God is Setting All Things Right. So I am Blogging Through the Bible in a Year.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25 - Numbers 5-6: God Protects Women and Blesses His Chosen Nation

Today’s Reading: Numbers 5-6

The Message

English Standard Version

Thought to Guide Your Reading

A man's word is not worth more to God than a woman's word.

Summary in 100 Words or Less

God told Moses to enact the law on lepers and unclean people.
God provided a test for a woman's adultery. The jealous husband would bring her to the priest who would make her drink a toxic tonic. If innocent, all went well.
God gave instructions on the Nazarite vow. This person would dedicate a certain period of time to God and would not eat any form of grapes (skins, flesh, juice, raisin, etc.) or cut his hair. This person also could not go near any dead person, even a member of his family.
God gave a blessing to the people.

How Today’s Reading Contributes to the Gospel: God is Setting All Things Right

The test for adultery by a woman protected women from jealous husbands.

When Americans look at this text we are flummoxed. It makes no sense to us 1) why there would need to be a test and 2) why does the woman have to suffer? Because of this the text gets tossed into the "out there" pile. However, I want to provide a different view.
In the ancient world, a woman's worth was directly proportional to her ability to give birth to children. That is about all she had going for her. So if a man's wife cheated with another man the husband would never know if his children were truly his or not. If he wanted to have her condemned as an adulteress she would have no recourse. Ancient cultures would not consider women's accounts of events permissible in a court.  God's plan, however, stipulated that a man had to go to the priest first before having her stoned. This protected a woman in two ways: 1) a man would be too embarrassed to have his wife before the priest and then be found wrong and 2) she would be protected if she were innocent. God's test for adultery protected women in a way no human court could or would. The test in itself was made torturous both to prevent a man from putting his wife through it and prevent a woman from cheating on her husband.

The Nazarite vow is the closest thing people came to becoming a monk.

This vow would separate the man from everyone in social ways. He could not eat any form of grape—in essence, no alcohol. He could not be around a dead person. A person would only do this to dedicate a special time (or child as in John the Baptizer) for God.

God blessed His Chosen People

God is getting ready to transfer from law-giver to protector for a people on the move. So to bless them on their journey He put His Name upon them. And so today, I bless you as well in your journey through the Bible in a year.
God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. (6:24-26, The Message)
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