Kids these days

Leviticus 10: Problems with authority

One day Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, being precocious young teens with an aptitude for challenging authority, lit some incense without prior authorization from the Lord. Naturally, the Lord swooped down upon them in a pillar of fire, stripping skin from bone in a nuclear rage. What little remained of them was …Continue reading Kids these days

Atonement

Leviticus 3-5: Paying for your sins

While Moses now had a collection of tasty sacrificial recipes, the Lord added a footnote that the Israelites must not eat any fat nor blood. He then outlined several possible scenarios in which a person may unintentionally sin, and the various types of animals to be sacrificed, the methods to be …Continue reading Atonement

Moses Tames the Lord’s Fury

Exodus 33: The Smoke Monster

Moses had a special tent in the Israelite camp where he would go to convene with the Lord. Moses would enter the tent, and the Lord’s pillar of cloud would descend and wait outside the door. This particular day, the Lord was thoroughly perturbed about the previous events involving the Golden Calf, …Continue reading Moses Tames the Lord’s Fury

The Golden Calf

Exodus 32: Supervision required

While Moses was up on Mount Sinai receiving his moral guidance from the Lord, the Children of Israel naturally assumed he had gone AWOL, and so turned to Aaron for spiritual guidance.

Not having had the benefit of the Lord’s guidance, Aaron did the best he could: he collected up all the Israelites’ gold …Continue reading The Golden Calf

The Death Penalty

Exodus 31: “I’m no judge, but isn’t that a bit harsh? Maybe just a teensy-weensy bit?”

The Lord Almighty realized that his frail human followers might not be able to live up to his expectations. Between all metallurgy, woodwork, and engineering needed to build all the altars, golden rings, lamps, and so on, there was a lot …Continue reading The Death Penalty

The ‘Other’ Commandments I

Exodus 21: More rules

As it turns out, God wasn’t quite done after listing off the Ten Commandments. Here are some of the other important rules he gave us that continue to act as the underlying moral foundations of society as we know it. For brevity’s sake, only the most relevant are listed here:

If you buy a …Continue reading The ‘Other’ Commandments I

God appears on Mount Sinai

Exodus 19: Prepare to meet thy God

Some three months after leaving Egypt, the Israelites found themselves in the middle of the Sinai desert. God, talking through a mountain, more or less reiterated what he’d said so many times before: the Israelites are the Lord’s Chosen People and will be a great nation – so long as …Continue reading God appears on Mount Sinai

Try, try again

Exodus 11: Infanticide is not the answer

“I’ve got it!” the Lord said to Moses, “I know how we’re going to get Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go out of Egypt to worship me! Here’s what we have to do:

“First, all the Hebrews need to borrow as much gold, silver, and jewels as they can get their …Continue reading Try, try again

The snake contest

Exodus 7: Size does matter

Moses must have been an incredibly absent-minded man, as the Lord had to tell him, once again, that Aaron would be Moses’ spokesperson, that they should go to Egypt to free the Hebrews, that the Pharaoh wouldn’t let them, and that God would smite the Egyptians.

So Moses and Aaron went to the …Continue reading The snake contest

Moses exacerbates the problem

Exodus 5-6: Repetition, repetition, repetition

Moses and Aaron went to the Pharaoh and said to him, “The Lord God of Israel says ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast in the wilderness.’” Predictably, the Pharaoh was skeptical, but the two men continued, “We pray thee – we really need to make this trip to …Continue reading Moses exacerbates the problem