The Bible Slam: Numbers Chapter 09

The people are to keep the Passover and if they don't, they are "cut off from the people."  There seems to be an obsession about touching dead people in the Old Testament … so those who are ceremoniously unclean because of touching dead people during Passover have to wait a month to "celebrate" the day.

As Chelev illustrates with video clips below, the people are worshiping a volcano god, stopping their travels whenever a cloud rests on the tabernacle.  When the cloud lifts, they move on.

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Discussion Points.

Aside from the obvious,  1.2 million people following a cloud around is absurd from a logistic point of view.  In the book of Leviticus, chapter after chapter was dedicated to instructions about what goes in the tabernacle and where it goes.  Not only is the assembly complicated as hell, but it weighed at least 11 tons.

As the King James version indicates, the only person who could hear the voice of God was Moses:

9:7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?

9:8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

9:9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

9:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.

9:11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

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  • http://www.toysperiod.com Vincenti Winchester

    We need to maintain perspective when reading the Bible.

    The same is true when reading the New York Times. (Can you imagine what Orrin Hatch is saying today about the Times\' Economists.)

    Just as an intellectual challenge to the author of Bible Slam, suppose you were God 4000 years ago.

    You have several health issues that you need to communicate to tens of thousands of people, people who don\'t have the advantage of a public university system (yet).

    You also as God realize that you have the power to crush free will. However, free will is the whole point of this exercise on Earth, so forcing the issue in all cases won\'t work.

    And, you have the problem of the priests as well. Even THEIR free will must be protected as we go along. And, they make mistakes, lots of them. But, hey, they are after all as you made them, free to choose.

    OK, so you want to help these folks, because you know that certain behaviors will surely cost the lives of many more than if you make some sort of pronouncement through the only avenue available to you (AGAIN, IF YOU WISH TO GRANT THE PEOPLE SOME MODICUM OF FREE WILL.)

    So, 4000 years ago, you set up a system for food and drink, for handling the dead, and many other things that you feel necessary to protect the people.

    However, as we said, the priesthood\'s free will must ALSO be protected, so they make some mistakes too.

    Oh here and there you become frustrated at priestly mistakes. I mean the priests even blame you when things go wrong because they didn\'t hear your counsel very clearly, or if they did, decided to improve on it.

    Perhaps one day we can get the whole picture nicely in focus for everyone.

    The planet pretty much runs by itself, although even there, physical and psychological laws are being violated by this free will thing you\'ve granted.

    You also know, the Herbies will be out in force criticizing and mocking, but that\'s the price one pays for not stepping in and making things right. As Bertrand Russel used to say, \"But you gave me no proof.\"

    Bertrand\'s mother was ashamed of him for not seeing more clearly, professor that he was and all, especially because of the tome he wrote claiming to understand the logic of the minutest detail of language. But, nonetheless, she and God continued to love him. At least he was on the right track relative to war, even though Hitler didn\'t understand the nuances Bertrand tried to explain.

    Satan says to the author of Bible Slam, \"Common God, Step in. Kick some butt. You can make those Herbies back away from their computer screens. Just think of it, no more \"priestly\" or harsh comments directed at you because they don\'t see the full picture.

    You say, \"Yes, I know Satan. But, I love the Herbies of the world as well. And, after all, some day the Herbies will be in a much loftier positions. In order to function in those roles, they need to understand that they once didn\'t understand either. Free will, Satan. We need to continue to focus on free will.

    They\'ll come around…..eventually.\"

    NEXT ISSUE: VOLCANOES

    Regarding volcanoes: If you have ever been around an active volcano, the feelings that they invoke are very powerful.

    I suppose we can call the people who have these feelings foolish, even mistaken.

    However, I think it is a bit limited of us sitting in a comfortable air conditioned room, to mock them.

    C.S. Lewis, who, as you know, was wounded as a foot soldier in World War I, had a real distaste for folks sitting in the comfort of their studies, who had never experienced the feelings of the battle field, to wax wise in their comments regarding the behavior of soldiers.

    That is, until one has experienced the dangers of being shot at, old C.S. Lewis asked folks in comfortable drawing rooms not to be too hard on soldiers who duck a bit too quickly for their taste. It is easy to be brave with a glass of port at one\'s command.

    It\'s also easy to be brave when one is not standing at the foot of an active volcano not knowing what is going on.

    Just for a moment, let\'s place the author of Bible Slam(without benefit of a public university education), not knowing where his next meal is coming from, being subject to a priesthood that makes mistakes because they don\'t listen very well, and whose God wants to preserve free will, and THEN, let\'s see how this author behaves.

    I fully grant that he may do much much better than the Israelites did.

    If so, congratulations are in order. However, even if he did much better, I would wager that if once again he was transported to his comfortable room, and was once again sitting in front of his computer, that his comments would be very different than those we are seeing today.

    Or maybe not…..Free Will is Tricky

    Vincenti

  • http://www.toysperiod.com Vincenti Winchester

    THIS IS THE EDITED VERSION. MY EDITING TIME RAN OUT ON THE FIRST TRY.

    We need to maintain perspective when reading the Bible.

    The same is true when reading the New York Times. (Can you imagine what Orrin Hatch is saying today about the Times' Economists.)

    Just as an intellectual challenge to the author of Bible Slam, suppose for a moment you were God 4000 years ago.

    You have several health issues that you need to communicate to tens of thousands of people, people who don't have the advantage of a public university system (yet).

    You also as God realize that you have the power to crush free will. However, free will is the whole point of this exercise on Earth, so forcing the issue in all cases won't work to accomplish the purpose of the mission as you've conceived it.

    And, you have the problem of the priests as well. Even THEIR free will must be protected as we go along. And, they make mistakes, lots of them. But, hey, they are after all as you made them, free to choose.

    OK, so you want to help these folks, because you know that certain behaviors will surely cost the lives of many more than if you make some sort of pronouncement through the only avenue available to you (AGAIN, YOU WISH TO GRANT THE PEOPLE SOME MODICUM OF FREE WILL, TO ORGANIZE, TO MAKE MISTAKES, THAT IS TO GROW AS COMPETENT INDIVIDUALS. IT'S A LONG, SORE PROCESS.)

    So, 4000 years ago, you set up a system of food and drink, for handling the dead, and many other things that you feel necessary to protect the people.

    However, as you expected, the priesthood's since you protected their free will, they make some mistakes too.

    Oh here and there you become frustrated at the mistakes. I mean the priests even blame you when things go wrong because they didn't hear your counsel very clearly, or if they did, and decided to improve on it.

    Perhaps one day you can get the whole picture nicely in focus for everyone.

    The planet pretty much runs by itself, although even there, physical and psychological laws are being violated by this free will thing you've insisted upon.

    You also know that the Herbies will be out in force criticizing and mocking, but that's the price you are willing to pay for not stepping in and making things right. As Bertrand Russel used to say, BUT YOU HAVE ME NO PROOF.

    Bertrand's mother was ashamed of him for not seeing more clearly, professor that he was and all, especially because of the tome he wrote claiming to understand the logic of the minutest detail of language. But, nonetheless, she and God continued to love him. At least he was on the right track relative to war, even though Hitler didn't understand the nuances Bertrand was trying to explain. (Welcome to the God club, Bertrand!)

    Now Satan says to you, the author of Bible Slam: Common God, Step in. Kick some butt. You can make those Herbies back away from their computer screens. Just think of it, no more priestly or harsh comments directed at you because they don't see the full picture.

    You say, Yes, I know Satan. But, I love the Herbies of the world as well. And, after all, some day the Herbies will be in much loftier positions. In order to function well in those roles, they need to understand that they once didn't understand either. Free will, Satan. We need to continue to focus on free will.

    They'll come around…..eventually.

    NEXT ISSUE: VOLCANOES

    Regarding volcanoes: If you have ever been around an active volcano, the feelings they invoke are very powerful.

    I suppose we can call the people who have these feelings foolish, even mistaken.

    However, I think it is a bit limited of us sitting in a comfortable air conditioned room to mock them.

    C.S. Lewis, who, as you know, was wounded as a foot soldier in World War I, had a real distaste for folks sitting in the comfort of their studies, who had never experienced the feelings of the battle field, to wax wise in their comments regarding the behavior of soldiers.

    That is, until one has experienced the dangers of being shot at, old C.S. Lewis asked folks in comfortable drawing rooms not to be too hard on soldiers who duck a bit too quickly for their taste. It is easy to be brave with a glass of port at one's command.

    It's also easy to be brave when one is not standing at the foot of an active volcano not knowing what is going on.

    Just for a moment, let's place the author of Bible Slam (without benefit of a public university education), not knowing where his next meal is coming from, being subject to a priesthood that makes mistakes because they don't listen very well, and whose God wants to preserve free will, and THEN, let's see how this author behaves.

    I fully grant that he may do much much better than the Israelites did.

    If so, congratulations are in order. However, even if he did much better, I would wager, if once again he was transported to his comfortable room, and was once again sitting in front of his computer, that his comments would be very different than those we are seeing today.

    Or maybe not…..Free Will is a very tricky thing…..the trickiest.

    Vincenti

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