BiND: Day 8
Reading Leviticus is generally the time I break down in any read-straight-through-the-Bible program. I want to just stop here and then pick it up again in the stories. Or go back and read Genesis again while you all go through all the priestly laws and rules about sacrifices and leprous houses and whatnot.
But I will endure, I promise.
I’ve had some funny moments reading Leviticus so far—my favorite is reading a footnote in the section that’s all about the offerings you should bring whenever you have sinned. According to the note-writer, when the NRSV says “and they/you incur guilt” it more accurately means “when you feel guilty.” So what if you never feel guilty? If your conscience never pricks, does that mean you don’t have to offer a sheep/goat/two turtledoves? Denial, it seems, might be a useful way to avoid paying penalties and losing money! (just kidding, of course—we all know that denial like that never ends well…)
Once I got through that section, I started wondering: what is a rock badger? Well, I looked it up. Apparently the Hebrew name is literally “mountain bunny” which is even funnier! There’s some good stuff in Leviticus, here!
Once again I am hearing people ask “why is all this stuff in here? Is God really that interested in the minute details of someone’s skin? Is the deterioration of cloth really a religious issue?” Well, yes and no. No because all these minute details are, well, minutiae—but minutiae that are designed to lead to a specific thing, namely the yes part! Yes because God is setting apart a people here, creating a new kind of community, a new way of living, a new worldview, a new way of being together with God. So all of these rules are designed to help the community do that. To be faithful together in community requires a framework, and in this book we get the blueprints for the original covenant community. The question we will want to ask ourselves is this: what is the framework, what are the rules, for our covenant community?
photo is of a rock badger, from wikipedia.