As we open the book of Numbers we read of the characteristics that were to define Israel. Twelve distinct tribes united into one nation. Each warrior with honor. Everyone working together with a united purpose. And yet there is still one thing missing. The human leadership that is in place is not popular. And herein lies the crux of the problem. Israel is not led by human leadership. Israel is to be led by God.
In Numbers 7 we once again encounter a chapter of extreme repetition. And yet, in this chapter there is a word that is used for the first four times in the Bible. Dedication. Hanukkah. A word that has come to be associated with a winter festival, dreidels, miracles, and fried foods. And yet we find none of that here. Instead, hanukkah, dedication is a topic that transcends the festival and gets to the very heart of intentions.
The Nazarite vow is a thing that is shrouded in mystery. What does it mean to be a Nazarite besides the thing that a person is to avoid? What kind of duties or benefit does the Nazarite vow give to a person? And for the sake of the flow of the text, who is the Nazarite vow directed towards? There is a class of person that was just passed over for the priesthood. How is it that this vow is addressed to them?
Numbers 5 contains a ceremony that has caused no end of confusion and consternation for quite a long time. A ceremony that not only seems barbaric to a degree, but also seems completely out of place in the text. Why now, or all places, does the text move to describe the water trial for the woman suspected of adultery? What is the context that this trial is speaking into, and what does it demonstrate about God?