#224. Do the Israelites set out for the wilderness of Paran OR Hazeroth? (Num 10:12 vs Num 11:35)

Thus far in our examination of the book of Numbers we have only looked at passages from the Priestly source, now preserved as the opening of Numbers (Num 1:1-10:28), and how this literature or more appropriately its ideas, beliefs, and even ideologies contradict other textual sources and traditions that went into the making of the Pentateuch. This material is easily identifiable as Priestly based on its unique vocabulary, formulaic style, andRead More

#222. Must one be pure for Passover OR not? (Num 9:9-11 vs Deut 16:1-8)
#223. Is the observance of Passover an eternal law OR not? (Ex 12:14-17; Lev 23:4-5 vs Gal 3-4)

As we have repeatedly seen already (#175, #178, #183, #184, #185, etc.) that concern for ritual and ethical purity was top priority for the Aaronid priesthood that penned the book of Leviticus and 75% of what is now the book of Numbers. Throughout Leviticus, and especially in those chapters devoted to its laws and commandments (Lev 11-22), the role of the Aaronid priests is repeatedly defined through the phrase “to distinguishRead More

#221. What transpires on the day Moses sets up and anoints the Tabernacle: Aaron and his sons are anointed as Yahweh’s priests and shut in the Tent of Meeting for a 7 day ordination OR Israel’s 12 chieftains present sacrificial offerings to Yahweh, 1 a day for the following 12 days? (Ex 40:1-17; Lev 8-9 vs Num 7)

Numbers 7 claims to narrate events that happened “on the day Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle” (Num 7:1), “on the day it was anointed” (7:10). This, however, presents two particular difficulties—contradictions—when reading, erroneously, these wilderness stories as a single homogeneous, divinely-authored or any single-authored, historical narrative. This is not what our biblical scribes were doing nor saw themselves as doing. Rather, as stressed repeatedly in other posts, these are theRead More

#220. Are the Levites allowed to touch the holy objects of the Tabernacle OR not? (Deut 18:1-8; 1 Sam 6:13-19; 2 Sam 6:6-7, etc. vs Num 4:1-19)

Nowhere is the agenda, and polemic, of the Aaronid priestly guild and its text, the Priestly source, more apparent than in its treatment and depiction of its rivals, the Levites. In this text, mainly Exodus 35–Numbers 10, our Aaronid writer has Yahweh proclaim on numerous occasions that: no non-Aaronid Levite can be a priest, only an Aaronid can (#152) no non-Aaronid Levite can eat of Yahweh’s sacrifices, only Aaronids can (#177)Read More

#219. What is the minimum age of service for Levites: 25 OR 30? (Num 8:24 vs Num 4:3, 4:23, 4:30)

The book of Numbers apparently preserves divergent traditions regarding the minimum age of service for Levites. And Yahweh spoke to Moses saying: “This is what applies to the Levites: everyone 25 years and older must serve in the work forces, performing the tasks of the Tent of Meeting.” (Num 8:23-24) And Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron saying: “Take a head count of the Kohathites, who are part of the Levites,Read More

#218. The total number of Levites is 22,300 OR 22,000? (Num 3:22, 28, 34 vs Num 3:39)

The numbering of Levites from one-month old and up as recorded in Numbers 3 contains a minor textual discrepancy, which I shall nonetheless count as a contradiction. Numbers 3:39 states that “the total number of Levites which Moses and Aaron tallied by order of Yahweh, by their clans, all males one-month of age and older amounted to 22,000.” This total sets the stage for the Levite redemption of all firstborn malesRead More