Numbers 31:17-18 - Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.  18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.

Before I get into the information that isn’t as clear as it could be, a short quiz.

  • Who can remember the story of Zipporah in Exodus?
  • Who knows the story of what happened when Moses’ other wife showed up in the Israelite camp?
  • Who knows the story of Aaron and the golden calf?
  • Who can identify the two major prophets of the exodus (and who remembers my post about the lesser known one)?

But now, about that history in the Bible, that probably will shock you twice.

First, a lot of people don’t realize that in the early Bible it records entire peoples who are scoured from the earth by the incoming children of Israel.

copanSecond, many do not realize that those same peoples show up later in the Bible, obviously not dead. And that when the Old Testament as we now have it was collated and put together by the post Exile community, the editors knew that the people were still around and obviously not dead.

So, what is going on here?

First, a repudiation of the ritual sacrifice of children and similar things that were part of the indigenous religious practice.

Second, a standard “triumphal narrative” where the party writing the story claims complete and utter victory regardless of the facts.

Third, a narrative that insists that the children of Israel have a right to the land of Israel.

In other words, it is all symbolic or representational and it was known to be symbolic or representational and not historic when the Bible came together.

peter-enns-progressiveAs for that early Bible quiz, when you comment, let me know how many of the four you  got without having to look up the answers.

I should have my internet access and computer straightened out by next week, and will be going back and looking at the suggestions and making use of them.

But now you know one more thing about the Bible.