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Leviticus 1-27


Let’s Play The Bible: Leviticus 1-27

Manuscript

Preface

The next step in the canon of books is Leviticus. I am still reading & listening at a steady and habitual pace via “YouVersion” app whole-bible plan. When I am thinking of Leviticus now, part-way through the book of Numbers, I can’t honestly say much comes to mind. I feel like I retained very little - the nature of this books content has something to do with it, at least fortifying my passive synaptic response. All in all this seems like a very clerical book, but hopefully refreshing my memory and consulting my (brief) Google Keep scribbling will reveal something more than divine administrative guidelines and human resource management.

Before I start using online resources and tools along with other information in the app, what is it that I can recall? I remember a lot of reference to “burnt offerings”, a “sweet savour”, the Tabernacle receiving some further attention since the previous book and I think there is something about blood sacrifice, probably animals. Then of course there is the outline of circumcision as some kind of sacrament which is still adhered to by jewish people today, as well as much of the USA, for some reason.

Debriefing

Mt Sinai

After the Exodus, the Israelites have camped out at Mount Sinai. Here they begin living and prospering, while in parallel Moses continues his commune with God post-escape and receives many guidelines and standards to lay out to his people. These range from geopolitical tinged logistics all the way through to the medical procedure - before HillaryCare, ObamaCare and TrumpCare there was what we call MosesCare, you do not need a card for this guidance and the premiums are nil - there is however a latent individual mandate.

There is not much in the way of narrative to map out, unlike previous sections, but BibleStudyTools offers a categorization of some of the legalese groupings:

Given the nature of all of this info I might well proceed with taking a look into my looks taken of the entire document considered as one big bill, one big packet. I could split the billing up into the discrete sections that it appears to take the form of, but I have even less thoughts than usual to offer. I am definitely unwilling to address things in a sequence or cover any number of pre-planned “bases”. Anyway.

My Ragpickings

Sweet Savour

Sweet

Now here’s a little something that got repeated too many times to count. “Sweet Savour”, which grammatically appears at least to me to refer to a singular food item of excellent taste, appearing to be cooked (burnt) in many contexts. Something about this combination of words is disgusting to me for some reason - sounds like a lyric from some kind of lovesick ballad, but I will accept that we are offering God a tasty snack in these regards. I am quite surprised to find little concrete information on this word combo via Google search, it seems to be in fact quite vague and something a Bible reader wouldn’t spend to much time on. Indeed it could simply mean something that smells good and perhaps just a word combo to help describe the tasteful smell of torching a domesticated animal, as is acceptable.

Offering the Ox

Of course I am being a bit too silly when I describe this. The reality of the phrase and the times it appears (amongst detailing of offerings, or generally things that “please” God) is that it is more accurately speaking to the refreshed connection, awareness and loyalty people have with, of and to God. In making offerings, that would be suitable gift to any human, you are providing a joyous reinforcement of the God/man connection and reflection. That is real and meaningful joy.

Sinai Health Organization

Bible Doc

I turn my attention to the health guidelines and cleanliness instructions in the actual antiquated land of Israel, rather than the modern carved out and ever-growing landmass denoted as such, to consider the fusion of ritual and spiritual with the physiological as outlined here. It does seem to run the entire gamut of cleanliness and good living across all firmaments, while reading between the lines seems like an old time medical manual - where illness might be more directly considered as directed and controlled by God in real-time. Where today of course through Good Works we have a much deeper (though sometimes old understandings can be highly accurate and insightful in concept if not application) idea of the mechanics of illness and thus greater understanding of nature, we remain leaning on God above as a hand to guide through the dark times these might bring and that’s not to speak of the beautiful design that allows construction modern triage and practice on top of older ways.

Can I let the aptly (appropriately) named David Wise speak for me, for a moment? He discusses (in 2003, apparently) an early instance of Ebola outbreak and touches on the medical information in the Bible:

On the positive side, the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, provide tremendous insight and relief concerning disease prevention. Remarkably, the Pentateuch is regarded as the earliest evidence we have of sound public health and sanitary practices.4 These ancient writings, when used in conjunction with modern medicine, can break the mode of transmission of virtually every scourge known to humanity.

While some perhaps more useful than others, much of the writing around labelling of “clean” and “unclean” conditions/states apparently point a dusty mirror at modern medical practice. From burning used dressings, quarantine/isolation of the infected, childbirth and general sanitation (in contrast to the uncleanly Egyptians). Much of these writings, assuming correct translation, concern Leprosy. Leprosy - today not so communicable or at least widespread as perhaps previously - is a contagious disease which will produce very visible indicators in the infected individual. Whether through unusual skin pigmentation or rash, the illness manifests on the skin in an immediately anomalous way before potentially leaving the skin as a weak point in the immunity chain, where further infections may wreak havoc. Of course this is not the only disease that manifests in this, broadly speaking, way, and it’s no wonder - perhaps removing from the notion of prescience in the Bible - that people of antiquity would pick up on and be wary of these bodily goings-on.

Leprosy

While a bit stodgier to parse for clear and simple insight into the action of disease than any modern medical pamphlet or even journal you might find, these datums in this book are adding a whole extra dimension to the already impressive reliquary, the human history and thought-spanning Bible. Truly the book to end all books, the fact that such a tome is compiled in times of persecution of its memorizers and low literacy rate - and centuries before any scalable printing method. I need to remind myself, the documentation of this part of the bible is of events and thoughts occurring long before the birth of Christ 2,000 years ago. Highly impressive or at least perspective altering.

Circumcision

Circumcision

Here’s one of the early-Bible tentpoles I have been anticipating, pause. A covenant the Jews, of course, still abide by and something practiced today even upon children of irreligious parents in some places. The former section, instilling the fact that there is much medical insight of proven practicality in this book, can offer some ideas of circumcision being part of the battery of precautions implored by the medically responsible of antiquity. Indeed any baby that is born is denoted to be “unclean” until circumcision occurs, which is a term of medical importance as already established.

Even in the U.S., where HIV is not primarily spread through sex between men and women, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that circumcision of all newborn males could reduce the lifetime risk of acquiring HIV by over 15% among American males.

Today we can find touted some specific illuminators on the potential worldly health benefits of this practice. For instance, center4research claims, a significantly (50%) reduced risk of HIV infection in the circumcised populace. This is a little bit interesting. While they quickly fortify the pan-circumstantial nature of their claim by mentioning “in the U.S., where HIV is not primarily spread through sex between men and women”, there’s no mention of the way in which it is primarily transmitted - that being gay anal sex, where the mucosa lined anal canal is prone to micro-lesions from repeated use for high-impact friction and sensation, which will then receive HIV-positive seminal globules. Now that’s quite interesting.

Even Egyptians Do It

Of course it isn’t just men with anal canals. Perhaps back in the day this canal was used to escape sinful use of the relatively HIV resilient vaginal mucosa. Center4research also offer the idea of HPV being harboured more often by those with intact penises, which might then be transmitted to females who might then suffer more serious consequences. All said, they conclude that while perhaps insubstantial in modernity (and i’ll add costly to patients), this procedure does show some reduction of illness outcomes - whether that’s by reduction in surface area or some hygiene action I don’t know, and quite frankly I am sick of reading about this. Circumcision continues to live on regardless.

Step into His Office

Tabernacle of the Congregation

The Tabernacle, who’s specifications and necessity in convening with God figured heavily into the end of the previously chapter, is given some more focus here and we can see its function in context of Aaron’s ministry. Here we can see God stressing unto Moses the importance of “The Holy Place” and “The Most Holy Place”, the two segments of the Tent of Meeting, which forms the interiors of the greater Tabernacle. The Tabernacle is of course a sort of portable church, perhaps not termed so to the Jews or Israelites, and was a place in which God dwelled. Here we can make offerings, each for their reason, and Aaron may do so to atone before entering The Most Holy Place, which contains the Ark of the Covenant - or the Ark of God - held up from the ground. The Ark was of course a sort of communication device from where God spoke to Moses, making it potentially the first ever and most powerful mobile telephone.

The rearmost room, “The Most Holy Place” or “Holy of Holies”, container of the Ark, was of form a perfect 10 by 10 cubit square and was the most exclusive of the rooms offered within the tabernacle, into which only the High Priest might enter. Moving in reverse, and replacing a fully obscuring veil, we return into “The Holy Place”. This place was almost as exclusive, where priests only would make offerings and burn incense for God while bathed in the light from a golden lamp. Take in the atmosphere, it is a very sweet savour. Then we move back out into the courtyard. The Jews were allowed in the courtyard, and it was furnished in Bronze as opposed to the Gold that decorates the interiors. So cool.

Tabernacle Interior

Proximity is very important here. With each step inside we draw increasingly closer to the physical presence of God. While only those with enough security clearance could get inside, the idea of proximity permeates very effectively in the large spacious courtyard. Imagine simply entering through the main gate, into the courtyard. Every step must have felt incredible, the golden light seeping outward from the centrum, the aroma all around of the fantastic burnt offerings. With your fellow believers you pay tribute and love God together. It had to be the number one spot in town, or would be if there were a town in place of the scattered tents of followers.

Closing the Book

New Tabernacle

That’s about all. I think. It’s hard to really get much thought out of this book and I reckon the successive couple. Lots of what I’m writing here is just retelling of data from the Bible itself or regurgitations of various articles from those more informed than me. This all owing to the clerical nature of the books in question. Still, there is a lot to be interested by, and we have learned a lot. We are enjoying it in fact, in spite of all odds. Let’s continue with Numbers next. As of writing I have already blasted through it. Just need to get typing, God bless.