Thursday, March 26, 2009

EXODUS: Chapters 24 & 25

Chapter 24
Summary:God now tells Moses to ascend the mountain and to bring Aaron, Nadab*, Abihu*, and seventy of the elders of Israel. He furthers that everyone but Moses will worship at a distance, and that only Moses alone shall be allowed to come near God. He reminds Moses that none of the ordinary people are permitted to come up into the mountain at all.

Moses then announced to the people all the laws and regulations God had given him; and the people answered in unison (all 600,000+ of them?) that they would obey them all.

Moses wrote down the laws and early the next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain, with twelve pillars all around it to signify each of the twelve tribes of Israel. He then sent some of the young men to perform animal sacrifices to God. Moses took half of the animal blood and stored it into basins, the rest he splashed against the altar.

He read to the people the book he had written - the Book of the Covenant - containing God's directions and laws. The people once again said that they solemnly promise to obey every one of those rules. Then Moses threw the blood from the basins towards the people telling them that the blood confirms and seals the covenant that God had made with them.

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders now went up into the mountain. There they all saw God, and under his feet seemed to be a pavement of brilliant sapphire stones. Even though the elders had seen God, he did not destroy them, and they had a meal together before God.

God then tells Moses to ascend the mountain and to remain until God gives him the laws and commandments written on stone tablets. Moses and his assistant Joshua went up into the mountain, while God tells the elders to stay and wait until they return, adding that if there are any problems, to consult with Aaron and Hur.

Moses went up into the mountain and disappeared into the cloud at the top. The glory of God rested upon Mount Sinai and the cloud covered it for six days; the seventh day he called Moses from the cloud. The people at the bottom of the mountain saw that the glory of God looked like a raging fire.

Moses disappeared into the cloud covered mountain top, and was there for forty days and forty nights.
Notes:1.) Nadab and Abihu are Aaron's sons. They are not introduced as such here.
Thoughts:God tells Moses that he's to take his brother Aaron, Aaron's two sons (who for some reason we are not introduced to, but they are simply just inserted into the story without introduction), and 70 (there's that number again) of the elders up the mountain with him.

Before Moses gathers his brother, his nephews, and the 70 elders, he recites God's laws to the people of Israel - which is unclear how he manages to address well over half a million people at once. The people - in unison, no less - tell Moses that they will obey every single law as stated.

Moses builds an altar the next morning and gets some young men to gather a bunch of animals for some animal sacrifices. Moses saves half of the animal blood in basins and splatters the rest over the altar. Moses addresses the people again, reading all the laws he had written down, and when they all agreed he throws the rest of the animal blood at them to seal their covenant and promise to God. Personally, I find this to be pretty appalling, rather disgusting, and probably not very hygienic either.

I also find the parallels to what people's reactions are to their stereotypical thoughts of "Satanic Panic" that were common in the 1980s, when the more conservative Christian people were aghast to the rumored, as well as actual animal sacrifices teenagers were allegedly doing in the name of Satan. It questions as to what it is that they find really ghastly when it mirrors what is described as a regular occurrence in the bible.

Finally, Moses takeshis brother Aaron, his nephews Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders up the mountain where they all come to see God. Once again it is stressed that the elders are somehow lucky to see God and to not be destroyed for gazing upon him. They all have a meal together before God's presence.

Moses then (along with his assistant Joshua) is asked to climb further up the mountain, where he is to stay until God gives him the stone tablets on which all of God's laws and commandments are to be written.

Moses stays up there, past the cloud covering, for the next forty days and forty nights.
Chapter 25
Summary:God gives Moses a "shopping list" of items to gather from the people:
Gold, silver, bronze, blue cloth, purple cloth, scarlet cloth, fine twined linen, goat's hair, red-dyed ram's skins, goat-skins, acacia wood, olive oil, spices, and onyx stones.
God apparently wants these items so that the people of Israel can build him a proper temple, so that God can live amongst them.

God furthers that this home of his - called a tabernacle - will be a tent pavilion. God tells Moses that he will draw him up a construction plan with details of each furnishing.

The following details are as they are listed in the King James Version of the bible:
10: And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11: And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.
12: And thou shalt cast four rings of gold for it, and put them in the four corners thereof; and two rings shall be in the one side of it, and two rings in the other side of it.
13: And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.
14: And thou shalt put the staves into the rings by the sides of the ark, that the ark may be borne with them.
15: The staves shall be in the rings of the ark: they shall not be taken from it.
16: And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.
17: And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18: And thou shalt make two cherubims of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19: And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof.
20: And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.
21: And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22: And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
23: Thou shalt also make a table of shittim wood: two cubits shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
24: And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, and make thereto a crown of gold round about.
25: And thou shalt make unto it a border of an hand breadth round about, and thou shalt make a golden crown to the border thereof round about.
26: And thou shalt make for it four rings of gold, and put the rings in the four corners that are on the four feet thereof.
27: Over against the border shall the rings be for places of the staves to bear the table.
28: And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them.
29: And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
30: And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me always.
31: And thou shalt make a candlestick of pure gold: of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of the same.
32: And six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side:
33: Three bowls made like unto almonds, with a knop and a flower in one branch; and three bowls made like almonds in the other branch, with a knop and a flower: so in the six branches that come out of the candlestick.
34: And in the candlestick shall be four bowls made like unto almonds, with their knops and their flowers.
35: And there shall be a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, and a knop under two branches of the same, according to the six branches that proceed out of the candlestick.
36: Their knops and their branches shall be of the same: all it shall be one beaten work of pure gold.
37: And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
38: And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39: Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
40: And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
Thoughts:A mostly useless chapter, unless that is you'd like to make your own tabernacle and "ark of the covenant". Outside of telling the reader how to build the ark and how it's supposed to look like, nothing of any significance is really revealed here.

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