Naso—The Oracle Redeems

“When Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he would hear the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat . . . “ (Num 7:89)

At 89 verses, Numbers 7 is by far the longest chapter in the Torah, three times longer than the average chapter, twenty verses longer than its nearest competitor.  No wonder, as the identical offering from each of the tribes is detailed twelve times:

. . . his offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of choice  flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense;  one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering; one male goat for a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams,  five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. (Num. 7:25-29, etc., etc.)

The chapter creaks under the weight of all the silver, gold and livestock.  As more and more stuff is amassed, I found myself looking for a vital pulse of worship beneath it all.   I found it, finally, in the last verse.  The oracle ensures that we have no mere spectacle or bloated oration, but a dialogue.

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