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Thoughts and Reflection

Today the Israelites begin to complain once again that God has led them only to kill them. In return God sends serpents as punishment that kill many of them. Moses once again intercedes for his people. Even though Moses has lost the the chance to enter into the Promised Land, he continues to be the shepherd of the Israelites to the Lord. God tells Moses to create a bronze serpent that will heal all those who look upon it. Serpents are the cause of pain and death and here it is being used to heal the Israelites

In Deuteronomy more laws are given by God to make the brutal world a little less so. Here we have if your brother needs help, you must help him; kindness must be shown to animals; men must treat women with respect and not treat them as disposable. God affirmed that his people mater and belong to him.

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 21

1 The king of Arad, the Canaanite living in the Negeb, learned that Israel was coming by way of Atharim. He attacked Israel and took some prisoners.

2 Israel then made this vow to Yahweh, ‘If you deliver this people into my power, I shall curse their towns with destruction.’

3 Yahweh heard Israel’s words and delivered the Canaanites into their power, and they destroyed them in accordance with their curse. Hence the place was given the name Hormah.

4 They left Mount Hor by the road to the Sea of Suph, to skirt round Edom. On the way the people lost patience.

5 They spoke against God and against Moses, ‘Why did you bring us out of Egypt to die in the desert? For there is neither food nor water here; we are sick of this meagre diet.’

6 At this, God sent fiery serpents among the people; their bite brought death to many in Israel.

7 The people came and said to Moses, ‘We have sinned by speaking against Yahweh and against you. Intercede for us with Yahweh to save us from these serpents.’ Moses interceded for the people,

8 and Yahweh replied, ‘Make a fiery serpent and raise it as a standard. Anyone who is bitten and looks at it will survive.’

9 Moses then made a serpent out of bronze and raised it as a standard, and anyone who was bitten by a serpent and looked at the bronze serpent survived.

10 The Israelites set out and camped at Oboth.

11 Then they left Oboth and camped at Iye-Abarim, in the desert on the eastern border of Moab.

12 They set out from there and camped in the gorge of the Zered.

13 They set out from there and camped on the other side of the Arnon. This gorge in the desert begins in the territory of the Amorites. For the Arnon is the frontier of Moab, between the Moabites and the Amorites.

14 That is why it says in the Book of the Wars of Yahweh: ‘. . .Waheb near Suphah and the gorges of the Arnon

15 and the slope of the ravine running down to the site of Ar and over against the frontier of Moab.’

16 And from there they went to Beer, that being the well in connection with which Yahweh had said to Moses, ‘Call the people together and I will give them water.’

17 Then it was that Israel sang this song: Spring up, well! Sing out for the well,

18 sunk by the princes, dug by the people’s leaders with the sceptre, with their staves! -and from the desert to Mattanah,

19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth,

20 and from Bamoth to the valley that opens into the country of Moab, towards the heights of Pisgah overlooking the desert.

21 Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites,

22 ‘I wish to pass through your country. We shall not stray into the fields or vineyards; we shall not drink the water from the wells; we shall keep to the king’s highway until we have passed through your territory.’

23 But Sihon would not give Israel leave to pass through his country. He assembled all his people, marched into the desert to meet Israel, and reached Jahaz, where he gave battle to Israel.

24 Israel defeated him by force of arms and conquered his country from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the Ammonites, for Jazer marked the Ammonite frontier.

25 Israel took all these towns. Israel occupied all the Amorite towns, Heshbon and all its dependencies,

26 Heshbon being the capital of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had made war on the first king of Moab and captured all his territory as far as the Arnon.

27 Hence the poets say: Come to Heshbon! Let the city of Sihon be rebuilt on firm foundations!

28 For fire has burst from Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon, devouring Ar of Moab, engulfing the heights of the Arnon.

29 Oh, unhappy Moab! People of Chemosh, you are lost! He has resigned his sons as fugitives, and his daughters as prisoners to Sihon king of the Amorites.

30 Their posterity has been destroyed from Heshbon all the way to Dibon, and we have lit a fire all the way from Nophah to Medeba.

31 Thus Israel occupied the Amorites’ territory.

32 Moses then sent men to reconnoitre Jazer, and Israel took it and its dependencies, evicting the Amorites who lived there.

33 They then turned and marched on Bashan. Og king of Bashan and all his people marched to meet them and give battle at Edrei.

34 Yahweh said to Moses, ‘Do not be afraid of him, for I have put him, all his people and his country at your mercy. Treat him as you treated Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon.’

35 So they pressed their attack against him, his sons and all his people until there was no one left alive. And they took possession of his country.

Deuteronomy 22

1 ‘If you see your brother’s ox or one of his sheep straying, you must not disregard it: you must take it back to your brother.

2 And if he is not close at hand or you do not know who he is, you must take it home with you and keep it by you until your brother comes to look for it; you will then return it to him.

3 ‘You must do the same with his donkey, the same with his cloak, the same with anything that your brother loses and that you find; you must not disregard it.

4 ‘If you see your brother’s donkey or ox fall over on the road, you must not disregard it, but must help your brother get it on its feet again.

5 ‘A woman must not dress like a man, nor a man like a woman; anyone who does this is detestable to Yahweh your God.

6 ‘If, when out walking, you come across a bird’s nest, in a tree or on the ground, with chicks or eggs and the mother bird sitting on the chicks or the eggs, you must not take the mother as well as the chicks.

7 Let the mother go; the young you may take for yourself. Thus will you have prosperity and long life.

8 ‘When you build a new house, you must give your roof a parapet; then your house will not incur blood-vengeance, should anyone fall off the top.

9 ‘You must not sow any other crop in your vineyard, or the whole yield may become forfeit, both the crop you have sown and the yield of your vines.

10 ‘You must not plough with ox and donkey together.

11 ‘You must not wear clothing woven part of wool, part of linen.

12 ‘You must make tassels for the four corners of the cloak in which you wrap yourself.

13 ‘If a man marries a woman, has sexual intercourse with her and then, turning against her,

14 taxes her with misconduct and publicly defames her by saying, “I married this woman and when I had sexual intercourse with her I did not find evidence of her virginity,”

15 the girl’s father and mother must take the evidence of her virginity and produce it before the elders of the town, at the gate.

16 To the elders, the girl’s father will say, “I gave this man my daughter for a wife and he has turned against her,

17 and now he taxes her with misconduct, saying, I have found no evidence of virginity in your daughter. Here is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity!”

18 They must then display the cloth to the elders of the town.

19 The elders of the town in question will have the man arrested and flogged, and fine him a hundred silver shekels for publicly defaming a virgin of Israel, and give this money to the girl’s father. She will remain his wife; as long as he lives, he may not divorce her. 

20 ‘But if the accusation that the girl cannot show evidence of virginity is substantiated,

21 she must be taken out, and at the door of her father’s house her fellow-citizens must stone her to death for having committed an infamy in Israel by bringing disgrace on her father’s family. You must banish this evil from among you.

22 ‘If a man is caught having sexual intercourse with another man’s wife, both must be put to death: the man who has slept with her and the woman herself. You must banish this evil from Israel.

23 ‘If a virgin is engaged to a man, and another man encounters her in the town and has sexual intercourse with her,

24 you will take them both to the gate of the town in question and stone them to death: the girl, for not having called for help in the town; the man, for having exploited his fellow-citizen’s wife. You must banish this evil from among you.

25 But if the man ran into the betrothed girl in the open country and slept with her, having taken her by force, her ravisher alone must die;

26 you must do nothing to the girl, she has not committed a capital offence. The case is like that of a man who attacks and kills his fellow:

27 since he came across her in the open country, the betrothed girl may have called out, without anyone’s coming to her rescue.

28 ‘If a man meets a young virgin who is not betrothed and seizes her, sleeps with her and is caught in the act,

29 her ravisher must give the girl’s father fifty silver shekels; since he has exploited her, she must be his wife and, as long as he lives, he may not divorce her.’

Psalm 102

1 [Prayer of someone afflicted, who in misfortune pours out sorrows before Yahweh] Yahweh, hear my prayer, let my cry for help reach you.

2 Do not turn away your face from me when I am in trouble; bend down and listen to me, when I call, be quick to answer me!

3 For my days are vanishing like smoke, my bones burning like an oven;

4 like grass struck by blight, my heart is withering, I forget to eat my meals.

5 From the effort of voicing my groans my bones stick out through my skin.

6 I am like a desert-owl in the wastes, a screech-owl among ruins,

7 I keep vigil and moan like a lone bird on a roof.

8 All day long my enemies taunt me, those who once praised me now use me as a curse.

9 Ashes are the food that I eat, my drink is mingled with tears,

10 because of your fury and anger, since you have raised me up only to cast me away;

11 my days are like a fading shadow, I am withering up like grass.

12 But you, Yahweh, are enthroned for ever, each generation in turn remembers you.

13 Rise up, take pity on Zion! the time has come to have mercy on her, the moment has come;

14 for your servants love her very stones, are moved to pity by her dust.

15 Then will the nations revere the name of Yahweh, and all the kings of the earth your glory;

16 when Yahweh builds Zion anew, he will be seen in his glory;

17 he will turn to hear the prayer of the destitute, and will not treat their prayer with scorn.

18 This shall be put on record for a future generation, and a people yet to be born shall praise God:

19 Yahweh has leaned down from the heights of his sanctuary, has looked down from heaven to earth,

20 to listen to the sighing of the captive, and set free those condemned to death,

21 to proclaim the name of Yahweh in Zion, his praise in Jerusalem;

22 nations will gather together, and kingdoms to worship Yahweh.

23 In my journeying my strength has failed on the way;

24 let me know the short time I have left. Do not take me away before half my days are done, for your years run on from age to age.

25 Long ago you laid earth’s foundations, the heavens are the work of your hands.

26 They pass away but you remain; they all wear out like a garment, like outworn clothes you change them;

27 but you never alter, and your years never end.

28 The children of those who serve you will dwell secure, and their descendants live on in your presence.

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