Since God was apparently on a role with giving commands, this chapter goes into sacrifices, again. The amount of repetition given to sacrifices in these books is a sign of where its true importance was to its writers: as a book for ritual. It’s not history (the way fundamentalists might want it to be) and it’s not easy moral lessons (the way liberals might want it to be). It’s a book on how to practice second-temple Judaism, and that meant a lot of sacrifices.

I wanted to do a comparison of this list of sacrifices in the year with the one in Leviticus, and fortunately I remembered that being back in the US means that I have access to my good ol’ NOAB (New Oxford Annotated Bible), which let me know right away to double-check it with Leviticus 23. I doubt that it will blow anyone’s mind that they don’t match. I know, inconsistencies, how novel! Mostly it’s that a lot of these are new. Daily sacrifices, sabbath sacrifices, and first-of-the-month sacrifices are all new in this chapter. Passover now has a sacrifice attached to it. Where things are really different are around the Feast of Weeks aka Shavuot aka Passover.

I suppose it’s likely that these two chapters are two different traditions or recollections of how sacrifices were performed. I’m not sure how the priests of the Second Temple resolved the contradictions, or how that group trying to raise a red heifer in Israel right now intend to resolve it. Maybe you have to do both sets of sacrifices, on the same day?

The next chapter continues with sacrifices, and I may get out my calculator to determine how many animals would lose their lives annually if this calendar was followed to the letter.

The Japanese: kudaku “to crush” (v 5), soeru “to add, to flavor” (v 7), ikanaru “any, all” (v 25), hatsumono “first of the season” (v 27).

Advertisements