Friday, February 25, 2011

New Year: Dt 16-18 for Feb 25

We have the similar multiple-category discussion in these chapters (Dt 16-18) as we had earlier since the first Passover of Exodus 12.

There are feast days (Deuteronomy 16), portions for the Levites (18), specific parts of offerings (18:3); matters such as appellate judges (17:8-13); thrice-per-year travels (16:16); prohibition of any kind of religious syncretism (idols from the area's religions, 16:21-22), of sorcery, of witchcraft, etc. (18:9-14); the place of prophecy, prophets, and Moses' phrase "a prophet like me" (18:15ff.)

This combination of the details of the many types of obligations of the Israelites, in rapid succession, does not imply multiple authors or schools. This combination is purposive. It is the nature of the relationship of the Israelites to God, that all the details are necessary. There are "weightier provisions" (Dt 6:4-5; cf. Mt 23:23), but no provisions are left behind (Mt 5:16). Moses's way of saying this was abutting them next to each other. The Lord's picturesque way of saying this is to remind them that they needed justice, mercy and faithfulness ... "these are the things you should have done ....", and regarding the tithe of the mint, and dill, and cummin, He says that too, is obligatory! ... "without neglecting the others." (Mt 23:23).

The details matter. Everything counts.

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