage getting boosted (or just getting your COVID vaccine if that’s the case).

I did a religion themed podcast over on the Illuminati Social Cub with friend and In Your Earholes co-host, Oliver Rockside. We discussed the differences between the US and Canada when it comes to public-facing displays of religion. It’s Episode 37: Border Signs. It’s a fun, casual conversation about how people tend to wear their religion on their sleeves in the US while it’s a more personal thing in Canada.

Finally, I want to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Make sure to give thank for all of those around you who have helped you and supported you through these surreal times. I, for one, am thankful for my family, my girlfriend, and all of you who have supported me in my blogging adventure. I thank you all and I will be back to writing as soon as my immune system is well-oiled, virus killing machine.

Leviticus Chapter 11

I am back after a much needed break.

I thought I was going to skate through Leviticus by just doing reaction posts to the verses that are normally quoted from this book. However, I found that this chapter is actually interesting in that it shows how people observed the natural world and made inferences.

This chapter deals with clean and unclean foods. God is setting down the rules of what is good to eat and what isn’t. Animals with divided hooves and cleft-footed and chew the cud are considered clean. Camels are unclean because they do not have split hooves. The rock badger and the hare are both named as unclean because they chew the cud, but they don’t have split hooves. Let’s stick a pin in that and come back to it. Finally, in this section, pigs have split hooves, but they don’t chew the cud, so they are unclean.

OK, back to that pin. Rock badgers and hares do not chew the cud, but they are coprophages which means that they eat their own poop, which is kind of along the same lines as chewing the cud. These animals, though, are herbivores. By the way, in talking to my girlfriend about this chapter, we both wondered if badgers were even native to that area. The rock badger is. I can understand the pig being on this list since they are omnivores and tend to eat anything and everything. Eating pork in those days without cooking it through and through would have resulted in some nasty parasites.

Then we move into sea life. Only those things that have fins and scales may be eaten. That means fish, plain and simple. If it doesn’t have fins and scales, it shall not be eaten. That means no shrimp cocktail, surf and turf, oysters on the half shell, or calamari.

Again, this makes some sense. Crustaceans like shrimp, prawns, and lobsters are bottom feeders and eat the waste of the other sea life. Bivalves like oysters, clams, and mussels are filter feeders which is much the same. Naturally, it seemed like a bad idea to eat things that ate other things’ waste. But they’re so, so good.

The birds that are listed are exactly what one would expect, all scavenger types. Then the directive on insects. All winged insects that walk on all fours are unclean unless they have jointed legs above their feet. I can see some desert dweller picking up a bug and squinting his eyes to see the bug’s legs. Clean insects include locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. All other insects that have four feet are detestable. Except that insects have six legs.

The rest of the chapter details what one should do if made unclean by any of these animals. Becoming unclean can happen through touching, carrying, maybe even just looking at them (ok, I made that up).

Refuting Apologetics #2

Once again the intellectual featherweights at Frank Turek’s Cross Examined tossed me a big, fate softball. The article, Infinite Punishment for Finite Crimes? attempts to make sense of this idea of sending people to hell for eternity for a sin that has an expiration date.

“The assumption underlying the challenge here is that there should be some correlation between how long the offending act took to commit and the punishment that is attached to it.”

After reading this article over a few times, the author seems to be saying that non-believers think this way about crime and punishment. Well, breaking news, Mr. Apologist, I don’t know of any atheist who thinks like this. That’s stupid. My contention is that even the crime of murder is finite in effect and the punishment ends with the perpetrator’s end. The effects of the crime may be felt long after, but we’re talking about the punishment in this case.

The author states that God cannot be victimized, but he does have the right to separate himself from those who rejected him. I won’t argue that God can’t be victimized. To reject God presupposes a relationship with God. I don’t believe in a theistic god of any type. I am aware that there is a character in the Bible known as God and that many apologists refer to him, but I can’t get past the logical contradictions. There is one other line in that paragraph, “We are not chosen at random for such punishment.” Tell that to the Calvinists.

And here is why I do not believe that the God of the Bible exists:

“Though our bodies will die, our souls live on. Let’s consider for a moment what this means: while we may have forgotten many, or even most, of the times that we erred, the times that we hurt others, the times that we did not live up to what was expected; He has not. Each of our sins, each of the times that we chose to act or think in a way we knew violated His perfect will, each of those instances may seem to be the distant past to us, but God is not limited by time.”

We’re human and we make mistakes. To think that the supposed, all-powerful creator of the entire universe cares that I took a penny and didn’t leave one, or I lied when I said that I couldn’t go to a co-worker’s party, tells me that people are in an abusive relationship with their God. Why the fuck would this allegedly amazing entity be bothered by humans being, well, HUMAN? Didn’t he apparently make us this way? I don’t understand how this author can seriously think that this kind of relationship is healthy.

“We have chosen to stand before God, unapologetic, demanding that He accept us just as we are, proud of our lives and our choices. Judge us and find us worthy, we demand. What choice does this leave to a perfectly just judge?”

Perfectly just? This author spent the entire article describing a petty and vindictive judge who set up humanity to fail from his first words to Adam. This is the same “perfectly just” judge who spent most of his time passing down his laws to Moses talking about how build and decorate an altar instead giving us actual, useful laws like don’t rape women and children, be a good steward to this planet, and don’t be a dick to others. Perfectly just, my ass.

Leviticus Chapter 10

This chapter starts with Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, prepared censers and made an offering to God. Except that it was “unholy fire” that God had not commanded. So being a reasonable, merciful deity, he immolated the pair because that’s normal. Moses had the charcoal remains removed and told Aaron and his two remaining sons that they were not allowed to mourn or else they would be killed too along with the rest of the congregation.

So because did not demand the offering of the sons, he not only did not accept the offering, but he killed the sons. The Oxford Bible Commentary is of no help in giving a reason behind this story. It’s my opinion that this is nothing more than an allegory that tells priests to obey and follow ritual instructions…or else. However, that’s reading too much into the story when it comes to biblical literalists. I can’t even imagine how they would justify God’s reaction to this story. Anyway, moving along.

8And the LORD spoke to Aaron: 9Drink no wine or strong drink, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting, that you may not die; it is a statute forever throughout your generations.

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 234). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

The above verse holds a significance to me and other fans of the TV show M*A*S*H, due to an episode Season 3, “Alcoholics Unanimous”, Father Mulcahy attempts to give a sermon on temperance, but due to being drunk never actually gets past this verse. It’s also why I can’t read the sons’ names without hearing them in William Christopher’s drunk voice. That is my explanation for the picture accompanying this chapter.

The rest of this chapter is about the offerings gone wrong. The goat was burned, but it wasn’t eaten and the blood was spread properly and that meant another sin offering was demanded.

November Is Coming

Yes, tomorrow, November begins and so does National Novel Writing month, or NaNoWriMo. It’s been a couple of years since I participated and now that I have a couple project ideas, I am going to participate once again. I am going to take the month off from the regular Bible reading posts to bring you some (hopefully) creative and humorous Bible-based satire.

I also have the seed of an idea for a “children’s book” (quotes necessary), but I don’t want to spoil the surprise as I will post at least the introduction on the blog sometime this week. It will show the way my mind works as I read this book.

I will have a couple more chapters of Leviticus done today and I will post those this week, but after that, no more Bible posts until December. That’s okay, I can use the break.