Background Probability

The Agnostic Popular Front has moved to its new home at Skeptic Ink, and will henceforth be known as Background Probability. Despite the relocation and rebranding, we will continue to spew the same low-fidelity high-quality bullshit that you've come to expect.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Numbers 33:1-36:13 (Masei)

Numbers 33:1-36:13

Chapter 33 makes out wonder why God never revealed that sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, since an illustration would have really helped things along here. Thankfully, someone eventually got around to drawing us a crude map which pretty much lays it all out. The chapter ends with an admonition not to forget about the the importance of thoroughgoing ethnic cleansing when invading the Promised Land. Otherwise, they would end up with something like the Gaza Strip, which would be unpleasant for all concerned.

More mapmaking in chapter 34, and a list of tribal chieftans. [Zzzzzz.]

In chapter 35, the L-rd eschews the idea of an outright prohibition of blood fued and personal vendetta ("Thou shalt not kill, even if...") and instead sets up a system by which those who kill without malice aforethought can flee to selected cities. Sounds like it would make a fantastic reality tv show, and the KJV even provides us with a working title for the pilot at 35:12 Refuge from the Avenger. Probably we should work in manslayer somewhere in the subtitle. It is also in chapter 35 that we discover that suburbs existed back then, and that they stretched out for a thousand cubits or about .28 miles. This sounds like an easy enough commute, whether on donkey or on foot. I wonder what rush hour looked like.

Finally, chapter 36 closes out the book with a surprising affirmation of female choice, "Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry." Okay, so it's not that wide a range of choices, but at least these particular women had some say in marriage. Of course, had their fathers remained alive, it would have been another matter altogether.

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