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2012-10-26

Chances are your Sunday school didn’t cover Leviticus 10:4-11 where Moses commands Mishael and Elzaphan, cousins of Moses and Aaron, to take the charred remains of Nadab and Abihu outside of the camp. Nothing is said about burial, so I guess a biblical literalist would have to infer that their corpses were just dumped unceremoniously in the sand.

Then, Moses tells Aaron and the next two eldest sons not to mess up their hair or rend their clothes—the expected mourning behavior for this culture. If they partake in the tradition, Moses fears they bring further wrath to the Israelites; all of the Israelites will do their mourning for them. It isn’t explained why Moses doesn’t want them to mourn, but some scholars assume it’s because, as priests, they should not give the impression that they’re unhappy with God’s decision to painfully murder their brothers.

Next, Moses tells them that they may not leave the tabernacle, for they have been anointed by oil, and as God warned, to leave would mean their death. This means that, if there is a funeral, they’re going to miss it. God never says why he’ll kill those who leave, but some scholars assume that it’s because the oil is holy, and taking it out of the tabernacle would make it unholy. And all of this would actually matter except for the fact that Leviticus 9:1 tells us that the 7 days have already passed (oops!).

Then, God speaks to Aaron (no explanation on how or when) and tells him and his sons not to drink wine or liquors while in the tabernacle, or he’ll murder them all, and this law will last forever. Jews justify God forbidding alcohol by saying that Nadab and Abihu were drunk when they lit the incense, though this is the only “evidence” they cite, and other believers disagree. Strange that an all-knowing God couldn’t foresee this problem and take steps to prevent it.

So, imagine that you just watched your brothers/sons get burned alive, and then you’re told you can’t be upset about it, you can’t attend the funeral, you can’t even get drunk, and you have to tell everyone what a good thing it was that your brothers/sons were murdered, or you too will be killed. Now I’d bet you’d just adore whomever did that to you, right?

Finally, God encourages divisive behavior by demanding the priests distinguish between holy and unholy, clean and unclean, and teach these laws to all the Israelites. No wonder the Israelites were so xenophobic!

 

Comments

Maju writes:

 

Sounds normal Inquisition to me, honestly: that's the way you get the most converts and the way less of them dare to leave of even break a single rule.

I bet Moses burned them for whatever reason and then said it was "God".

Our dear leader is so lovely, he's always right because God says so. And who says what God says? Our dear leader, who else.

This kind of stuff makes us realize how correct was were the Albanian Communists, who, in a cultural revolution of their own, essentially eradicated most remnants of religion from the country for good (even today Albanians are among the less religious people of all Europe).

Anything is better than Moses.

Techs writes:

 

Didn't know the Albanians were serious about deleting religion, just Stalin killing enough to break the power of the church. Russian Catholics sure came back strong after the USSR collapsed.

Baughbe writes:

 

Well Techs, that just goes to show that there is something terribly wrong with our species. Once freed from insanity, returned to it at first opportunity.

ImaLemming writes:

 

This is probably a really random thing to be asking about, but where do the priests go to the bathroom while in the tabernacle? I mean, with all those steaks the millions of Israelites are giving them, and even though they'd have to burn most of them, they're probably eating an awful lot, followed by pooing an awful lot. Do they go in holes in the ground?

Or were they just going in the corner, and defiling the tabernacle was why God would forbid going to the bathroom in Leviticus 15?

Maju writes:

 

Stalin?! Haven't you watched "Reds" (based on the life of the only US-American buried in the Kremlim mausoleum in times of the USSR), when John Reed goes to issue a speech full of atheism and revolutionary pride to the Uzbeks (or some other Central Asian ethnicity) his discourse is "translated" in one of religion and patriotic fervor... When he realizes he has one of those reality check moments we sometimes suffer in life.

Stalin, specially since WWII went totally connivent with the traditional religions of Russia, which were instrumental in keeping the patriotic tide high, at least as much as proletarian fervor. There was never much persecution of religion in the USSR, just that criticism of religion (i.e. blasphemy) was enshrined as a constitutional right and that some temples were recycled into more useful facilities.

Albania, that's another thing. The Albanian communist youth, following the lead of the Chinese cultural revolution truly smashed and persecuted all kinds of religion, with only minimal tolerance. By the end of the regime, in the 1980s, there was only 1% of officially faithful and the stats I have seen later on show that Albanians are mostly non-religious today, even if not as much as the commie propaganda pretended.

____________

"This is probably a really random thing to be asking about, but where do the priests go to the bathroom while in the tabernacle?"

I asked first, Imma - several pages ago. No answer but we all imagine shameful, yet golden urinals hidden somewhere.

Belg writes:

 

@Maju

Sorry don't know much about Albania (always thought that it was mainly muslim country, don't even ask where i got that idea... maybe "The 2011 Census had declared the following affiliations: 56.7% Islam, 10.03% Roman Catholic, 6.75% Albanian Orthodox, 5.49% Unaffiliated, 2.5% Atheist, 2.09% Bektashi, 0.14% Protestant/Evangelical"?)but:

Actually USSR was very anticlerical, specially during early rule of Stalin, it was official position that "religion is drugs(opium) for the people" (Lenin).

During WWII it makes sense to unite a nation, not to fight over religion, but before that it was pretty harsh for clergy, thousands were sent to GULAG, many churches destroyed or used as stores...

During later times, there were no open oppression of church, but it was criticized, and considered stupid, and ridiculed. You couldn't get in to Communist party/ Komsomol etc. if you were openly religious, which played a major role in your carrier advancement.

Unfortunately the religion slowly, but surely comes back in to everyday life of Russia.

 

Oh the irony!