Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Numbers Part I: Just a Few Questions

ALWAYS Question Whatever it is You are Asked to Believe

If you wish to answer any of these questions please do so at the comment link at the end of the post. Please note the question you are answering, and be sure to give passage locations when utilizing Bible verses as references. If you wish to ask a question that you feel should have been asked but was not, feel free to note that as well.

Now, on to the questions for the book of Numbers in the Holy Bible.

1. Numbers 1:3-4
From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company.

One man from each tribe, each of them the head of his family, is to help you.

     1) Okay, so the LORD is all-powerful, right? WHY does He need an army if He is all-powerful?

     2) Sooo...forced military service is okay with God/the LORD?

     3) Is the idea of forcing all those who are able to serve in the LORD's army similar, if even remotely so, to being forced to believe in the LORD?

     4) Moses and Aaron, without the modern-day benefits of computers and filing systems and all that, go about taking a count of the people of Israel in order to find out how many can serve in the army...and they only have ONE man from each tribe helping to do the count? How long did that take? What was the process? What were qualifying or disqualifying factors of being able to serve in the army?

2. Numbers 1:45-46
45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel by their fathers' households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel,

46 Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

     1) If twenty years old is the youngest, what age is the oldest? Why is there no upper limit to the age requirement for the army? Are the elderly men forced to serve as well?

     2) What were other requirements for the military men? Did they have to be of a certain intelligence, or did God consider that even an idiot can die for the LORD? Did the men have to have a certain physical condition?

3. Numbers 1:47-50
47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe.

48 For the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying,

49 Only the tribe of Levi you shall not list, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel.

50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and shall camp around the tabernacle.

     1) Sooo...if the LORD doesn't force you into military service He will force you into religious service of some sort?

     2) If God/the LORD is so goddamn great and loving and providing and joyous and amazing WHY would anyone have to be forced to do anything for God/the LORD like fight in an army, or be forced to serve God/the LORD in religious services?

     3) Shouldn't people CHOOSE to be of service to God/the LORD instead of being required or forced to do so?

4. Numbers 1:51
51 When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down, and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death.

     1) Why does God/the LORD seemingly inject the penalty of death wherever possible? Is it to make people afraid, to fear Him? Is it to keep people in line? Is it to make manipulating people all the easier to accomplish?

5. Numbers 1:52
52 The people of Israel shall pitch their tents by their companies, each man in his own camp and each man by his own standard.

     1) Does 'standard' here mean in the sense of a cultural/social norm or construct, or does it mean 'standard' in the sense of a banner or flag particular to each family?

6. Numbers 1:53
53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the people of Israel. And the Levites shall keep guard over the tabernacle of the testimony.”

     1) So, the Levites were some kind of human buffer between the tabernacle of the LORD and the people of Israel? Why would such a thing be needed if the LORD loves His people and cherishes them and nurtures them?

     2) Why would the tabernacle need to be guarded? Isn't God/the LORD all-powerful and thus quite capable of protecting Himself, His tabernacle, and His people?

     3) Were the guards of the tabernacle there to guard things from going in or keep things from going out, or both?

7. Numbers 1:54
54 Thus the sons of Israel did; according to all which the LORD had commanded Moses, so they did.

     1) Why is the LORD commanding His people through Moses and not to the people themselves? Are the people incapable of understanding God? Were the people too afraid of God? Wouldn't God be able to impart understanding and remove fear?

     2) Does God/the LORD want to keep as few humans as possible being in direct contact with Him by creating this absurd idea that there must always be an intermediary such as Moses or Aaron, and if so why is this?

8. Numbers 3:4
But Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests in the lifetime of Aaron their father.

     1) What, pray tell, is 'unauthorized' fire?

     2) Did Nadab and Abihu know what the 'unauthorized' fire was? Had they been informed of the 'unauthorized' fire?

     3) Where is this 'unauthorized' fire discussed in the Bible?

9. Numbers 3:8-10
They shall guard all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and keep guard over the people of Israel as they minister at the tabernacle.

And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are wholly given to him from among the people of Israel.

10 And you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall guard their priesthood. But if any outsider comes near, he shall be put to death.”

     1) Why do the furnishings of the tent of meeting need to be guarded/protected? Will the people steal the items?

     2) What is this 'big brother' temperament of God/the LORD where guard must be kept over the people of Israel? Why would guard need to be kept over them is God/the LORD is all-powerful and all-protective and all-everything?

     3) If God/the LORD is the same yesterday and today and forever more, and if all men are the same before God/the LORD, and if all men fall short of the glory of God...WHY are lines of separation made between the priests and 'outsiders' which result in a death penalty?

     4) If God/the LORD is the same as He always has been...why does the New Testament make it sound like ANYONE can approach God/the LORD and the Old Testament make it sound like God's people must have an intermediary lest they die from the ferocity of God's/the LORD's righteousness? 

10. Numbers 3:11-13
11 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

12 Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the people of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the people of Israel. The Levites shall be mine,

13 for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD.”

     1) Do you know what this set of verses reminds me of? Are you familiar with the story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson?

     2) So, first God/the LORD says He wants all of the firstborn. ALL. Imagine the U.S. government saying to all of the people it governs, "All of your firstborn belong to the government." Lovely, right? Imagine the fear and sorrow something like that would plant within a person's heart. 
     Now imagine that the government says, "Hey, tell you what...instead of ALL of the firstborn belonging to the government what will now be done is all of the Native Americans belong to the government. ALL Native Americans belong to the government. Instead of the government taking the firstborn of all the people the Native Americans will fill that spot, ALL Native Americans."
     How would the people see such a thing? Is it still terrible that some people are automatically slated from the moment of conception to NOT be their own? Sure it is! But...isn't that a small price to pay? So the Native Americans belong to the government no matter what. Big deal. At least the rest of the people get to keep their firstborn. The majority is safe.
     In Shirley Jackson's story "The Lottery" someone must be stoned and everyone knows it. Perhaps for those doing the stoning, even though they are committing murder, it is much better to stone, than to be stoned, right? Maybe that is how it was for the people of Israel. The people knew something was really screwy and wrong with this God/LORD fellow, but if He was satiated by having the Levites and pretty much leave the rest of the people alone...then why not go along with it?

11. Numbers 3:46-48
46 And as the redemption price for the 273 of the firstborn of the people of Israel, over and above the number of the male Levites,

47 you shall take five shekels per head; you shall take them according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel of twenty gerahs),

48 and give the money to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for those who are over.

     1) Never mind that the Bible says that you cannot store up for yourself treasures here on earth, but WHY does God/the LORD need money?

     2) For those individuals who would answer that the LORD needed to make sure that the items of worship were cared for and that the priests were compensated and that is why there is a need for money, wouldn't it then be true that God/the LORD ISN'T all powerful if He is in need of such a thing as money?

     3) Being all-knowing couldn't God/the LORD have devised a process of worship that did not require the use of money to sustain anything?

     4) If money is the root of all evil then why is God/the LORD requiring it in the process of having people worship Him?

12. Numbers 5:27-28
27 If she has defiled herself by being unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings on the curse will cause bitter suffering. Her abdomen will swell and her womb will shrink, and her name will become a curse among her people.

28 But if she has not defiled herself and is pure, then she will be unharmed and will still be able to have children.

     1) Have you ever read about the Salem Witch Trials? These verses here remind me of that and sound just about as stupid as dunking a woman in the water with something heavy attached to her body; if she floats she is a witch and if she sinks she's not a witch. Fucking stupid. Some things never change, I guess.

13. Numbers 7:89
89 Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from between the two cherubim above the Ark's cover--the place of atonement--that rests on the Ark of the Covenant. The LORD spoke to him from there.

     1) If the LORD/God is everywhere all of the time WHY does Moses have to go to the tabernacle to speak with the LORD? Couldn't Moses simply speak to God from wherever he was? Moses wouldn't even have to use his voice, right? I mean he could freaking speak to God within his own heart, right?

     2) So, you can't take away the everything-ness of God/the LORD, right? If that is the case then if God/the LORD is everywhere (omni-present) then whenever He said anything wouldn't He also be heard everywhere?

14. Numbers 8:24
24 This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall come to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting.

     1) Ahhh, FORCED religious service. Isn't that nice? Whatever happened to the LORD moving within each man according to his own heart?

     2) So, if God/the LORD is forcing this service upon people then isn't the idea of the LORD simply allowing people to 'find' Him and to come to Him all on their own totally false?

15. Numbers 9:15-16
15 On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.

16 So it was continuously; the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

     1) Is God radioactive?

16. Numbers 10:8
And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

     1) Okay, so this is supposed to be a perpetual statute forever and ever, right? And the word of God/the LORD is supposed to stand forever, right? Sooo...do people still do this? Do the people who are supposed to blow the trumpets still blow the damn trumpets?

     2) If people no longer do this then HOW does the word of God/the LORD stand forever?

17. Numbers 11:1-3
Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD's anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.

Then the people screamed to Moses for help, and when he prayed to the LORD, the fire stopped.

So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.

     1) What does God/the LORD expect from people when they can't even live a relatively normal life with Him around? They DON'T have consistent water and food supplies. They are for all intents and purposes WANDERING in circles in the freaking desert. They are subject to the wiles of a God with a very bad temper. The list goes on and on. What did God expect? Did He even give a good goddamn about what He was doing to these people both literally and psychologically?

18. Numbers 11:10-11
10 Moses heard the people weeping throughout their clans, everyone at the door of his tent. And the anger of the LORD blazed hotly, and Moses was displeased.

11 Moses said to the LORD, “Why have you dealt ill with your servant? And why have I not found favor in your sight, that you lay the burden of all this people on me?

     1) So, was Moses displeased because the LORD continued to create situations where He knew damn well the people would be in great need and would be upset?

     2) Was Moses displeased because He knew God/the LORD had a very short fuse and that the people of Israel whining would only set God off, making the only safe spot for Moses to be the spot where Moses was standing in agreement with God/the LORD and displeased with the people?

19. Numbers 11:14-15
14 I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.

15 If this is how you intend to treat me, just go ahead and kill me. Do me a favor and spare me this misery!"

     1) Once again, Moses shows surprising moxie as he tells God/the LORD to just kill Moses and get it over with because this was some bullshit that the LORD was doing. Why does God/the LORD allow Moses to get away with this when He so readily kills other people for far less?

20. Numbers 11:16-17
16 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.

17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.

     1) AGAIN we come to that same question of WHY, if God/the LORD is everywhere, why can't He just talk to people where they are or directly to their hearts? Why does there have to be a priest or a special meeting place? 

     2) Is God/the LORD limited as to where and when and why He speaks with people? Is this limitation only in the Old Testament, and if so WHY?

21. Numbers 11:19-20
19 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,

20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why did we come out of Egypt?

     1) Well, what do we have here but God/the LORD blowing everyone else out of the water for the Bad-Parent-of-the-Year Award as He responds to cries for food by being nastily aggressive and mean?

     2) Wouldn't an all-knowing being know beforehand what the concerns of the people would be, and wouldn't He then go the measure to take care of these concerns and lessen them or find some kind of remedy instead of using these situations to mistreat people?

22. Numbers 11:25
25 And the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to Moses. Then he gave the seventy elders the same Spirit that was upon Moses. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But this never happened again.

     1) Why is God/the LORD always in some kind of disguise?

     2) If God/the LORD never changes wouldn't trying to disguise Himself pretty much be a fruitless and wasted effort?

     3) As a child I was informed that the LORD had to disguise Himself so the people wouldn't die from looking upon His perfect glory. If that is the case, and if God's glory NEVER changes, then wouldn't trying to disguise God NOT work since you cannot dampen or change or lessen or hide the glory of God?

23. Numbers 11:27-29
27 And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses' assistant since his youth, protested, "Moses, my master, make them stop!

29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!

     1) So God ISN'T for everyone? If God is for everyone what does it matter WHO prophecies so long as it is derived of God?

24. Numbers 11:31, 33
31 Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground.

33 While the meat was yet between their teeth, before it was consumed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck down the people with a very great plague.

     1) Does whoever wrote this really expect people to believe that the quail that surrounded the camp were about three feet deep?

     2) What is this douchebag behavior of getting mad at the people of Israel for them saying they are hungry, and then to make things worse striking them down with plague as they are trying to eat in order to dispel the hunger pains?

25. Numbers 12:3
Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.

     1) Is this why the LORD liked Moses so damn much, because he was a friggin' wuss who rarely spoke out against whatever shenanigans God happened to stew up?

     2) Why in the hell would you pick the weakest person on the entire earth to lead a people UNLESS you did so specifically to play on that person's weakness?

26. Numbers 13:1-2
Then the LORD spoke to Moses saying,

Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel. From each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a chief among them.

     1) Okay, so this is the land that God/the LORD wants to give to the people of Israel but He doesn't know who is on it or what they are doing? Shouldn't the LORD have known?

     2) Is it in the practice of God to just give things away without doing any of the necessary research?

27. Numbers 14:34, 37-38
34 Because your men explored the land for forty days, you must wander in the wilderness for forty years--a year for each day, suffering the consequences of your sins. Then you will discover what it is like to have me for an enemy.

37 the men who brought up a bad report of the land—died by plague before the LORD.

38 Of those men who went to spy out the land, only Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh remained alive.

     1) Why is the number forty being mentioned again? Forty years of wandering for forty days of scouting? Isn't that just a TAD imbalanced?

     2) Why do God's/the LORD's punishments never fit the crime?







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