Numbers 26 – Another Census
Another census takes place to count an army to prepare for more war.
26 – Equality
Chapter 26 numbers all the men of all the families over age 21. It is also by these numbers that their “inheritance” will be doled out. Does everyone get an equal “inheritance”?
Numbers 26:54 – To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.
Not everyone is equal, and the larger the group, the more land they get. I will go out on a limb and say that this will create problems in the future.
Reiterating my past point: Just what was the end goal of this covenant in a specified chunk of land? We know that Abraham and Lot had a land squabble because both were “great in numbers”. What is going to happen with this land with pre-defined borders as the generations grow and grow in population? What happens when “nations” encroach upon each other, both thinking they have right to land and resources? WAR.
The author ends chapter 26 by reminding the reader that no man, except for Caleb and Joshua, who wandered the desert, were now in the land of inheritance.
Numbers 27 – Inheritance Rules
A new scenario has taken place: The daughters of a man named Zelophehad (notice one of the daughters is named Noah) questions Moses about their inheritance because their father died in the wilderness and he had no sons. Moses speaks to Jehovah on what to do:
27:7 – The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.
A few observations:
- Jehovah’s laws are, at this point, still incomplete. Of all the laws he has made in the past, he didn’t make this one until Moses put the scenario forward.
- Interesting cultural insight: A daughter is allowed to receive their father’s inheritance. This may be one of the more *fair* choices made by Jehovah in regards to women.
As if realizing this new scenario might bring forth even more questions, Jehovah clarifies his position on this inheritance, who it passes to in the event there are sons or daughters or receivers of said inheritance missing.
27 – Moses’ Punishment Begins
Remembering Moses and Aaron were both punished because the thirsty Israelites complained about water, Jehovah tells Moses to prepare to no longer move forward in the journey.
27:12 – And Jehovah said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel. And when thou hast seen it, thou shalt also be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered. For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.
“Righteous and Forgiving”
After ALL Moses has done for this deity, he is not forgiven and now faces his punishment. In a somewhat humiliating request, Jehovah tells him to look upon the land he is NOT allowed to enter and he is going to receive the same humiliating fate his brother Aaron met. Moses seemed to a be a devoted servant who received no reward. And I highly question the motive of his devotion. Was it:
- He was truly devoted to serving Jehovah
- He was truly devoted to not dying or being punished by Jehovah so he followed instructions
- Modern Christians will say the first option is correct. I say it’s the second
- After all, Jehovah CLEARLY made an attempt to take Moses life, and he had no problems brutally punishing his brother Aaron and sister Miriam.
27:16 – Let Jehovah, the *elohe* of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may got out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of Jehovah be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
You tell me the Bible is applicable to all people throughout the world at all times. Yet the concept of “sheep” and a “flock” is key to understanding the culture at this time. Not every civilization had sheep and shepherds. I stand by my conclusion that this book, at least to this point, is merely for a group of people in a specific time in a specific location (historic Middle East).
Also note: Moses calls Jehovah the *elohe*/god of the spirits of all flesh.
Also, the concept that these people, with their numbers and organized tribes/families, need a “shepherd” is interesting. The story is telling us there still needs to be an intermediary between the people and their god. Their god is unable to speak to them any other way. There are no councils, no representatives, no other form of organization to speak to a supposedly almighty all knowing god?
Jehovah chooses Joshua to take Moses place, he also instructs Moses:
27:19 – And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
In other words, Joshua is going to replace Moses as an intermediary. Moses was a man of magic, with his supernatural staff. Is Joshua going to be the same?
Also interesting to note that Moses is going to give Joshua *some* of his honour… not all of it. Is *honor* some sort of energy source where you can mete it out as needed? A quick look at the Interlinear Hebrew and the word looks to mean more of vigor/splendor. KJV translation in action.