St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
A General Overview of the Old Testament
An In-Depth Discussion Led by The Rev. Mike Kreutzer
Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Old Testament — Numbers: Chapters 28 – 36
Chapters 28 and 29 were a listing of numerous ritual laws that weren’t discussed in detail. Chapter 30 deals with the vows made to God and the distinction between men and women. Men must live with whatever is promised. For women, either the father of young girls, or the husband of married women, can negate a promise.
Chapter 31 deals with the war with the Midionites. This led the Israelite army astray and caused many to worship their gods. It is also noted that Balaam is now on the side of the enemy. Twelve thousand men armed against the the Midionites and they killed every male including Balaam. The women, children, and cattle were brought to Moses as booty. Moses commanded that the young males be killed as well as all women who have slept with a man. Only the young virgins would be spared. This was seen as God’s will at that time.
In Chapter 32 it was noted that some of the Israelites would end up east of the Jordan River. However, these men still had to take up their swords and fight with the army as they crossed the river. Only after the fighting was over could they then return to their lands. Next, there was a review of the history of where the Israelites had been and stayed over the past forty years. Currently, they were in the plains of Moab and they should destroy everyone there. The land would then be apportioned to the tribes according to their size. Anyone who is not driven out will become a thorn in your side.
In Chapter 34 the “idealized” size of the promised land is described. The area is much larger than what is Israel today. This larger area may have existed in the time of David or Solomon. There is great diversity and interpretation among the Jews today.
Chapter 35 lists the town and land for the Levites who are destined otherwise to receive ten percent income from all of the other tribes. There is a list of cities of refuge where no one can be attacked there, such as for inadvertent killings.
In Chapter 36, there is a return to the daughters of Zalopa. It was determined that the land should always stay with the tribe. So if the young girl has a brother who can inherit the land, then she may marry inside or outside of the tribe. However, in families that only have daughters, they must marry someone within their own tribe. No inheritance shall be transferred between tribes.