10 March 2017 Bible Reading
It is easy to be critical of the Israelites, as we read the historical account from the comfort of our climate-controlled homes. I tend to think that most of us would break rather easily if faced with similar conditions. In Hebrew, the word for desert reflects that which is beyond, beyond the limits of settlement. The area of their wandering was hard and dangerous, there was no water or vegetation, except for in a few oases, which were a source of competition with desert tribes. Most people perceived the wilderness to be a dangerous place, the place of wild animals and wandering tribes. Psalm 107:4 portrays the wilderness as a “wasteland”. Hungry and thirsty, they wandered in the wasteland, waiting to die.
14 All the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night. 2 All the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron. The whole congregation said to them, “We wish that we had died in the land of Egypt, or that we had died in this wilderness! 3 Why does Yahweh bring us to this land, to fall by the sword? Our wives and our little ones will be captured or killed! Wouldn’t it be better for us to return into Egypt?” 4 They said to one another, “Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt.”
5 Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel.
6 Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were of those who spied out the land, tore their clothes. 7 They spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceeding good land. 8 If Yahweh delights in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it to us; a land which flows with milk and honey. 9 Only don’t rebel against Yahweh, neither fear the people of the land; for they are bread for us. Their defense is removed from over them, and Yahweh is with us. Don’t fear them.”
10 But all the congregation threatened to stone them with stones.
Yahweh’s glory appeared in the Tent of Meeting to all the children of Israel. 11 Yahweh said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me? and how long will they not believe in me, for all the signs which I have worked among them? 12 I will strike them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of you a nation greater and mightier than they.”
13 Moses said to Yahweh, “Then the Egyptians will hear it; for you brought up this people in your might from among them. 14 They will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you Yahweh are in the middle of this people; for you Yahweh are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them, and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night. 15 Now if you killed this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of you will speak, saying, 16 ‘Because Yahweh was not able to bring this people into the land which he swore to them, therefore he has slain them in the wilderness.’ 17 Now please let the power of the Lord be great, according as you have spoken, saying, 18 ‘Yahweh is slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, forgiving iniquity and disobedience; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation.’ 19 Please pardon the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of your loving kindness, and according as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.”
20 Yahweh said, “I have pardoned according to your word: 21 but in very deed, as I live, and as all the earth shall be filled with Yahweh’s glory; 22 because all those men who have seen my glory, and my signs, which I worked in Egypt and in the wilderness, yet have tempted me these ten times, and have not listened to my voice; 23 surely they shall not see the land which I swore to their fathers, neither shall any of those who despised me see it. 24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and has followed me fully, him I will bring into the land into which he went. His offspring shall possess it. 25 Since the Amalekite and the Canaanite dwell in the valley, tomorrow turn, and go into the wilderness by the way to the Red Sea.” 26 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 27 “How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, that murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. 28 Tell them, ‘As I live, says Yahweh, surely as you have spoken in my ears, so will I do to you. 29 Your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness; and all who were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me, 30 surely you shall not come into the land, concerning which I swore that I would make you dwell therein, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun. 31 But your little ones, that you said should be captured or killed, them I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have rejected. 32 But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in this wilderness. 33 Your children shall be wanderers in the wilderness forty years, and shall bear your prostitution, until your dead bodies are consumed in the wilderness. 34 After the number of the days in which you spied out the land, even forty days, for every day a year, you will bear your iniquities, even forty years, and you will know my alienation.’ 35 I, Yahweh, have spoken. I will surely do this to all this evil congregation, who are gathered together against me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.”
36 The men, whom Moses sent to spy out the land, who returned, and made all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up an evil report against the land, 37 even those men who brought up an evil report of the land, died by the plague before Yahweh. 38 But Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, remained alive of those men who went to spy out the land.
39 Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. 40 They rose up early in the morning, and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Behold, we are here, and will go up to the place which Yahweh has promised: for we have sinned.”
41 Moses said, “Why now do you disobey the commandment of Yahweh, since it shall not prosper? 42 Don’t go up, for Yahweh isn’t among you; that you not be struck down before your enemies. 43 For there the Amalekite and the Canaanite are before you, and you shall fall by the sword, because you turned back from following Yahweh, therefore Yahweh will not be with you.”
44 But they presumed to go up to the top of the mountain. Nevertheless, the ark of Yahweh’s covenant and Moses didn’t depart out of the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites who lived in that mountain, and struck them and beat them down, even to Hormah.
15 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘When you have come into the land of your habitations, which I give to you, 3 and will make an offering by fire to Yahweh, a burnt offering, or a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or as a freewill offering, or in your set feasts, to make a pleasant aroma to Yahweh, of the herd, or of the flock; 4 then he who offers his offering shall offer to Yahweh a meal offering of one tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the fourth part of a hin of oil. 5 You shall prepare wine for the drink offering, the fourth part of a hin, with the burnt offering, or for the sacrifice, for each lamb.
6 “‘Or for a ram, you shall prepare for a meal offering two tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with the third part of a hin of oil; 7 and for the drink offering you shall offer the third part of a hin of wine, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh. 8 When you prepare a bull for a burnt offering, or for a sacrifice, to accomplish a vow, or for peace offerings to Yahweh; 9 then shall he offer with the bull a meal offering of three tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil: 10 and you shall offer for the drink offering half a hin of wine, for an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh. 11 Thus shall it be done for each bull, or for each ram, or for each of the male lambs, or of the young goats. 12 According to the number that you shall prepare, so you shall do to everyone according to their number.
13 “‘All who are native-born shall do these things in this way, in offering an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh. 14 If a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, or whoever may be among you throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a pleasant aroma to Yahweh; as you do, so he shall do. 15 For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner, a statute forever throughout your generations. As you are, so shall the foreigner be before Yahweh. 16 One law and one ordinance shall be for you, and for the stranger who lives as a foreigner with you.’”
53 They led Jesus away to the high priest. All the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes came together with him.
54 Peter had followed him from a distance, until he came into the court of the high priest. He was sitting with the officers, and warming himself in the light of the fire. 55 Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witnesses against Jesus to put him to death, and found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony didn’t agree with each other. 57 Some stood up, and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 Even so, their testimony did not agree.
60 The high priest stood up in the middle, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it which these testify against you?” 61 But he stayed quiet, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
62 Jesus said, “I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of the sky.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes, and said, “What further need have we of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” They all condemned him to be worthy of death. 65 Some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to beat him with fists, and to tell him, “Prophesy!” The officers struck him with the palms of their hands.
66 As Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the maids of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!”
68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know, nor understand what you are saying.” He went out on the porch, and the rooster crowed.
69 The maid saw him, and began again to tell those who stood by, “This is one of them.” 70 But he again denied it. After a little while again those who stood by said to Peter, “You truly are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.” 71 But he began to curse, and to swear, “I don’t know this man of whom you speak!” 72 The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered the word, how that Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” When he thought about that, he wept.
For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “Mahalath.” A contemplation by David.
53 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity.
There is no one who does good.
2 God looks down from heaven on the children of men,
to see if there are any who understood,
who seek after God.
3 Every one of them has gone back.
They have become filthy together.
There is no one who does good, no, not one.
4 Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
who eat up my people as they eat bread,
and don’t call on God?
5 There they were in great fear, where no fear was,
for God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you.
You have put them to shame,
because God has rejected them.
6 Oh that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When God brings back his people from captivity,
then Jacob shall rejoice,
and Israel shall be glad.
4 Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.