Sunday, 11 June 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 10 - Trumpets, Clouds and Fathers in Law
And we're off at last on our journey. In this chapter we have trumpets, clouds and confusion about fathers in law. Don't say we don't keep you entertained.
Finally we are about to set off on the road trip to end all road trips. Actually it's not really that far from Sinai to the land known enigmatically and not at all accurately as the land of milk and honey, it's just that God keeps faffing around and delaying. Even now, before they got going, he told Moses to make a couple of trumpets. Worse these had to be silver trumpets. Because obviously they had a large amount of silver just lying around. And why would a tribe, albeit a very large tribe, of desert dwelling herdsmen, have the ability to fashion large musical instruments from soft metals? Is it often called for?
Anyway these trumpets were duly knocked out by the resident tribal trumpet maker and God issued his instructions. They were to be used to signal the entire community. Blow both to summon everyone to the Tabernacle, even though there was supposed to be a couple of million of them. They must have been big trumpets. With amplifiers. Blow just one to summon just the leaders. There were also other signals for war, telling everyone to leave the camp, for celebrations and so on. All very practical, although it's not clear why they had to be silver.
And then it was time to leave. Hurrah! They were off to the promised land at last. The cloud had lifted from the Tabernacle and they had set off after this slow moving heavenly signal. It came to rest in the wilderness of Paran. But they set off with military precision and in the order that God had decreed. It was all going very well. Very methodically.
Now though Moses went to speak to Harab. Now Harab, we are told, was Moses father in law. This is interesting because previously we were told that Moses father in law was Jethro. Oh and on other occasions we were told that he was Heber or on another occasion that it was Reuel. How many fathers in law did he have? Anyway, whoever he was, Harab said that he wasn't going with them to the promised land. He had land of his own.
Moses persuaded Harab to stick with them though. He would be useful as a guide even though they had their helpful cloud. And if Harab stuck with them he would get God's blessing. So Harab agreed to go with them on their epic journey. A journey that was about to be made a lot more epic than it really needed to be.