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Thoughts and Reflection

In the ancient world, slaves and owning people were considered normal. In that light, a woman (or wife) was considered her husband’s property. and he could do what he wanted with her. This is tension between men and women and is one of the consequences of the fall. We see God limiting man’s total authority over his wife.

Since the Israelites have just been set free, they really don’t know how to live as free people. God is teaching them. They are shown a new way of treating jealousy between spouses. This is a measured step toward greater equality and respect between men and women.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!

Daily Readings

Numbers 5

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 ‘Order the Israelites to expel from the camp all those suffering from a contagious skin-disease or from a discharge, or who have become unclean by touching a corpse.

3 Whether man or woman, you will expel them; you will expel them from the camp, so that they do not pollute their encampments, in the heart of which I dwell.’

4 The Israelites did so: they expelled them from the camp. The Israelites did as Yahweh had told Moses.

5 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

6 ‘Speak to the Israelites: “If a man or woman commits any of the sins by which people break faith with Yahweh, that person incurs guilt.

7 “The person must confess the sin committed and restore in full the amount owed, with one-fifth added. Payment is to be made to the person wronged.

8 “If, however, the latter has no relation to whom restitution can be made, the restitution due to Yahweh reverts to the priest, apart from the ram of expiation with which the priest makes expiation for the guilty party.

9 For of everything the Israelites consecrate and bring to the priest he has a right to the portion set aside.

10 Whatever anyone consecrates is his own; whatever is given to the priest belongs to the priest.” ‘

11 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

12 ‘Speak to the Israelites and say: “If anyone has a wife who goes astray and is unfaithful to him,

13 if some other man sleeps with the woman without the husband’s knowledge, and she secretly makes herself unclean, without any witness against her, and without anyone catching her in the act;

14 if, then, a spirit of suspicion comes over the husband and makes him suspicious of the wife who has disgraced herself, or again if this spirit of suspicion comes over him and makes him suspicious of his wife even when she is innocent,

15 the man will bring his wife before the priest, and on her behalf make an offering of one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal. He will not pour oil over it or put incense on it, because this is a cereal offering for a case of suspicion, a memorial offering to recall guilt to mind.

16 “The priest will then bring the woman forward and place her before Yahweh.

17 The priest will then take fresh water in an earthen jar, and on the water throw dust that he has taken from the floor of the Dwelling.

18 After he has placed the woman before Yahweh, he will unbind her hair and put the commemorative cereal offering (that is, the cereal offering for a case of suspicion) into her hands. In his own hands the priest will hold the water of bitterness and cursing.

19 “The priest will then put the woman on oath. He will say to her: If it is not true that a man has slept with you, that you have gone astray and made yourself unclean while under your husband’s authority, may this water of bitterness and cursing do you no harm.

20 But if it is true that you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, that you have made yourself unclean and that a manother than your husband has slept with you . . .

21 Here the priest will impose an imprecatory oath on the woman. He will say to her: . . . May Yahweh make you the object of your people’s execration and curses, by making your sexual organs shrivel and your belly swell!

22 May this water of cursing entering your bowels, make your belly swell and your sexual organs shrivel! To which the woman will reply: Amen! Amen!

23 “Having written these curses on a scroll and washed them off in the water of bitterness,

24 the priest will make the woman drink the water of bitterness and cursing; when the water of cursing enters into her, it will become bitter.

25 “The priest will then take the cereal offering for a case of suspicion from the woman’s hands, and hold it up before Yahweh with a gesture of offering, and so carry it up to the altar.

26 He will take a handful of it as a memorial and burn it on the altar. “After this, he will make the woman drink the water.

27 After he has made her drink it, if it is true that she has made herself unclean and been unfaithful to her husband, the water of cursingthen entering into her will indeed be bitter: her belly will swell and her sexual organs shrivel, and she will be an object of execration to her people.

28 But if she has not made herself unclean, but is clean, then she will go unscathed and will bear children.

29 “Such is the ritual in cases of suspicion, when a woman has gone astray and made herself unclean while under her husband’s authority,

30 or when a spirit of suspicion has come over a man and made him suspicious of his wife. When a husband brings such a womanbefore Yahweh, the priest will apply this ritual to her in full.

31 The husband will be guiltless, but the woman will bear the consequences of her guilt.” ‘

Deuteronomy 5

1 Moses called all Israel together and said to them, ‘Listen, Israel, to the laws and customs that I proclaim to you today. Learn them and take care to observe them.

2 ‘Yahweh our God made a covenant with us at Horeb.

3 Yahweh made this covenant not with our ancestors, but with us, with all of us alive here today.

4 On the mountain, from the heart of the fire, Yahweh spoke to you face to face,

5 while I stood between you and Yahweh to let you know what Yahweh was saying, since you were afraid of the fire and had not gone up the mountain. He said:

6 ‘ “I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slave-labour.

7 ‘ “You will have no gods other than me.

8 ‘ “You must not make yourselves any image or any likeness of anything in heaven above or on earth beneath or in the waters under the earth;

9 you must not bow down to these gods or serve them. For I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God and I punish the parents’ fault in the children, the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren, among those who hate me;

10 but I show faithful love to thousands, to those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 ‘ “You must not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not leave unpunished anyone who uses his name for what is false.

12 ‘ “Observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy, as Yahweh your God has commanded you.

13 Labour for six days, doing all your work,

14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath for Yahweh your God. You must not do any work that day, neither you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servants — male or female — nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your animals, nor the foreigner who has made his home with you;

15 so that your servants, male and female, may rest, as you do. Remember that you were once a slave in Egypt, and that Yahweh your God brought you out of there with mighty hand and outstretched arm; this is why Yahweh your God has commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

16 ‘ “Honour your father and your mother, as Yahweh your God has commanded you, so that you may have long life and may prosper in the country which Yahweh your God is giving you.

17 ‘ “You must not kill.

18 ‘ “You must not commit adultery.

19 ‘ “You must not steal.

20 ‘ “You must not give false evidence against your fellow.

21 ‘ “You must not set your heart on your neighbour’s spouse, you must not set your heart on your neighbour’s house, or field, or servant-man or woman — or ox, or donkey or any of your neighbour’s possessions.”

22 ‘These were the words Yahweh spoke to you when you were all assembled on the mountain. Thunderously, he spoke to you from the heart of the fire, in cloud and thick darkness. He added nothing, but wrote them on two tablets of stone which he gave to me.

23 ‘Now, having heard this voice coming out of the darkness, while the mountain was all on fire, you came to me, all of you, heads of tribes and elders,

24 and said, “Yahweh our God has shown us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak with a human being and that person still live.

25 So why should we expose ourselves to death again? For this great fire might devour us if we go on listening to the voice of Yahwehour God, and then we should die.

26 For what creature of flesh could possibly live after hearing, as we have heard, the voice of the living God speaking from the heart of the fire?

27 Go nearer yourself and listen to everything that Yahweh our God may say, and then tell us everything that Yahweh our God has told you; we shall listen and put it into practice!”

28 ‘Yahweh heard what you were saying to me, and he then said to me, “I have heard what these people are saying. Everything they have said is well said.

29 If only their heart were always so, set on fearing me and on keeping my commandments, so that they and their children might prosper for ever!

30 Go and tell them to go back to their tents.

31 But you yourself stay here with me, and I shall tell you all the commandments, the laws and the customs which you are to teach them and which they are to observe in the country which I am giving them as their possession.”

32 ‘Keep them and put them into practice: such is Yahweh’s command to you. Stray neither to right nor to left.

33 Follow the whole way that Yahweh has marked for you, and you will survive to prosper and live long in the country which you are going to possess.’

Psalm 90

1 [Prayer Of Moses, man of God] Lord, you have been our refuge from age to age.

2 Before the mountains were born, before the earth and the world came to birth, from eternity to eternity you are God.

3 You bring human beings to the dust, by saying, ‘Return, children of Adam.’

4 A thousand years are to you like a yesterday which has passed, like a watch of the night.

5 You flood them with sleep — in the morning they will be like growing grass:

6 in the morning it is blossoming and growing, by evening it is withered and dry.

7 For we have been destroyed by your wrath, dismayed by your anger.

8 You have taken note of our guilty deeds, our secrets in the full light of your presence.

9 All our days pass under your wrath, our lives are over like a sigh.

10 The span of our life is seventy years — eighty for those who are strong — but their whole extent is anxiety and trouble, they are over in a moment and we are gone.

11 Who feels the power of your anger, or who that fears you, your wrath?

12 Teach us to count up the days that are ours, and we shall come to the heart of wisdom.

13 Come back, Yahweh! How long must we wait? Take pity on your servants.

14 Each morning fill us with your faithful love, we shall sing and be happy all our days;

15 let our joy be as long as the time that you afflicted us, the years when we experienced disaster.

16 Show your servants the deeds you do, let their children enjoy your splendour!

17 May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us, to confirm the work we have done!

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