JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers Page 18...

Commentary on the Torah' forth book by one of the most insteresting modern Jewish thinkers.

xv nation may pollute the sanctuary ( vv. 13, 20)  made this chapter a natural sequel to the parashah of Korah ( chaps. 16– 18), which deals  especially with the issue of the desecrationof the sanctuary by encroachment.  For other possible associative links, see the introduc-tory Comment to chapter 19. The traditions concerning  the final stage of the  wilderness march from Kadesh to thesteppes of Moab are collected in chapters 20– 21.  They are grouped in two parallel panels( see below, pp. xxvii- xxviii,  and Excursus 55), the  first detailing the failure and punishmentof Moses and Aaron and the second, the failure  and deliverance of the people. The unifying theme is that God provides water ( and all of Israel’s other needs) even when the leaders fail to do so. The emphasis on God’s Providence  is perhaps what accounts for the insertion  of the episode of the bronze serpent ( 21: 4– 9) and a  new itinerary list ( 21: 12– 20),  the latter containing  two ancient poems ( 21: 14– 15, 17– 18).  A third poem, the Song of Heshbon ( 21: 27– 30),  has been inserted to justify Israel’s conquest  of Transjordan ( 21: 21– 25, 31– 35). The  Document of Balaam, as chapters 22– 24  are called in rabbinic tradition, is  the largest independent section in Numbers. It has absolutely  no verbal or thematic link with the contiguous chapters. The only connecting link is  its setting: the steppes of Moab. Perhaps it performs the same function as chapter 15:  It reassures Israel that despite its defection, it is blessed and will live, through its posterity,  in the promised land. With  the exception of the ass episode ( 22: 22– 35),  itself an interpolation ( see Excursus 57),  these chapters, comprising both prose and poetry,  are an integrated, interlocking, artfully  struc-tured unity ( Excursus 56). The apostasy at Baal- peor ( chap. 25)  resembles the apostasy of the golden calf ( Exod. 32)  in context and placement. Both involve  illicit worship, the slaughter of the guilty, and the  choice of the line of the Levites/ Phinehas. Both describe the fall of Israel after having previously attained the sublime heights  of the Lord’s promise of future  greatness ( the Sinaitic covenant, Exod. 19– 20, 24;  Balaam’s blessings, Num. 23– 24).  According to one tradition ( 31: 16), it was Balaam who  plotted the Baal- peor apostasy. If so,  it would account for its placement  here. The final eleven chapters of Numbers ( 26– 36)  are motivated by a single theme, the immediate occupation of the promised land: a ( second) census  of able- bodied men for war in the land and for the apportionment  of the land ( chap. 26); inheritance rights  of women in the land ( 27: 1– 11; 36); the succession  to Moses in the land ( 27: 12– 13);  the cultic ca-lendarof the land ( chaps. 28– 29)  and the fulfillment of vows ( chap. 30); the  war against Midian ( chap. 31); the allotment  of Transjordan ( chap. 32);  a summary of  the wilderness stations ( 33: 1– 49);  evicting the inhabitants  of the land and extirpating  their cult ( 33: 50–  56); the boundaries of the  land ( 34: 1– 15); supervisors  for the division of the land ( 34: 16–  29); the Levitical holdings  in the land ( 35: 1– 8);  preventing the pollution of the land by homi-cide ( 35: 9– 34).  The final chapter ( 36), further  instructions on women’s inheritance rights in the land, is an appendix; however, it  forms an inclusion with the earlier material on the daughters of Zelophehad ( 27: 11), thereby  locking the chapters on the  new generation into a closed unit, beginning with chapter 27  and ending with chapter 36. Alternation of Law and Narrative A striking feature of Numbers  is that  law ( L) and narrative ( N) alternate regularly, as follows: 1– 10: 10 ( L); 10: 11– 14: 45 ( N); 15 ( L); 16– 17 ( N); 18– 19 ( L); 20– 25  ( N); 26– 27: 11  ( L); 27: 12– 23  ( N); 28– 30 ( L); 31– 33: 49  ( N); 33: 50– 56; 34– 36  ( L). In the main,  the narrative is confined to  the wilderness march; the law,  to the three main stations of the march: Sinai ( 1– 10: 10),  Kadesh ( chaps. 15, 18– 19),  and the steppesINTRODUCTION   C h a p t e r Home  | T O C

JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers


About Book JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers

FRONT MATTERTitle PageDedication PageCopyright PageContentsIntroductionNotes to the IntroductionGlossaryAbbreviationsMapsWEEKLY READINGSBemidbarNaso'Beha ‘alotekhaShelah-lekhaKorahHukkatBalakPhinehasMattotMase‘eiTHE GENERATION OF THE EXODUS (1:1-25:19)The Organization of the Wilderness Camp (1:1-10:10)Census in the Wilderness (1:1-54)The Arrangement of the Camp (2:1-34)The First Levite Census (3:1-51)The Second Levite Census (4:1-49)Purification of the Camp (5:1-6:27)Final Preparations for the Tabernacle Cult (7:1-8:26)Final Preparations for Departure (9:1-10:10)The March from Sinai to Transjordan (10:11-22:1)From Sinai to Kadesh (10:11-12:16)The Reconnaissance of Canaan (13:1-14:45)A Miscellany of Laws (15:1-41)Encroachment on the Tabernacle (16:1-18:32)Purification from Contamination by a Corpse (19:1-22)From Kadesh to the Steppes of Moab (20:1-22:1)Balaam (22:2-24:25)Idolatry and Expiation at Baal-Peor (25:1-19)THE GENERATION OF THE CONQUEST (26:1-36:13)The Second Census (26:1-65)The Law of Succession in Inheritance (26:1-11)The Succession of Moses by Joshua (27:12-23)The Calendar of Public Sacrifices (28:1-30:1)The Annulment of Vows and Oaths Made by Women (30:2-17)The War Against Midian (31:1-54)The Settlement of Transjordan (32:1-42)The Wilderness Itinerary (33:1-49)The Division of Canaan (33:50-35:44)Marriage Requirements for Heiresses (36:1-13)NOTES TO THE COMMENTARYEXCURSUSESExcursus 1. Some Political Institutions of Early Israel (chap. 1)Excursus 2. The Census and Its Totals (1:1-40)Excursus 3. The Encampment (chap. 2)Excursus 4. The Levites: Guards of the Tabernacle (3:5-43)Excursus 5. The Encroacher and the Clergy (chap. 3)Excursus 6. 'Avodah : The Levites' Work Profile (chap. 4)Excursus 7. The Rationale for Biblical Impurity (5:1-4)Excursus 8. The Judicial Ordeal (5:11-31) Excursus 9. Adultery in the Bible and the Ancient Near East (5:11-31)Excursus 10. The Case of the Suspected Adulteress: Redaction and Meaning (5:11-31)Excursus 11. The Nazirite (chap. 6)Excursus 12. The Structure of Numbers (6:1-21)Excursus 13. The Priestly Blessing (6:22-27)Excursus 14. The Chieftains' Gifts and Sacrifices (chap. 7)Excursus 15. Moses' Audience with God (7:89)Excursus 16. Determining the Date of the Chieftains' Contribution (chap. 7)Excursus 17. The Menorah (8:1-4)Excursus 18. The Literary Structure of Numbers (8:5-22)Excursus 19. Levitical Kippur (8:19)Excursus 20. The Second Passover (9:1-14)Excursus 21. Trumpet and Shofar (10:1-10)Excursus 22. The Ark in War (10:33-30)Excursus 23. The Inverted Nuns (10:35-30) Excursus 24. The Structure of Chapters 11-12Excursus 25. Ecstatic Prophecy in Israel and the Ancient Near East (11:24-30)Excursus 26. Prophecy in Israel and the Ancient Near East (11:24-30)Excursus 27. Sanctifcation: Preparation for Theophany (11:18)Excursus 28. The Tent of Meeting: Two Traditions (11:16; 12:5)Excursus 29. The Structure of Chapters 13-14Excursus 30. The Scout TypologyExcursus 31. Caleb (chaps. 13-14)Excursus 32. Judgment and Mercy: Vertical Retribution and Salah (14:18-20)Excursus 33. Repentance in the Torah and the Prophets (14:19-20)Excursus 34. The Ger (15:27-29)Excursus 35. The Two Sections on the Purifcation Offering Excursus 36. The Penalty of Karet Excursus 37. The Case of the Wood Gatherer (15:32-30)Excursus 38. The Tassels Tsitsit (15:37-40)Excursus 39. Korah's Rebellion: A Study in Redaction (chap. 10)Excursus 40. Sacral Responsibility for Encroachment (chap. 18)Excursus 41. The Tenufah Offering (18:11)Excursus 42. The Terumah Offering (18:8,11,19)Excursus 43. First Fruits (18:12-13)Excursus 44. The Status of Herem (18:14)Excursus 45. The First- Born (18:15-16)Excursus 46. The Tithe (18:21-32)Excursus 47. The Structure of Chapter 19Excursus 48. The Paradox of the Red Cow (chap. 19)Excursus 49. The Effect of the Sinner upon the Sanctuary (chap. 19)Excursus 50. Magic, Monotheism, and the Sin of Moses (20:1-13)Excursus 51. The Encounter with the Canaanites (21:1-3)Excursus 52. The Copper Snake (21:4-9)Excursus 53. The Song of the Well (21:17-18)Excursus 54. The Song of Heshbon (21:27-30)Excursus 55. The Redaction of Chapters 20-21Excursus 56. The Unity of the Prose and Poetry in Chapters 22-24Excursus 57. Balaam and the Ass (22:22-35)Excursus 58. Balaam: Saint or Sinner? (chaps. 22-24)Excursus 59. Balaam: Diviner or Sorcerer? (chaps. 22-24)Excursus 60. Balaam and the Deir 'Alla InscriptionExcursus 61. The Apostasy of Baal-Peor (25:1-18)Excursus 62. The Apportionment of the Promised Land (26:52-56)Excursus 63. The Inheritance Rights of Daughters (27:1-8)Excursus 64. The Urim and Thummim Excursus 65. The Tamid (chap. 29)Excursus 66. Oaths, Vows, and Dedications (30:3)Excursus 67. The War Against Midian (chap. 13)Excursus 68. The Literary Structure of Chapter 31Excursus 69. The Literary Structure of Chapter 32Excursus 70. The Settlement of Transjordan (chap. 32)Excursus 71. The Integrity of the Wilderness Itinerary (chap. 33)Excursus 72. The Literary Structure of 33:50–56Excursus 73. The Boundaries of Canaan (chap. 34)Excursus 74. The Levitical Town: An Exercise in Realistic Planning (35:1–5)Excursus 75. Asylum Altars and Asylum Cities (35:9–15)Excursus 76. The Postulates of the Laws of Homicide (35:16–28)Excursus 77. The Redaction of Chapter 36NOTES TO THE EXCURSUSESExcursus 1Excursus 2Excursus 3Excursus 4Excursus 5Excursus 6Excursus 7Excursus 8Excursus 9Excursus 10Excursus 11Excursus 13Excursus 14Excursus 16Excursus 17Excursus 18Excursus 19Excursus 20Excursus 22Excursus 23Excursus 24Excursus 25Excursus 26Excursus 28Excursus 29Excursus 30Excursus 31Excursus 32Excursus 33Excursus 34Excursus 35Excursus 36Excursus 37Excursus 38Excursus 39Excursus 40Excursus 41Excursus 42Excursus 43Excursus 44Excursus 45Excursus 46Excursus 48Excursus 49Excursus 50Excursus 51Excursus 52Excursus 53Excursus 54Excursus 56Excursus 57Excursus 58Excursus 59Excursus 60Excursus 61Excursus 62Excursus 63Excursus 64Excursus 65Excursus 66Excursus 67Excursus 69Excursus 70Excursus 71Excursus 73Excursus 74Excursus 75Excursus 76Excursus 77
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