Reading 42/341, Numbers 14-15

[A] The Israelites were only supposed to be in the desert for a year or so, but now they will wander for 40 years, until everyone counted earlier, everyone over twenty, dies. They do not trust God, so he will teach them to trust him, or he will wait for another generation to grow up who learned to trust him in their youth.
[B] There is a stark contrast here between the punishment that the Lord prescribes for picking up sticks on the Sabbath, and Jesus' response to his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath, yet we believe that the Lord is the same God as Jesus. What changed between 1500 BC and AD 30? Not God. It is easiest to say that God changed, but he never does. The people changed. They were ready for the new teaching.

...Numbers...

All the congregation lifted up their voice and cried, and the people wept that night. All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would that we had died in this desert! Why does the Lord bring us to this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be a prey, would it not be better for us to return into Egypt?” They said one to another, “Let us make a captain, and return to Egypt.” Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. Joshua, the son of Nun, and Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who spied out the land, tore their clothes, and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy it out is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their defense is removed from over them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.” But all the congregation suggested stoning them with stones.

The glory of the Lord appeared in the tent of meeting to all the children of Israel. The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have worked among them? I will strike them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.” Moses said to the Lord, “Then the Egyptians will hear it; for you brought out this people in your might from among them, and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you the Lord are in the midst of this people, for you the Lord are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them, and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night. Now if you shall kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of you will speak, saying, ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to them, therefore he has slain them in the desert.’ Now please let the power of the Lord be great, according as you have spoken, saying, ‘The Lord is slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and disobedience, though will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation.’ Pardon, please, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your loving kindness, as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.”

The Lord said, “I have pardoned according to your word, but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord, because all those men who have seen my glory, and my signs, which I worked in Egypt and in the desert, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not listened to my voice, surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who despised me see it, but my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit in him, and has followed me fully, I will bring him to the land he went into, and his seed shall possess it. Now the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the valley, tomorrow turn, and go into the desert by the way to the Red Sea.” The Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “How long shall I put up with this evil congregation, that murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Tell them, ‘As I live’, says the Lord, ‘surely as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you, your dead bodies shall fall in this desert, and all who were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me, surely you shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore that I would make you dwell therein, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. But your little ones, that you said would be prey, I will bring them in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this desert. Your children shall be wanderers in the desert forty years, and shall bear your prostitution, until your dead bodies be consumed in the desert. After the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day a year, shall you bear your iniquities, forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’ I, the Lord, have spoken, I will surely do this to all this evil congregation, who are gathered together against me, in this desert they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”

The men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, those men who brought up an evil report of the land, died by disease before the Lord. But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, remained alive of those men who went to spy out the land. Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. They rose up early in the morning, and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Behold, we are here, and will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned.” Moses said, “Why now do you disobey the commandment of the Lord, seeing it shall not prosper? Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, lest you be struck down before your enemies. For there the Amalekite and the Canaanite are before you, and you shall fall by the sword, because you are turned back from following the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the top of the mountain, nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, did not depart out of the camp. Then the Amalekite came down, and the Canaanite who lived in that mountain, and struck them and beat them down, to Hormah.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, When you have come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you, and will make an offering by fire to the Lord, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice to accomplish a vow or as a freewill offering, or in your set feasts, to make a sweet savor to the Lord, of the herd, or of the flock, then he who offers his offering shall offer to the Lord a grain offering of a tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of oil, and wine for the drink offering. The fourth part of a hin, you shall prepare with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb. Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a grain offering two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil, and for the drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a sweet savor to the Lord. When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace offerings to the Lord, then shall he offer with the bull a grain offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil, and you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord. Thus shall it be done for each bull, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the young goats.

According to the number that you shall prepare, so shall you do to everyone according to their number. All who are native-born shall do these things after this manner, when offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord. If a stranger lives as an immigrant with you, or whoever may be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord; as you do, so he shall do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who lives as an immigrant among you, a statute forever throughout your generations, as you are, so shall the immigrant be before the Lord. One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as an immigrant with you.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you come to the land which I will bring you into, then it shall be when you eat of the bread of the land that you shall offer up a wave offering to the Lord. Of the first of your dough you shall offer up a cake for a wave offering, as the wave offering of the threshing floor, so shall you heave it. Of the first of your dough you shall give to the Lord a wave offering throughout your generations. When you shall err, and not observe all these commandments, which the Lord has spoken to Moses, all that the Lord has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the Lord gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations, then it shall be, if it be done unwittingly, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bull for a burnt offering, for a sweet savor to the Lord, with the grain offering of it, and the drink offering of it, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and they shall be forgiven, for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their sin offering before the Lord, for their error, and all the congregation of the children of Israel shall be forgiven, and the stranger who lives as an immigrant among them, for with respect to all the people it was done unwittingly. If one person sins unwittingly, then he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for the soul who errs, when he sins unwittingly, before the Lord, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. You shall have one law for him who does anything unwittingly, for him who is native-born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger who lives as an immigrant among them, but the soul who does anything with a high hand, whether he is native-born or an immigrant, the same blasphemes the Lord, and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

While the children of Israel were in the desert, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron, and to all the congregation. They put him in custody, because it had not been declared what should be done to him. The Lord said to Moses, “The man shall surely be put to death, all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside of the camp.” All the congregation brought him outside of the camp, and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make for themselves fringes on the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue, and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them, so that you do not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which tend to play the prostitute, so that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.

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