A detailed description of King Solomon’s palaces, which took 13 years compared to 7 for the temple. It wound up looking something like this:
Very impressive! It mentions that he also did all the required temple basins and stuff in gold, and carefully stored all the ritual items he inherited from David.
Its one of those bits of the bible that don’t really talk about morality or spirituality or God. Its just a description. Of a rich guys house. Like the show Cribs, or Grand Designs, Ancient World edition.
But of course, in Deuteronomy it said the King should be one of the people, not grand. And last chapter, when God did speak, he said obedience to his law was the more important thing…
Saturday, a day requiring grace because I chafe at balancing my obligations with the tantalising prospect of unstructured free time. But it usually works out OK.
List chapter, all of Solomon’s officials, his daily provisions. The people are indeed as numerous as the sand by the sea… Not quite the choice of words of God’s promise to Abraham that they would be as numerous as the stars.
They eat and drink and have military might that gives them dominion over the entire region. That is pretty much “flowing with milk and honey” as promised, if a little less poetic.
God makes an appearance as the source of Solomon’s wisdom. His fame spreads and he’s recognised as the wisest man “of anyone”. He composes 1000 songs and 3000 proverbs.
God’s wisdom flows to material blessing.
I’m still wondering what we learn from Israel’s golden era. Do things have to go wrong for God to be needed? How do we stay focused on God in the good times? Praying for wisdom is a start.
Impressive list chapter documenting every stage of the generation long march that has got them to this point.
Then instructions and warnings for the future. Take the land cleanly, ie: don’t assimilate with or tolerate the people already there.
Taking stock. Being aware of Gods guidance and blessing. Staying focussed.
More rules about what gets sacrifices at feast sacrifices.
Festival of trumpets and tabernacles. Tabernacles goes on for days, and most of the chapter is devoted to the several animals each day..
Going back to work after a week of leave. Not too thrilled, but it’ll be ok.
Another census. The book started with one, a role call of over 20 year old men ready to fight… All the clans except the levites, who don’t fight.
The Israelites are doing well, despite all the plagues, poison snakes etc. There would be about 200000 able bodied men. This is preparation for taking the holy land.
And the point is made that none except two, Joshua and one other, were alive when they left Egypt. That generation has indeed perished without seeing the holy land.
But their children will have the inheritance of God’s promise.
The lamp stands set up in the tabernacle are symbolic as well as practical. They hold the lights but are not the light. In revelation the church is described as lamp stands, the platform for God’s light.
Imagining the inside of the tent. All that smoke, 2 altars and incense. Almost no other light.
The levites are dedicated to God’s service. This is the rest of practical help, the priests were dedicated back in Leviticus.
Were reminded that they are the substitute for the first born sins of all Israel. They shave their bodies for purification.
They retire at 50 and mentor the next generation, but don’t work.
There were 10s of thousands of them in the count, I don’t imagine it being that hard a life in some regards.
The are elements of a model for full time Christian ministry. Even minor roles are to have that sense of dedication, being aware of representing the service and support of those who are giving.
All the tribes’ offerings at the dedication of the temple. A long list chapter. The tribes’ offerings are much the same… It’s not the most freewheeling religion.
At the end there are 12 Silver Bowls full of flour, 12 gold Bowls of incense, 12 goats, 12 lambs etc etc.
Moses enters the holy place and hears God’s voice. God is in the space between the two cherubim atop the ark of the covenant.
It’s a different dynamic than the many times Moses has heard God’s voice since the burning bush. Then he was a messenger, he was being personally commissioned to act and soak for God. Now he is representing the people. From God’s chosen man to God’s chosen people, the transition is complete.
Gives us a picture of how the nation camped. In a big wheel around the tabernacle. The levites were in the middle, around the holy tent, the 11 tribes were in blobs around that, always in the same order. God’s presence at the centre, like heaven.
Family is all. Within the tribes, you camp in your clan and in your family.
And when they moved on, they left in the same order each time, and set up camp the same as before.
Ok the first number of numbers is 603550. The number of fighting fit Israelites they had after a year or so if leaving Egypt.
And that’s about it for this chapter.
The focus of the census telegraphs that the promised land is going to require a fight.
Commentator speculated that the whole number of the Israelites including aged, women, children and priests… None of whom are in the fighter list, would be 2 million or so.
They have their freedom from slavery (Exodus) they have their God’s presence (Leviticus). As do I.
Now what, Father?
Can’t have me wandering in the wilderness for 40 years, right? Right?
Everyone is doubting God, but God tells Moses he is revealing more to him than the great patriarchs, Abraham, Jacob and all. They had the promise, the covenant. Moses will see the promise fulfilled by this great saving act, and know more of the law of God.
The people remain negative. They have adopted the local gods and their life has only got worse for Moses’ meddling. Moses remains deeply unsure.
They run though his genealogy. Their Israelite pedigree. They are god’s people the right ones for the job.
This chapter is about god’s plans and power being bigger than all out weakness.
It’s plague time!