Notes on Numbers 26-30

Numbers 26 once again numbers the sons over the age of 20 for each tribe. Thousands have been killed due to their incessant complaining, so the need to tally the remaining Israelites was necessary. The largest decrease is from the tribe of Simeon, which dropped from 59,300 to 22,200.

An issue of inheritance arose in Numbers 27 when a man who died in the wilderness had only daughters to pass his possessions down to, although the law said that sons were to inherit. The LORD told his people that if a man dies, his possessions pass to his sons. If he has no sons, then his daughters. If no daughters, then his brothers. If no brothers, then the next of kin.

Beginning in Numbers 27:15-23, Moses’ successor was named. Because of the issue of smiting the rock twice rather than speaking to it (Numbers 20), Moses lost his opportunity to enter the promised land. Joshua (from the same root word as Jesus) was anointed the new leader who would bring the Israelites to the land of milk and honey.

Numbers 28 and 29 are instructions for sacrificing during the 7 major feasts (see Notes on Leviticus 22-23). This is a bit of a rehashing, but a couple things stood out. The first is how many feasts and holidays occur in the seventh month. The Hebrew calendar is little bit off from ours due to the way they calculate the days of the month. The Feast of Tabernacles, for instance, is supposed to begin on the 15th day of the seventh month, but in 2017 it is on October 4th. (I have always found it strange that our 7th month is July, given the root “sept” means seven, which shows that September should be the 7th month).

Another interesting tidbit is the number of bullocks to be sacrificed during the Feast of Tabernacles begins with 13 (a traditionally unlucky number) and decreases by 1 each day of the feast so that on the 7th feast day, 7 (the number of perfection) are sacrificed. We have 7 bullocks on the 7th day of a feast that occurs in the 7th month.

Chapter 30 is another “sexist” chapter of the Bible. Basically, if a man makes a vow, he responsible for fulfilling it. If a woman makes a vow, the man must sign off on it immediately. His silence is a form of consent. A father must consent for his daughter, and a husband for his wife (even if divorced or widowed). If a man does not give consent, then the vow need not be honored by the woman. She is forgiven. However, if a man waits to nullify the vow, he must bear the punishment for breaking the vow.

The point that should be taken is that the home, although the dominion of a woman, is the ultimate responsibility of the man. One of the great social factors in the breakdown of the family that we see around the world, but especially in the West is that men are afraid to be the leaders of their own homes.

This is no excuse to abuse or manipulate wives and daughters. In fact, the opposite is true. Men are supposed to lead and protect their wives and daughters. Too many American men abdicate their responsibilities. They ignore what happens in their own homes, or they literally run away from them. Single motherhood is at an all-time high in the United States. About 83% of single-parents are mothers.  In a supposedly Christian nation (over 70% identify as Christian), the divorce rate (over 50% now) and children born without fathers (25% overall, but 72% in the black community) are insanely high.

All the statistics on deviance and criminality show that having both a father and mother is one of the single greatest predictors of deviant behavior in a child. The median income for a single mom is $26,000 compared to $84,000 for married couples. The poverty rate for single mothers is over 36% compared to 7.5% for married couples. A two-parent home allows a child more access to income, education, and healthcare. More importantly, is that the child can spend more time with a parent, which is the key to stopping deviant behavior. When a child feels ignored, they lash out.

71 percent of teachers and 90 percent of law enforcement officials state that the lack of parental supervision at home is a major factor that contributes to the violence in schools. Sixty-one percent of elementary students and 76 percent of secondary children agree with this assessment (Maginnis 1997, “Single-Parent Families Cause Juvenile Crime).

You can say that passages like this one that are throughout the Bible are sexist. However, there is absolutely no denying the vital role that fathers play in the lives of their children. Real life statistics in 2017 validate what Moses wrote in 1450 BC. Men need to take responsibility in the home.

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