This next portion is Pinehas (Numbers 25:10-29), and the part that interests me most about it is the last 2 chapters, which list the daily and additional offerings of the sacrificial system.

Numbers 28-29 present all manner of tantalising questions to a student of the sacrifices (which I admittedly am) and I’d like nothing more than to plumb its mysteries and write about it… but at present, it’s beyond the power of my understanding. Fortunately, I’ve run up against walls like this many times, and it’s been my experience that when I have question marks concerning certain mysteries in the word, by the grace of God, sooner or later, a glimmer will come to me, and I’ll begin to get an inkling of the import of what I’m reading. So maybe it’ll happen with this part of the Torah, sometime, in a future cycle (it’s certainly my hope). And then I’ll come back to it.

But for now, I’ll write about what I can understand. Or in the case of this entry, link to it. In Numbers 27:18-23, God instructs Moses to appoint Joshua as a leader after him:

And the Lord said to Moses: “Take Joshua the son of Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him; set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.”

So Moses did as the Lord commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses.

This made me think back to a series I did a while ago about the function of the prophetic (anointing and imparting spiritual authority being the 12th). It ranges far beyond the context of the current Torah portion, but I thought it was a thematic fit:

The function of the prophetic: introduction
The function of the prophetic: part I
The function of the prophetic: part II
The character of the prophetic: part I
The character of the prophetic: part II

And there’s a small mention of the relevance of the Urim and Thummim to the understanding of a later passage in the Bible, here (second question):

A Christmas Q&A: #10

Next portion: the Midianites pay for their corruption of Israel (… which, considering the ground offensive going on in Gaza this weekend, seems eerily appropriate). Shalom.