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Thoughts and Reflection

In today’s reading, there is a review of the major feasts — Feast of Booths and the Day of Atonement. On the Day of Atonement, the Israelites afflict themselves as a sign of sorrow for their sins. On this day they offer sacrifices in atonement for their transgressions. In the Feast of Booths, the Israelites give many offerings because the feast is for abundance. It is a way the Israelites can give back to the Lord.

There were some additional laws presented today. These laws are given because the Israelites aren’t living in a perfect world. They are still living in an ancient broken world. This framework from God helps them achieve balance and justice amongst themselves.

One thing that is important — both in the ancient world and today’s world — are vows to God. These are binding and should be taken seriously. Now, these aren’t the ones that we say “if I only do this, I will…” These are the ones such as marriage for example. Jesus will later talk about these and tell us never to make a vow lightly without careful and prayerful consideration.

In Deuteronomy 29, the Lord is renewing his covenant with his people. Moses is approaching his end of life and God knows that the people may turn to other gods in that absence. He wants them to know he is still there for them and not forget what he has done for them.

Have you taken any vows to God?

Daily Readings

Numbers 29

1 ‘ “In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you will hold a sacred assembly; you will do no heavy work. For you this will be a day of Acclamations.

2 As a burnt offering, as a smell pleasing to Yahweh, you will offer one young bull, one ram and seven yearling lambs, without blemish.

3 The accompanying cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil will be three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram,

4 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs.

5 There will also be a goat as a sacrifice for sin, for performing the rite of expiation for you.

6 This is in addition to the monthly burnt offering and its cereal offering, the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering, and the accompanying libations enjoined by law, as a pleasing smell, as food burnt for Yahweh.

7 “On the tenth day of this seventh month, you will hold a sacred assembly; you will fast and do no work.

8 As a burnt offering for Yahweh, as a pleasing smell, you will offer one young bull, one ram and seven yearling lambs, which you willchoose as being without blemish.

9 The accompanying cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil will be three-tenths of an ephah for the bull, two-tenths for the ram,

10 and one-tenth for each of the seven lambs.

11 And a goat will be offered as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the victim for sin at the feast of Expiation, to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering, and their accompanying libations.

12 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you will hold a sacred assembly; you will do no heavy work, and for seven days you willcelebrate a feast for Yahweh.

13 As a burnt offering, as food burnt as a smell pleasing to Yahweh, you will offer thirteen young bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish.

14 The accompanying cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil will be three-tenths of an ephah for each of the thirteen bulls, two-tenths for each of the two rams,

15 and one-tenth for each of the fourteen lambs;

16 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libation.

17 “On the second day: twelve young bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

18 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

19 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libations.

20 “On the third day: eleven bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

21 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

22 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libations.

23 “On the fourth day: ten bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

24 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

25 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libation.

26 “On the fifth day: nine bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

27 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

28 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libation.

29 “On the sixth day: eight bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

30 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

31 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libations.

32 “On the seventh day: seven bulls, two rams and fourteen yearling lambs, without blemish;

33 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

34 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libation.

35 “On the eighth day you will hold an assembly; you will do no heavy work.

36 As a burnt offering, as food burnt as a smell pleasing to Yahweh, you will offer one bull, one ram and seven yearling lambs, without blemish;

37 the accompanying cereal offering and libations, as prescribed, in proportion to the number of bulls, rams and lambs;

38 also one goat as a sacrifice for sin. This is in addition to the perpetual burnt offering and its cereal offering and libation.

39 “This is what you are to do for Yahweh at your solemn feasts, over and above your votive offerings and your voluntary offerings, your burnt offerings, cereal offerings and libations, and your peace offerings.” ‘

Numbers 30

1 Moses told the Israelites exactly what Yahweh had ordered him.

2 Moses spoke to the tribal leaders of the Israelites and said, ‘This is what Yahweh has ordered:

3 “If a man makes a vow to Yahweh or a formal pledge under oath, he must not break his word: whatever he promises by word of mouth he must do.

4 “If a woman makes a vow to Yahweh or a formal pledge during her youth, while she is still in her father’s house,

5 and if her father hears about this vow or pledge made by her and says nothing to her, her vow, whatever it may be, will be binding, and the pledge she has taken, whatever it may be, will be binding.

6 But if her father on the day he learns of it expresses his disapproval of it, then none of the vows or pledges she has taken will be binding. Yahweh will not hold her to it, since her father has expressed his disapproval.

7 “If, being bound by vows or by a pledge voiced without due reflection, she then marries,

8 and if her husband hears of it but says nothing on the day he learns of it, her vows will be binding and the pledges she has taken willbe binding.

9 But if on the day he learns of it he expresses his disapproval to her, this will annul the vow that she has made or the pledge that binds her, voiced without due reflection. Yahweh will not hold her to it.

10 “The vow of a widow or a divorced woman and all pledges taken by her are binding on her.

11 “If she has made a vow or taken a pledge under oath while in her husband’s house,

12 and if when the husband learns of it he says nothing to her and does not express disapproval to her, then the vow, whatever it is, willbe binding, and the pledge, whatever it is, will be binding.

13 But if the husband when he hears of it annuls it on the day he learns of it, no undertaking of hers, be it vow or pledge, will be binding. Since the husband has annulled it, Yahweh will not hold her to it.

14 “Every vow or oath that is binding on the wife may be endorsed or annulled by the husband.

15 “If by the following day the husband has said nothing to her, it means that he endorses her vow, whatever it may be, or her pledge, whatever it may be. He endorses them if he says nothing on the day he learns of them.

16 But if, having learnt of them, he annuls them later, he will bear the consequences for his wife’s guilt.” ‘

17 Such were the laws which Yahweh prescribed to Moses, concerning the relationship between a man and his wife, and between a father and his daughter while still young and living in her father’s home.

Deuteronomy 29

1 Moses called all Israel together and said to them: ‘You have seen everything that Yahweh did before your eyes in Egypt, to Pharaoh, to his servants and to his whole country-

2 the great ordeals which you yourselves witnessed, those signs and the great wonders.

3 But until today Yahweh has not given you a heart to understand, eyes to see, or ears to hear.

4 ‘I have been leading you for forty years in the desert, yet the clothes which you have been wearing have not worn out, nor have the sandals on your feet.

5 You have had no bread to eat, you have had no wine or fermented liquor to drink, so that you would learn that I, Yahweh, am your God.

6 ‘When you reached this place, Sihon king of Heshbon and Og king of Bashan came out to do battle against us; we defeated them.

7 We conquered their country and gave it as heritage to Reuben, Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

8 ‘Keep the words of this covenant, put them into practice, and you will thrive in everything you do.

9 ‘All of you are standing here today in the presence of Yahweh your God: your tribal leaders, your elders, your scribes, all the men of Israel,

10 with your children and your wives (and the foreigner too who is in your camp, be he your wood-cutter or your water-carrier),

11 and you are about to pass into the covenant of Yahweh your God, sworn with imprecation, which he has made with you today,

12 and by which, today, he makes you a nation for himself and he himself becomes a God to you, as he has promised you, and as he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

13 Not only on your behalf am I today making this covenant and pronouncing this solemn curse,

14 not only on behalf of those standing here with us in the presence of Yahweh our God today, but also on behalf of those not here with us today.

15 ‘Yes, you know the people with whom we used to live in Egypt, and those through whose countries we have travelled — the nations through whom we have passed.

16 You have seen their abominations and their idols made of wood and stone, silver and gold, which were there.

17 ‘Let there be no man or woman of you, no clan or tribe, whose heart turns away from Yahweh your God today, to go and serve the gods of these nations. Among you let there be no root which bears poison or wormwood.

18 If, after hearing this imprecation, anyone, blessing himself, should say in his heart, “I shall do well enough if I follow the dictates of my heart; much water drives away thirst,”

19 Yahweh will not pardon him. The wrath and jealousy of Yahweh will blaze against such a person; every curse written in this book willfall on him, and Yahweh will blot his name out under heaven.

20 Yahweh will single him out of all the tribes of Israel for misfortune, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in the book of this Law.

21 ‘The future generation, that of your children coming after you, and the foreigner arriving from some far-away land, on seeing the plagues and diseases inflicted on this country by Yahweh, will exclaim,

22 “Sulphur! Salt!-The whole country is burning! No one will sow, nothing grow, no vegetation spring ever again! Devastation like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim, devastated by Yahweh in his furious wrath!”

23 And all the nations will exclaim, “Why has Yahweh treated this country like this? Why this great blaze of anger?”

24 ‘And people will say, “Because they deserted the covenant of Yahweh, God of their ancestors, the covenant which he made with them when he brought them out of Egypt;

25 because they went and served other gods and worshipped them, gods hitherto unknown to them, gods that were no part of their heritage from him:

26 this is why Yahweh’s anger has blazed against this country, afflicting it with all the curses written in this book.

27 In anger, in fury, in fierce wrath, Yahweh has torn them from their own country and flung them into another country, where they are today.”

28 Things hidden belong to Yahweh our God, but things revealed are ours and our children’s for ever, so that we can put all the words of this Law into practice.’

Psalm 113

1 Alleluia! Praise, servants of Yahweh, praise the name of Yahweh.

2 Blessed be the name of Yahweh, henceforth and for ever.

3 From the rising of the sun to its setting, praised be the name of Yahweh!

4 Supreme over all nations is Yahweh, supreme over the heavens his glory.

5 Who is like Yahweh our God? His throne is set on high,

6 but he stoops to look down on heaven and earth.

7 He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill,

8 to give them a place among princes, among princes of his people.

9 He lets the barren woman be seated at home, the happy mother of sons.

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