We’re back ladies and gentlemen with the latest installment of the Blasphemer’s Bible: the Book of Numbers! And while I know I’ve already said this about Exodus, and then Leviticus, but Numbers is certainly the most boring book if the bible! How boring is it? Well, right at the very beginning of the very first chapter of the book, God demands that Moses take a census of all the tribes, and this census will be described in excruciating detail in the upcoming verses. Now granted, this census is for a horrible war in which God commands the Israelites to murder countless women and children, and that sounds really inspirational until you realize that the author never actually gets to the fighting anywhere in the Torah!
To make matters worse, Numbers is long! Longer than Exodus and longer than Leviticus! But there is a silver lining; since large portions of the book are lists of names and excerpts from earlier books, we can skip gobs of text and not miss anything important (a phrase that applies to practically all of the bible!).
Anyway, on with the story! For some reason, we’re given the precise timing of God’s first command in the new book—it occurs on the first day of the second month of the second year since the Exodus. Yes, it’s been over two years, and not only have the Israelites not reached Canaan, but they haven’t even left Mount Sinai! Anyway, God’s command is to have Moses count up all of the men among the tribes who are able-bodied enough to go to war. That’s right, the God who is all about peace, love, and forgiveness is also heavy into warmongering. And that’s totally not a contradiction!
I should point out that, spoiler alert, none of these war-ready Israelites will actually be used in fighting for the holy land, and since God knows the future, this means he’s forcing the Israelites to do a completely useless census. But we know that God is perfect which means there’s a very important reason for this census, and that is… anyone?… anyone? That’s right, “the Lord works in mysterious ways!”