Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Leviticus 26:1-27:34


Leviticus 26 begins by repeating  the commandments that prohibit idolatry and enjoin Sabbath observance.

In verses 3-13 we read a series of blessings that will be granted to Israel if they keep YHWH's commandments. Verses 14-45 tell of the curses that will accrue from disobedience. These curses foreshadow the conquests of Israel and Judah.

The equation is simple. Obedience brings safety and prosperity. Disobedience results in escalating afflictions. Much of the Bible promotes this idea. So, for that matter, do some modern preachers). There are other parts of the Bible that question it, in particular the wisdom books of Ecclesiastes and Job.

What do you think? Is the fear of punishment and the promise of blessing a compelling reason for faith?

Chapter 27, the last chapter of Leviticus,  describes the redemption value of various things that might be offered in a vow to YHWH. Vows are not required of the Israelites, and might even be discouraged. Once taken a vow is nevertheless binding.

If the item vowed is a human being, age and gender determine the value. Males are always more valuable than females of the same age. Allowances, once again, are made for the poor.

A firstborn animal cannot be vowed to the Lord, as it already belongs to him.

Verses 30-33 specify that a tithe, that is 1/10 of livestock and harvest, shall be given to the Lord. And verse 34 brings us to the end of Leviticus.

 Been there. Done that. Read the book. Got the T-shirt.

 I found the T-shirt image here. My use of this image should be interpreted as amusement, not endorsement.

Next: Numbers 1-2

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