Saturday, May 14, 2011

Numbers 35-36: Again, nothing really happened

God, after declaring that the Levites weren't going to get any land, says that each of the other 11 tribes must give them land out of their own inheritance. Weird. Anyway, they get 48 cities, and some land.

6 of the Levite cities are supposed to be "cities of refuge," where a person who accidentally killed someone can go to hide and be safe from anyone who wants revenge, until they stand trial. Yep, because then no one will know where they are. Oh wait...

This is so weird. If you accidentally killed someone, you stand trial. But whatever the outcome, you have to stay in the city of refuge until the high priest dies. (Err, why then? What happens when the high priest dies?) If you leave the city of refuge, anyone can, without blame, kill you out of revenge. But if they kill you in the city, they'll be in trouble! Weird.

Now God clears up some point about inheritance. Remember a couple of chapters ago, God said that women can inherit property? Some people are upset about that, because if a woman owns property and then marries someone from another clan, her property will be removed from her clan and added to her husband's clan. Oh dear. Clearly this cannot be! And God agrees. To deal with this, God declares that if a woman owns property, she must marry someone from her own clan.

And that's the end of Numbers. The Israelites traveled from Mt. Sinai to near the promised land, spent 40 years wandering around killing people, and when the entire older generation of Israelites were dead (as promised by the oh-so-merciful God), they finally get to the River Jordan, where they are about to go into the holy land. Overall, I was impressed with how much this book managed to be horrifically violent and boring all at the same time.

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