Numbers for Skeptics
The moral of Numbers has to be: "Don't whine."
Miriam complains about Moses' Ethiopian wife, and God gives her leprosy.
The people complain about their hardships during the Exodus, and God sends a fire to burn them alive. They complain about the food,
so God forces them to eat quails until it comes out of their noses (and then sends a them a plague). They
complain again, and God sends fiery serpents to bite and
kill them. God can't stand a whiner.
But Numbers has a something for everyone. From talking donkeys to the law of jealousies. It's a fun
book to read. But if you only have time for one chapter, read chapter 31.
- God kills Aaron's sons for offering "strange fire before the Lord." 3:4,
- The law of jealousies: What to do if you suspect that your wife has been unfaithful. 5:11-31
- God burned people to death for complaining. 11:1
- God made the Israelites eat flesh until it came out their nostrils. 11:19-20
- "While the flesh was yet between their teeth ... the Lord smote the people with a very great
- God gave Miriam Leprosy. 12:9-10
- God will punish you for the sins of your great-great grandfathers. 14:18
- God killed the ten spies that gave a discouraging report with a plague. 14:36-37
- What to do if you "sin through ignorance." 15:27
- A man is stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 15:32-36
- God buries alive Korah and his family. 16:27-35, 26:10
- God burns to death 250 men. 16:35, 26:10
- God kills 14,700 with a plague. 16:41-50
- "The Lord harkened to the the voice of Israel, and ... utterly destroyed them and their cities." 21:3
- God sends "fiery serpents" to bite the people. 21:6
- Moses' amazing serpent of brass. 21:9
- God delivers the Amorites into Moses' hands. 21:34-35
- Balaam's talking ass. 22:28-30
- God's people will "rise up ... and drink the blood of the slain." 23:24
- God will "eat up the nations of his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with
his arrows." 24:8
- God tells Moses to "take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord."
- God's hero (Phinehas) thrusts a javelin through a man and his Midianite wife's belly.
- God kills 24,000 (23,000 according to 1 Cor.10:8) in a plague.
- A woman can't make a vow unless her husband allows it. 30:3-16
- Moses tells his men to kill all the males and non-virgin women, but to keep all the virgins alive for