An Orgy of Egos (Numbers 15-17)

God can’t be accused of being unclear; he expressly forbade doing absolutely anything on the sabbath. So when his people come across a stranger harmlessly picking up sticks on the sabbath, it’s reasonable that God commands them to stone him to death: “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp” (Num 15:35). Stone him with stones? Not rubber erasers? That makes sense.

In Numbers 16, the congregation gets ticked off that Moses and his brother Aaron have all the power. They cry, “You have gone too far! For all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord?” (Num 16:3). Apparently, this comes right out of left field for Moses because he “[falls] on his face” (Num16:4). Faceplant! Moses, ever the sycophant, turns to God and asks what he should do. God says, “Separate yourselves from among the congregation, that I may consume them in a moment” (Num 16:21). I hope that this refers to some sort of rapture and not cannibalism (although I don’t think it counts as cannibalism technically if a deity eats a human).

As it turns out, God doesn’t eat the whiners. Instead – and this is much more spectacular in my opinion – he opens up the ground beneath their feet and the earth swallows them up in one big gulp. Tricky. That’s what God meant by “consume them in a moment”. Bet they didn’t see that one coming. Then God sends a plague along to finish off all the ones who got away. Between the trap-door trick and the plague God kills about fifteen thousand of his people. I can’t imagine that their rates of procreation can keep pace with this nonsense.

 

 

 

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Published in: on February 25, 2011 at 10:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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