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Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy

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  • Duration:
    31 min


Does God punish the grandchildren for what the grandparents have done? Some people read these passages (Exodus 20:5, 34:7) and assume that they mean God punishes grandchildren based on their grandparents' sins. Unfortunately, they misinterpret these texts because they fail to understand the phenomena of numerical parallelisms. The Hebrew language favors parallelism, so that numbers which are close to other numbers will often be put in parallel to exhibit 
literary balance.

A special emphasis in Leviticus is how the Israelites can achieve holiness in there covenant with God. This includes holiness in ritual worship and also in daily
life. All of Leviticus is received by Moses at Mt. Sinai.

At the beginning of Numbers they leave Mt. Sinai. So, in Numbers, the people have received the Sinai covenant (Exodus 19-Leviticus) and now they have set out on a journey to the promised land. The book of numbers provides a number of stories about their fourty year journey to the promised land. Additionally, as the occasion requires more laws are given in the book of Numbers. This is similar to the amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The Sinai covenant is the original full covenant, and the laws in Numbers and Deuteronomy are amended to the Sinai covenant.

The structure of Deuteronomy is highly important. It is an overt covenant structure crafted for a new people who need to realize they are part of God’s covenant. This book is written forty years after Mt. Sinai in northern Moab to a new generation about to enter the promised land. In some ways, Deuteronomy is the final draft of the covenant God made with Israel. Deuteronomy is perhaps more important than any of the other four books of the Pentateuch.

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