03 March 2010

Mar 3

Reference links:
Old Testament

Today we finish Leviticus and start Numbers. Hurrah? Based on the Wikipedia description, Numbers might be interesting. The Israelites start moving again, at least. Tradition has it that Moses wrote Numbers, but modern scholars no longer believe this to be the case. Instead, they believe it was compiled by priests no earlier than the 5th century BC.

But before we get to Numbers, we must finish up Leviticus. Various administrative details about the buying and selling of homes and fields. The first born of every animal, every tenth animal, and one tenth of all grain and fruit belong to God (really, the priests). Essentially, taxes. And that's it. Not a particularly exciting ending.

Numbers starts with a count of all the men of fighting age in Israel. God commanded this one year after the Israelites left Egypt. Each tribe gets assigned a leader and has its members counted. The total was 603,550 men, not counting the Levites because their job is to be in charge of the Tabernacle.

Numbers is clearly off to a rousing start. =)

New Testament

In today's reading, Jesus enters Jerusalem. We ready about this before in Matthew 21:1-11. In that version, Jesus asked the disciples to bring him both a donkey and its colt. In Mark, Jesus only asks them to bring the colt. Sure this is a minor inconsistency, but still, make me expend some effort to find inconsistencies. This one and yesterday's inconsistency with James and John are things I just remembered, and my memory's not that great. In any case, Jesus enters Jerusalem.

The next day, day Jesus curses of fig tree because it did not have fruit for him. This is despite the fact that the text claims that it was too early in the season for the tree to have fruit. This story has been influential in my reading of the gospels. After reading this story in Mark, I started to wonder whether the picture of Jesus it paints actually is inconsistent with the rest of the gospels. Once I started looking, I saw all sorts of evidence that such an arbitrary and unfair action was, in fact, fairly consistent with some aspects of Jesus' attitude and behavior.

In any case, I was thinking about interpretations for this passage. It seems like one interpretation is that if you are not ready for Jesus when he returns, he will smite you, even if you might have been ready someday. I guess you have to be ready when opportunity knocks.

After that, Jesus clears the temple of those who are selling things in it. This rather irked the teachers of religious law.

Psalms and Proverbs

Today's Psalm reminds me of the "Context!" video I posted the other day.
Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God!
I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.”
The first lines I quoted are the context you never hear for the last three lines, which are commonly quoted. So remember folks, God brings destruction upon the world, thus ending wars. Actually, I could totally see the first five lines I quoted being used to argue that a nuclear war could be a tool of God. Scary, isn't it?