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Please use APA format, please use an outside source as well.

I have attached the reading material, with Chapter 4 thru 6. Please answer the questions below.

Total 15 Questions.

Israel Becomes a People: Exodus to Deuteronomy


Chapter 4 -The Old Testament Story (In chapter 4 we see the creation of the Children of Israel and the events that come to define them as a people.)

Exodus chs. 1-40; Num. 10-25; Deut. 1-5, 29-34

1.From the perspective of the book of Exodus, what was the LORD's role in the events it portrays?

2.What is the distinction between a suzerainty treaty or covenant and a parity treaty or covenant?

3.Where are the four possible places for the crossing of the Red Sea?

4.Look up covenant in a Bible dictionary and determine its role in Israelite religion.

5.What are the major themes of the Pentateuch?

Israel Gains a Home: Joshua and Judges


Chapter 5 -The Old Testament Story (As israel enters the Promised Land they experience victories and trouble as they cease wandering and begin settling.)

Joshua and Judges

6.Why does a careful reading of both Joshua and Judges provide a more balanced view of the conquest?

7.What kind of leaders were the judges?

8.What is meant by saying that the judges were "charismatic leaders"?

9.In light of the story in Genesis 22, how do you interpret Jephthah's vow that resulted in the sacrifice of his daughter?

10.What set of circumstances finally served to unite the Israelite tribes?

The Beginning of the Monarchy: Samuel, Saul, and David


Chapter 6 -The Old Testament Story (The Beginning of the Monarchy: Samuel, Saul, and David)

I & II Samuel

11.In what ways are the birth stories of Samuel (1 Sam.1:1-2:11) and Isaac (Gen. 18:9-11; 21:1-8) similar?

12.Why should Samuel be described as a king maker and a king breaker?

13.What are the two different versions of how Saul and David met? What does this seem to say about the sources used in writing the Deuteronomistic History?

14.Why did David join forces with the Philistines?

15.What were the long-term effects of David's affair with Bathsheba?

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CHAPTER 4 Timeline 1500 B.C.E. 1305 B.C.E. 1290 B.C.E. 1280 B.C.E. 1250 B.C.E. 1224 B.C.E. 1200 B.C.E. S K a People Israel Becomes I Exodus and Wilderness N N E R , E D Beginning of the Late Bronze Age W Beginning of the reign of Pharaoh Seti Beginning of the reign of Ramses IIA Possible date of the Exodus from Egypt R Frequent guess for date of Israelite entrance into the Promised Land D Mernerptah’s invasion of Palestine Beginning of the Iron Age Chapter Outline I. II. III. IV. V. VI. VII. The Book of Israel’s Beginnings Moses: Birth and Wilderness Years Moses: The Struggle with the Pharaoh The Exodus Event Sinai and the Giving of the Law After Mount Sinai Themes in the Pentateuch 5 4 2 7 B U 61 The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 62 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People CHAPTER OVERVIEW This chapter covers a vast amount of biblical material: the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. What holds all of this material together is the gigantic figure of Moses, who is born in Exodus 2 and dies in Deuteronomy 34. The first part of the book of Exodus will tell the Sforging of the Israelites as a people story of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt. After this, the appears in four movements that alternate in form and content. K Exodus 14–18 will tell the initial story of the Israelites in the wilderness, leading up to their arrival at Mount Sinai. A large, diverse collection of legal material then fills the vast majorityI of Exodus 19 through Numbers 9 (including the entire book of Leviticus). A second collection N of wilderness narratives is found in Numbers 10–36, with smaller pieces of legal material within it. Finally, most of the book of N Deuteronomy contains legal material presented by Moses to the Israelites in Moab as they wait to Ealternating pattern: wilderness– enter the Promised Land. Thus, the whole story presents an law–wilderness–law. This pattern highlights the contrast between the threat of death and disorder R and the promise of life and order contained in Mosaic law. , E The Literary Structure of Exodus D Wdoes not have an easily discernible The book of Exodus, because of its varied and composite nature, overall design. Many attempts to determine a structure for theA book of Exodus have focused upon place and movement. The book would then fall into sections such as R 1:1–12:36 The Israelites in Egypt D 12:37–18:27 The Israelites in the Wilderness 19:1–40:30 The Israelites at Sinai 5 into two halves: the story of the On the other hand, based upon literary form, Exodus falls roughly departure from Egypt (1–18) and the reception of the law at Mount Sinai (19–40). The situation is 4 more complex than either of these simple outlines, though. There is legal material in the first half of the book, and there is narrative material in the second half. The 2 relationship between the book of Exodus and the book of Leviticus, which follows it, also complicates the issue. There is a strong sense of continuity between the second half of Exodus and Leviticus,7just as there is continuity between Genesis and the first half of Exodus. Thus, this second book ofBthe Bible tends to get pulled apart from both ends. If there is a sense of unity and literary design to the book, then the feeling of moveU be based upon transitions and ment and the mixture of literary forms indicate that it should probably points of connection. The structure proposed here is less certain and less defined than that proposed earlier for the book of Genesis, but it may point to a way to view the book of Exodus as a whole. Rather than understanding the beginning of the legal material in Exodus as a break or division, it may be more helpful to view it as a transitional center. The giving of the Ten Commandments in 20:1–21 may function as a pivotal point in the story. Until the end of chapter 19, the people of Israel are moving toward God with Moses in the lead (19:17). The experience of receiving the Ten Commandments convinces the people that they want no part in direct contact with God, but want Moses to act as an intermediary (20:18–21). The stories of the first half of the book of Exodus (slavery, calling of Moses, plagues, wilderness travels) are centered on the Passover legislation, in which Moses receives instructions from God and passes them on to the people (12:1–27). Everything operates according to plan, and God liberates the Israelites. The legal material in the second half of the book is centered on the golden calf episode in chapters 32 to 34. This set of stories illustrates the danger of The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People not following proper procedures. Implements of worship are produced without instructions from Moses, and disaster follows. The two halves of the book thus operate as mirror images of one another and establish a pattern of law and narrative functioning together for the rest of the Torah. The giving of the Ten Commandments is a story about giving and receiving law that works out the way in which it should be done. It turns out that the Exodus story solves a major problem for those in Israel who wished to publish a body of laws. The story operates as an ideal S vehicle for presenting the legal material, and it provides its main character, Moses, to be the ideal teacher K of the law. I N N THE BOOK OF ISRAEL’S BEGINNINGS In the Hebrew Bible, Exodus is called w‘elah sh‘mot, “these areEthe names,” referring to the twelve sons of Jacob. It also has been called “the book of the departure R from Egypt,” by the LXX, or Septuagint, from which our title Exodus is derived. Exodus begins Israel’s story with Moses, his preparation, for and elevation to the leadership of his people (by the LORD’s hand) and the Exodus (1:1–12:36). It continues with the wilderness experiences (12:37–18:27), and it ends with the giving of the Law at Sinai, including the Covenant E 1 Code and the story of the completion of the tabernacle (18:28–40:38). D W What the Fourth of July is to the citizens of the United States, Bastille Day is to the French, and A the Magna Carta is to the English, the Exodus was to the Israelites. The Israelite writers have mentioned the Exodus more than any other event in their history. R In the book of Psalms, for instance, the Exodus theme is sounded again and again. A good example is Psalm 105. After recounting the D plagues, the psalmist says: The Importance of the Exodus Story Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold, and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled. 5 Egypt was glad when they departed, 4 for the dread of them had fallen upon it. He spread a cloud for a covering, 2 and fire to give light by night. 7 They asked, and he brought quails, and gave them food from heaven in abundance. B He opened the rock, and the water gushed out; U it flowed through the desert like a river. For he remembered his holy promise, and Abraham, his servant. The Nature of the Exodus and the Exodus Materials The picture that emerges from a superficial reading of the narrative portions of the books of Exodus and Numbers gives the familiar outline of the Exodus as most people know it—the sojourn in Egypt; the birth and preparation of Moses; the Exodus, with its dramatic delivery of the Israelites at the Red Sea; the wilderness wanderings and the rebellious murmurings of the people; the giving of the Law at Sinai; and the subsequent experiences of the people in the years before the invasion of Palestine. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 63 64 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The picture given, however, is the simplified version of a much more complicated process. None of my own ancestors came to America prior to the American Revolution. Yet, I, like most Americans, speak of our “founding fathers” as if I actually had an ancestor among the early settlers at Jamestown or Plymouth. Likewise, later Israelites, and even present-day Jews, speak as though they are all direct descendants of the people Moses led out S of Egypt. Yet, as Joshua 24:14–28 indicates, what became Israel actually was a diverse group, composed of people of a Semitic backK never had been in Egypt. This is ground as well as non-Semites, including people of the land who supported by a careful reading of the book of Exodus, which I shows how various sources have been brought together to tell what the LORD had done for Israel. Moses is the major human characN Moses, but rather to glorify the ter in the Exodus narratives, but they are designed not to glorify LORD, the God of Israel. It was the LORD of history and theNmaster of the created order who brought Israel out of Egypt. The narration of the Exodus events was a central theme in the worE ship of Israel, and no word of praise was too elaborate to describe what the LORD did in bringing 2 Israel from Egyptian slavery. R , MOSES: BIRTH AND WILDERNESS YEARS Changed Times and Changed Circumstances (Exod. 1) E Joseph could not live forever, nor could one expect the Hyksos Drulers to dominate Egypt forever. Joseph died, and the Hyksos were overthrown. As native Egyptians regained control of their Whad been settled in northeastern government, the circumstances of the Hebrews changed. They Egypt, east of the delta, where the Nile broke up into a number A of branches, like the fingers on a hand. The area known as Goshen was suitable for the grazing of the sheep and cattle of the tentR dwelling Hebrews. Over time, the original seventy persons in the family of D Jacob prospered and their numbers expanded. This alarmed the rulers of Egypt, who, in typical political exaggeration, said that the people of Israel were “too many and too mighty for us” (1:9). This was their justification for enslaving the Hebrews to build projects at the cities of Pithom and 5 Ramses (1:11). It is not clear how the Pharaoh and the Egyptians thought that enslaving the Israelites would limit their population 4 attempts to control their popugrowth. The failure of such a plan is indicated by two additional lation. The first of these plans fails when the midwives, Shiphrah 2 and Puah, refuse to help the Pharaoh by killing all of the Hebrew male children at the time of their birth. The effects of the 7 second plan, commanding the Egyptian people to throw all Hebrew baby boys into the Nile, are B in the next chapter. never described, but this ploy sets the stage for the dramatic events Moses’ Early Life3 U It is a great irony that Moses will eventually rise up and defeat Egypt, for he is “thrown into the Nile,” just as the Pharaoh commanded, at the end of the first chapter. It is also the Pharaoh’s own daughter who saves Moses. The second chapter of Exodus moves through the life of Moses in rapid fashion. One of the problems it must solve is that of the Egyptian identity Moses has acquired in the story. By the end of this chapter, though, Moses has fled from danger in his own family, traveled through the wilderness, met his wife by a well, become the caretaker of his fatherin-law’s sheep, and had a son. He has shed the Egyptian identity and begun to look quite a lot like an Israelite, specifically like Jacob. Moses’ future identity as the liberator of Israel is foreshadowed in this chapter by the story in which he kills an Egyptian who is beating a Hebrew slave. This story raises some difficult moral The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People Miriam The sister of Moses receives only occasional attention in the Exodus and wilderness stories. When her name S is first mentioned in Exodus 15:20, she is not identified as the sister of Moses but rather as the sister K of Aaron. It is commonly assumed that Miriam is the sister who, in Exodus 2:1–11, makes sure that Moses I ends up taken care of by Pharaoh’s daughter, but her N in Numbers 26:59 that Miriam name is never provided in that story. It is not until a genealogical notice is specifically identified by name as the sister of Moses. The Exodus N and wilderness narratives provide only occasional glimpses of this character in Exodus 15:20–21. She is portrayed singing in celebration of E of her brief song have already been the defeat of the Egyptians and is described as a “prophet.” The words absorbed, however, into the longer Song of the Sea, sung by Moses in 15:1–18. R The next time Miriam appears is in the strange story in Numbers 12 in which she and Aaron complain about Moses’ marriage to a Cushite woman. It is not clear why , they object to this marriage. The claim made by Miriam and Aaron that God had also spoken through them likely confirms the earlier identification of Miriam as a prophet. Nevertheless, God is angered by their opposition to Moses and strikes Miriam with leprosy. Curiously, Aaron is not punished in any E way here. Aaron, of course, is the High Priest, and a High Priest with leprosy would be a tremendous problem. Aaron, however, does plead D period and her life is spared. for the life of Miriam. As a result, her leprosy is limited to a seven-day The next mention of Miriam is a brief notice of her death in Leviticus 20:1. Later remembrances W of Miriam are split in their view of her. In Deuteronomy 24:9 her leprosy is used as a threat against potential disobedience by the Israelites. In Micah 6:4 she is listed, Aalong with Moses and Aaron, as a leader sent by God to Israel. It seems likely that the role of Miriam may have been significant, but it has R been overshadowed in Israelite tradition by the gigantic figure of Moses. D issues regarding Moses, but the person Moses is coming to resemble, Jacob, was also of question5 able moral character. It is difficult to miss the significant role that female characters play in making 4 the career of this great liberator possible. He would not have survived were it not for the actions of his mother, who hid him; his sister, who watched over him; and 2 the Pharaoh’s daughter, who took him from the water. The sister is not named here, but she will be identified later as Miriam, a 7 woman with whom Moses has a complicated relationship (see Exodus 15 and Numbers 12).4 Bthe birth stories of other ancient The birth story of Moses invites some comparison with heroes, particularly an Akkadian king named Sargon, who lived about 1000 years earlier. The U legend of Sargon includes a story in which he was saved from danger as an infant by a mother who hid him in a basket in a river. Moses’ story is something of a reversal of Sargon’s, who was royal offspring endangered by internal conflict and was raised as a commoner after he was rescued from the river.5 Exodus 2 ends the way Exodus 1 begins, with the death of a pharaoh. Still, the Israelites are suffering in slavery, but God hears their cries and “remembers his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” The Call of Moses (Exod. 3:1–4:17) Moses was not destined to be a sheepherder all his life. His solitary job through the years had given him knowledge of the desert that was to be invaluable in the work of leading the people The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 65 66 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People from Egypt. It was not conscious preparation on Moses’ part. Rather, for the storyteller, it was the providence of God working to prepare the man for the work he was to do. Those years of preparation came to an end on a mountain called Horeb in one tradition (3:1) and Sinai in another (19:11). While pasturing his flocks, Moses suddenly became aware of a bush that was aflame, seemingly without burning up. As he S went closer, he became aware of a “presence.” Out of this experience came Moses’ call to lead the people out of Egypt. This call experience is significant because it was said to be the time whenK God revealed his personal name to Moses. Of the two major terms used by Israel to speak of God, I Elohim was what one might call the general or, to use a common analogy, the “family,” name for God. It was not only used to refer to the one God, but also might be used to refer to any god or N gods (3:1–5). The name YHWH seems to be related to God’s statement N ‘eyeh ‘eyeh (translated I AM WHO I AM in the New Revised Standard Version) in Exodus 3:14. This name, first revealed to E Moses on the mountain, was the personal name of God. For example, there might be a large family of Fafoofniks, but only one Fafoofnik with the personal name R Abercrombie. Thus, there were many Elohims, but only one YHWH. , The proper pronunciation and meaning of the name YHWH is subject to much debate because it ceased to be pronounced sometime after the Babylonian Exile. It is believed, however, that it was pronounced Yahweh. In Jewish religious services today, the tetra-grammaton, YHWH, E is not pronounced, because to pronounce it wrongly would defile the holiness of God. A substitute word, Adonai (translated LORD), is used. This practice ofD using LORD for YHWH is followed in this textbook. Its meaning is variously interpreted: I AM WHO W I AM, I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE, I CAUSE TO BE WHAT IS. Each translation has strong arguments in its favor. A R When God called Moses, Moses was told that this was the GodDof the patriarchs (3:6). Moses was Moses’ Objection awestruck, but he was not so awed that he could not argue, especially when the LORD said, “I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.” Moses immediately began to make excuses: (1) The excuse: “Who am5I that I should go?” (3:11); the answer: “You will have the LORD’s presence with you, and He will bring the people to this mountain 4 (3:13); the answer: “You shall say, (3:12); (2) the excuse: “Who are you that you are sending me?” ‘YHWH {the LORD}, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob 2 has sent me’ ” (3:14–22); (3) the excuse: “But they will not believe me” (4:1); the answer: “I will give you signs—a rod changed 7 to a snake, a leprous hand healed” (4:2–9); (4) the final excuse: “LORD, I cannot talk!” (4:10); the B spokesman” (4:14–17). answer: “I will give you your eloquent brother Aaron to be your On the Road to Egypt (Exod. 4:18–31) U His excuses in tatters by the divine answers, Moses set out for Egypt, with the blessing of Jethro. The story of the return to Egypt contains a strange incident (4:24–26), somewhat like Jacob’s wrestling match in Genesis 32. At a lodging place in the wilderness, it is said that the LORD attempted to kill Moses. He was saved when Zipporah, his wife, circumcised their son and touched Moses with the bloody foreskin, saying, “Truly, you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” Although the meaning of this ancient story is unclear, it probably indicated that Moses was not properly circumcised. Furthermore, in much of the Old Testament, the LORD is looked upon as the cause of everything. This is reflected in the saying of the prophet Amos: “Can disaster befall the city, unless the LORD has done it?” (Amos 3:8). The idea of an evil force in the world outside of God’s control that caused bad things to happen did not come into prominence until the post-Exilic The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People period of Israel’s history. The Hebrews did believe in demons, but the demons were under divine control. This may reflect the idea of a demonic attack on Moses. Why it is included here is uncertain.6 Aaron, hearing that Moses was returning to Egypt, met him on the way. Moses briefed him on what they were to do. As soon as the brothers arrived in Egypt, Aaron, in turn, told the Hebrews what was to happen. S K MOSES: THE STRUGGLE WITH THE PHARAOHI N N The task before Moses and Aaron was not an easy one. As an excuse to get the people out of E Egypt, they asked the Pharaoh to let the people take a three-day journey into the wilderness to worship. The Pharaoh’s reaction was an outright rejection ofR the request and an increase in the workload on the Hebrews (5:1–9). They, in turn, vented their anger on Moses and Aaron, calling , down the LORD’s judgment upon them (5:20–21). Moses complained to the LORD, who assured The Struggle Begins: Moses and Aaron before the Pharaoh (Exod. 5:1–6:1) him that there would soon be action.7 E D Ancient covenants were of at least two types: (1) The suzerainty treaty was an agreement or conW party (in this case, God) set tract between a superior party and an inferior party. The superior forth the terms of the agreement, because he had the power A to do so. The superior party could obligate himself only if he chose to do so; the inferior party had no choice. Divine mercy and Rtreaty was an agreement between honor obligated God to meet the terms set forth. (2) The parity equals in which both parties contributed to the agreement andDboth bore equal obligations to see 8 Moses’ Call, the Covenant, and a Genealogy (Exod. 6:2–7:7) that it was preserved. Another version of the call of Moses is given here, with a strong emphasis on the suzerainty covenant made with the patriarchs. 5 Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew God as El Shaddai (God Almighty) and not as YHWH (the LORD) (6:2–3). The people were to be reminded of the earlier4covenant to assure them that God would (1) deliver them from Egypt, (2) make them God’s people, 2 (3) be their God, and (4) give them their own land. As usual, when Moses told the people, they ignored him. When he com7 plained to God, he was told to keep telling them (6:9–13). B a genealogy to establish their This priestly version of the call of Moses and Aaron includes credentials. Perhaps of greater significance here is the statement in 7:1 concerning Aaron’s role in U relation to Moses. In the account of Moses’ call in 3:1–4:17, Moses had complained of his speech problems. Here, Moses voices the same complaint (6:30) and is told, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet” (7:1). This word prophet was the same term used to describe the great prophets of Israel. Just as Aaron spoke for Moses, the prophets spoke for God. The Plagues (Exod. 7:8–11:10) The stage was set for the struggle to free the Hebrews. It was not just a struggle between human powers; rather, it was a struggle between the LORD and the gods of Egypt in the person of their earthly representative, the divine Pharaoh. Because the gods of Egypt were associated with the Nile, Moses chose to challenge them on their home court, so to speak. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 67 68 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People After an opening round in which the Egyptian magicians duplicated the actions of Moses and Aaron (the use of serpent magic, the reddening of the Nile, and the plague of the frogs), the Egyptian magicians surrendered, saying, “This is the finger of God” (8:19). From that point on, the plagues increased in intensity until the climax was reached with the death of the Egyptian firstborn and the escape from Egypt. S The number of plagues varies according to the source. Psalms 78:43–51 lists eight plagues, a number believed to be based on an old epic source (or K J, according to the Documentary Hypothesis) and emphasizes the role of Moses in Exodus. Psalm I 105:27–36 seemingly is based on the priestly tradition that magnifies Aaron’s role. The book of Exodus shows evidence of both N traditions.9 The plagues were evidence for later Israel that the LORDNhad been at work on their behalf, using divine power over nature to convince the Pharaoh that he must free them from bondage. E Israel’s later retelling of the events did not have as its primary purpose recording history for twentieth-century readers, but rather “as a celebration of God’s Rgreat victory whereby he is glorified and acknowledged as sole sovereign and power.”10 This is not to deny that the accounts of the , plagues grew out of actual events, but rather that Israel was more concerned about praising God than it was about writing history. E Miracle is a term often used in religious circles. A rather common element in many definitions of miracle is that it is somethingDthat cannot be explained by ordinary means. A believer in God would say that it is evidence ofW God’s power. But any definition of the miraculous that requires that the happening must not be explainable in human terms means A great-great-grandfathers would that, once it can be explained, it will no longer be a miracle. Our say that television is a miracle, but to us it is a common, everyday R fact of life. We do not look at it as a miracle. One’s inability to explain an event, therefore, is not a reliable standard for judging D whether or not it is miraculous. All definitions of miracle start with the basic idea that it is a religious interpretation of an event. If this is true, then whether an event is miraculous depends, to a certain extent, on the per5 son who views that event. It has been illustrated in this fashion: A bear was chasing a man through Yellowstone Park. The man ran across the site of the4Old Faithful geyser, which erupts every sixty minutes or so. The bear, close behind, crossed the geyser the split second it erupted, 2 throwing him high into the air and killing him. To the onlookers, it was a spectacular event; to the 11 man, it was a miracle; to the bear, it was a catastrophe. 7 To develop a workable definition of miracle, it is necessary to examine the Israelite view of B God’s relationship to the world. According to the Creation story in Genesis 1–2, the world was Uin it, bringing both judgment (as created through God’s power. It is God’s world, and He is active in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah) and blessing (the promise to Abraham). Nothing happens in the world except as God wills it to happen. To the Israelites, there was no such thing as a natural event. God was in everything—whether it was a storm, a drought, or a baby’s birth. In short, the biblical writers—especially the Old Testament writers—did not make the distinction between natural and supernatural that we make. The biblical writers used miracles to “call attention to something else which was going on that was even more important than the miracle.” For example, the importance of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2–5) was that it directed Moses’ attention to God rather than to the bush itself.12 In this light, the plagues were viewed by the Israelites as the activity of God because God is active in everything. Two things characterized them as miraculous for Israel: (1) Moses predicted them, and (2) their timing was right for Israel’s needs. Had these same events happened at a THE PLAGUES AS MIRACLE. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People different time or under different circumstances, Israel might well have interpreted them in an entirely different light. A miracle, then, could be defined as any event that, when seen through the eyes of faith, strengthens the faith of the believer. S K the Hebrew leaders in, he offered but the proud ruler did not want to admit complete defeat. Calling a series of compromises. He asked Moses who was to go. Moses I replied that all of their families and flocks had to go. The Pharaoh offered his first compromise: “Go, but take only the men.” N These insects, a variety of The LORD’s reply through Moses was a plague of locusts. grasshopper, have been a plague of Africa and the Eastern countries N throughout recorded history. Their devastation is chillingly described by the prophet Joel (1:4, 7, 10): E What the cutting locust left, R the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, , THE PHARAOH’S COMPROMISE OFFER AND THE EIGHTH AND NINTH PLAGUES (EXOD. 10:1–11:10). The Pharaoh’s advisers urged him to give in to the demands of Moses and Aaron, the hopping locust has eaten. What the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten. It (the locust) has laid waste my vines, and splintered my fig trees; it has stripped off their bark and thrown it down; their branches have turned white. The fields are devastated, the ground mourns; for the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil fails. E D W A R D 5 the dread sirocco, which blew in The locusts were blown into the land by a strong east wind, from the Sinai Desert. Another wind, called a “strong sea breeze” 4 by the Hebrew text and thus a north wind in Egypt, caused the plague to be lifted when Moses prayed (10:18–20). But when the 2 pressure let up, the Pharaoh was back to his old ways. The ninth plague (10:21–29), “a darkness that can be felt” 7 (10:21), was in some ways the most disturbing of all. The probable cause was the blinding sandstorms that come with the B March winds from the Sahara. The darkness blotted out the sun, or Amun Re, the chief deity U among the Egyptian gods. Amun Re’s daily march across the heavens was the greatest constant in Egyptian life and as such was a symbol of life itself. For the LORD to prevent Amun Re from rising for three days was a clear demonstration that the LORD was more powerful than Amun Re. Because the pharaohs also were thought to be divine, the statement “the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart” also had a religious connotation. One of the three words translated as hardened (kaved, 10:1) literally means “to make heavy.” The Egyptian notion of the final judgment was that one’s heart was weighed on a balance with a feather as a counterweight. If one’s heart was pure, there was a balance and the person gained eternal life. If, however, one’s heart outweighed the feather, the person was devoured by the goddess Amenit. To say that the Pharaoh had a hard (heavy) heart meant that he was no deity. Instead, he was no more than an ordinary mortal whose heavy heart would lead to his destruction at the hands of the LORD of all creation.13 The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 69 70 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The Plagues as Attack Against Egyptian Deities Plague 1. Nile turned to blood 2. Frogs 3. Lice 4. Flies 5. Pestilence in cattle 6. Boils 7. Hail 8. Locusts 9. Darkness 10. Death of the firstborn S Khnum—creator of water and life; orK Hapi—the Nile God; or Osiris—the Nile was his bloodstream Heket—goddess of childbirth, whoseIsymbol was the frog No known deity N No known deity Hathor—mother and sky goddess, whose N symbol was the cow; or Apis—the bull god E No known deity Seth—god of wind and storms Rof fertility and vegetation Isis—goddess of life; or Min—goddess The sun deities, Amun-Re, Atum, or Horus , Osiris—judge of the dead and patron deity of the Pharaoh Deity or Deities Against Whom the Plague Was Directed E D Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron to deal with them W again. This time he offered to let them take their families, but they had to leave their herds. Moses quickly rejected any comA promise: “Not a hoof shall be left behind,” he declared (10:24–25). After all, one could not have a sacrifice without a victim. With that rejection, MosesR was ordered from the presence of the Pharaoh. D THE FINAL PLAGUE: THE DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN (EXOD. 11:1–10, 12:29–32). Although timing was the significant factor in the first nine plagues, causing them to be wonders in the eyes of the Hebrews, both the timing and the selective nature of the5tenth plague made it the climactic event for Israel. The firstborn son was the most important child, 4 especially from a practical standpoint. This was illustrated by Jacob’s devious actions designed to secure the rights of the firstborn 2 for himself. To lose the firstborn was (and still is) a devastating psychological blow to a family, and was even more so in ancient days if the firstborn was a7son. For the firstborn son of the Pharaoh, who considered himself to be divine, this would be the crowning blow in the struggle B between the LORD and the gods of Egypt. U How are the plagues to be interpreted? A basic assumption is that whatever one’s understanding of what actually happened and how it happened, for Israel the plagues were a manifestation of the power of God, the mighty act that the LORD had done in Egypt (Exod. 14:31). Beyond that basic assumption, two interpretations have been proposed: (1) that they were attacks against the deities of Egypt (Num. 33:4) and (2) that they were meant to teach Israel that the God of Creation was the God who had delivered them from Egypt. The latter interpretation is suggested by the Sabbath commandment as found in Deuteronomy 5:15. This way of interpreting the plagues views them as a reversal of Creation intended to make Israel aware of God’s power. He who had brought order out of chaos in Creation had now turned the orderly life of Egypt back to chaos. The climactic act was the drowning of the Egyptian army in the waters of chaos at the Red Sea.14 THE MEANING OF THE PLAGUES. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People S K I N N E R , E D W A R D 5 4 FIGURE 4–1 “The Pharaoh said to (Moses), ‘Get away from me .2 . . do not see my face again’” (Exod. 10:28). This statue is a representation of Ramses II, believed to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. 7 B THE EXODUS EVENT U Passover and Departure Exodus 12–13 tell the story of the Israelite departure from Egypt and are dominated by the Passover tradition. Instructions for both the immediate Passover event, which will protect the Israelites from the effect of the final plague, and the perpetual observation of Passover, which will provide for a remembrance of the event, are given by God to Moses and Aaron in 12:1–21. Moses then passes on a much briefer set of instructions to the Israelite elders in 12:1–27, and the Israelite performance of the ritual is reported very briefly in 12:28. After telling the story of the departure from Egypt, the narrator returns, in 12:43–13:16, to instructions about the observation of Passover, interwoven with instructions for the consecration of the Israelite firstborn, those whose lives were spared by the first observance of Passover. The escape from Egypt and Passover become inseparable ideas, and the remainder of the Old Testament will continue to link them together. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 71 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People Jerusalem N SEA CA NA A MEDITERRANEAN Gaza BaalZephon? Hebron Jordan R. Dead Sea (Salt Sea) Arad LAND OF S Hormah MOABITES 3 NILE DELTA Migdol 4 WILDERNESS Raamses Etham K S GO LAND OF ZIN ES SH Baal-Zephon? N OF R R EN E U Jebel Hilal I Succoth EDOMITES ILD F SH W Kadesh-BarneaPithom O 2 (40 yrs. N in the Wilderness) N WILDERNESS OF PARAN E E G Y P T 1 R Elion-Geber POSSIBLE LOCATIONS OF , h MIDIAN z ue fS POSSIBLE LOCATIONS OF SINAI The Traditional Location (Horeb) Jebel Musa Jebel Hilal Midian (Location Unknown) FIGURE 4–2 The Exodus and Sinai. Jebel Musa RED Aqaba WILDERNESS OF SINAI lf o CROSSING THE SEA 1. Gulf of Suez 2. The Bitter Lakes 3. Lake Menzaleh 4. Lake Sirbonis E D W A R SEA D Gulf of eR . A R A B A N Beersheba Gu Nil 72 100 Mi 0 0 100 Km. 5 4 CONFRONTATION AT THE RED SEA (EXOD. 14–15:21). Exodus 14 and 15:1–21 provide a rare 2 opportunity within the Old Testament. These two passages provide a narrative account of the crossing of the Red Sea, followed by a poem that sings about7 the same event. The only other instance like this occurs in Judges 4–5, which provide a narrative and a poetic account of an B Israelite battle. The narrative account in Exodus 14 provides more of the background for the U story, reporting Pharaoh’s change of heart about letting the Israelites go. It also frames the event The Initial Wilderness Period as the first in a series of complaint stories, in which the Israelites face hardship and accuse Moses of having led them into the wilderness to die. The familiar parts of the story are also present, including the parting of the water, the Israelites crossing the sea on dry land, and the drowning of the Egyptian army. The song in Exodus 15 includes these familiar components, using significantly different language, and adds a celebration of the effect this great event will have on the occupants of the Promised Land, whom the Israelites will have to face in future battles. The opening line in the Song of the Sea (15:1–18) is revealed in 15:20–21 to be taken from a briefer Song of Miriam, sung by Moses’ sister. The Sinai Desert very quickly put to the test the leadership skills of Moses. Egypt, even with its slavery, did provide at least a minimum of food TROUBLE ON THE WAY (EXOD. 15:22–17:7). The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People and plenty of water to drink. In contrast, the Sinai made Egypt look like the Garden of Eden. First, the stagnant pools of water the Israelites found at Marah caused complaint. Moses threw the bark or leaves of a desert shrub into the water to make it drinkable (15:22–26). Soon they found an oasis at Elim that had plenty of fresh water (15:27). The next complaint was about food. The supplies theyS brought from Egypt began to run low, and the complaints increased (16:1–12). Again the LORD, through nature, met the needs of K of a tiny scale insect, still eaten the people with (1) manna and (2) quail. Manna was the secretion today by the Bedouin. Quail, similar to the American bird, often I fall exhausted in the northern Sinai after migratory flights over the Mediterranean. They can be captured easily by hand during N this time (16:13–36). Water again became a problem. Moses’ experience as a desert N sheepherder once more stood him in good stead, for he found a water-bearing rock that satisfied the thirst of the people (17:1–7). E THE AMALEKITE RAID (EXOD. 17:8–16). An even greater danger R lay ahead. At Rephedim, the people were attacked by the Amalekites, a fierce tribe of desert dwellers. The task of leading the , day would become the leader. people to battle was given to Joshua, the son of Nun, who one While Moses held up his rod, the battle favored the Israelites; but when his arms fell down, the tide of the battle changed. The effect of the rod was psychological, because it reminded the people E powerful than the Amalekites how the LORD had defeated the Pharaoh, who was much more (17:8–16). The Israelites won the battle, and Moses found a general. D Wcame at last to Sinai. Soon afterThe people ward, Moses’ family—accompanied by his father-in-law, Jethro—joined him there. It did not take A the older man long to see that Moses was overworking himself, trying to do everything for the R whereby the people would be people. Calling Moses aside, Jethro advised him to set up a system divided into groups of 10, 50, 100, and 1000. A leader would be Dresponsible for handling all problems that arose in his group. If he could not handle them, he would consult the leader of the larger unit of which his smaller group was a part. That way, only the most pressing problems would reach Moses. This allowed Moses to devote his time to5 the more important work of interceding with God for the people and teaching them God’s laws (18:17–27). 4 be evidence of other influences. This tradition of the influence of Jethro on Moses may Some have suggested that even the personal name for God (YHWH) may have originated with 2 Jethro’s clan. At present, however, there is no conclusive proof of that. A FATHER-IN-LAW’S ADVICE (EXOD. 18:17–27). 7 B The Exodus and History U and a contemporary underThe relationship between the events recorded in the book of Exodus standing of history has been a subject of intense debate. The question could be posed this way: If someone wished to write a complete history of the world, which was as objective as possible, in what way would the events of the Exodus be included? These events could not be entirely ignored, because there is no dispute that a group of people called the Israelites formed themselves into a small nation that eventually had a massive impact on Western civilization, and this set of stories in the book of Exodus played an essential role in that group’s understanding of itself and its place in the world. The difficulty arises when examining the events themselves, because there is no direct evidence outside of the Bible that any of this occurred, and the events as described seem highly unlikely. The huge array of questions may be organized under the categories of Who?, When?, and Where? Perhaps the center of the problem is the traditional understanding of the number of people involved. Exodus 12:37 reports that about 600,000 adult men left Egypt and took part in the The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 73 74 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People Exodus. A number of this magnitude is also confirmed by the census reports in Numbers 1. Multiplying this number conservatively, to include women and children, would produce a total number of at least 2 million people. We live in a world with a population exceeding 6 billion people, in which perhaps 200 metropolitan areas have populations at least this large, so this may not immediately strike the modern reader as too large a number. Common S estimates of the population of the entire world at the time these events would have occurred, however, are 50 million or less. This K entire population. Add to this would mean that the Exodus included 4 or 5 percent of the world’s the logistical problems of moving such a massive number of people I through the wilderness for an extended period of time and this traditional number begins to appear far beyond the realm of posN sibility. Even many of the scenes in the biblical story—for example, Moses gathering the entire group for a proclamation of the Sabbath regulations in ExodusN35:1–2—cannot be imagined with such a large group. Some interpreters have used the identification of two midwives in Exodus 1:15 E to estimate the size of the Israelite population in Egypt. How large a population could two midwives reasonably serve? Even if they both delivered one baby every day, R this would only suffice for a population in the tens of thousands, but such calculations ignore many problems. These two midwives , could have had responsibilities besides delivering Hebrew children, so the population could have been smaller than this. There could have been many more midwives, but the story only names two of them for the sake of economy or some other reason; thus, the population could have been larger. E The incidental naming of two midwives in this kind of narrative is simply not the kind of datum that can be reliably used to make judgments about the size ofD an ancient population. Perhaps the simplest solution involves the observation that the Bible has W a tendency to magnify numbers by adding zeroes. For example, II Chronicles 7:4–5 reports that at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem, Solomon sacrificed 142,000 animals, an impossiblyAlarge number. Whatever may have happened, it certainly involved a significantly smaller number of Rpeople than the traditional 2 million, but would a smaller number really make the events less significant or even less miraculous? D living and working as slaves in There is no direct evidence, outside the Bible, of Israelites Egypt during the second millennium B.C.E., but this is one place where some indirect evidence does exist. There are various kinds of evidence among Egyptian records and artifacts that persons 5 that slaves were used in Egypt to like the family of Jacob traveled to Egypt to escape famines and 15 perform various tasks related to construction. Of course, this 4 only proves that a story like the one found in Exodus is plausible, not that this one happened as recorded. 2 This situation regarding the “Who?” of the Exodus leads to the attempt to place a possible date on such events. Again, evidence outside the Bible is of limited 7 help and the Bible itself provides little assistance, because all of its chronology is only relative, even if taken literally. The B Bible, for example, offers two different lengths of time for the period of bondage in Egypt, 400 U no way of providing a fixed date years in Genesis 15:13 and 430 years in Exodus 12:40, but it has for the beginning or end of this period. I Kings does attach the Exodus to another event by claiming that Solomon began building the temple 480 years after the Israelites left Egypt. Still, it is not possible to fix an absolute date on any part of Solomon’s reign, and 480, which is 12  40, looks suspiciously like a symbolic number rather than a precise arithmetic value. Egyptian records do not help much, because the Bible does not name any of the Pharaohs involved in the Exodus story. The traditional assumption has been that the Pharaoh of the Exodus story was named Ramses, because that is the name of one of the cities named in Exodus 1:11. There was more than one Pharaoh with this name in Egypt, but the most common assumption is that the Pharaoh in the Exodus story was Ramses II, who ruled Egypt in the thirteenth century. Although such a date seems reasonable within the biblical chronology, this guess is still based upon numerous speculations. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The final category of questions involves locations. According to the biblical narrative, the Israelites left Egypt, traveled in the wilderness for forty years, and made significant stops at many places, including the Red Sea (or “Sea of Reeds”), Mount Sinai, and Kadesh–Barnea. One would think that such locations would have held great importance in Israelite tradition, but they have been largely forgotten, if they were ever known for certain. The S location of Mount Sinai is probably the most significant example. Determining its location is linked to the attempt to determine K from Egypt to Canaan. Several the route the Israelites might have taken through the wilderness possible locations for Mount Sinai have been proposed. The most I prominent is a mountain in the southern Sinai Peninsula called Jebel Musa. Christian tradition, including the building of a prominent monastery there, connects this site with the MountN Sinai of the biblical story, but such an identification presents at least two major problems. First, the N location near the southern tip of the peninsula puts this mountain far away from any reasonable path from Egypt to Canaan. E Second, many readers understand the description of the conditions on Mount Sinai in Exodus 19 as volcanic activity, and Jebel Musa was not volcanic during the R period of time when the Exodus could have happened. Another possible location for Sinai is a mountain called Jebel Halal in the , northern Sinai Peninsula. The location makes more sense, but this is not a very imposing mountain, and it would also not have been volcanic. The nearest volcanic mountain would have been in Midian, a region that Exodus 2–3 associates with Moses, but the location is far to the east of a reaE sonable route to Canaan, and Israelite tradition has not identified this location with Mount Sinai. D answer. Again, this is a category of questions that modern historians cannot The events of the Exodus are beyond the investigative powers W of modern historians for two reasons. First, the kind of evidence that historians typically use to reconstruct past events is too sparse to aid such an attempt in this case. Second, the story itself claimsA much of its own content to be a miracle, a category that lies outside the boundaries of historical investigation. This part of the biblical R text is a good place to observe that questions of faith and literary genre can become seriously entanD readers of the Bible, the only gled. What kind of literature is the book of Exodus? For many modern kind of literature that can be true is that which reports past events precisely as they happened. For the Bible to be true, a proposition that these readers accept on faith, this story must have happened just 5 lie in the impact that it had in unias the Bible records it. For other readers, the truth of the story may fying the people of ancient Israel around a common tradition. The 4 genre of the book of Exodus may be something other than what we would call history in a modern sense, so how it relates to actual 2 events in the past is of little importance. These readers would contend that God can inspire various kinds of literature and that nobody insists on a literal, historical7reading of all the material in a book like Psalms. Both of these positions of faith hold the text to be sacred, although “true” in very differB ent ways. To those for whom the Bible is not a sacred text, the book of Exodus might look very much like the kind of legendary material that many cultures constructU to explain their identity and origins; thus, it may be of sociological, anthropological, or literary interest, but neither of historical nor religious value. This is an issue individual readers must decide for themselves, and it involves assumptions about how faith relates to the development of literature that cannot be adequately tested. SINAI AND THE GIVING OF THE LAW Israel’s Initial Encounter with God at Sinai (Exod. 19–24) Moses finally achieved one of his major goals: He brought the people to Sinai. It was there that the constitution of the Israelite people was made and ratified. Through Moses, the people were told, “If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be a treasured possession out of The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 75 76 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People all peoples.” If they met the conditions, they were to be a “priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (19:5–6). To be a holy people meant to be a people set apart for special service for the LORD, as holiness carries with it the idea of separation. When he came down from the mountain, Moses called the leaders of the people and told them the conditions of the covenant. They agreed to do as theSLORD commanded (19:7–8). Then instructions were given for the all-important covenant-making ceremony. Elaborate preparations relating to cleanliness and sexual abstinence had K to be made (19:10–11, 14–15). Boundaries were established around the holy mountain so that I the people would not come too close. The ancient belief in the power and awesomeness of the Holy was evidenced by the threats N around the sacred mountain of death by stoning to anyone who violated the boundaries (19:12–13). N On the great day came thunder and lightning from the cloud-shrouded mountain, accomE panied by the loud blast of the shophar, a trumpet made of ram’s horn. Descriptions of the appearance of God (theophany) in the setting of the thunderstorm are common in the Old R Testament (Judg. 5:4–5; Ps. 18:8–15; 29:3–9). The summons came for Moses to go up the moun, tain. At the LORD’s command, Moses then descended and brought Aaron back up the mountain with him (19:16–25). E As they now stand, the Ten Commandments (known as the Ten Words in Judaism) areD expanded from the earliest form, which is believed to have consisted of ten concise statements: W 1. You shall have no other gods (elohim) before me. A 2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image. R 3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. D THE TEN WORDS (EXOD. 20:1–17; SEE ALSO DEUT. 5:6–21). 5 4 2 7 B U FIGURE 4–3 “On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of . . . Egypt . . . they came into the wilderness of Sinai” (Exod. 19:1). Jebel Musa, the traditional site of Mount Sinai, is located in this range of mountains. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Honor your father and your mother. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet. S K As evidence that the Commandments in their longer form represent an expansion, one needs to compare the version found in Deuteronomy 5:6–21 Iand, more particularly, the Fourth, Fifth, and Tenth Commandments, with the version in Exodus.NThe Fifth Commandment says: Exodus 20:12 Deuteronomy 5:16 N Honor your father and your Honor your father E and your mother, mother, so that your days may as the LORD your God commanded you, that Rlong and that it may go be long in land that the LORD your days may be your God is giving you. well with you in ,the land that the LORD your God is giving you. A more important difference is to be found in the Tenth Commandment: Exodus 20:17 You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor. E Deuteronomy 5:21 D Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s Wyou desire your wife, Neither shall neighbor’s houseA or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your R neighbor. D These differences suggest a changing view of the Commandments in their applications to specific situations. The Tenth Commandment, in particular, reflects either a change in the status 5 from one section of the country of women or, possibly, a difference in their status (in a later time) to another. 4 For Israel, the Ten Commandments were the Constitution, the laying down of the basic prin2 ciples from which a legal system would develop. A common way of looking at the Commandments sees them as reflecting the two poles of Israel’s existence as a people. 7 (1) Commandments 1 to 4 are concerned with Israel’s relationship to God: absolute loyalty, imageless worship, reverence for the B Name (YHWH), and regular worship. (2) Commandments 5 to 10 deal with the Israelites’ relationU for property, truthfulness in ship to the social order: family solidarity, reverence for life, respect speech, and a proper attitude toward others and their property. No other set of moral principles has been so influential in Western legal systems. The Ten Commandments were also unique in their form. They are stated as absolutes; that is, they allow for no contradictions. This kind of law is known as apodictic law and rarely was found in the ancient Near East outside of the Israelite law codes. A second type of law is casuistic law, or case law. It, too, was found in Israel but also was common in other law codes. Case law stated a condition and told what the penalty was if the condition existed. ABSOLUTE LAW AND CASE LAW. When the covenant ceremony in which Israel accepted the obligations of the Ten Commandments as the basic law of its existence THE TEN COMMANDMENTS AND COVENANT CEREMONIES. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 77 78 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People is compared with covenant ceremonies of other peoples, some interesting parallels appear. Among the Hittites, a fourteenth-century B.C.E. people from Asia Minor, there were suzerainty treaties (covenants involving a stronger and a weaker party) that had six major elements: (1) a prologue identifying the maker of the covenant; (2) a historical record stating why the suzerain or LORD had a right to make the covenant; (3) the conditions of the covenant;S(4) the requirement for the preservation and the periodic public reading of the text; (5) a list of the gods who were witnesses to the K who neglected the covenant.16 covenant; and (6) curses and blessings on those who kept and those I Two covenants competed for Israel’s attention during N covenant would not come into its history—the Sinai covenant and the Davidic covenant. The latter existence for another three centuries. Although there might not N be universal agreement on what happened at Sinai, most would attest that something of supreme importance for Israel as a people did happen by the persistence of the covenant idea in Israelite E life. Israel became the people of the LORD through divine grace, and the LORD became its God—Ruler, R Patriarch, Savior, and Judge. THE COVENANT AND ISRAELITE LIFE. Exodus 20:2 Prologue Historical record: Exodus 20:3–17 Stipulations: Exodus 24:4, 7 Preservation and public readings: List of gods as witnesses: Blessings and curses: , “I am the LORD your God.” “who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, out of the houseEof bondage.” D The Ten Commandments W A “And Moses wrote R down all the words of the Lord. . . . Then he took the book of the covenant, Dhearing of the people; and they and read it in the said, ‘All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.’” 5 These obviously would not appear in light of the 4 First Commandment. These do not appear 2 in connection with the Ten Commandments, but Deuteronomy 27:11–26 7 preserves a cursing ceremony, which may have B originated in a covenant-renewal festival during which each generation accepted the obligations of U the Ten Commandments and the laws that grew out of them. The covenant was kept alive by a reenactment of the covenant ceremony, at times in a systematic fashion, at other times sporadically. Joshua 24 is an example of what must have happened in such ceremonies. Nehemiah 8 describes the revival of such a ceremony after what appears to have been a long period when no such reenactment had taken place. Perhaps a major stumbling block for the Sinai covenant was that it was supplanted by the Davidic covenant during the period of David’s monarchy. Although the two covenants were of a different nature—David’s covenant having to do with the continuation of his line on the throne of the kingdom, whereas the Sinai covenant was of a more moral and ethical nature—David’s covenant offered a kind of security that did not make moral demands on the people and thus was more readily accepted. Another The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People problem was the assimilation of a large non-Israelite population into the kingdom as the result of David’s conquests. Consequently, a large part of the population neither knew nor cared about Sinai. The Ten Commandments’ demand for absolute loyalty to the LORD and the expectation that every Israelite would treat every other follower of the LORD as a family member were lost in the vast changes that took place during that time. An additional S factor was the change in Israel’s economic circumstances. Society became more stratified with the passing years, with more and K people. As a result, the old family more power being concentrated in the hands of fewer and fewer ideal fell by the wayside. I Yet, in spite of the difficulties it faced over the years, the Sinai covenant would not die, but NSome even see it as the glue that continued to come alive at opportune times in Israel’s history. 17 held Israel together. N E R Just as the United States Constitution was the beginning of America’s legal system, the Ten , Commandments were the beginning of law for Israel. The principles took the form of laws. These The Principles Made Practical: The Law Codes laws are found in three major codes, or groups, in the Old Testament: the Covenant Code (Exod. 20:22–23:33), the Deuteronomic Code (Deut. 5:1–28:68), and the Priestly Code (principally in E the book of Leviticus but with some laws in Exodus and Numbers). The narratives present the laws as if all of them were given directly to Moses, but closer examination reveals that they develD oped over a long period of time. Moses was the lawgiver in the sense that the basic principles W him. from which all the laws of Israel were to come were given through A The Covenant Code probably was the oldest R Israelite code but not the oldest Near Eastern code. There were a number of older Near Eastern codes, the best known being the Code of Hammurabi, whichD dates from the nineteenth century B.C.E. There are laws from Hammurabi’s Code that are very similar to laws in Israelite codes. Compare, for example, the laws concerning dangerous oxen: THE COVENANT CODE (EXOD. 20:22–23:33). Hammurabi’s Code If a seignior’s ox was a gorer and . . . [it was] . . . made . . . known to him that it was a gorer, but he did not pad its horns (or) tie up his ox, and it gored to death a member of the aristocracy, he shall give one-half mina of silver.18 5 Covenant Code 4 accustomed to gore in the past, If the ox has been and the owner has 2 been warned but has not restrained it, and it kills a man or a woman, the 7 ox shall be stoned, and its owner shall be put to B is imposed on the owner then death. If a ransom the owner shall pay whatever is imposed for the U redemption of the victim’s life (Exod. 12:29–30). The Covenant Code contains laws designed for a society in which agriculture was the major means of earning a living—a condition that did not exist for Israel until it entered the land of Canaan. The Code also contains laws that are classed as civil or criminal laws, but religion was such a basic part of the Israeli lifestyle that religious offenses were subject to criminal penalties. A brief summary of the contents is as follows: 20:22–23 A repetition of the commandment concerning idols 20:24–26 A demand for only earthen altars or altars of uncut stones, in contrast to the elaborate altars of the Canaanites Regulations concerning slaves, both male and female 21:1–11 The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 79 80 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People 21:12–32 21:33–22:17 Crimes against fellow Israelites and their penalties Laws governing property 22:18–23:9 23:10–19 Miscellaneous laws, many of which relate to the treatment of the weak and defenseless—that is, (1) the treatment of strangers, widows, and S to the poor (22:25–27); and orphans (22:21–24); (2) the lending of money (3) another warning against oppressingK the weak (23:9) The sabbatical year, the sabbath, and the three major feasts 23:20–33 A promise of success in the conquest if the law is faithfully kept I N THE PRIESTLY CODE. Unlike the Covenant Code and theN Deuteronomic Code, the Priestly Code is much more complex and scattered. For this reason, only some outstanding sections of E this Code will be mentioned. Although it follows the Covenant Code in the biblical order, it actually came later than either of the other codes, probably reaching R its final form sometime during or immediately after the Babylonian Exile. Like the other two codes, it is composed of a mixture , of earlier and later laws. A major difference, though, is that the Priestly Code is concerned primarily with proper worship. For example, in Exodus 25–31, a detailed description of (1) the Ark and (2) the Tabernacle is given. The Ark (described in Exodus 25) was a rather elaborate wooden box E carried on two long staves or poles that passed through rings on the corners of the box. It was apD overlaid with gold and with a proximately 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high, mercy seat on top and winged figures on either end. The seat W represented the throne of God, and as such, symbolized the presence of God among the people. It was thought to be effective espeA cially when carried with the people as they fought their enemies. The Tabernacle (Exod. 26–27) was a tent of skins in which R the Ark was kept. The tent was surrounded by a fence of skins that formed a sort of courtyard. Inside the tent were two rooms. The larger room was the Holy Place. Its furnishings wereD (1) a table for the “bread of the Presence” (25:23–30), which was one of the sacrificial offerings; (2) a seven-branched lamp called the menorah (25:31–40); and (3) the altar for burning incense (3:1–10). The priests entered the 5 Holy Place daily in carrying out their duties. The smaller room, separated from the Holy Place by a curtain, was the Most Holy Place or 4 Holy of Holies. Here, the Ark of the Covenant was kept. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy 2 of Holies, and that happened on only one day in the year: Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. His activity on that day was for the purpose of securing forgiveness 7 of the people’s sins.19 Much attention is devoted in the Priestly Code to the priests and their activities. An examB ple of this is Exodus 28:1–29:46, which provides a description of the priestly garments and the orUfunction of the priest in sacrifices dination of Aaron and his sons. Leviticus 6:1–9:24 discusses the and then turns again to the dedication of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. These examples should serve to emphasize the important role the priest played in ancient Israel. In the patriarchal days, the patriarch himself functioned as the priest. When Israel became a distinct people, the priesthood became a separate group of men whose sole job was to function as priests. The descriptions found in the law codes may well reflect a later, more developed priestly establishment, but there can be little doubt that the priesthood played a role in Israelite life in the wilderness. The power of the priest lay in the belief that he controlled access to God. He was the expert in communicating with the awesome Deity who brought Israel out of Egypt. The power controlled by the priest carried with it the temptation to corruption; but the continued existence and positive influence of Israelite religion over many centuries must be credited, in part, to the integrity of many of the priests. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The Literary Structure of Leviticus There is no denying that, for most modern readers, Leviticus S is a dull and tedious book to read. Sensitivity to literary development in the book can hardly transform K it into a page turner, but it is important to ask whether Leviticus is more than just a listing of laws. There is general agreement concerning certain structuralI features of this book. Chapter 16, which concerns the Day of Atonement, stands out in the center of Leviticus. The material immediateN ly following this, Chapters 17–26, is almost universally understood as a cohesive body of law known as the Holiness Code. This body of law attempts to define and regulate for the people of Israel what N makes them holy, what distinguishes or separates them from those who are not holy. The material in the first fifteen chapters is primarily concerned with the lives andEduties of priests. The recognition of these broad generalities and the transitional character of Chapter R 16 leads to a way of reading and perceiving the whole book of Leviticus. , of the institution of sacrifice. This Leviticus 1–7 provides careful instructions concerning aspects is the primary duty of the priests. Chapters 8–10 develop the process of ordination, both in general, legal terms and in the more specific narrative about Aaron and his sons. Chapters 10–15 then address other duties of priests in relation to various aspects of the lives E of the people of Israel. Attention is already turning here from the priesthood itself to the interaction of priests and other Israelites. The Dthe ritual for atoning for the sins of Day of Atonement ceremony in Leviticus 16 specifically delineates the priesthood and then for all the people. This second act of atonement W points to the Holiness Code and its discussion of purity for all Israelites. The Holiness Code makes little distinction between priest A and nonpriest. All people are expected to be holy. The book of Leviticus is set within the larger context of theRTorah, with the Israelites encamped at the foot of Mount Sinai. It propounds an understanding of holiness that flows from God to Moses to the priests to the people. The literary structure of the bookD and its changing modes of address match this understanding of the dynamic nature of holiness. 5 4 One of the main functions of the priest was to carry out2the sacrifices described in the laws. Because most of the people were illiterate, sacrifice was a visual aid to worship. Its effectiveness as 7 an aid to worship depended, in large measure, upon how it was viewed. Three basic views of sacriBappease an angry deity—in short, fice prevailed in ancient societies: (1) that sacrifice was made to to bribe him; (2) that sacrifice was an act of communion whereby the worshiper had fellowship U with the deity; (3) that sacrifice was a gift to the deity as an act of praise. The sacrifice of an animal was regarded as substituting for the life of a human being, but it had a deeper meaning than mere substitution. What then, did it mean when an Israelite had sinned and brought a sacrifice to be offered at the altar? Basic to any understanding of this question is the conception of one’s relatedness to all that he had, including family and possessions. One’s land and possessions were bound up with his life because they were the means of sustaining life. Naboth’s reluctance to surrender his land to Ahab, even for a fair price, is a vivid illustration of this feeling of oneness that the Israelite had for land and possessions (1 Kings 21:3). It is also illustrated by the destruction of Achan, his family, and all of his possessions, because he had sinned (Joshua 7:25). All that he had was contaminated by his sin because it was thought of as being a part of him. When one brought The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 81 82 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People an animal to sacrifice it, it was his possession and therefore was a part of himself. He laid his hands on its head to symbolize his identity (oneness) with it (Leviticus 1:4). When its blood was shed in the ritual, the life that was given was symbolically his own. It was not a substitute; it was the offerer giving of himself.20 S 1:1–6:7.21 (1) The whole burnt The major kinds of sacrifice are described in Leviticus offering was the major daily sacrifice and had as its purpose K making the people right with God, that is, atoning for sin (1:1–17). (2) Cereal offerings were peace offerings, expressing thanks for I offering was the peace offering. the produce of the land (2:1–16). (3) In contrast to the whole burnt The animal was slain, its blood was thrown against the altar, Nthe fat and internal organs were burned, and the meat was eaten by the priests and the worshipers in an act of communion N was a whole burnt offering (3:1–17). (4) The sin offering for “anyone [who] sins unwittingly” (4:1–5:13). (5) The guilt offering involved not only a sacrifice,E but also an act of restoring any loss that had resulted from sin (5:14–6:7). R (1) Passover—Unleavened Bread, which came in , March or April, was to celebrate the Exodus events. (2) The Feast of Weeks celebrated the grain harvest and came fifty days after Passover, which is why it is called Pentecost (Greek for fiftieth) in the New Testament (Acts 2:1). (3). The Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) came in the early fall and E celebrated the fruit harvest. (4) The most solemn day of the year was the Day of Atonement, D to make atonement for the sins when the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle of the people (Lev. 16:1–34). W HOLIDAYS AND HOLY DAYS (LEV. 23:1–44). A of one other major section of Mention needs to be made the Priestly Code. Chapters 17–26 of Leviticus constitutes a major R section containing many ancient traditions grouped around the theme of Israel’s need to be a holy people, set apart and dedD the idea of holiness as embodied icated to the service of God. Chapter 19, in particular, highlights in the famous line “You shall love your neighbor as yourself ” (19:18). THE HOLINESS CODE (LEV. 17–26). 5 in the Book of Deuteronomy, The Deuteronomic Code, found was first discovered during the reign of Josiah in Judah in 621 4 B.C.E., many centuries after the Exodus. But, like the Covenant Code and the Priestly Code that came after it, it contained many ancient laws, as well as laws brought into being much nearer2 to the time of its discovery. It, too, had a version of the Ten Commandments (5:6–27). As its title,7Deuteronomy (“second law”), suggests, it was a restatement of the law—in short, a sort of updating, or modernizing, of the law to B kept, while new laws, suitable for fit a changed situation. For this reason, old laws still usable were new conditions that had arisen, were added. It may be summarized U as follows: THE DEUTERONOMIC CODE. 5:1–11:32 The Ten Commandments and exhortations to keep them 12:1–32 The command to have all worship in one central sanctuary 13:1–18 14:1–15:23 The awfulness of idolatry Regulations for a holy people: warnings against pagan customs, regulations about clean and unclean animals, the law of the tithe, the sabbatical year as related to debts and slavery of Hebrews, offering of firstborn animals The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People 16:1–17 The major festivals: Passover—Unleavened Bread; Festival of Weeks (Pentecost in the New Testament) or grain harvest festival; and Festival of Booths or Tabernacles, which celebrated the fruit harvest 16:18–17:20 18:1–22 19:1–21 Rules for the administration of justice S How to worshipK God in a proper manner Legal problems: manslaughter, property fraud, I proper evidence for determining guilt in a crime How to conductN a holy war N Various laws concerning unsolved murder, treatment of captive women, disrespect for parental authority, E rules for hanging a man, responsibilities for a R a woman’s use of a man’s man’s lost property, clothes, protection , of bird life, building codes, the mixing of unlike things, relations between the sexes, relations to outcasts and other people, proper sanitary E procedures Humanitarian and D religious laws: runaway slaves, cult prostitutes, taking of interest on loans, making vows to W God, respect for property, divorce procedures, the A newly married, taking security for debts, stealing, rules for the leper, extending Rthe poor and needy, individual credit, relation to responsibility, the Dsojourner and the widow, law of punishment, just payment for services, law of the Levirate marriage, dirty fighting, false weights and measures, relations with the Amalekites 5 Rules for worship: 4 the service of first fruits, the tithing ceremony, a plea to observe the law and 2 for failing to do so the consequences 20:1–20 21:1–23:14 23:15–25:19 26:1–19, 28:1–68 7 B By taking one of the Commandments and showing how it was used in the codes, perhaps one can U see the differences that the passage of time brought in the interpretation of the Commandments. The Ten Commandments and the Codes The Sixth Commandment is “You shall not murder.” See how the three codes treat this Commandment in the following comparison: Covenant Code (Exod. 21:12–14) Deuteronomic Code (Deut. 19:4–6; 11–13) Priestly Code (Num. 35:11–12; 16–25a) Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death. If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, Now this is the case of a homicide . . . who might flee there and live, that is, someone who has killed another person unintentionally when the two had not been Then you shall select cities . . . of refuge for you, so that a slayer who kills a person without intent may flee there. The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, so that the slayer, may not die The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 83 84 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee. But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution. at enmity before: Suppose someone goes into the forest with another to cut wood, and when one swings the ax to cut down a tree, the head slips from the handle and strikes the other person, who then dies; the killer may flee to one of these cities and live. But if the distance is too great, the avenger of blood . . . might pursue and overtake and put the killer to death, although the death sentence was not deserved, since the two had not been at enmity before. . . . But if someone at enmity with another lies in wait and attacks and takes the life of that person, and flees into one of these cities, then the elders of the killer’s city shall send to have the culprit taken from there and handed over to the avenger of blood to be put to death. Show no pity; you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may go well with you. until there is a trial before the congregation. But anyone who strikes another with an iron object, and Sdeath ensues, is a murderer; the murderer shall be put to death. KOr anyone who strikes another I with a stone in hand that could cause death, and death ensues, is Na murderer; the murderer shall Nbe put to death. Or anyone who another with a weapon of Estrikes wood in hand that could cause Rdeath, and death ensues, is a the murderer shall be , murderer; put to death. The avenger of blood is the one who shall put Ethe murderer to death; when they meet, the avenger of blood Dshall execute the sentence. Likewise, if someone pushes anW other from hatred, or hurls Asomething at another, lying in Rwait, and death ensues, or in enmity strikes another with the Dhand, and death ensues, then the one who struck the blow shall be put to death; that person is a 5murderer; the avenger of blood 4shall put the murderer to death they meet. 2when But if someone pushes an7other suddenly without enmity, hurls any object without Bor lying in wait, or, while handling Ua stone that could cause death, unintentionally drops it on another and death ensues, though they were not enemies, and no harm was intended, then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these ordinances; and the congregation shall rescue the slayer from the avenger of blood. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The Golden Calf Incident (Exod. 32) The people’s commitment to the covenant did not erase their proneness to rebellion. When Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, they assumed that the worst had happened and demanded that Aaron make images for them to serve as gods. Aaron did as they requested, S reflects a theme common trying still to point them to the LORD (32:1–6). This incident throughout Israel’s history—that is, the temptation to dilute Kthe religion of the God of Sinai with the popular religions of the time. Moses’ magnificent prayer of intercession following I man’s commitment to his people the LORD’s threat to destroy the rebels revealed the depth of the (32:7–14). That love for the people did not keep him from aN wrathful explosion when he came down from the mountain and found the people dancing around a golden calf. In a fit of temN were written, literally breaking per, he threw down the tablets on which the Commandments the Ten Commandments! The calf, probably a gold-covered E wooden frame, was destroyed (32:15–20). R , E D The fourth book of the Bible is traditionally called In the Wilderness W in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek title, arithmoi, provides the basis for the commonly used English title, Numbers. Careful consideration A Twice in the book of Numbers, of these two titles may provide a key to the book’s literary design. Moses is ordered to conduct a census of the people of Israel, to “number” them. The first census is R in Numbers 1 and the second is in Numbers 26. The two numberings take place while the Israelites are in the wilderness, and they perform a combined purpose. D The Literary Structure of Numbers The book of Numbers opens with the Israelites still encamped at Mount Sinai. The first census identifies all of the adults who were present at that time. In Numbers 10 the Israelites finally set out from this place, where they have been since Exodus 19. The two5census reports thus surround a very significant event in Israel’s history. The departure from Sinai is followed by a collection of stories 4 about Israel’s adventures in the wilderness. The collection of wilderness stories in Numbers 10–25 is a much larger reflection of the similar collection of stories in Exodus 14–18. Together these two 2 collections form what is often called the murmuring tradition because of the murmuring, or complaining, of the Israelites during their journey. 7 The second census confirms that all of the adults counted in the first census, except for Joshua B the Israelites are ready to move and Caleb (26:65), are dead. With the disobedient generation gone, on toward the Promised Land. This second census, like the first,U is followed immediately by a section of legislation and then a travel narrative. This provides the book of Numbers with a parallel structure, which is set up by the census reports. These two parallel sections are Chapters 1–25 and 26–36. The end of the book of Numbers, which reports the arrival of the Israelites on the plains of Moab, prepares the way for the book of Deuteronomy that follows. It is obvious that the book of Numbers, like many other books of the Bible, is composed of a large number of originally independent stories, traditions, and documents. A careful survey of its structure, however, reveals that these components have not simply been thrown together, but have been artistically woven together into a literary work that has a sense of unity and purpose surpassing the sum of its parts. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 85 86 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People Moses then turned to Aaron, whose excuse sounded as pathetic as that of a small boy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. There followed a violent purge of the rebels led by the Levites. Moses again interceded for the people and received the command to be on the road toward the Promised Land again (32:21–35). The covenant was renewed, and the promise was repeated (34:1–16). S K I On the Road to Kadesh–Barnea (Num. 10:11–12:16) N Following the report of a census (Num 1:1–4:9)—giving theN book its name, based on the Latin numeri (Hebrew bemidbar, “in the wilderness”)—another section of the Priestly Code (5:1–6:27) and narratives concerning the Tabernacle, the account of the E journey resumes.22 A song that was sung on the march is preserved in 10:35–36: R , AFTER MOUNT SINAI Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and your foes flee before you. . . . E D But the songs did not muffle the complaints, whether they were about food (11:4–35) or Aaron and Miriam’s complaint about Moses’ Cushite wife. ItW seems that even Moses had to deal with racial prejudice. A R Spying Out the Land (Num. 13:1–33) D Return, O LORD of the ten thousand thousands of Israel. A second major time of decision had arrived. The march had brought the people to the southern reaches of the Negev, Palestine’s southernmost habitable region. This was the most logical place from which to launch an invasion of the land. 5 Choosing twelve men (a representative from each tribe), Moses sent them north into the 4 hill country to estimate the chances of a successful invasion (13:1–24). The returning spies gave a glowing report of the richness of the land, especially when compared with the barren territory 2 through which they had come. But for ten of the men, the minuses in the form of walled cities far 7 a majority report that counseled outweighed the pluses. In view of the disadvantages, they gave against an invasion (13:28–29, 32–33). Caleb and Joshua gave Ba strong minority report recommending an invasion (13:30–31). U The Invasion Nobody Believed Would Succeed— and It Didn’t (Num 14:1–45) Rebellion flared once again, coming almost to the stoning of Moses and Aaron by the people (14:1–10a). Moses, in turn, had to plead with the LORD to keep the people from being destroyed, appealing to the LORD’s sense of honor (14:10b–19). The rebellion condemned that generation to the wilderness, except Caleb and Joshua (14:20–38). A plague convinced the people that an invasion was imperative, although Moses warned that it was doomed to failure. He was right; the Israelites suffered defeat at the hands of the Amalekites and Canaanites (14:39–45). Some Israelites probably stayed in the northern Negev, however, joining forces with the Joshua-led group some forty years later when it invaded from The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People east of the Jordan. After this failure, Kadesh–Barnea became the base of operations for the main body of Israelites for the next generation. The Kadesh Years and More Priestly Laws (Num. 15–19:22) S in the years at Kadesh–Barnea. The Israelite storyteller gave little attention to what happened Chapter 15 contains laws concerning offerings and an incident K about a man who violated the Sabbath law on work (15:1–41). The major headline was the rebellion led by a quartet of men I named Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and On (16:1–19). Their subsequent punishment, as well as that N of their whole families, illustrates the concept of corporate responsibility, a commonly held view in biblical times. It held that a man’s actions affected his whole family, either for good or ill. They N shared his guilt and his glory (16:20–50). E with priestly stories and duties, There follows another section of the Priestly Code that deals as well as the ritual for purifying a person made unclean by contact R with a corpse (17:1–13). Bound for the Promised Land (Num. 20:1–21:9) , The passage of time brought the passing of the older generation, including Miriam and Aaron. Miriam died before Israel left Kadesh–Barnea (20:1). Time didEnot lessen the rebelliousness of the people, however. As they moved away from the oasis at Kadesh–Barnea to continue their moveD ment toward the land promised to them, lack of water—an ever-present problem when they were on the move (see Exodus 15)—brought still another crisis. Moses, W commanded by the LORD to speak to a rock to find water, seems to have struck it in anger, bringing the LORD’s judgment that A Moses, too, would die on the trail and would never enter Canaan (20:2–13). R forces. Failing in attempts to Trouble came not only from within, but also from external invade Canaan from the south, Moses then proposed to cross D the Arabah, the continuation of the great Rift Valley south of the Dead Sea, and to follow the King’s Highway north through the territories of Edom and Moab. Contacting the king of Edom, Moses promised to pass through the land peaceably, paying for any water used. The Edomites refused 5 passage, however, and threatened to attack Israel (20:14–21). Aaron died and was buried on Mount Hor. This left only 4 Moses of the first-generation leaders (20:22–29). Eventually, the people set out in the direction of the2Gulf of Aqabah (called the Red Sea) in an attempt to circumvent Edom. They encountered numerous poisonous snakes on the way. 7 look at it to be healed when they Moses was instructed to make a bronze serpent and to make people were bitten (21:4–9). In this same general area in a Midianite archaeological site, a bronze snake was B found. This suggests that such a technique was used among the Midianites in the case of a snakebite. U Israel and Midian.23 Furthermore, it is evidence of a possible ancient relationship between The Moabites and Balaam (Num. 21:10–24:25) Unable to circumvent Edom, the Israelites turned north along the Arabah, coming at last to the southern end of the Dead Sea. Passing through the valley of the Brook Zered, which served as the border between Edom and Moab, they finally reached the major caravan road, the King’s Highway (21:10–20). Not wanting trouble with the Moabites, Moses asked permission to pass through the territory peaceably. When the king refused, Israel attacked, took control of much of the Moabite kingdom, and even took some Ammonite territory north of Moab (21:21–35). At this point, the prophet Balaam entered. He was one of those characters about whom the Israelites spoke for many generations. As a matter of fact, not only did the Israelites talk about The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 87 88 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People S K I N N E R , E D FIGURE 4–4 Exodus 15:27 reports the arrival of the Israelites at W an oasis called Elim. This photograph shows a modern oasis in the Sinai region of Egypt. A R this famous prophet, but others did also. We now know of Balaam apart from the biblical text D this is the same prophet spoken through inscriptions that have been found in Transjordan. That of in Numbers 22–24 is shown by the fact that he is identified in these inscriptions as “Balaam, the son of Beor” (cf. Num. 22:5). The inscriptions also speak of him receiving his oracles at night, 5 described as “seer of the gods,” as in Numbers 22:8, 19f. Unlike in the Bible, however, he is further who speak to him at night. This would indicate that he was by4no means an Israelite prophet or a follower of YHWH (the LORD). There is mention also of goddesses, another idea foreign to 2 Israelite religion. As in the biblical account, he is pictured as one who pronounces curses.24 It is in light of these texts, then, that the Balaam stories in Numbers will 7 be examined. Desperate for a way to stop the marauding Israelites, Moab’s King Balak sent for the famous B Balaam, a Mesopotamian holy man. Balak wanted Balaam to curse the Israelites so that they U Balak’s messengers came to could not defeat his armies (22:1–6). Taking money with them, Balaam, who told them he would give them an answer in the morning. The next morning, Balaam told the messengers that the LORD would not let him go (22:7–14). After reporting to Balak, the messengers came back with a much larger sum of money. This time Balaam agreed to go, under the instructions to do as God told him (22:15–21). At this point, the text seems to contradict itself. After saying that Balaam went on God’s command (22:20), it says that God was angry with him for going (22:22). It must be remembered that God was believed to cause everything. Thus, for Him to cause a person to commit an action and then be angry with him for doing it was not viewed as an inconsistency on God’s part. If we were telling the story, we probably would say that the large sum of money offered to Balaam was what changed his mind. This resulted in God’s being angry with him for going with the Moabites. The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People Then follows the most famous part of the story. Saddling his donkey, Balaam set out for Moab. On the way, strange things began to happen. The donkey, seeing things that Balaam did not see, ran off the road and crushed Balaam’s foot against a stone wall. Finally, the donkey lay down in the road. Balaam, who had been beating the donkey for its seeming stubbornness, suddenly heard the donkey speak up in its own defense (22:22–30). S To top it off, the LORD spoke out in defense of the donkey, telling Balaam that he had been trying to get his attention through the donkey. Balaam was told that he was to go with the MoabitesK(22:31–35). Did anyone else hear what the donkey and God said to Balaam? The text is silent onI this point. When Balaam came to the Moabites, he made preparations to carry out the request of Balak. But, try as he might, each time he started to pronounce a curse, N a blessing was pronounced on Israel. Needless to say, Balak was most unhappy. He soon sent Balaam back N the way he came (22:36–24:25). E R While the Israelites were in Moabite territory, they encountered the worship of fertility gods. These were nature deities believed to have the power to make, the crops grow. This type of worTrouble at Peor (Num. 25:1–18) ship, which was to be a major problem for Israel throughout much of the pre-Exilic period, involved so-called holy women, who played the role of goddesses in sacred prostitution. The Eman brought a Moabite prostitute Israelite men were attracted to the worship, so much so that one into the camp. An epidemic, probably a venereal disease, broke D out in the camp. Again, radical action was taken; Moses ordered the execution of anyone who had patronized the fertility cult. In W this way, the disease was checked. A R The latter part of the book of Numbers contains a variety ofDmaterials: a census (26:1–65); an Miscellaneous Materials (Num. 26–36) incident concerning the inheritance of property by women (27:1–11); the appointment of Joshua as Moses’ successor (17:12–23); rules concerning offerings for the major holidays—the Sabbath, the New Moon, Passover—Unleavened Bread, the Feast of 5 Weeks or Grain Harvest, the New Year’s Festival, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Booths or Fruit Harvest (28:1–29:40); the law of vows (30:1–6); holy war against Midian (31:1–54); the4story of assigning territory east of the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh (32:1–42); 2 a summary of the journey from Egypt to Moab (33:1–56); a discussion of the territorial boundaries of the people in Canaan (34:1–29); a discussion of the Levitical cities and the cities of 7 refuge (35:1–34); and finally, a discussion of a married woman’s inheritance (36:1–13). B Two things are important here: holy war (Num. 31), which will be dealt with later, and the route of the march, described in Numbers 33. Some archaeologistsU argue that the cities mentioned— Iyyim, Dibon, Almon-Diblathaim, and Abel-Shittim—did not exist when the Exodus is thought to have taken place. Yet, Egyptian temple lists from this period cite most of them as existing cities in the same order that Numbers lists them.25 Deuteronomy’s Contribution to the Wilderness Story The name Deuteronomy comes from the Greek name of the book and means “the second law.” The Hebrew title means “These are the words,” based on the first verse of the book. The word Deuteronomy is very descriptive of the contents of this book, because 1:1–4:49 is a summary statement of the wilderness wanderings of Israel, presented in the form of an address to the people on the plains of Moab.26 The Old Testament Story, Ninth Edition, by John Tullock and Mark McEntire. Published by Pearson Learning Solutions. Copyright © 2012 by Pearson Education, Inc. 89 90 Chapter 4 • Israel Becomes a People The second major section (5:1–26:19: 28:1–68) has already been discussed in the section on the law codes. Two major themes in this section deserve more lengthy comment: (1) the command for a single place for worship and (2) the concept of holy war. The command to have a single place of worship is found in 12:5, 11, 18, 26. In its original time and context, it probably referred to either Shiloh or Shechem. S Both seem to have served as the major worship center at one time or another. When the essentials of what is known today as Deuteronomy were discovered, or rediscovered, in the time ofKKing Josiah (621 B.C.E.), the references to a single place of worship were taken to mean Jerusalem. I By this time, Jerusalem was the capital of all that remained of the Israelite kingdoms. Even more important was that the Temple N priesthood. was located there and was controlled by a powerful and influential The second important theme was the holy war. The Hebrew N word is cherem, sometimes translated as “the ban.” The key passage is Deuteronomy 20:16–18: E But as for the towns of the peoples the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, R you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the , Jebusites—just as the LORD your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things to do for their gods, and you thus sin against the E LORD your God. Dsays, in effect, that the people of The justificati...
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