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2013-11-25

Numbers 10:29-32 is actually quite sad to those who know how the story pans out, but first we need to establish this new character. Enter Hobab, son of the Midianite Raguel, Mosesí father-in-law. Only, Raguel canít be Mosesí father-in-law, because we already met Mosesí father-in-law, and his name was Reuel, (never mind that in Exodus 3:1 Mosesí father-in-law was named Jethro, and according to Judges 4:11, Mosesí father-in-law is Hobab himself, not Raguel). We covered this already, and I still affirm that, aside from the Reuel/Jethro duality, the other two names were most likely translation errors.

In the end, it doesnít really matter, the result is the same for Hobab. Moses explains that they are on their way to the Promised Land, and Hobab is welcome to join them and be well-treated. His in-law, however, no doubt homesick from spending the past two years with the xenophobic Israelites, declines and prepares to return to his own family and friends. But then Moses begs Hobab to remain with them as their guide because only he knows the best places to camp in the desert. So now we see the real reason Moses wants him around! He doesnít care about Hobab, heís just using him for his knowledge of the desert. Itís like Moses [is moving/has car trouble/downloaded a virus looking at porn] and Hobab is the ďfriendĒ he normally never talks to, but just so happens to [own a pickup/be a mechanic/work in IT].

A quick aside. Isnít Moses supposed to be following God? The same god who can make water pour from rocks and literally rain food from the sky? The god who wants to annihilate any and every enemy, and demands blind faith from his followers? So why is Moses essentially telling Hobab that they may not make it without his desert expertise? Doesnít this show a complete lack of trust in God on Mosesí behalf?

So what does Moses do to make Hobab stay? He offers him payment. But not just any payment, Moses offers him religious payment! What is religious payment, you ask? Why, itís payment that you will never see because in order to receive it you have to be dead! Religions expect you to remain ignorant to science, piss away your money, and be a social bigot, but they offset these annoyances with fabulous dividendsÖ after youíre dead.

And sadly, such is the fate of Hobab. Moses offers him part of the riches they will receive when they reach their destination, and it is implied that Hobab remains with Moses. But those who are familiar with the story know that not a single one of the original Israelite generation will be alive to reach the Promised Land.

So, not only does Hobab never receive the riches from the Promised Land that Moses offers him, he also never returns home, and dies among strangers aimlessly wandering the desert for several decades. Thereís a bedtime story for you!

 

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Baughbe writes:

 

Yes God, we believe in you and trust you totally. Yes, we know you are leading us through the desert and you are all knowing and wise. Now let me introduce you to the guide I just hired.....


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Oh the irony!