Friday, March 27, 2015

Through the Bible - Questions

I am reading through the Bible in a year, using the NLT One Year Chronological Bible. I started early, but I'm already behind. Nevertheless, the goal is to read through the whole Bible, regardless of the time it takes.

I like this version because it is reader friendly and divided in chunks that are easy to read in a day. I also enjoy getting all perspectives on a situation in one day instead of as they were written. I don't use this Bible for all my studies -- I also like the ESV for regular research/reading, and I love LOGOS as a tool to help me understand.

I've been highlighting things as I go and writing questions to things I either don't understand or am curious about in the margins. I want a way to process this better and to document my questions for times when I can do further research. I figured a blog was a great place to do this (especially since this blog was originally designed to be the place I used for thoughts and insights). Because of my lack of dedication and/or busy-ness, it has become only a place for reviewing the great books I get to read. I endeavor to add more Biblical content!

So today I'm reading the text originally designated for March 22 and 23 (two a day until I catch up). This is the timeframe of Moses' last days and Joshua's first days as a leader. Lots of things have come up that I wonder about. The text is from Deut 33-34 and Joshua 1-3.

Moses' final words were blessings for the tribes of Israel. He starts with the tribes descending from Leah -- Reuben, Judah, and Levi. Simeon is strangely missing, but the Baker Commentary supposes that they have been lumped in with Judah based on text in Joshua 19:1-9, where their territory is really a subset of Judah's. Next come Rachel's boys, Benjamin and Joseph. It is interesting that Joseph is named individually, because frequently his sons are both given 'tribe' status. Honestly, it's a bit confusing to me to define what the 'appropriate' tribes are because they differ from place to place. Simeon and Levi are occasionally left out because (according to Harper's Bible Dictionary) of their actions in relation to their sister Dinah. Other texts leave out Reuben because of his indiscretion with his fathers. I imagine someone has defined THE official 12 tribes, but I guess it doesn't really matter to me that much.

I did find it interesting that Moses asked that the tribe of Asher be blessed above the other sons. I can't find any good reason why that would be so.

The end of the book of Deuteronomy, in 34:10, it says, "There has never been another prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face." That got me thinking -- as Moses passed the baton to Joshua and he took on the leadership role, I wonder if he was surprised, or even disappointed, that his relationship with God was not as personal?

That said, when the angel of God met with Joshua to give him instructions for conquering Jericho, we see that Joshua was told to take off his sandals because he was standing on holy ground. That only happened one other time in the Bible -- to Moses at the burning bush. No one else who had interactions with God or his angels -- Abram, Jacob, other prophets, or even Mary, the disciples, or Saul, were told to take their shoes off. Curious!

Enough questions for one day. Guess I'll add these to the list of things to investigate when I get to Heaven!

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