174.) Numbers 33 and 34

December 31, 2009
33. wilderness_journey_map

One idea for the route. Too bad, too sad — Moses didn’t leave a map, so today’s scholars try to guess . . .

Numbers 33

Israel’s Journey from Egypt to Moab

1As Israel traveled from Egypt under the command of Moses and Aaron, 2Moses kept a list of the places they camped, just as the LORD had instructed. Here is the record of their journey:

33. pyramid

Good-bye to Egypt!

3-4Israel left the Egyptian city of Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month.  This was the day after the LORD had punished Egypt’s gods by killing the first-born sons in every Egyptian family. So while the Egyptians were burying the bodies, they watched the Israelites proudly  leave their country.

5After the Israelites left Rameses, they camped at Succoth, 6and from there, they moved their camp to Etham on the edge of the desert.

7Then they turned back toward Pi-Hahiroth, east of Baal-Zephon, and camped near Migdol.

8They left Pi-Hahiroth,  crossed the Red Sea,  then walked three days into the Etham Desert and camped at Marah.

33. palm trees

A beautiful oasis at Elim.

9Next, they camped at Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees.

10They left Elim and camped near the Red Sea,  11then turned east and camped along the western edge of the Sinai Desert.

12-14From there they went to Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, where they had no water.  15They left Rephidim and finally reached the Sinai Desert.

33.Sinai desert

Harsh conditions in the Sinai desert.

16-36As Israel traveled from the Sinai Desert to Kadesh in the Zin Desert, they camped at Kibroth-Hattaavah, Hazeroth, Rithmah, Rimmon-Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, Mount Shepher, Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Terah, Mithkah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-Jaakan, Hor-Haggidgad, Jotbathah, Abronah, Ezion-Geber, and finally Kadesh.

37When they left Kadesh, they came to Mount Hor, on the border of Edom.

38That’s where the LORD commanded Aaron the priest to go to the top of the mountain. Aaron died there on the first day of the fifth month,  forty years after the Israelites left Egypt. 39He was one hundred twenty-three years old at the time. 40It was then that the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Southern Desert of Canaan, heard that Israel was headed that way.

33. Moab

The green plains of Moab, now part of Jordan.

41-47The Israelites left Mount Hor and headed toward Moab. Along the way, they camped at Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Iye-Abarim in the territory of Moab, Dibon-Gad, Almon-Diblathaim, at a place near Mount Nebo in the Abarim Mountains, 48and finally in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. 49Their camp stretched from Beth-Jeshimoth to Acacia.

The LORD’s Command To Conquer Canaan

50While Israel was camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, the LORD told Moses 51to give the people of Israel this message:

When you cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan, 52you must force out the people living there. Destroy their idols and tear down their altars. 53Then settle in the land–I have given it to you as your own.

54I will show you  how to divide the land among the tribes, according to the number of clans in each one, so that the larger tribes will have more land than the smaller ones. 55If you don’t force out all the people there, they will be like pointed sticks in your eyes and thorns in your back. They will always be trouble for you, 56and I will treat you as cruelly as I planned on treating them.

Numbers 34

Israel’s Borders

34. Tribes map

1The LORD told Moses 2to tell the people of Israel that their land in Canaan would have the following borders:

3The southern border will be the Zin Desert and the northwest part of Edom. This border will begin at the south end of the Dead Sea. 4It will go west from there, but will turn southward to include Scorpion Pass, the village of Zin, and the town of Kadesh-Barnea. From there, the border will continue to Hazar-Addar and on to Azmon. 5It will run along the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.

6The western border will be the Mediterranean Sea.

7The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean, then continue eastward to Mount Hor.  8After that, it will run to Lebo-Hamath and across to Zedad, which is the northern edge of your land. 9From Zedad, the border will continue east to Ziphron and end at Hazar-Enan.

10The eastern border will begin at Hazar-Enan in the north, then run south to Shepham, 11and on down to Riblah on the east side of Ain. From there, it will go south to the eastern hills of Lake Galilee,  12then follow the Jordan River down to the north end of the Dead Sea. The land within those four borders will belong to you.

13Then Moses told the people, ” You will receive the land inside these borders. It will be yours, but the LORD has commanded you to divide it among the nine and a half tribes. 14The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh have already been given their land 15across from Jericho, east of the Jordan River.”

The Leaders Who Will Divide the Land

16The LORD said to Moses, 17” Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun will divide the land for the Israelites. 18One leader from each tribe will help them, 19-28and here is the list of their names:

34. TenMen. Esther

Ten men to help divide the land. Ten men to be present for public prayers.  “Ten Men” by SuSan “Esther.”

Caleb son of Jephunneh from Judah,

Shemuel son of Ammihud from Simeon,

Elidad son of Chislon from Benjamin,

Bukki son of Jogli from Dan,

Hanniel son of Ephod from Manasseh,

Kemuel son of Shiphtan from Ephraim,

Elizaphan son of Parnach from Zebulun,

Paltiel son of Azzan from Issachar,

Ahihud son of Shelomi from Asher,

and Pedahel son of Ammihud from Naphtali.”

29These are the men the LORD commanded to help Eleazar and Joshua divide the land for the Israelites.



An encouraging word  — as we see how graciously God led the people of Israel day by day from place to place, and as we review our own experiences of these past months and look forward to a new year walking with the Lord.  The Oslo Gospel Choir sings “Never Gonna Lose My Way.”  Because the Lord is faithful, “my foot’s on solid ground, I trust in You!”


Words by Jan Groth; Music by Tore W. Aas

I was doing fine so long,
thinking I was too strong,
and nothing in this world could shake me.

Everything was black or white,
either wrong or right,
condemning was so very easy.
But I’m getting wiser,
through defeats and fights,
and it’s so much nicer,
to realize Your love is the cause.

I am never gonna lose my way,
step by step You lead me day by day,
and I’m glad to know that You will always see me through,
my foot’s on solid ground, I trust in You!

When I used to feel so good,
doing what I should,
convinced that I knew all the answers.

Yes, I simply couldn’t see
it was all a mystery,
how people could be weak and faulty.

But I’ve learned my lesson,
yes, I see my misery,
and it’s my confession,
I’m pulling through,
it’s all because the grace I see.

I am never gonna lose my way,
step by step You lead me day by day,
and I’m confident that You will always see me through,
my foot’s on solid ground, I trust in You!


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

wilderness journey map.  http://www.avakesh.com/images/2007/06/21/wilderness_journey_3.gif

pyramid.   http://www.dailygalaxy.com/photos/uncategorized/2008/01/28/egy005_2.jpg

palm trees.   http://peoriamobileestates.com/pm70.jpg

Sinai desert.  http://www.photomediashop.com/wallpapers/images/wallpapers-800/97-sinai_212-WP.jpg

Moab.  http://www.ronaldecker.com/moab.jpg

tribes map.   http://www.bibletrack.org/notes/image/Tribes.jpg

compass.   http://stufffromroom311.pbworks.com/f/CompassRose.jpg

Esther, “Ten Men.”  http://www.jewishartandsoul.com/TenMen.jpg

173.) Numbers 32

December 30, 2009

Numbers 32

Land East of the Jordan River Is Settled
(A Conversation)

1The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned a lot of cattle and sheep, and they saw that the regions of Jazer and Gilead had good pastureland.

32. cowboys

2So they went to Moses, Eleazar, and the other leaders of Israel and said, 3-4” The LORD has helped us capture the land around the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and Beon. That’s good pastureland, and since we own cattle and sheep, 5would you let us stay here east of the Jordan River and have this land as our own?”

32. Heston as Moses

6Moses answered:

You mean you’d stay here while the rest of the Israelites go into battle? 7If you did that, it would discourage the others from crossing over into the land the LORD promised them. 8This is exactly what happened when I sent your ancestors from Kadesh-Barnea to explore the land. 9They went as far as Eshcol Valley, then returned and told the people that we should not enter it. 10The LORD became very angry. 11And he said that no one who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter the land he had promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not one of those people believed in the LORD’s power, 12except Caleb and Joshua.  They remained faithful to the LORD, 13but he was so angry with the others that he forced them to wander around in the desert forty years. By that time everyone who had sinned against him had died. 14Now you people of Reuben and Gad are doing the same thing and making the LORD even angrier. 15If you reject the LORD, he will once again abandon his people and leave them here in the desert. And you will be to blame!

32. cowboys

16The men from Reuben and Gad replied:

Let us build places to keep our sheep and goats, and towns for our wives and children, 17where they can stay and be safe. Then we’ll prepare to fight and lead the other tribes into battle. 18We will stay with them until they have settled in their own tribal lands. 19The land on this side of the Jordan River will be ours, so we won’t expect to receive any on the other side.

32. Heston as Moses

20Moses said:

You promised that you would be ready to fight for the LORD. 21You also agreed to cross the Jordan and stay with the rest of the Israelites, until the LORD forces our enemies out of the land. If you do these things, 22then after the LORD helps Israel capture the land, you can return to your own land. You will no longer have to stay with the others. 23But if you don’t keep your promise, you will sin against the LORD and be punished.


Numbers 32:23 (King James Version)

Be sure your sin will find you out.

This was one of my mother’s favorite verses as she raised her children, and I confess that my own personal experience bears testimony to the truth of this Scripture!


24Go ahead and build towns for your wives and children, and places for your sheep and goats. Just be sure to do what you have promised.

32. cowboys

25The men from Reuben and Gad answered:

Sir, we will do just what you have said. 26Our wives and children and sheep and cattle will stay here in the towns in Gilead. 27But those of us who are prepared for battle will cross the Jordan and fight for the LORD.

32. Heston as Moses

28Then Moses said to Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders, 29” Make sure that the tribes of Gad and Reuben prepare for battle and cross the Jordan River with you. If they do, then after the land is in your control, give them the region of Gilead as their tribal land. 30But if they break their promise, they will receive land on the other side of the Jordan, like the rest of the tribes.”

32. cowboys

31The tribes of Gad and Reuben replied, ” We are your servants and will do whatever the LORD has commanded. 32We will cross the Jordan River, ready to fight for the LORD in Canaan. But the land we will inherit as our own will be on this side of the river.”



“Home on the Range”  sung first by Roy Rogers and then by Gene Autry.  Now when last did you hear this song?!


33So Moses gave the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh   (see map above) the territory and towns that King Sihon the Amorite had ruled, as well as the territory and towns that King Og of Bashan had ruled.  34The tribe of Gad rebuilt the towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, 35Atroth-Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth-Nimrah, and Beth-Haran. They built walls around them and also built places to keep their sheep and goats.

37The tribe of Reuben rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Sibmah, as well as the towns that used to be known as Nebo and Baal-Meon. They renamed all those places.

39The clan of Machir from the tribe of East Manasseh went to the region of Gilead, captured its towns, and forced out the Amorites. 40So Moses gave the Machirites the region of Gilead, and they settled there.

41Jair from the Manasseh tribe captured villages and renamed them ” Villages of Jair.”  42Nobah captured the town of Kenath with its villages and renamed it Nobah.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

map of tribal lands.    http://www.jesuswalk.com/gideon/images/12tribes_map250x389.gif

cowboys.  http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/kids/forts/images/cowboys.jpg

Charleton Heston as Moses.  http://blogs.suburbanchicagonews.com/sportsbeacon/Heston%20as%20Moses.jpg

172.) Numbers 30 and 31

December 29, 2009

“A Scout is trustworthy.”

Numbers 30

Making Promises to the LORD

1The LORD told Moses to say to Israel’s tribal leaders:

2When one of you men makes a promise to the LORD,  you must keep your word.


Psalm 50:14-15 (English Standard Version)

“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and perform your vows to the Most High,
and call upon me in the day of trouble;
I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

Reflections on promises:

Let God’s promises shine on your problems.
~Corrie Ten Boom

We must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.
~Abraham Lincoln

Eggs and oaths are easily broken.
~Danish Proverb

A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is rain.
~Arabian Proverb

No pillow so soft as God’s promise.
~Author Unknown


3Suppose a young woman who is still living with her parents makes a promise to the LORD. 4If her father hears about it and says nothing, she must keep her promise. 5But if he hears about it and objects, then she no longer has to keep her promise. The LORD will forgive her, because her father did not agree with the promise.

6-7Suppose a woman makes a promise to the LORD and then gets married. If her husband later hears about the promise but says nothing, she must do what she said, whether she meant it or not. 8But if her husband hears about the promise and objects, she no longer has to keep it, and the LORD will forgive her.

9Widows and divorced women must keep every promise they make to the LORD.

10Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the LORD. 11If her husband hears about the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said. 12But if he hears about the promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The LORD will forgive her, because her husband would not allow her to keep the promise. 13Her husband has the final say about any promises she makes to the LORD. 14If her husband hears about a promise and says nothing about it for a whole day, she must do what she said–since he did not object, the promise must be kept. 15But if he waits until the next day to stop her from keeping her promise, he is the one who must be punished.

16These are the laws that the LORD gave Moses about husbands and wives, and about young daughters who still live at home.



Country music star Alan Jackson sings “Standing on the Promises of God.”


Numbers 31

Israel’s War against Midian

This map shows generally the traditional route for the Israelites in the wilderness. See Midian on the east side of the Gulf of Aqaba.

1The LORD said to Moses, 2” Before you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished for what they did to Israel.”  3Then Moses told the people, ” The LORD wants to punish the Midianites. So have our men prepare for battle. 4Each tribe will send a thousand men to fight.”

5Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were prepared for battle, 6Moses sent them off to war. Phinehas the son of Eleazar went with them and took along some things from the sacred tent  and the trumpets for sounding the battle signal. 7The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. They killed all the men, 8including Balaam son of Beor

Remember Balaam (and his smart ass)?   He finally gets his due.

and the five Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 9The Israelites captured every woman and child, then led away the Midianites’ cattle and sheep, and took everything else that belonged to them. 10They also burned down the Midianite towns and villages.

11Israel’s soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. 12-13Then they returned to their own camp in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.

14Moses became angry with the army commanders 15and said, ” I can’t believe you let the women live! 16They are the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and invited our people to worship the god Baal Peor. That’s why the LORD punished us by killing so many of our people. 17You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex. 18But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for yourselves.”

19Then Moses said to the soldiers, ” If you killed anyone or touched a dead body, you are unclean and have to stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh days, you must go through a ceremony to make yourselves and your captives clean. 20Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goat’s hair, or wood.”

21-23Eleazar then explained, ” If you need to purify something that won’t burn, such as gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire.


1 Corinthians 3:10-14 (New Living Translation)

Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ.

Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.


After you take it out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with the water. Do all of this, just as the LORD commanded Moses. 24Wash your clothes on the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp.”

Everything Taken from the Midianites Is Divided

25The LORD told Moses:

26-27Make a list of everything taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the animals. Then divide them between the soldiers and the rest of the people. Eleazar the priest and the family leaders will help you.

28-29From the half that belongs to the soldiers, set aside for the LORD one out of every five hundred people or animals and give these to Eleazar.

30From the half that belongs to the people, set aside one out of every fifty and give these to the Levites in charge of the sacred tent.

31Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD’s instructions 32-35and listed everything that had been taken from the Midianites. The list included 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle, 61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 young women who had never had sex.

36-47Each half included 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and 16,000 young women. From the half that belonged to the soldiers, Moses counted out 675 sheep and goats, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys, and 32 women and gave them to Eleazar to be dedicated to the LORD. Then from the half that belonged to the people, Moses set aside one out of every fifty animals and women, as the LORD had said, and gave them to the Levites.

48The army commanders went to Moses 49and said, ” Sir, we have counted our troops, and not one soldier is missing. 50So we want to give the LORD all the gold jewelry we took from the Midianites. It’s our gift to him for watching over us and our troops.”

Grateful for every soldier who comes home safely.

51Moses and Eleazar accepted the jewelry from the commanders, 52and its total weight was over four hundred pounds. 53This did not include the things that the soldiers had kept for themselves. 54So Moses and Eleazar placed the gold in the LORD’s sacred tent to remind Israel of what had happened.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

Scout promise.   http://www.ecscouts.org.uk/information/visualresources/clipart/scout_promise.gif

Promises, promises.    http://rltillman.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/promises.jpg

map showing Midian.    http://www.ldolphin.org/exodusmap.jpg

fire.    http://www.ci.toledo.oh.us/Portals/0/Fire%20&%20Rescue/Fire%20Images/Picture%20in%20Fire.doc.jpg

soldier coming home.   http://dugglass.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/soldier-coming-home.jpg

171.) Numbers 28 and 29

December 28, 2009

Numbers 28



“The Heart of Worship” gets to the point — Jesus.


Regular Daily Sacrifices

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:

Offer sacrifices to me at the appointed times of worship, so that I will smell the smoke and be pleased.

3Each day offer two rams a year old as sacrifices to please me.  The animals must have nothing wrong with them; 4one will be sacrificed in the morning, and the other in the evening. 5Along with each of them, two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. 6This sacrifice to please me was first offered on Mount Sinai. 7Finally, along with each of these two sacrifices, a quart of wine must be poured on the altar as a drink offering. 8The second ram will be sacrificed that evening, along with the other offerings, just like the one sacrificed that morning. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices will please me.



Every day the Israelites offered to the Lord 2 rams, 4 pounds of flour, 2 quarts of olive oil and 2 quarts of wine.  Day after day after day.

What of material value do you offer the Lord every day?  Would it change your spiritual life if daily you were to give such a generous material expression?

Romans 12:1 (New Living Translation)

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.


The Sacrifice on the Sabbath

28. sabbath_candles

“Sabbath Candles” by Canadian painter Fiona Collins

The LORD said:

9-10On the Sabbath, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices,  you must sacrifice two rams a year old to please me.  These rams must have nothing wrong with them, and they will be sacrificed with a drink offering and four pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil.

The Sacrifices on the First Day of the Month

The LORD said:

11On the first day of each month, bring to the altar two bulls, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me.  12Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 13and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices will please me. 14-15Offer two quarts of wine as a drink offering with each bull, one and a half quarts with the ram, and one quart with each of the young rams.

Finally, you must offer a goat  as a sacrifice for sin. These sacrifices are to be offered on the first day of each month, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices.

The LORD said:

The Sacrifices during Passover and the Festival of Thin Bread

28. passover_3d_star_of_david

16Celebrate Passover in honor of me on the fourteenth day of the first month  of each year. 17The following day will begin the Festival of Thin Bread, which will last for a week. During this time you must honor me by eating bread made without yeast. 18On the first day of this festival, you must rest from your work and come together for worship. 19Bring to the altar two bulls, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. And then offer these as sacrifices to please me.  20Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 21and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 22Also offer a goat  as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. 23-24All of these are to be offered in addition to the regular daily sacrifices,  and the smoke from them will please me. 25Then on the last day of the festival, you must once again rest from work and come together for worship.

The LORD said:

The Sacrifices during the Harvest Festival

28.  wheat weeks

The Feast of Weeks celebrates harvest.  The book of Ruth is often read in synagogues during this festival, since it describes the wheat harvest season.

26On the first day of the Harvest Festival, you must rest from your work, come together for worship, and bring a sacrifice of new grain. 27Offer two young bulls, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old as sacrifices to please me.  28Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 29and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 30Also offer a goat  as a sacrifice for sin. 31The animals must have nothing wrong with them and are to be sacrificed along with the regular daily sacrifices.

The LORD said:

Numbers 29

The Sacrifices at the Festival of Trumpets

29. shofar

the sound of the trumpets!

1On the first day of the seventh month,  you must rest from your work and come together to celebrate at the sound of the trumpets. 2Bring to the altar one bull, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. And then offer these as sacrifices to please me.  3Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with the bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 4and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 5You must also offer a goat  as a sacrifice for sin. 6These sacrifices will be made in addition to the regular daily sacrifices  and the sacrifices for the first day of the month.  The smoke from these sacrifices will please me.

The LORD said:

The Sacrifices on the Great Day of Forgiveness

23. Jesus on the Cross

The Day of Atonement

This day is so important that a whole chapter of Leviticus is devoted to it — remember chapter 16?  And Hebrews chapter 9 clearly explains how this day points to Jesus Christ and the work he did on the cross.


7The tenth day of the seventh month  is the Great Day of Forgiveness.  On that day you must rest from all work and come together for worship. Show sorrow for your sins by going without food, 8and bring to the altar one young bull, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me.  9Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with the bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 10and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 11A goat  must also be sacrificed for the sins of the people. You will offer these sacrifices in addition to the sacrifice to ask forgiveness and the regular daily sacrifices.

The LORD said:

The Sacrifices during the Festival of Shelters

29. Sukkot

A booth to live in during the Feast of Tabernacles.

12Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month  and continuing for seven days, everyone must celebrate the Festival of Shelters in honor of me. 13On the first day, you must rest from your work and come together for worship. Bring to the altar thirteen bulls, two full-grown rams, and fourteen rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me.  14Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the rams, 15and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 16You must also offer a goat  as a sacrifice for sin. These are to be offered in addition to the regular daily sacrifices.  17-34For the next six days of the festival, you will sacrifice one less bull than the day before, so that on the seventh day, seven bulls will be sacrificed. The other sacrifices and offerings must remain the same for each of these days.

35On the eighth day, you must once again rest from your work and come together for worship. 36Bring to the altar one bull, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me. 37You must also offer the proper grain sacrifices and drink offerings of wine with each animal. 38And offer a goat  as the sacrifice to ask forgiveness for the people. These sacrifices are made in addition to the regular daily sacrifices.  39You must offer all these sacrifices to me at the appointed times of worship, together with any offerings that are voluntarily given or given because of a promise.

40Moses told the people of Israel everything the LORD had told him about the sacrifices.



A clever look at what might happen to our worship songs if churches were to get corporate sponsors!


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

worship.    http://www.cmypage.com/scfumc/Worship.jpg

Collins.  http://www.fionacollins.com/files/sabbath_candles.jpg

Passover.  http://www.holidays.zingerbugimages.com/Passover/passover_3d_star_of_david.gif

wheat.  http://www.ynetnews.com/PicServer2/20122005/791816/YE0232356_wa.jpg

blowing a shofar.   http://www.just-tzedakah.org/graphics/shofar.jpg

booth.   http://www.wikieducator.org/images/7/77/Sukkot-eitan.gif

170.) Christmas Day

December 25, 2009

"The Nativity" fresco by Giotto, 1310 (the Church of St. Francis, Assisi, Italy)

Christmas Day 2009


To all of my readers —

I wish you a most blessed Christmas Day, with the hope that our DWELLING together in the truth of the Word of God is transforming us all, day by day, more and more, into the likeness of this Child, the Christ.

With love in Jesus’ Name,

Rebecca Mitchell


Luke 2:7 (King James Version)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


from Wishful Thinking:  A Seeker’s ABC,  by Frederick Buechner:


Unlike Buddhism or Hinduism, biblical faith takes history very seriously because God takes it very seriously.  He took it seriously enough to begin it and to enter it and to promise that one day he will bring it to a serious close.  The biblical view is that history is not an absurdity to be endured or an illusion to be dispelled or an endlessly repeating cycle to be escaped.  Instead it is for each of us a series of crucial, precious, and unrepeatable moments that are seeking to lead us somewhere.

The true history of humankind and the true history of each individual has less to do than we tend to think with the kind of information that gets into most histories, biographies, and autobiographies.  True history has to do with the saving and losing of souls, and both of these are apt to take place when most people—including the one whose soul is at stake—are looking the other way.  The real turning point in our lives is less likely to be the day we win the election or get married, than the morning we decide not to mail the letter or the afternoon we watch the woods fill up with snow.  The real turning point in human history is less apt to be the day the wheel is invented or Rome falls, than the night a boy is born a couple of Jews.



Celine Dion sings “O Holy Night.”


We do not believe that the virgin mother gave birth to a son and that he is the Lord and Savior unless, added to this, I believe the second thing, namely, that he is my Savior and Lord.

Martin Luther, “Sermon on the Afternoon of Christmas Day 1530”


17th century English poet Richard Crashaw:

“In the Holy Nativity of our Lord”

Welcome, all wonders in one sight!
Eternity shut in a span;
Summer in winter; day in night;
Heaven in earth, and God in man.
Great little one!  Whose all-embracing birth
Lifts earth to heaven, stoops heav’n to earth.



“Welcome to Our World.”


Images courtesy of:

Giotto.   http://www.artbible.net/3JC/-Luk-02,01_Birth_Manger_Naissance_Creche/14%20GIOTTO%20NATIVITY.jpg

Irish nativity set.    http://www.celticattic.com/treasures/images/christmas/LC365.JPG

169.) Numbers 27

December 24, 2009
27. Botkin Daughters of Zelophehad

“The Daughters of Zelophehad” by Daniel Bodkin

Numbers 27

The Daughters of Zelophehad Are Given Land

1Zelophehad  was from the Manasseh tribe, and he had five daughters, whose names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

27. Five Sisters art

“Five Sisters” by Paula DiLeo

2One day his daughters went to the sacred tent, where they met with Moses, Eleazar, and some other leaders of Israel, as well as a large crowd of Israelites. The young women said:

3You know that our father died in the desert. But it was for something he did wrong, not for joining with Korah in rebelling against the LORD.

Our father left no sons 4to carry on his family name. But why should his name die out for that reason? Give us some land like the rest of his relatives in our clan, so our father’s name can live on.

5Moses asked the LORD what should be done, 6and the LORD answered:

7Zelophehad’s daughters are right. They should each be given part of the land their father would have received.


This stamp commemorates American women who carried on in the footsteps of Zelophehad’s daughters.


8Tell the Israelites that when a man dies without a son, his daughter will inherit his land. 9If he has no daughter, his brothers will inherit the land. 10But if he has no brothers, his father’s brothers will inherit the land. 11And if his father has no brothers, the land must be given to his nearest relative in the clan. This is my law, and the Israelites must obey it.

27. Five Sisters mts

The “Five Sisters of Kintail” in Scotland in the summer . . .

Joshua Is Appointed Israel’s Leader

12The LORD said to Moses, ” One day you will go up into the Abarim Mountains, and from there you will see the land I am giving the Israelites. 13After you have seen it, you will die,  just like your brother Aaron, 14because both of you disobeyed me at Meribah near the town of Kadesh in the Zin Desert. When the Israelites insulted me there, you didn’t believe in my holy power.”  15Moses replied, 16” You are the LORD God, and you know what is in everyone’s heart. So I ask you to appoint a leader for Israel. 17Your people need someone to lead them into battle, or else they will be like sheep wandering around without a shepherd.”


27. lamb

Matthew 9:36 (New International Version)

When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

John 10:11 (New International Version)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 1:29 (New International Version)

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”



“Mary, Did You Know . . . that your baby boy is Heaven’s perfect lamb?”  Sung by Donny Osmond.


18The LORD answered, ” Joshua son of Nun can do the job. Place your hands on him to show that he is the one to take your place. 19Then go with him and have him stand in front of Eleazar the priest and the Israelites. Appoint Joshua as their new leader 20and tell them they must now obey him, just as they obey you. 21But Joshua must depend on Eleazar to find out from me  what I want him to do as he leads Israel into battle.” 22Moses followed the LORD’s instructions and took Joshua to Eleazar and the people, 23then he placed his hands on Joshua and appointed him Israel’s leader.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

Botkin.    http://www.danielbotkin.com/pics/Gallery%208%20Miscellaneous%20Works/The%20Daughters%20of%20Zelophehad%20t.jpg

DiLeo.  http://www.pauladileo.com/images/faces_large/01.gif

postage stamp.  http://www.nps.gov/wori/historyculture/images/Postage_Stamp.jpg

Five Sisters, Scotland.  http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3158/2500221026_034c339004.jpg

lamb.   http://internetfoodassociation.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/derwent_lamb_470x354.jpg

168.) Numbers 25 and 26

December 23, 2009

Baal.  Found at Ras Shamra in 1932.

Numbers 25

The Israelites Worship Baal

1While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men had sex with Moabite women. 2These women then invited the men to ceremonies where sacrifices were offered to their gods. The men ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped the Moabite gods.


25. -thumbs-down

Thanks for nothing, Balaam!

Of all things, it turns out that this double sin of idolatry and sexual immorality was Balaam’s idea!   Somehow or another, he had to earn that money!

Revelation 2:14 (New International Version)

You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.

2 Peter 2:15 (New International Version)

They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.


3The LORD was angry with Israel because they had worshiped the god Baal Peor. 4So he said to Moses, ” Take the Israelite leaders who are responsible for this and have them killed in front of my sacred tent where everyone can see. Maybe then I will stop being angry with the Israelites.”

5Moses told Israel’s officials,  ” Each of you must put to death any of your men who worshiped Baal.”

6Later, Moses and the people were at the sacred tent, crying, when one of the Israelite men brought a Midianite  woman to meet his family. 7Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron  the priest, saw the couple and left the crowd. He found a spear 8and followed the man into his tent, where he ran the spear through the man and into the woman’s stomach.

25. impalement

“Impalement by Phinehas” woodcut by Johann Christoph Weigel 1695 (Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta)

Leviticus 20:10 (English Standard Version)

If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.


The LORD immediately stopped punishing Israel with a deadly disease, 9but twenty-four thousand Israelites had already died.

10The LORD said to Moses, 11” In my anger, I would have wiped out the Israelites if Phinehas had not been faithful to me. 12-13But instead of punishing them, I forgave them. So because of the loyalty that Phinehas showed, I solemnly promise that he and his descendants will always be my priests.”


Psalm 106:28-31 (New International Version)

They yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor
and ate sacrifices offered to lifeless gods;

they provoked the LORD to anger by their wicked deeds,
and a plague broke out among them.

But Phinehas stood up and intervened,
and the plague was checked.

This was credited to him as righteousness
for endless generations to come.


14The Israelite man that was killed was Zimri son of Salu, who was one of the leaders of the Simeon tribe. 15And the Midianite woman killed with him was Cozbi, the daughter of a Midianite clan leader named Zur.

16The LORD told Moses, 17-18” The Midianites are now enemies of Israel, so attack and defeat them! They tricked the people of Israel into worshiping their god at Peor, and they are responsible for the death of Cozbi, the daughter of one of their own leaders.”

Numbers 26

The Israelites Are Counted a Second Time

1. Census Bureau logo

1After the LORD had stopped the deadly disease from killing the Israelites, he said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, 2” I want you to find out how many Israelites are in each family. And list every man twenty years and older who is able to serve in Israel’s army.”

3Israel was now camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from the town of Jericho. Moses and Eleazar told them 4what the LORD had said about counting the men twenty years and older, just as Moses and their ancestors had done when they left Egypt.

5-7There were 43,730 men from the tribe of Reuben, the oldest son of Jacob.  These men were from the clans of Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 8Pallu was the father of Eliab 9and the grandfather of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the same Dathan and Abiram who had been chosen by the people, but who followed Korah and rebelled against Moses, Aaron, and the LORD. 10That’s when the LORD made the earth open up and swallow Dathan, Abiram, and Korah. At the same time, fire destroyed two hundred fifty men as a warning to the other Israelites.  11But the Korahite clan wasn’t destroyed.

12-14There were 22,200 men from the tribe of Simeon; they were from the clans of Nemuel, Jamin, Jachin, Zerah, and Shaul.

15-18There were 40,500 men from the tribe of Gad; they were from the clans of Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ozni, Eri, Arod, and Areli.

19-22There were 76,500 men from the tribe of Judah; they were from the clans of Shelah, Perez, Zerah, Hezron, and Hamul. Judah’s sons Er and Onan had died in Canaan.


Matthew 1:1-6 (New International Version)

A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,

Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.



“Once in Royal David’s City”  sung by the King’s College Choir of Cambridge.

Once in royal David’s city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.
He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior Holy.
And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honor and obey,
Love and watch the lowly Maiden,
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He is our childhood’s pattern; 
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in our gladness.
And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.
Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him; but in heaven,
Set at God’s right hand on high;
Where like stars His children crowned 
All in white shall wait around.


23-25There were 64,300 men from the tribe of Issachar; they were from the clans of Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron.

26-27There were 60,500 men from the tribe of Zebulun; they were from the clans of Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.

28-34There were 52,700 men from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph; they were from the clan of Machir, the clan of Gilead his son, and the clans of his six grandsons: Iezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Shemida, and Hepher. Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but he had five daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

35-37There were 32,500 men from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph; they were from the clans of Shuthelah, Becher, Tahan, and Eran the son of Shuthelah.

38-41There were 45,600 men from the tribe of Benjamin; they were from the clans of Bela, Ashbel, Ahiram, Shephupham, Hupham, as well as from Ard and Naaman, the two sons of Bela.

42-43There were 64,400 men from the tribe of Dan; they were all from the clan of Shuham.

44-47There were 53,400 men from the tribe of Asher; they were from the clans of Imnah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and from the two clans of Heber and Malchiel, the sons of Beriah. Asher’s daughter was Serah.

48-50There were 45,400 men from the tribe of Naphtali; they were from the clans of Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.

51The total number of Israelite men listed was 601,730.

52The LORD said to Moses, 53” Divide the land of Canaan among these tribes, according to the number of people in each one, 54so the larger tribes have more land than the smaller ones. 55-56I will show you  what land to give each tribe, and they will receive as much land as they need, according to the number of people in it.”

26. tribe map

“So Joshua took the entire land, just as the Lord had directed Moses, and he gave it as an inheritance to Israel according to their tribal divisions.” –Joshua 11:23

57The tribe of Levi included the clans of the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, 58as well as the clans of Libni, Hebron, Mahli, Mushi, and Korah. Kohath the Levite was the father of Amram, 59the husband of Levi’s daughter Jochebed, who was born in Egypt. Amram and Jochebed’s three children were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. 60Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 61But Nadab and Abihu had died when they offered fire that was unacceptable to the LORD.  62In the tribe of Levi there were 23,000 men and boys at least a month old. They were not listed with the other tribes, because they would not receive any land in Canaan.

63Moses and Eleazar counted the Israelites while they were camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. 64None of the people that Moses and Aaron had counted in the Sinai Desert were still alive, 65except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. The LORD had said that everyone else would die there in the desert.


1 Corinthians 10:1-6 (New International Version)

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

Baal.    http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/photo/baal.gif

thumbs down.  http://beyondtheblog.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/alpha-thumbs-down.jpg

Weigel.  http://www.pitts.emory.edu/woodcuts/1695Bibl/00005934.jpg

tribe map.  http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/images/maps/tribemap.gif

167.) Numbers 24

December 22, 2009
24.  Balaam looking down

Balaam looking down over the “goodly tents” of the Israelite camp.

Numbers 24

1Balaam was sure that the LORD would tell him to bless Israel again. So he did not use any magic to find out what the LORD wanted him to do, as he had the first two times. Instead, he looked out toward the desert 2and saw the tribes of Israel camped below. Just then, God’s Spirit took control of him, 3and Balaam said:

” I am the son of Beor,

and my words are true,  so listen to my message!

4It comes from the LORD,

the God All-Powerful.

I bowed down to him

and saw a vision of Israel.

5 People of Israel,

your camp is lovely.


Ma Tovu is a Jewish prayer —

which begins with Numbers 24:5 — “How goodly are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel!”  This prayer is often recited by worshipers as they enter the synagogue.



24. Vaughn palms


6It’s like a grove of palm trees

or a garden beside a river.

You are like tall aloe trees

that the LORD has planted,

or like cedars

growing near water.

7You and your descendants

will prosper

like an orchard

beside a stream.

Your king will rule with power

and be a greater king

than Agag the Amalekite.

8With the strength of a wild ox,




God led you out of Egypt.

You will defeat your enemies,

shooting them with arrows  and crushing their bones.

9Like a lion you lie down,

resting after an attack.

Who would dare disturb you?

” Anyone who blesses you

will be blessed;

anyone who curses you

will be cursed.”

24.  Abraham

God’s promise to Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 (New International Version)

“I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”


10When Balak heard this, he was so furious that he pounded his fist against his hand and said, ” I called you here to place a curse on my enemies, and you’ve blessed them three times. 11Leave now and go home! I told you I would pay you well, but since the LORD didn’t let you do what I asked, you won’t be paid.”

12Balaam answered, ” I told your messengers 13that even if you offered me a palace full of silver or gold, I would still obey the LORD. And I explained that I would say only what he told me. 14So I’m going back home, but I’m leaving you with a warning about what the Israelites will someday do to your nation.”

Balaam’s Fourth Message

15Balaam said:

” I am the son of Beor,

and my words are true,

so listen to my message!

16My knowledge comes

from God Most High,

the LORD All-Powerful.

I bowed down to him

and saw a vision of Israel.

17 What I saw in my vision

hasn’t happened yet.

But someday, a king of Israel

will appear like a star.

24. WiseMenStillSeekHim

Matthew 2:1-2 (New King James Version)

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”



David Nevue plays his arrangement of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”


He will wipe out you Moabites

and destroy  those tribes who live in the desert.

18Israel will conquer Edom

and capture the land

of that enemy nation.

19The king of Israel will rule

and destroy the survivors

of every town there.


2 Samuel 8:13-14 (New International Version)

And David became famous after he returned from striking down eighteen thousand Edomites  in the Valley of Salt.

He put garrisons throughout Edom, and all the Edomites became subject to David. The LORD gave David victory wherever he went.


20And I saw this vision

about the Amalekites:

Their nation is now great,

but it will someday

disappear forever.

21 And this is what I saw

about the Kenites:

They think they’re safe,

living among the rocks,

22but they will be wiped out

when Assyria conquers them.

23 No one can survive

if God plans destruction.

24Ships will come from Cyprus,

bringing people

who will invade

the lands of Assyria and Eber.

But finally, Cyprus itself

will be ruined.”

25After Balaam finished, he started home, and Balak also left.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

Balaam looking over the Israelite camp.   http://www.chabad.org/media/images/109650.jpg

Vaughn.   http://stevevaughn.com/panoramics/186.htm

Larson.   http://home.earthlink.net/~moshe120/The%20Pillar%20of%20Cloud.htm

Abraham.  http://www.loder.cz/bible/abram/V054.jpg

Wise Men.  http://media.photobucket.com/image/wise%20men%20still%20seek%20him/SakariLUana/Christmas/WiseMenStillSeekHim.jpg

166.) Numbers 23

December 21, 2009
23. Delphi

Another king, another blessing?  Croesus of Lydia, 590 BC, went to the oracle at Delphi (ruins above) to ask if he should make war on the Persians.  The answer came that if he did, he would destroy a mighty empire.  Croesus heard it as a blessing, but he was wrong — he was defeated; the empire he destroyed was his own.

Numbers 23

Balaam’s First Message

1Balaam said to Balak, ” Build seven altars here, then bring seven bulls and seven rams.”

2After Balak had done this, they sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam said, ” Wait here beside your offerings, and I’ll go somewhere to be alone. Maybe the LORD will appear to me. If he does, I will tell you everything he says.” And he left.

4When God appeared to him, Balaam said, ” I have built seven altars and have sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one.”

5The LORD gave Balaam a message, then sent him back to tell Balak. 6When Balaam returned, he found Balak and his officials standing beside the offerings.

7Balaam said:

23. Balaam blesses Israel

” King Balak of Moab brought me

from the hills of Syria

to curse Israel

and announce its doom.

8But I can’t go against God!

He did not curse

or condemn Israel.

9” From the mountain peaks,

I look down and see Israel,

the obedient people of God.

10They are living alone in peace.

And though they are many,

they don’t bother

the other nations.

” I hope to obey God

for as long as I live

and to die in such peace.”

11Balak said, ” What are you doing? I asked you to come and place a curse on my enemies. But you have blessed them instead!”

12Balaam answered, ” I can say only what the LORD tells me.”

Balaam’s Second Message

23.  B & B fire

13Balak said to Balaam, ” Let’s go somewhere else. Maybe if you see a smaller part of the Israelites, you will be able to curse them for me.” 14So he took Balaam to a field on top of Mount Pisgah where lookouts were stationed.  Then he built seven altars there and sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one. 15” Wait here beside your offerings,” Balaam said. ” The LORD will appear to me over there.”

16The LORD appeared to Balaam and gave him another message, then he told him to go and tell Balak. 17Balaam went back and saw him and his officials standing beside the offerings.

Balak asked, ” What did the LORD say?”

18Balaam answered:

” Pay close attention

to my words–

19God is no mere human!

He doesn’t tell lies

or change his mind.

God always keeps his promises.



“Forever God Is Faithful”  by Chris Tomlin.


20” My command from God

was to bless these people,

and there’s nothing I can do

to change what he has done.

21Israel’s king is the LORD God.

He lives there with them

and intends them no harm.

22With the strength of a wild ox,

God led Israel out of Egypt.

23No magic charms can work

against them–

just look what God has done

for his people.

24They are like angry lions

ready to attack;

and they won’t rest

until their victim

is gobbled down.”

25Balak shouted, ” If you’re not going to curse Israel, then at least don’t bless them.”

26” I’ve already told you,” Balaam answered. ” I will say only what the LORD tells me.”

Balaam’s Third Message

27Balak said to Balaam, ” Come on, let’s try another place. Maybe God will let you curse Israel from there.” 28So he took Balaam to Mount Peor overlooking the desert north of the Dead Sea.

29Balaam said, ” Build seven altars here, then bring me seven bulls and seven rams.”

30After Balak had done what Balaam asked, he sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar.


Images courtesy of:

ancient Delphi, Greece.   http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/1013035.jpg

Balaam blesses Israel.    http://momentin.com/images/chap02pergamos/balaam.jpg

Balaam and Balak.    http://www.biblevisuals.org/images/look_inside_bvi/visualized_bible/OT/OT14_illustrations/OT14_P11_illustrations.jpg

165.) Numbers 22

December 18, 2009
22. Rembrandt

“The Ass of Balaam Talking before the Angel” by Rembrandt, 1626 (Musee Cognacq-Jay, Paris, France)

Numbers 22

1Israel moved from there to the hills of Moab, where they camped across the Jordan River from the town of Jericho.

King Balak of Moab Hires Balaam To Curse Israel

2-3When King Balak  of Moab and his people heard how many Israelites there were and what they had done to the Amorites, he and the Moabites were terrified and panicked. 4They said to the Midianite leaders, ” That bunch of Israelites will wipe out everything in sight, like a bull eating grass in a field.” So King Balak 5sent a message to Balaam son of Beor who lived among his relatives in the town of Pethor near the Euphrates River. It said:

I need your help. A huge group of people has come here from Egypt and settled near my territory. 6They are too powerful for us to defeat, so would you come and place a curse on them? Maybe then we can run them off. I know that anyone you bless will be successful, but anyone you curse will fail.

7The leaders of Moab and Midian left and took along money to pay Balaam for his work. When they got to his house, they gave him Balak’s message.

8” Spend the night here,” Balaam replied, ” and tomorrow I will tell you the LORD’s answer.” So the officials stayed at his house.

9During the night, God asked Balaam, ” Who are these people at your house?”

10” They are messengers from King Balak of Moab,” Balaam answered. ” He sent them 11to ask me to go to Moab and place a curse on the people who have come there from Egypt. They have settled everywhere around him, and he wants to run them off.”

12But God replied, ” Don’t go with Balak’s messengers. I have blessed those people who have come from Egypt, so don’t curse them.”

13The next morning, Balaam said to Balak’s officials, ” Go on back home. The LORD says I cannot go with you.”

14The officials left and told Balak that Balaam refused to come.

15Then Balak sent a larger group of officials, who were even more important than the first ones. 16They went to Balaam and told him that Balak had said, ” Balaam, if you come to Moab, 17I’ll pay you very well and do whatever you ask. Just come and place a curse on these people.”

18Balaam answered, “Even if Balak offered me a palace full of silver or gold, I wouldn’t do anything to disobey the LORD my God. 19You are welcome to spend the night here, just as the others did. I will find out if the LORD has something else to say about this.”

20That night, God said, ” Balaam, I’ll let you go to Moab with Balak’s messengers, but do only what I say.”

21So Balaam got up the next morning and saddled his donkey, then left with the Moabite officials.

Balaam and His Donkey Meet an Angel

22. Balaam

22Balaam was riding his donkey to Moab, and two of his servants were with him. But God was angry that Balaam had gone, so one of the LORD’s angels stood in the road to stop him. 23When Balaam’s donkey saw the angel standing there with a sword, it walked off the road and into an open field. Balaam had to beat the donkey to get it back on the road.

24Then the angel stood between two vineyards, in a narrow path with a stone wall on each side. 25When the donkey saw the angel, it walked so close to one of the walls that Balaam’s foot scraped against the wall. Balaam beat the donkey again.

26The angel moved once more and stood in a spot so narrow that there was no room for the donkey to go around. 27So it just lay down. Balaam lost his temper, then picked up a stick and smacked the donkey.

22. Balaams donkey cartoon


James 1:19 (New International Version)

Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.


28When that happened, the LORD told the donkey to speak, and it asked Balaam, ” What have I done to you that made you beat me three times?”

29” You made me look stupid!” Balaam answered. ” If I had a sword, I’d kill you here and now!”

30” But you’re my owner,” replied the donkey, ” and you’ve ridden me many times. Have I ever done anything like this before?”

” No,” Balaam admitted.

31Just then, the LORD let Balaam see the angel standing in the road, holding a sword, and Balaam bowed down.


from Peculiar Treasures:  A Biblical Who’s Who, by Frederick Buechner:


The legend of Solomon’s ring, the adventures of Dr. Doolittle, the attempt to decipher the dots and dashes of dolphins and to teach chimpanzees to type out their thoughts on computers all reflect man’s ancient dream of being able to talk with the animals.  As fascinating as a message from outer space would be a message from the inner space of a great blue heron or a common house cat sunning herself on the kitchen linoleum.  Their mute gaze suggest a vision of reality beyond our imagining.  What do they see in their ignorance that we in our wisdom are mostly blind to?

In the Book of Numbers, Balaam’s ass sees an angel of the Lord barring the way with a drawn sword in his hand and thereupon lies down in the middle of the road with Balaam still on his back.  When Balaam clobbers him over the head with a stick, the ass speaks out reproachfully in fluent Hebrew, and then Balaam sees the angel too.

This is perhaps a clue to the mystery.  Whereas men as a rule see only what they expect to see and little more, the animals, innocent of expectation, see what is there.  The next time the old mare looks up from her browsing and lets fly with an exultant whinny at the empty horizon, we might do well to consider at least the possibility that the horizon may not be quite as empty as we think.


32The angel said, ” You had no right to treat your donkey like that! I was the one who blocked your way, because I don’t think you should go to Moab.  33If your donkey had not seen me and stopped those three times, I would have killed you and let the donkey live.” 34Balaam replied, ” I was wrong. I didn’t know you were trying to stop me. If you don’t think I should go, I’ll return home right now.”

35” It’s all right for you to go,” the LORD’s angel answered. ” But you must say only what I tell you.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials.


Humor:  (Sorry — it is irresistible!)

I have been riding trains daily for the last two years, and the service on your line seems to be getting worse every day. I am tired of standing in the aisle all the time on a 14-mile trip. I think the transportation system is worse than that enjoyed by people 3,000 years ago.

Yours truly, A Commuter

Dear Sir:
We received your letter with reference to the shortcomings of our service and believe you are somewhat confused in your history. The only mode of transportation 3,000 years ago was by foot.

Sincerely, The Railroad

I am in receipt of your letter, and I think you are the ones who are confused in your history. If you will refer to the Bible, Book of Numbers, 22nd Chapter, you will find that Balaam rode to town on his ass. That, gentlemen, is something I have not been able to do on your train in the last two years.

Your truly, A Commuter



Don Francisco sings a song about Balaam and his donkey, as an accompaniment to a Sunday School play!


King Balak Meets Balaam

36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went to meet him at the town of Ir, which is on the northern border of Moab. 37Balak asked, ” Why didn’t you come when I invited you the first time? Did you think I wasn’t going to pay you?”

38” I’m here now,” Balaam answered. ” But I will say only what God tells me to say.”

39They left and went to the town of Kiriath-Huzoth, 40where Balak sacrificed cattle and sheep and gave some of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him.

41The next morning, Balak took Balaam to the town of Bamoth-Baal. From there, Balaam could see some of the Israelites.


Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society

Images courtesy of:

Rembrandt.  http://www.abcgallery.com/R/rembrandt/rembrandt95.html

Balaam’s donkey sees the angel.   http://pistolpete.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/balaam.jpg

cartoon.  http://thebackpew.com/backpew/images/balaamsdonkey2.jpg