Friday, February 5, 2010


Exodus 28-31

Continuing with the instructions on proper worship, Exodus 28 contains God's descriptions and instructions for the garments to be worn by the priests, the ephod, the breastpiece, the tunic and turban, and the rest of the garments, including linen undergarments. In chapter 29, he instructs them to consecrate the priests, Aaron and his sons, and tells them how to do so, including which animals to be sacrificed, in what manner, how hands are to be laid on beforehand and how long it should take. Chapter 30 describes the rituals and artifacts to be used with the altar of incense and anointing oils. It also deals with a census and a "ransom" to be paid to the Lord for each man's life.

Finally, in chapter 31, God tells Moses who is to do the work. "I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri...of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts, to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze..." And "I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him." And, after commanding them again to honor the Sabbath, he gives Mostes the two stone tablets "inscribed by the finger of God" with the testimony on Mount Sinai.

Thoughts, questions, issues

  • There are several aspects of the priestly garments which are intended as reminders of the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • The "Urim and the Thummim" are apparently some objects which the priest would use to determine truth or falsehood, guilt or innocence.
  • I've always been under the impression, I'm not sure right now why, that the priests of Israel were to be the sons of Levi. Which, obviously, Aaron is one of. But there should be another 50,000 of them, or so, at this point, and all of the references to priests here are to Aaron and his sons. Does that mean that the rest of the Levites were no longer the priestly tribe? Or is my impression just wrong? (That's never a bad way to bet...)
  • The idea of God's demanding to be paid is, well, not the way we usually think of an offering. If life is a gift, we should certainly be grateful for it, and we certainly should honor the giver. And obviously, it isn't like God needs the money. So it's an obligation imposed on the Israelites during the census to do what, exactly? Remind them of God? Is it just to support the priesthood, or to provide charity to the poor?
  • If the Ark of the Covenant is ever found and opened, will the stones still be there?

Psalms 5

I mentioned the Samuel Wesley hymn Lead Me, Lord yesterday. Verse 8 of the 5th Psalm is the source of the title and first line.

Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.

The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.

Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.

But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple.

Lead me, O LORD, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

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