Our last look into Numbers taught us Moses has a serious mental condition (possible schizophrenia?). Numbers Chapter 8 is titled “Setting Up the Lamps”. Doesn’t sound too exciting, but I promised I was going through EVERY chapter of the Bible, so I can’t just skip the ones that look boring. 🙂
“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up the area in front of the lampstand.’”” – Numbers 8:1-2
And the plot is set.
“To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. And so they will purify themselves.” – Numbers 8:7
Wait a second. I know God hates foreskin and damaged testicles, but does He also hate pubic hair? Are the Israelites required to shave their pubes to be purified? What if a stray pube is left behind?
“From among all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons to do the work at the tent of meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.” – Numbers 8:19
What say do the Levites have in this? They are forced to do this work, making them at worst slaves and at best indentured servants.
“Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses.” – Numbers 8:20
Well, that’s not exactly the truth. It’s not really as Lord commanded, but as Moses commanded. The Lord only reveals Himself to Moses, so Moses could make up anything he wanted to serve his purpose and simply pass it off as God.
“The Lord said to Moses, “This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the tent of meeting, but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.”” – Numbers 8:23-25
When religious fundamentalists (almost always deeply conservative) are picking and choosing their verses to follow from the Bible, they should pick these last three. They set the retirement age at 50, instead of today’s 65-67 in the U.S. God may have gotten a lot wrong, but he’s correct on setting an appropriate retirement age, especially for blue collar workers such as the Israelites.
That does it for Numbers 8. A few silly rules, but some common sense from God concerning the retirement age of workers.
Coming Soon: Numbers – Chapter 9: The Passover