Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Numbers: Chapter 14

What is within

seen and heard

What carries


And we fall 

down, down, 


[For full chapter, click here
The saga of disintegration continues, with the same key words: "complaint" "crying" "carry" (s'a'a') "within" ; the motif of food.
The people once again dissolve in weeping, "crying all that night." Echoing Moses' despairing "kill me now, please kill me" they lament: "Would that we had died in Egypt, or in this wilderness, we had died!" In the face of the national despair, Moses and Aaron dissolve as well, "falling on their face."
God once again loses patience "with the complaints that that are complaining about Me." In a recreation  of the aftermath of the Golden Calf, He resolves to abandon Israel, and turn Moses to a new nation. Moses once again steps into the breach. Being "within" (k'r'v) is not something that can be reversed. Israel has become intertwined with God. There can be no true severing. God must "bear" (lit. carry "s'a'a') with His nation. As in the case of the Golden Calf, God "forgives, as you spoke."
Yet this time, God takes Israel at their word. "As you have spoken in My ears, so I will do to you." The people will indeed die in the desert: "your carcasses will fall here", in a reversal of the spies "going up" to the land.
In response, the people resolve to "go up" by force, and fall in battle. The dissolution is complete.]

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