Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Numbers: Chapter 4

What must be hidden

Swathed in scarlet and blue

Hold me

Do not cut me loose!

[For full chapter, click here

We continue with the appointment of the Levites, now moving into a detailed census of the three primary families (Gershon, Kehat and Merari) and the enumeration of their duties. The key root is p'k'd, to count, appoint, be responsible--each of these meanings is explored, as the Levites are counted, appointed to their duties, and placed under the charge of Aaron's sons. The duality of the Levites--their positioning as the transition/linkage between Israel and the Dwelling, is repeatedly emphasized. They not only are doubly "given", they also "serve serve". The incipient menace of this in-betweeness also becomes clear, as Aaron and his sons are warned to ensure that Kehat does not become "cut off" through over-exposure, through getting too far within. They must not "see the covering of the holy." They remain always on the limen, leaning against the dwelling but not entering the intimate space within.]

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