Miles to go...

I have miles to go... please pray each day for the next leg of my Biblical journey!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 10: That Fuzzy "NEW" Math

By Ori229 , Mosaic Tile of the 12 Tribes and their emblems.

Numbers 1

New Living Translation (NLT)

“These are the tribes and the names of the leaders who will assist you:
Elizur son of Shedeur
Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai
Nahshon son of Amminadab
Nethanel son of Zuar
Eliab son of Helon
10 Ephraim son of Joseph
Elishama son of Ammihud
Manasseh son of Joseph
Gamaliel son of Pedahzur
11 Benjamin
Abidan son of Gideoni
12 Dan
Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai
13 Asher
Pagiel son of Ocran
14 Gad
Eliasaph son of Deuel
15 Naphtali
Ahira son of Enan
16 These are the chosen leaders of the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.”
Last night was a horrible night for me. I worked an overnight shift, and it's always hard to readjust my sleep schedule when that happens. Needless to say, my brain is in a fog today, and I was really dreading the book of Numbers. I wondered if I would find anything in the first 8 chapters to blog about, and wouldn't ya know, I found something right off!
This isn't the first time that the thought has crossed my mind, but it is the first time I decided to try and wrap my brain around it. Funny thing to do when you're functioning on so little sleep. But seriously, it just wasn't adding up for me! Joseph had 12 sons, and there are 12 tribes of Israel, but two of the tribes are named after two of Joseph's kids! Doesn't that make 14? Arrrgh, I'm telling ya, that new math is kinda fuzzy!
So I went back and counted all of the sons of Jacob. Yep, there's 12. and I counted the 12 tribes of Israel. Yep, there's 12 there, too! But something was missing.
Joseph. And Levi.
I had to do a little digging. Oh, the wonderful world of web. I found the answer here. And it even makes sense! I already knew that the priests were Levites, descended from Jacob's son, Levi. I also knew that they didn't have any land of their own. Their provisions came from the people of the other tribes. 

Of course, this stuff is covered later in the chapter, but I did mention that my brain was in a fog, right? So the chart provided at the link, and the brief summary above the chart, were really helpful to me. I like things nice and concise. I like things laid out in little charts. I understand better when I'm able to visualize.
I knew that Jacob had blessed each of Joseph's sons. I didn't realize that he'd effectively cut out his favorite son's name from the family line. On one hand, that seems kinda sad to me. But on the other, I realize that Jacob didn't leave his boy out. Rather, he doubled Joseph's blessing, giving inheritance rights instead to his two sons. So, everything that would be Joseph went to one of his sons, and everything that would have been Levi's went to Joseph's other son... The allocation of land and tribal names remained 12. 

Of course, Levi's name was still preserved because of the priesthood. They never had to go to war, which was a pretty nice way of preserving them, but they were God's... He took that whole family line in place of the first born of every family. They had to work for it though. Each family that descended from the Levites was responsible for some part of ministry, which included carrying around all the poles and tables and utensils, the curtains, the covers, the badger skins... On top of killing all the sacrifices and stuff.

And as for Joseph, well, his son's may have gotten the blessings, but Joseph's name certainly was never forgotten.

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