Numbers Chapter 11

The Israelites are grousing because they don’t have any real food to eat, just the manna from heaven. They miss meat, fish, and vegetables, which I would too. God gets mad at them for complaining, but Moses, showing some backbone, tells God to put up or shut up (in more biblical terms). God tells him to gather seventy elders and he will put some of the burden of the people on them as well.

Then God tells Moses that he will give the people meat and they will eat not for a day or two, but for a month, until meat comes out of their nostrils.

19You shall eat not only one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you—because you have rejected the LORD who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?’ ”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 306). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

There’s a pleasant thought, don’t you think? But Moses mentions that there are 600,000 people and asks the Lord if there are enough fish, flocks, and herds to feed them all for a month and here’s where we get a God flex.

23The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

Bibles, Harper . NRSV Bible with the Apocrypha (p. 306). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

So, I guess he’ll have to wait and find out. But first, the Lord had to give the elders some of Moses’ spirit and they went out and started prophesying, which concerned the rest of the people until Moses told them what happened.

Finally, God blows in a whole mess of quails from the sea and let them drop on either side of camp, three feet deep and as far as the eye can see. The people spent a day gathering what they could carry, but before they could finish eating, the master of the grudge, God himself, struck the people with a great plague (or maybe the dead birds weren’t fit for human consumption).

Numbers Chapter 6 through 8

This chapter deals with the consecration of Nazirites, which are those who take a special vow to the Lord. They must abstain from any product of the grapevine, whether it’s alcoholic or not. They must also not cut their hair (I can’t let my hair grow much longer than an inch, so I’m out) and they cannot defile themselves by going near a corpse. That is, even if it’s a family member. This is the time of their consecration. Of course, all of this ritual is accompanied by, what else, animal sacrifices. You can’t do anything in the Bible without grilling up a living creature.

Once the consecration period has ended, the Nazirite comes to the tent with an offering of a lamb, a ewe, and a ram along with some unleavened bread because you need the carbs, a grain offering, and a drink offering to wash it all down. The Nazirites shave their heads at the entrance to the tent of meeting and the priest places the hair in the fire under the offering for a lovely addition of flavor. I’ll pass on dinner, thanks.

Chapter 7 is a long litany of offerings over the span of twelve days in order to dedicate the altar. It’s a lot of animals being burned on the altar along with a lot of silver and gold. Basically, the whole chapter is a really long “12 Days Of Christmas”.

Chapter 8 starts off about lamps and a lampstand for the altar, but then goes into the consecration of the Levites. It’s not as complicated as the Nazirite consecrations and it doesn’t involve animal sacrifice. Levites are to serve in the tent of meeting from aged 25 to 50. Once they hit 50, they can only assist.

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.