When the priest Ezra traveled to Jerusalem to enforce the Law, he was dismayed to discover Israeli men had married foreign women and had children with them. This racial intermarriage was a terrible sin, so Ezra convened a meeting of all the men in the land and commanded them to separate themselves from any foreign wives and children. The crowd chanted in approval. Soon they had compiled a list of all the guilty men, and so the women and children were “sent away.”
They say you learn something new every day. Today, I learned that there are two different places in The Bible where the story of Moses and the 10 commandments is told. This version, found in Exodus, doesn’t stop at 10, but goes on with something like 600 more commandments. This chapter is the commandment about exactly how the priest’s robes and garments are to be made and worn.
Happy New Year! Today’s chapter has instructions from God about how to properly sacrifice a perfect red cow. Detailed instructions are provided about how to spatter the blood and burn the intestines, etc. The second half of the chapter describes how to deal with a human corpse.
For today, be inspired by the Laws found in this random chapter: If a man is to be flogged, he should not be flogged more than 40 times, or he will be humiliated. Do not muzzle an ox when threshing grain. If a man dies without a son, his brother must marry his widowed sister-in-law and if she bears a son, it will belong to the dead brother. If the brother does not wish to marry his dead brother’s wife, she will go to him, remove his sandal and spit in his face. He will forever be known as The Unsandaled. Finally, if two men are fighting and the wife of one of the men reaches out and grabs the other man’s balls, her hand is to be chopped off.
The prophet Zechariah brings a message from God, that He is unhappy with the way the people fasted during the 5th and 7th months of the year, for the previous 70 years. God reminds the people that long ago He exiled the people of Israel because they did not obey His commands. The implication here is that He could do it again!
Today’s random chapter is sort of a cook book, a recipe for how to properly prepare a grain offering for the Lord. The highly detailed instructions dictate the exact use of ingredients and procedures to make sure the offering, when burned on the alter, will create an odor pleasing to the Lord. Not all of the offering is burned, however. The extra portion is delivered to Aaron and his sons who, I assume, eat it (hence God’s command, “A little dash of salt”).