Chapter 11- The people complain, so God burned some of them with fire. Moses prays and the fire stops. The people complain again that they are tired of eating only manna. Moses complains about the responsibility of caring for all these people. God tells him to appoint 70 elders to help him in leading the people. God says he will give the people meat to eat for a month, and brings large flocks of quail to the people. They go out and gather it, but God strikes dead the ones who were greedy.
This passage reminds me of poorly parented children. You know the ones I’m talking about- where sometimes the child does something wrong and gets punished, but other times they get away with it because the parent is too exasperated to deal with them. So the child learns that if they just complain/misbehave even more, they’ll get what they want, like the kids who scream and scream in the grocery store until Mom buys them a candy bar to shut them up.
God is a bad parent. Sometimes he burns his children with fire when they annoy him; other times he grants their requests and gives them what they want abundantly. Then, without giving them any rules about how to gather the meat he’s provided, he gets mad at the ones he perceives as too hungry, and sends a plague.
If you remember back in Exodus 2:23-24, when the Israelites were still slaves in Egypt, “Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Issac, and with Jacob.” God has conditioned these people from the very beginning of their journey to complain when they want his help. He forgets about them if they go too long without complaining!
And I have to wonder why these people didn’t already have meat to eat. They obviously had abundant animals for offering sacrifices, but only unblemished animals under a year old could be sacrificed, so why couldn’t they eat some of the ones that didn’t qualify? And some of those sacrifices were only being waved around the tabernacle as “wave offerings” then eaten by the priests, so clearly God wasn’t opposed to some people eating meat.In fact, God has given them a huge list of clean/unclean animals, so one would think they could go hunt something for dinner every now and then.
I understand that this huge horde of people couldn’t eat meat for every meal the way some Americans are wont to do. They’d wipe out their livestock and hunt things to extinction. But I would think with a little self control they could manage the occasional hamburger.
Wait a second. I just went back and re-read Exodus 16, where God first starts making food appear for the people, and it says in verses 12 and 13, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ So it was that the quails came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp.” It appears that God hasn’t been keeping his promise to send meat! The people are complaining for good reason! God strikes people dead for asking him to do what he said he would do! I’m seriously indignant on their behalf right now.
Verse 7 describes manna as being the color of “bdellium”. What in the world is bdellium? It seems it’s a type of tree resin. Here, have a picture:
Chapter 12- Aaron and Miriam (Moses’s brother and sister) speak out against Moses for having an Ethiopian wife, and they seem a little jealous that he’s getting all the recognition as leader when they’ve also spoken to God. God gets mad at them for questioning Moses, and gives Miriam a leprosy, for which she is sent out of the camp for 7 days.
When we first meet Moses’s wife Zipporah in Exodus, she is described as the daughter of a Midianite. The wife mentioned here is referred to as an Ethiopian. Is Zipporah dead? Does Moses have multiple wives at the same time? I did a little reading about it online, and it seems that nobody knows. Some commenters think Midianites were dark skinned, and “Ethiopian” is being used derogatorily here to reference Zipporah’s dark skin.
Once again, the bible is clear as mud.
But, it turns out the wife isn’t really the issue here. Aaron and Miriam just want more recognition for the they fact that they too have done work for the Lord. Even though both of them complained, and both got a verbal tongue lashing from God, only Miriam gets leprosy.
I am sick and tired of God treating women like crap. I don’t understand how any woman can read the Bible and then think Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, or any other religion that may follow all or parts of the Bible, is a good religion to follow. The Bible makes it clear that women are inferior, unclean, deserving of harsh treatment, and only useful insomuch as they can fetch water from wells and produce male offspring. No thanks.
Chapter 13- God has Moses send spies to Canaan to see what the land is like and what foes they will be facing when they try to claim it. They find a land “flowing with milk and honey” but inhabited by strong local people. Caleb wants to invade the land immediately, but the other spies disagree and give the Israelites a bad report on what the land is like so they won’t want to go.
Back in Exodus 17:9, we were introduced to this character named Joshua without any explanation who he was. I think I finally have an answer. From the spying party, we meet Hoshea the son of Nun, from the tribe of Ephraim, who Moses calls Joshua. 40 pages later and we’re finally properly introduced!
I have to wonder why the spying was necessary. Shouldn’t God already know what the land and its peoples are like? And shouldn’t Moses trust God that He will help them conquer no matter what? It seems that even the people who spoke directly with God didn’t have much faith in Him.
And, I still don’t like that God’s chosen people are land thieves. Their “promised land” already had a lot of inhabitants, who have done nothing wrong except not having been chosen by God. Couldn’t God have picked somewhere uninhabited? Is war really necessary?