I couldn’t write this last night because I literally couldn’t write. I had a bad fall in aikido (who knew that little kid could throw like that?) and landed hard on my shoulder, which meant that moving it was agony. Ice, pain killers and 24 hours have made it manageable.

Not that there’s a whole lot to write about in this chapter, I suppose. If you’re supposed to feel God’s Word resonating in scripture, then this passage didn’t do a lot for me. I know that the rock-striking is brought up as a metaphor in one of Paul’s letters, so I’ll make a note of it for when I get there in, what, six years at the rate I’m going?

The sheer duration of time that this project will take is what feels daunting about it. I thought I could get through it relatively quickly, but life – work, illness, vacation – has slowed my rate down dramatically from my first goal. I still want to complete it, but when I try to even contemplate what my life will be like in six years…? I mean, I see myself having finished my early childhood education degree and working at a steady job back in the United States, but who knows? I mean, I might even be married by then, which would be crazy.

This is also the first mention of Joshua, as he leads the Israelites against the Amalekites… and speaking of that, what is up with the hate on the Amalekites? They attack the Israelites once, and God makes an eternal vendetta on them to wipe them off the face of the earth?

(Actually, he vows to “utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven,” (v 14) by having Moses write it down… so that everyone will remember the Amalekites forever. There’s a koan in there somewhere.)

The only thing I can think of is that there might be a subtlety I’m missing as a 21st century American. Perhaps it’s something to do with the water? They’re attacked at Rephidim, which is where they were dying of thirst. It doesn’t say how long time passed in between Moses striking the rock and the Amalekites’ attack. Maybe they attacked before anyone could drink, so that they could get the fresh water – something I imagine might be considered a pretty bad offense in desert cultures.

That said, I know they reappear throughout the Bible, so I’m probably going to try to hunt down some Jewish perspectives on who the Amalekites were and why they were so awful then.

The Japanese: ryotei “stages of a trip” (v 1), suumei “several (people)” (v 5).

Yes, that’s right, just two! There were a whole lot of words about winning and fighting in this, and I’ve read a ton of Yawara!, so I’m familiar with them.

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