Sunday, 13 August 2017
The Bible: A Very Grim Fairytale: Numbers: Chapter 19 - A Ritual for Purification After Contact With Death
God has a weird aversion to dead bodies. Now none of us like dead bodies particularly of course, but God said that making contact with dead bodies made you unclean. This of course is just a silly superstition from an ignorant people. But they had a purification ritual to make everything okay again. Still, if God was so averse to dead bodies, why did he keep killing so many people?
So death is kind of a fact of life isn't it really. Nevertheless God was kind of freaked out by it. People dying? Yeuk!
So God gave some instructions on a magic new way to cleanse people in the event that they had somehow come into contact with a dead body, which was probably unavoidable in a tribe whose god kept smiting people every time they doubted him.
God told Moses and Aaron to have Eleazar to get a red heifer, one of those many animals that the tribe of Israel seemed to have about them despite having complained of being hungry only a chapter or two ago. This heifer was to be grazed and given a happy and contented life. No. Only joking. It was of course to be slaughtered and then burnt as a sacrifice. Of course.
Ordinarily if you touched a dead body you were unclean for 7 days. But now God had some voodoo to get around that. All they had to do was take some of the ashes of the heifer, mix them up with water and then sprinkle them on the unclean person on the 3rd and 7th day of their uncleanness. And that was it. They were magically transformed from being unclean to clean. They're like magicians those priests aren't they.
Of course if you failed to follow God's instructions you had to be kicked out.