God does not kill anyone today! Yay! I like days of not killing. Instead, Moses conducts another census.
Let's see how each tribe fared in God's recent string of killings (original numbers from the beginning of Numbers):
Overall, about half the tribes lost population and half gained. Manasseh gained the most, and Simeon lost the most (it was a man from the tribe of Simeon who was sleeping with a Moabite woman; maybe they felt the brunt of those deaths extra heavily). Overall, the population went from 603,550 to 601,730, a net loss of 1820. (And no, there was no real point to that. I just like numbers.)
- Reuben: 46,500 → 43,730 (-2,700)
- Simeon: 59,300 → 22,200 (-37,100)
- Gad: 45,650 → 40,500 (-5,150)
- Judah: 74,600 → 76,500 (+1,900)
- Issachar: 54,400 → 64,300 (+9,900)
- Zebulun: 57,400 → 60,500 (+3,100)
- Ephraim son of Joseph: 40,500 → 32,500 (-8,000)
- Manasseh son of Joseph: 32,200 → 52,700 (+20,500)
- Benjamin: 35,400 → 45,600 (+10,200)
- Dan: 62,700 → 64,400 (+1,700)
- Asher: 41,500 → 53,400 (+11,900)
- Naphtali: 53,400 → 45,400 (-8,000)
And, because it entertains me, a list of names from today's reading (* indicates a woman): Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, Carmi, Jemuel, Jamin, Jakin, Zohar, Shaul, Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ozni, Eri, Arodi, Areli, Shelah, Perez, Zerah, Hezron, Hamul, Tola, Puah, Jashub, Shimron, Sered, Elon, Jahleel, Makir, Gilead, Iezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Shemida, Hepher, Mahlah*, Noah*, Hoglah*, Milcah*, Tirzah*, Shuthelah, Beker, Tahan, Eran, Bela, Ashbel, Ahiram, Shupham, Hupham, Ard, Naaman, Shuham, Imnah, Ishvi, Beriah, Heber, Mlkiel, Serah*, Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, Shilem.
The prophet Anna praises Jesus. Even though I have read this before, I did not remember the prophet Anna. She plays a minor role in this story, but given that the Gospel of Luke supposedly contains the most sympathetic treatment of women, seeing a female prophet seems kind of neat.
Jesus grows up to be healthy and strong and full of wisdom. At the age of twelve, he amazes the religious teachers in the Temple with his questions and answers. He did not tell his parents he was going to be there, so they were rather worried about him. However, Jesus seemed to think that they ought to have known he was there. But, in any case, Jesus was a very obedient child and
grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.Despite the better narrative structure of this gospel, I am really having trouble getting into it. Somehow "and everyone was perfect and wonderful and obedient to God" does not make for an engaging story.
Psalms and Proverbs
A lot of the psalms have little notes at the beginning. Today's psalm has the most detailed of these yet.
For the choir director: A psalm of David useful for teaching, regarding the time David fought Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, and Joab returned and killed 12,000 Edomites in the Valley of Salt. To be sung to the tune “Lily of the Testimony.”The psalm itself is same old, same old.
Today's proverb has good advice.
There’s danger in putting up security for a stranger’s debt;
it’s safer not to guarantee another person’s debt.