Is it Really that Hard NOT to Touch a Dead Body? (Numbers 6-10)

There is an awful lot of listing in numbers. I should have figured.

In Numbers 6, the specifications for a special kind of vow, called the vow of Nazirite, are presented. The vow of Nazirite is supposed to bring a man or a woman (how inclusive) closer to God, although I don’t see the point of that since God is annoyingly close already, intruding into the Israelites’ affairs willy-nilly. If anything, you’d think the Israelites would want a little space by now.

The vow of Nazirite requires one to grow their hair long and refrain from drinking anything too strong, or produced by the grapevine. Touching a dead body is off-limits, too. Touching dead bodies is something that is mentioned so often in the Bible that I wonder what I’m missing. Is is really that hard not to touch a dead body? They’re gross. Plus, the more dead they get, the grosser they get. What’s the draw?

After a certain period of time, the man or woman taking the vow goes to the tent of meeting (where all the sacrifices and cool stuff happen) and gets his or her head consecrated with fancy oils. Then he or she has to shave off all their hair and toss it into a fire and watch it burn, probably crying like one of the girls in the standard makeover episode of any given season of America’s Next Top Model. What a waste. At least make some extensions. On that note, I’m noticing that the Bible has a pretty strong anti-conservation message. So much stuff gets wasted in sacrifices and rituals; it’s quite appalling.

In Numbers 7, all the leaders from the different tribes bring special offerings to the tent of meeting. And – how embarrassing – they all pretty much bring exactly the same thing: a silver plate, flour, incense, animals for sacrifice, etc. I guess these are typical, bland offerings akin to giving someone a pomegrante-scented candle from Indigo for their birthday.

Out of nowhere, God decides that the Levite people are alright and can hang out with the Israelites. But first they have to shave their entire bodies and get washed up, emerging looking somewhat like those hairless cats, I imagine. This is probably a good move on God’s part, since he’s killed off a lot of people in the last little while. Time to beef up the numbers. God tells Moses to get two silver trumpets made so all of his commands can be made more bombastic. Meeting – trumpet blast. Alarm – trumpet blast. War – trumpet blast. Feast – trumpet blast. Nap time – trumpet blast.

After two years, two months and twenty days at the base of Mount Sinai, God tell his people (now including the Levites) to pack up shop because they’re moving. God is probably as bored as I am and needs a change of scenery. Good. Where to? Don’t know. I don’t think God knows, either, to be honest. And I doubt any of the Israelite men are asking for directions.

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Published in: on February 20, 2011 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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