In the second year after the escape from Egypt, on the first day of the second month, the Lord spoke to Moses in the tabernacle which attested his covenant, there in the desert of Sinai, giving him this message: Register the whole people of Israel by their clans and their households and their several names, all that are of the male sex, of twenty years or more. Count up, you and Aaron, the warriors of Israel by their companies; and from each tribe you shall have one man to help you, the head of a household and of a clan. These are their names; Elisur son of Sedeur for Ruben, Salamiel son of Surisaddai for Simeon, Nahasson son of Aminadab for Juda, Nathanael son of Suar for Issachar, Eliab son of Helon for Zabulon; and among the descendants of Joseph, Elisama son of Ammiud for Ephraim, and Gamaliel son of Phadassur for Manasses. For Benjamin, Abidan son of Gedeon; for Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammisaddai; for Aser, Phegiel son of Ochran; for Gad, Eliasaph son of Duel; for Nephthali, Ahira son of Enan. These were the men chosen out of the whole multitude to represent their tribes and clans, the leaders of Israel's host. They were summoned by Moses and Aaron in the presence of the whole multitude, assembled there on the first day of the second month, and together they made a register by clans and households and families and persons, enrolling each man who was twenty years old or more. All alike were counted, there in the desert of Sinai, as the Lord had bidden Moses count them.
Clan and household that came down from Ruben, Israel's first-born, could muster warriors of twenty years and more, forty-six thousand five hundred. Of Simeon, fifty-nine thousand three hundred. Of Gad, forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty. Of Juda, seventy-four thousand six hundred. Of Issachar, fifty-four thousand four hundred. Of Zabulon, fifty seven thousand four hundred. Among Joseph's descendants, of Ephraim, forty thousand five hundred; of Manasses, thirty-two thousand two hundred. Of Benjamin, thirty-five thousand four hundred. Of Dan, sixty-two thousand seven hundred. Of Aser, forty-one thousand five hundred. Of Nephthali, fifty-three thousand four hundred. Such was the register Moses and Aaron and the twelve chiefs of Israel made, household by household and family by family; so that the whole muster-roll of warriors in Israel, twenty years old or more, by their households and families, was six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men.
But no family in the tribe of Levi was counted in the reckoning; the Lord had said to Moses, Do not count the tribe of Levi, or register them among the sons of Israel. Give them charge of the tabernacle that bears record of me, all its appurtenances and all that goes with its worship. It is they who will carry the tabernacle with its appurtenances, they who will attend to the tabernacle and pitch their tents about it. The Levites will take the tabernacle down when the order is given for marching, and set it up when the order is given for encamping; no one else must come near it, on pain of death. Each Israelite will pitch his tent among the regiment, the company, in which he goes to battle; round the tabernacle itself none but the Levites must encamp, or the whole people of Israel will incur my displeasure; theirs it is to keep watch over the tabernacle that bears record of me. Such was the Lord's bidding to Moses, and the sons of Israel faithfully observed it.
And the Lord gave Moses and Aaron this command: All the Israelites are to encamp in their several companies, under banners and emblems of their own, by their families, with the tabernacle that bears witness of me in the middle. At the eastern end the sons of Juda will pitch their tents, arranged according to the companies in which they go to war, with Nahasson the son of Aminadab at their head, the full muster-roll of their warriors, seventy-four thousand six hundred strong. Next to them, under Nathanael son of Suar, Issachar was to encamp, a force of fifty-four thousand four hundred fighting men. Zabulon was led by Eliab son of Helon; there were fifty-seven thousand four hundred of them under arms. Thus the whole camp of Juda mustered a hundred and eighty-six thousand four hundred men; and their companies were to be the vanguard.
Ruben, under Elisur son of Sedeur, was to encamp on the south, with a roll of forty-six thousand five hundred warriors; next to him the tribe of Simeon under Salamiel son of Surisaddai, with a roll of fifty-nine thousand three hundred; then the tribe of Gad under Eliasaph son of Duel, with a roll of forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty. And the camp of Ruben, reckoning a hundred and fifty-one thousand four hundred and fifty men in their companies, were to march second. Then came the tabernacle, and the companies of Levi had the carrying of it; they were to take it down in the same way as they had set it up, and march with due place and rank assigned to them. To the west, Ephraim would encamp, under Elisama son of Ammiud, with a roll of forty thousand five hundred, and with them the tribe of Manasses, under Gamaliel son of Phadassur, with a roll of thirty-two thousand two hundred; then the tribe of Benjamin under Abidan son of Gedeon, with a roll of thirty-five thousand four hundred. The camp of Ephraim, reckoning a hundred and eight thousand one hundred men in their companies, were to march third. On the north, Dan would encamp under Ahiezer son of Ammisaddai, with a roll of sixty-two thousand seven hundred; next to him the tribe of Aser under Phegiel son of Ochran, with a roll of forty-one thousand five hundred; and then the tribe of Nephthali under Ahira son of Enan, with a roll of fifty-three thousand four hundred. The camp of Dan, with a roll of a hundred and fifty thousand six hundred men, were to march last. Such was the number of the Israelites, when their whole array was marshalled by its families and its companies, six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty strong. But the Levites, in obedience to the command the Lord gave to Moses, were not reckoned among the Israelites. And the Israelites carried out all the Lord's bidding; in marching order they pitched their tents, and their marching order was by families and households.
Aaron and Moses had already sons to succeed them at the time when the Lord spoke to Moses on Sinai; and these were the names of Aaron's sons, Nadab, his first-born, then Abiu, Eleazar and Ithamar. All these sons of Aaron were anointed priests, their hands enriched and consecrated for priestly duties, but Nadab and Abiu, who offered unhallowed fire in the Lord's presence, died there in the desert of Sinai without issue; it was only Eleazar and Ithamar that performed the duties of the priesthood now, under the eye of Aaron their father.
And now the Lord gave Moses this command, Dedicate the tribe of Levi to me, and bid them wait on the pleasure of Aaron, the high priest; doing him service and keeping watch, carrying out the duties that belong to public worship before the tabernacle, keeping safe, too, the appurtenances of the tabernacle, and attending to its needs. you shall put the Levites at the disposal of Aaron and his sons, to whom the Israelites have assigned them; but it is to Aaron and his sons that you will entrust the priestly office. No one else must minister there, on pain of death. This, too, the Lord said to Moses, Among all the sons of Israel, I have singled out the Levites to be my own, in lieu of those first-born Israelites that handsel the womb; all first-born things belong to me. Ever since I smote the first-born in the land of Egypt, I have claimed the eldest birth, whether of man or of beast, as forfeit; forfeit to me, the Lord.
And while they were still in the desert of Sinai, the Lord bade Moses register the sons of Levi by their households and their families, all of them that were more than a month old. So Moses made a register, as the Lord had bidden him; giving the names of Levi's sons in their order, Gerson, Caath and Merari; then the sons of Gerson, Lebni and Semei, the sons of Caath, Amram, Jessar, Hebron and Oziel and the sons of Merari, Moholi and Musi. The two families that came down from Gerson through Lebni and Semei amounting to seven thousand five hundred males, above the age of a month; these were to encamp behind the tabernacle, to the west, under Eliasaph the son of Lael. The parts of the tabernacle which were to be in their charge were the tent itself and its canopy, and the screen stretched over the doorway by which the tabernacle was entered; the curtains for the court, and the hanging at the entrance to the court, with all that belongs to the service of the altar; the tabernacle ropes, too, and its appurtenances in general.
The race of Caath, comprising the families that were named after Amram, Jesaar, Hebron and Oziel, which counted eight thousand six hundred males above a month old, were in charge of the sanctuary. They were to encamp south of it, under Elisaphan the son of Oziel, and have the keeping of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the vessels for worship in the sanctuary, the veil, and all other such furniture. These guardians of the sanctuary had the chief of all the Levites at their head, Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron. The two families of Merari's line, named after Moholi and Musi, counting six thousand two hundred males above a month old, were to encamp on the north, under Suriel the son of Abihaiel. They were to guard the frames and poles of the tabernacle, the posts with their sockets, and all that went with such an office; the posts of the outer court, too, with their sockets, the pegs and the ropes. In front of the tabernacle, that is, on the east, Moses and Aaron were to encamp with their sons, keeping guard over the sanctuary in the midst of the Israelite people; it was death for any other to come near it. The whole strength of the Levites, all the families registered at the Lord's command by Moses and Aaron, was twenty-two thousand males above a month old.
And now the Lord said to Moses, Count up all the male first-born in Israel who are more than a month old, and find their number. I must have a Levite for every male in Israel; it is the Lord's due. And they must have cattle to match in number all the first-born cattle the Israelites possess. So Moses counted the first-born of Israel, as the Lord bade him, and found that there were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three such persons. And the Lord said to Moses, Set apart the Levites to be my own, instead of the first-born Israelites, and the cattle of the Levites to be mine, instead of the first-born cattle; it is the Lord's due. Meanwhile, here are two hundred and seventy-three first-born who have no Levites to match their number; for these, ransom must be paid. Claim five silver pieces, by sanctuary reckoning, for each of them, (the silver piece is worth twenty pence), and pay the money to Aaron and his sons, as the ransom for the first-born who are left over. So Moses took ransom for those who were left out of the count when the Levites stood as ransom for the first-born sons of Israel, a thousand three hundred and sixty-five silver pieces by sanctuary reckoning; and these he paid over to Aaron and his sons as the Lord had bidden him.
Then the Lord bade Moses and Aaron register the sons of Caath, household by household, family by family, apart from the rest of the Levites; men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who went into the tabernacle to wait and work there. The sons of Caath, he said, there in the tabernacle, are to have the holiest task of all. When the order is given for marching, it is for Aaron and his sons to go in and take down the veil at the sanctuary entrance, in which they will wrap up the ark; then they will enfold it again in a covering of skins dyed violet, and spread a cloth over it all of blue, and so they will put the poles in to carry it. They will spread another blue cloth over the table, which will have its cups and bowls and dishes on it, and goblets for pouring out libations, and the bread set forth there as always; a red cloth over that, and a covering dyed violet, and put the poles in. Then, with a blue cloth, they will cover the lamp-stand, with its lamps, tongs, snuffers, and all the phials of oil for feeding the lamps, enfolding all in skins dyed violet, and so they will make it ready for carrying. Then a blue cloth, and a covering of violet skins, for the golden altar; and all the appurtenances of sanctuary worship they shall cover up in the same way, and make these, too, ready for carrying. The brazen altar they will rid of its ashes, and wrap it in a purple cloth, enclosing with it all the appurtenances used for its ceremonies, fire-pans, flesh-hooks, forks, pot-hooks and shovels; they must wrap up all the appurtenances of this altar in a covering of violet skins, and then put poles through the rings of the altar itself. Then when Aaron and his sons have wrapped up the sanctuary and all its appurtenances ready for the march, the sons of Caath will enter and carry them away in their wrappings; they are not to touch the things of the sanctuary, on pain of death. Such charge will the sons of Caath have over the tabernacle that attests my covenant; and Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, will be in command of them. Under his care is the oil for feeding the lamps, and the spices for the incense; under his care the continual sacrifice, and the oil used for anointing, and all that concerns the worship paid in the tabernacle, and all the furniture of the sanctuary. This warning, too, the Lord gave to Moses and Aaron; Would you have the family of Caath lost to Levi's tribe? If you value their lives, order their doings thus; death is the penalty, if they should touch what has been set apart for holy uses. Only Aaron and his sons may enter; and they will direct what is to be the task of each Levite, what burden he is to carry. None must pry into the secrets of the shrine while they are yet uncovered, on pain of death.
Then the Lord bade Moses register the sons of Gerson, by households and families; men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who went into the tabernacle to work there. The task of these sons of Gerson, he told them, is to carry the curtains of the tabernacle, and the second covering that makes a roof over the place of covenant, and the purple canopy over all, and the screen at the entrance of the tabernacle; the hangings, too, of the court, and the screen at the entrance of the court, opposite the tabernacle. All that belongs to the altar, and all the ropes, and the appurtenances that go with them, shall be carried by the family of Gerson, as Aaron and his sons shall direct; they will make known what burden falls to each. This is the charge which the sons of Gerson will have over the tabernacle which attests my covenant, and Ithamar, son of the high priest Aaron, will have the disposal of them. The households and families of Merari's line must also be registered; men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who go about their work in the shrine of the covenant. They have the charge of carrying the frames and poles of the tabernacle, its posts with their sockets; posts, too, sockets and pegs and ropes for the court round about. All such appurtenances shall be handed over to them one by one, to carry with them. Such duties and tasks the sons of Merari will have, in the tabernacle that attests my covenant, and these too will be at the disposal of Ithamar, son of the high priest Aaron.
So Moses and Aaron and the chieftains registered the households and families of Caath, all the tabernacle servants between the ages of thirty and fifty; of these there were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. Then the Gersonites; of these there were two thousand six hundred and thirty. Then the Merarites; of these there were three thousand two hundred. So that the full register of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron and the chieftains made, household by household and family by family, men between thirty and fifty, fit to carry burdens and do the work of the tabernacle, contained eight thousand five hundred and eighty names altogether. And Moses, as the Lord had bidden him, registered all their names with the duties and burdens that fell to each.
This was the Lord's word to Moses, Bid the sons of Israel cast out from their encampment all the lepers, all those who have a running at the reins, or are defiled by contact with the dead. Men and women alike must be shut out from the camp, so as not to pollute it when I am making my abode with you. This the Israelites did, shutting out such persons from the camp in obedience to the command which the Lord gave to Moses.
This, too, was a message the Lord gave to Moses for the sons of Israel, If man or woman commits any of those wrongs mankind is prone to commit, and incurs guilt by neglecting the Lord's commandment, confession must be made of it, and the sum paid back, with a fifth part added besides, to the wronged party. If there is no one to whom restitution can be made, they must make their payment to the Lord, and it will belong to his priest, over and above the ram which is offered in expiation, to win pardon for the wrong done. So, too, all the first-fruits which the Israelites offer belong to the priest; and all offerings made to the sanctuary, once they have been put in the priest's hand, become his.
This, too, was a message the Lord gave to Moses for the sons of Israel: It may be that a married woman will leave her duty, and, in despite of her own husband, bed with another; yet her husband will have no means of discovering her guilty secret; no witness caught her in the act of adultery. What, then, if a man be inflamed with jealousy against his wife, that either is defiled, or has brought false suspicion on herself? He must bring her before the priest, and make offering for her of barley-meal, the tenth part of a bushel. He will pour no oil over it, put no incense on it; this is the jealous man's sacrifice, and the purpose of his offering is to detect unfaithfulness. The priest will cause her to appear, and bring her into the Lord's presence, and will take up an earthen jar of lustral water, into which he will put a handful of dust from the tabernacle floor. Then he will unveil the woman's head, as she stands there in the Lord's presence, and put into her hands the token-sacrifice, the jealous man's offering; in his own hand will be the baneful waters, embittered now by his curse. And he will put the ban on her; If it is true no stranger has bedded with you, and you have never defiled yourself by forsaking your husband's bed, then these baneful waters I have cursed will have no power to harm you. But if you have left your duty towards your husband, and defiled yourself by bedding with another man, then this curse of mine will bind you: The Lord make you a by-word of all that is accursed among his people, make your thigh rot and your belly swell till it bursts. Once this cursed water has entered your belly, belly must swell and thigh rot. And here the woman shall answer, Amen, amen. This ban the priest shall write down in a book, and wash it with the baneful waters he has cursed, and so make her drink them. When she has finished the draught the priest will take the jealous man's sacrifice from her hand, lift it up in the Lord's presence, and lay it on the altar. Only, before all this is done, he must take a handful of what is offered, by way of token-sacrifice, and burn it on the altar; then he will make her drink the baneful waters.
And when she has drunk them, if she is indeed defiled, and has been guilty of adultery in her husband's despite, the cursed water as it passes into her will make her belly swell and her thigh rot, and she will be a by-word of all that is accursed among the people. But if she is innocent, she will take no harm, and will become a mother of children. Such is the law concerning jealousy. If a woman leaves her husband and is defiled, and her husband, inflamed with jealousy, brings her into the Lord's presence, so that the priest can carry out the rite aforesaid, the husband is without blame; the fault is hers, and she must answer for it.
This message, too, the Lord gave to Moses for the sons of Israel, Man or woman that would be set apart for the Lord by taking the Nazirite vow must abstain from wine, and from all strong drink. They must not drink vinegar made from wine or from any such liquor, nor any draught that is strained from the grape; they must not eat grapes, whether fresh or dried. No fruit of the vine, grape or raisin, must pass their lips while the days of their consecration last.
The Nazirite, while he is set apart, must not pass any razor over his head until his consecration to the Lord has been completed; the growth of his hair is a sign of dedication. Nor, during his time of consecration may he come near any dead body, nor may he incur defilement when father or mother, brother or sister is buried; the hair is a sign of his dedication to his God, and he is set apart for the Lord as long as the time of his consecration lasts. If he is present when a death befalls unexpectedly, his consecrated head is defiled thereby; he must shave it there and then, on the very day when the need for purification arises, and again on the seventh day. On the eighth day, he will offer to the priest two turtle-doves or young pigeons at the tabernacle door, and the priest will offer one by way of amends for the fault, and the other in burnt-sacrifice; then he will pray for pardon for the fault which the death occasioned. On the same day, his head sanctified afresh by the priest, he will dedicate to the Lord his new period of consecration, and offer a yearling lamb in amends. His former days of consecration go for nothing, once they have been interrupted by defilement.
And this is the rite he must follow when the period of his vow is completed. He will be brought to the tabernacle door, and there he will make his offering to the Lord, a yearling he-lamb without blemish in burnt-sacrifice, a yearling ewe without blemish to make amends for fault, and a ram without blemish as a welcome-offering; a basket, too, of unleavened bread kneaded with oil, and cakes with oil poured over them, and the gifts proper to each. All these the priest will offer in the Lord's presence, performing there the sacrifice of amends and the burnt-sacrifice, and immolating the ram before the Lord as a welcome-offering; at the same time he will present the basket of unleavened things and the customary gifts. Then, before the tabernacle door, the Nazirite will shave off the consecrated growth of hair, and throw it upon the fire that consumes his welcome-offering. And now the priest will take the ram's shoulder, which has been cooking, and one of the loaves from the basket and one of the cakes, and put them into the hands of the newly shaved Nazirite, who will give them back to him, so that he can offer them up in the Lord's presence. These parts of the offering are set apart for the priest, like the breast that has been duly cut away, and the thigh. After this, the Nazirite is free to drink wine again. So must the time of his dedication be brought to an end, and so must his vow be fulfilled; apart from any special undertaking he may have made. To achieve the purpose of such consecration, he must carry out the full intentions of his vow.
And this was a message the Lord gave to Moses for Aaron and his sons: When you give the Israelites your blessing, you are to say: The Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord smile on you, and be merciful to you; the Lord turn his regard towards you, and give you peace. So shall they invoke my name over the sons of Israel, to win a blessing from me.
At the time when Moses finished the tabernacle and set it up, anointing and hallowing both the tabernacle and altar with all their appurtenances, an offering was made by the chieftains of Israel, the heads of families, who were in charge, each for his own tribe, of the registering. They gave to the Lord six covered waggons and twelve oxen, one waggon for every two of the chieftains, and one ox for every one of them. When they presented these before the tabernacle, the Lord said to Moses, Accept these gifts for the service of the tabernacle, and make them over to the Levites, for the better carrying out of their various duties. Moses, therefore, accepted the waggons and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites, assigning two waggons and four oxen to the sons of Gerson for their needs, and the remaining four waggons and eight oxen to Ithamar, son of the high priest Aaron, for the needs of the Merarites. No waggons or oxen were given to the sons of Caath, because their business was with the sanctuary, and every burden must be carried on their own shoulders.
And when the altar was to be anointed, the chieftains had their dedication gifts to bring before it; so the Lord said to Moses, Let the chieftains bring their dedication gifts on successive days. The first day, Nahasson son of Aminadab; of Juda, made his offering; a silver dish of a hundred and thirty, and a silver bowl of seventy sicles' weight, by sanctuary reckoning, both full of flour kneaded with oil for sacrifice; a gold saucer weighing ten sicles, full of incense; a bullock, a ram, and a yearling he-lamb for burnt-sacrifice; a goat to make amends for fault; and for a welcome-offering, two oxen, five rams, five goats,and five yearling he-lambs. Such was the gift of Nahasson son of Aminadab, and next day Nathanael son of Suar gave dish and bowl and saucer, of the like workmanship and with the like contents, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Issachar. On the third day it was the turn of Eliab, son of Helon, to give dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Zabulon. On the fourth day Elisur, son of Sedeur, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim and welcome-offering for Ruben. On the fifth day Salamiel, son of Surisaddai, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Simeon. On the sixth day Eliasaph, son of Duel, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Gad. On the seventh day Elisama, son of Ammiud, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim and welcome-offering for Ephraim. On the eighth day Gamaliel, son of Phadassur, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Manasses. On the ninth day Abidan, son of Gedeon, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Benjamin. On the tenth day Ahiezer, son of Ammisaddai, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Dan. On the eleventh day Phegiel, son of Ochran, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Aser. On the twelfth day Ahira, son of Enan, gave dish and bowl and saucer, and the same burnt-sacrifice, transgression-victim, and welcome-offering for Nephthali.
All these dedication gifts were offered by the chieftains of Israel at the time when the altar was hallowed. There were twelve silver dishes, twelve silver bowls and twelve saucers of gold. A hundred and thirty sicles of silver went to each dish, seventy to each bowl, making two thousand four hundred sicles of silver in all, by sanctuary weight. And the twelve golden saucers with incense in them weighed ten sicles each, by sanctuary weight, making a hundred and twenty sicles of gold altogether. For burnt-sacrifice, there were twelve bullocks, twelve rams, and twelve yearling he-lambs, with the bread-offering proper to them; in amends for fault, twelve goats; for welcome-offering, twenty-four oxen, sixty rams, sixty goats, and sixty yearling he-lambs. Such were the gifts made, when the altar was hallowed and anointed.
Whenever Moses went into the tabernacle that attested God's covenant, to consult the oracle there, he heard a voice speaking to him from the shrine between the two cherubs, standing above the ark; there it was that God spoke to him.
The Lord gave Moses this message for Aaron, When you do put the seven lamps in their place, the lamp-stand must be set up on the south side of the tabernacle; and give orders that the lamps face northwards, towards the table of the loaves on the other side, the lamp-stand turned towards it, and so shedding light upon it. Such was the rule the Lord enjoined on Moses, and such was ever the rule Aaron followed, in setting out the lamps. This lamp-stand was fashioned of wrought gold, both the stem in the middle of it and the branches that sprang from either side and all their ornament; the pattern the Lord had shewn him was the pattern Moses gave it.
And this was the Lord's word to Moses, Separate the Levites from the rest of Israel, and purify them. To be purified, they must be sprinkled with lustral water, and must shave all the hair on their bodies. They will wash their clothes, too, and cleanse themselves. After this, they will provide an ox and the bread-offering that goes with it, of flour kneaded with oil, and a second ox must be provided as a transgression-victim; and so you will bring them out in front of the tabernacle that attests my covenant, where all Israel will be assembled. And the Israelites will lay their hands upon the Levites, as they stand there before the Lord, and Aaron will offer them to the Lord on Israel's behalf, to do him service. Then the Levites will lay their hands upon the heads of the oxen; one of these you will offer as a victim for fault, and the other in burnt-sacrifice to the Lord, to make intercession for them. So you will present the Levites before Aaron and his sons, set apart and offered to the Lord, separated from the rest of Israel to be mine; after that, they may enter the tabernacle which attests my covenant and do me service. They must be purified, set apart, and made over to me, because they are a gift to me from the Israelites, which I have accepted in lieu of every first-born son in Israel that handsels the womb. All first-born things in Israel, man or beast, belong to me and are forfeit to me since the day when I smote the first-born in the land of Egypt; and in lieu of all Israel's first-born sons I claim the Levites for myself; I have chosen them out from the rest of the people to be at the disposal of Aaron and his sons, to do me service in the tabernacle and offer me prayer on Israel's behalf. The rest of the people must not come close to the sanctuary, on pain of being smitten with a plague. These commands of the Lord by Moses they carried out faithfully, Moses end Aaron and all the people of Israel; the Levites were purified, and washed their clothes, and Aaron made an offering of them in the Lord's presence, and made intercession for them. And now they were free to enter the tabernacle, to perform their duties at the pleasure of Aaron and his sons, Levites purified as God bade Moses purify them.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses, The law governing the Levites is that they should begin their tabernacle service from the age of twenty-five onwards; when they have reached the age of fifty, they are no longer bound to service, but they will attend on their brethren in the tabernacle and keep guard there as they are appointed, without doing the work of it any longer. Such is the direction you will give the Levites about their duties.
In the second year after the escape from Egypt, the Lord gave a message to Moses in the desert of Sinai, in the first month of the year. The Israelites, he said, must celebrate the paschal feast, now that the time has come round; it begins with evening on the fourteenth day of this month, and all the ceremonies prescribed for it must be duly observed. So Moses bade the Israelites keep the pasch, and when the evening of the fourteenth day came, keep it they did, there in the desert of Sinai. There was no word the Lord gave to Moses, but Israel obeyed it. But a doubt arose; here were some men who could not keep it that day, because they were defiled by contact with a corpse. And these came to Moses and Aaron with the complaint, Must we, who are defiled by touch of the dead, be robbed of our opportunity to make the Lord such an offering as the season claims, with the rest of Israel? And Moses bade them wait till he could find out what was the Lord's will for them.
Thereupon the Lord gave Moses this message for the Israelites, If any of Israel's race, at such times, is defiled by contact with a corpse, or is away on a journey, he must keep pasch in the Lord's honour on the fourteenth day of the second month instead; eating unleavened bread and wild herbs with it, leaving nothing till the morning, breaking no bone of the victim, so as to observe the full paschal rite. But if anyone who is clean of defilement and not hindered by his travels neglects to keep the pasch, he is lost to his people. Paschal time came, sacrifice to the Lord he would not; he will be held to account for it. Even aliens that lodge with you or have come to dwell among you must omit no rule of observance when they keep pasch in the Lord's honour; the law binds citizen and alien alike.
On the day when the tabernacle was setup, a cloud overshadowed it; and when evening came, fire seemed to hang over the canopy of it till morning. So it was continually; by day, cloud hung above it, by night, what seemed like fire; it was when this cloud left its post over the tabernacle that the Israelites marched on, never encamping again until it settled. At the Lord's bidding they marched, at the Lord's bidding they pitched their tents. There was no moving as long as the cloud hung over the tabernacle; even if it lingered many days there, they were the Lord's sentinels, these men of Israel, and must not leave their post while the tabernacle was in cloud; only at the Lord's bidding might they pitch their tents, only at his bidding let them down. Sometimes the cloud would only rest there from evening to morning, and move away at dawn, so that they could march at once; sometimes they must wait, before marching, till day too had passed. And sometimes it would be two days, or a month, or even longer, that the Israelites stayed motionless, because the cloud was still there. Then, once it had lifted, they moved camp. They must pitch their tents at the Lord's bidding, march at the Lord's bidding; the sentinels of the Lord, as his word, given through Moses, had commanded them.
And the Lord bade Moses make two trumpets of wrought silver, to give the signal when he would gather the whole people round him, when he would order them to move camp. Sound both trumpets, he told him, and all must assemble to meet you at the tabernacle door; sound but one, and it will bring only the chieftains, that represent the many thousands of Israel. But if it is a long blast that rises and falls, first of all those on the east will move camp; when the sound comes again a second wail of the trumpet, those on the south will fold their tents; and so with the rest, as the wail of the trumpet bids them set out. When the signal is given for the people to assemble, the blast of the trumpet will be on one note, without any wailing rise and fall. The trumpets are to be blown by the priests, the men of Aaron's line; this custom you must keep unaltered, age after age. When your country goes out to war, to repel hostile attack, the trumpets must give a wailing sound, appealing to the Lord your God to save you from the power of your enemies. And when you keep feast or holiday, and at the new moon, you will make burnt-sacrifice and welcome-offering to the sound of the trumpet, to claim the divine audience; audience from the Lord your God.
And now, in the second year, on the twentieth day of the second month, the cloud lifted from the tabernacle, and the sons of Israel marched away, company by company, from the desert of Sinai, till the cloud came to rest again in another desert, that of Pharan. First, as the Lord's word to Moses commanded them, went the companies of Juda, under Nahasson son of Aminadab, then Issachar under Nathanael son of Suar then Zabulon under Eliab son of Helon. Meanwhile, the tabernacle had been taken down, and the sons of Gerson and Merari set out bringing it with them. Then came the companies of Ruben under Helisur son of Sedeur, then Simeon under Salamiel son of Surisaddai, then Gad under Eliasaph son of Duel. After these the Caathites marched, with their holy burden; the tabernacle going on first, so as to be ready for them when they reached the place where it was set up. Then came the companies of Ephraim under Elisama son of Ammiud, then Manasses under Gamaliel son of Phadassur, then Benjamin under Abidan son of Gedeon. And in the rear came the companies of Dan under Ahiezer son of Anunisaddai, the tribe of Aser under Phegiel son of Ochran, and the tribe of Nephthali under Ahira son of Enan. Such was the order of march in which Israel's various companies set out, whenever they moved camp.
And now Moses said to Hobab, son of Raguel the Madianite, his father-in-law, We are on our way to the home the Lord means to give us; come with us, and share our fortunes; the Lord has promised to bless Israel. I cannot come with you, he said; I must go back to the land where I was born. And Moses answered, Do not leave us; you can tell us where best to encamp; we look to you for guidance. Come with us, and the best of all the Lord gives us shall be yours. So they travelled three days journey from the mountain of the Lord; and all those three days journey the ark that bore record of the Lord's covenant went at their head to choose their camping-place. The divine cloud, too, overshadowed them all day while they marched. Whenever the ark was lifted from the ground, Moses would say, Bestir yourself, Lord, and rout your enemies; confront your ill-wishers and put them to flight. And when it was put down again, he would say, Restore your presence, Lord, to the thronging armies of Israel.
Meanwhile, the people were assailing the Lord with complaints, and bemoaning their hard lot. The Lord was roused to anger when he heard it, and sent a fire which burnt up the outlying part of the camp. Whereupon the people had recourse to Moses; and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire died down. It was this divine punishment by fire which gave the place its name, the Place of Burning.
They were still accompanied by a crowd of mixed breed; and these infected the Israelites by their example, as they sat there lamenting; If we had but meat to feed on! they said. How well we remember the fish that Egypt afforded without stint, the cucumbers, the melons, leeks and onions and garlic! Our hearts faint within us, as we look round, and nothing but manna meets our eyes. (This manna was a food that looked like coriander-seed, its colour like bdellium. The people would go round gathering it, and grind it in the mill or bray it in a mortar; then they would cook it in pots, making it into rolls that tasted like bread kneaded with oil. Every night, as the dew fell on the camp, the manna fell there too.)
From household after household Moses heard these complaints, as the men sat bemoaning themselves at their tent doors, till he could bear it no longer, that the Lord's displeasure should be provoked so grievously. Lord, he said, why do you treat me thus? How is it that I have fallen out of favour with you? Must I carry a whole people like a weight on my back? I did not bring this multitude of men into the world; I did not beget them; and you would have me nurse them in my bosom like a child, till they reach the land promised to their race. Where am I to find meat for such a host as this? And that is the complaint they bring me; they would have meat for their food. I cannot bear, alone, the charge of so many; it is too great a burden for me. If I may not have my way in this, then in mercy, I beseech you, rid me of these miseries by taking my life away.
Whereupon the Lord said to Moses, Choose out for me seventy Israelites of ripe age, men already known to you as elders and officers of the people, bring them to the door of the tabernacle that bears record of my covenant, and let them stand there at your side. I will come down and converse with you there; taking away some of the spirit which rests upon you and giving it to them instead, so that they may share with you that charge over the people which you can not support unaided. And say to the people, You must purify yourselves in readiness for the banquet of meat you will have to-morrow. I have heard you complaining that no meat is given you; that you were better off in Egypt. And now the Lord will give you meat to feed on, not for one day or two, for five days or ten, or for a score of days, but for a whole month, till it comes out at your nostrils, and you are sick with surfeit. That shall be your reward for disowning the Lord that dwells among you, and lamenting, here in his presence, that you ever left Egypt behind. Why, said Moses, here is a people that counts six hundred thousand foot-soldiers; will you promise them meat for a whole month? If all the flocks and herds were slaughtered, would that be enough for them? Nay, if all the fish in the sea could be brought into one place, would they even so be content? And the Lord's answer was, Has my arm lost its power? you will see for yourself; in a little, whether this promise of mine comes true.
So Moses went back to the people, and told them what the Lord had said. Then he chose seventy of the elders of Israel, and ranged them in a half-circle at the tabernacle door. And when the Lord came down, hidden in the cloud, to converse with him, he took some of the spirit which rested upon Moses and gave it to the seventy elders instead; whereupon they received a gift of prophecy which never left them. This same spirit rested even upon two men, Eldad and Medad, who were still in the camp; their names were enrolled among the rest; but they had never gone out to the tabernacle. There in the camp they fell a-prophesying, and a messenger ran to bring Moses tidings of it. At this, Josue the son of Nun, that was Moses favourite servant, cried out, My lord Moses, bid them keep silence. What, said he, so jealous for my honour? For myself, I would have the whole people prophesy, with the spirit of the Lord resting on them too. So Moses went back to the camp, and the elders of Israel with him.
And now the Lord sent a wind that brought a flight of quails over the sea, and drove them down where the camp was, a day's journey away on each side; quails that hovered only two cubits above the ground. All that day and that night and the next day the Israelites busied themselves gathering in the quails, which lay so thick that a man made nothing of gathering a hundred bushels; then they spread them out to dry, round the camp. They had meat between their teeth yet, and the supply had not begun to fail, when suddenly a grievous plague fell on them, sentence of the divine anger they had provoked; and the place was called ever after, The Graves of Greed, from the men that lay buried there whose greed was their undoing. From the Graves of Greed they made their way to Haseroth, and there encamped.
Mary, too, and Aaron had complaints to make against Moses; the desert wife he had married was the cause of it. Has the Lord, they asked, sent his word by Moses and no other? Has he not spoken to us too? Such were the complaints the Lord must needs listen to. As for Moses, whom they attacked, never was a man more patient on the whole face of the earth. But the Lord at once commanded him, and Aaron, and Mary to come out by themselves to the tabernacle; and when they reached it, he himself came down, hidden in cloud, summoning Aaron and Mary to him. So they went apart; and this was his word to them, which he bade them mark well: Prophets there may be among your race; to one I appear in a vision, to another I reveal my thoughts in a dream. Moses is not my servant on such terms as these; I entrust him with the management of all my household, speak with him face to face, and when he has sight of the Lord, it is not by means of parable and image. How is it that you were not afraid to slight Moses, my own servant? Then, in anger, he left them; the cloud, too, no longer appeared over the tabernacle; and all at once Mary's skin shewed white as snow with leprosy. And Aaron, looking upon her and seeing her covered with leprous sores, cried out to Moses, My lord, I entreat you, do not hold us to account for this mad rebellion of ours. Must she, then, be no better than a dead woman, cast off like an untimely birth? See, how her flesh is already half devoured with leprosy! When Moses cried to the Lord, beseeching him to restore her, the Lord answered, Nay, if her father had spat in her face, must she not have spent seven days hiding her blushes? Let her be shut out from the camp for seven days, and then brought back. So for seven days Mary was shut out from the camp, and there was no marching on for the people until Mary returned to them.
It was after leaving Haseroth that the people encamped in the desert of Pharan; and here the Lord spoke to Moses, bidding him send out men of mark, one from each tribe, to survey Israel's promised inheritance, the land of Chanaan. This Moses did; and the names of the leading men he despatched from the desert of Pharan were these: Sammua son of Zechur from Ruben, Saphat son of Huni from Simeon, Caleb son of Jephone from Juda, Igal son of Joseph from Issachar, Osee son of Nun from Ephraim, Phalti son of Raphu from Benjamin, Geddiel son of Sodi from Zabulon, Gaddi son of Susi from Manasses' branch of the tribe of Joseph, Ammiel son of Gemalli from Dan, Sathur son of Michael from Aser, Nahabi son of Vapsi from Nephthali, Guel son of Machi from Gad. Such were the names of the men Moses sent out to survey the land, and to Osee, son of Nun, he gave the fresh name of Josue.
And these were the directions Moses gave them for their survey of Chanaan: Make your way in by the south, and when you reach the hill country look well at the land about you. Are its inhabitants strong or weak, many in number or few? Is the land itself prosperous or starved, has it walled cities or unwalled, fertile soil or barren, is it well wooded or bare? Take heart for your enterprise, and bring back with you some sample of what the land yields. (It was the season, then, at which early grapes are already fit to eat.)
So they surveyed the land all the way up from the desert of Sin to Rohob, on the way to Emath. At the southern end of it, when they reached Hebron, they found the sons of Enac there, Achiman and Sisal and Tholmai; Hebron had been founded seven years before the Egyptian city of Tanis. They also made their way to the Ravine of Grapes and cut off a branch with a cluster hanging from it, that needed two men with a pole to carry it; these they brought with them, as well as some of the pomegranates and figs that grew there. It was from this cluster which the Israelites carried away that the place got its name of Nehelescol, the Ravine of Grapes.
Forty days had passed before they returned from their survey, after traversing the whole country, to find Moses and Aaron and all the people of Israel still in the desert of Pharan, by Cades. To these and to the whole multitude they made their report, and shewed them what fruit the land yielded. And this was the story they told: When we reached the land where our errand lay, we found it indeed a land all milk and honey, as this fruit will prove to you; but it is a powerful race that dwells in it, with strong walled cities; such were the sons of Enac, whom we saw there. The south is occupied by Amelec, the mountain parts by Hethites, Jebusites and Amorrhites; by the sea, and round the Jordan river, the Chanaanites are in possession. And now, to still the rising outcry against Moses, Caleb spurred the people on to invade the land and conquer it; It is ready to fall into your hands, he said. But his companions told them, We cannot attack such a people as this; they are too strong for us. And they gave the Israelites an ill account of what they had seen in Chanaan; This country we surveyed, they told them, has too many inhabitants already. Tall of frame are the men we viewed there; nay, some we saw, the race of Enac, of monstrous size as if they were sprung from giants; we looked no bigger than locusts beside them.
So, that night, the whole multitude of the Israelites fell to weeping, and were loud in their complaints against Moses and Aaron: Better that we had died in Egypt, better we should meet our end in this waste desert, than march at the Lord's bidding into such a land as that, where we shall fall at the sword's point, and our wives and children be led off as captives! Were it not better to go back to Egypt? A leader, they said to one another, let us set up a leader who will take us back to Egypt! Moses and Aaron, on hearing it, cast themselves down to earth before the whole assembly of Israel; meanwhile Josue the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephone, who had taken their part in surveying the country, tore their garments in dissent. Nay, men of Israel, they cried, it was a land of great plenty we passed through. The Lord, of his mercy, will find a way in for us, and it will be ours, a land that is all milk and honey! Would you defy the Lord's will, daunted by the Chanaanites? Why, they are bread for our eating; they may not hope to defend themselves. The Lord is on our side; never be afraid of them!
At this, all the people cried out, and were for stoning them. But suddenly, over the tabernacle, the glory of the Lord's presence made itself known to the whole of Israel. And the Lord said to Moses, Am I to be always slighted by this people of mine? Will they never learn to trust in me, for all the marvellous deeds of mine they have witnessed? Enough; I will smite them with pestilence, and make an end of them; I will find a people greater and sturdier than this to march under your leadership.
Good news, Lord, said Moses, for the Egyptians, from whose power you did once rescue your people; good news too, for the inhabitants of this land. They know how you dwell among your people, letting yourself be seen face to face, sheltering us with cloud, going before us in a pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night. Are they to be told that you have annihilated, at a blow, all this host of yours? Ah, they will say, he could find no means to grant his people their promised home, so he was fain to destroy them in the wilderness! Nay, Lord, vindicate your power; have you not said, The Lord is slow to take vengeance, rich in kindness, pardoning the guilt of the wrong-doer? Though indeed you hold no man innocent, and will have the son make amends for the father's guilt, to the third and fourth generation. Forgive, I implore you, this people of yours, as you are ever abundantly merciful, as you have ever shewn favour to us while we made our way from Egypt to this spot.
Then the Lord said, At your request, I forgive. But as I am the living Lord, whose glory must spread wide as earth, these men who have been witnesses of my greatness, of all the marvellous deeds I did, in Egypt and in the desert, yet must needs challenge my power half a score of times, and disobey my will, these shall never see the land I promised to their fathers; it shall never be enjoyed by those who slighted me. My servant Caleb was of another mind; he took my part, and I will allow him to enter the land which he surveyed, and leave his race an inheritance there. The sons of Amalec and Chanaan may rest secure in their mountain glens; to-morrow you must move camp, and go back to the desert by the Red Sea.
Such was the Lord's message to Moses and Aaron: Will this thankless multitude never cease complaining; must I hear nothing but lament from the sons of Israel? Tell them this, As I am living God, the Lord says, the very words you have used in my hearing shall come true; your bones shall be left to lie in this desert. Of all you that were registered above the age of twenty years, you that have made complaint against me, not a man shall enter the land in which I swore to make a home for you, except Caleb the son of Jephone and Josue the son of Nun. These shall make their way in instead, these children of yours that were to be a prey, you thought, to the enemy; they shall have sight, instead, of the land their fathers belittled. In the desert your bones shall lie; and until the desert has swallowed them up, these sons of yours shall wander to and fro in it for forty years, doing penance for your unfaithfulness. For forty days you surveyed the land, and for each day you shall have a year of penance for your sins and feel my vengeance. See if I do not make good the threats I have uttered against a thankless and rebellious people, leaving them to faint and die in the desert.
As for the men Moses had sent to survey the country, who returned to embitter the multitude against him by the ill report they brought with them, they died of plague, there in the Lord's presence; of all that went on that errand, only Josue the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephone were left alive.
Meanwhile the people of Israel, upon hearing all this from Moses, were full of remorse; and at dawn of day they were all up on the mountain heights, crying, We confess our fault; now we are ready to attack the land which the Lord has promised us. What, said Moses, Would you go beyond the Lord's word? You will gain nothing by it. The Lord is not on your side; do not march to the attack, or you will be overthrown by your enemies. The Lord will not take part with men who have refused him obedience; you will be met by Amalecite and Chanaanite, and their swords will lay you low. Yet, in their blind confidence, they marched on into the hill country, though the ark of God, and Moses with it, remained there in the camp. And the men who dwelt in the hill country, Amalecites and Chanaanites, fell on them from above, setting upon them and cutting them down till they had pursued them all the way to Horma.
The Lord gave Moses this message for the sons of Israel: Here are rules to be kept, when you have reached the settled home I mean to give you. When you offer the Lord ox or sheep in burnt-sacrifice, or by way of welcome-offering (whether in payment of a vow, or out of devotion, or because you would greet the Lord with acceptable fragrance on occasion of some solemn feast), the man who is immolating such a victim must make the Lord a bloodless offering as well. This must be a tenth of a bushel of flour, kneaded in three pints of oil, with the same measure of wine for a libation, for every lamb offered. For every ram a fifth of a bushel of flour, two quarts of oil, and the same measure of wine, a fragrant offering for the Lord's acceptance. But when, by way of burnt-sacrifice, or offering for a vow, or welcome-offering, your victim is a bullock, with each bullock you must use three tenths of a bushel of flour, six pints of oil, and the same measure of wine, a fragrant offering, this too, for the Lord's acceptance. A separate offering must be it made to go with each bullock, or ram, or lamb, or kid. Native-born or foreign residents, all must use the same rite in doing sacrifice; precept and award are binding on you and on the aliens that dwell with you, without distinction.
And the Lord gave Moses this command, to be laid on the sons of Israel: When you have reached the land I mean to give you, you must not eat the bread its harvest yields without assigning to the Lord first-fruits from your table. Just as you set apart first-fruits when your corn is threshed, you must give the Lord the first share when your dough is kneaded. It may be you will neglect one of these commandments through inadvertence; so many has the Lord given to Moses to be handed on to you, from the day when first he spoke to you till now. If it is the whole congregation that has thus unwittingly offended, they must offer a bullock, a burnt-sacrifice to please the Lord with the smell of its burning, and the bloodless offering and libations which due order demands; a goat, too, by way of offering for a fault. So the priest will make intercession for the whole congregation of Israel, and their fault shall be pardoned. It was an unwitting offence, and even so they have brought the Lord burnt-sacrifice, and a victim for fault, to atone for their error. When the whole congregation is guilty of such a fault through inadvertence, not only the people of Israel, but all the aliens that dwell among them, will receive forgiveness. If it is one person only that has unwittingly offended, the sacrifice due for the fault will be a yearling she-goat; and when the priest makes intercession for what was inadvertently done amiss, grace and pardon will be given. This law about faults of inadvertence must be observed by all alike, native-born or foreign resident. But if anyone, citizen or alien, is guilty of an offence through pride, and in a spirit of rebellion against the Lord, he is lost to his people. Would he despise the Lord's word, annul his commandment? That fault deserves death, and he will be held to account for it.
It happened once, as the Israelites were passing through the desert that a man was found gathering firewood on the sabbath day. When he was brought before Moses and Aaron and the common assembly of the people, they put him in ward, uncertain what they should do with him. But the Lord said to Moses, His life must pay for it; he must be stoned by the whole multitude, away from the camp. So they took him out and stoned him to death, as the Lord had bidden them.
This, too, was the Lord's word to Moses, Bid the Israelites pass blue cords through the corners of their cloaks, and hang tassels on them; reminding themselves, as they look on these, of all the commandments the Lord has given them. They must not let their thoughts and eyes wander free, into all manner of unfaithfulness, but rather bethink them of the Lord's decrees and carry them out, a people set apart for their God; and that God the Lord, who brought them out of the land of Egypt to make them his own people.
And now a conspiracy was made by Core son of Isaar, a Levite of Caath's family, with Dathan and Abiron, sons of Eliab, and Hon son of Pheleth, a man of Ruben. These rose in rebellion against Moses, and there were two hundred and fifty others, whose names stood high in the councils of the people, that took part with them. And they confronted Moses and Aaron, making their protest thus: You presume too much; are not all the Israelites men set apart? Does not the Lord make his dwelling among all of us alike? We are the Lord's people; who are you that you should take command of us?
At hearing this, Moses cast himself down to earth. To Core, and to his faction, he said, Wait until to-morrow; then the Lord will make it plain which of us he has set apart for himself, and admit them to his presence. Those whom the Lord has chosen will find access to him. Let this be the test; bring censers with you, Core and all you that are of his faction, and tomorrow, in the Lord's presence, put incense on the lighted coals in them; so the Lord will make his choice, and we shall know which of us he has set apart; it is you, sons of Levi, that presume too much. And he made this further answer to Core: Listen, men of Levi; the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the people and made you his own, to do him service in the tabernacle, and stand up, with the eyes of the whole multitude upon you, as his ministers; does not that content you? If he has given you and all your brother Levites access to himself, must you needs claim the priesthood too? Must you and all your company rebel against the Lord? Aaron, what has he done that you should complain so loudly of him?
Then Moses summoned Dathan and Abiron, sons of Eliab, to his presence, but they refused to come. What, they said, would you lord it over us now? When you have brought us away from Egypt, a land that was milk and honey indeed, to die here in the desert? No land of milk and honey for our journey's end, no fields and vineyards to enjoy; what more will you ask of us? Will you pluck out our eyes too? No, we will not come. At this, Moses said to the Lord, in great anger, Spurn every gift these men offer you! You know that I have never robbed them of an ass, or done them any harm. Then he said to Core, Present yourselves before the Lord to-morrow, you and the whole of your company; you shall stand on one side, and Aaron on the other. Bring your censers with you, and you shall put incense on them there; you with two hundred censers, and Aaron with his censer all alone.
There, on the morrow, Moses and Aaron stood, and those others did as they were bidden, and gathered the whole multitude to meet them at the tabernacle door. And the glory of the Lord's presence was revealed to them all. But it was to Moses and Aaron that the Lord spoke; Stand apart, he said, from all the concourse that surrounds you; I mean to make an end of them here and now. Whereupon they fell flat on the ground, crying out, God all-powerful, Lord of every spirit that breathes, will you take vengeance on all for one man's fault? And the Lord said to Moses, Bid all the rest of the people stand apart from the tents of Core, Dathan, and Abiron. And Moses, rising to his feet, went over to where Dathan and Abiron stood; with him were the elders of the people. Withdraw, he told the multitude, from the tents of these rebels; avoid the touch of anything that belongs to them, so that you may not be involved in their guilt. So they withdrew to this side and that, from the dwelling-places of Core, Dathan and Abiron; and now Dathan and Abiron came out and stood at their tent doors, with their wives and children and all their households. Here is proof, Moses said, whether it is at the Lord's bidding I do all you see me do, or prompted by my own spirit. If these men are left to undergo the common lot of mortality, called to their account as others are called to their account, then they are right; the Lord has given me no commission. But if the Lord alters the order of nature, so that earth gapes and swallows them up with all that is theirs, and they go down still living to the depths beneath, then you will have proof that they have spoken blasphemy against the Lord.
He had scarce done speaking, when the ground parted under their feet, gaped open, and swallowed them up, with their tents and all that was theirs. Still living they went down to the depths beneath, and earth closed over them, and their names were lost to the muster-roll of the people. And now all the Israelites who stood round and heard the shrieks of the dying fled away, in dread that they too would be swallowed up by the earth; but not before the two hundred and fifty men who stood there offering incense had perished by fire sent from heaven. Then the Lord said to Moses, Bid Aaron's son, the priest Eleazar, gather up the censers that lie there among the flames, and scatter the coal in them this way and that. They are forfeit, now, through the death of these sinners he must beat them out into plates, which he will nail to the altar. Incense has been offered to the Lord in them, and they must be consecrated things, a portent and a warning to every Israelite who sees them. So the priest Eleazar took these brazen censers from the hands of the dead men the fire had killed, and beat them into plates, which he nailed to the altar, as a warning to the Israelites of after times. No interloper, that is not of Aaron's stock, must ever come forward to offer the Lord incense, or he will suffer the fate of Core and his company, the fate which the Lord, through Moses, foretold to them.
Next day, the men of Israel were enraged against Moses and Aaron, for putting the Lord's people to death. A conspiracy was formed, and the uproar grew fiercer, until Moses and Aaron took refuge in the tabernacle. As soon as they entered it, the cloud overshadowed it, and the glory of the Lord's presence was revealed. And the Lord said to Moses, Withdraw yourselves from this multitude which surrounds you; I mean, after all, to make an end of them. And as they lay there with their faces to the ground, Moses said to Aaron, Take your censer, and put incense on the lighted coals in it, and go with all speed to find the people and make intercession for them; already the Lord has begun to wreak his vengeance, and destruction rages among them. Aaron obeyed, and ran into the midst of the throng where the fire was already making havoc; he offered incense and made intercession for the people, standing there between the dead and the living, and the divine vengeance ceased. Already fourteen thousand seven hundred men had been smitten by it, not counting those who perished in the rebellion of Core. But now the destruction was over, and Aaron went back to meet Moses at the tabernacle door.
Then the Lord said to Moses, Bid the Israelites bring you twelve rods to represent the twelve tribes, each with the name of the tribe's chieftain written on it; and Levi, too must have a rod, a single rod representing all its families, with Aaron's name written on it. These you will lay up in the tabernacle, before the ark, my appointed trysting-place with you. On one of these names my choice shall fall, and the rod which bears that name will sprout. So I will put an end to these complaints with which the men of Israel assail you.
Moses handed on this message to the Israelites and the chieftain of each tribe brought him a rod, twelve rods in all, not counting Aaron's, all of which he laid up in the Lord's presence, in the tabernacle. And when he went back next day he found that the rod of Aaron, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted; buds had formed on it and burst into flower, and these flowers as their petals drooped, turned into almonds. So Moses carried all the rods away from the Lord's presence and shewed them to all the people, and each of the chieftains had his rod returned to him; but Aaron's rod, the Lord told Moses, was to be taken back into the tabernacle, to be kept there in memory of the rebellious Israelites; there must be no more complaining, no more death-penalties. Moses did as the Lord had bidden him; and now the Israelites said to Moses, We have dwindled away; we are dead men, all of us. None comes near the Lord's tabernacle, but he dies for it. Surely he will not go on destroying us, till our race is utterly extinguished?
This was the Lord's word to Aaron: For what is done in the sanctuary, for the duties of your priesthood, none but you and your sons with you shall be answerable; but all the sons of Levi are your brethren, and these, all that come of your father's tribe, you may call in to relieve you by their ministry, while you and your sons minister in the tabernacle that bears record of me. The Levites shall wait on your bidding, as the service of the tabernacle requires it, yet never, at their peril and yours, having access to the things of the sanctuary, or to the altar. They shall be content to relieve you by waiting on the needs of the tabernacle and its worship, in which no other tribe may take part. It is for you, if you would not have my displeasure fall on Israel, to guard the sanctuary and serve the altar's needs. If I have separated your fellow-Levites from the rest of the people, and dedicated them as a gift to myself, I have designated them only for the menial offices of my tabernacle; the priesthood is for you and for your sons. All the ceremonies of the altar, all that is hidden within the veil, belongs to the priests charge; it is death for any other to take part.
This, too, the Lord said to Aaron: Hereby I put the offerings made to me at your disposal; all that the sons of Israel dedicate to me, I pass on to you and to your sons, a portion assigned to the priesthood by right inalienable. All that is set apart, when offerings are made to the Lord, is my gift to you; whatever is offered by way of bloodless sacrifice, or to atone for some fault or wrong done, and vowed to holy uses, belongs to you and yours. It must be eaten on holy ground, and only by men, this consecrated gift I make you. The first-fruits which the Israelites dedicate to me, and hold up in my presence, belong at all times to you and to your sons and to your daughters as well; all that are clean of defilement in your household may partake of them. Do they bring me the best of their oil, their wine, their corn, or any other kind of first-fruits? It is yours; no early fruits of the ground that are brought to the Lord but shall go to your use; none of your household that is clean of defilement but may partake. All that the Israelites give in payment of their vows, is yours. Yours, too, is every living thing that handsels the womb, and so must be offered to the Lord, be it man or beast; for the first-born of men, and for the first-born of unclean beasts, you will take a ransom instead. (The ransom-price, to be paid after one month, is five silver pieces, by sanctuary reckoning; one silver piece is worth twenty pence). But there is no ransoming the first-born of ox or sheep or goat; they are set apart for the Lord. Their blood is to be shed upon the altar, and their fat burned, to please the Lord with the smell of its burning; but the flesh-meat shall go to your use; like the breast and the right shoulder, it is your due. All the sanctuary dues which the sons of Israel offer I give to you and to your sons and daughters by a perpetual deed of gift; it is a covenant between the Lord and your race that time cannot alter.
This, too, the Lord said to Aaron: You are to hold no lands, no portion is to be assigned to you, among your fellow-Israelites. I am all your portion; these others have their several possessions, you have me. And in return for the service they do me in the tabernacle that bears record of my covenant, I have allotted to the sons of Levi the enjoyment of all the tithe Israel pays. Never henceforward, upon pain of death, must other Israelites come near my sanctuary; it is for the Levites only to do the work of the tabernacle, and make themselves answerable for all the people does amiss; and it shall be a law unalterable, age after age, that they possess nothing else, but live content with the tithe which I have set apart for their use, to defray all their needs.
And the Lord bade Moses give this charge to the Levites: When the sons of Israel pay the tithe I have assigned to you, you must offer to the Lord the first-fruits of them, the tenth part of your tithe, as if you were paying dues from threshing-floor and wine-press of your own; you too must offer the Lord first-fruits of all that comes to you, making them over to the high priest Aaron. And the part of your tithe which you set aside as an offering to the Lord must be the best part, the choice part. When you have offered all that is best and richest, you will have paid your dues, as surely as if they came from threshing-floor and wine-press of your own; then you may enjoy the rest of the tithe, and your households with you; it is the reward of all your tabernacle service. You must not incur guilt by keeping the best and the richest for yourselves; for such misuse of the offerings which the sons of Israel make, death is the penalty.
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Here is the law of sacrifice, divinely instituted. Bid the sons of Israel bring a red heifer, fully grown and free from blemish, one that has never borne the yoke. This you will give to the priest Eleazar, who will take it beyond the boundaries of the camp and immolate it there in the sight of all. He will then dip his finger in its blood, with which he will sprinkle the front of the tabernacle door seven times; the heifer itself he will burn publicly, committing skin and flesh, blood and dung to the flames. Cedar-wood, too, and hyssop and stuff twice-dyed in scarlet must be thrown by the priest into the fire which consumes the heifer. When all this is done, he will wash his clothes and his own person before he enters the camp again, and will hold himself defiled till evening comes; and there will be the same duty of washing, the same law of defilement, for the man who has had the burning of it. The ashes of the heifer must be collected by a man who is still free from defilement, and poured out in some place that is free from defilement; and there the people of Israel will keep them to provide lustral water, the ashes of this heifer that is burned to atone for men's faults. Even the man who has the carrying of the ashes must wash his clothes, and hold himself defiled till evening comes. This is to be a sacred observance for the Israelites, and for aliens who dwell among them, by right unalterable.
When a man has touched a dead body, and for a week counts as defiled, with this water he must be sprinkled on the third and the seventh day if he is to be purified; no purification for him on the seventh day unless he has been sprinkled on the third. One who has touched a man's dead body, and will not use this salve for his cleansing, profanes the Lord's dwelling-place; he is lost to Israel, unclean still, and bearing the burden of his defilement, until the lustral water sprinkles him.
If a man dies in his tent, this is the rule that must be followed; all those who go into the tent incur defilement for seven days, and so does all the furniture in it; nothing escapes defilement except what is covered with a lid or wrapped up. And if a man is killed or dies in the open, anyone who touches his body incurs defilement for seven days; so does anyone who touches some bone of a dead man, or his grave. It was to atone for such faults the victim was burned; a handful of its ashes must be thrown into a vessel that contains fresh water, and some man who is free from defilement, using hyssop for a brush, must sprinkle the tent with it, and the furniture of the tent, and all those who are defiled by contact with death. So, on the third and on the seventh day, man defiled must be made clean by man undefiled; and on the seventh day he will wash his clothes, and hold himself defiled, even yet, till evening. The man who will not avail himself of such atonement is lost to the congregation; he is a profanation to the Lord's sanctuary until the lustral water has sprinkled him. This command must never be abrogated. Even the man who has sprinkled the lustral water must wash his clothes, and everyone who has touched it is defiled for the rest of the day. The defiled man defiles all he touches; and anyone who touches it is defiled in his turn till evening.
A new year was beginning, when the Israelites, marching in their full strength, reached the desert of Sin. Here, while they were halting at Cades, Mary died and was buried. And now, hard put to it for want of water, the people made common cause against Moses and Aaron, rebelling against their authority. Better for us, they said, if we had died when our brethren died, by the Lord's visitation! What need was there you should call the Lord's people out into a desert that is death to us and to our cattle? Why must you take us away from Egypt, and bring us out to this sorry place we cannot cultivate? Figs and grapes and pomegranates it yields none, and we have no water, even, to drink.
At this, when they had broken up the gathering, Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle that bore record of the covenant, and there cast themselves down to earth in entreaty. Lord God, they said, listen to the plea made by this people of yours, and open to them your store-house of fresh water, to content them and put an end to their complaints! Then the bright presence of the Lord was revealed to them; and the Lord said to Moses, Take your rod with you, and do you and your brother Aaron gather all the people together. Before their eyes, lay your command upon the rock here, and it will yield water. This water you bring out of the rock will suffice to give drink to the whole multitude, and to their cattle. So Moses took up the rod, there in the Lord's presence, as he was bidden, and they made the people gather before the rock. Listen to me, he said, faithless rebels; are we to get you water out of this rock? Twice Moses lifted his hand, and smote the rock with his rod; whereupon water gushed out in abundance, so that all the people and their cattle had enough to drink. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Why did you not trust in me, and vindicate my holiness in the sight of Israel? It will not be yours to lead this multitude into the land I mean to give them. This is the place called the Water of Rebellion, where the Israelites challenged the Lord, and he vindicated his holiness before them.
From Cades, Moses sent envoys to the king of Edom, with a message to him from his brethren of Israel: you know what hardships have overtaken us; how our fathers made their way into Egypt, how they and we were ill-used by the Egyptians during the long time we spent there, how we cried out to the Lord, till he listened to us and sent an angel to rescue us from Egypt. And now we are here at Cades, on the frontier of your dominions; what we ask of you is leave to pass through this land of yours. There shall be no marching through fields or vineyards, no drinking at your wells; we will travel by the high road, not to right or left, until we have passed beyond your frontiers. But the Edomites refused to let them pass, threatening armed resistance. Let Israel promise as they would to use only the public highway, to pay in full for all they or their beasts might drink, without haggling over the price, to make a quick passage of it; still Edom refused, coming out to meet them there and then in great force, ready to overpower them. The Israelites, then, since no entreaties could move them to grant the right of passage, left the Edomites alone and turned elsewhere.
So, leaving Cades behind them, they reached Mount Hor, on the edge of the Edomite country; and here it was that the Lord said to Moses, Aaron must become a part of his people. For him, there is no entering the land which is your promised home, so unfaithful was he to my word at the Water of Rebellion. Take Aaron and his son with you to the top of mount Hor, strip the father of his priestly garments and clothe his son Eleazar with them instead; there Aaron shall die, and become part of his race. So Moses did as the Lord bade him; together they went up mount Hor in the sight of the whole multitude, and there he stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar, and came back with Eleazar alone, leaving Aaron dead on the mountain top. And the whole people, thus apprised of Aaron's death, mourned over him, all alike, for thirty days.
There was a Chanaanite king that had his capital, Arad, in the south country; and when he heard that the Israelites had come there, following the Spies' Road, he levied war against them, defeating them in the field and winning spoils from them. Whereupon the Israelites took a vow, promising the Lord that if he would grant them victory over this tribe they would raze its cities to the ground. In answer to these prayers, the Lord let his people have their way with the Chanaanite king; they killed him, and destroyed all his cities, giving to the battle-field the name of Horma, that is, Forfeited.
When they left mount Hor, they must needs march along the way that leads to the Red Sea, so as to fetch a compass round the territory of Edom. Before long, the people grew weary of this laborious march, assailing God and Moses with such complaints as these: Why did you ever bring us away from Egypt, only to die in the desert? We have neither bread nor water here; we are sick at heart, sick of the unsatisfying food you give us. Upon this, the Lord sent serpents among them, with fire in their fangs, that struck at many and killed many of them, till they came to Moses and confessed, We have sinned by making complaints against the Lord and against you; entreat him to rid us of the serpents. So Moses made intercession for the people; and the Lord bade him fashion a serpent of bronze, and set it up on a staff, bringing life to all who should look towards it as they lay wounded. And so it proved; when Moses made a brazen serpent and set it up on a staff, the wounded men had but to look towards it, and they were healed.
After this the Israelites marched on, and encamped at Oboth, and left Oboth to encamp at Jeabarim, in the desert that faces Moab on the east. Their next march brought them to the valley of Zared; and so they passed on to encamp by the Arnon, a desert stream which meets you at the Amorrhite border; it is the frontier of Moab, dividing Moab from the Amorrhites. So it came to be written in the Book of the Lord's Battles, What he did by the Red Sea, he will do again in the Valleys of Arnon; among the mountain torrents that come down to rest in Ar, to flow peacefully through the lands of Moab. It was at their next encampment that a well was shown to them; Gather the people together, the Lord had said to Moses, and I will provide water for them; and it was here that Israel first sang the song called, Let the well spring up. They all sang together, Here is the well that was dug by princes; the chieftains of the host laid it open with the staves they carried, with the giver of the law to lead them. So they left the wilderness, and reached Matthana; after Matthana, Nahaliel, and after Nahaliel, Bamoth, and after Bamoth, a valley in the Moabite country with mount Phasga at the head of it, looking out towards the desert.
Here the Israelites sent envoys to Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, asking him for leave to pass through his country, upon condition that they kept clear of fields and vineyards, drank no water from the wells, and marched along the high road until they reached the end of his dominions. But Sehon, sooner than let them pass through his territory, mustered his forces and went out to meet them, there in the desert. Upon reaching Jasa, he offered battle, but they gave him the sword's point, and conquered all his domain, reaching from the Arnon as far as Jeboc and the Ammonite country; the Ammonite frontier had strong garrisons to defend it. Thus Israel took possession of all his strongholds, and had the Amorrhite cities to dwell in, Hesebon and all the smaller towns that depended on it. It was at Hesebon that Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, had made his capital, after making war on the king of Moab and occupying all the lands he held, up to the Arnon.
That is the meaning of the old saying: To Hesebon, to Hesebon! Strong and true be the walls that Sehon is a-building. Fire from Hesebon, a flame from Sehon's town, swallowing up Ar, the city of the Moabites, and all that dwell in the hill-fastnesses by Arnon's side. Woe betide you, Moab; worshippers of Chamas, you are undone. Sehon, the Amorrhite king, has claimed their sons for exile, their daughters for bondage; all their domain is lost, from Hesebon to Dibon; weary of the battle, in Nophe and distant Medaba they have taken refuge at last.
Israel, then, settled in the land of the Amorrhites, and Moses sent spies to survey Jazer. When they had occupied the villages there, and conquered its inhabitants, they turned aside, and marched by the road which leads to Basan. The king of Basan, Og, mustered his people and came out to give them battle in Edrai; but the Lord said to Moses, Do not be afraid of him; I am letting you have your way with him, and all his people, and his territory; you shall conquer him, as you did conquer Sehon, the Amorrhite king that dwelt in Hesebon. And so it proved; they made war on him and his sons and all his subjects until none were left, and so took possession of his country.
Their next encampment was in the plains of Moab, on the further side of Jordan opposite Jericho. But there was one man that took note of all this, Balac the son of Sephor. He saw how the sons of Israel had defeated the Amorrhites, how they had struck terror into Moab, and could not be halted in their advance. And he said to the Madianite chiefs, Here is a people that will make short work of all our neighbours, as easily as an ox tears up grass by the roots. It was in Moab that Balac himself bore rule at this time. So he sent envoys to Balaam son of Beor, the soothsayer who dwelt on the Ammonite border, desiring his presence. Here is a people on the march from Egypt, he said, whose hosts darken the face of earth, and they are encamped at my doors; come and lay your curse on them, for they are too strong for me. I would fain overthrow them, drive them out of my country; and I know well that a blessing falls where you do bless, a curse where you do curse.
So the elders of Moab, chiefs of the Madianite country, set out with gifts in their hands to fee the soothsayer. When they reached Balaam, and gave him Balac's message, he bade them stay there for the night, so that he might answer as the Lord should direct him. To this they consented; and when God came to Balaam and asked him, What is their errand, these guests of yours? he answered, They have brought me a message from Balac, son of Sephor. He says a people has marched there from Egypt, whose hosts darken the face of earth, and he would have me come and lay my ban on them, so that he can make war on them and drive them out of his country. Do not go with them, the Lord said to Balaam; do not lay your curse on the people, for a blessing goes with them. So when he rose next morning he bade the chiefs go back to their own country; the Lord would not allow him to accompany them. And when these returned and told Balac how Balaam had refused to come with them, he sent other chiefs, more in number and greater in rank than those whom he had sent first. And the message these brought with them to Balaam in the name of Balac son of Sephor was this; Come to me with all speed; I am ready to grant you honours and whatever else you would have, if you will only come and lay your ban on this people. But Balaam told them, though Balac should fill his house with silver and gold and offer to give it me, I have no power to go beyond the Lord's bidding by a word great or small. Be pleased to lodge with me to-night, and wait to hear what answer the Lord will give me this time. And that night the Lord came to Balaam and said, If they are here to summon you, rise and go with them, but do ever what I bid you.
When Balaam arose in the morning, he saddled his ass and set out in their company. But now God was angry at his going. There rode Balaam on his ass, with two servants attending him, when all at once an angel of the Lord stood in his path to prevent him. And the ass, seeing an angel standing there with drawn sword, edged away from the road and took to the open fields, so that Balaam must needs beat her, to force her into the path again. Next, the angel stood in a narrow entry between two vineyard walls; and at the sight of him the ass cowered close against one of the walls, crushing her rider's foot, and he must beat her forward again. But still the angel of the Lord would have his way; he moved on to a narrow defile, where there was no room to pass right or left, and stood there to intercept them. And now the ass, seeing him standing there, lay down under her rider; so that Balaam fell into a rage, and beat her flanks harder than ever. Hereupon the Lord endowed the ass with the power of speech, and she said, This is the third time you have beaten me; what have I done to deserve it? You have deserved it, answered Balaam, by playing me false; if I had but a sword in my hand, I would kill you. Why, said the ass, am I not your own beast, that you have ridden these years past? And did I ever play you such a trick before? Never, said he; and with that the Lord opened Balaam's eyes, to make him see the angel standing there with drawn sword, and he fell to the ground in worship.
How comes it, asked the angel, that you have thrice beaten your ass? I came to intercept you, because this errand of yours is headstrong and defies my will; if the ass had not turned aside, yielding to my ban, I would have taken your life and spared hers. I have been at fault, said Balaam, little thinking that you were standing in my way; if you are displeased with my errand, I will go home again. No, said the angel, go with them, but be sure you utter no word save what I bid you. So he went on with the chiefs; and at the news of his coming Balac went out to meet him, at a town where Arnon marks the furthest boundaries of Moab. I sent messengers to summon you, he said to Balaam; why did you not come to me there and then? Did you think I had not the means to reward you for your pains? And Balaam answered, I have come as you see; but with no message for you save what the Lord puts on my lips. So together they made their way to this city on the frontier of Balac's dominions. Here he sacrificed oxen and sheep, sending a portion to Balaam and to the chiefs who had accompanied him; and when morning came, he took him up to the Hill of Baal, from where he could see the furthest outposts of Israel.
And first, Balaam would have Balac raise seven altars there, and provide him with as many bullocks and as many rams. When his bidding was done, they offered a bullock and a ram on each altar. Wait here by the sacrifice, he told Balac; I will go and meet the Lord, if he will, and tell you what message he has charged me with. No sooner had he withdrawn than the Lord came to meet him, and Balaam told him how he had raised seven altars, offering a bullock and a ram on each. With that, the Lord put a message on his lips, bidding him return to Balac and deliver it; so he returned, to find Balac standing beside the burnt-sacrifice he had made, with the Moabite chiefs about him.
Then Balaam prophesied: I have come from Aram, from the hills out in the east; it was Balac summoned me, the king of the Moabites. He bade me come and curse Jacob, come with all speed, and lay my ban on Israel. Curse them, I, when God's curse does not light on them? I lay a ban, where ban from the Lord is none? I will climb the high rocks to see them, the hills shall enlarge my view; here is a people destined to dwell apart, not counted among so the muster-roll of the nations. Sons of Israel, countless as the dust, line of Jacob, past all numbering, may death find me faithful as these, be my end like theirs!
And Balac asked Balaam, What trick is this you have played on me? I sent for you to curse my enemies; will you bless them instead? But he answered, What words should I use, save what the Lord bids me utter? Nay, said Balac, come with me to another spot, from which you will only be able to see a part of Israel, not the whole people; from this you shall lay a curse on them. So he took him to the high ground at the top of mount Phasga; and there, when Balaam had raised seven altars with an offering of bullocks and rams, he would have Balac wait by the burnt-sacrifice, while he kept his tryst. The Lord met him and put a message on his lips to give Balac. And Balac, waiting there with the chiefs of Moab by the burnt-sacrifice, asked him what the Lord's word was.
And again he prophesied: Stand there, Balac, and listen; a message for you, son of Sephor! It is not for God to gainsay himself, as men do, to alter, like the things of earth; must he not make good his word, fulfil his promise? My errand is to bless, and I cannot retract the blessing. It is no false God that Jacob worships, no senseless image that has its shrine in Israel; the Lord dwells with them as their God; his royal trumpets sound for victory. This is the God that brought them out of Egypt, and made them like a wild ox for strength. Jacob needs no soothsayer, Israel no divination; time will reveal the marvellous things God does for them; a people that is like a lioness roused, a lion ready to spring, never resting till it has devoured its prey, drunk the blood of slaughtered men.
And now Balac would have no more, either of curse or of blessing; but Balaam said, Did I not warn you that I must needs carry out God's bidding? Come, said Balac, let me find you another vantage-point; from this perhaps, God will allow you to curse them. And he took him up to the top of mount Phogor looking out towards the desert. Here too Balaam must have seven altars, seven bullocks and seven rams; and Balac did as he was bidden, offering a bullock and a ram on every altar.
But this time, seeing clearly that it was God's purpose to bless Israel, Balaam did not go apart, as before, to look for portents; he turned towards the desert, and there, looking about him, he saw Israel encamped, tribe upon tribe. With that, the spirit of God fell upon him, and he prophesied: Thus speaks Balaam, the son of Beor, thus speaks the man who has seen with eyes blindfolded; thus speaks the man who has heard the words of God himself, looked on a vision sent from the Almighty, who has fallen into a trance, and learned to see aright! How lovely, Jacob, are your tents; Israel, how fair your dwelling! Fair as wooded valleys, as gardens fed by running streams, as bowers of the Lord's own planting, as cedars on the river bank! Like a bucket brimming over at the well, see how their posterity spreads from one river-frontier to the next! The king that rules over them shall rival Agag himself, and take away his kingdom from him. God has rescued them from Egypt, and made them like a wild ox for strength; nations shall come and swallow up their enemies, crush them utterly, shoot them down with arrows. Though Israel takes his rest, it is but as the crouching lion sleeps; who dares disturb the lioness in her den? A blessing, Israel, on all who bless, a curse on all who curse you!
At this, Balac clapped his hands together in vexation; It was to curse my enemies, said he to Balaam, that I summoned you, and thrice you have blessed them instead; back home with you! It was in my mind to raise you to high honours, but this Lord of yours has thwarted you of your ambition. And Balaam still answered, Did I not warn the messengers you sent to me, though Balac should fill his house with silver and gold and offer to give it me, I have no power to go beyond the Lord's bidding by uttering any word of my own, for good or ill; I can only deliver the Lord's message? I will go back, then, to my own folk; but not till I have instructed you about the dealings there must be between this folk and yours in the days that are coming.
And once more Balaam prophesied: Thus speaks Balaam, the son of Beor, thus speaks the man who has seen with eyes blindfolded; who heard speech of God, most high, the Almighty, knew his mind, had vision of him, and in a trance, learned to see aright! My vision is not of this time, is not of the things that meet my eyes. I see a star that rises out of Jacob, a stem that springs from Israel's root; one who shall lay low the chiefs of Moab, shall bring devastation on all the posterity of Seth. Edom shall fall into his hands; the men of Seir will yield their lands to the enemy. Brave deeds in Israel; such a ruler for Jacob as shall leave no remnant in the captured city! Then he spoke of Amalec, Amalec, first-fruits of the nations, shall have his very gleanings destroyed; spoke of the Cinites, Though strong be your fastness, though high your nest, proud race of Cin, it shall not be for ever; Assur shall carry you away into exile. And once more he prophesied: Alas, who can survive when God brings all this about? Men will come in ships of war from Italy, conquering the Assyrians, laying the Hebrew land waste, doomed themselves, last of all, to perish.
With that, Balaam set out and made his way home; and Balac, too, went back from where he came.
Meanwhile, the Israelites were dwelling at Settim; and here they fell a-whoring with the women of Moab. These bade them come and partake of their own sacrifices, and worship their own gods; so that sons of Israel learned the rites of Beelphegor. And the Lord was indignant; he would have had all the clan chiefs hanged on gibbets in the sun's heat, to avert the divine vengeance from the people. But Moses quickly bade the rulers of the people slay all those who had learned Beelphegor's worship.
And now, in full sight of Moses, and of the whole multitude that stood weeping at the tabernacle door, one of the Israelites brought in a Madianite woman to shame his brethren. Whereupon Phinees, son of Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, left his place among the multitude weapon in hand, and followed this Israelite into the place of shame; man and woman both he pierced through, groin to groin. With that, the Israelites were rid of the plague that had befallen them; but not till twenty-four thousand of them had perished. And the Lord said to Moses, It is Phinees, son of Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, who has averted my vengeance from the sons of Israel; a man roused to such indignation in my cause, that my own indignation has spared them from utter overthrow. Tell him, then that I pledge him my favour; the priesthood is secured by covenant to him and to his heirs for ever, in return for this zeal on his God's behalf, that atoned for Israel's sin. (The Israelite who was killed with the woman of Madian was one Zambri, son of Salu, a clan chief of Simeon; and the woman who died with him was called Cozbi, daughter to Sur, a man of high rank among the Madianites.)
And now the Lord said to Moses, Treat the Madianites as enemies, and smite them down; it was as enemies they treated you when they baited a trap for you with Phogor's rites, and with their countrywoman, the Madianite princess Cozbi, that died when the plague came to punish Phogor's worshippers.
When this toll of guilty blood had been taken, the Lord said to Moses and to the new high priest, Aaron's son Eleazar, Make a register, by households and families, of all the Israelites that have reached the age of twenty; that is, all the fighting men. So, in the plains of Moab, across the Jordan opposite Jericho, Moses and the high priest Eleazar summoned them all, the men of twenty years old or more, and passed the Lord's command on to them. And the register was as follows:
The sons of Ruben, Israel's first-born, were called Henoch, Phallu, Hesron and Charmi. These gave their names to the clans of Ruben, which counted forty-three thousand seven hundred and thirty men. Phallu had a son called Eliab, who was the father of Namuel, Dathan, and Abiron. (It was these two chiefs, Dathan and Abiron, that made head against Moses and Aaron at the time of Core's rebellion, setting the Lord at defiance. The earth gaped open, and Core was swallowed up; many of the Israelites were killed, two hundred and fifty of them by fire, and it was a great miracle that when Core perished, his sons did not perish with him.)
The clans of Simeon were named after his sons, Namuel, Jamin, Jachin, Zare and Saul; they counted twenty-two thousand two hundred. And the clans of Gad were named after his sons, Sephon, Aggi, Suni, Ozni, Her, Arod and Ariel; they counted forty thousand five hundred. Juda had two sons, Her and Onan, who died in the land of Chanaan; his other sons gave their names to clans, Sela, Phares, and Zara. (This Phares had two sons, who gave their names to the Hesronites and the Hamulites.) Juda counted seventy-six thousand five hundred. The clans of Issachar were named after his sons, Thola, Phua, Jasub and Semran; they counted sixty-four thousand three hundred. The clans of Zabulon were named after his sons, Sared, Elon and Jalel; they counted sixty thousand five hundred. The clans of Joseph were descended from his two sons, Manasses and Ephraim. Manasses' son Machir gave his name to the Machirites and Machir's son Galaad to the Galaadites; and the clans of Galaad were named after his sons, Jezer, Helec, Asriel, Sechem, Semida and Hepher. (Hepher was the father of Salphaad, who had no sons, but five daughters, Maala, Noa, Hegla, Melcha and Thersa.) Manasses counted fifty-two thousand seven hundred. The clans of Ephraim were named after his sons Suthala, Becher and Thenen. (Heran, the founder of the Heranites, was Suthala's son.) Ephraim counted thirty-two thousand five hundred. All these were the descendants of Joseph. The clans of Benjamin were named after his sons, Bela, Asbel, Ahiram, Supham and Hupham. (Bela's sons gave their names to the Heredites and the Noemanites.) Benjamin counted forty-five thousand six hundred.
Dan had no sons but Suham, the founder of the Suhamites; all the clans descended from Dan were Suhamites, counting sixty-four thousand four hundred. The clans of Aser were named after his sons, Jemna, Jessui and Brie. (Brie had two sons, who gave their names to the Heberites and the Melchielites. Aser had also a daughter called Sara.) Aser counted fifty-three thousand four hundred. And the clans of Nephthali were called after his sons, Jesiel, Guni, Jeser and Sellem. Nephthali counted forty-five thousand four hundred. Thus the whole muster-roll of the Israelites contained six hundred and one thousand, seven hundred and thirty names.
And the Lord told Moses, The land must be divided up under these names, one portion for each. A large portion where they are many, a small portion where they are few; their inheritance is to be assigned to them according to this present register; but always lots must be used to decide between tribe and tribe, between clan and clan. Great or small, they must be content with what the lot gives them.
The Levites, too, were divided into clans, named after Levi's sons, Gerson, Caath and Merari. (These are subdivided into the Levite clans named after Lobni, Hebroni, Moholi, Musi and Core.) Caath was father of Amram, who married Jochabed, a daughter of Levi, born to him in Egypt; the children she bore to Amram were Aaron and Moses and their sister Mary. Aaron's sons were called Nadab, Abiu, Eleazar and Ithamar; but of these, Nadab and Abiu were punished with death for offering the Lord unhallowed fire. Of the Levites altogether, twenty-three thousand were registered; males all of them, but counting all those who were more than a month old. They were not reckoned in the muster-roll of Israel, nor did they receive lands like the rest.
Such was the register of the Israelites made by Moses and the high priest Eleazar, when they reached the plains of Moab, by the Jordan opposite Jericho. Of these, not one had been among those registered by Moses and Aaron in the desert of Sinai, and afterwards doomed by the Lord to die in the wilderness; none of those now remained, except Caleb, son of Jephone, and Josue, son of Nun.
Salphaad, then, was descended from Joseph through Hepher, Galaad, Machir and Manasses. And now his daughters, Maala, Noa, Hegla, Melcha and Thersa came forward, preferring a suit before Moses and the high priest Eleazar and all the chieftains, at the tabernacle door. This was their plea: Our father died in the desert, not that he took any part in Core's rebellion against the Lord; he died accountable for no sins but his own; and he died without male issue. Why must his name be lost to his clan, only because he had no son? Why may we not inherit side by side with our father's kinsmen? So Moses submitted their plea to the Lord's arbitrament, and the Lord said to him, This is a just plea the daughters of Salphaad are making. Grant them the right to inherit side by side with their father's kinsmen, and succeed to his property. And make this announcement to the sons of Israel: When a man dies without sons, his property shall pass to a daughter; if he has no daughter, to his brothers; if he has no brothers, to his uncles; if he has no uncles either, to those who are next of kin to him. This right holds good at all times by law unalterable; it was the Lord's command to Moses.
After this, the Lord bade Moses climb the mountain of Abarim, that was near by, and view the land he was giving to the sons of Israel as their home. When you have viewed it, said he, you too, like your brother Aaron, shall become a part of your people. Both of you earned my displeasure when the people challenged my power in the wilderness of Sin, by not vindicating my holiness before their eyes. (This was by the Waters of Rebellion, at Cades in the desert of Sin.) To this Moses made answer, God, are not you Lord of every spirit that breathes? And will you not find this people a ruler, who shall lead them to and fro, marching at their head? Must the people of the Lord go untended, like sheep without a shepherd? And the Lord said to him, Make choice of Josue, the son of Nun, a man endowed with high gifts; lay your hand upon him, and bid him stand forth before the high priest Eleazar, and the whole assembly. There, in the sight of all, give him your last charge, and share with him that dignity which is yours, so that all Israel may learn to obey him. But whenever some action is planned, the high priest Eleazar will consult the Lord concerning it; at his word both Josue himself and all Israel, and all the company that goes with them, shall move this way and that. So Moses did as the Lord had bidden him, presenting Josue before the high priest Eleazar and the whole assembly, and there laying his hands on Josue's head, and repeating all the charge which the Lord had given him.
This, too was a message the Lord gave to Moses: Bid the sons of Israel bring offerings to regale me, burnt-sacrifices to delight me with the smell of their burning, at the times appointed. Daily, all the year round, they must offer two yearling lambs, without blemish, in burnt-sacrifice to me, one in the morning, one in the evening, with the tenth of a bushel of flour, kneaded in three pints of pure oil. The burnt-sacrifice you offered at mount Sinai, to delight the Lord with the smell of its burning, must continue for all time. For each lamb, too, you will make a libation in the Lord's sanctuary, of three pints of wine. The second lamb will be offered in the evening, repeating all the morning's ceremonies and its libation, and the Lord will accept the smell of its burning.
On the sabbath day you will bring two yearling lambs without blemish, and the fifth of a bushel of flour kneaded with oil as a bread-offering, with due libations poured out sabbath after sabbath; the sacrifice must never be omitted. At the new moon, by way of burnt-sacrifice, you will offer to the Lord two bull-calves and a ram, and seven yearling lambs without blemish, and three tenths of a bushel of flour kneaded with oil by way of bread-offering for each calf, and a fifth for the ram, and a hundredth for each lamb, to delight the Lord with the smell of their burning. And libations of wine will go with each victim, six pints for a bullock, four for a ram, and three for a lamb. Each month, as the year goes round, this shall be your burnt-sacrifice. And together with this repeated sacrifice you will offer the Lord a goat, to atone for faults.
On the fourteenth day of the first month, the Lord's paschal feast begins. The fifteenth day is a feast, and for a whole week bread must be eaten unleavened. Its first day will be a day of solemn observance, on which no servile work may be done. The burnt-sacrifice made to the Lord will be the same as that of the new moon. And one goat must be offered in amends for your faults; all this over and above the morning sacrifice width is to be made that day as always. Thus you will do on each of the seven days, feeding the fire and delighting the Lord with the smell of your burnt-sacrifice, and the libations that go with it. The seventh day too must be a day of solemn observance, on which no servile work may be done.
Another day of solemn observance, on which no servile work must be done, is the day of first-fruits, when you bring the Lord a bread-offering out of the new crops. You must bring the Lord a burnt-sacrifice, to delight him with the smell of its burning, as at the new moon. There must be a goat, too, offered in amends for fault; all this, over and above the daily sacrifice and its libations. Sacrifice or libation, all that you offer the Lord must be without blemish.
So, too you will make the first day of the seventh month a day of solemn observance, and a holiday from servile work; it is to be marked by a blast of trumpets. It will have its fragrant burnt-sacrifice, of a bull, a ram, and seven yearling lambs without blemish; and the bread-offering to go with them, three-tenths of a bushel of flour kneaded with oil for the bull, a fifth for the ram, a tenth for each of the seven lambs. And a goat will be offered to make amends for the people's faults. All this, over and above the monthly sacrifice and its offerings, over and above the daily sacrifice and its libations; a third offering that day, with the same ceremonies, will delight the Lord with the smell of its burning.
The tenth day of this seventh month is to be solemnly observed as a day of fasting, and also of rest from work. You will sacrifice bull and ram and lambs as before, bread-offerings as before for bull and ram, a hundredth of a bushel of flour for each of the seven lambs, and a goat for your faults. That day, too, will have its special ceremonies of atonement for wrong done and the daily sacrifice will be made, with its bread-offering and libations, in the customary way. On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, which is also to be solemnly observed as a holiday, you will begin a week of observance in the Lord's honour, offering him a fragrant burnt-sacrifice of thirteen bull-calves, two rams, and fourteen lambs, with the usual bread-offering for each bull, each ram, each of the fourteen lambs, and a goat for your faults, over and above the daily sacrifice and what goes with it. The next day you will offer the same number of rams and lambs, but only twelve calves, all with their customary bread-offerings and libations; a goat, too, for faults, over and above the daily ceremonies. On the third day eleven calves, and the rest as before; on the fourth day ten calves, and the rest as before; on the fifth day nine calves, and the rest as before; on the sixth day eight calves and the rest as before; on the seventh day seven calves and the rest as before. The eighth day, too, is to be held in all honour as a holiday; and this day too you will offer fragrant burnt-sacrifice, but only one bull, one ram, and seven yearling lambs without blemish, with their customary bread-offerings and libations, and a goat for your faults, over and above the daily sacrifice and what goes with it. Such are the offerings you must make to God at your public festivals, over and above those you bring in payment of a vow, or out of devotion, burnt-sacrifice and bloodless sacrifice and libation and welcome-offering.
So Moses told the Israelites what charge the Lord had given him. He also gave the chief men of Israel's tribes this command from the Lord: It may be, man or woman will take a vow, or an oath. If it be a man, he must in any case carry out what he promised, and not be false to his word. But if a woman has made a vow, or bound herself by an oath, it may be she is only a girl, living in her father's house still. Did her father know that she had vowed or sworn, and make no protest? Then she is bound by her vow; she must fulfil what she bound herself by oath to fulfil. Did her father, as soon as he heard of it, refuse his consent? Then vow or oath are null and void; she cannot be held to her promise if her father did not consent to it. It may be such a girl will marry, still under her vow, still bound by her youthful undertaking; does her husband hear of it without protest? She must be held to her vow thenceforward; she must carry out what she promised. Or does he refuse his consent upon hearing of it? Then he annuls this promise, this youthful undertaking of hers, and the Lord will not hold her guilty. Or the woman may be a widow, or a wife divorced; she must then fulfil her promise. Or a wife already living under her husband's roof, may take vow or oath; is she bound to fulfil her promise? Yes, if he hears of it and makes no protest. But if he immediately refuses his consent, she cannot be held to her undertaking; the Lord will not hold her guilty if her husband's consent is refused.
It may be a wife will bind herself by an oath, vowing to mortify herself by fasting or some other kind of abstinence; it is for her husband to decide whether she is to keep it or not. If he makes no protest on hearing of it, but waits till afterwards before making his decision, she must pay her vow, keep the promise she made; there was no protest from him when he heard of it. If, after hearing of it, he refuses his consent, then it is he that will be held to account for her fault.
Such are the rules the Lord gave Moses, to govern the conduct of husband and wife, or of a father and his daughter when she is a girl still living at home.
And now the Lord said to Moses, Soon you are to become a part of your people; but first take vengeance, in Israel's name, on the sons of Madian. So Moses ordered a muster of men sufficient to wreak the Lord's vengeance on the Madianites, a thousand picked warriors from each tribe. Thus a force of twelve thousand, a thousand from each tribe, was put under arms; and he appointed Phinees, son of the high priest Eleazar, to command them, entrusting him with the sacred emblems and the trumpets that must sound for battle. So they fought against the Madianites and defeated them. All the men-folk they killed, the chiefs of the tribe, Evi, Recem, Sur, Hur and Rebe among them; Balaam, too, the son of Beor, they put to the sword; and took possession of their women-folk and children, their cattle and all their goods. Nothing that belonged to Madian but was ravaged; cities, villages and strongholds were burnt down, and all the booty, all the captives, all the beasts they had taken they brought with them to Moses and Eleazar; whatever was of use must be brought back to the camp in the plains of Moab opposite Jericho.
Moses went out to meet them, as they drew near the camp, with the high priest Eleazar and all the rulers of Israel. And it was an angry welcome they had from him, chiefs and commanders and captains that had gone out to fight; What means it, he asked, that you have spared the womenfolk? Was it not these that beguiled the sons of Israel, at the prompting of Balaam, and led you to play the Lord false by worshipping Phogor, so that a plague fell on the whole people? All the males must be killed, even the children, and all the women that have had commerce with man; the young girls and all the women that are still virgins you may keep for yourselves.
For seven days you must not enter the camp; whoever has killed a man or touched a man that lay killed must be purified on the third day of the seven, and on the last. Of all the spoil you have taken, every garment, every pot and pan, that is made of goats skins and goats hair, or of wood, you must purify too. (This was how the high priest Eleazar expounded the law to the men who had come back after the victory: The Lord has warned Moses that gold, silver, bronze, iron, lead and tin, and all else that can stand the fire's heat, may be purified by fire, but everything else must be cleansed with lustral water.) On the seventh day you will wash your clothes, and so you will be able to come into the camp, purified men.
This, too, the Lord said to Moses, you and the high priest Eleazar and the rulers of the people must reckon up the sum of the booty taken, and divide it up into equal shares, giving half to the men who went out to war, and half to the rest of the people. Out of the fighting men's share, set apart one human creature, one ox, one ass, one sheep, in every five hundred; these must be given to the high priest Eleazar, as the Lord's first-fruits. Out of the share that goes to the rest of Israel, set apart one out of every fifty living things, whether human creatures, oxen, asses or sheep, and give them to the Levites, that have the Lord's tabernacle in their charge.
Moses and Eleazar did as the Lord had bidden them. And this was the booty which the army had taken, six hundred and seventy-five thousand sheep, seventy-two thousand oxen, sixty-one thousand asses, and thirty-two thousand human creatures, all of them of woman's sex, and such as had never had commerce with man. Half of all was given to the men who had been in battle; and of this they set apart as the Lord's share six hundred and seventy-five sheep, seventy-two oxen, sixty-one asses; and thirty-two human creatures were dedicated to the Lord out of the half-share of sixteen thousand. All these, the full toll of the Lord's first-fruits, Moses gave over to the high priest Eleazar, as the Lord had bidden him; taking them from that half of the public spoils that fell to the warriors. And out of the half that fell to the rest of the people, the three hundred and thirty-seven thousand five hundred sheep, the thirty-six thousand oxen, the thirty thousand five hundred asses, and the sixteen thousand human creatures, Moses took one in every fifty, and gave them, as the Lord had bidden him, to the Levites that had the Lord's tabernacle in their charge.
And now the chiefs and commanders and captains of the army came and told Moses, My lord, we have been calling the roll of the men we had serving under us, and every one answered his name. In thanksgiving for this, we would offer as a gift to the Lord the spoils we have taken severally, such as are of gold; anklet and armlet, ring and bracelet and necklace; and do you make intercession for us to the Lord. So Moses and the high priest Eleazar accepted all this gold in all its varied shapes; sixteen thousand seven hundred and fifty sicles in weight, as a gift from the commanders and captains, each of them giving the spoils he had seized for himself; and they took it into the tabernacle that bore witness of the covenant, to put the Lord in mind of the Israelites continually.
The tribes of Ruben and Gad were rich in flocks, and their herds were past all reckoning. And now, seeing how well fitted were the lands of Jazer and Galaad to feed beasts, they brought a petition to Moses, and the high priest Eleazar, and the rulers of the people. Here is Ataroth, they said, here are Dibon, and Jazer, and Nemra, and Hesebon, and Eleale, and Saban, and Nebo, and Beon, all given over by the Lord into the hands of Israel at the first onslaught; and all of this is good grazing land. My lord, we have many beasts to feed, and we would ask a favour of you; grant us this land for our portion, instead of making us cross the Jordan to win it.
What, answered Moses, are your brethren to go and fight while you sit idle here? Would you daunt the spirits of the Israelites, so that they have not the courage to cross over into the land which the Lord means to give them? Why, this was what your fathers did, when I sent them from Cades-Barne to bring back a report of the land; they passed through the whole extent of it, until they reached the Valley of Grapes, and came back to daunt the spirits of their fellow-Israelites, so that none of them ever entered the territory which the Lord had assigned to them. So angry was he that he bound himself by an oath, None of the men who made their way out of Egypt and then would not follow me, men of twenty years and more, shall ever see the land which was my promised gift to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. None of them, except Caleb the son of Jephone and Josue the son of Nun, the men who carried out my will. Still angry, he led us this way and that through the desert, till the generation that had offended him died out. And now you come forward in the spirit of your fathers, the heirs and scions of their guilt, to make the Lord more angry with Israel than ever. Refuse to follow him, and he will leave his people here in the desert so you will be the death of us all.
But still they came closer, and would have their say; We mean only to build folds for our sheep, byres for our cattle, and cities where our children can dwell in safety; then we will go forward, armed and girded for battle, in the van of Israel, until we have won them their territory. We must have walled cities to protect our children and our possessions from sudden attack by our neighbours; but we will not go back to these homes of ours till the other Israelites have won their inheritance; and we will not demand any lands on the further side of Jordan, our portion once secured to us on the east of it. Be as good as your word, then, Moses said; arm yourselves to do battle under the Lord's eye, and cross over Jordan in battle array, all of you that are fighting men, till the Lord has overthrown his enemies and won the whole land for himself. So neither the Lord nor Israel will have any fault to find with you, and you shall hold, under the eye of the Lord's favour, the territory of your choice. If you do not make good your word, you will be sinning openly against God; and be sure that your sin will not go unpunished. Build cities for your families, byres and folds for your sheep and cattle, and then fulfil your promise. We are your servants, the men of Gad and Ruben said to Moses, and will do as our master bids; leave children and wives, sheep and cattle in the cities of Galaad, and go out ourselves, armed for battle, as servants at their master's command.
So Moses gave the word to the high priest Eleazar, and Josue the son of Nun, and the heads of all the clans in Israel, that the tribes of Ruben and Gad were to receive Galaad as their portion once the whole land was conquered, if they would consent to let all their armed men cross the Jordan and do battle under the Lord's eye with the rest. If they would not undertake to help carry the war into Chanaan on those terms, then they must wait and win their portion among the other tribes. But Ruben and Gad protested that they were willing to yield the Lord the service he asked of them; to invade Chanaan under his eye, and still be content with the portion granted them on the further side of Jordan. So Moses gave the dominions of Sehon, that had been king of the Amorrhites, and Og, the king of Basan, with all the cities that were contained in the whole region, to Gad and to Ruben and to half the tribe of Manasses, that were descended from Joseph's son. And the men of Gad rebuilt Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer, Etroth, Sophan, Jazer, Jegbaa, Bethnemra and Betharan, all fortified cities, and folds, too, for their sheep. The men of Ruben rebuilt Hesebon, Eleale, Cariathaim, Nabo and Baalmeon, under other names, and Sabama too; they gave names of their own to these cities when they rebuilt them. Meanwhile the descendants of Machir, that was Manasses' son, had made their way into Galaad and plundered it, slaughtering the Amorrhites who dwelt there; so Moses gave Galaad to the clan of Manasses' son Machir, and there they took up their abode. Other Amorrhite towns were taken by Jair, a tribesman of Manasses, who called them Havoth-Jair, that is, Jair's villages; and Nobe, who invaded and captured Chanath with its daughter-towns, called this after his own name, Nobe.
Here is a list of the stages through which the Israelites journeyed, when Moses and Aaron had led their armies out of Egypt. It was Moses that kept a record of the places where they encamped, now here, now there, at the Lord's bidding. They set out from Ramesses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the second day of the paschal feast, in full sight of the Egyptians, who must perforce let them go. And indeed these had enough to do burying their first-born, whom the Lord had smitten when he took vengeance on the powers of Egypt.
Their first encampment was at Socoth, and from Socoth they marched to Etham, on the verge of the desert; and from there they marched along past Phihahiroth, which is opposite Beelsephon, and encamped by Magdalus. From Phihahiroth they went across through the heart of the sea into the wilderness, and after three days' march in the desert of Etham, halted at Mara. From Mara they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm-trees, and pitched their tents there. When they left it, they encamped by the Red Sea, and from the Red Sea they moved their camp to the desert of Sin, from the desert of Sin to Daphca, thence to Alus, thence to Raphidim, where the people could not find enough water to drink. Then from Raphidim to the desert of Sinai, thence to the Graves of Greed, thence to Haseroth, thence to Rethma, thence to Remmon-phares, thence to Debna, thence to Ressa, thence to Ceelatha, thence to mount Sepher. Then from mount Sepher to Arada, thence to Maceloth, thence to Thahath, thence to Thare, thence to Methca, thence to Hesmona, thence to Moseroth, thence to Benejaacan, thence to mount Gadgad. Then from mount Gadgad to Jetebatha, thence to Hebrona, thence to Asiongaber, thence to the desert of Sin, that is, to Cades. It was after they had left Cades that they encamped on mount Hor, at the verge of the Edomite territory; and now, at the Lord's command, the high priest Aaron went up to the top of mount Hor and died there. This was on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year since the Israelites left Egypt, and Aaron had now reached the age of a hundred and twenty-three. Now, too, the Chanaanite king who had his capital, Arad, in the south country, heard that Israel was marching against Chanaan.
From mount Hor they moved their camp to Salmona, thence to Phunon, thence to Oboth, thence to Ijeabarim, within the frontiers of Moab, thence to Dibongad, thence to Helmondeblathaim, thence to the hill country of Abarim, by mount Nabo. When they left the hill country of Abarim, they removed to the plains of Moab, facing Jericho on the other side of Jordan, their camp stretching across the whole Moabite plain from Bethsimoth to Abelsatim.
And here the Lord spoke to Moses giving him a message for the Israelites: When you have crossed Jordan, and find yourselves in the land of Chanaan, you must destroy all its inhabitants, break down their pillars, shatter their idols, devastate their mountain shrines. The land must be swept clean before you settle in it. Here it is that I mean to give you your home, which you will divide up by lot, wide lands for the many, a narrow strip for the few, each clan and each household receiving such portion as the lot has assigned to it. If you refuse to root out the nations that now live there, those who are left will be eyesores to you, barbs in your side, to dispute with you the land that is yours; and meanwhile, I will plague you with the plagues that should have been theirs.
And the Lord bade Moses give this message too to the Israelites: When you have entered Chanaan and duly taken possession of it, these shall be the frontiers that bound it. The southern end of your territory will begin at the desert of Sin, by Edom, bordered on the east by the Sea of Salt. Its border on the south shall curve along the Scorpion Pass till it crosses over to Senna, and reaches southward as far as Cades-Barne; then it will go to the town called Adar, and pass on to Asemona. From Asemona it will curve round to the Brook of Egypt, ending at the shore of the Great Sea. On the western side, your territories shall begin at the Great Sea; they shall have no other frontier than this. Your northern border will stretch from the Great Sea to Summit mountain, and so by Emath to the edge of Sedada, and on to Zephrona and the village of Enan; all this to on the north. From this village of Enan you will mark out your eastern border till it reaches Sephama, passing from Sephama to Rebla, close to the well of Daphnis, and from there to the eastern shore of Lake Cenereth. So it will fall into the Jordan valley and end at last with the Sea of Salt. These shall be the frontiers that bound your land.
So Moses passed on word to the Israelites that this was the territory they were to divide up by lot; the Lord's destined gift to nine and a half out of the twelve tribes. (All the clans of Ruben's tribe and of the tribe of Gad, with half the tribe of Manasses, two and a half tribes in all, had received their portion on the eastern bank of Jordan opposite Jericho.)
And now the Lord said to Moses, These are the names of the men who will divide up the land for you. First, the high priest Eleazar and Josue the son of Nun, and then the chieftains of the several tribes, as follows. For Juda, Caleb the son of Jephone, for Simeon, Samuel the son of Ammiud, for Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chaselon, for Dan, Bocci the son of Jogli. And among Joseph's descendants, for Manasses, Hanniel the son of Ephod, for Ephraim, Camuel the son of Sephthan. For Zabulon, Elisaphan the son of Pharnach, for Issachar, Phaltiel the son of Ozan, for Aser, Ahiud the son of Salomi, for Nephthali, Phedael the son of Ammiud. These were the men the Lord appointed to divide up Chanaan between the Israelites.
This was another message the Lord gave to Moses on the eastern bank of Jordan opposite Jericho; he was to bid the Israelites make provision for the Levites out of these lands of theirs. The Levites were to have cities with precincts about them; cities for the Levites themselves to live in, and precincts for their flocks and cattle, stretching a thousand yards beyond the city walls. Two thousand cubits to the east, as many to the south, as many towards the western sea, as many to the north; the city was to lie in the middle with precincts all round it. Six of the towns granted to the Levites would be sanctuaries for the outlaw, offering a refuge to homicides, and there would be forty-two more, making forty-eight cities in all, with precincts attached to them. All these cities were to be a toll levied from the lands of the Israelites, in greater number from those who held more, in less number from those who held less; they would make their grant to the Levites according to their several capacities.
And the Lord spoke to Moses giving him this message for the Israelites: When you have crossed Jordan and reached Chanaan, you must decide which of your cities are to be sanctuaries for men who have shed blood unwittingly. Such a man, if he takes refuge there, will be beyond the reach of avenging clansmen, until such time as he can appear and have his cause decided by the people. Of the cities appointed as sanctuaries, three must lie beyond the Jordan, three in Chanaan itself; and they shall be open not only to Israelites but to the aliens that lodge or dwell among you, as a refuge for all who have shed blood unwittingly.
In such causes, anyone who struck a deadly blow with a weapon of iron must be reckoned a murderer, and put to death; and the penalty is all the same if the deadly blow was struck with a stone, or with a piece of wood. Any kinsman of the deadman may strike the murderer down, strike him down without more ado as soon as he meets him. Anyone, that is, who thrusts at a man out of malice, or lies in wait for him and discharges a weapon at him, or makes a deadly assault on him because they are enemies, is a murderer, to be struck down by the kinsmen of the dead man as soon as they meet him. But if it was by chance, without any malice or feud between them, and this is proved in the hearing of the people, after due consideration of the pleas brought by the slayer and by the dead man's kin, then he is innocent, and must be rescued from the avenger's power. He must be taken back, by award of the court, to his city of refuge, and make his abode there until the death of the high priest then anointed. Once the slayer leaves the confines of the sanctuary town, anyone who has a feud against him may strike him down wherever he meets him, without incurring guilt; he should have remained in his city of refuge until the high priest died. On the high priest's death, the slayer is free to return home. These laws shall hold good among you everywhere and always.
Witnesses are needed before the murderer can be punished; the word of a single witness does not suffice for his condemnation. You are not to accept blood-money from the murderer; he is to be put to death there and then. Nor, upon any condition, must you allow the outlaw who has taken sanctuary to return home until the high priest's death; this would bring pollution on the land that is yours. The blood of an innocent man involves the whole land in such guilt as can only be expiated by the murderer's own blood; and you must keep your territory clean of such defilement if I am to dwell among you; the Lord himself is the guest of Israel.
And now a plea was brought to Moses, before all the rulers of Israel, by the chiefs of the clan descended from Galaad, son of Machir, son of Manasses, that came of Joseph's stock. You are our master, they said, and the Lord has commanded you, in dividing the land between the sons of Israel, to give a portion to the daughters of Salphaad, the portion which should have gone to their father. If these marry into another tribe, their land will go with them, and it will be lost to our tribe, transferred to the possession of another. The fiftieth year, the year of jubilee, will come round, but still the division of holdings will remain disturbed, and the land belonging to one tribe will be held by another.
And Moses, at the Lord's bidding, made this declaration to the Israelites, The sons of Joseph are in the right, and this is the ruling which the Lord gives concerning the daughters of Salphaad, Let them marry whom they will, so long as it is within their own tribe. The portions assigned to the sons of Israel must not pass from tribe to tribe; all men must take wives from their own tribe and clan, and all women must marry within their own tribes, so that property may remain within the clan. The tribes must not intermingle, but remain separate according to the Lord's plan for them. So the daughters of Salphaad carried out the Lord's bidding, and all of them, Maala, Thersa, Hegla, Melcha and Noa married their own cousins, men sprung from Manasses, that was son of Joseph. So the portion granted to them remained within their father's tribe and clan.
Such were the decrees and awards which the Lord delivered to the Israelites through Moses on the eastern bank of Jordan opposite Jericho.