My Mum's Ancient Family Bible

My Mum's Ancient Family Bible
Kept in the garage of all places for so many years, it's finally been put to good use.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ju-ju-jubilee (Leviticus 25-27)

Imagine the title for this post being sung in the cadence of "Susudio" by Phil Collins.

I question God's math. He's given the Israelites land to live in and harvest. They know that they're supposed to rest on the sabbath - that rule has been reiterated ad nauseaum. Now God tells them that every fiftieth year is extra-special. Get this: "And you shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall be to you forty-nine years... And you shall hallow the fiftieth year... it shall be a jubilee for you..." (Lev 25:8-10). What a confusing method of counting. I mean, it's counting; it's not that hard, even without calculators. Maybe God is trying to temporally disorient his people as a means of control.

It's funny to me how, in the thick of all these rules in Leviticus, God likes to throw in a "Don't forget to fear me. I am the LORD". Caps lock. If that isn't enough, he goes on to tell Moses and his people all the terrible things he'll do to them if they don't observe his commandments. Plagues are high on the list. But I personally think this is the worst of them: "When I break the staff of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and shall deliver your bread again by weight; and you shall eat, and not be satisfied" (Lev 26:26). Not be satisfied? Like those Downs kids who lack the hormonal regulation to tell their bodies they're full so they're reduced to ripping off the pantry doors in a frenzied search for Dunk-a-roos? Since I feel like I have Prader-Willi syndrome most of the time (I have an unholy appetite) I would hate to actually have it.

Much of Leviticus 26 is devoted to telling you what to do if you've got a deadbeat brother (or sister, implicitly). You're supposed to be nice to him and take him in but you're not allowed to make him your slave. Oh, no. That's wrong. You can, however, take him on as a "hired servant". Same difference. I don't know how this would look in biblical times but the modern equivalent would be that the brother would live in your finished basement and chaffeur your kids to swimming lessons around while he "works on his screenplay". Have you seen that screenplay yet? I haven't.

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