Sunday, 30 April 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 4 - God's Instructions for Packing
The tribes of Israel had been encamped around Mount Sinai now for over a year while God gave Moses commandments, they had made a golden calf, God had issued edicts and instructions and they had fashioned a big fancy tent and a golden monstrosity to put his commandments in. Now at last they were ready to move on and to head for the promised land. But first God had some more instructions for them. Well when you are moving house it's best to have someone who is good at organisation isn't it.
So, as we saw in chapter 3, God had decided that he wanted the Levites to be his servants, which means that they were to be the priests servants of course. This meant that they would be the ones who did all of the work around the Tabernacle including touching the holy items like the Ark of the Covenant and all of the gaudy furnishings held therein. Now God told them, via Moses of course, that only certain of them were to be entrusted with these most sacred of tasks. They had to be of a certain age.
Now, like a really picky customer of a removal company, God specified how he wanted all of his furnishing to be handled and packed. He didn't add, but might as well have done: BE CAREFUL WITH THAT, BE CAREFUL WITH THAT! If only he had thought to invent bubble wrap 3000 years earlier. Not so omniscient eh God.
So the priests packed everything up and then entrusted these holy items to the sons of Kohath. But they were told not to touch or even look at any of these items direct on pain of death. That puts into perspective that plate getting cracked eh?
The Gershonites were entrusted with all of the fine fabrics of the Tabernacle and the Merarites with the tent and the poles and so on.
And, with all of the packing done, they were finally on the move. This vast and wholly imaginary sea of people were about to move away from Mount Sinai where they had been for a year. It is not said how they had managed to live for so long when there was so many of them and archaeologists have never found the landfill site or the sewage works they presumably left behind, not to mention the thousands upon thousands of animal bones from all of those sacrifices.