The Bible Slam: Numbers Chapter 18

This chapter prescribes a bunch of death penalties:

  • Relatives of the Levites "shall not come nigh the vessels of the sanctuary and the altar" or else they die.
  • Strangers approaching the altar will be put to death.
  • Anyone who 'pollutes' holy things will be put to death.

More ritualistic animal sacrifices are detailed, which are to be observed forever. Only Levite males may eat meat from the animal sacrifices, but a few sentences later, the daughters may also eat this meat.

Levites don't get allotments of land, but they get 10% of everything else as a tithe.  The best of everything goes to the priests.

NOTE:  Chelev's videos are getting better and better as we go along.  There are excellent "death clips."

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Discussion Points.

As Chelev points out, a redemption must be paid to the priests for one-month-old infants who are filled with sin.  This is what the King James version says:

18:16 And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

When it comes to the ongoing instructions for animal sacrifices, Skeptic's Annotated says it the best at Numbers Chapter 18:

God describes once again the procedure for ritualistic animal sacrifices. Such rituals must be extremely important to God, since he makes their performance a "statute" and "covenant" forever. Why, then don't Bible-believers perform these sacrifices anymore? Don't they realize how God must miss the "sweet savour" of burning flesh? Don't they believe God when he says "forever"?

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  • http://www.toysperiod.com Beth Charette

    I would like to challenge the Bible Slam author to list the crimes, if any, that would be deserving of the death penalty in his mind.

    Let's say, for example, killing a police officer would be so subject.

    In the Bible, that might be said this way:

    "This day, the covenant being thus broken, the children of Judah did rain death upon the brethren."

    Or, perhaps, breaking into the enclosure of the Pieta and destroying that sacred statue with a hammer, killing a guard along the way, might merit death in this man's value system.

    In the Bible, "The devil for violation of the sacred blood symbol was put to death."

    "Looking upon or touching" may mean destroying or violating heinously in a Biblical context.

    One must remember that the King James Bible was written between 1600 and 1625 using the insight of that time and in that place, using English, Latin, Hebrew and Greek sources.

    In order to legitimately critique the Bible and its meanings, we must first know what those meanings are.

    Using 21st century street language as a standard for judging the relevance of the King James Bible is poor eqipment indeed.

  • http://www.toysperiod.com Beth Charette

    I would like to challenge the Bible Slam author to list the crimes, if any, that would be deserving of the death penalty in his mind.

    Let's say, for example, killing a police officer would be so subject.

    In the Bible, that might be said this way:

    "This day, the covenant being thus broken, the children of Judah did rain death upon the brethren."

    Or, perhaps, breaking into the enclosure of the Pieta and destroying that sacred statue with a hammer, killing a guard along the way, might merit death in this man's value system.

    In the Bible, "The devil for violation of the sacred blood symbol was put to death."

    "Looking upon" or "touching" may mean destroying or violating heinously in a Biblical context.

    One must remember that the King James Bible was written between 1600 and 1625 using the insight of that time and in that place, using English, Latin, Hebrew and Greek sources.

    In order to legitimately critique the Bible and its meanings, we must first know what those meanings are.

    Using 21st century street language as a standard for judging the relevance of the King James Bible is poor eqipment indeed.

    • admin

      We refer you to the answer in Chapter 19.

      Glad you're reading the bible and actually thinking about it and putting it into context. There are some selective literalists who pick and choose whatever suits their agenda in order to justify hatred, bigotry, and so forth.

      Personally, I do not endorse the death penalty. But that point of view has nothing to do with the bible.

  • http://www.toysperiod.com Beth Charette

    In his book, Violence, Our Deadly Epidemic and Its Causes, Dr. James Gilligan, MD, after spending 20 years interviewing death row inmates, and studying statistics from all industrialized societies, has found an exact opposite correlation between the death penalty and murder rates.

    Russia and the US have the two highest murder rates in the world, and they are also the lone holdouts in the Western world in terms of banning the death penalty.

    In effect, given the psychological setup of most murderers, the death penalty, according to Dr. Gilligan, is actually a subconscious motivator for the individual to commit murder in order for society to put him or her out of the internal death that he or she is living with.

    When society fails to fulfill their wish for death, death row inmates begin to take it out on each other and themselves. Many will castrate themselves, pull out their toenails and feed bed springs into their urethras. Many will also blind themselves.

    None of this is pleasant to speak of, but all of it points to the fact that, contrary to being a deterrent to crime, the death penalty has had the opposite effect.

    People, who think normally, view the death penalty with aversion because it is a denial of life. That is not the way the typical murderer thinks, and it is a gross error to judge the death penalty from the comfort of a healthy life in the comfort of a middle class American home where there is some semblance of love.

    The death penalty makes us much less safe in our own homes.

    Dr. Gilligan's book was published in 1996.

    • admin

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Beth. This is excellent information.

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