The Bible Slam: Exodus Chapter 30

This chapter continues with temple worship descriptions and demands that all of the people who are 20 years and older have to pay the priests ransoms for their souls.   A priest who enters the tabernacle without washing his hands or feet will die.   Aaron, the high priest, and his priests are to burn incense every day, make atonement offerings every year, and wear a special perfume.   Anyone who is not a priest who is caught making or wearing the special perfume are to be exiled.

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Discussion Points.

If no one is supposed to make or where the special perfume, why does God tempt everyone by dictating the holy recipe?

God tells Moses in Chapter 30 that everyone who is 20 years and up has to pay ransom money for their souls:

30:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

30:12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.

30:13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD.

30:14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD.

30:15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

30:16 And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

Ransom, of course, means "a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity."   Aside from all the nasty blood sacrifices and threats of death from God, the priesthood has it pretty good in Exodus, compared to everyone else.   They get to eat meat and bread when the non-priestly Israelites are stuck with eating manna, and they collect ransom money so that their followers can atone for themselves.

It goes on today.

Some contemporary priesthoods hold themselves in equal esteem to their old testament predecessors. The Catholic Church is considered to be the richest organization in the world. It accumulated its vast financial resources for centuries, charging price tags for sin and selling tickets out of hell during the middle ages:

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