ha-Seifer Chamishat ha-Pequdim le-Yisra’eil ba-Midbar/
The Book of the Five Reckonings of Israel in the Wilderness
Ba-Midbar / Numbers

(for an explanation of the format, notes and conventions used in this translation, please see the page on The Translation of the Torah and the Prophets. For an explanation of my methodology, see the page on The Original Torah Project).

If you have any questions, please email me at: shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com

This translation has been made in the spirit of the ancient Aramaic Targums. PLEASE BE AWARE THEREFORE THAT THIS IS AN INTERPRETATIVE ADAPTATION OF THE HEBREW TEXT, NOT A LITERAL TRANSLATION. The intent is to give the modern reader an understanding of the sense and intent of the original, rather than a word for word rendering. Unless one is conversant in the idioms of Hebrew, and in the nuances of ancient Israelite culture, a literal rendering will give you the words, but not the message.

words in italics without brackets – words not found in the traditional Masoretic text, but attested in one or more other Bible version (Samaritan Pentateuch [SP], Dead Sea Scrolls Bible [DSS], or Greek Septuagint [LXX]).

[words in square brackets] words implied by the Hebrew words, inserted to help give the sense of the Hebrew words in natural, Modern English.

{words in brace brackets} words not in any version of the biblical text, but inserted to help explain a cultural or historical detail that would have been implicitly understood by an ancient Hebrew, but which might not be by a modern reader; also, words inserted for narrative clarification (like a midrash to explain something vital to an understanding of the narrative, but which is unclear in the traditional text). These should be considered as ‘in-text footnotes’, rather than face accusations of ‘adding to Torah’, since one of the purposes of this translation is to clarify the narrative, in order to make the meaning of the story clearer.

{words in italics in brace brackets} – hypothetical, reconstructed words, theorised to have been in the original text; the second purpose of this translation is to try to reconstruct what might have been the original text of the Bible.

(‘words in italics in plain brackets’) translations of Hebrew names, the meanings of which are important to understand in English.

Page last updated on: 20th August 2020

(Numbers now: 100% translated)

Chapter 1: God instructs Mosheh to take a census of the Israelites

 

1:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first [day] of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

1:2 “Carry out a census of the entire Congregation of the sons of Israel, by their clans and by their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their individual names;

1:3 {Every male} from twenty years old and upward – whoever {is able to} [bear arms] in Israel – [both] you and Aharon shall reckon them by their battalions.

1:4 Furthermore, accompanying you there shall be one man from each tribe; it [shall be] the chieftain of each [tribal] house.

 

The Census Officials

 

1:5 [1:5a] These then are the names of the men who shall [assist] you:

1:6 [1:5b] on behalf of {the tribe of} Rė’ūvein, Elītsūr son of Shėdey’ūr;

1:7 [1:6] on behalf of {the tribe of} Shim`on, Shėlumī’eil son of Tsūrīshaddāy;

1:8 [1:7] on behalf of {the tribe of} Yėhūdhāh, Nachshōn son of Ammīnādhāv;

1:9 [1:8] on behalf of {the tribe of} Yiśśākhār, Nėthanė’eil son of Tsū`ār;

1:10 [1:9] on behalf of {the tribe of} Zėvūlun, Elī’āv son of Cheilon;

1:11 [1:10a] from among the Josephites: on behalf of {the tribe of} Efráyim, Elīshāmā` son of `Ammīhūdh,

1:12 [1:10b] and on behalf of {the tribe of} Manaśśeh, Gamėlī’eil son of Pėdāh-tsūr;

1:13 [1:11] on behalf of {the tribe of} Binyāmin, Avīdhān son of Gidhė`onī;

1:14 [1:12] on behalf of {the tribe of} Dān, Achī`ezer son of Ammīshaddāy;

1:15 [1:13] on behalf of {the tribe of} Āsheir, Pag`ī’eil son of Okhrān;

1:16 [1:14] on behalf of {the tribe of} Gādh, Elyāsāf son of Dė`ū’eil;

1:17 [1:15] and on behalf of {the tribe of} Naftālī, Achīra` son of `Eynān.

1:18 [1:16] These are the men who have been nominated out of the Congregation {of Israel}, [being] the chieftains of their ancestral tribes; they are to be the heads of the divisions of Israel.”

1:19 [1:17-18a] So accompanied by Aharon, Mosheh took these men whom {God} had appointed by name, and on the first [day] of the second month of the second year, they mustered the whole Congregation {of the sons of Israel}.

1:20 [1:18b-19a] The sons of Israel then established their genealogical descent according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their individual names, every male from twenty years old and upward – {whoever was able to bear arms in Israel}, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

1:21 [1:19b] In this way, [Mosheh] reckoned them {by their battalions} in the wilderness of Sinai.

 

The Taking of the Census and its Results by Tribe

 

1:22 [1:20] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Rė’ūvein, Yisra’eil’s firstborn, had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their individual names, every male from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:23 [1:21] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Rė’ūvein {came to} 46,500.

1:24 [1:22] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Shim`on had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, the [total] enumerated, [listing them] by their individual names – every male from twenty years old and upward, whoever {was able to} [bear arms] –  

1:25 [1:23] the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Shim`on {came to} 59,300.

1:26 [1:24] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Gādh had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:27 [1:25] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Gādh {came to} 45,650.

1:28 [1:26] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Yėhūdhāh had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:29 [1:27] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Yėhūdhāh {came to} 74,600.

1:30 [1:28] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Yiśśākhār had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:31 [1:29] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Yiśśākhār {came to} 54,400.

1:32 [1:30] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Zėvūlun had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:33 [1:31] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Zėvūlun {came to} 57,400.

1:34 [1:32] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Yōseif – {that is, firstly of} the sons of Efráyim – had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:35 [1:33] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Efráyim {came to} 40,500.

1:36 [1:34] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Manasseh had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:37 [1:35] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Manasseh {came to} 32,200.

1:38 [1:36] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Binyāmin had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:39 [1:37] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Binyāmin {came to} 35,400.

1:40 [1:38] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Dan had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:41 [1:39] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Dan {came to} 62,700.

1:42 [1:40] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Āsheir had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:43 [1:41] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Āsheir {came to} 41,500.

1:44 [1:42] Once the genealogical descent of the descendants of Naftālī had been established according to their clans and their [tribal] houses, [listing them] by their {individual} names, {every male} from twenty years old and upward {was then enumerated} – whoever {was able to} [bear arms];

1:45 [1:43] and the [final tally of] men enumerated for the tribe of Naftālī {came to} 53,400.

 

Summary of the Census

 

1:46 [1:44] These are the [men] who were enumerated – whom Mosheh enumerated accompanied by Aharon, and [assisted by] the leaders of Israel; {that is, the} twelve men, one man from each tribe, each of them {the chieftain} of their [tribal] houses.

1:47 [1:45] So all the men of the sons of Israel were enumerated according to their [tribal] houses, {every male} from twenty years old and upward – whoever {was able to} [bear arms] in Israel;

1:48 [1:46] and the {total number of} [men] enumerated {came to} 603,550.

 

Special Instructions not to take a Census of the Levites

 

1:49 [1:47] The Levites, however, were not reckoned among them by their ancestral tribe.

1:50 [1:48] For so Yahveh had spoken to Mosheh, saying,

1:51 [1:49] “The tribe of Levi alone you shall not reckon, nor shall you carry out a census of them with the [other] sons of Israel.

1:52 [1:50a] This is because you yourself are to enlist the Levites to have charge over the Tabernacle of the Testimony, and over all its furnishings and over everything that pertains to it.

1:53 [1:50b] They alone are to carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they alone are to take care of it; therefore, only around the Tabernacle should they pitch camp.

1:54 [1:51a] So whenever the Tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall dismantle it; and whenever the Tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up.

1:55 [1:51b] Any unauthorised person who encroaches shall be put to death.

1:56 [1:52] The Israelites shall pitch camp, each man according to his own {quarter of the} camp, and each man by his own [tribal] standard, according to their battalions.

1:57 [1:53a] However, the Levites alone shall pitch camp around the Tabernacle of the Testimony, so that [the fire of My Glory] [will be prevented from falling] upon the Congregation of the Israelites;

1:58 [1:53b] for the Levites [alone] shall keep watch over the Tabernacle of the Testimony.”

1:59 [1:54] So [this is] what the Israelites did; in accordance with everything that Yahveh had commanded Mosheh, so they did.

 

Chapter 2: The Positions of the Tribes Around the Tabernacle

 

2:1 Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying,

2:2 “Each of the Israelites shall pitch camp under his [own] {tribal} standard by the banner of his ancestral house, according to their divisions; they shall pitch camp at an {appropriate} distance around the Tent of Meeting.

 

The East Side, under the tribal standard of the Lion of Yėhūdhāh

 

2:3 Now those who pitch camp on the easternmost [side] {shall be mustered} around the standard of the camp of Yėhūdhāh, according to their divisions; and the captain of the Yėhūdahites: Nachshōn son of Ammīnādhāv;

2:4 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 74,600.

2:5 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Yiśśākhār, and the captain of the Yiśśākhārites: Nėthanė’eil son of Tsū`ār;

2:6 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 54,400.

2:7 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Zėvūlun, and the captain of the Zėvūlunites: Elī’āv son of Cheilon;

2:8 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 57,400.

2:9 The total of the enrolled men of the camp of Yėhūdhāh: 186,400, according to their divisions. They shall march out first.

 

The South Side, under the tribal standard of the Warrior of Rė’ūvein

 

2:10 On the south side {shall be those mustered around} the standard of the camp of Rė’ūvein, according to their divisions; and the captain of the Rė’ūveinites: Elītsūr son of Shėdey’ūr;

2:11 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 46,500.

2:12 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Shim`on, and the captain of the Shim`onites: Shėlumī’eil son of Tsūrīshaddāy;

2:13 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 59,300.

2:14 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Gādh, and the captain of the Gādites: Elyāsāf son of Dė`ū’eil;

2:15 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 45,650.

2:16 The total of the enrolled men of the camp of Rė’ūvein: 151,450 according to their divisions. And they shall march out second.

 

The Tabernacle to be in the centre of the Israelite Camp

 

2:17 Then the Tent of Meeting shall set out with the camp of the Levites in the midst of [all] the [other] camps; just as they camp, so they shall set out, every man in his position under his {tribal} standard, {by the banner of his ancestral house}, according to their divisions.

 

The West Side, under the tribal standard of the Bull of Efráyim

 

2:18 On the west {shall be those mustered around} the standard of the camp of Efráyim, according to their divisions; and the captain of the Efráyimites: Elīshāmā` son of `Ammīhūdh;

2:19 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 40,500.

2:20 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Manasseh, and the captain of the Manassites: Gamėlī’eil son of Pėdāh-tsūr;

2:21 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 32,200.

2:22 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Binyāmin, and the captain of the Binyāminites: Avīdhān son of Gidhė`onī;

2:23 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 35,400.

2:24 The total of the enrolled men of the camp of Efráyim: 108,100, according to their divisions. And they shall march out third.

 

The North Side, under the tribal standard of the Eagle of Dān

 

2:25 On the north side {shall be those mustered around} the standard of the camp of Dān according to their divisions, and the captain of the Danites: Achī`ezer son of Ammīshaddāy;

2:26 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 62,700.

2:27 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Āsheir, and the captain of the Āsherites: Pag`ī’eil son of Okhrān;

2:28 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 41,500.

2:29 Those who pitch camp next to him [shall be] the tribe of Naftālī, and the captain of the Naftālites: Achīra` son of `Eynān;

2:30 and his division – his enrolled men – [a total of] 53,400.

2:31 The total of the enrolled men of the camp of Dān [was] 157,600. They shall march out last under their standards.”

2:32 These were the enrolled men of the Israelites according to their [tribal] houses; the total of the reckoned men among the {four} camps according to their divisions: 603,550.

 

The Levites are not reckoned with the rest of the Israelites

                                                                   

2:33 The Levites, however, were not reckoned among the Israelites, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

2:34 [2:34a] Thus the Israelites did everything just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

2:35 [2:34b] For this reason they were camped by their {tribal} standards {and by the banners of their ancestral clans}, and for this reason they marched out, each one according to his clan and according to his [tribal] house.

Chapter 3: The Census of the Levites

 

3:1 Now this is an account [concerning the genealogy] of Aharon and Mosheh at the time when Yahveh spoke with Mosheh on Mount Sinai:

3:2 These [are] the names of the sons of Aharon: the firstborn [was] Nādāv, then Avīhū, Elė`āzār and Īthāmār.

3:3 These [are] the names of the sons of Aharon, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to serve as priests.

3:4 However, Nādāv and Avīhū died because of the Presence of Yahveh, when they brought forward fire of unconsecrated origin into the presence of Yahveh in the wilderness of Sinai; and they left no sons. Thereafter, [only] Elė`āzār and Īthāmār served as priests in the lifetime of their father Aharon.

 

The duties of the Levites

 

3:5 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

3:6 “Bring forward the tribe of Levi and set them before Aharon the priest, so that they may serve {as assistants to} him.

3:7 They shall perform guard duty for him and for the whole congregation in front of the Tent of Meeting, whenever they do the {removal} work of the Tabernacle compound.

3:8 They shall also have charge of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting {whenever they are being transported} – guard duty {to prevent the encroachment} of the Israelites – while [also] doing the {removal} work of the Tabernacle compound.

3:9 You shall thus assign the Levites to Aharon and to his sons; they are hereby formally assigned to him from among the Israelites.

3:10 So you shall appoint Aharon and his sons {to have sole responsibility} over the Tent of Meeting, for guarding {the sanctity of} their priesthood, and of everything that pertains to the altar, and of everything beyond the [entrance] curtain {of the Tabernacle}; therefore, any lay-person who encroaches shall be put to death.”

 

The privileged status of the Levites

 

3:11 Again Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

3:12 [3:12a] “Now, behold, I hereby take the Levites from among the Israelites in lieu {of the service} of all the firstborn; their redemption payment shall be the first issue of the womb from among the Israelite [women].

3:13 [3:12b-13] In this way the Levites shall be Mine, for all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I set apart for Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine; I am Yahveh.”

 

God’s Instructions to record God’s Census of the Levites

 

3:14 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,

3:15 “Record {the numbers} of the sons of the Levites by their ancestral houses, according to their clans; every male from a month old and upward you shall record.”

3:16 So Mosheh and Aharon recorded them according to the {numbers} voiced by Yahveh, just as they had been commanded.

3:17 These then are the {ancestral houses of} the Levites by their names: Geirshōn, Qohāth and Mėrārī.

3:18 These are the names of the Geirshōnites according to their clans: Livnī and Shim`ī;

3:19 and the Qohāthites according to their clans: `Amrām and Yitzhār, Chevrōn and `Uzzi’eil;

3:20 and the Mėrārites according to their clans: Machlī and Mūshī. These are the clans of the Levites [recorded by] their ancestral houses.

 

The Geirshōnites pitch camp on the west side of the Tabernacle

 

3:21 To {the house of} Geirshōn [belonged] the clan of the Livnites and the clan of the Shimi`ites; these [were] the clans of the Geirshōnites.

3:22 Their enumerated men were listed according to every male from a month old and upward, [and the total of] those recorded [came to] 7,500.

3:23 The clans of the Geirshōnites were to pitch camp behind [the side of] the Tabernacle facing west,

3:24 and the chief of the ancestral house of the Geirshōnites [was] Elyāsāf son of Lā’eil.

3:25 Now the guard-duties of the Geirshōnites with regard to the Tabernacle compound {when it was being transported}, [were] the Tent of Meeting [itself] – the coverings of the Tent {and its ropes}, along with the curtain-screen for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting;

3:26 also the hangings of the court which surround the Tabernacle compound and the altar, along with the screen for the gateway of the court, its ropes, and all the various items pertaining to [the hangings].

 

The Qohāthites pitch camp on the south side of the Tabernacle

 

3:27 To {the house of} Qohāth [belonged] the clan of the `Amrāmites, the clan of the Yitzhārites, the clan of the Chevrōnites and the clan of the `Uzzi’eilites; these were [all] the clans of the Qohāthites.

3:28 Listing every male from a month old and upward, {there was a total of} eight thousand threehundred, performing guard duty over the most sacred items {of the sanctuary} {whenever it was transported}.

3:29 The clans of the Qohāthites were to pitch camp on the south-facing side of the Tabernacle compound,

3:30 and the chief of the ancestral houses of the Qohāthite clans [was] Elītsāfān son of `Uzzi’eil.

3:31 Now their guard duties [involved guarding] the ark, the table [of showbread], the menorah, the [two] altars, and [all] the accessories of the sanctuary with which [these items] were used; also the veil {of the Holy of Holies}, the laver and its base, and all the utensils pertaining to them;

3:32 and Elė`āzār son of Aharon the priest [was] the chieftain over [all] the clan chiefs of the Levites, and had oversight of all those who performed guard duty {over all} the most holy items {of the sanctuary}, {whenever they were being transported}.

 

The Mėrārites pitch camp on the north of the Tabernacle

 

3:33 To {the house of} Mėrārī [belonged] the clan of the Machlī’ites and the clan of the Mūshī’ites; these were the clans of the Mėrārites.

3:34 Listing every male from a month old and upward, {there was a total of} 6,200.

3:35 The chief of the ancestral houses of the clans of the Mėrārites [was] Tsūrī’eil son of Avīchāyil. They [were] to camp on the north-facing side of the Tabernacle.

3:36 Now the assigned duties of the Mėrārites [involved transporting] the upright boards, {base-beams and roof-beams} of the Tabernacle, its cross-poles, its curtain-posts, its {silver} mortise-holes, and all the equipment for them, {including that required} for their dismantling and re-assembly;

3:37 also the posts around the court with their sockets, their pegs and their ropes.

 

The Priests to pitch camp on the east side of the Tabernacle compound, by its entrance

 

3:38 Now those who were to pitch camp facing the Tabernacle on the east side, in front of the Tent of Meeting [facing] towards the sunrise, would be Mosheh and Aharon and his sons, performing the duties of the sanctuary as a duty on behalf of the Israelites; but any lay-person who encroached was to be put to death.

3:39 All the recorded men of the Levites, whom Mosheh and Aharon recorded by an oracle of Yahveh according to their clans, every male from a month old and upward, [totalled] 22,000.

 

The Levites are to be the redemption-payment for the Israelites

 

3:40 Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Take a reckoning of every firstborn male of the Israelites from a month old and upward, and make a list of their names.

3:41 You shall take the Levites for Me – [for] I am Yahveh – in lieu of all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in lieu of all the firstborn among the livestock of the Israelites.”

3:42 So Mosheh took a reckoning of all the firstborn among the Israelites, just as Yahveh had commanded him;

3:43 and all the firstborn males, listing them by their names, recorded from a month old and upward, {came to a total of} 22,273.

3:44 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

3:45 “Take the Levites in lieu of all the firstborn among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in lieu of their livestock; for the Levites shall be Mine; I am Yahveh.

3:46 As for the redemption-payment of the 273 of the firstborn of the Israelites who are in excess {of the total of} the Levites,

3:47 you shall take five shekels apiece, per head; you shall take {this payment weighed out} by the shekel of the sanctuary, this shekel being twenty geirāhs;

3:48 and give the silver – the redemption-payment of those who are in excess among them – to Aharon and to his sons.”

3:49 So Mosheh took the redemption-silver from those who were in excess, beyond those redeemed by the Levites;

3:50 from the firstborn of the Israelites he took the silver: 1,365 shekels {weighed out by the shekel} of the sanctuary.

3:51 Then Mosheh gave the redemption-silver to Aharon and to his sons, at the behest of Yahveh, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

Chapter 4: How the Tabernacle and the Compound are to be dismantled by the Priests and the Levite clans

 

The Porterage Duties of the Kohathites

 

4:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying,

4:2 “Take a [separate] census of those amongst the Levites who are the descendants of Qohāth – by their clans, according to their ancestral houses,

4:3 from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age – of everyone who qualifies to serve in the work-force, to carry out work in {the transport of} the Tent of Meeting.

4:4 This is the assigned responsibility of the Qohāthites regarding {the transport of} the Tent of Meeting: the most holy objects.

4:5 When the camp [is preparing to] set out, Aharon and his sons shall go in {to the Tent of Meeting}, and they shall take down the veil [which forms] the partition-screen, and they shall cover the Ark of the Testimony with it;

4:6 then they shall lay a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skins over it, and over that they shall spread a mantle entirely of tekhelet-blue, and then insert its carrying-poles.

4:7 Over the table of [the bread of] the Presence, they shall also spread a mantle of tekhelet-blue, and they shall put on it the platters, the trays, the offering-bowls and the libation-pitchers for the drink-offerings, and then the [loaves of] regular showbread shall be [placed] on it.

4:8 They shall spread over them [all] a covering of a mantle [made of] scarlet yarn, and cover the same with a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skin; and then they shall insert its carrying-poles.

4:9 Then they shall take a mantle of tekhelet-blue and cover the menorah [used] for the lighting, along with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its snuffers and all its vessels of oil – [everything]  with which they use to service it;

4:10 and they shall put it and all its accessories in a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skin, and then they shall put it on the carrying-board.

4:11 Over the golden [incense-]altar they shall spread a mantle of tekhelet-blue, and cover it with a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skins; then they shall insert its carrying-poles;

4:12 and they shall take all the [other] utensils of ministry, which they use to minister in the sanctuary, and put them [all] in a mantle of tekhelet-blue, and cover them with a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skins; then they shall put them on carrying-boards.

4:13 Then they shall remove the ashes from the altar {of burnt-offering}, and then put the covering on the altar, spreading over it a mantle of purple.

4:14 They shall also put onto it all its accessories which are used in ministry {at the altar}: the firepans, the flesh-hooks, the ash-shovels and the basins {for collecting blood} – all the accessories of the altar; and they shall spread out over it a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skins, and then insert its carrying-poles.

4:15 [SP & LXX 4:14b] Then they shall take [another] purple mantle, and they shall cover the laver and its base, and they shall put it into a covering of jacinth-orange suede-skin, and then they shall put it onto a carrying-frame.

4:16 [4:15] When the camp is about to set out, once Aharon and his sons have finished covering the holy [objects] and all the accessories of the holy [objects], only then shall the Qohāthites come [forward] to carry [them], but they must not touch the holy [objects] themselves, in case they die. These are the things from the Tent of Meeting which the Qohāthites are to carry.

4:17 [4:16] The [assigned] responsibility of Elė`āzār son of Aharon the [High] Priest is {to scrupulously oversee porterage of} the oil for the lighting, the fragrant incense, the regular grain-offering and the anointing oil; {he shall have} oversight {over the porterage of} the whole Tabernacle and of everything that is in it, [including] the holy [objects] and their accessories.”

 

How to ensure that the Kohathites do not die by setting sight on the Most Holy Objects

 

4:18 [4:17] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying,

4:19 [4:18] “Do not let the tribal clans of the Qohāthites be cut off from among the Levites.

4:20 [4:19] Rather do this for them, so that they may live and not die when they approach the most sacred [objects]: Aharon and his sons shall go in themselves, and assign each of them to their task and to their porterage.

4:21 [4:20] However, they must not go in and catch sight of the holy [objects] as they are being covered – even for a moment – or they will die.”

 

The Packing and Porterage Duties of the Geirshōnites

 

4:22 [4:21] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

4:23 [4:22] “Take a census of the Geirshōnites according to their ancestral houses as well, and by their clans;

4:24 [4:23] from thirty years and upward to fifty years of age, you shall carry out a reckoning of them – of everyone who qualifies to serve in the workforce, to carry out work in {the porterage of} the Tent of Meeting.

4:25 [4:24] This is the [assigned] work of the Geirshōnite clans, with regard to their packing and porterage [duties]:

4:26 [4:25] they shall transport the curtains of the Tabernacle, and the Tent of Meeting [with] its coverings – including the covering of jacinth-orange suede-skin that is on the very top of it, and the screen for the entrance of the Tent of Meeting;

4:27 [4:26] also the hangings of the court all around, together with their ropes and all their work tools; also the screen for the entrance of the gateway of the court, which is facing the Tabernacle and the altar. All the removal work that is to be done, they shall perform.

4:28 [4:27] All the [removal] work of the sons of the Geirshōnites, with regard to their packing and porterage [duties], shall be {performed} under the direct command of Aharon and his sons; you shall make them responsible for guarding all their porterage.

4:29 [4:28] This is the [removal] work of the clans of the sons of the Geirshōnites with regard to the Tent of Meeting; and their guard duties [shall be] under the direct authority of Īthāmār son of Aharon the [High] Priest.

 

The Packing and Porterage Duties of the Mėrārites

 

4:30 [4:29] “[As for] the sons of Mėrārī, you shall carry out a reckoning of them by their clans, according to their ancestral houses;

4:31 [4:30] from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age, you shall carry out a reckoning of them – of everyone who qualifies to serve in the workforce, to carry out the removal work of the Tent of Meeting.

4:32 [4:31] Now these are their [assigned] guard duties, inclusive of their packing {and porterage duties} for the Tent of Meeting: the boards {and beams} of the Tabernacle together with their {silver} mortise-holes; its cross-bars and its curtain-pillars;

4:33 [4:32] also the posts around the court with their sockets, their pegs and their ropes; also the posts of the entrance curtain of the court, with their sockets, their pegs and their ropes; also all their work tools; and you shall label by name the objects they are to carry.

4:34 [4:33] This is the [removal] work of the clans of the sons of Mėrārī, according to all their porterage for the Tent of Meeting; and their guard duties [shall be] under the direct authority of Īthāmār son of Aharon the [High] Priest.”

 

Chapter 5: The Census of the Levites, and the Removal from the Camp of everything ritually unclean

 

The Final Census of the Levites

 

5:1 [4:34] {In accordance with the commandment of Yahveh,} Mosheh and Aharon and the leaders of the congregation then took a reckoning of the sons of the Qohāthites, according to their clans and by their ancestral houses,

5:2 [4:35] from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age, everyone who entered the workforce to carry out the removal {and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting.

5:3 [4:36] Their enumerated men according to their clans were 2,750.

5:4 [4:37] These are the enumerated men of the Qohāthite clans, everyone who carried out the removal {and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting, whom Mosheh and Aharon enumerated according to the commandment of Yahveh through Mosheh.

5:5 [4:38] The enumerated men of the Geirshōnites according to their clans and by their ancestral houses,

5:6 [4:39] from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age, everyone who carried out the removal {and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting.

5:7 [4:40] Their enumerated men according to their clans, by their ancestral houses, were 2,630.

5:8 [4:41] These are the enumerated men of the clans of the Geirshōnites, everyone who carried out the removal {and porterage} work of in the Tent of Meeting, whom Mosheh and Aharon numbered according to the commandment of Yahveh.

5:9 [4:42] The enumerated men of the clans of the sons of Mėrārī according to their clans, by their ancestral houses,

5:10 [4:43] from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age, everyone who carried out the removal {and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting.

5:11 [4:44] Their enumerated men according to their clans were 3,200.

5:12 [4:45] These are the enumerated men of the clans of the sons of Mėrārī, whom Mosheh and Aharon enumerated according to the commandment of Yahveh through Mosheh.

5:13 [4:46] All the enumerated men of the Levites, whom Mosheh and Aharon and the leaders of Israel enumerated, according to their clans and by their ancestral houses,

5:14 [4:47] from thirty years and upward, right up to fifty years of age, everyone who could enter {the workforce} to do the removal work and the porterage work of the Tent of Meeting.

5:15 [4:48] Their enumerated men were 8,580.

5:16 [4:49] According to the commandment of Yahveh through Mosheh, so they were enumerated – everyone by his removal work and porterage; so {these were the results of the counts of} his enumerated men, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

The Ritually Unclean to be removed to dwell outside the Camp

 

5:17 [5:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

5:18 [5:2] “Give strict instructions to the Israelites, that they send away from the camp every person infected with a skin disease, and everyone who has a bodily discharge, and everyone who has become ritually unclean [through contact] with a [dead] person.

5:19 [5:3] You shall send away both male and female alike; you shall send them outside the camp, so that they do not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst.”

5:20 [5:4] The Israelites did so, sending [these people] outside the camp; just as Yahveh had proclaimed to Mosheh, so the Israelites did.

 

Restitution payments in the cases of fraud and misappropriation

 

5:21 [5:5] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

5:22 [5:6] “Speak to the Israelites and say, ‘When any man or woman commits any of the sins of {fraud or misappropriation} [against] a fellow human being, {but denies it under solemn oath}, so betraying the trust of Yahveh,

5:23 [5:6b-7a] then when that person succumbs to his guilt, he shall declare his sins which he has committed {to the person he has wronged}.

5:24 [5:7b] For his sin-guilt, he shall make restitution in full for [the amount that he has defrauded or misappropriated], and add to it one-fifth of it, and give [it] to him whom he has wronged.

5:25 [5:8] However, if the wronged person {is dead, and} has no relative to whom restitution may be given for his sin-guilt, the restitution which is made for the wrong [must go] to Yahveh for the priest, in addition to the ram of expiation, by which expiation is made for him.

 

The dedicated Gift-offerings belong to the Priest through whom they are offered

 

5:26 [5:9] So too, with regard to the sacred gift-offerings which the Israelites offer, {the food-offerings} shall belong to the priest {of their choice}.

5:27 [5:10] Thus every [recipient] shall retain his dedicated gift-offerings; whatever [food-offerings] a man gives to each priest shall become his.’”

 

Chapter 6: The Ritual in Cases of a Wife’s suspected Infidelity

 

6:1 [5.11] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

6:2 [5:12] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and betrays his trust,

6:3 [5:13] and another man beds her and impregnates her, and [the fact] remains hidden from the eyes of her husband, and her defilement goes undetected, since there is no witness against her, and she has not been caught in the act;

6:4 [5:14] then if a spirit of jealousy comes over [her husband] and he becomes jealous of his wife, suspecting she may have defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he becomes worked up over his wife even though she has not defiled herself,

6:5 [5:15a] then the husband shall bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring one-tenth of an eifah of wheat flour or barley flour [as] an offering for her.

6:6 [5:15b] He shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense on it, for it is a grain-offering of jealousy, a grain-offering of remembrance – a reminder of iniquity.

6:7 [5:16] Then the priest shall bring her near, and have her stand in the presence of Yahveh,

6:8 [5:17] and the priest shall take holy water in an earthenware vessel; and he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the Tabernacle of Witness, and put [it] into the water.

6:9 [5:18] The priest shall then have the woman stand in the presence of Yahveh, and uncover the woman’s head, and place the grain-offering of remembrance in her hands, which is the grain-offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest shall be the convicting water that brings about the curse {of miscarriage and barrenness}.

6:10 [5:19] The priest shall then have her take an oath and shall say to the woman, “If no {other} man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray and become defiled [in infidelity to] your husband, be immune to this convicting water that brings about {the twofold} curse.

6:11 [5:20] If you, however, have gone astray [in infidelity to] your husband, and if you have defiled yourself, and a man other than your husband has impregnated you”;

6:12 [5:21a] here the priest shall administer the oath of the curse to the woman, and the priest shall go on to say to the woman,

6:13 [5:21b] “May Yahveh make you a curse and a swear-word among your people, by Yahveh making your womb miscarry {and thereafter becoming barren}, and making your abdomen swell;

6:14 [5:22] and this water which brings about {the twofold} curse shall go into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your womb miscarry {and become barren}.” And the woman shall say, “Amein! Amein!”

6:15 [5:23] The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the convicting water that brings about the {twofold} curse.

6:16 [5:24] Then he shall make the woman drink the convicting water that brings about {the twofold} curse, so that the water which brings about {the twofold} curse will go into her to convict{her}.

6:17 [5:25] The priest shall take the grain-offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain-offering in the presence of Yahveh and bring it to the altar;

6:18 [5:26] and the priest shall take a handful of the grain-offering as his token portion, and offer [it] up in burning smoke on the altar, and afterward he shall make the woman drink the water.

6:19 [5:27a] When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that if she has [indeed] defiled herself, and has betrayed her husband’s trust, that the water which brings about {the twofold} curse will go into her to convict {her}.

6:20 [5:27b] Then her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry {and thereafter become barren}, and so the woman will become a curse {and a swear-word} among her people.

6:21 [5:28] But if the woman has not defiled herself and is innocent, she will then be free {of the curse}, and will go on to conceive children.

6:22 [5:29] This is the law of jealousy: when a wife, [being] married to her husband, nevertheless goes astray and so defiles herself;

6:23 [5:30] or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he becomes worked up over his wife, he shall then make the woman stand before Yahveh, and the priest shall make her undergo this whole ritual.

6:24 [5:31] However, if the man is free from iniquity, {and the wife is actually guilty}, then that woman shall suffer her punishment {from God}.”

 

Chapter 7: The Nazirite Vow: Basic Obligations

 

7:1 [6:1] Again Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

7:2 [6:2] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When a man or woman makes a special vow – the vow of a Nazirite – to dedicate him- {or her-}self to Yahveh,

7:3 [6:3] they shall abstain from wine and grape-brandy; they shall drink no vinegar, [whether made from] wine or grape-brandy, nor shall they drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh or dried grapes.

7:4 [6:4] During all the days of their Naziritehood, they shall not eat anything that comes from the produce of the grape vine – not even [anything derived from] the seeds or the grape skins.

7:5 [6:5a] During all the days of their vow of consecrated separation, no cutting implement shall pass over their head until the period is completed;

7:6 [6:5b] for that which they [have vowed to] consecrate to Yahveh shall be holy; therefore they shall let the locks of hair on their head grow long.

7:7 [6:6] {In addition}, for all the days of their consecrated separation to Yahveh, they shall not go anywhere near a dead person.

7:8 [6:7] They shall not make themselves [ritually] unclean [even] for their father or their mother, their brother or their sister, when they die, because the consecrated crown of their Naziritehood to their God is on their head.

7:9 [6:8] During all the days of their Naziritehood, they are to be holy to Yahveh.

 

The Purification Process for when a Nazirite comes into contact with a dead body

 

7:10 [6:9] However, if a person dies very suddenly beside them, and thereby their consecrated head {of hair} becomes [ritually] defiled, then they shall shave their [entire] head on the day of their [ritual] purification; they shall shave it on the seventh day.

7:11 [6:10] Then on the eighth day, they shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

7:12 [6:11a] The priest shall offer up one for a sin-offering, and the other for a [whole] burnt-offering, and so make expiation for [that Nazirite] with regard to their [unintentional] misstep, {which resulted from contact with} the [dead] person.

7:13 [6:11b-6:12a] And on that same day they shall re-sanctify their head, and shall re-consecrate to Yahveh their [term] as a Nazirite; they shall therefore bring a male lamb a year old as a guilt-offering.

7:14 [6:12b] However, the previous days {before their contact with the dead person} will be void {and not count}, because the crown of their Naziritehood was defiled.

 

The Ritual for the Completion of the Period of a Nazirite Vow

 

7:15 [6:13] Now this is the ritual for the Nazirite when their [time] of consecrated separation is completed: they shall bring [all the relevant offerings] to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

7:16 [6:14] As their offerings to Yahveh, [the Nazirite] shall present: one male lamb a year old without defect as a [whole] burnt-offering, one ewe-lamb a year old without defect as a sin-offering, and one [adult] ram without defect as a fellowship-offering;

7:17 [6:15] also a basket of unleavened cakes of fine [semolina-]flour mixed with oil, and unleavened wafers spread with oil, along with their [corresponding] grain-offerings and drink-offerings.

7:18 [6:16] Then the priest shall present {them all} before Yahveh. He shall [first] offer up [the Nazirite’s] sin-offering and burnt-offering.

7:19 [6:17] He shall then offer up the [adult] ram as a sacrifice of fellowship-offering to Yahveh, together with the basket of unleavened cakes; the priest shall likewise offer its grain-offering and its drink-offering.

7:20 [6:18a] The Nazirite shall then shave their consecrated head {of hair} at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting;

7:21 [6:18b] then they shall take the consecrated hair of their head, and put {it} on the fire which [is burning] under the sacrifice of fellowship-offering.

7:22 [6:19] The priest shall then take the ram’s shoulder {once it has been} broiled, and one unleavened cake out of the basket and one unleavened wafer, and shall put {them} on the hands of the Nazirite after they have shaved their consecrated crown {of hair}.

7:23 [6:20a] Then the priest shall wave them as a wave-offering in the presence of Yahveh. It will be a holy {portion} for the priest, together with the breast offered as a wave-offering, and the thigh offered as a gift-offering.

7:24 [6:20b] [Only] after [this ritual] may the Nazirite drink wine [again].

Fulfilling additional personal vows as a Nazirite

 

7:25 [6:21] These are the obligations of the Nazirite; except the one who vows an offering to Yahveh of whatever their means will allow, over and above the [normal] nazirite requirements, must fulfil the exact {sworn conditions of} [the] {personal} vow which they have made, beyond their [normal] obligations as a Nazirite.’”

Notes:

7:3‘grape-brandy’ (Hebrew: sheikhar). This is normally translated as ‘strong drink’, but it has to be something made only from grapes, since the whole vow of abstention is focussed on ‘the fruit of the vine’. Some exegetes have interpreted this word as something called ‘grappa’ – a strong brandy distilled from grape-mash – the fermented residue of grapes, after they have been pressed in winemaking.

7:8because the consecrated crown of their Naziritehood to their God is on their head’ – this is my attempt to incorporate a play on words that appears in the Hebrew. The Hebrew literally says, ‘for the crown/naziritehood of his God is on his head’. The word nezer can be interpreted both as ‘a consecrated crown’ and as ‘Naziritehood’ (similarly at the end of 7:14).

Chapter 8: The Initiation-Offerings for the Altar

 

The Priestly Blessing upon the Israelites

 

8:1 [6:22] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

8:2 [6:23] “Speak to Aharon and to his sons, saying, ‘You shall bless the Israelites in this way – you shall say to them:

8:3 [6:24] May YHVH bless you and watch over you;

8:4 [6:25] May YHVH deal favourably with you and be gracious to you;

8:5 [6:26] May YHVH turn good fortune towards you and grant you peace.’

8:6 [6:27] In this way, they shall set My Name upon the Israelites, and I will truly bless them.”

 

The Offerings of all the Tribal Chieftains

 

8:7 [7:1] Now it so happened when Mosheh had finished setting up the Tabernacle, that he had anointed it and consecrated it {over the course of seven days}, together with all its furnishings, the altar and all its utensils; he had anointed them and consecrated them as well.

8:8 [7:2] So now, the chieftains of Israel – these were the chieftains of the tribes, the twelve heads of [all] the ancestral houses who would [later] preside {as captains} over the enumerated men – presented offerings.

8:9 [7:3] When they brought their offerings before Yahveh – six covered waggons and twelve oxen, a waggon for every two of the chieftains, and an ox for each one – they presented them in front of the Tabernacle, {at the entrance to the compound}.

8:10 [7:4] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

8:11 [7:5] “Accept {these waggons and oxen} from them, because they will be used in the transport-work of the Tent of Meeting; and you shall give them to the Levites, {to} each man according to his porterage duties.”

8:12 [7:6] So Mosheh accepted the waggons and the oxen, and {later} gave them to the Levites.

8:13 [7:7] Two waggons and four oxen he would give to the Geirshōnites, according to their porterage duties,

8:14 [7:8] and four waggons and eight oxen he would give to the Mėrārites, according to their porterage duties, supervised by Īthāmār son of Aharon the [High] Priest.

8:15 [7:9] However, he did not give {any waggons or oxen} to the Qohāthites, because their porterage duties would be the transport of the most sacred [furnishings], [which] they would carry {with poles} on their shoulders.

8:16 [7:10a] The leaders then presented the initiation-offerings for the altar, since it had been anointed {and consecrated}.

8:17 [7:10b-11] As the leaders were presenting their offerings before the altar, Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Let them present their offerings, one leader each day, for the initiation of the altar.”

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Yėhūdhāh on the first day

 

8:18 [7:12] Now the one who presented his offerings on the first day was Nachshōn son of Ammīnādhāv, chieftain of the tribe of Yėhūdhāh;

8:19 [7:13] and his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:20 [7:14] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:21 [7:15] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:22 [7:16] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:23 [7:17a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:24 [7:17b] These were the offerings of Nachshōn son of Ammīnādhāv.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Yiśśākhār on the second day

 

8:25 [7:18] On the second day Nėthanė’eil son of Tsū`ār, chieftain of the tribe of Yiśśākhār, presented {his offerings};

8:26 [7:19] he presented as his offerings one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:27 [7:20] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:28 [7:21] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:29 [7:22] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:30 [7:23a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:31 [7:23b] These were the offerings of Nėthanė’eil son of Tsū`ār.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Zėvūlun on the third day

 

8:32 [7:24] On the third day {it was} Elī’āv son of Cheilon, chieftain of the Zėvūlunites;

8:33 [7:25] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:34 [7:26] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:35 [7:27] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:36 [7:28] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:37 [7:29a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:38 [7:29b] These were the offerings of Elī’āv son of Cheilon.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Rė’ūvein on the fourth day

 

8:39 [7:30] On the fourth day {it was} Elītsūr son of Shėdey’ūr, chieftain of the Rė’ūveinites;

8:40 [7:31] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:41 [7:32] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:42 [7:33] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:43 [7:34] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:44 [7:35a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:45 [7:35b] These were the offerings of Elītsūr son of Shėdey’ūr.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Shim`on on the fifth day

 

8:46 [7:36] On the fifth day {it was} Shėlumī’eil son of Tsūrīshaddāy, chieftain of the Shim`onites;

8:47 [7:37] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:48 [7:38] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:49 [7:39] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:50 [7:40] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:51 [7:41a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:52 [7:41b] These were the offerings of Shėlumī’eil son of Tsūrīshaddāy.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Gād on the sixth day

 

8:53 [7:42] On the sixth day {it was} Elyāsāf son of Dė`ū’eil, chieftain of the Gādites;

8:54 [7:43] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:55 [7:44] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:56 [7:45] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:57 [7:46] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:58 [7:47a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:59 [7:47b] These were the offerings of Elyāsāf son of Dė`ū’eil.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Efráyim on the seventh day

 

8:60 [7:48] On the seventh day it was Elīshāmā` son of `Ammīhūdh, chieftain of the Efráyimites;

8:61 [7:49] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:62 [7:50] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:63 [7:51] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:64 [7:52] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:65 [7:53a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:66 [7:53b] These were the offerings of Elīshāmā` son of `Ammīhūdh.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Manasseh on the eighth day

 

8:67 [7:54] On the eighth day {it was} Gamėlī’eil son of Pėdāh-tsūr, chieftain of the Manassaites;

8:68 [7:55] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:69 [7:56] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:70 [7:57] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:71 [7:58] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:72 [7:59a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:73 [7:59b] These were the offerings of Gamėlī’eil son of Pėdāh-tsūr.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Binyāmin on the ninth day

 

8:74 [7:60] On the ninth day {it was} Avīdhān son of Gidhė`onī, chieftain of the Binyāminites;

8:75 [7:61] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:76 [7:62] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:77 [7:63] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:78 [7:64] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:79 [7:65a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:80 [7:65b] These were the offerings of Avīdhān son of Gidhė`onī.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Dān on the tenth day

 

8:81 [7:66] On the tenth day {it was} Achī`ezer son of Ammīshaddāy, chieftain of the Dānites;

8:82 [7:67] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:83 [7:68] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:84 [7:69] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:85 [7:70] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:86 [7:71a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:87 [7:71b] These were the offerings of Achī`ezer son of Ammīshaddāy.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Āsheir on the eleventh day

 

8:88 [7:72] On the eleventh day {it was} Pag`ī’eil son of Okhrān, chieftain of the Āsheirites;

8:89 [7:73] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:90 [7:74] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:91 [7:75] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:92 [7:76] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:93 [7:77a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:94 [7:77b] These were the offerings of Pag`ī’eil son of Okhrān.

 

The Offerings of the Chieftain of the Tribe of Naftālī on the twelfth day

 

8:95 [7:78] On the twelfth day {it was} Achīra` son of `Eynān, chieftain of the Naftālites;

8:96 [7:79] his offerings were one silver platter of a hundred and thirty {sheqels} in weight, one silver bowl of seventy sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine {semolina-}flour mixed with oil for the grain-offerings;

8:97 [7:80] one gold firepan of ten {sheqels in weight}, full of incense;

8:98 [7:81] one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb one year old for the [whole] burnt-offerings;

8:99 [7:82] one domestic male goat for the sin-offerings;

8:100 [7:83a] and for the fellowship-offering sacrifices, two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs one year old.

8:101 [7:83b] These were the offerings of Achīra` son of `Eynān.

 

A Summary of the Initiation-Offerings of the Twelve Tribal Chieftains

 

8:102 [7:84] These were the initiation-offerings for the altar from the chieftains of Israel once it had been anointed: twelve silver platters, twelve silver bowls, and twelve gold firepans.

8:103 [7:85] Each silver platter was one hundred and thirty {sheqels in weight}, and each bowl was seventy {sheqels}; {the total of} all the silver of [these] items {was} two thousand four hundred {sheqels}, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary;

8:104 [7:86] the twelve gold firepans, {before being} filled with incense, {weighed} ten {sheqels} apiece, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary; {the total of} all the gold of the firepans {was} a hundred and twenty {sheqels}.

8:105 [7:87] {These are the totals} for the burnt-offerings: all the oxen – twelve bulls; {all} the rams – twelve; {all} the male lambs one year old with their grain-offerings – twelve; and {all} the male goats for a sin-offering – twelve.

8:106 [7:88a] {These are the totals} for the fellowship-offering sacrifices: all the oxen – twenty-four bulls; {all} the rams – sixty; {all} the male goats – sixty; {all} the male lambs one year old – sixty.

8:107 [7:88b] These were the initiation-offerings [donated] for the altar after it had been anointed and consecrated.

8:108 [7:89] Then Mosheh went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with [God], and he heard the voice {of God} as it conversed with him from above the mercy seat that was on the Ark of the Testimony; {it was} from between the two kheruv-angels that [God] spoke with him.

 

Notes:

              This chapter is a step back in time. Everything we have had thus far has taken place after the 1st of the Second-Month; we now go back to the 1st day of the First-Month of the 2nd year after the Exodus (1st of Nisan, Year 2). Mosheh has just completed the anointing and consecration of the Tabernacle and all its furnishings. The tribal chieftains – who would eventually be enlisted as captains to preside over the enumerated men of Israel – now present their initiation-offerings for the altar. This may seem to us today like a long and boringly repetitive list, but in ancient times, it would have been a source of great pride for each tribe to hear of their own tribe’s offerings, as it came round to be mentioned in this long litany.

               So this is the timetable of what took place:

23rd Adar, Year 1: Commencment of the 7-day anointing and consecration process

29th Adar, Year 1: Completion of the 7-day anointing and consecration process

1st Nisan, Year 2: Dedication of the Tabernacle and Altar on the 8th day

               On the same day, the 12 tribal chieftains begin

                      bringing their initiation-offerings, one per day

               There is at least one Sabbath, so no offerings would have been brought.

13th Nisan, Year 2: The 12th and last offerings are brought by the chieftain of Naftali.

14th Nisan, Year 2: 2nd Passover-sacrifice celebrated

1st Iyyar, Year 2: God gives instructions to take a census (Num 1:1-2)

Chapter 9: The Mounting of the Lamps on the Menorah

 

9:1 [8:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

9:2 [8:2] “Speak to Aharon and say to him, ‘When you mount the lamps, the seven lamps {must be positioned so that} they cast [their] light [towards] the front of the menorah.’”

9:3 [8:3] Aharon therefore did so; he mounted its lamps [facing] the front of the menorah, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

9:4 [8:4] Now this was the carefully crafted appearance of the menorah: {it was} a [single] hammered work of gold. From its legs to its {uppermost} flowers it was [a single] hammered work. According to the pattern which Yahveh had shown to Mosheh {in a vision}, thus the menorah had been made.

 

The Purification of the Levite Workforce

 

9:5 [8:5] Again Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

9:6 [8:6] “Take the Levites from among the Israelites and have them cleansed.

9:7 [8:7] This is what you shall do to them, in order to cleanse them: {first} you shall sprinkle the water of {the ashes of} purification on them, and then have them go over their whole body with a razor; {lastly}, have them wash their clothes, and then they will be clean.

9:8 [8:8] Then have them take a young domestic bull with its grain-offering – fine [semolina-]flour mixed with oil; and a second bull you shall take as a sin-offering.

9:9 [8:9a] {This is what you will do when} you present the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting:

9:10 [8:9b-10] You shall assemble the whole congregation of the Israelites, and bring the Levites forward into the presence of Yahveh; then {the chieftains of} the Israelites shall lay their {right} hands upon the Levites.

9:11 [8:11] Aharon shall then present the Levites before Yahveh as a wave-offering from the Israelites, so that they may qualify to perform the removal work for Yahveh.

9:12 [8:12] Now the Levites shall lay their {right} hands on the heads of the bulls {to set them apart as offerings}; one shall be offered to Yahveh as a sin-offering, and the other one as a whole burnt-offering, as a ransom-payment on behalf of the Levites.

9:13 [8:13] In this way you shall make the Levites subordinate to Aharon and his sons, and so designate them as a wave-offering in the presence of Yahveh.

9:14 [8:14] Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites shall become Mine.

9:15 [8:15] Thereafter the Levites will be qualified to perform the [porterage] work of the Tent of Meeting, once you have cleansed them and presented them as a wave-offering;

9:16 [8:16a] for they are hereby formally assigned to Me from among the Israelites.

 

The reason why the Levites have been set apart

 

9:17 [8:16b] I have taken them for Myself in place of every first issue of the womb – {in place of} the firstborn of all the Israelites.

9:18 [8:17] For every firstborn among the Israelites is Mine, among both men and beasts; for on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them for Myself.

9:19 [8:18] However, now I take the Levites instead of every firstborn among the Israelites.

9:20 [8:19] From among the Israelites, I formally assign the Levites to Aharon and to his sons, to perform the service {on behalf} of the Israelites at the Tent of Meeting, and as a ransom-payment on behalf of the Israelites, so that there will be no plague among the Israelites, in the event that they come too close to the most sacred [objects] {when they are being transported}.”

9:21 [8:20] This is what Mosheh and Aharon and the whole congregation of the Israelites did to the Levites; in accordance with everything that Yahveh had commanded Mosheh concerning the Levites, so the Israelites did to them.

9:22 [8:21] The Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; and Aharon designated them as a wave-offering in the presence of Yahveh. Aharon also made expiation for them to cleanse them.

9:23 [8:22] Thereafter, the Levites were qualified to perform their porterage duties of the Tent of Meeting, [under the supervision of] Aharon and his sons; just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh concerning {the purification rituals for} the Levites, so it was done to them.

 

The Age-limits on Levitical Service

 

9:24 [8:23] Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

9:25 [8:24] “This {is the rule} that {applies} to the Levites: from twenty-five years of age and upward, they shall participate in the workforce in the {removal and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting.

9:26 [8:25] However, at the age of fifty years they shall retire from the workforce, and shall serve no more.

9:27 [8:26] They may, however, assist their brother {Levites} in the Tent of Meeting by standing guard, but they {themselves} shall perform no removal labour. This is how you shall utilise the Levites with regard to their duties.”

 

Chapter 10: The Passover in the second Year

 

10:1 [9:1] Yahveh had spoken to Mosheh in the wilderness of Sinai, on the first New Moon of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,

10:2 [9:2] “Now, let the Israelites offer the passover-sacrifice at its appointed time.

10:3 [9:3] On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall offer it at its appointed time; you shall offer it in accordance with all its rules and rituals.”

10:4 [9:4] Accordingly, Mosheh told the Israelites to offer the passover-sacrifice.

10:5 [9:5] They offered the passover-sacrifice in the first {month}, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to everything that Yahveh had commanded Mosheh, so the Israelites did.

 

Provisions for a second Passover for those who are ritually unclean

 

10:6 [9:6a] But there were {some} men who {had become} [ritually] unclean through contact with a {dead} person, so that they could not offer the passover-sacrifice on that day.

10:7 [9:6a-7] So they came before Mosheh and Aharon on that day, and these men said to [Mosheh], “{Even though} we have become [ritually] unclean because of [contact with] a dead person, why must we be disbarred from presenting the offering of Yahveh at its appointed time with the rest of the Israelites?”

10:8 [9:8] Mosheh therefore said to them, “Wait [here], and let me find out what instructions Yahveh might give concerning you.”

10:9 [9:9] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

10:10 [9:10] “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘If any one of you, or any of your descendants [after you], becomes [ritually] unclean because of {contact with} a {dead} person, or is on a distant journey, he may yet still offer a passover-sacrifice to Yahveh.

10:11 [9:11] In the second month, on the fourteenth day {of the month} at twilight, they shall offer it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

10:12 [9:12] They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break any bone of it; they shall offer it in accordance with all the rules of the passover-sacrifice.

10:13 [9:13] However, the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet still neglects to offer the [first] passover-sacrifice, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the sacrificial offering to Yahveh at its appointed time {in the First-Month}. That man will be responsible for {the consequences of} his own sin.

10:14 [9:14] Now, if a foreigner sojourns among you, and [wishes to] offer a passover-sacrifice to Yahveh according to the rules and rituals of the passover-sacrifice, then let him do so; you shall have one rule, for both the alien and for the native-born of the Land.’

 

The Cloud of God’s Presence over the Tabernacle

 

10:15 [9:15] Now on the day that the Tabernacle was erected, the cloud covered the Tabernacle – the Tent of the Testimony; and in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the Tabernacle, {which remained there} until morning.

10:16 [9:16] This is how it always was: the cloud would cover it {by day}, and the appearance of fire {would cover it} by night.

10:17 [9:17] Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, afterwards the Israelites would then set out; and in the place wherever the cloud settled, there the Israelites would make camp.

10:18 [9:18] {In other words}, at the command of Yahveh the Israelites would set out, and at the command of Yahveh they would make camp; as long as the cloud was settled over the Tabernacle, they remained encamped.

10:19 [9:19] Even when the cloud lingered over the Tabernacle for many days, the Israelites would still keep Yahveh’s charge and not set out.

10:20 [9:20] At such times as the cloud remained but a few days over the Tabernacle, they remained encamped, according to the command of Yahveh. Then, according to the command of Yahveh they set out.

10:21 [9:21] And at such times as the cloud remained only from evening until morning, then when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or {if it remained} only in the day-time or night-time hours, then whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out.

10:22 [9:22] {Regardless of} whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the Tabernacle, staying above it, the Israelites remained encamped and did not set out; but whenever it was lifted, they did set out.

10:23 [9:23] At the command of Yahveh they made camp, and at the command of Yahveh they broke camp – they [always] kept Yahveh’s charge; according to the command of Yahveh through Mosheh, {so the Israelites did}.

 

Chapter 11: The Silver Trumpets

 

11:1 [10:1] Yahveh spoke further to Mosheh, saying,

11:2 [10:2] “Make yourself two trumpets of silver; of hammered work you shall make them. They are to be used for summoning the congregation, and for having the camps set out.

11:3 [10:3] When both are blown [in long blasts], the whole congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

11:4 [10:4] But if [only] one [trumpet] is blown, then the chieftains – the [captains] of the divisions of Israel – shall assemble before you.

11:5 [10:5] However, when you sound short stuttered blasts, [first] the camps that are pitched on the east side shall set out.

11:6 {And the Levites who transport the Tabernacle will follow them.}

11:7 [10:6a] When you sound short stuttered blasts the second time, the camps that are pitched on the south side shall set out.

11:8 {And the Levites who carry the most sacred furnishings shall follow them.}

11:9 [LXX 10:6b] When you sound short stuttered blasts a third time, the camps that are pitched on the west side shall set out.

11:10 [LXX 10:6c] When you sound short stuttered blasts a fourth time, the camps that are pitched on the north side shall set out;

11:11 [10:6b-7] Short stuttered blasts are to be sounded for them to set out. However, when convening the assembly, you shall blow long blasts, not short stuttered ones.

11:12 [10:8] The priestly sons of Aharon, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

11:13 [10:9] When you go to war in your land against an aggressor who attacks you, then you shall sound short stuttered blasts with the trumpets, that you may be remembered in the presence of Yahveh your God, and be saved from your enemies.

11:14 [10:10] Also, on the days of your rejoicing and on your appointed feasts, and on the first {days} of your months, you shall sound the [full] trumpet [service] over your burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifices of your fellowship-offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you in the presence of your God. I am Yahveh your God.”

 

The Order of the March of Israel’s Divisions

 

11:15 [10:11] Now in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth {day} of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the Tabernacle of the testimony;

11:16 [10:12] and the Israelites set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Pārān.

11:17 [10:13] So they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of Yahveh through Mosheh.

11:18 [10:14] The standard of the camp of the sons of Yėhūdhāh, according to their divisions, set out first, with Nachshōn son of Ammīnādhāv over its army,

11:19 [10:15] and Nėthanė’eil son of Tsū`ār, over the tribal army of the sons of Yiśśākhār;

11:20 [10:16] and Elī’āv son of Cheilon over the tribal army of the sons of Zėvūlun.

11:21 [10:17] Then the Tabernacle was taken down; and the Geirshōnites and the sons of Mėrārī, who were carrying {the components of} the Tabernacle, set out.

11:22 [10:18] Next the standard of the camp of Rė’ūvein, according to their divisions, set out, with Elītsūr son of Shėdey’ūr over its army,

11:23 [10:19] and Shėlumī’eil son of Tsūrīshaddāy over the tribal army of the sons of Shim`on,

11:24 [10:20] and Elyāsāf son of Dė`ū’eil was over the tribal army of the sons of Gādh.

11:25 [10:21] Then the Qohāthites set out, carrying the most sacred [furnishings]; and the Tabernacle was set up before their arrival.

11:26 [10:22] Next the standard of the camp of the sons of Efráyim, according to their divisions, set out, with Elīshāmā` son of `Ammīhūdh over its army,

11:27 [10:23] and Gamėlī’eil son of Pėdāh-tsūr over the tribal army of the sons of Manasseh;

11:28 [10:24] and Avīdhān son of Gidhė`onī over the tribal army of the sons of Binyāmin.

11:29 [10:25] Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dān, according to their divisions, which formed the rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Achī`ezer son of Ammīshaddāy over its army,

11:30 [10:26] and Pag`ī’eil son of Okhrān over the tribal army of the sons of Āsheir;

11:31 [10:27] and Achīra` son of `Eynān over the tribal army of the sons of Naftālī.

11:32 [10:28] This was the order of march of the Israelites by their divisions as they set out.

 

Mosheh’s Proposal to Chovāv his Brother-in-Law

 

11:33 [10:29] Then Mosheh said to Chovāv son of Rė`ū’eil the Midianite, Mosheh’s father-in-law, “We are setting out to the place of which Yahveh said, ‘I will give it to you’; come with us and we will be generous with you, for Yahveh has promised to be generous with Israel.”

11:34 [10:30] But [Chovāv] said to him, “I will not come, but rather I will go to my [own] land and relatives.”

11:35 [10:31] Then [Mosheh] said, “Please do not leave us, since {in the past} you knew where we could camp in the wilderness, and you acted as our guide.

11:36 [10:32] So {in reward}, if you do go with us, we will extend to you the same bounty {in the Land} that Yahveh grants to us.”

11:37 {Thereupon Chovāv agreed to go with the Israelites, and to settle among them in the Land.}

 

The Camp sets out

 

11:38 [10:33] Thus they set out from the mountain of Yahveh {on a} three days’ journey, with the Ark of the Covenant of Yahveh journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.

11:39 [10:34] The cloud of Yahveh was over them by day when they set out from the camp.

11:40 [10:35] And it so happened whenever the Ark set out that Mosheh said,

“Rise up, O Yahveh!
And let Your enemies be scattered,
And let those who hate You flee before You.”

11:41 [10:36] Then whenever it came to rest, he said,

“Return, O Yahveh,
O Myriad Thousands of Israel.”

 

Notes:

11:33-36The offer to Chovav: in MT Ex 18:27, Mosheh’s father-in-law, his eminence Reuel returned to Midian. It now appears that his son, Hovav, remained behind – possibly to oversee the Kenites who remained with the Israelites; his departure might therefore have signalled the departure of the Kenites from the camp. In most translations, it seems that Moses asks Hovav to stay with them in order to act as their future guide, and show them where to go in the desert. However, e were told in the previous chapter that it is the cloud of God’s Presence that will be showing the Israelites where to go. Therefore, what Moses offers is a reward for Hovav’s past services, not his future ones. The reward is to share in the bounty of the Land that the Israelites are now going to.

11:37 – Hovav’s response: we know that the answer was in the affirmative, because the Kenites entered the Land (Judges 1:16), and there were Kenites in the Land of Israel during the time of David (1Sam 30:29).

11:41‘O Myriad Thousands of Israel’: This last phrase is actually a title of Yahveh as Israel’s King. One of the titles of the pharaoh was “O Millions of Egypt!” and the title of “Myriad Thousands of Israel” is likewise a royal title of God. The title can also be a wordplay in Hebrew, giving God the title of “Countless Divisions of Israel”, referring to God as the defender of Israel.

Chapter 12: The People begin grumbling against Mosheh

 

12:1 [11:1] Now when the people [began] complaining angrily in the hearing of Yahveh, Yahveh heard {them}, and [the fire of God] was kindled. So the fire of Yahveh burned among them, and consumed [one whole] outer end of the camp.

12:2 [11:2] Consequently the people cried out to Mosheh; Mosheh then prayed to Yahveh, and the fire was quelled.

12:3 [11:3] Thereafter the name of the place was called Tav`eirāh (‘Burning’), because the fire of Yahveh burned among them.

 

The Grumbling at Qivrot ha-Ta’avah

 

12:4 [11:4] Now the riffraff among them began having a gluttonous craving, so that [eventually all] the children of Israel complained again and {protested angrily}, saying, “Who is going to give us meat to eat?

12:5 [11:5] We remember [all] the fish, which we used to eat in Egypt for free; and the cucumbers, the melons, leeks, onions, and oh, the garlic!

12:6 [11:6] But now our throats have shrivelled up, [because] there’s nothing at all [here]! Nothing to look forward to except this manna!”

12:7 [11:9] Now when the dew fell on {the ground in} the camp at night, the manna would [also] fall on it;

12:8 [11:7] and {the appearance of} the {ground} manna was like [powdered] coriander seed, {similar to} the appearance of [powdered] bdellium resin;

12:9 [11:8] for the people would go about to gather it up, and they would grind it between two millstones or pound it up in a mortar; then they would boil it in pots, and make cakes from it, the flavour of which was like the taste of virgin olive oil.

 

The Prayer of Mosheh

 

12:10 [11:10] Then Mosheh heard the people as every single one of their clans complained angrily, every man[’s family] {defiantly and brazenly} at the entrance of [their] tent. [The fire of] Yahveh [threatened to] burn forth [again], and Mosheh became distressed.

12:11 [11:11] So Mosheh said to Yahveh, “Why have You been so hard on Your servant? Have I not found favour in Your sight, that You had to lay the burden of this entire people on me?

12:12 [11:12] Was it I who conceived this entire nation? Was it I who gave birth to them, that You should now say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom, just as a nurse bears the nursing child, to the land which I swore to their ancestors’?

12:13 [11:13] Where am I going to get meat from to give to all these people? Because they are whining angrily to me, saying, ‘Give us meat, so that we may eat!’

12:14 [11:14] I am unable to bear this entire people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me.

12:15 [11:15] If that’s what You are going to do to me, then please, just kill me here and now – because if I have indeed found favour in Your sight, then do not let me [remain alive to] see my misery.”

 

God’s Response to Mosheh’s Prayer

 

12:16 [11:16] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Gather before Me seventy men from amongst the elders of Israel, whom you know to be {reputable} elders of the people, {and who have proven to be capable} officials over them; then bring them to the Tent of Meeting, so that they may take up position there with you.

12:17 [11:17] Then I will come through {from heaven}, and I will speak with you there; and I will take some of the spirit which is on you, and I will put it on them, and they will bear the burden of the people along with you, so that you will not have to bear it by yourself.

12:18 [11:18a] Then say to the people: ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall indeed eat meat, for you have been [angrily] complaining in the hearing of Yahveh, saying, ‘Who is going to give us meat to eat? For [life] was so much better for us in Egypt!’

12:19 [11:18b] Therefore Yahveh is going to give you meat, and you shall eat.

12:20 [11:19-20a] Oh, you are indeed going to eat, not one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or even twenty days, but for a whole month [of days],

12:21 [11:20b] until it is coming out of your nostrils; that’s how nauseating it is going to become for you, because you have [in effect] rejected {the salvation of} Yahveh who {delivered you from Egypt and} is in your midst, and have complained [angrily] in [God’s] presence, saying, ‘Why did we even have to come out of Egypt!’ ”

12:22 [11:21] However, Mosheh said, “The people in whose midst I am number six hundred thousand foot-soldiers, yet You have said, ‘I will give them [enough] meat so that they may eat for a whole month.’

12:23 [11:22] Should [our] flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, just to satisfy them? Or are all the fish of the sea going to be gathered together for them, to satisfy their craving?”

12:24 [11:23] So Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Has the power of Yahveh grown weak? You shall soon see whether My promise to you will happen or not!”

 

The Spirit of Prophecy is temporarily given to the Elders of Israel

 

12:25 [11:24] Thereupon Mosheh went out, and he spoke to the people the words of Yahveh; he also gathered the seventy men from among the elders of the people, and positioned them around the Tabernacle.

12:26 [11:25] Then {the Presence of} Yahveh came [through] in the cloud and spoke to him; and [God] took some of the spirit that was on him, and gave [it] to the seventy elders, so that when [God’s] Spirit rested on them, they spoke in ecstasy, but did not do so again {after that}.

12:27 [11:26a] However, two men had remained in the camp, {and had not come to the Tent of Meeting}. The name of [the first] one was Eldādh, and the name of the other was Meydādh.

12:28 [11:26b] Yet [God’s] Spirit rested on them [too]. They were among those who had been enumerated {for military service}, but they had not come forward to the Tent {of Meeting}, and so they spoke in ecstasy [out] in the camp.

12:29 [11:27] So a young man ran up and reported [this] to Mosheh and said, “Eldādh and Meydādh are prophesying in the camp.”

12:30 [11:28] Then Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn, the [chief] assistant of Mosheh [selected] from his chosen aides, responded and said, “My lord Mosheh, forbid them!”

12:31 [11:29] However, Mosheh said to him, “Are you getting worked up on my behalf? Oh, would that all the people of Yahveh could become prophets, and that Yahveh would put [God’s] Spirit upon them [all]!”

12:32 [11:30] Then Mosheh returned to the camp, he and the [seventy] elders of Israel.

 

Flights of Quails are sent over the Israelite Camp

 

12:33 [11:31] Now a wind from Yahveh started up; it swept up quail from the [coast] and let them fall beside the camp, {up to a distance of} about a day’s journey on one side, and a day’s journey on the other side, [all] around the camp, [to a depth of] about two cubits on the surface of the ground.

12:34 [11:32] Consequently, the people stayed up all that day, all night, and all the next day, gathering up the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread [the dead birds] out for themselves all around the camp {to dry-cure them}.

12:35 [11:33] However, {some of them craved the meat so much, that they could not wait for the birds to be dry-cured, and ate the meat without cleaning or gutting the birds}. Consequently, while the meat was still between their teeth, even before it had been chewed, the [fire] of Yahveh was kindled against certain people, and Yahveh struck some of the people with a terrible plague.

12:36 [11:34] Thereafter, the name of that place was called Qivrōt ha-Ta’avāh (‘the Graves of Craving’), because there they buried the people who had yielded to their craving.

12:37 [11:35] Then the people set out from Qivrōt ha-Ta’avāh to Chatseirōt, and they made camp at Chatseirōt.

 

Chapter 13: Even Miriam and Aharon grumble against Mosheh

 

13:1 [12:1] Now Miriam began to complain bitterly against Mosheh to Aharon, {ostensibly} because of {Tsipporāh}, his high-born wife, for he had married a woman of means.

13:2 [12:2] {However, in private} they said {to one another}, “Has Yahveh spoken only and solely through Mosheh? Has [God] not also spoken through us?” Yet Yahveh [still] heard [them].

13:3 [12:3] Now, the man Mosheh was very humble, more so than all the men on the face of the earth.

13:4 [12:4] All of a sudden, Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, to Aharon and to Miriam {while the two were still speaking to one another}. “Come out {of your tents}, you three, to the Tent of Meeting.” So these three came out.

13:5 [12:5] Then Yahveh came through in a pillar of cloud, which came to rest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. [God] called out, “Aharon and Miriam!” And they both came forward.

13:6 [12:6] [God] said,

                      “Hear now My words:

                             If I Yahveh, cause a prophet to rise among you,

                                  then I, Yahveh, will make Myself known to [them] in a vision,

                                            and in a dream I will speak to [them].

13:7 [12:7]                            Not so with My servant Mosheh!

                                                          In all of My House, he alone has been entrusted!

13:8 [12:8a]                         Face to face I speak with him,

                                            clearly and not in riddles;

                                    and the theophany of Yahveh he beholds.

13:9 [12:8b]    How is it then that you did not shrink

                        from speaking {as you did} against My servant – against Mosheh?”

13:10 [12:9] Still incensed with them, Yahveh departed.

13:11 [12:10] When the cloud withdrew from over the Tabernacle, Miriam stood stricken with snow-white scales! When Aharon turned toward Miriam, he saw how she had been stricken with a skin-disease.

13:12 [12:11] So Aharon said to Mosheh, “Alas, my lord, account not to us the sin which we have committed in our folly!

13:13 [12:12] Let her nor be as one dead, who emerges from her mother’s womb with her flesh half eaten away!”

13:14 [12:13] So Mosheh cried out to Yahveh, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!”

13:15 [12:14a] But Yahveh said to Mosheh, “If her father had {rebuked her and} spat in her face, would she not have to bear her shame for seven days?

13:16 [12:14b] Let her then be shut out of the camp for seven days: only after that may she be readmitted.”

13:17 [12:15] So Miriam was shut out from the camp for seven days; and the people did not set out until Miriam was readmitted.

13:18 [12:16] Afterwards the people set out from Chatseirōt, and encamped in the Wilderness of Pārān.

 

Notes:

13:1 ‘Miriam began to complain against Mosheh to Aharon because of {Tsipporāh}, his high-born (כשאית kis’īt) wife, for he had married a woman of means (כושית kusīt)’.

Reading the letter ש as a shīn in these two words presents an immediate problem, in that it makes Moses a polygamist. Tsipporah was a Midianite – this is clear from all the previous verses in Exodus. If the second word is read as kushit, then it means that he also married a Cushite (Ethiopian) woman in addition to Tsipporah; this second marriage is nowhere else alluded to.

        As far as we know, he only married one woman – Tsipporah, and Tsipporah was a Midianite. The only other possibility is that the ש should be read as the letter sīn. This makes the first word kis’īt (high-born), and the second word kusīt (wealthy, having means), not kushīt. Tsipporah was the daughter of a Midianite high priest. and so had a very high social position among her own people.

        Miriam ostensibly complains that Tsipporah’s social position seems to make Moses think he is above them, and so a more privileged prophet – why shouldn’t they also be privileged prophets?

Chapter 14: Mosheh sends out Twelve Men to scout out the Land

 

14:1 [13:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh saying,

14:2 [13:2] “Send out some men for yourself, so that they may scout out the land of Canaan, which I Myself am going to give to the Israelites as a permanent possession; you shall send out a man from each of their ancestral tribes – every one a chieftain among them.”

14:3 [13:3] So Mosheh sent them out from the wilderness of Pārān at the command of Yahveh – all of them men who were leaders of the Israelites.

 

The List of the Leaders who were sent out by Mosheh

 

14:4 [13:4] These then were their names: from the tribe of Rė’ūvein, Shammūa` son of Zakkūr;

14:5 [13:5] from the tribe of Shim`on, Shāfāṭ son of Chōrī;

14:6 [13:6] from the tribe of Yėhūdhāh, Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh;

14:7 [13:7] from the tribe of Yiśśākhār, Yigh’āl son of Yōseif;

14:8 [13:8] from the tribe of Efráyim, Hōsheia` son of Nūn;

14:9 [13:9] from the tribe of Binyāmin, Palṭī son of Rāfū;

14:10 [13:10] from the tribe of Zėvūlun, Gaddī’eil son of Sōdhī;

14:11 [13:11] from the tribe of Yōseif, from the tribe of Manaṡṡeh, Gaddī son of Sūsī;

14:12 [13:12] from the tribe of Dān, `Ammī’eil son of Gėmallī;

14:13 [13:13] from the tribe of Āsheir, Sėthūr son of Mīkhā’eil;

14:14 [13:14] from the tribe of Naftālī, Nachbī son of Vofsī;

14:15 [13:15] from the tribe of Gādh, Gė’ū’eil son of Mākhī.

14:16 [13:16a] These were the names of the men whom Mosheh sent out to scout out the land.

14:17 [13:16b] However, Mosheh changed the name of Hōsheia` son of Nūn to Yėhōshúa`.

 

Mosheh’s Instructions to the Twelve Men

 

14:18 [13:17] When Mosheh sent them to scout out the land of Canaan, he said to them, “Go up that [way] into the Négev; then proceed up into the hill country.

14:19 [13:18] See what the Land is [like], and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, whether they are few or many.

14:20 [13:19] What is the land [like] that they live in – is it good or bad? And what are the cities [like] that they live in – are they like open camps or walled cities?

14:21 [13:20] What is {the produce of} the land [like] – is it rich or poor? Are there trees in it or not? To this end, make a strong effort to get some of the fruit of the Land.” {He said this}, for it happened to be the season of the first ripe grapes.

 

The Men depart to scout out the Land

 

14:22 [13:21] So they went up and scouted the land from the wilderness of Tsīn as far as Rėchov, entering {the Land} at Lėvo-Chamāth.

14:23 [13:22] When they had gone up into the Négev, they came to Chevrōn, where Achīman, Sheishai and Talmai the Anaqites lived; Chevrōn had been founded seven years before Tso`an in Egypt.

14:24 [13:23] Then they came to the river-valley of Eshkol, and from there they cut down a branch with a single, [huge] cluster of grapes; it had to be carried on a pole between two [men], along with some of the {Land’s} pomegranates and figs.

14:25 [13:24] Hence that place was called the Valley of Eshkol (‘Cluster’), because of the [huge] cluster of grapes which the Israelites had cut down from there.

 

The Men return and give their report

 

14:26 [13:25] When they returned from scouting out the land, at the end of forty days,

14:27 [13:26] they went straight to Mosheh and Aharon, and to the whole congregation of the Israelites at Qādheish in the wilderness of Pārān; and they brought back a report to them and to the whole congregation, showing them the fruit of the Land.

14:28 [13:27] This is what they reported to him, saying, “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly is abundantly fruitful, and this is its fruit.

14:29 [13:28] Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified [and] very large; and moreover, we saw the Anaqites there.

14:30 [13:29] The `Amāleqites are living in the region of the Négev; and the Cheytites and the Hivites, Jebusites and Emorrites are living in the hill country; the Canaanites therefore inhabit {the Land} [from] the [Mediterranean] sea [to] the banks of the [River] Jordan.”

14:31 [cf 14:1] {At this report however, the whole congregation became disturbed and began to murmur.}

14:32 [13:30] So Kāleiv {and Yėhōshúa`} hushed the people [gathered] before Mosheh and said to him, “We should go up at once and take possession of it, for we are well able to overcome it!”

14:33 [13:31] But the {other} men that had gone up with [them] said, “We cannot possibly go up against [those] people, because they are much stronger than we are!”

14:34 [13:32] Thus they delivered to the Israelites a bad report of the land which they had scouted, saying, “The land across which we have travelled and scouted is a land that devours its {lesser} inhabitants, because all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature;

14:35 [13:33] for there we saw giants – the Anaqites, who are descended from the {ancient race of} Fellnings; we felt like grasshoppers, because that’s what we looked like in their eyes.”

 

Notes:

14:23 – Anaqites – this may have been an especially tall tribe of people living in parts of Canaan at the time.

14:32Kaleiv and Yehoshua – the narratives about the two men come from two different traditions; one only mentions Caleb (Kaleiv), and the other mentions Joshua (Yehishua) as well. I have included Joshua here, because otherwise verse 14:33 makes it seem like Joshua was included amongst those who gave a bad report.

14:35Fellnings – this is the word I have coined as an Anglicised name for the Nefilim. The Ancients understood this word to mean ‘giants’, not ‘fallen ones’. Their own name for themselves may have sounded like the Hebrew word nafal: to fall, and the earliest Hebrews simply coined a name with that verb root in it.

Chapter 15: The entire Congregation of Israel try to overthrow and kill Mosheh and Aharon

 

15:1 [14:1] Then the whole congregation broke out into loud cries {of dismay}, and the people wept that night.

15:2 [14:2] All the Israelites railed {angrily} against Mosheh and Aharon; and the whole congregation shouted at them, saying, “Would that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or that we had died in this wilderness!

15:3 [14:3] Why is Yahveh bringing us into this land, {only} to fall by the sword, and for our wives and our little ones to become war-booty? Would it not be better for us to return back to Egypt?”

15:4 [14:4] So they said to one another, “Let us appoint a {new} leader, and return back to Egypt.”

15:5 [14:5] Then Mosheh and Aharon fell on their faces in front of the whole assembly of the congregation of the Israelites, {and pleaded for their lives}.

 

Yehoshua and Kaleiv try to intercede for them against the angry crowds

 

15:6 [14:6] However, Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn and Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh, {alone} of those who had scouted out the Land, tore their clothes;

15:7 [14:7] and they pleaded {for the lives of Mosheh and Aharon} with the whole congregation of the Israelites, saying, “The land which we passed through and scouted is an exceedingly good land!

15:8 [14:8] If Yahveh is pleased with us, then God will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land which overflows in natural abundance.

15:9 [14:9] Only don’t rebel against Yahveh; and don’t be afraid of the people of the Land, for they will be our war-booty. Their protection has been removed from them, but Yahveh is with us; don’t be afraid of them!”

15:10 [14:10a] In spite of this, the whole congregation insisted on stoning them [to death] with rocks.

 

God intercedes to save Mosheh and Aharon; Mosheh intercedes to save Israel

 

15:11 [14:10a] Then suddenly, the Glory of Yahveh appeared in the cloud upon the Tent of Meeting to all the Israelites.

15:12 [14:11] Yahveh said to Mosheh, “How long will this people [continue to] spurn Me? And how much longer will they [refuse to] trust in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?

15:13 [14:12] I shall strike them [all] down [now] with pestilence and disinherit them, and [instead] I will make you and your father’s House into a nation greater and mightier than they!”

15:14 [14:13] However, Mosheh said to Yahveh, “{If You do that}, then the Egyptians will hear of it, for it is by Your power that You brought up this people from their midst;

15:15 [14:14a] and they will tell [it] to the inhabitants of this land, who have [already] heard that You, O Yahveh, are in the midst of this people;

15:16 [14:14b] that You, O Yahveh, appear in plain sight while the cloud of Your {Presence} stands over them; and that You travel before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night!

15:17 [14:15] But if You slay this people, down to the very last man, then the nations who have heard of Your renown will say,

15:18 [14:16] ‘Because Yahveh was powerless to bring this people into the land which He promised them on oath, He slaughtered them in the wilderness!’

15:19 [14:17] But now, I pray, let the forbearance of my Sovereign [be shown to] be great, just as You declared when you said,  

15:20 [14:18a] ‘Yahveh! {Yahveh, a compassionate and gracious God}, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

15:21 [14:18b] {who maintains a steadfast love for thousands of generations}, who forgives iniquity and transgression; yet who by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, pursuing the iniquity of parents down to the children of the third and the fourth {generations}.’

15:22 [14:19] Stay {Your anger} then, I pray, {towards} the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness {promised through Your Covenant}, just as You have been holding back {Your anger} towards this people, from {the time they left} Egypt right up until now!”

 

God delays punishment on the Israelites

 

15:23 [14:20] So Yahveh said, “I shall hold back, just as you have requested;

15:24 [14:21] but behold, as I live, and as the whole earth is filled with the Glory of Yahveh,

15:25 [14:22] none of the people who have seen My Glory and My signs which I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have put Me to the test these ten times and have disobeyed Me,

15:26 [14:23] shall by any means see the land which I swore to their ancestors; none of those who spurned Me shall see it!

15:27 [14:24] However, My servant Kāleiv, since he was imbued with a different spirit and has followed Me unwaveringly, I will bring [him] into the Land, which he will enter, and his descendants shall take possession of it.

15:28 [14:25] Now the `Amāleiqites and the Canaanites occupy the {hills and} valleys; turn then tomorrow, and set out [instead] to the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”

 

God’s Judgment: to wander in the wilderness for forty years

 

15:29 [14:26] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying,

15:30 [14:27] “How long {shall I have to bear} with this community who grumble against Me with evil [intent]? Very well – I have heard the incessant complaints of the Israelites, which they are making against Me,

15:31 [14:28] so say to them, ‘As I live,’ declares Yahveh, ‘precisely as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you:

15:32 [14:29] your corpses will fall in this very wilderness. Every one of your number who was enumerated from twenty years old and upward, who have grumbled against Me, shall die.

15:33 [14:30] You will by no means enter the land in which I swore on oath to settle you, except for Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh and Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn.

15:34 [14:31] Your children, however, whom you said would become war-booty – I will bring them in {to the Land}, and they will know the land which you have rejected.

15:35 [14:32] But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness.

15:36 [14:33] Your children shall be wanderers for forty years in the wilderness, and they will have to bear {the consequences of} your unfaithfulness, until the last of your corpses is consumed in the wilderness.

15:37 [14:34] According to the number of days which you scouted out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your punishment a year – that is, forty years; in this way you will know what it means to try and thwart Me.

15:38 [14:35] I, Yahveh, have spoken; I will surely do this to the whole of this evil assembly who are gathered together against Me. In this very wilderness they shall be destroyed [to the last man], and here they will die.’”

15:39 [14:36] As for the men whom Mosheh sent to scout out the land, and who returned and caused the whole congregation to complain against him by bringing back a bad report about the Land –  

15:40 [14:37] those men who brought back the evil report of the Land died by a plague in the presence of Yahveh.

15:41 [14:38] However, Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn and Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh [alone] remained alive out of those men who went to scout out the land.

 

The Israelites try to enter the Land, against God’s instructions

 

15:42 [14:39] When Mosheh spoke these words to all the Israelites, the people were overcome with grief.

15:43 [14:40] In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Look – we’re here! Though we have indeed sinned, we shall go up to the place that Yahveh has spoken about.”

15:44 [14:41] However, Mosheh said, “Why do you still transgress Yahveh’s orders, when it will not succeed?

15:45 [14:42] Do not go up, lest you be routed by your enemies, for Yahveh is not in your midst.

15:46 [14:43] Since the `Amāleiqites and the Canaanites will be there to face you, you will fall by the sword, because you have turned back from following Yahveh. And Yahveh will not be with you.”

15:47 [14:44] However, they insisted, and [defiantly] went up to the ridge of the hill country; neither the Ark of the Covenant of Yahveh nor Mosheh departed from the midst of the camp.

15:48 [14:45] Then the `Amāleiqites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and defeated them, pursuing them [relentlessly] as far as Chormāh. Then [the survivors] returned to the camp.

 

Chapter 16: Laws governing Sacrifices – Grain-Offerings to accompany Sacrifices

 

16:1 [15:1] Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

16:2 [15:2] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to dwell [permanently], which I am giving you,

16:3 [15:3] whenever you make an offering by fire to Yahveh – a whole-burnt-offering, or a sacrifice in fulfilment of a special vow, or as a freewill offering at your appointed feasts – to make a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh, either from [your] herds [of cattle] or from [your] flocks [of sheep or goats],

16:4 [15:4] the one who presents his offering shall [also] present to Yahveh a grain-offering of one-tenth {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with one-fourth of a hīn of oil,

16:5 [15:5] and you shall also offer with the burnt-offering or the sacrifice, wine for the drink-offering – one-fourth of a hīn for each sheep [or goat].

16:6 [15:6] Or for a ram, you shall prepare as a grain-offering two-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with one-third of a hīn of oil;

16:7 [15:7] and for the drink-offering you shall offer one-third of a hīn of wine as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

16:8 [15:8] Whenever you prepare a young bull as a whole-burnt-offering, or as a sacrifice to fulfill a special vow, or as a fellowship-offering to Yahveh,

16:9 [15:9] then you shall offer along with the bull a grain-offering of three-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with one-half of a hīn of oil;

16:10 [15:10] and you shall offer as a drink-offering one-half of a hīn of wine as an offering made by fire, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

16:11 [15:11] This is how it shall be done for each ox, for each ram, and for each of the sheep or goats.

16:12 [15:12] According to the number {of sacrifices} that you prepare, so you shall offer {grain-, oil- and drink-offerings} for each of them according to their number.

16:13 [15:13] All who are native-born shall do these things in this manner, when presenting an offering made by fire, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

 

The Laws of Sacrifice to be the same for Native-born Israelites and for Resident Foreigners

 

16:14 [15:14-15a] If an alien sojourns among you – one who has attached himself to someone in your land, or one of them who may be {born} among you throughout your generations – and [they] {wish to} make an offering by fire, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh in the same manner as you do, then [they] shall offer it in the same manner as the congregation {of Israel} to Yahveh.

16:15 [15:15b] There shall be one statute for you and for the alien who sojourns {with you}; {it shall be} a perpetual statute throughout your generations; both you and the resident alien shall be the same before Yahveh.

16:16 [15:16] There is to be one law and one ordinance for you and for the alien who sojourns with you.’”

 

The first-fruit of domestic bread to be given to the Priests

 

16:17 [15:17] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

16:18 [15:18] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you enter the land where I am taking you,

16:19 [15:19] then it shall be, that when you eat of the bread of the Land, you shall set some aside as a gift-offering to Yahveh.

16:20 [15:20] Of the first-fruit of your baking, you shall set aside a loaf as a gift-offering; just like the gift-offering of the threshing floor, you shall set it aside.

16:21 [15:21] You shall make a gift-offering to Yahveh from the first-fruit of your baking, throughout your generations.

 

Atonement for Inadvertent Sin committed by the whole Congregation

 

16:22 [15:22] However, when you unknowingly fail to observe any one of these commandments, which Yahveh has declared to Mosheh –  

16:23 [15:23] anything at all that Yahveh has commanded you through Mosheh –  from the day when Yahveh gave the commandment and onward throughout your generations,

16:24 [15:24] then it shall be, if it is done unintentionally, without the congregation being aware, that the whole congregation shall offer one bull as a whole-burnt-offering, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh, with its according grain-offering and its drink-offering, and one male goat as a sin-offering.

16:25 [15:25] Then the priest shall make expiation for the whole congregation of the Israelites, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for them; for it was an error, and for their error they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to Yahveh – their sin-offering before Yahveh.

16:26 [15:26] Thus the whole community of the Israelites will be forgiven [and cleansed], along with the alien who sojourns among them, for {it happened} to the entire people through error.

 

Atonement for Inadvertent Sin committed by an Individual

 

16:27 [15:27] {In the case of} an individual who sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one-year-old female goat as a sin-offering.

16:28 [15:28] The priest shall make expiation before Yahveh for the person who has made the error by sinning unintentionally, making expiation for him so that the forgiveness-process may be completed for him.

16:29 [15:29] For the one who is native-born among the Israelites and for the alien who sojourns among them, you shall have the one same ritual for anyone who does [anything] unintentionally.

 

Defiantly Breaking God’s Commandments

 

16:30 [15:30] However, the person who does {anything} defiantly, whether he be native-born or a resident alien, that one is brazenly reviling Yahveh; and that person shall be cut off from among [their] people.

16:31 [15:31] Because they have despised the proclamations of Yahveh, and have broken [God’s] commandments, that person shall be completely cut off; he is responsible for [the consequences of] his own sin-guilt.’”

 

The Penalty for defiantly breaking the Sabbath

 

16:32 [15:32] Now while the Israelites were in the wilderness, they once found a man [defiantly] gathering wood on the sabbath day.

16:33 [15:33] Those who apprehended him while he was gathering wood, brought him to Mosheh and Aharon and to the whole congregation;

16:34 [15:34] and they put him in custody, because it had not yet been specified what should be done to such a person.

16:35 [15:35] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “The man shall surely be put to death; the whole congregation shall pelt him with stones outside the camp.”

16:36 [15:36] So the whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with rocks, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

Putting Fringes on one’s Clothing, and Tassels on the corners as a Reminder of God’s Commandments

 

16:37 [15:37] Yahveh spoke further to Mosheh, saying,

16:38 [15:38] “Declare to the Israelites, and tell them that they are to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout the generations to come, with a cord of tėkhélet-blue on each tassel.

16:39 [15:39] You shall have the tassels to look at, and remember all the commandments of Yahveh, so that you may obey them and not demean yourselves by going after the desires of your own hearts and eyes.

16:40 [15:40] Then you will remember to obey all My commandments, and will be holy to your God.

16:41 [15:41] I am Yahveh your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am Yahveh your God.”

 

Chapter 17: The Qorach Rebellion

 

17:1 [16:1] Now Qorach son of Yitzhār, son of Qohāth, a Levite, garnered [the support of] Dāthān and Avīrām, the sons of Elī’āv {son of Pallu}, and Ōn son of Péleth, [who were all] Reubenites;

17:2 [16:2] and they set up {a rival Tabernacle} against Mosheh, backed by some of the Israelites – two hundred and fifty [prominent] leaders of the congregation, chosen by the community, [all] men of renown.

17:3 [16:3] Then they assembled together against Mosheh and Aharon, and said to them, “You have taken too much authority for yourselves! For everyone in the congregation is holy, every one of them, and Yahveh is in their midst; so why do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of Yahveh?”

17:4 [16:4] When Mosheh heard {this}, he {prostrated and} fell on his face;

17:5 [16:5] then he {got up and} addressed Qorach and his whole band, saying, “Tomorrow morning, Yahveh will show {which Tabernacle} belongs to [God] and who is holy, and which {Tent of Meeting} will grant [them] access to [God]; for [God] will grant access to those whom God has chosen.

17:6 [16:6-7a] So do this: take censers for yourselves – for Qorach and your whole band – and put burning embers in them.

17:7 [16:7b] Then lay incense upon them in the presence of Yahveh tomorrow; and it shall be, that the men whom Yahveh chooses will be the ones who will [be shown to] be holy. You are taking too much authority for yourselves, you Levites!”

17:8 [16:8] Then Mosheh said to Qorach, “Listen well, you Levites:

17:9 [16:9] Is it not enough for you that the God of Israel has set you apart from the [rest of] the congregation of Israel, and given you privileged access to God, by performing the porterage work of the Tabernacle of Yahveh, and by standing [watch] before the congregation, to serve them {and assist them, to ensure they do not encroach upon the holy places or objects}?

17:10 [16:10] {Isn’t it enough} that [God] has granted you such special access, {Qorach}, and all your brother Levites, along with you? Are you seeking the priesthood for [yourselves] as well?

17:11 [16:11] Therefore you and all your band are, [in effect], conspiring together against Yahveh! But as for Aharon, what has he done that you should rail against him?”

 

The Sons of Eliav refuse Mosheh’s Challenge

 

17:12 [16:12] Then Mosheh sent a summons to Dāthān and Avīrām, the sons of Elī’āv; but they said, “We’re not going to rise {to your challenge}!

17:13 [16:13] Is it not enough that you have brought us up out of a land already overflowing in natural abundance, just to have us die in the wilderness, but that you would also lord your power over us?

17:14 [16:14] Well, it’s blatantly obvious that you actually haven’t brought us into a land overflowing in natural abundance, nor have you given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Are you trying to pull the wool over their eyes too? [No], we’re not going to rise {to your challenge}!”

17:15 [16:15] Mosheh was greatly aggrieved at this, and said to Yahveh, “Pay no regard to the offerings {at their Tabernacle}! I have not robbed them of anything valuable, nor have I done any of them the slightest wrong.”

17:16 [16:16] Thereafter, Mosheh said to Qorach, “You and your whole band must be present before Yahveh tomorrow – you and they alongside Aharon.

17:17 [16:17] Each of you shall take his censer and put incense upon it; and then each of you shall bring his censer before Yahveh – two hundred and fifty censers; you and Aharon shall each present his censer.”

17:18 [16:18] So each man took his own censer and put burning embers on it, and laid incense on it; and they [all] took up their positions at the entrance of the [one] Tent of Meeting, along with Mosheh and Aharon.

17:19 [16:19] Thus Qorach assembled the whole congregation against them at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. And the Glory of Yahveh appeared to the whole congregation.

 

The Punishment

 

17:20 [16:20] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying,

17:21 [16:21] “Separate yourselves from among this congregation, so that I may consume them instantly!”

17:22 [16:22] But they fell on their faces and said, “O God, Source of the breath of all living flesh, when one man sins, will You vent Your anger upon the entire congregation?”

17:23 [16:23] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

17:24 [16:24] “Speak to the congregation, saying, ‘Stand well back from around the Tabernacle of Qorach, Dāthān and Avīrām.’”

17:25 [16:25] Then Mosheh stood up and went to Dāthān and Avīrām, with the elders of Israel following after him,

17:26 [16:26] and he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Move well away from the Tent [of Meeting] {set up by} these wicked men, and touch nothing that belongs to them, in case you get swept away in all their sin.”

17:27 [16:27] So they moved well away from around the [rival] Tabernacle of Qorach, Dāthān and Avīrām; and Dāthān and Avīrām went over to stand at the entrance of their Tent [of Meeting], [taking] their wives, their [adult] sons and their little children with them {as human shields}.

17:28 [16:28] Mosheh said, “By this you shall know that Yahveh has sent me to do all these deeds; for none of this is my own devising.

17:29 [16:29] If these men die {of natural causes} as all men do, or if their lot be the common fate of all men, then it was not Yahveh who sent me.

17:30 [16:30] But if Yahveh brings about something never heard of before, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up, together with everything that they {have created}, and they descend alive into Sheol, then you will understand that these men have spurned Yahveh.”

 

The Earth opens up and swallows the Rebels

 

17:31 [16:31] Scarcely had he finished speaking these words, when the ground beneath them split asunder;

17:32 [16:32] and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up them and their homes, and all the men who had allied themselves to Qorach, along with all their {rival} trappings.

17:33 [16:33] So [the men] and everyone allied to them went down alive into Sheol; and the earth closed over them, and so they perished from the midst of the assembly.

17:34 [16:34] {All their wives and little ones}, and all Israel who were around them fled at their cries, for they said, “The earth may swallow us up as well!”

17:35 [16:35] Fire also shot forth from Yahveh, and consumed the two hundred and fifty {rebel} men who were offering incense.

 

The Censers of the Rebels are used to plate the Altar of Burnt Offering

 

17:36 [J: 17:1, X: 16:36] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

17:37 [J: 17:2, X: 16:37] “Tell Elė`āzār, son of Aharon the [High] Priest, that he should pick out the censers from the midst of the charred remains, for they have become holy; and scatter the smouldering coals at a distance [from the camp].

17:38 [J: 17:3, X: 16:38] {Remove} the censers of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made into hammered sheets as a plating for the altar [of burnt offering], since they were offered in the Presence of Yahveh and have become holy; and they shall serve as a warning to the Israelites.”

17:39 [J: 17:4, X: 16:39] So Elė`āzār son of Aharon the [High] Priest took the bronze censers which the men who were burned up had offered, and they were hammered out as a plating for the altar,

17:40 [J: 17:5, X: 16:40] {to serve as} a reminder to the Israelites that no layman – one who is not of the descendants of Aharon – should presume to offer incense before Yahveh; so that he will not end up like Qorach and his band – just as Yahveh had instructed him through Mosheh.

 

Aharon intercedes and checks the Plague

 

17:41 [J: 17:6, X: 16:41] However, on the next day the entire congregation of the Israelites began [angrily] railing against Mosheh and Aharon, saying, “You are the ones who caused the death of Yahveh’s people!”

17:42 [J: 17:7, X: 16:42] It came about, however, just as the congregation was closing in on Mosheh and Aharon, that they turned toward the Tent of Meeting; and behold, the cloud covered it and the Glory of Yahveh appeared.

17:43 [J: 17:8, X: 16:43] Then Mosheh and Aharon came to the front of the Tent of Meeting,

17:44 [J: 17:9, X: 16:44] and Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

17:45 [J: 17:10, X: 16:45] “Move away from among this congregation, that I may consume them at once!” Then they fell on their faces.

17:46 [J: 17:11, X: 16:46] Mosheh {got up and} said to Aharon, “Grab a censer and put burning embers into it from the altar, and lay incense on it; then run it quickly by the congregation and make expiation for them, for [the fire of God’s Glory] has gone forth from Yahveh, and a plague has broken out!”

17:47 [J: 17:12, X: 16:47] Then Aharon grabbed {a censer} just as Mosheh had told him, and hurried into the midst of the assembly, for behold, a plague had broken out among the people. So he threw on the incense and made expiation for the people.

17:48 [J: 17:13, X: 16:48] He made his stand between the dead and the living, so that the plague was checked.

17:49 [J: 17:14, X: 16:49] But those who died by the plague totalled 14,700, in addition to  those who had died on account of Qorach.

17:50 [J: 17:15, X: 16:50] Then Aharon returned to Mosheh at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, for the plague had been checked.

 

Notes:

The translation of this chapter, perhaps more than any other chapter, is very much an interpretation of events. HTT 17:24 & 27 speak of the ‘Mishkan of Qorach’, suggesting that throughout this chapter, there is in fact a second, rival Tabernacle; and ‘their tents’ refers to their rival Tent of Meeting.

When the earth swallows up the rebels and the supporters of the rival Tabernacle, their children are not swallowed up. Verse 16:27 mentions that Dathan and Aviram come out ‘with their wives and little ones.’ No further mention is made of them here, and this has led most people to believe that God punished innocent children. The first thing to say here, is to remember the principle that only the guilty are punished for their sins; God does not punish the innocent (cf HTT 17:22). The second is to call on logic: if the children of Qorach were killed along with their guilty fathers, then we would not have psalms 42-49, or psalms 84-88 – psalms written by the descendants of Qorach. The existence of these psalms tell us that the wives and children of the Qorachites were not killed, and their inclusion in the bible means that the name of Qorach is not evil. Only Dathan and Aviram sinned, and only their sin was punished. Finally, MT Num 26:11 says definitively that, ‘However, the children of Qorach did not die.’

Chapter 18: God chooses the Staff of Aharon

 

18:1 [J: 17:16, X: 17:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

18:2 [J: 17:17, X: 17:2] “Speak to the Israelites, and obtain from them a staff for each of their tribal households: twelve staffs, from all their chieftains according to their ancestral houses. You shall write each [chieftain’s] name on his staff,

18:3 [J: 17:18, X: 17:3] and write Aharon’s name on the staff of Levi; for there must be one staff for the head {of each} of their tribal houses.

18:4 [J: 17:19, X: 17:4] You shall then deposit them in the Tent of Meeting in front of the {Ark of the} Testimony, where I meet with you.

18:5 [J: 17:20, X: 17:5] Then it will so happen, that the staff of the man whom I choose will come into bud. In this way, I will cause the incessant complaints of the Israelites – which they have been making against you – to subside .”

18:6 [J: 17:21, X: 17:6] Mosheh therefore spoke to the Israelites, and all their chieftains gave him a staff apiece – one for each chieftain according to their tribal houses: [a total of] twelve staffs, and the staff of Aharon was among their staffs.

18:7 [J: 17:22, X: 17:7] So Mosheh deposited the staffs before Yahveh in the Tent of Manifestation.

18:8 [J: 17:23, X: 17:8] Now on the next day Mosheh went into the Tent of Manifestation; and behold, the staff of Aharon for the house of Levi had come into bud. However, [not only] had it put forth buds and produced blossoms, but it had [also] bore ripe almonds.

18:9 [J: 17:24, X: 17:9] Mosheh then brought all the staffs out from the presence of Yahveh [to show] to all the Israelites; each one identified and recovered their own staffs.

18:10 [J: 17:25, X: 17:10] However, Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Put back the staff of Aharon in front of [the Ark of] the Testimony, to be kept as a warning-sign against the rebels, in order that you may put an end to their complaints against Me, and so that they will not die.”

18:11 [J: 17:26, X: 17:11] So this is what Mosheh did; just as Yahveh had commanded him, so he did.

 

The Israelites fear that they are going to die; God explains the expiatory function of the priesthood

 

18:12 [J: 17:27, X: 17:12] Then the Israelites spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Behold, we’re doomed! We’re going to die! We’re all going to die!

18:13 [J: 17:28, X: 17:13] Everyone who approaches [God] – anyone who approaches the Tabernacle of Yahveh {with an offering} will die. Are we to be completely wiped out?”

18:14 [18:1] So Yahveh said {directly} to Aharon, “You and your sons, and {the descendants of} your tribal house after you, shall bear any penalty in connection with {encroachment upon} the sanctuary; you and your descendants after you shall also bear any penalty in connection with {infractions committed by your fellow priests against the holiness of} your priesthood.

 

The Levites will share in the Guard Duties of the Tabernacle Compound

 

18:15 [18:2] You will also admit your kinsmen, the tribe of Levi – your ancestral tribe – so that they may be attached to you and assist you {in your guard duties}, while you and your sons after you {are serving} {in the holy area} in front of the Tent of Manifestation.

18:16 [18:3] They shall perform your guard duties, and the guarding of the Tent as a whole, but they must not have any direct contact with the furnishings of the Sanctuary or with the altar, in case both they and you die.

18:17 [18:4] They shall be attached to you and perform the [guard] duties of the Tent of Meeting, in addition to all the labour connected with {transporting} the Tent; but no layman may be attached to you {to perform any guard duties}.

18:18 [18:5] In this way, you shall perform the guard duties of the Sanctuary and of the altar, so that [the fire of My Glory] will never again strike the Israelites.

18:19 [18:6] Therefore, I Myself have taken your fellow Levites from among the Israelites; they have been assigned to you, and dedicated to Yahveh, in order to perform the {guard and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting,

18:20 [18:7a] while you and your sons after you shall be careful to perform your priestly duties, with regard to everything pertaining to the altar and what is behind the [entrance] curtain {of the Tent of Manifestation}.

18:21 [18:7b] I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift. However, any laymen who encroaches {on the Sanctuary or the sacred objects} shall be put to death.”

 

Chapter 19 Dedicated Portions and Tithes

 

The Priest’s allotted portion and dues

 

19:1 [18:8] Then Yahveh spoke further to Aharon, [saying], “I Myself hereby give you charge of My dedicated gift-offerings – all the holy gifts of the Israelites; I have given them to you as an entitled benefit {of your service}, and as a due to your descendants for all time.

19:2 [18:9] These are the things which shall be yours from among the most holy gifts {offered by} fire – every offering that they render to Me as a most holy sacrifice: namely, every grain-offering and every sin-offering, and every penalty-offering of theirs, shall be most holy for you and for your descendants.

19:3 [18:10] As most holy gifts, you may eat them; every male may eat them. They shall be regarded as consecrated food for you.

19:4 [18:11] These things are also yours: their dedicated gift-offerings – all the wave-offerings of the Israelites; I have given them to you, and to your sons and your daughters after you as a perpetual due. Everyone of your household who is in a state of ritual purity may eat them.

19:5 [18:12] All the best of the new oil, and all the best of the new wine and of the new grain – the first-fruits of everything which they give in offering to Yahveh, I give them to you.

19:6 [18:13] The first ripened fruits of everything that is [grown] in their land, which they give in offering to Yahveh, shall be yours; everyone in your household who is in a state of ritual purity may eat of them.

19:7 [18:14] Everything which has been proscribed {and put beyond secular use} in Israel shall be yours.

19:8 [18:15] Every first issue of the womb of all [living] flesh, whether man or beast, which they give in offering to Yahveh, shall be yours; however, the firstborn of human beings must be redeemed, and the firstborn of [ritually] unclean animals must also be redeemed.

19:9 [18:16] Accept as their redemption price, from a month old and up, their equivalent in silver – five sheqels, according to the sheqel-weight of the sanctuary, which is twenty geirāhs.

19:10 [18:17a] But the firstborn of an ox, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, must not be redeemed; they are holy.

19:11 [18:17b] You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar, and you shall offer up their fat in burning smoke as an offering made by fire, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

19:12 [18:18] Their meat shall be yours; it shall be yours just like the breast of a wave-offering, and just like the right thigh {of a fellowship-offering}.

19:13 [18:19] All the offerings of the holy gifts, which the Israelites give in offering to Yahveh, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters after you, as a perpetual due. It is an everlasting covenant of salt {sworn} before Yahveh to you and your descendants after you.”

 

The Levite’s allotted portion and dues

 

19:14 [18:20] Then Yahveh said to Aharon, “You shall have no inherited share in their Land, nor shall you own any allotted territory among them; I am your allotted share and your inherited portion among the Israelites.

19:15 [18:21] As for the Levites, behold, I have given them all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform – the {guarding and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting.

19:16 [18:22] Henceforth, the Israelites shall never again encroach upon the Tent of Meeting, or they will bear the consequences of their trespass and die.

19:17 [18:23a] Only the Levites are to perform the {guarding and porterage} work of the Tent of Meeting; others would incur penalty {for their trespass}.

19:18 [18:23b] This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the Israelites they shall have no inherited share {of land};

19:19 [18:24a] for it is the tithes which the Israelites set aside as an offering to Yahveh, which I have assigned to the Levites as an inherited portion.

19:20 [18:24b] Therefore I have decreed concerning them, that they shall have no inherited share {of land} among the Israelites.”

 

The Tithes of the Tithes received by the Levites

 

19:21 [18:25] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

19:22 [18:26] “Furthermore, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the Israelites their tithes, which I have assigned to you from them as your inherited portion, then you shall set aside from it one tenth of the tithe as a gift-offering to Yahveh.

19:23 [18:27a] This shall be reckoned to you as Your own gift-offering;

19:24 [18:27b-28] for just as {tithes of} the new grain from the threshing floor, or of the produce from the wine vat {is given to you}, so you shall also present an offering to Yahveh from your tithes, which you receive from the Israelites; and from it you shall give Yahveh’s offering to Aharon the [High] Priest.

19:25 [18:29] You shall set aside all gifts due to Yahveh from everything that is donated to you; from each thing you shall set aside its best portion – the part which is to be consecrated.’

19:26 [18:30] You shall also say to them, ‘When you have removed from it the choicest portion, you Levites may consider the rest just like the product of the threshing floor, or the product of the wine vat.

19:27 [18:31] You may eat it anywhere – you and your households – for it is your recompense in return for your service in the Tent of Meeting.

19:28 [18:32] You will incur no deadly consequence because of it, if you have removed the choicest part of it. For that reason, you shall not profane the sacred gifts of the Israelites, or you will die.’”

Chapter 20: The Ashes of the Red Heifer

 

20:1 [19:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and Aharon, saying,

20:2 [19:2] “This is a ritual of the Torah which Yahveh has commanded, saying, ‘Declare to the Israelites, that they shall bring you a red heifer without blemish – in which there is no defect, [and] on which no yoke has ever been placed.

20:3 [19:3] You shall give it to Elė`āzār the priest; it shall be led outside the camp, and slaughtered in his presence.

20:4 [19:4] Next, Elė`āzār the priest shall take some of its blood with his forefinger, and sprinkle it toward the front of the Tent of Meeting seven times.

20:5 [19:5] Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight – its hide, its flesh and its blood shall be burned, along with its {intestines and} dung.

20:6 [19:6] The priest shall take cedar wood, hyssop and a cord dyed with scarlet, and cast it [all] into the midst of the [fire] consuming the heifer.

20:7 [19:7] The priest shall then wash his garments and bathe his body in water. After that, the priest may re-enter the camp. However, the priest will be [ritually] unclean until nightfall.

20:8 [19:8] The one who carried out the burning of [the heifer] shall also wash his garments in water, bathe his body in water, and be [ritually] unclean until nightfall.

20:9 [19:9a] Now a man who is [ritually] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and store them outside the camp in a [ritually] clean place.

20:10 [19:9b] Thereafter, they shall be [scrupulously] safeguarded for the congregation of the Israelites; {they shall be kept} [to make] the ash-water which counters ritual impurity, since [the heifer] was a purification-offering for sin.

20:11 [19:10a] The one who gathers up the ashes of the heifer shall [also] wash his clothes and be unclean until nightfall.

20:12 [19:10b] This shall be an eternal ritual practice for the Israelites and for the alien who sojourns among them.

 

Ritual Impurity contracted through Contact with the dead

 

20:13 [19:11] ‘Now, the one who touches the corpse of any human being shall be [ritually] unclean for seven days.

20:14 [19:12a] Such a person shall [ritually] purify themselves with [the ash-water] on the third day and on the seventh day, {and then} they will be [ritually] clean.

20:15 [19:12b] However, if they fail to purify themselves on the third day and on the seventh day, they will not be [ritually] clean;

20:16 [19:13a] for anyone who touches a corpse – the body of a person who has died – and does not purify themselves, they defile the Tabernacle of Yahveh; and that person shall be cut off from Israel.

20:17 [19:13b] Since the ash-water that counters ritual impurity was not sprinkled on them, they shall be [ritually] unclean; their [ritual] uncleanness is still on them.

20:18 [19:14] So this is the ritual: when a person dies in a tent, everyone who enters the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be [ritually] unclean for seven days.

20:19 [19:15] Every open vessel which has no covering or binding on it, shall be [ritually] unclean.

20:20 [19:16] Also, anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed [in battle], or who has died {of natural causes}, or [who touches] a human bone or a grave, shall be [ritually] unclean for seven days, {and so cannot approach the Tabernacle compound while they are ritually unclean}.

 

The Ritual for Purification from Contact with the dead using the Ash-Water

 

20:21 [19:17] Some of the ashes of the heifer that was burnt as a purification-offering from sin shall be taken for the [ritually] unclean {person}, and water {from a source of living water} shall be added to them in a vessel.

20:22 [19:18] A [ritually] clean person shall take hyssop and dip {it} in the ash-water, and sprinkle {it} on the tent, on all the vessels and on [all] the individuals who were there; or on the one who touched the one killed or who died {of natural causes}, or [who touched] the bones or the grave.

20:23 [19:19a] Then the [ritually] clean [person] shall sprinkle [the ash-water] on the [ritually] unclean [person] on the third day and on the seventh day; and by the seventh day they shall be purified.

20:24 [19:19b] Then [that person] shall wash their clothes and bathe {themselves} in water, and they shall be [ritually] clean by nightfall.

20:25 [19:20] However, the person who is [ritually] unclean and does not purify themselves from [ritual] uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because they will have defiled the Sanctuary of Yahveh; the ash-water for countering ritual impurity has not been sprinkled on them, so they are [still] [ritually] unclean.

20:26 [19:21a] Therefore, this shall be an eternal ritual practice for you.

20:27 [19:21b] Furthermore, the one who sprinkles the ash-water that counters ritual impurity shall wash their clothes, and the one who touches the ash-water that counters ritual impurity shall be [ritually] unclean until nightfall.

20:28 [19:22] In addition, anything that the [ritually] unclean [person] touches shall be [ritually] unclean; and the person who touches [it] shall be [ritually] unclean until nightfall.’”

 

Chapter 21: The Incident of the Waters at Merivāh

 

21:1 [20:1a] Now the Israelites – the whole congregation – came to the wilderness of Tsin on the [day of] the first New Moon {of the third year}; and the people stayed at Qādheish.

21:2 [20:1b] Now Miryām died there {on the tenth day of the First-Month}, and was buried there.

21:3 [20:2] At that time there was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves [menacingly] against Mosheh and Aharon.

21:4 [20:3] The people thus quarrelled with Mosheh and shouted, saying, “If only we had [also] perished when our kinsfolk perished before the presence of Yahveh!

21:5 [20:4] Why then have you brought Yahveh’s assembly into this wilderness, just for us and our livestock to die here?

21:6 [20:5] Why did you make us come up from Egypt, just to bring us to this wretched place – a place with no grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates? There’s not even any water to drink!”

21:7 [20:6] Then Mosheh and Aharon [departed] from before the assembly, and entered {the Tabernacle compound}. They [went] to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and fell prostrate, with their faces [to the ground].

21:8 [20:6b-7] Then the Glory of Yahveh appeared to them; and Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

21:9 [20:8] “Take the staff {of Aharon}; then you and your brother Aharon assemble the congregation, and speak to the rock while they are looking, so that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock, and you will let the congregation and their livestock drink.”

21:10 [20:9] So Mosheh took the staff from before Yahveh’s presence, just as [God] had commanded him;

21:11 [20:10a] and Mosheh and Aharon gathered the assembly before the rock.

21:12 [20:10b] However, he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?”

21:13 [20:11] Then Mosheh lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with the staff; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank.

 

The Consequences for Mosheh and Aharon for making God’s Miracle seem like magic

 

21:14 [20:12] However, Yahveh said to Mosheh and Aharon, “Because you did not trust Me enough to affirm My holiness in the sight of the Israelites, {and instead made My deed appear like an act of magic}, you shall therefore not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

21:15 [SP & DSS 20:13b; cf Dt 3:24] So Mosheh said, “O my Sovereign Yahveh, You have only just begun to show Your servants Your greatness and Your mighty power; for what mighty being is there in heaven or on earth who can perform such works and powerful acts as Yours?

21:16 [SP & DSS 20:13c; cf Dt 3:25] Permit us then, I beg of You, to cross over and see the good land that lies beyond the Jordan, that good hill-country that stretches as far as the Lebanon foothills.”

21:17 [SP & DSS 20:13d; cf Dt 3:26] However, Yahveh answered Mosheh and said, “Enough! Speak to Me no more of this matter.”

21:18 [20:13] These then {were the events which took place at} the waters of Merivāh – so-called because the Israelites contended with Yahveh – where God affirmed God’s holiness among them.

 

Notes:

21:1 – the third year: this is the most likely time for these events. The mention of the kinsfolk perishing, may refer to the Korachites who died in the previous year.

21:2 – the date of Miryam’s death: according to the Targum Jonathan of this verse, and to a tradition in the Talmud, the tenth of the First-Month is traditionally the date Miriam died.

21:15-17 – additional material. This material appears in both the DSS and the SP, and is comparable to Dt 3:24-26.

Chapter 22: Edom refuses the Israelites passage

 

22:1 [SP & DSS 20:13f; cf Dt 2:2] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

22:2 [SP & DSS 20:13g; cf Dt 2:3] “You have circled this mountain long enough, so turn to the north,

22:3 [SP & DSS 20:13h; cf Dt 2:4] and command the people, saying, ‘You yourselves are about to pass through the territory of your cousins, the descendants of `Eisāv, who live in {the land of} Sei`īr. However, they will be apprehensive of you; so be very careful of yourselves.

22:4 [SP & DSS 20:13i; cf Dt 2:5] Do not provoke them, for I will not give you any of their land, not even so much as one footstep, because I have given the land adjoining Mount Sei`īr to `Eisāv as an eternal possession.

22:5 [SP & DSS 20:13j; cf Dt 2:6] You may only purchase food from them with silver so that you may eat, and you may also buy water from them with silver so that you may drink.’”

22:6 [20:14] Therefore, Mosheh sent messengers from Qādheish to the king of Edom {with the following message}: “Thus speaks your brother Israel: ‘You yourself know all the hardships that have befallen us –

22:7 [20:15] how our ancestors went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and how the Egyptians [cruelly] mistreated us and our ancestors.

22:8 [20:16] But when we cried out to Yahveh, God heard our plea and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are here at Qādheish, the town on the edge of your territory.

22:9 [20:17a] So please, permit us to pass through your country. We will not pass through field or vineyard; we will not even drink water from {any of your} wells.

22:10 [20:17b] We will [only] go along the king’s highway, turning neither to the right or the left, until we have passed through your territory.’”

22:11 [20:18] Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through [my territory], or else I will come out to meet you with my swords {in battle}.”

22:12 [20:19] So the Israelites {sent word back and} said to him, “We will keep to the main public road, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will pay its full price. Just let me pass through on foot; surely it is no big deal.”

22:13 [20:20] But [Edom] insisted, “You shall not pass through.” Furthermore, Edom came out to meet him with a large horde of troops, in a heavy show of force.

22:14 [20:21] Thus Edom refused to allow Israel passage through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.

22:15 [cf Num 26:65, Dt 2:14] {Thus the Israelites remained in Qādheish for thirty-eight years. And during that time, most of the generation of those who had rebelled against Yahveh perished in the wilderness – except for Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh, and Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn.}

22:16 [cf Num 21:14, Josh 10:13] {And the rest of what happened during Israel’s time in Qādheish, is it not already written in the ‘Book of the Wars of Yahveh’?}

 

The Death of Aharon

 

22:17 [20:22] {Now, early in the fortieth year}, the Israelites set out from Qādheish, and the entire congregation {of those who survived} arrived at Mount Hor.

22:18 [20:23] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and Aharon at Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying,

22:19 [20:24] “Aharon will be gathered to his kin; for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the Israelites, because you both disobeyed My instructions at the waters of Merīvāh.

22:20 [20:25] So take Aharon and his son Elė`āzār, and bring them up to Mount Hor.

22:21 [20:26] You shall divest Aharon of his [priestly] garments, and put them on his son Elė`āzār. Then Aharon will be gathered {to his kin}; he will die there.”

22:22 [20:27] So Mosheh did just as Yahveh had commanded; they went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole congregation.

22:23 [20:28a] After Mosheh had divested Aharon of his garments and put them on his son Elė`āzār, Aharon died there on the summit of the mountain.

22:24 [20:28b-29a] When Mosheh and Elė`āzār came back down from the mountain [by themselves], the whole congregation knew that Aharon had breathed his last.

22:25 [20:29b] Thereafter, the whole house of Israel wept {and mourned} for Aharon thirty days.

 

Chapter 23: The Journey of the Israelites to the Plains of Moab

 

The Capture of Chormah

 

23:1 [21:1] Now, when the Canaanite king of Arad, who ruled in the Négev, heard that Israel was coming along the Atharim road, he engaged Israel in battle, and took some of them captive.

23:2 [21:2] So Israel made a vow to Yahveh and said, “If You will completely deliver this people into our hands, then we will proscribe {and utterly destroy} their cities.”

23:3 [21:3] Then Yahveh heeded Israel’s plea, and delivered the Canaanites up {into their hands}; then they utterly destroyed them and their cities. That is why the name of the place was called Chormāh (‘Proscription’).

 

The Bronze Serpent

 

23:4 [21:4] After that, they set out from Mount Hor by way of the Red Sea, in order to [find a way] around the land of Edom; but the people grew restive because of the journey.

23:5 [21:5] As a result, the people spoke against God and Mosheh, {saying}, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we have come to loathe this lousy manna-bread.”

23:6 [21:6] So Yahveh sent deadly serpents [with burning venom] among the people, so that they bit the people, and a great many of the people of Israel died.

23:7 [21:7] So the people came to Mosheh and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against Yahveh and you; intercede with Yahveh, that God may remove the serpents from us.” So Mosheh interceded for the people.

23:8 [21:8] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Make for yourself a {bronze copy of one of the deadly} serpents, and set it upon a banner-mast; and it shall be, that when anyone who has been bitten looks at it, they will survive.”

23:9 [21:9] So Mosheh made a bronze serpent and set it on a banner-mast; and sure enough, whenever a serpent bit anyone, when they looked at the bronze serpent, they survived.

 

The Stages of Travel to the Area of the Transjordan

 

23:10 [21:10] After that, the Israelites moved out and made camp in Ovoth.

23:11 [21:11] Then they journeyed from Ovoth and camped at `Iyey ha-`avarim, in the wilderness which borders Moab, to the east.

23:12 [SP & DSS 21:11b, cf Dt 2:9] {That is where} Yahveh said to Mosheh, ‘Do not harass Moab, nor provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land to possess, because I have given {the region of} Ār to the descendants of Lot as an {eternal} possession.”

23:13 [21:12] From there they set out and camped in Wadi Zéredh.

23:14 [SP & DSS 21:12b, cf Dt 2:18-19] {That is where} Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Today you shall cross the region of Ār, on the border of Moab. When you come to face the Ammonites, do not harass them or provoke them, for I will not give you any of the land of the Ammonites to possess, because I have given it to the descendants of Lot as an [eternal] possession.”

23:15 [21:13] They then journeyed on {from Wadi Zéredh}, and camped on the other side of the [River] Arnōn – that is, in the wilderness that extends from the border of the {Emorrites}; for the [River] Arnōn forms the boundary of Moab, between Moab {on the one side}, and the [land of the Emorrites] {on the other}.

23:16 [21:14a] That is how it is described in the ‘Book of the Wars of Yahveh’:

23:17 [21:14b-15] “{From} Wāheib in Sūfāh, and the tributaries of the Arnōn, {to the} slopes of the wadis that extend to the region of Ār, which hugs the borderlands of Moab.”

23:18 [21:16] From there they continued to Be’eir (‘Well’) – which is the well where Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Assemble the people, so that I may give them water.”

23:19 [21:17a] Then Israel sang this song:

23:20 [21:17b]

“Spring up, O well!

Sing out for the well,
23:21 [21:18a]

which the chieftains sank,
which the nobles of the people dug,
with their maces – with their own staffs.”

23:22 [21:18b-19] Then from the [Oasis] {of Be’eir} they continued to Mattānāh, and from Mattānāh to Nachalī’eil, and from Nachalī’eil to Bāmōth,

23:23 [21:20] and from Bāmōth to the valley that is on the plains of Moab, at the top of Pisgāh, which overlooks Yeshimon.

 

The Conquest of the Lands of the Emorrites

 

23:24 [SP & DSS 21:20b, cf Dt 2:24a] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying, “Arise, set out, and pass through the valley of Arnōn.”

23:25 [21:21] So Israel sent messengers to Sīchon, king of the {Emorrites}, with words of peace, saying,

23:26 [21:22] “Let me pass through your country; I shall travel along the king’s highway, until I have crossed beyond your [farthest] border. I shall not turn to the right or to the left; I shall not turn aside into [your] fields or vineyards; nor shall I drink any water from [your] wells.

23:27 [SP Num 21:22b] I ask only that you exchange me food for silver, that I may eat, and give me water for silver, that I may drink.

23:28 [SP Num 21:22c] Only permit me to pass through on foot, just as the Ammonites and the Moabites who live in the region of Ār permitted me to do.”

23:29 [21:23a] However, Sīchon would not give Israel passage through his borderlands.

23:30 [21:23b] Instead, Sīchon [immediately] mustered all his troops, and came out to face Israel in the wilderness. When they reached Yāhats, they engaged Israel in battle.

23:31 [SP & DSS 21:20c, cf Dt 2:24b] So Yahveh said to Mosheh, “See, I shall give Sīchon the Emorrite, king of Cheshbōn, and his country into your hands; so engage with him in battle, and take possession of it.

23:32 [SP & DSS 21:20d, cf Dt 2:25] From this day, I will begin to put the fear and awe of you upon peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear reports of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.

23:33 [21:24] So Israel defeated him by force of arms, and took possession of his land from the [River] Arnōn to the [River] Yabboq, as far as {the border of} the Ammonites; for the border of the Ammonites was fortified.

23:34 [21:25a, cf 21:30b, Josh 13:17-21a] {All the following cities fell before them: the cities of} {Dīvōn, Bāmōth-ba`al and Beit-ba`al-me`ōn, Nashim, Nofah and Meidevā, Yahats, Qedeimōth and Meifā`ath, Qiryatháyim, Sivmāh and Tséreth-ha-shachar on the hill of the valley of Beit-pe`ōr, the slopes of Pisgāh and Beit-ha-yeshimōth}. {These were all the cities that God gave into their hands}, so Israel took all these cities.

23:35 [21:25b] Thereafter, Israel settled in all the cities of the {Emorrites}, [including] Cheshbōn, and all her [surrounding] villages.

23:36 [21:26] For Cheshbōn was the [chief] city of Sīchon, king of the {Emorrites}, who had fought against the first king of Moab, and had taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the [River] Arnōn.

23:37 [21:27a] Therefore, the bards of old would sing:

23:38 [21:27b]

“Come to Cheshbōn! Let it be rebuilt!
Let the city of Sīchon be firmly established!
23:39 [21:28]

For a fire went forth from Cheshbōn,
A flame from the city of Sīchon;
It devoured Ār of Moab,
and the lords of the Heights of Arnōn.
23:40 [21:29]

Woe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of Kemosh!
He has given over his sons as fugitives,
And his daughters into captivity,
To an [Emorrite] king, Sīchon.
23:41 [21:30]

Yet we have cast them down;
Cheshbōn is ruined as far as Dīvōn –
From Nashim as far as Nofah,
and all the way to Meidevā.”

23:42 [21:32] Finally, Mosheh sent men to scout out Ya`zeir, and they took over its [surrounding] villages and dispossessed the {Emorrites} who were there.

23:43 [21:31] So that is how Israel [came to] dwell in the cities of the {Emorrites}.

 

The Israelites fight Ōgh, King of Bāshān

 

23:44 [21:33] Then they turned and went up by the Bāshān road, and Ōgh the king of Bāshān came out to meet them in battle at Edre`ī – he and all his troops.

23:45 [21:34] But Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Do not fear him, for I shall deliver him into your hand, together with all his people and his land; and you shall do to him just as you did to Sīchon, king of the {Emorrites}, who ruled in Cheshbōn.”

23:46 [21:35] So they defeated him, his sons and all his troops, until there was no remnant left of him; and so they took possession of his country.

23:47 [22:1] Then the Israelites journeyed onward, and camped on the plains of Moab, across the Jordan from Jericho.

Notes:

Compared to most other chapters in Numbers, this chapter has an inordinate number of verses not found in the Masoretic Text. They appear in both the Samaritan Torah, and in the Qumran texts, but not in the Greek Septuagint. This would suggest that the additional verses were part of a textual tradition that was native to the Holy Land, where the SP and DSS texts originated, but not Egypt, where the LXX text originated.

22:15-16 – The missing 38 years: One possible reason why the story of the intervening 38 years are not mentioned, recounted, or dealt with in any way in the Book of Numbers, may be because they were already adequately narrated in the ‘Book of the Wars of YHVH‘, mentioned in MT Num 21:14. The editor of the Book of Numbers may have decided that it was therefore superfluous and unnecessary to duplicate all the material when redacting Numbers into its final written form.

23:34 The list of all the Emorrite cities: In Hebrew, MT Num 21:25  begins, ‘so Israel took all these cities’. Some commentators have therefore suggested that originally, the text contained a list of all these cities which preceded these words, so I have imported the list that appears in Josh 13:17-21a and Num 21:30b

The Story of Bil`ām

 

Chapter 24: King Bālāq of Moab resorts to using the services of the spellbinder, Bil`am

 

24:1 [22:2] Meanwhile, Bālāq son of Tsippōr had seen everything that Israel had done to the {Emorrites}.

24:2 [22:3] Now, Moab was greatly afraid when faced with the people [of Israel], for they were numerous; and Moab came to detest the presence of the Israelites.

24:3 [22:4] So [the king of] Moab [summoned] {the elders of Moab and} the elders of Midian {and said}, “Now this horde will gobble up everything that is around us, just as the ox gobbles up the grass of the field.” It was Bālāq son of Tsippōr [who was] king of Moab at that time.

24:4 [22:5a] So he enlisted {the elders as} messengers [to go] to Bil`ām son of Beor, at Pethor, which is near the River {Euphrates} in {Mesopotamia}, the land of his kinsfolk, to invite him, saying,

24:5 [22:5b] “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and behold, they cover the surface of the land {like a plague of locusts}, and they have settled right on my doorstep!

24:6 [22:6a] Now, therefore, please come, curse this people for me since they are too powerful for me; perhaps I may then be able to defeat them and drive them out from the land.

24:7 [22:6b] For I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

24:8 [22:7] With that, the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian – who were themselves well-versed in divination – departed; and they came to Bil`ām and repeated Bālāq’s words to him.

24:9 [22:8] He said to them, “Spend the night here, and I will bring back to you whatever message {Shaddai} directs me to speak.” So the Moabite dignitaries stayed with Bil`ām.

24:10 [22:9] {That night}, God came to Bil`ām {in a dream} and said to him, “Who are these men with you?”

24:11 [22:10] So Bil`ām said to God, “Bālāq son of Tsippōr, king of Moab, has sent [a message] to me, saying,

24:12 [22:11] ‘Behold, [there is] a people who have come out of Egypt; they cover the surface of the land [from view], and they have settled right on my doorstep; so now come, put a hex on them for me {since they are too powerful for me} – perhaps I may then be able to face them in battle and drive them out from the land.’”

24:13 [22:12] However, God said to Bil`ām, “Do not go with them, and do not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

24:14 [22:13] So Bil`ām arose in the morning and said to Bālāq’s dignitaries, “Go back to your lord, for {Shaddai} has refused to let me go with you.”

24:15 [22:14] The Moabite dignitaries arose and went [back] to Bālāq and said to him, “Bil`ām refuses to come with us.”

 

Bālāq sends more distinguished dignitaries to Bil`ām to persuade him

 

24:16 [22:15] So Bālāq again sent dignitaries, more numerous and more resplendent than the former.

24:17 [22:16] They came to Bil`ām and said to him, “Thus says Bālāq son of Tsippōr, king of Moab, ‘Let nothing, I beg you, hinder you from coming to me;

24:18 [22:17] for I will ensure you are handsomely rewarded, and whatever you ask of me I will do for you. So please come – put a hex on this people for me!’”

24:19 [22:18] However, Bil`ām responded by saying to Bālāq’s emissaries, “Even if Bālāq were to give me his mansion full of silver and gold, I could not transgress the orders of {Shaddai} my God, by doing anything more or less.

24:20 [22:19] So now, please, you too shall stay here tonight, and I will find out whatever else {Shaddai} might speak to me.” So the Moabite dignitaries stayed with Bil`ām.

24:21 [22:20] And God came to Bil`ām at night {in a dream} and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise up and go with them; but you shall only act upon the message which I speak to you.”

 

Bil`ām’s donkey

 

24:22 [22:21] So Bil`ām arose in the morning, saddled his donkey [himself], and {readily} set off with the dignitaries of [the king of] Moab.

24:23 [22:22a] However, God was incensed at his {over-eagerness to} go, so the [chief arch]angel of Yahveh took up position in his way, [to act] as adversary against him.

24:24 [22:22b] Now, he was riding on his own female donkey – his jenny – and his two servant-boys were with him.

24:25 [22:23] When the jenny saw the angel of Yahveh standing in the way with its drawn sword in its hand, the jenny turned off from the road and went into the [adjacent] plots {of grapevines}; but Bil`ām struck the jenny to try to turn her back onto the road.

24:26 [22:24] However, the angel of Yahveh stood in a narrow lane [running through] the vineyards, [which had] a dry-stone wall on either side.

24:27 [22:25] When the jenny saw the angel of Yahveh this time, she squeezed herself against the wall, at the same time squeezing Bil`ām’s foot against the wall, so he struck her again.

24:28 [22:26] The angel of Yahveh moved further, and went over to stand in a narrow place where there was no way to turn, even to the right or the left.

24:29 [22:27] When the jenny saw the angel of Yahveh this time, she lay down under Bil`ām; so Bil`ām got angry and struck the jenny with his stick.

24:30 [22:28] Then Yahveh opened the mouth of the jenny, and she said to Bil`ām, “What have I done to you, that you should strike me these three times?”

24:31 [22:29] So Bil`ām said to the jenny, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If I’d had a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now!”

24:32 [22:30a] The jenny said to Bil`ām, “Am I not your [loyal] donkey, on whom you have ridden ever since I became yours, to this very day? Have I ever been accustomed to act like this with you?”

24:33 [22:30b] And he said, “No.”

24:34 [22:31] At that point, Yahveh uncovered the eyes of Bil`ām, and he saw the angel of Yahveh standing in the way, with its drawn sword in its hand; so he bowed and went prostrate before it.

24:35 [22:32] Then the angel of Yahveh said to him, “Why have you struck your jenny these three times? Behold, I myself have come out to stand against you, because you were far too eager to set out on your way.

24:36 [22:33] However, the jenny saw me, and she shied away because of me these three times. If she had not shied away from me, I would surely have killed you by now, and let her live.”

24:37 [22:34] So Bil`ām said to the angel of Yahveh, “I have sinned, for I did not know that you were standing in the way against me. Now then, if it is displeasing to you, I will turn back.”

24:38 [22:35a] But the angel of Yahveh said to Bil`ām, “Continue along with the men, but you must take care that you do only speak the message which I tell you.”

24:39 [22:35b] So Bil`ām continued on his way with the dignitaries of Bālāq.

 

Bil`ām meets with Bālāq

 

24:40 [22:36] When Bālāq heard that Bil`ām was coming, he went out to meet him in `Ār-mo’av, which is on the Arnōn border, at the extreme end of the border.

24:41 [22:37] Then Bālāq said to Bil`ām, “Did I not urgently send [messengers] to you to call you? Why did you not come to me before? {Did you think} I would not be able to reward you!”

24:42 [22:38] So Bil`ām said to Bālāq, “Well, look, I’ve come to you now! But am I able to just create oracles on my own? The message that God puts into my mouth, that [alone] I shall speak.”

24:43 [22:39] After that, Bil`ām went with Bālāq, and they went to Qiryath-chutsōth.

24:44 [22:40] Once there, Bālāq sacrificed oxen and sheep, and had them served to Bil`ām and the dignitaries who were with him.

 

Notes

24:9The use of ‘Shaddai’ – The Holy Name would not have been known to people in Mesopotamia, since the Holy Name had been revealed only to Israel. In speech, if Bil`am really did worship the same God as Israel, he would have referred to God as Shaddai – as indeed he does in MT Num 24:4 & 16. Just as in Genesis, the 5th century editor of Numbers may have indiscriminately exchanged every occurrence of Shaddai for the Holy Name.

              Although not an Israelite, Bil`am still worships Almighty God. It is possible that he either worships God as one of many gods, or worships YHVH alone, but doesn’t follow all of God’s ways. That is why he still practices magic.

24:10 ‘Who are these men with you?’ – God does not ask this question because God doesn’t know; God asks it because God wants Bil`am to realise who they are, and what going with them would entail.

24:23God is angry with Bil`am for going: It may seem puzzling why God previously had given permission for Bil`am to go to Balaq, and is then angry with him for going. One clue is in a possible interpretation of MT Num 22:32, where the angel explains why it came out to stop Bil`am; the verse literally says, “for rushing [headlong] [on] the way before me”. It seems that, having been given permission by God to go, Bil`am was a little too eager to hurry off on the journey; God was concerned he might think that permission to go also meant permission to curse Israel. Both God, and the angel on God’s behalf, have to restate that Bil`am is only to speak what God gives him to speak.

24:24 (and after) – the use of the word ‘jenny’ to describe a female donkey: The normal word for ‘donkey’ in Hebrew is chamor. However, here, it is aton throughout. The Hebrew word is not simply a feminine form of the usual word for donkey, but a completely different word. I have therefore reflected this change in English by using ‘jenny’ instead of just ‘female donkey’ or ‘she-ass’.

Chapter 25: Bil`ām’s First Two Oracles

 

25:1 [22:41] Now it so happened the following morning, that Bālāq took Bil`ām and brought him up to [the heights of] Bamoth-Baal, and he saw from there a portion of the people {of Israel}.

25:2 [23:1] So Bil`ām said to Bālāq, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me as well.”

25:3 [23:2] Bālāq did just as Bil`ām had spoken, and Bālāq and Bil`ām offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.

25:4 [23:3] Then Bil`ām said to Bālāq, “Stand beside your burnt-offerings, and I shall go {further on}; perhaps {Shaddai} will come to meet me, and whatever [God] reveals to me I will tell you.” So Bālāq stood by his burnt-offerings, and [Bil`ām] [left and] went up to a bare hill to make enquiry of God.

 

God instructs Bil`ām to prophesy

 

25:5 [23:4] Presently, God met Bil`ām, so he said to [God], “I have set up seven altars, and I have offered up a bull and a ram on each altar.”

25:6 [23:5] Then Yahveh put a message in Bil`ām’s mouth, and then said, “Return to Bālāq, and that is how you shall speak.”

25:7 [23:6] Accordingly, he returned to [Bālāq], and he saw that he was standing beside his burnt-offerings – he and all the [chief] dignitaries of Moab.

 

Bil`ām’s First Oracle

 

25:8 [23:7a] It was then that [Bil`ām] delivered his oracle and said,

25:9 [23:7b] “From Aram, Bālāq has brought me,
Moab’s king from the mountains of the East, [saying],
25:10 [23:7c] ‘Come curse Ya`aqov for me,
And come, denounce Israel!’
25:11 [23:8] But how shall I curse those whom God has not cursed?
And how can I denounce those whom {Shaddai} has not denounced?
25:12 [23:9a] As I see him from the top of the rocks,
And look at him from the hills,
25:13 [23:9b] Behold, [I see] a people who dwells apart,
one which will not be reckoned among the nations.
25:14 [23:10a] Who can count the dust of Ya`aqov,
Or number the dust-cloud of Israel?
25:15 [23:10b] Let me die the death of the upright,
And let my end be like theirs!”

 

Bālāq is displeased with Bil’ām

 

25:16 [23:11] Then Bālāq said to Bil`ām, “What have you done to me? I commissioned you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have actually blessed them!”

25:17 [23:12] He replied, “Do I not have to be careful to speak [only] what {Shaddai} puts in my mouth?”

25:18 [23:13] So Bālāq said to him, “Please come with me to another place from where you may still see them, although you will only see the extreme end of them and will not see all of them; then curse them for me from there.”

25:19 [23:14] So he took him to Shadeh Tsofīm, to the top of Pisgāh, and [again] built seven altars, offering a bull and a ram on [each] altar.

25:20 [23:15] Then he said to Bālāq, “Stand here beside your burnt-offerings, while I myself go to enquire of {Shaddai} over there.”

25:21 [23:16] Then Yahveh met Bil`ām, and put a message in his mouth, saying, “Return to Bālāq, and that is how you shall speak.”

25:22 [23:17] When he came [back] to [Bālāq], he saw that he was standing beside his burnt-offerings, and the dignitaries of Moab with him. And Bālāq said to him, “What has {Shaddai} spoken?”

 

Bil`ām’s Second Oracle

 

25:23 [23:18] Then he delivered his oracle and said,

“Arise, O Bālāq, and listen;
Give ear to me, O son of Tsippōr!
25:24 [23:19a] God is not a man, that He should waver,
Nor a human being, that He should change His mind;
25:25 [23:19b] If God has said [something], will God not then do it?
Or if God has spoken, will God not then make good on God’s word?
25:26 [23:20] Behold, I have received {an order} to bless;
When [God] has blessed, I cannot then revoke it.
25:27 [23:21a] [God] has not envisaged misfortune in Ya`aqov;
Nor has [God] seen trouble in Israel;
25:28 [23:21b] Yahveh his God is with him,
their King’s acclaim is in their midst.
25:29 [23:22] The {power of the} God who brought them out of Egypt,
is for them like the horns of a wild ox.
25:30 [23:23a] For there is no observing of omens in Ya`aqov,
Nor is there any divination in Israel;
25:31 [23:23b] At the proper time, [God’s word] shall be told to Ya`aqov,
And to Israel, what God has planned!
25:32 [23:24a] Behold, a people that rises like a lion,
And leaps up like the king of beasts,
25:33 [23:24b] will not lie back down again until it has feasted on its prey,
And has drunk the blood of the slain.”

 

Bālāq changes tactics with Bil`ām

 

25:34 [23:25] Then Bālāq said to Bil`ām, “Don’t curse them then, but don’t bless them [either]!”

25:35 [23:26] However, Bil`ām replied to Bālāq, “Did I not tell you, ‘Whatever {Shaddai} speaks, that I must do’?”

25:36 [23:27] So Bālāq said to Bil`ām, “Please come [with me, and] I will take you to another place; perhaps it will be [more] to God’s liking that you curse them for me from there.”

25:37 [23:28] So Bālāq took Bil`ām to the top of Mount Pe`or, which overlooks Yeshimon.

25:38 [23:29] Bil`ām [again] said to Bālāq, “Build seven altars for me here, and prepare seven bulls and seven rams for me as well.”

25:39 [23:30] So Bālāq did just as Bil`ām had said, and offered up a bull and a ram on [each] altar.

 

Chapter 26: Bil`ām’s Final Two Oracles

 

26:1 [24:1] Then Bil`ām, seeing that it pleased Yahveh to bless Israel, did not go off to seek omens as he had previously done, but instead he [simply] turned to face the wilderness.

26:2 [24:2] As Bil`ām lifted up his eyes and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him.

 

Bil`ām’s Third Oracle

 

26:3 [24:3a] And he delivered his oracle, saying,

26:4 [24:3b] “This is the oracle of Bil`ām son of Be`or,
the oracle of a man whose eyes have been uncovered;
26:5 [24:4] The oracle of him who hears the words of God,
Who sees the visions of Shaddai,
Who is prostrate, yet has his eyes unveiled:


26:6 [24:5] How fair are your tents, O Ya`aqov,
[How lovely] Your dwellings, O Israel!
26:7 [24:6] Like palm-groves that stretch out,
Like gardens beside the river,
Like aloes planted by {Shaddai},
Like cedars beside the waters,
26:8 [24:7a] Their boughs will drip with dew,
And their roots will have abundant moisture.
26:9 [24:7b] Their king shall rise above Agag,
And their kingdom shall be exalted.
26:10 [24:8a] [The power of the] God who brought them out of Egypt,
Is for them like the horns of the wild ox.
26:11 [24:8b] They will devour their enemy nations,
Crushing their bones into pieces,
And shattering [them] with their arrows.
26:12 [24:9a] They crouch, they lie down like a lion;
And like the king of beasts, who dares rouse them?
26:13 [24:9b] Blessed is everyone who blesses you,
And accursed is everyone who curses you.”

 

Bālāq vents his anger at Bil`ām

 

26:14 [24:10] Enraged at Bil`ām, Bālāq struck his hands together {right in his face}, and [shouted] at Bil`ām, saying, “I called you here to curse my enemies, but look what you do – you persist in blessing them, three times no less!

26:15 [24:11] So scamper off back to your own homeland now! I said I would reward you richly, but look – {Shaddai} has denied you from having any reward!”

26:16 [24:12] So Bil`ām said to Bālāq, “{Right at the beginning}, did I not inform your messengers whom you sent to me, saying,

26:17 [24:13] ‘Even if Bālāq were to give me his mansion full of silver and gold, I could not of my own accord transgress the orders of {Shaddai} to do good or bad. What {Shaddai} speaks, that I will speak’?

26:18 [24:14] So now, behold, as I go [back] to my own people, come, and I will advise you what this people {Israel} will do to your people in times to come.”

 

Bil`ām’s Final Set of Oracles

 

26:19 [24:15a] Then he delivered his oracle and said,

26:20 [24:15b] “These are the oracles of Bil`ām son of Be`or,
the oracles of a man whose eyes have been uncovered,
26:21 [24:16a] The oracles of him who hears the words of God,
And has obtained knowledge from the Most High,
26:22 [24:16b] Who sees the visions of Shaddai,
Who is prostrate, yet has his eyes unveiled:
26:23 [24:17a] What I see for them is not immediate;
What I behold for them is not in a time near ours.

26:24 [24:17b] A star shall come forth from Ya`aqov,
A [royal army] shall march out from Israel;
26:25 [24:17c] They shall crush the chief warriors of Moab,
And break all the sons of Sheth.
26:26 [24:19] A ruler from Ya`aqov shall gain dominion,
And destroy the remnant of Ār-mo`av.

26:27 [24:18] Edom shall become [his] possession;
Sei`īr, his enemies, a [conquered] possession;
It is Israel who will be triumphant.”

 

26:28 [24:20] Then he beheld `Amāleiq, and delivered his oracle {for them}, saying,

“At the beginning, `Amāleiq was a leader among the nations,
But his final fate is to perish forever.”

 

26:29 [24:21] Then he beheld the Keinites, and delivered his oracle {for them}, saying,

“Even though your abode is secure,
And your nest is set in a cliff,
26:30 [24:22] Nevertheless, {the nest of} Kein will be burnt up,
when Asshur takes you captive.”

 

26:31 [24:23] Then he delivered his [final] oracle, saying,

“Alas, who can survive except if God has ordained it?
26:32 [24:24] The ships {of the Sea-Peoples} shall come from the coasts of Cyprus;
They shall afflict Asher, they will afflict Hever;
But they too will perish forever.”

 

26:33 [24:25] After that, Bil`ām arose and departed, to return to his own country; and Bālāq also went his way.

 

Israel sojourns in Moab

 

Chapter 27: Israel becomes seduced by the worship of the Baal of Pe’or

 

27:1 [25:1] While Israel remained at Shittīm, the [men] began to engage in [pagan] sexual worship with the [women] of Moab {and Midian};

27:2 [25:2] for they invited the [men] {of Israel} to the sacrifices of their god, and the [men] ate and bowed down to their god, {and then engaged in ritual intercourse to their god}.

27:3 [25:3a] In this way, some of the men of Israel joined themselves to {the ways of} the Baal of Pe’or.

27:4 [25:3b] Then Yahveh became incensed {with them}, {and so a terrible plague from the Presence of Yahveh broke out} against Israel.

27:5 [25:4] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Take all the leaders of the people, {and appoint them as judges; and let them pass the death sentence against the men who have gone astray after the Baal of Pe’or}, by impaling them, and [then leaving their dead bodies out] in the sun according to [the judgment of] Yahveh, so that the angry [fire] of Yahveh may turn away from Israel, {and the plague cease}.”

27:6 [25:5] So Mosheh {appointed the chieftains of the tribes as judges}, and said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you must execute [those of] his tribesmen who have joined themselves to {the worship of} the Baal of Pe’or.”

27:7 [25:6a] However, {while Mosheh was speaking to them}, they were astonished when one of the Israelite men {set up a tent for sexual worship right outside the Tabernacle compound}; then he came and introduced {his bride} to his kinsfolk – a Midianite woman – in full sight of Mosheh and the entire congregation of the Israelites.

27:8 [25:6b] Then, while they themselves [went to] weep at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, {the Israelite man engaged in an act of ritual intercourse with the Midianite woman inside the worship-tent – for they thought that this would appease the spirits of the dead and stop the plague}.

27:9 [25:7] Now Pinchās son of Elė`āzār, [grand]son of Aharon the [High] Priest, {was chief over the Levite guards; and} when he saw [what was happening], he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand.

27:10 [25:8] Then he went after the Israelite man into the worship-tent, and speared both of them – both the Israelite man and the {Midianite} woman – right through their bodies, {while they were engaged in the very act of intercourse}.

27:11 [25:8b-9] Thus the plague on the Israelites was checked; and those who died by the plague were 24,000; {and so the very last of those who had rebelled against Yahveh in the wilderness died}.

 

God makes an eternal Covenant with Pinchās

 

27:12 [25:10] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

27:13 [25:11] “Pinchās son of Elė`āzār, [grand]son of Aharon the [High] Priest, has turned back My angry fire from the Israelites, in that he became fired up with the fire of My zeal among them, so that I did not destroy the Israelites in My fiery zeal.

27:14 [25:12] Therefore say [to him], ‘Behold, I give him My covenant of peace;

27:15 [25:13] and it shall be for him and his descendants after him, a covenant of a perpetual priesthood, because he was zealous for his God, and so made ransom-payment for the Israelites.’”

27:16 [25:14] Now the name of the slain Israelite man – the one who was slain with the Midianite woman – was Zimrī son of Sālū, a clan-leader among the tribal clans of the Shimonites.

27:17 [25:15] The name of the Midianite woman who was slain was Kōzbī daughter of Tsūr, who was the chieftain of Ommot, a tribal house in Midian.

27:18 [25:16] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

27:19 [25:17] “Declare hostilities against the Midianites and strike them;

27:20 [25:18] because they have been hostile against you with the tricks they have practised against you – because of the affair of Pe’or and the affair of their kinswoman Kōzbī, the daughter of the Midianite chieftain {Tsūr}, who was slain at the time of the plague [that came] on account of {the sin of the worship of} Pe’or.”

 

Chapter 28: The Second Census

 

28:1 [J: 25:19-26:1, X: 25:18b-26:1] Now it so happened after the plague, that Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Elė`āzār son of Aharon the [High] Priest, saying,

28:2 [26:2] “Take a census of the entire congregation of the Israelites from twenty years old and upward, by their ancestral houses, of whoever is able to go out to war in Israel.”

28:3 [26:3] So Mosheh and Elė`āzār the priest spoke with {the tribal chieftains}, on the steppes of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho, saying,

28:4 [26:4a] “{Take a census of the people} from twenty years old and upward, just as Yahveh has commanded Mosheh.”

 

The Reuvenites

 

28:5 [26:4b] Now [these were] the Israelite [clans] who came out of the land of Egypt:

28:6 [26:5] [Descended from] Rė’ūvein, Israel’s firstborn, [these were] the Reuvenite [clans]: descended from Chanōkh, the clan of the Chanōkhites; descended from Pallū, the clan of the Palluites;

28:7 [26:6] descended from Chetsron, the clan of the Chetsronites; descended from Karmī, the clan of the Karmites.

28:8 [26:7] These are the clans of the Reuvenites, and those of them who were registered came to 43,730.

28:9 [26:8] Now the son of Pallū was Elī’āv,

28:10 [26:9] and the sons of Elī’āv were Nėmū’eil, Dāthān and Avīrām. These were the Dāthān and Avīrām who were selected by [the rebels in] the congregation, who contended against Mosheh and against Aharon in Qorach’s gang, when they rebelled against Yahveh,

28:11 [26:10a] and whom the earth swallowed up when it opened its mouth, along with Qorach.

28:12 [26:10b] When that [rebel] gang died, the fire [of God] devoured 250 men, so that they became a warning sign.

28:13 [26:11] However, the children of Qorach did not die.

 

The Shimonites

 

28:14 [26:12] These are the Shimonites according to their clans: descended from Nėmū’eil, the clan of the Nėmū’elites; descended from Yāmīn, the clan of the Yāmīnites; descended from Yākhīn, the clan of the Yākhīnites;

28:15 [26:13] descended from Zérach, the clan of the Zérachites; descended from Shā’ūl, the clan of the Shā’ūlites.

28:16 [26:14] These are the clans of the Shimonites, {and those of them who were registered came to} 22,200.

 

The Gadites

 

28:17 [26:15] These are the Gādites according to their clans: descended from Tsėfōn, the clan of the Tsėfōnites; descended from Chaggī, the clan of the Chaggites; descended from Shūnī, the clan of the Shūnites;

28:18 [26:16] descended from Ōznī, the clan of the Ōznites; descended from `Eidhi, the clan of the `Eidhites;

28:19 [26:17] descended from Arvadh, the clan of the Arvadhites; descended from Ar’eilī, the clan of the Ar’eilites.

28:20 [26:18] These are the clans of the Gādites according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 40,500.

 

The Judahites

 

28:21 [26:19] The {eldest} sons of Yėhūdhāh were `Eir and Ōnān, but `Eir and Ōnān died in the land of Canaan, {and left no descendants}.

28:22 [26:20] So these are the Judahites according to their clans: descended from Sheilāh, the clan of the Sheilānites; descended from Péretz, the clan of the Péretzites; descended from Zérach, the clan of the Zérachites.

28:23 [26:21] The Péretzites were: of those descended from Chetsron, the clan of the Chetsronites; of those descended from Chāmūl, the clan of the Chāmūlites.

28:24 [26:22] These are the clans of Yėhūdhāh according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 76,500.

 

The Yissakharites

 

28:25 [26:23] These are the Yiśśākhārites according to their clans: descended from Tōlā`, the clan of the Tōlā`ites; descended from Puvāh, the clan of the Pūvites;

28:26 [26:24] descended from Yāshūv, the clan of the Yāshūvites; descended from Shimron, the clan of the Shimronites.

28:27 [26:25] These are the clans of Yiśśākhār according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 64,300.

 

The Zevulunites

 

28:28 [26:26] These are the Zėvūlunites according to their clans: descended from Séredh, the clan of the Séredhites; descended from Eilōn, the clan of the Eilōnites; descended from Yachlė’eil, the clan of the Yachlė’eilites.

28:29 [26:27] These are the clans of the Zėvūlunites according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 60,500.

 

The Manassites

 

28:30 [26:28] These are the Yōsefites according to their [ancestral tribes]: Manasseh and Efráyim.

28:31 [26:29] These are the Manassites {according to their clans}: descended from Makhīr, the clan of the Makhīrites; and Makhīr became the father of Gil`ād; and those descended from Gil`ādh, the clan of the Gil`ādhites.

28:32 [26:30] These are Gil`ādhites: those descended from Achī`ézer, the clan of the Achī`ézerites; those descended from Chéileq, the clan of the Chéileqites;

28:33 [26:31] those descended from Asrī’eil, the clan of the Asrī’eilites; those descended from Shékhem, the clan of the Shékhemites;

28:34 [26:32] those descended from Shėmīdā`, the clan of the Shėmīdā`ites; and those descended from Chéifer, the clan of the Chéiferites.

28:35 [26:33] Now Tsėlōfėhādh son of Chéifer had no sons, only daughters; and the names of Tsėlōfėhādh’s daughters were Machlāh, No`āh, Chōghlāh, Milkāh and Tirtsāh.

28:36 [26:34] These are the clans of Manasseh; and those of them who were registered came to 52,700.

 

The Efraimites

 

28:37 [26:35] These are the Efraimites according to their clans: descended from Shūthelach, the clan of the Shūthelachites; descended from Békher, the clan of the Békherites; descended from Tachan, the clan of the Tachanites.

28:38 [26:36] These are the Shūthelachites: those descended from `Eidhān, the clan of the `Eidhānites.

28:39 [26:37] These are the clans of the Efraimites according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 32,500; and these are the descendants of Yōseif according to their clans.

 

The Binyaminites

 

28:40 [26:38] These are the Binyāminites according to their clans: descended from Béla`, the clan of the Béla`ites; descended from Ashbeil, the clan of the Ashbeilites; descended from Achīrām, the clan of the Achīrāmites;

28:41 [26:39] descended from Shūfām, the clan of the Shūfāmites; descended from Chūfām, the clan of the Chūfāmites.

28:42 [26:40] The sons of Béla` were Arādh and Na`amān: so those descended from {Arādh} were the clan of the Arādhites; descended from Na`amān were the clan of the Na`amānites.

28:43 [26:41] These are the Binyāminites according to their clans; and those of them who were registered came to 45,600.

 

The Danites

 

28:44 [26:42] These are the Dānites according to their clans: descended from Shūchām, the clan of the Shūchāmites. This was the [only] family of Dān according to their clans.

28:45 [26:43] All the families of the Shūchāmites, according to those of them who were registered, came to 64,400.

 

The Asheirites

 

28:46 [26:44] These are the Āsheirites according to their clans: descended from Yamneh, the clan of the Yamnites; descended from Yashvī, the clan of the Yashvites; descended from Bėrī`āh, the clan of the Bėrī`ites.

28:47 [26:45] These are the Bėrī`ites: descended from Chéver, the clan of the Chéverites; descended from Malkī’eil, the clan of the Malkī’eilites.

28:48 [26:46] The name of the daughter of Āsheir was Sárach.

28:49 [26:47] These are the clans of the Āsheirites according to those of them who were registered, [a total of] 53,400.

 

The Naftalites

 

28:50 [26:48] These are the Naftālites according to their clans: descended from Yachtsė’eil, the clan of the Yachtsė’eilites; descended from Gūnī, the clan of the Gūnites;

28:51 [26:49] descended from Yéizer, the clan of the Yéizerites; descended from Shilleim, the clan of the Shilleimites.

28:52 [26:50] These are the families of Naftālī according to their clans; and those of them who were registered came to 45,400.

 

28:53 [26:51] This then is the total of those who were registered of the Israelites: 601,730.

 

Notes:

HTT Chapter 27 (MT Chapter 25) has a lot of narrative detail missing from it, probably due to the sensitive nature of what was being described. The ‘fornication’ mentioned in MT Num 25:1 (or ‘sexual worship’), refers to the cultic intercourse practised as part of the pagan rites of worship. Because of this, various details were missed out by the final editor of the story, probably for being too embarassing, but would have been implicitly understood by ancient readers of the story.

27:3 – in the SP, only some of the men of Israel engage in these practices. Presumably these are the remaining people who were still alive from the episode of the golden calf.

27:4 – the fact of a plague breaking out is understood but not mentioned in the MT until MT 25:8-9, when the plague is over.

27:5 – This verse, in the original MT version, makes it seem as if God gave instructions for the tribal chieftains to be executed. However, in two of the ancient Aramaic Targums, the explanatory midrash is included where the chieftains are appointed as judges (mentioned in the following verse), and it is in their capacity as judges that they are to pass the death sentence on the men that engage in these practices. This makes better sense; without this detail, it seems as if the chieftains are to be executed (even if they are innocent), and then Moses seemingly disobeys God by instructing the judges of Israel to execute all the worshippers of Baal-Peor.

27:7-8 – the tent (qubbah) is not actually mentioned until MT 25:8, when Pinchas enters the tent to kill the man and the woman. This would have been a small, red leather tent with a dome, used for the purposes of ritual intercourse, to summon the spirits of the dead to appease them; commentators have surmised that they were hoping the sexual act would stop the plague.

27:11 – Jewish commentators generally understand that the plague kills off the remaining people who were engaged in the worship of the golden calf, and those who rebelled against God when they refused to enter the Land.

Chapter 28 – the names of the clans: Some of the names of the clans differ in the MT on the one hand, and in the SP and LXX on the other. Some are because of the similarity of the Hebrew letter D (dalet ד) to the letter R (reysh ר). I have gone by the majority reading in this instance. In other cases, a letter has been missed out, for example, in 28:32, the MT text has a cheyt missing, making the name Ai`ezer, but the LXX has Achi`ezer. Similarly, in verse 28:41, the name of the ancestor is given in the MT as Shefufam, but then the clan is called Shufamite. The spelling in the SP and LXX both suggest the ancestor’s name was Shufam, and that the letter P has been reduplicated in the MT in error.

Chapter 29: The Division of the Land

 

29:1 [26:52] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

29:2 [26:53] “It is among these {Israelites} that the Land shall be divided as an inherited possession, according to the number of [registered] names.

29:3 [26:54] For larger {clans} you shall increase their inheritance, and for the smaller {clans} you shall diminish their inheritance; each {clan} shall be given their inheritance according to {the number of those among} them who were registered.

29:4 [26:55] However, the Land shall be apportioned by lot. They shall receive their inheritance according to the names of their ancestral tribes.

29:5 [26:56] You shall assign their inheritance accordingly by lot between the larger and the smaller {clans}.”

 

The Divisions of the Levites, and their separate Census

 

29:6 [26:57] Now these are those who were registered among the Levites according to their clans: descended from Geirshōn, the clan of the Geirshōnites; descended from Qohāth, the clan of the Qohāthites; descended from Mėrārī, the clan of the Mėrārites.

29:7 [26:58a] These are the sub-clans of the Levites: {of those descended from Geirshōn}: the clan of the Livnītes {and the clan of the Shim`ites};

29:8 [26:58b] {of those descended from Qohāth}: {the clan of the Amrāmites}, the clan of the Chevrōnites, {the clan of the Uzzi’eilites and the clan of the Yitzhārites}, {to whom belong} the clan of the Qorachites;

29:9 [26:58c] {and of those descended from Mėrārī}: the clan of the Machlites and the clan of the Mūshites,

29:10 [26:58d] Now Qohāth became the father of `Amrām,

29:11 [26:59] and the name of `Amrām’s wife was Yōkhévedh, a [grand]-daughter of Leivī, who was born to Leivī’s {daughter} in Egypt; and she bore to `Amrām: Aharon and Mosheh, and their sister Miryām.

29:12 [26:60] To Aharon were born Nādāv and Avīhū, Elė`āzār and Īthāmār.

29:13 [26:61] However, Nādāv and Avīhū died when they offered fire of unauthorised origin in the presence of Yahveh.

29:14 [26:62] So those {among the Levites} who were registered came to 23,000 – every male from a month old and upward, for they were not numbered among the Israelites, since no inheritance [of land] was given to them among the Israelites.

29:15 [26:63] These then are [all] those who were registered by Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, who numbered the Israelites on the steppes of Moab, by the Jordan opposite Jericho.

29:16 [26:64] However, among these there was not a single man of those who were registered by Mosheh and Aharon the [High] Priest, when they numbered the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai.

29:17 [26:65] For Yahveh had said of them, “They shall surely die in the wilderness.” And not a single man was left of them, except Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh and Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn.

 

The Case of Tsėlōfėhādh’s Daughters

 

29:18 [27:1] Then the daughters of Tsėlōfėhādh son of Chéifer, son of Gil`ādh, son of Makhīr, son of Manasseh, of the Manassite Yōseifite clans, drew near; and these were the names of his daughters: Machlāh, No`āh, Chōghlāh, Milkāh and Tirtsāh.

29:19 [27:2] They presented themselves before Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, and before the chieftains and the entire congregation, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, saying,

29:20 [27:3] “Our father died in the wilderness, yet he was not among the faction of those who banded together against Yahveh in Qorach’s gang; but rather he died for his own sin, and he had no sons.

29:21 [27:4] Why should the name of our father be eliminated from among his clan, just because he had no sons? Give us a hereditary possession then among our father’s brothers.”

29:22 [27:5] So Mosheh brought their case before Yahveh.

29:23 [27:6] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

29:24 [27:7] “The cause of the daughters of Tsėlōfėhādh is just. You should therefore give them a secure inheritance among their father’s kinsmen; you shall transfer their father’s inheritance to them.

29:25 [27:8] Furthermore, you shall speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter.

29:26 [27:9] If he has no daughter, then you shall give his inheritance to his brothers.

29:27 [27:10] If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers.

29:28 [27:11] If his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his nearest relative in his own clan, and he shall take possession of it; and this shall be the statutory procedure for the Israelites, just as Yahveh commanded Mosheh.’”

 

God appoints Yėhōshúa` to lead Israel after Mosheh

 

29:29 [27:12] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Ascend this mountain of the `Avārīm range, and view the land which I have given to the Israelites.

29:30 [27:13] When you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your kin, just as Aharon your brother was;

29:31 [27:14] for in the wilderness of Tsin, when the congregation was contentious, you [both] disobeyed My command to uphold My holiness in their sight through [the miracle of] the waters.” These were the waters of Merīvāh-by-Qādheish, in the wilderness of Tsin.

29:32 [27:15] Then Mosheh spoke to Yahveh, saying,

29:33 [27:16] “May Yahveh, Source of the breath of all living flesh, appoint someone over the Congregation {of Israel},

29:34 [27:17] one who will go out and come in before them, and who will lead them out and bring them in, so that the Congregation of Yahveh will not be like sheep without a shepherd.”

29:35 [27:18] So Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Select Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn, a man who is endowed with the spirit {of leadership and courage}, and lay your hands on him;

29:36 [27:19] and have him present himself before Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and before the entire congregation, and commission him in their sight.

29:37 [27:20] You shall invest him with some of your stature, in order that the whole congregation of the Israelites may respect {his command}.

29:38 [27:21a] Moreover, {in future stages of the journey} he shall present himself to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, who shall enquire on his behalf {for} [My] decision, [using] the Urim {and Thummim} in the presence of Yahveh.

29:38 [27:21b] By such instruction they shall go out, and by such instruction they shall come in, [both] he and the Israelites with him – the whole congregation.”

29:39 [27:22] So Mosheh did just as Yahveh commanded him; and he took Yėhōshúa` and set him before Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and before the entire congregation.

29:40 [27:23] Then he laid his hands on him and commissioned him, just as Yahveh had spoken through Mosheh.

29:41 [SP/DSS 27:23b, cf Dt 3:21] And Mosheh said to him, “You have seen with your own eyes what Yahveh your God has done to {Ōgh king of Bāshān, and Sīchon king of the Emorrites}; Yahveh will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going.

29:42 [SP/DSS 27:23c, cf Dt 3:22] You shall not fear them, for Yahveh your God is the One who is fighting for you.”

 

Notes:

29:7-9 – the complete list of Levite clans: The list of Levite clans is incomplete in all 4 versions of the text. The only explanation is that the ancestral text of all 4 must have lacked the full list of clans. This could be because the source text from which the final editor was working was itself incomplete (perhaps the source copy was damaged), and this editor felt he could not correct the text (there are other examples of obvious errors which have been left uncorrected), and so the incomplete text was perpetuated.

29:11 – Yokhevedh’s relationship to Amram: In all versions of the text here, Yokhevedh is Amram’s aunt. According to Lev 18:12 & 20:19, such a marriage is forbidden. However, in the LXX version of Ex 6:20, Yokhevedh is Amram’s cousin – the daughter of his aunt, and so Levi’s grand-daughter. In ancient Hebrew, ‘daughter’ and ‘son’ could also mean ‘granddaughter’ and ‘grandson’.

Chapter 30: Regulations for Various Sacrifices on Holy Days and Festivals in the First Half of the Year

 

30:1 [28:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

30:2 [28:2] “Give strict instructions to the Israelites and say to them, ‘With regard to the food due to Me – the fire-offerings of a rich and pleasing aroma – be scrupulous to present them at their appointed times.’

 

The Regular Daily Offerings

 

30:3 [28:3] You shall then say to them, ‘These are the fire-offerings which you shall offer to Yahveh every day: two male lambs one year old without defect as a regular [daily] whole-burnt-offering.

30:4 [28:4] You shall offer one lamb in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight;

30:5 [28:5] {You shall} also {offer} one tenth of an eifah of fine semolina-flour as a grain-offering, mixed with a quarter of a hīn of oil [made from] beaten [olives].

30:6 [28:6] It is the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offering which was ordained on Mount Sinai as a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

30:7 [28:7] Then the drink-offering with it shall be a quarter of a hīn for each lamb; in the sacred area you shall pour out a drink-offering of fermented drink to Yahveh.

30:8 [28:8] The second lamb you shall offer at twilight; just as with the morning [offering], you shall offer [it with] {the same} grain-offering and drink-offering, as a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

 

The Offerings on the Sabbath

 

30:9 [28:9] Then on the Sabbath day, {you shall offer} two male lambs one year old without defect, along with two-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil as a grain-offering, along with its [appropriate] drink-offering.

30:10 [28:10] [This is] the whole-burnt-offering for every Sabbath, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings, {their grain-offerings} and their drink-offerings.

 

The Offerings on New Moon Day

 

30:11 [28:11] Then at the beginning of each of your New Moon days, you shall present [the following] whole-burnt-offerings to Yahveh: two domestic bulls, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect.

30:12 [28:12a] As a grain-offering for each bull, {you shall offer} three-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil;

30:13 [28:12b] as a grain-offering for the one ram, two-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil;

30:14 [28:13a] and as a grain-offering for each lamb, one tenth {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil.

30:15 [28:13b] Such shall be the whole-burnt-offerings – fire-offerings of rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

30:16 [28:14a] Their drink-offerings shall be half a hīn of wine for each bull, a third of a hīn for the ram, and a quarter of a hīn for each lamb.

30:17 [28:14b] These are the whole-burnt-offerings for each New Moon Day throughout the months of the year.

30:18 [28:15] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering to Yahveh; it shall be offered along with its drink-offering, in addition to those of the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings.

 

The Offerings during the Festival of Unleavened Bread

 

30:19 [28:16] Then on the fourteenth day of the First Month shall be Yahveh’s Passover-sacrifice,

30:20 [28:17] and on the fifteenth day of this First Month there shall be a feast, and unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days.

30:21 [28:18] On the first day there shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no regular work.

30:22 [28:19] You shall present fire-offerings of whole-burnt-offerings to Yahveh: two domestic bulls, one ram and seven male lambs one year old; you shall see to it that they are without blemish.

30:23 [28:20] For their grain-offerings, you shall offer fine semolina-flour mixed with oil: three-tenths {of an eifah} for each bull and two-tenths for the ram.

30:24 [28:21] You shall offer one tenth {of an eifah} for each of the seven lambs.

30:25 [28:22] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering to make expiation for you.

30:26 [28:23] You shall present these in addition to the morning whole-burnt-offering, which is [presented] as the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offering.

30:27 [28:24] In like manner, you shall present each day of the seven days the food of the fire-offerings, as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh; they shall be presented along with their drink-offerings, in addition to {those of} the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings.

30:28 [28:25] On the seventh day you shall also have a holy convocation; you shall do no regular work.

 

The Offerings for the Festival of First Fruits / Weeks

 

30:29 [28:26] Again on the day of First-Fruits – your Feast of Weeks – when you present an offering of new grain to Yahveh, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no regular work.

30:30 [28:27] You shall offer [the following] whole-burnt-offerings as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh: two domestic bulls, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old; you shall see to it that they are without blemish.

30:31 [28:28] {For} their grain-offerings, {you shall offer} fine semolina-flour mixed with oil: three-tenths {of an eifah} for each bull, two-tenths for the one ram,

30:32 [28:29] and one tenth for each of the seven lambs.

30:33 [28:30] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering to make expiation for you.

30:34 [28:31] You shall present them with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings, in addition to those of the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings.

 

Chapter 31: Regulations for the Sacrifices on the High Holydays

 

The Offerings for the Day of Shout & Trumpet

 

31:1 [29:1] Now in the Seventh Month, on the first day of the month, you shall also have a holy convocation, and you shall do no regular work. It will be for you a day of shouting and trumpeting {in praise to Yahveh}.

31:2 [29:2] You shall offer [the following] whole-burnt-offerings as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh: one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect.

31:3 [29:3] {For their} their grain-offerings {you shall offer} fine semolina-flour mixed with oil: three-tenths {of an eifah} for the bull, two-tenths for the ram,

31:4 [29:4] and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs.

31:5 [29:5] {You shall also} offer one male goat as a sin-offering, to make expiation for you.

31:6 [29:6] {All these are} in addition to the whole-burnt-offerings of the New Moon day [with] their grain-offerings {and drink-offerings}, and the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings [with] their grain-offerings and drink-offerings, in accordance with their {separate} ordinances, {which you offer} as a fire-offering of rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

 

The Offerings for the Day of Expiations

 

31:7 [29:7] Then on the tenth day of this Seventh Month, you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall afflict your appetites; you shall not do any [kind of] work [at all].

31:8 [29:8] You shall present [the following] whole-burnt-offerings to Yahveh as a rich and pleasing aroma: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs one year old; you shall see to it that they are without blemish.

31:9 [29:9] {For} their grain-offerings, {you shall offer} fine semolina-flour mixed with oil: three-tenths {of an eifah} for the bull, two-tenths for the one ram,

31:10 [29:10] and one tenth for each of the seven lambs.

31:11 [29:11] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the sin-offering of expiation, and the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings, along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

The Offerings for the Seven Days of the Festival of Booths

 

31:12 [29:12] Then on the fifteenth day of this Seventh Month, you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no regular work, and you shall observe a festival to Yahveh for seven days.

31:13 [29:13] You shall present [the following] whole-burnt-offerings – fire-offerings as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh: thirteen bulls, two rams, and fourteen male lambs one year old; you shall see to it that they are without blemish.

31:14 [29:14] {For their} their grain-offerings {you shall offer} fine semolina-flour mixed with oil: three-tenths {of an eifah} for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams,

31:15 [29:15] and one tenth for each of the fourteen lambs.

31:16 [29:16] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:17 [29:17] Then on the second day: twelve bulls, two rams, and fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:18 [29:18] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:19 [29:19] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:20 [29:20] Then on the third day: eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:21 [29:21] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:22 [29:22] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:23 [29:23] Then on the fourth day: ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:24 [29:24] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:25 [29:25] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:26 [29:26] Then on the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:27 [29:27] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:28 [29:28] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:29 [29:29] Then on the sixth day: eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:30 [29:30] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:31 [29:31] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

31:32 [29:32] Then on the seventh day: seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs one year old without defect;

31:33 [29:33] along with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings for [each of] the bulls, [each of] the rams and [each of] the lambs, in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:34 [29:34] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

The Offerings for the Day of Closed Assembly

 

31:35 [29:35] On the eighth day you shall have a closed assembly; you shall do no regular work.

31:36 [29:36] However, you shall present [the following] whole-burnt-offerings, as fire-offerings of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh: one bull, one ram, and seven male lambs one year old without defect.

31:37 [29:37] {You shall present} their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings – for the bull, for the ram and for the lambs – in the quantities [prescribed] according to the ordinance.

31:38 [29:38] {You shall also offer} one male goat as a sin-offering, in addition to the regular [daily] whole-burnt-offerings with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings.

 

Conclusion

 

31:39 [29:39] You shall present these [offerings] to Yahveh at your appointed times, in addition to your votive offerings and your freewill offerings, whether they be as your whole-burnt-offerings, your grain-offerings, your drink-offerings, or your fellowship-offerings.’”

31:40 [J: 30:1, X: 29:40] Thus Mosheh spoke to the Israelites in accordance with everything that Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

Notes:

Throughout the text, the Masoretic text mostly has its grain-offering and its drink-offering’, occasionally, their grain-offering and their drink-offering’. However, in every instance it is obvious that each time it should read in the plural: their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings. I have therefore not indicated or differentiated these in any way, since they are too numerous.

28:31 – In the MT, the words, ‘without blemish they shall be for you’ appear at the end of the verse, but they actually belong to verse 28:27 – which is where they appear in the SP and the LXX. Furthermore, the other words of this verse seem to have become a bit garbled (it literally reads: “Besides the regular burnt-offering and its grain-offering, you shall present without blemish, they will be for you and their drink-offerings”). As with every other copying error or ‘parchment damage error’ in the Torah, the final editors have left it uncorrected.

Chapter 32: The Laws concerning Vows sworn by Women

 

32:1 [J: 30:2, X: 30:1] Then Mosheh spoke to the leaders of the tribal clans of the Israelites, saying, “This is the matter about which Yahveh has given strict instructions:

32:2 [J: 30:3, X: 30:2] If a man makes a solemn vow to Yahveh, or takes an oath to impose a binding obligation upon himself, he shall not violate his word; he must carry out everything that has proceeded from his mouth.

 

The Case of an unmarried or married Woman who has sworn a Vow or an Obligation

 

32:3 [J: 30:4, X: 30:3] In the case of a woman making solemn vows to Yahveh, if she makes any binding obligations [on herself] while she is [still living] in her father’s house as a young [unmarried] woman,

32:4 [J: 30:5, X: 30:4] and her father [comes to] hear of her vows and her self-imposed obligations, and her father offers no objections to her, then all her vows shall stand, and every self-imposed obligation shall remain binding.

32:5 [J: 30:6, X: 30:5] However, if her father should overrule her on the day he [comes to] hear of it, none of her vows or her self-imposed obligations shall remain binding; and Yahveh will hold her guiltless because her father has overruled her.

The Case of a Woman under a Vow who then marries

32:6 [J: 30:7, X: 30:6] Furthermore, if she should marry while still under her vows, or under the rash utterance by which she has bound herself,

32:7 [J: 30:8, X: 30:7] and on the day that her husband [comes to] hear of it offers no objections to her, then her vows shall stand, and her self-imposed obligations shall remain binding.

32:8 [J: 30:9, X: 30:8] However, if on the day her husband [comes to] hear of it, he overrules her, he thereby annuls her vows which she is under and the rash utterances by which she has bound herself; and Yahveh will hold her guiltless.

 

The Two Cases of a Widow or divorced Woman who has sworn a Vow or an Obligation

 

32:9 [J: 30:10, X: 30:9] However, the vow of a widow or of a divorced woman – whatever she has obligated herself with – shall remain binding on her.

32:10 [J: 30:11, X: 30:10] Now if she swore a solemn vow in her husband’s house, or bound herself by an obligation with an oath,

32:11 [J: 30:12, X: 30:11] and [even though] her husband [came to] hear of it, he offered no objections to her and did not overrule her, then all her vows shall stand, and every self-imposed obligation shall remain binding.

32:12 [J: 30:13, X: 30:12] However, if her husband actually annulled them on the day he [came to] hear of them, then whatever proceeded from her lips concerning her vows or the obligations on herself shall not stand; her husband had annulled them, and Yahveh will hold her guiltless.

 

Summary of the Laws on Vows taken by Women

 

32:13 [J: 30:14, X: 30:13] Every solemn vow and every binding oath of self-denial {made by a married woman} may either be upheld by her husband or annulled by her husband.

32:14 [J: 30:15, X: 30:14] However, if her husband offers no objections to her at all from that day to the next, then he effectively confirms all her vows and all the obligations she has assumed; he confirms them by virtue {of the very fact that} he offered no objections to her on the day he [came to] hear about them.

32:15 [J: 30:16, X: 30:15] But if he annuls them {some while} after he [came to] hear about them, then he himself shall bear her sin-guilt.”

32:16 [J: 30:17, X: 30:16] These are the statutes which Yahveh commanded Mosheh, {regarding personal vows made by a woman, as a matter} between a man and his wife, and as {a matter} between a father and his daughter, while she is still an [unmarried] young woman [living] in her father’s house.

 

Chapter 33: The War of Retribution against Midian

 

33:1 [31:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

33:2 [31:2] “Exact full retribution for the Israelites on the Midianites {who live in the Mount Pe’or region, who seduced the Israelites}; and afterwards you will be gathered to your kin.”

33:3 [31:3] So Mosheh spoke to the people, saying, “Pick out {the best} men among you for the campaign, that they may fall upon Midian to execute Yahveh’s retribution on Midian.

33:4 [31:4] You shall dispatch a thousand [men] from every one of all the tribes of Israel on the campaign.”

33:5 [31:5] So a thousand [men] from each tribe were mustered from the divisions of Israel – twelve thousand shock troops for the campaign.

33:6 [31:6] Then Mosheh sent them – a thousand from each tribe – on the campaign, with Pinchās son of Elė`āzār serving as priest on the campaign, equipped with the holy vessels and the war-trumpets.

33:7 [31:7] Thus they waged war against Midian, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh, and they killed every male.

33:8 [31:8] Along with all the other men they slew, they killed the kings of Midian: Evī, Réqem, Tsūr, Chūr and Réva` – the five kings of Midian; they also put Bil`ām son of Be`or to the sword.

33:9 [31:9] The Israelites captured the Midianite women {of the Mount Pe’or region}, along with their young children; they also plundered all their cattle, all their flocks [of sheep and goats], and all their goods.

33:10 [31:10] Then they burned all their cities where they were settled, and torched all their camps.

33:11 [31:11] Thus they carried off all the [material] spoils and all the [living] booty, both man and beast.

33:12 [31:12] Then they brought back the captives, the seized livestock and the plundered goods to Mosheh, and to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and to the whole congregation of the Israelites, to their camp, which was by the Jordan on the Steppes of Moab, opposite Jericho.

 

Mosheh gives the order to execute the Pagan Women who seduced the Israelites away from God

 

33:13 [31:13] Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and all the leaders of the congregation went out to meet them outside the camp.

33:14 [31:14] However, Mosheh was angry with the commanders of the army – the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds – who had come back from the military campaign.

33:15 [31:15] So Mosheh said to them, “Why have you spared all the women?

33:16 [31:16] Look, they are the very ones who induced the Israelites, through the advice of Bil`ām, to commit unfaithful acts against Yahveh in the matter of {the Baal of} Pe’or! That is why the plague broke out among the Congregation of Yahveh!

33:17 [31:17] So therefore, kill every young male among the prisoners, and kill every woman who has had relations with a man!

33:18 [31:18] However, all the young captives among the women who have never had relations with any man, you may spare for yourselves.

33:19 [31:19] Now you yourselves must camp outside the camp seven days; whoever has killed any person and whoever has touched anyone slain in battle, you must purify yourselves – you and your female captives – on the third day and on the seventh day.

33:20 [31:20] You must purify for yourselves every garment, every article of leather, every item made of goats’ hair, and every item made of wood.”

33:21 [31:21] Then Elė`āzār the [High] Priest said to the troops who had come back from battle, “This is the ritual law which Yahveh has commanded Mosheh:

33:22 [31:22] only the gold and the silver, the bronze, the iron, the tin and the lead –  

33:23 [31:23] everything that can withstand fire – you shall pass through fire, and it shall become [ritually] clean, but they must also be purified with the ash-water that counters ritual impurity. However, whatever cannot withstand fire you shall immerse in water.

33:24 [31:24] Finally, on the seventh day you shall wash your clothes and be [ritually] clean, and only afterwards you may re-enter the camp.”

 

The Allocation of the War-booty

 

33:25 [31:25] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

33:26 [31:26] “You and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, together with the heads of the ancestral clans of the congregation, must make a tally of the [live] booty that was captured, both of people and of animals;

33:27 [31:27] and you shall divide the booty between the warriors who went out to battle and the whole congregation; {a half-share to the warriors, and a half-share to the congregation}.

33:28 [31:28] Levy a tax for Yahveh from the troops who went out to battle: one in five hundred of the people, of the cattle, of the donkeys and of the sheep [and goats].

33:29 [31:29] Take it from their half-share, and give it to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, as a dedicated gift-offering to Yahveh.

33:30 [31:30] From the Israelites’ half-share, you shall remove one out of every fifty of the people, as well as of the cattle, of the donkeys and of the sheep [and goats] – of all the livestock – and give them to the Levites who perform guard duty for the Tabernacle of Yahveh.”

33:31 [31:31] So Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest did just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

The Tally of the War-booty

33:32 [31:32] Now the [live] booty that remained of the spoil which the troops had plundered, {excluding what was not subject to the levy}, was 675,000 sheep [and goats],

33:33 [31:33] 72,000 cattle,

33:34 [31:34] and 61,000 donkeys;

33:35 [31:35] and of human beings – of the women who had not had relations with any man – all such persons were 32,000.

33:36 [31:36] The half-portion {which went} to those who had been engaged in the campaign was as follows: the number of sheep [and goats] was 337,500,

33:37 [31:37] and Yahveh’s levy of the sheep [and goats] was 675;

33:38 [31:38] the cattle totalled 36,000, from which Yahveh’s levy was 72;

33:39 [31:39] the donkeys totalled 30,500, from which Yahveh’s levy was 61;

33:40 [31:40] and the people totalled 16,000, from whom Yahveh’s levy was 32 persons.

33:41 [31:41] Mosheh gave the levy which was Yahveh’s offering to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

33:42 [31:42] As for the half-share for the [non-combatant] Israelites, which Mosheh separated from that of the men who been involved in the campaign –  

33:43 [31:43] the congregation’s half-share was 337,500 sheep [and goats],

33:44 [31:44] 36,000 cattle,

33:45 [31:45] and 30,500 donkeys;

33:46 [31:46] and the people totalled 16,000.  

33:47 [31:47] From the Israelites’ half-share, Mosheh removed one out of every fifty, both of people and of animals, and gave them to the Levites who performed guard duty on the Tabernacle of Yahveh, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

The Offerings of Gold as Ransom-payment for the Head count

 

33:48 [31:48] Now all the officers who were in charge over the army divisions – the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds – approached Mosheh,

33:49 [31:49] and they said to Mosheh, “Your servants have carried out a count of warriors who are in our charge, and not a single man among us is missing.

33:50 [31:50] So we have brought as an offering to Yahveh such articles of gold that each man has come upon – armlets and bracelets, signet rings, earrings and necklaces – as ransom payment for our lives before Yahveh.”

33:51 [31:51] So Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest accepted the gold from them – all kinds of different wrought-gold articles.

33:52 [31:52] All the gold from the captains of thousands and the captains of hundreds, which was offered up as a contribution to Yahveh, totalled 16,750 sheqels {in weight} –

33:53 [31:53] but among the ordinary ranks, every man kept his plunder for himself.

33:54 [31:54] So Mosheh and Elė`āzār the [High] Priest took the gold from the captains of thousands and of hundreds, and brought it to the Tent of Meeting, to serve as a memorial-offering on behalf of the Israelites in the presence of Yahveh.

 

Chapter 34: The Reubenites and Gadites ask to be given the East Bank of the Jordan River

 

34:1 [32:1] Now the Rė’ūvenites and the Gādites had an exceedingly large number of cattle. So when they saw the Ya`zeir region and the Gil`ādh region – that [they] were indeed places suitable for cattle –

34:2 [32:2] the Gādites and the Rė’ūvenites came and spoke to Mosheh, to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and to the chieftains of the congregation, saying,

34:3 [32:3] “`Aṭāroth, Dīvon, Ya`zeir, Nimrāh, Cheshbōn, El`ālei, Sėvām, Nėvō and Bė`on –  

34:4 [32:4] the lands which Yahveh has conquered at the head of the congregation of Israel – are lands [ideal] for cattle, and your servants have [a great deal of] cattle.”

34:5 [32:5] They went on, “If our suggestion is favourable to you, let this land be given to your servants as a possession, and do not take us across the Jordan.”

 

Mosheh becomes very angry that the Reubenites and Gadites will not be crossing over into the Land

 

34:6 [32:6] But Mosheh said to the Gādites and to the Rė’ūvenites, “Are your brothers to go to war {in Canaan} while you yourselves sit here?

34:7 [32:7] Why are you trying to discourage the Israelites from crossing over into the land which Yahveh has given them?

34:8 [32:8] This is the very thing that your fathers did when I sent them from Qādheish-barnea to survey the Land;

34:9 [32:9] because when they went up as far as the Eshkol river-valley and saw the Land, they caused the Israelites to become disheartened so that they did not enter the Land, which Yahveh had given them.

34:10 [32:10] So Yahveh became incensed on that day, and God swore [on oath], saying,

34:11 [32:11] ‘None of the people who came up from Egypt, from twenty years of age and upward, shall see [any of] the [fertile] soil which I promised on oath to Avrāhām, to Yitzchāq and to Ya`aqov; for they were unwilling to fulfil My bidding,

34:12 [32:12] except Kāleiv son of Yėfunneh the Kenizzite and Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn, for they were willing to fulfil the bidding of Yahveh.’

34:13 [32:13] So Yahveh became incensed at Israel, and [God] made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until the entire generation of those who had done evil in the sight of Yahveh had perished.

34:14 [32:14] But behold, you have risen up in your fathers’ place, a brood of sinful men, to further strengthen the burning anger of Yahveh against Israel!

34:15 [32:15] For if you turn away from following [God], [God] will once more abandon them in the wilderness, and you will bring this entire people to ruin!”

 

The Two Tribes try to reach a compromise with Mosheh

 

34:16 [32:16] So they drew closer to him and said, “We will build corrals here for our livestock, and towns for our [women and] children;

34:17 [32:17] but we ourselves will be armed and ready as the leading [vanguard] of the Israelites, until we have established them in their [own] territories, while our [women and] children stay in the fortified towns {as protection against} the inhabitants of {this} land.

34:18 [32:18] We will not return to our homes until every one of the Israelites has taken possession of their inheritance.

34:19 [32:19] However, we will not be taking up any inheritance with them on the other side beyond the Jordan, because our [lawful] inheritance has fallen to us on this eastern side of the Jordan.”

34:20 [32:20] So Mosheh said to them, “If you will follow up on this promise – if you will go into battle as shock-troops before {the Ark of} Yahveh,

34:21 [32:21] and every shock-fighter among you crosses over the Jordan before {the Ark of} Yahveh, until [God] has driven out [God’s] enemies from before [God’s] {Ark},

34:22 [32:22] and the Land has been subdued before the people of Yahveh, then afterward you shall return and be clear [of obligation] before Yahveh and before Israel, and this land shall be yours as an inherited possession before Yahveh.

34:23 [32:23] But if you are not willing to do so, behold, you have sinned against Yahveh, and you can be sure that {the consequences of} your sin will catch up with you!

34:24 [32:24] Build yourselves towns then for your [women and] children, and corrals for your livestock, and do [everything] that you have sworn to do.”

34:25 [32:25] The Gādites and the Rė’ūvenites responded to Mosheh, saying, “Your servants will do just as my lord commands.

34:26 [32:26] Our little ones, our wives, our cattle and all of our [other] livestock shall remain there in the towns of Gil`ādh;

34:27 [32:27] while your servants – everyone who is recruited for the campaign – will cross over before {the Ark of} Yahveh into battle, just as my lord has spoken.”

 

Mosheh accepts the compromise

 

34:28 [32:28] So Mosheh gave strict instructions concerning them to Elė`āzār the [High] Priest, and to Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn, and to the clan-leaders of the ancestral houses of the tribes of the Israelites.

34:29 [32:29] Mosheh said to them, “If the Gādites and the Rė’ūvenites – every shock-fighter ready for battle – will cross with you over the Jordan before {the Ark of} Yahveh, and the Land is subdued before you, then you shall give them the land of Gil`ādh as a possession;

34:30 [32:30] but if they do not {take the oath} to cross over with you as shock-troops before {the Ark of} Yahveh on the campaign, then you shall move across their possessions, their wives and their cattle before you into the land of Canaan, and  they shall receive holdings among you in the land of Canaan.”

34:31 [32:31] The Gādites and the Rė’ūvenites answered, saying, “Just as Yahveh has said to your servants, so we will do.

34:32 [32:32] We ourselves will cross over as shock-troops before {the Ark of} Yahveh into the land of Canaan, but our secure inheritance shall remain with us [on this side of] the Jordan.”

 

Mosheh assigns the East Bank of the Jordan to the Reubenites, Gadites and the East Manassites

 

34:33 [32:33a] So Mosheh gave to them – to the Gādites and to the Rė’ūvenites, and [also] to {several clans of} the half-tribe of the Yōseifite Manassites {who joined them} –

34:34 [32:33b] the kingdom of Sīchon, king of the {Emorrites}, and the kingdom of Ōgh, the king of Bāshān – the lands with their various towns, and the territories of their surrounding towns.

34:35 [32:34] The Gādites rebuilt Dīvon, `Aṭārot and `Aro`eir,

34:36 [32:35] `Aṭrot-shōfān, Ya`zeir and Yōghbahāh;

34:37 [32:36] {they also rebuilt} Beyt-nimrāh and Beyt-hārān as fortified towns, along with sheepfolds for [their] sheep [and goats].

34:38 [32:37] The Rė’ūvenites rebuilt Cheshbōn, El`ālei, Qiryātháyim,

34:39 [32:38] Nėvō and Ba`al-mė`ōn – their names being changed – and Sivmāh; they also gave other names to the towns which they rebuilt.

34:40 [32:39] The Manassite Makhīrites went over to Gil`ādh, captured it and supplanted the {Emorrites} who were in [that region].

34:41 [32:40] So Mosheh gave Gil`ādh to the Manassite Makhīrites, and they settled in [that region].

34:42 [32:41] The Manassite Yā’īrites went and took its small towns, and renamed them Chavoth-Yā’īr (‘Hamlets of Yā’īr’).

34:43 [32:42] And the {Manassite} Novachites went and captured Qėnāth and its satellite villages, and renamed it Novach, after their own [clan]-name.

Chapter 35: A Summary of the Various Stages of the Exodus

 

35:1 [33:1] These are the journeys of the Israelites, by which they came out from the land of Egypt by their divisions, under the leadership of Mosheh and Aharon.

35:2 [33:2] At the command of Yahveh, Mosheh recorded their points of departure for their journeys, and these are the stages of their journey according to their points of departure.

 

The First Stages of the Exodus from Egypt to Mount Choreiv

 

35:3 [33:3] They set out from Per-Ra`mėsēs in the First-Month, on the fifteenth day of the First-Month; on the day after the Passover-sacrifice, the Israelites went forth boldly in plain sight of all the Egyptians,

35:4 [33:4] while the Egyptians were [still] burying all their firstborn whom Yahveh had struck down among them. Yahveh had also executed acts of judgment on their gods.

35:5 [33:5] Then the Israelites journeyed from Per-Ra`mėsēs and made camp in Sukkoth.

35:6 [33:6] They journeyed from Sukkoth and made camp in Ethām, which is on the edge of the wilderness.

35:7 [33:7] They journeyed from Ethām and turned back toward Pī-ha-chīroth, which is opposite Ba`al-tsėfōn, and they camped close to Mighdol [Fort].

35:8 [33:8] They journeyed from Pī-ha-chīroth and passed through the midst of the Sea {of Reeds} into the wilderness; then they marched a three days’ journey in the wilderness of Ethām, and made camp at Mārāh.

35:9 [33:9] They journeyed from Mārāh and came to Eylīm; and in Eylīm there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees, and they camped there at the oases.

35:10 [33:10] They journeyed from Eylīm and made camp by the Red Sea.

35:11 [33:11] They journeyed from the Red Sea and made camp in the wilderness of Śīn.

35:12 [33:12] They journeyed from the wilderness of Śīn and made camp at Dōfqāh.

35:13 [33:13] They journeyed from Dōfqāh and made camp at Ālūsh.

35:14 [33:14] They journeyed from Ālūsh and made camp at Rėfīdhim; and it was there that the people had no water to drink.

35:15 [33:15] They journeyed from Rėfīdhim and made camp in the wilderness of Sīnai, {at the foot of Mount Choreiv}.

 

The Stages from Mount Choreiv to Qādheish

 

35:16 [33:16] {In the second year they departed from Choreiv}; they journeyed from the wilderness of Sīnai and made camp at Qivroth-ha-Ta’avāh.

35:17 [33:17] They journeyed from Qivroth-ha-Ta’avāh and made camp at Chatseiroth.

35:18 [33:18] They journeyed from Chatseiroth and made camp at Rithmāh.

35:19 [33:19] They journeyed from Rithmāh and made camp at Rimmon-pérets.

35:20 [33:20] They journeyed from Rimmon-pérets and made camp at Livnāh.

35:21 [33:21] They journeyed from Livnāh and made camp at Rissāh.

35:22 [33:22] They journeyed from Rissāh and made camp in Qėheilāthāh.

35:23 [33:23] They journeyed from Qėheilāthāh and made camp at Mount Shéfer.

35:24 [33:24] They journeyed from Mount Shéfer and made camp at Harādhāh.

35:25 [33:25] They journeyed from Harādhāh and made camp at Maqheiloth.

35:26 [33:26] They journeyed from Maqheiloth and made camp at Táchath.

35:27 [33:27] They journeyed from Táchath and made camp at Térach.

35:28 [33:28] They journeyed from Térach and made camp at Mithqāh.

35:29 [33:29] They journeyed from Mithqāh and made camp at Chashmonāh.

35:30 [33:30] They journeyed from Chashmonāh and made camp at Moseiroth.

35:31 [33:31] They journeyed from Moseiroth and made camp at B’ney-Ya`aqan.

35:32 [33:32] They journeyed from B’ney-Ya`aqan and made camp at Chor ha-Gidhgadh.

35:33 [33:33] They journeyed from Chor ha-Gidhgadh and made camp at Yōţbāthāh.

35:34 [33:34] They journeyed from Yōţbāthāh and made camp at `Avronāh.

35:35 [33:35] They journeyed from `Avronāh and made camp at Etsyōn-géver.

35:36 [33:36a] They journeyed from Etsyōn-géver and made camp in the wilderness of Pārān.

35:36 [LXX 33:36b] Then they journeyed from the wilderness of Pārān, and made camp in the wilderness of Tsin, that is, at Qādheish; {and the Israelites remained in Qādheish for thirty-eight years}.

 

The Death of Aharon in the fortieth Year

 

35:37 [33:37] {In the fortieth year}, they journeyed from Qādheish and made camp at Mount Hor, at the edge of the land of Edom.

35:38 [33:38] It was then that Aharon the [High] Priest went up to Mount Hor at the bidding of Yahveh, and died there on the first day of the Fifth-Month, in the fortieth year after the Israelites had come out from the land of Egypt.

35:39 [33:39] Aharon was one hundred twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

35:40 [33:40] Now the Canaanite king of `Arādh, who ruled in the Négev in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the Israelites, {so he engaged Israel in battle. However, Yahveh delivered the Canaanites up into their hands}.

35:41 [33:41] Then they journeyed from Mount Hor and made camp at Tsalmonāh.

35:42 [33:42] They journeyed from Tsalmonāh and made camp at Pūnon.

35:43 [33:43] They journeyed from Pūnon and made camp at Ovoth.

35:44 [33:44] They journeyed from Ovoth and made camp at `Iyey ha-`Avārim, at the border of Moab.

35:45 [33:45] They journeyed from `Iyey ha-`Avārim and made camp at Dīvon-Gādh.

35:46 [33:46] They journeyed from Dīvon- Gādh and made camp at `Almon-divlātháyim.

35:47 [33:47] They journeyed from `Almon-divlātháyim and made camp at the foot of [Mount] Nėvō, {which is} in the `Avārīm mountain range.

35:48 [33:48] They journeyed from the `Avārīm mountain range and made camp on the steppes of Moab by the Jordan, opposite Jericho.

35:49 [33:49] They camped by the Jordan, [stretching] from Beyt-yeshimoth as far as Aveil-shiţţīm on the steppes of Moab.

 

God instructs the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites from Canaan

 

35:50 [33:50] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh on the steppes of Moab by the Jordan oppositeJericho, saying,

35:51 [33:51] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you cross over the Jordan into the land of Canaan,

35:52 [33:52a] then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the Land from before you;

35:53 [33:52b] and you shall smash all their carved stone figures, destroy all their cast-metal statues, and demolish all their high-places.

35:54 [33:53] Then you shall take possession of the Land and settle in it, for it is to you that I have given the Land for you to possess it.

35:55 [33:54a] You shall {divide up} [the inheritance of] the Land by lot according to {the number and size of} your clans;

35:56 [33:54b] for the larger [clans] you shall increase {the size of} their inheritance, and for the smaller [clans] you shall decrease {the size of} their inheritance.

35:57 [33:54c] Wherever the lot falls to anyone, that {place} shall be his. Thus you shall {divide up} [the inheritance of] {the Land} according to your ancestral tribes.

35:58 [33:55] However, if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the Land from before you, then it shall come about that those whom you allow to remain of them will become like barbs in your eyes, and like thorns in your sides, and they will be a constant harassment to you in the land in which you yourselves live.

35:59[33:56] And then I will deal with you just as I plan to deal with them.’”

 

Chapter 36: God’s Appointed Boundaries of Israel in Canaan

 

36:1 [34:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

36:2 [34:2] “Give strict instructions to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you enter the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance – the land of Canaan, according to its [natural] boundaries.

 

36:3 [34:3] Your southern sector shall extend from the wilderness of Tsin along to {the northern border} of Edom: your southern border shall [therefore] start from the {southernmost} end of the Salt Sea (‘Dead Sea’) on the east;

36:4 [34:4a] your border shall then turn {to pass} south of the ascent of Aqrabbīm, and continue to {the wilderness of} Tsin; its limit shall be to the south of Qādheish-barneia`.

36:5 [34:4b] Then it shall go on to Chatsar-addār, and continue along to `Atsmon.

36:6 [34:5] From `Atsmon, the border shall turn toward the Wadi of Egypt, and shall terminate at the Sea.

 

36:7 [34:6] As for the western border, you shall have the coastline of the Great Sea (‘Mediterranean Sea’); this shall be your western border.

 

36:8 [34:7] And this shall be your northern border: you shall draw your [boundary] line from {the coast of} the Great Sea to Mount Hor (‘Mount Chakha’).

36:9 [34:8] You shall then draw a line from Mount Hor across to Lėvo-Chamāth, and the line shall end at Tsėdhādh.

36:10 [34:9] Then the border shall proceed to Zifron, and shall terminate at Chatsar-`eynān. This shall be your northern border.

 

36:11 [34:10] For your eastern border you shall draw a line from Chatsar-`eynān to Shėfām,

36:12 [34:11a] and the border shall go down from Shėfām to Rivlāh on the east side of `Āyin;

36:13 [34:11b] then the border shall go down to reach as far as the slope on the eastern shoulder of Lake Kinneret (‘Sea of Galilee’).

36:14 [34:12] Then the border shall descend down to the Jordan, and shall terminate at the Salt Sea (‘Dead Sea’). This shall be your land, as defined by its [natural] borders on all sides.’”

 

Mosheh instructs the Land to be given to the Israelites, and the Trans-Jordan to the two and a half Tribes

 

36:15 [34:13] So Mosheh commanded the Israelites, saying, “This is the land that you are to apportion by lot among you as a hereditary possession, which Yahveh has commanded to be given to the nine and a half tribes;

36:16 [34:14] for the tribe of the Rė’ūvenites have [already] received {their hereditary possession} according to their ancestral houses; so too the tribe of the Gādites according to their ancestral houses, and the half-tribe of Manasseh – they too have [already] received their hereditary possessions.

36:17 [34:15] The two and a half tribes have received their hereditary possession across the Jordan opposite Jericho, on the easternmost side.”

 

Certain Tribal Leaders are tasked with apportioning out the Land

 

36:18 [34:16] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

36:19 [34:17] “These are the names of the men who shall apportion the land out to you as an inherited possession: Elė`āzār the [High] Priest and Yėhōshúa` son of Nūn.

36:20 [34:18] You shall [also] designate one leader out of every tribe to apportion the land out {to the individual clans} as an inherited possession.

36:21 [34:19] These are the names of the men: from the tribe of Yėhūdhāh, Kāleiv  son of Yėfunneh.

36:22 [34:20] From the tribe of the Shimonites, Shmū’eil son of `Ammīhūdh.

36:23 [34:21] From the tribe of Binyāmīn, Elīdhādh son of Kislōn.

36:24 [34:22] From the tribe of the Dānites, the chieftain, Buqqī son of Yōghlī.

36:25 [34:23] From the Yōseifites: of the tribe of the Manassites, the chieftain, Channī’eil son of Eifodh.

36:26 [34:24] From the tribe of the Efráyimites, the chieftain, Qėmū’eil son of Shifṭān.

36:27 [34:25] From the tribe of the Zėvūlunites, the chieftain, Elītsāfān son of Parnākh.

36:28 [34:26] From the tribe of the Yiśśākhārites, the chieftain, Palṭī’eil son of Azzān.

36:29 [34:27] From the tribe of the Āsherites, the chieftain, Achīhūdh son of Shlomī.

36:30 [34:28] And from the tribe of the Naftālites, the chieftain, Pėdhā’eil son of `Ammīhūdh.”

36:31 [34:29] It was these whom Yahveh designated to apportion the hereditary possessions out to the Israelites in the land of Canaan.

 

The Cities where the Levites can live

 

36:32 [35:1] Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh on the steppes of Moab by the Jordan [opposite] Jericho, saying,

36:33 [35:2] “Give strict instructions to the Israelites, that they must assign to the Levites towns to live in from [the midst of] their apportioned land; you shall also assign to the Levites pasture-lands around the towns.

36:34 [35:3] The towns shall be theirs to live in; and their pasture-lands shall be for their livestock – for their herds [and flocks], and for all their animals.

36:35 [35:4] The pasture-lands of the towns which you assign to the Levites [shall extend] outside the walls of the town, a thousand cubits all around.

36:36 [35:5] Outside the towns, you shall also measure off on the east side two thousand cubits, and on the south side two thousand cubits, and on the west side two thousand cubits, and on the north side two thousand cubits, with the town in the centre. This shall become theirs as pasture-lands for the towns.

36:37 [35:6] The towns which you assign to the Levites [shall include] the six cities of refuge, which you shall designate for those guilty of manslaughter to flee to; and in addition to them you shall give [a further] forty-two towns.

36:38 [35:7] Thus all the towns which you assign to the Levites shall total forty-eight towns, together with their pasture-lands.

36:39 [35:8] As for the towns which you assign from among the hereditary possessions of the Israelites, you shall take more from the larger, and you shall take less from the smaller; each {tribe} shall give some of their cities to the Levites, in proportion to the hereditary possessions which they inherit.”

 

Notes:

36:8-10 – the Northern border: This is the only anomaly among the entire list of borders. The northern sector – according to these verses – would include what is now most of Lebanon and south-western Syria (the Damascus region). However, the lands north of the Galilee were never apportioned to any tribe, and they were never settled by any tribe. For this reason, these lands – as described here – were likely never included in the original description of the borders, and the borders were most likely further south. The only time these lands had any connection to Israel was during the time of David and Solomon, when their political hegemony stretched to cover these lands. These verses were therefore probably amended during the 6th century BCE from their original (which we no longer know), in order to justify the lands over which David and Solomon held sway.

Chapter 37: The Cities of Refuge

 

37:1 [35:9] Then Yahveh spoke [further] to Mosheh, saying,

37:2 [35:10] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,

37:3 [35:11] then you shall select for yourselves cities to {serve you as} cities of refuge, so that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there.

37:4 [35:12] The cities shall [serve] you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer may not die, unless he has stood trial before the congregation {and been found guilty of murder}.

37:5 [35:13] The cities which you so assign, shall be your six cities of refuge.

37:6 [35:14] You shall designate three cities across the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan; they shall [serve] as cities of refuge.

37:7 [35:15] These six cities shall [serve] as refuge for the Israelites, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; so that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there.

 

Distinguishing Murder from Manslaughter

 

37:8 [35:16] However, if he struck [the victim] down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.

37:9 [35:17] If he struck [the victim] down with a stone [tool] which can cause death, and [as a result] he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.

37:10 [35:18] Similarly, if he struck him with an object which is a wooden [tool] which can cause death, and [as a result] he died, he is a murderer; the murderer shall surely be put to death.

37:11 [35:19] The blood-avenger himself shall put the murderer to death; it is he who shall put him to death if he should happen upon him.

37:12 [35:20] If he pushed him out of hatred, or threw something at him with pre-meditation, and [as a result] he died,

37:13 [35:21] or if he struck him down with his hand with malice aforethought, and [as a result] he died, the one who struck him shall surely be put to death; he is a murderer, and the blood-avenger shall put the murderer to death if he should happen upon him.

 

Manslaughter in the heat of the moment

 

37:14 [35:22] However, if he pushed him suddenly without malice aforethought, or threw something at him without pre-meditation,

37:15 [35:23] or inadvertently dropped upon him some stone object so that he died, he not being his enemy, nor seeking him any harm,

37:16 [35:24] in such cases the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the blood-avenger, according to these rulings.

37:17 [35:25a] The congregation shall protect the manslayer from {any vengeful action on the part} of the blood-avenger, and the congregation shall restore him to [the] city of refuge to which he fled;

37:18 [35:25b] and he shall remain there until the death of the {serving} High Priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.

 

Leaving the Protection of the Cities of Refuge

 

37:19 [35:26] Now if the manslayer at any time goes beyond the border of [the] city of refuge to which he has fled,

37:20 [35:27] and the blood-avenger happens upon him outside the border of his city of refuge, and the blood-avenger kills the manslayer, no blood-guilt will be imputed to him;

37:21 [35:28a] for {the manslayer} should have remained in his city of refuge until the death of the {serving} High Priest.

37:22 [35:28b] However, after the death of the High Priest the manslayer shall return to the property-holding of his inheritance, {without any fear of retribution}.

 

General Rulings in cases of Manslaughter

 

37:23 [35:29] These things shall stand as the legal procedure for you throughout your generations in all your settlements.

37:24 [35:30] If anyone {deliberately} kills another person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of two witnesses, but no person shall be put to death on the testimony of just one witness.

37:25 [35:31] Moreover, you shall not accept a ransom-payment for the life of a murderer who is guilty of a capital crime; he must be put to death.

37:26 [35:32] You shall not accept a ransom-payment in lieu of flight to a city of refuge, in order that he might return to live in his property-holding before the death of the {serving} High Priest.

37:27 [35:33] By no means shall you pollute the land in which you dwell, for blood pollutes the land; and the land can have no expiation for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of him who shed it.

37:28 [35:34] You shall not defile the land in which you live, in which I Myself abide; for I am Yahveh, who dwells in the midst of the Israelite people.’”

 

Chapter 38: A Wife’s Inheritance in the Land

 

38:1 [36:1] Now the heads of the ancestral houses of the clans of the descendants of Gil`ādh son of Makhīr, of the Yōsefite Manassites, drew near and spoke before Mosheh, before Elė`āzār the High Priest, and before the chieftains – the tribal chiefs of the ancestral houses of the Israelites,

38:2 [36:2] and they said, “Yahveh commanded my lord to assign the land by lot to the Israelites as an inheritance, and my lord was commanded by Yahveh to give the inheritance of Tsėlōfėhādh our kinsman to his daughters;

38:3 [36:3] but if they marry one of the sons of the [other] Israelite tribes, their inheritance will be cut off from our ancestral inheritance, and will be added to the overall inheritance of the tribe to which they belong; thus our allotted inheritance will overall be diminished.

38:4 [36:4] Then, even when the Jubilee [year] of the Israelites comes round, their inheritance will still be added to the inherited share of the tribe to which they belong; for their inherited share will already have been cut off from the overall inheritance of our ancestral tribe.”

 

God’s ruling in the matter

 

38:5 [36:5] So at Yahveh’s behest, Mosheh gave strict instructions to the Israelites, saying, “The cause of the tribe of the Yōsefites is just,

38:6 [36:6] so this is what Yahveh has commanded concerning the daughters of Tsėlōfėhādh, saying, ‘Let them marry whomsoever they wish, provided that they marry within the clans of their father’s tribe.’

38:7 [36:7] Thus no inheritance of the Israelites shall be transferred from tribe to tribe, for the Israelites shall each keep hold of the inherited possession of their ancestral tribe.

38:8 [36:8] Every daughter who comes into possession of an inheritance from any Israelite tribe, shall become wife to someone from the clans of her father’s tribe, so that the Israelites may each [continue to] possess the inheritance of their [paternal] ancestors.

38:9 [36:9] Thus no inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another tribe, for the tribes of the Israelites shall each keep hold of his own inherited share.”

38:10 [36:10] Just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh, so the daughters of Tsėlōfėhādh did:

38:11 [36:11] Machlāh, Tirtsāh, Chōghlāh, Milkāh and No`āh, the daughters of Tsėlōfėhādh, went on to marry their [paternal] uncles’ sons.

38:12 [36:12] They married [men] from the clans of the Yōsefite Manassites, and their inheritance remained within the tribe of their father’s clan.

38:13 [36:13] These then are the commandments and the ordinances which Yahveh instructed the Israelites through Mosheh on the steppes of Moab, by the Jordan [opposite] Jericho.

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