Thursday, February 04, 2010

Ex 16 for Feb 2

The "economics" (who does what, when, to what effect) of "salvation" from the Egyptians (Ex 14:13) will be different from what the original readers expect: if we've been reading attentively (e.g., Ex 14:13, 14:30, 15:2) this salvation from the Egyptians sounds a lot like in the New Testament, something also called "salvation," with similar characteristics (cf. Eph 2:8), namely, 14:13, in saying "which He will accomplish for you"; 14:14, saying "the Lord will fight for you while you keep silent!"; and 14:15, saying "why are you crying out to Me?", i.e., they needed to keep silent. There's even the same sequence, God working first (14:19ff), then, faith (14:31). Conclusions are things like "the Lord is a warrior..." (15:3), and actions like ... dancing (15:20).

But after that, what should we make of the grumbling (15:24), then more of it later, where the whole group does more grumbling (16:2)? The specific blame-targets of their grumbling are Moses and Aaron, and their accusation is incredible: that Moses and Aaron are deliberate killers (16:3).

Who did God redeem (Ex 12:17)? These hosts, were the hosts of Whom? (12:41)? Whom did He lead, day and night (13:21-22)? Before the Exodus, and the parting of the sea, when they saw Egyptian chariots, naturally, they became "very frightened" (14:10). In this case, hardly noticed in the story by many, their consequent crying out to God was not good (14:10; 14:15): although understandable, it must have been the wrong kind of crying out!

In a way, God dealing redemptively with external threats to their life, then dealing with their quality of life, is exactly what every doctor has to do, in dealing with the cause rather than just with the symptom. It is what every relief worker or fellow soldier does toward those being protected. But these being protected are really something else, contrary to expectation. The grumbling is commented upon by God in 16:12, in ways that echo something like an ominous rebuke.

And how is this grumbling partially answered by the manna? The manna is a daily distribution. How could somebody buck up against God who provided it daily? Well, it did happen: they stopped being a group that grumbled because of not knowing where daily food might come from; however, some "did not listen to Moses" and tried to take control of their own needs on a different schedule (16:20). Grumble about water (15:24). Solved. Grumble about food (16:3). Solved. Next chapter: quarreling and grumbling about water again (17:2-3). What is the constant here?

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