JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers Page 19...

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

xvi of Moab ( chaps. 28– 30, 34– 36).  However, there are exceptions.  Certain events are associ-ated with stations, for example, the  scouts ( chaps. 13– 14),  the Korahite  rebellions ( chaps. 16– 17),  the Midianite war and Transjordanian settlement ( chaps. 31– 32). And some laws arise from test cases  composed in narrative style, for example,  the pesah ( 9: 1– 14),  the wood gatherer ( 15: 32– 36),  and Zelophehad’s daughters ( 27: 1– 11).  Thus this alternation  is not a function of whether  Israel was stationary or in motion. The admixture of these two genres comes as no surprise to anyone conversant with ancient Near Eastern vassal treaties, which open with a recounting of the suzerain’s benefac-tions to his vassal ( narrative) and follow with the stipulations imposed upon the vassal ( law).The Book of  Deuteronomy is a parade example of this literary type: The law code of chap-ters 12– 26  is preceded by a recital of God’s salvific acts for Israel in chapters 1– 11.  The Book of Numbers also operates in the shadow of Sinai: Israel has accepted the suzerainty of its God and is bound to His law, while the narratives continue to manifest divine Pro-vidence ( and Israel’s backsliding). Links with Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua In the twelfth century, the commen-tator Bekhor Shor noted that a number of wilderness narratives in Exodus and Numbers duplicate  each other, in particular, the incidents of the water from the rock ( 20: 2– 13; Exod. 17: 1– 7)  and the manna and the quail ( 11: 4– 9, 31– 34; Exod. 16: 1– 15). Evidently, it is the duplication  of the quail incident that led Bekhor Shor to this conclusion.  For he asks: “ If Moses saw that the quail arrived in sufficient quantities the first time, how could he on thesecond occasion  doubt: ‘ Could enough flocks and herds be slaughtered  to suffice them?’( 11: 22).”  He finds additional evidence in Deuteronomy 33: 8b:  “ Whom you tested atMassah/ Challenged  at the waters of Meribah.” Since a poetic  line consists of parallel clauses, Massah and  Meribah, the sites for the rock incidents in Exodus and Numbers ( Exod. 17: 7; Num. 20: 13) must  be identical. Moreover, their names are interchanged in Psalms 78: 15– 31 and 95: 8– 9.  Further evidence for this duplication is cited in Excursus 50. Of course,  these duplicate accounts differ in some details. But their main difference  lies in one fact that holds the key  to their duplication: Only Numbers records that God punished Israel ( Lev. R. 1: 10). 3  Indeed, this distinction holds true for the other wilderness narratives as well. In Exodus, God does not punish Israel for its murmuring; in Numbers, He does so consistently. There can be only one explanation for this state of affairs. The Exodus incidents are pre- Sinai; those of Numbers are post- Sinai. Before Israel accepted the covenant it was not responsible for its violation; indeed, it could claim ignorance of its stipulations. However, all the incidents of Numbers take place after Israel has left Si-nai— where it swore allegiance to the covenant and was warned of the divine sanctions for its infringement. Thus it can be postulated that for a number of wilderness narratives two traditions were reported, the one involving punishment, and the other, not. The redactor, then, with Mount Sinai as his great divide, dutifully recorded both, as either preor post- Sinai. This distinction is nowhere better illustrated than in the initial stage of the wilderness march as recorded in each book. Both the Exodus  and Numbers phases of the trek begin with a three- day march ( Exod. 15: 22; Num. 10: 33).  In Exodus, however, Israel’s complaint goes unpunished— indeed, even unreprimanded— whereas  in Numbers, Israel is severely dealt with ( Exod. 15: 22– 26; Num. 11: 1– 3).  Sinai, then, is the watershed in Israel’s wildernessexperience. Indeed, it is the pivot as well  as the summit for the Torah books as a whole. A more significant structural link between Exodus and Numbers lies in the itineraryINTRODUCTION   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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