Tag Archives: Moses

In this week’s Bible readings…

bricksandstraw…I stumbled across Exodus 5, where the Israelites were required, as slaves to the Egyptians, to make bricks without straw.

This was at a time when the Israelites, led by Moses and Aaron, had had it with Pharaoh’s heart, which seemed to harden at the slightest of provocation. (I mean, seriously: If someone turned water into blood, I’d capitulate, right there. It would not take a swarm of locusts and certainly not the death of babies to get me to let the Israelites go, but that’s just me talking.)

(But seriously: I’m Pharaoh! I can capture just about any one to do my dirty work, amirite?)

But back to the story, that phrase, “bricks without straw,” stuck in my head. The Israelites were being asked to do something without the proper resources. Bricks need straw, and the Israelites were doomed to fail.

In the story in Exodus, of course, they faced travails so God could show God’s power.

So we are entering a time that, to me, feels like Bizarro World. Our leader is someone I can barely stomach, and the good work that was promoted by the previous administration looks like it could be disappeared by a few strokes of a pen. We are now entering a time when we will build bricks without straw.

But I promise: We will build them. This is not the time for despair. This is time for some creative building. Onward.

In last week’s reading of the Hebrew scriptures…

downloadAs I slog through (and that’s what it often is, a slog) the entire Bible this year, I find myself about halfway through the book of Joshua, and am mired in a lot of who-gets-what, as God tells Joshua precisely which tribe gets which tract of land.

Given so much time and attention devoted to actually reaching the land of Canaan, one would expect a bigger deal made of it in the text, but it’s really not. Moses doesn’t get to cross over, but Joshua does, and then the land is divided. Far be it from me to edit the writers of the Bible, but the only thing keeping me engaged is I know there are some pretty awesome battles and characters coming up.

In last week’s reading of the Hebrew scriptures…

Ms768_500_339(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)

Moses was continually being told by God to rein in the Israelites, who couldn’t seem to stay faithful, despite God having brought them out of slavery in Egypt. In fact, God gets so angry at the group that they are told they won’t see the promised land.

Honestly, the Israelites don’t come off as very grown up. I look forward to the Book of Deuteronomy, where at least we make it to the Promised Land. I feel I have earned it.

In last weeks’ reading of the Hebrew scriptures:

download(As a reminder, I, the fundamentalist with Mad Bible Skills, have started re-reading the Bible, from Gen. 1, using a guide I loaded onto my phone. Obviously, people read the Bible and find different things. Here’s what I found last week:)

I’m in the book of Exodus, where God has come down to tell Moses, Aaron and their people what’s what through what we know as the Ten Commandments, though those Big 10 in now way encompass all the laws. Although  most people would skip over the rules as they would the long and exhaustive list of begats, I, a fundamentalist, was intrigued by them — though I must admit to skimming the specifics of Aaron’s breastplate.

Though this is in no way an exhaustive recount, here are some rules to live by, if you’re an ancient Israelite following Moses:

  1. Slavery’s OK, but there are rules in how to deal with your slaves.
  2. The rules are better if you’re a male slave, with multiple ways of getting out of servitude. If you’re a woman, not so much although there is an odd provision in Exodus 21:26 that follows the whole eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth that says if a slave owner knocks out the tooth of a slave — male or female — that slave can go free.
  3. If you’re a child born into slavery, forget about it. You’re pretty much screwed.
  4. Capital punishment appears to be the punishment of choice, with death the end result of everything from killing someone else, to allow your ox to kill someone else (if it happens over the course of time, and your ox goes after more than one person) to kidnappers to cursers-of-parents.

And then there was this one (RSV): “You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” That might have something in there for people today. In the midst of all this carnage — stoning, goring, putting people to death — is a reminder from God that strangers who live among us are to be treated well.