ACTIONS HAVE consequences. In the case of Israel, the decision to rebel against Moses after the “bad [or ‘evil’] report” of the spies sent into Canaan led to forty years of wandering in the wilderness.
We discuss the intercession of Moses for the people when God declared that He would “strike them with the pestilence,” and the possibility that “Pestilence,” the Canaanite pestilence-god Deber, was an angel sent to carry out His judgment.
The reaction of the Israelites to God’s alternate punishment, which was to keep Israel from entering Canaan until everyone over the age of 20 (except Joshua and Caleb), was about what you’d expect: They decided to go ahead and attack the Amalekites and Canaanites anyway, and were badly defeated in battle.
We also look at God’s reiteration of certain sacrificial laws, including sacrifices for unintentional sin, and a death penalty for a man caught gathering wood on the Sabbath.
Then we skip to Psalm 90, a psalm of Moses that appears to have been written about this time, with special attention to his prayer for wisdom and cry for the Lord’s return.
Some striking differences were noted in this week’s reading between the Masoretic Hebrew text, the basis for our modern English Old Testament translations, and the Septuagint, which was translated around 300 BC by Jewish scholars working with older Hebrew texts. Specifically, we noticed references to other aspects of the personhood of Yahweh (such as His Name, Right Hand, Spirit, and Glory) that are missing from our English Bibles, apparently because the Masoretes, Jewish scholars who completed their Hebrew Old Testament text by the 10th century AD, de-emphasized the “Second Power in Heaven” in scripture after Christians identified that figure as Jesus Christ.
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