#258. For what reason were the Levites granted tithes: as compensation for their service relevant to the Tent of Meeting OR because they had no land-allotment? (Num 18:21, 31 vs Deut 14:29)

The Levites belong to Yahweh. This is a staple feature throughout all the Pentateuchal sources. “The Levites shall be mine. I am Yahweh!” But this is only because of the theology of redemption at play here: The Levites ransom the lives of Israel’s firstborns (see #145). This ransom theology is best stated in the Priestly source: And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying: “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites fromRead More

#257. Were the Levites allowed to eat their tithes anywhere OR only in front of Yahweh? (Num 18:31 vs Deut 12:17-18, 14:23)

The history of the institution of tithing—allocating a tenth part of your produce and flocks—in ancient Israel is anything but clear from the scattered biblical references. It’s apparent that the institution went through a variety of changes. In some of the oldest traditions, for example, we hear of kings who taxed their subjects one-tenth of their grain crops, fruits, and even flocks (1 Sam 8:15-17). More commonly, however, the tithe isRead More

#256. Yahweh decrees that all sacrificial offerings and firstfruits are allotted for Aaron and his sons only OR for all Levites? (Num 18:8-14; Lev 6-7 vs Deut 18:1-4)

Numbers 18 lists the entitlements allotted to the Aaronid priesthood—that is what Yahweh, according to this Aaronid written text, allots as “eternal law” to Aaron and his sons only, no exceptions. These are: All portions from the sacrificial offerings (Num 18:8-11; cf. Lev 6:1-7:10). Remember, minus the burnt-offering which was a whole animal sacrifice burnt on the altar to Yahweh (Lev 1), all other sacrifices—peace-offering, sin-offering, guilt-offering (Lev 3-7)—were partially offeredRead More

#255. Where is Aaron’s budding rod placed: in front of the Ark of Testimony OR in it? (Num 17:25 vs Heb 9:4)

There appears to be conflating traditions concerning where Aaron’s budding rod was relegated. In the Priestly narrative of Numbers 17, Aaron’s budding rod is set in front of the Ark of Testimony before Yahweh’s throne seat (#159; #226) to serve as “a sign to rebels.” But when the author of Hebrews six centuries later duplicates this tradition while speaking of the first Temple, he places Aaron’s budding rod in the Ark!Read More

#254. Who can burn incense in front of Yahweh: only Aaronids OR not? (Ex 30:7; Num 17:5; 1 Chr 23:13; 2 Chr 26:16-19; Lk 1:8-11 vs Deut 33:10; 1 Sam 2:28; 1 Kgs 9:25)

The message endorsed through the tale of Korah’s rebellion in Numbers 16-17—that only the Aaronid priests can offer incense to Yahweh and only at Yahweh’s altar—is yet but another story in a long list meant to legitimate the Aaronid’s sole right to minister to Yahweh. We have now seen in this Aaronid written text, the Priestly source, “Yahweh” endorse: the sole selection of the Aaronids as his priests, while at theRead More

#251. What bronze is used to plate the altar: the donation from the Israelites at Sinai OR the Kohathite fire-holders? (Ex 35:5, 38:2 vs Num 17:3-4)
#252. Who does the hammered bronze work: Bezalel OR Eleazar and the Aaronids (Ex 38:1 vs Num 17:1-4)?
#253. When and where was the altar plated: between the 6th and 12th month of the 1st year from the Exodus at Sinai OR in the 2nd-3rd years (?) after the Exodus in the wilderness? (Ex 38-40 vs Num 9-17)

We last noted the contradictory rebellion stories now stitched together in Numbers 16 (#246-250): From the Yahwist tradition: The rebellion of the Reubenites led by Dathan, Abiram, and On against Moses’ authority, to which Yahweh responds by opening up the earth and swallowing “them and all their households” (16:32); and From the Priestly source: The rebellion of the Kohathites led by Korah and his cohort of 250 chieftains against the Aaronid’sRead More

#246. Who rebelled against Moses (and Aaron): Dathan, Abiram and On OR Korah and 250 chieftains? (Num 16:1, 12, 27 vs Num 16:1-11, 16-19)
#247. Who did they rebel against: Moses OR Moses and Aaron? (Num 16:2 vs Num 16:3-11)
#248. Why did they rebel: because Moses lords it over them OR because they sought the priesthood? (Num 16:13 vs Num 16:10)
#249. Yahweh commands the rest of the congregation to move away from the tents of Dathan and Abiram OR to move away from the tabernacle of Korah? (Num 16:26 vs Num 16:24)
#250. How does Yahweh punish the rebels: by opening up the earth and swallowing them and their households OR by consuming them with fire? (Num 16:32 vs Num 16:35)

Scholars and close readers of Numbers 16 have long noticed that the text as it now stands is a composite of two different and once separate rebellion stories, each with their own individual characters, motives, divine punishment, vocabulary, style, and theological emphasis. Both of these stories additionally exhibit unique themes, vocabulary, and agendas found in other passages attributed to these same textual traditions. Here we’re looking at a story from theRead More