Mesopotamian Mondays: Deities Who Forget

In the ancient world, deities were perceived as sometimes forgetting about humans, their servant subjects. Such is true for ancient Judean religion(s) (i.e. the Hebrew Bible) and Mesopotamian religion(s). So, in what follows, I will briefly explore one method by which Assurbanipal reminded deities to pay attention. This is followed by a couple of examples demonstrating how certain actions and moments in the Hebrew Bible are means by which the Israelites reminded the deity to pay attention.

During the reign of Assurbanipal (c.  668-627 BCE), the Assyrian king collected a massive amount of Akkadian (cuneiform) texts from across Mesopotamia. He then compiled these texts into a single location, which is the modern archaeological site of Kouyunjik, ancient Nineveh. Many of these cuneiform tablets are explicitly noted as being compiled for the palace of Assurbanipal. In other words, Assurbanipal of Assyria was responsible for creating a treasure trove of literary, magical, ritual, and other types of cuneiform texts.

His gathering of these texts served to point to Assurbanipal’s wisdom. In doing so, he hoped that this would also cause deities to look favorably upon his rule, life, kingship, and well-being. In fact, most of these texts contain statements at the end of the tablets about the scribe and writing process. This is more commonly called a colophon. In a few of these colophon’s, the speaker of the text is Assurbanipal himself! So, at the end of a medical texts, the colophon begins with: “I, Assurbanipal, king of the universe, king of Assyria, on whom Nabu and Tashmetu have bestowed vast intelligence… I wrote down on tablets Nabu’s wisdom, the impressing of each and every cuneiform sign, and I checked and collated them” [1]. Assurbanipal goes on to plead for well-being in the present and future.

In this prayer-colophon, the tablet serves as a reminder to the deity: “When this work is deposited in your house and placed in your presence, look upon it and remember me with favor!” [2].  Essentially, the material on which Assurbanipal claims to have written serves as a physical reminder to the deity to pay attention! Thus, by amassing a massive number of texts, many of which explicitly reference being in the Palace of Assurbanipal, his accumulation of texts is practical on two planes. First, it highlights his role as a sage par excellence. Second, the accumulation physically serves as a reminder to the deities, especially the writing deity Nabu, to pay attention to Assurbanipal.

A similar sentiment is expressed in the Hebrew Bible. Throughout the Pentateuch, more commonly referred to as the Torah, people do certain actions which remind Yahweh to pay attention to them. Likewise, Yahweh requires Israelites to perform certain actions so that he doesn’t forget things. For example, Jeremy Schipper and Jeffrey Stackert illustrate how circumcision functions as a reminder to Yahweh: “by prescribing a physical “blemish” for all Israelite males, God turns an irritant into an effective reminder for himself so that he might always bless his people with fertility” [3].

Additionally, Yahweh remembers his covenant with the Patriarchs only after he hears the groans of the Israel: “And Yahweh hear their groanings, such that God remember his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel and God took notice” (Exodus 2:24-25; my translation). In other words, Yahweh is not portrayed as having divine omnipotence, knowing and remember everything happening in the world; rather, he is portrayed as being a forgetful deity, inasmuch as he forgets about the Israelites and his covenant. It is only sound, a loud cry, which reminds Yahweh of his covenant. In short, this demonstrates how the notion of needing deities to pay attention is a common problem in the ancient Near East; however, different time periods, scribes, and cultures deal with the issue in different ways [4].

 

[1] Benjamin Foster, Before the Muses (Bethesda: CDL Press, 2005), 831.

[2] Before the Muses, 831.

[3] Jeremy Schipper and Jeffrey Stackert, “Blemishes, Camouflage, and Sanctuary Service: The Priestly Deity and His Attendants,” in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 4 Vol. 2 (2013), 477-478.

[4] To be clear, I am not claiming that these are the same or that one influenced the other. Rather, I am suggesting that this is simply part of the broader ancient theological environment.

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Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part VI)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

As noted in the pervious post, the trajectories go in different directions after Leviticus 8:36 and Exodus 29:37. Prior to these verses, aside from differences regarding when the altar is to be consecrated, they are quite similar. How, though, do the trajectories of the remainder of these sections relate to each other?

Milgrom notes an important relationship between Leviticus 8’s narrative and Exodus 29: “there is a good ancient Near Eastern precedent for the Israelite writer to have inserted his own choice of words and idioms when he described the fulfillment of a command. Indeed, were it not for the other deviations adduced here, which show that Lev 8 represents a viewpoint different from that of Exod 29, it would even be possible to argue… that Exod 29 and Lev 8 could have been written by the same author” (547-548). So just as Milgrom recognizes the nearness of the two portions of text, I do. And as he notes, they are from different perspectives.

While the narrative in Leviticus 9:1-24 and Exodus 29:38-46 are the paramount example of differing perspectives, they operate on parallel trajectories. First, both perspectives reflect cultic service after the consecration of the altar. Leviticus places the consecration in 8:15, and Exodus 29:36-37 makes official a consecrated altar. Second, both perspectives find their climax in Yahweh appearing to the people.

…the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. – Lev 9:23b

“And I will meet there with the sons of Israel, and it shall be consecrated by My glory.” – Exod 29:43

 

 

Establishing that the glory of Yahweh will appear as the two sections parallel each other raises an important question. How do the unique perspectives on the consecration of the Tent of Meeting actually parallel and interact with each other?

In the next post, I will analyze the two perspectives, how they are similar, and how they differ.

Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part V)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

In my previous post, I noted that one of the greatest distinctions between the narrative of Leviticus and Exodus rests in Leviticus 8:15 and Exodus 29:36. It is important to grasp why these two passages are different because it may shed light on the climactic event of Nadab and Abihu’s deaths.

36 “And each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it; and you shall anoint it to consecrate it. – Exodus 29:36

15 Next Moses slaughtered it and took the blood and with his finger put some of it around on the horns of the altar, and purified the altar. Then he poured out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, to make atonement for it. – Leviticus 8:15

The conflict between these two passage is, in short, the location of the purification of the altar. Leviticus places the purification prior to the consecration of the Tent of Meeting while Exodus places it following the rituals for consecration. Feder argues that the redactor of Leviticus removed anointing of the altar that consecrated from Exodus 29:36, likely the older of the two texts, and placed the consecration at the beginning of the consecration of the Tent of Meeting (See Feder, 2011, pg. 50-51).

In short, “Lev 8 reflects the view that the anointment of the altar is a prerequisite for its use in the cult; hence, the anointment takes place before the sacrifices” (Feder 2011, 51). Thus, for the redactor of Leviticus 8, it is of the utmost importance to ensure that, prior to use, the altar is anointed, thereby being consecrated.  This simultaneously marks a point wherein Leviticus 9 and the remainder of Exodus 29 diverge on distinct paths. The distinction of anointment and consecration prior for Leviticus and following for Exodus is the crux and turning point for both narratives.

At this point, Leviticus 9-10:3 expands on the idea from Exodus 29:37-46, and also Exodus 30:1-7. The relationship between these two will be explored further in the next few posts. The following posts will also take into consideration the significance of Leviticus’ value of anointment and consecration prior to sacrifice, in contrast to Exodus.

 

Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part IV)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

The follow compares Exodus 29:31-37 and Leviticus 8:31-36. All translations are from the NASB.

Exodus 29:31-32 31 “And you shall take the ram of ordination and boil its flesh in a holy place.

32 “And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket, at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

 

Leviticus 8:31 31 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons, “Boil the flesh at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and eat it there together with the bread which is in the basket of the ordination offering, just as I commanded, saying, ‘Aaron and his sons shall eat it.’

 

Exodus 29:33 33 “Thus they shall eat those things by which atonement was made at their ordination and consecration; but a layman shall not eat them, because they are holy.

 

N/A N/A
Exodus 29:34 34 “And if any of the flesh of ordination or any of the bread remains until morning, then you shall burn the remainder with fire; it shall not be eaten, because it is holy.

 

Leviticus 8:32 32 “And the remainder of the flesh and of the bread you shall burn in the fire.

 

Exodus 29:35 35 “And thus you shall do to Aaron and to his sons, according to all that I have commanded you; you shall ordain them through seven days.

 

Leviticus 8:33 33 “And you shall not go outside the doorway of the tent of meeting for seven days, until the day that the period of your ordination is fulfilled; for he will ordain you through seven days.

 

N/A N/A Leviticus 8:34 34 “The LORD has commanded to do as has been done this day, to make atonement on your behalf.

 

Exodus 29:36 36 “And each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement, and you shall purify the altar when you make atonement for it; and you shall anoint it to consecrate it.

 

N/A N/A
Exodus 29:37 37 “For seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it; then the altar shall be most holy, and whatever touches the altar shall be holy.

 

 

 

 

Leviticus 8:35 35 “At the doorway of the tent of meeting, moreover, you shall remain day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that you may not die, for so I have been commanded.”

 

N/A N/A Leviticus 8:36 36 Thus Aaron and his sons did all the things which the LORD had commanded through Moses.

 

 

As this brief chart displays, these two passages are similar, although they do have distinct focuses. Exodus, first of all, is far more focused on issues of holiness. Verses 31, 33, 36, and 37 demonstrate a focus on the holiness, purity, and consecration of the altar. Unlike Leviticus, Exodus explicitly notes that non-Priests, laymen, are not to eat of the sacrifices. Leviticus is seemingly simpler and more focused on ensuring that Aaron and his sons did exactly what the LORD had commanded through Moses. In only 6 verses, there are two references confirming their obedience to commandments of the past, verse 34 and 36.

The parallels between the narrative and commands are intriguing for a variety of reasons. For the sake of this post’s length, I will focus on one, namely the rearrangement of Leviticus by the redactor. The difference between Leviticus and Exodus 29:36, especially with regard to the issue of holiness and consecration, may be due, in part, to the final editors movement of sacrificial terminology and practice to one which fit his own socio-historical context. Regardless of that, Yitzhaq Feder suggests that consecration of the altar in Leviticus 8:15 may have been originally more in line with Exodus 29:36 (See Yitzhaq Feder, 2011, pg. 50-51). With this is mind, these two portions of Leviticus and Exodus are even more similar than they seem to be within the redactors rearrangement.

The next post will take into consideration Yitzhaq Feder’s argument regarding the strata of Exodus 29 and Leviticus 8.

 

 

Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part III)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

In the previous post, I traced the parallels between Leviticus 8:14-30 and Exodus 29:10-30. Click here to read the previous post and the first post. Here I will explore why, although these two portions of the Hebrew Bible are parallel, Leviticus has Aaron anoint himself and his sons and Exodus has discusses the future of the priesthood.

First, although both traditions (Lev 8:30; Exo 29:29-30) occur differently, they grow from the same foundation. As demonstrated previously, up till this point both texts parallel each other, indicating reliance upon each other to a certain extent. Both verses, primarily, focus on the consecration of the garments and the priest. Yet, while Exodus 29:29-30 focuses on the perpetuity of the priesthood by discussing the current and future status of the holy garments of Aaron and his anointing, Leviticus 8:30 merges the anointing of Aaron with that of his sons. Thus, rather than waiting until the future to anoint his sons in his High Priest garments, Leviticus records that action as taking place with Aaron in the present.

This may be explained by two possibilities. First, Leviticus and Exodus may have been composed through distinct priestly traditions, one focusing on a single High Priest and the perpetuity of the Priesthood, the other focusing on the Priesthood as a whole. This understanding complicates the compilation process of the Pentateuch and indicates more strata of the P source, a source already complicated with the presence of H. Secondly, the Redactor himself may have intentionally merged the future oriented Exodus into the present oriented Leviticus because of his own socio-political context. After all, there is no reason to assume that all Temple like structures were necessarily ordered in the exact same fashion. Just like churches in the 21st century, the hierarchy of leadership and structure of sociality may have varied greatly. Thus, the differences between Leviticus 8:30 and Exodus 29:29-30 may reflect the multiplicity of cultural variations with regard to cultic worship.

In my view, both options seem plausible and the redactor synchronized the two traditions into one parallel structure with recognition of the variety of traditions. The redactors, after all, make no attempt to hide textual contradictions. Thus the parallel verses, although approached and applied different, represent voices of past tradition, not contradiction of the Hebrew Bible.

The next post will continue by tracing the parallels between Exodus 29:31-37 and Leviticus 8:31-36.

*Please note that this analysis is ongoing and subject to change at anytime.


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Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part II)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

In the previous post, after posing two basic assumption, I traced the parallel nature of Leviticus 8:1-13 and Exodus 29:1-9. I will now continue in tracing how they parallel each in Leviticus 8:14-30 and Exodus 29:10-30. The following chart summarizes the parallel nature of these portions of text:

Lev Leviticus Ex Exodus
8:14 Bull for sin offering before tent of meeting, Aaron and sons lay hands upon head of bull. 29:10 Bull before tent of meeting, Aaron and sons lay hands on head of bull.
8:15 Moses slaughters bull, puts blood on horns of altar and purifies altar, pours blood out at base of altar to consecrate and atone for it. 29:11-12 Slaughter bull before the LORD at tent of meeting, blood onto the horns of the altar with finger, and pour blood at base of altar.
8:16-17 Fat on the entrails, lobe of liver, two kidneys, and kidney fat are offered as smoke offering. Bull, hide, and flesh is burned outside camp, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 29:13-14 Fat that covers entrails, lobe of liver, two kidneys, and fat on kidneys offered up in smoke on altar. Bull’s flesh and hide burned outside the camp as a sin offering.
8:18-19 Ram of burn offering presented, Aaron and his sons lay hands on head of ram. Moses slaughters ram and sprinkles blood around altar. 29:15-16 A certain ram is taken, and Aaron and his sons lay hand on head of read. Moses slaughters ram and sprinkles blood around on the altar.
8:20-21 Ram cut into pieces and head/pieces/suet offered in smoke. Entrails and legs washed and offered in smoke. Burnt offering is a soothing Aroma and offering by fire to the LORD, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 29:17-18 Ram cut into pieces and head/pieces/legs/entrails washed. Offer up the whole ram on altar, a burnt offering to the LORD, a soothing aroma, an offering by fire.
8:22 Second ram of ordination, and Aaron and sons lay hands on head of ram. 29:19 Another ram, and Aaron and sons lay hands of head of ram.
8:23-24 Moses slaughters ram, puts some blood on lobe of Aaron’s right ear, thumb of right hand, and big toe of right foot. Moses puts blood on Aaron’s sons: lobe of right ear, thumb of right hand, and big toe of right foot. Sprinkle remaining blood around on altar. 29:20 Moses slaughters ram, takes blood and puts it on lobe of Aaron’s right ear and his sons’ right ears, thumbs of their right hands, and big toes of right feet. Sprinkle remaining blood around on altar.
29:21 Take blood and altar and anointing oil, sprinkle on Aaron and his garments, on sons and sons’ garments, so Aaron, his sons, and the garments are consecrated.
8:25-26 Moses takes fat, fat tail, and entrails fat, lobe of liver, two kidneys, fat on kidneys, right thigh, and places one unleavened cake and one cake of bread, mixed with oil and wafer, places them on portions of fat and the right thigh. 29:22-23 Moses takes fat from ram, fat tail, fat that covers entrails, lobe of the liver, two kidneys, kidney fat, and right thigh (for it is a ram of ordination). Also, one cake of bread, one cake of bread with oil, one wafer.
8:27 Moses places previous items in hands of Aaron and his sons as wave offering before the LORD. 29:24 Moses places previous items in hands of Aaron and his sons to wave as a wave offering before the LORD.
8:28 Moses takes wave offerings and offers them as smoke, an ordination offering and soothing aroma, and offering by fire to the LORD. 29:25 Moses takes wave offerings and offers them as smoke on the altar, a burnt offering and soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the LORD.
8:29 Moses takes breast of ram and presents it as wave offering, Moses’ portion of the ram ordination, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. 29:26 Moses takes breast of Aaron’s ram of ordination, waves it as wave offering before the LORD as his portion.
8:30 Moses takes anointing oil and blood from altar, sprinkles on Aaron, his garments, his sons, their garments, and consecrates Aaron, his garments, his sons, and his sons’ garments.
29:27 It is made clear that Moses consecrated the breast of wave offering, thigh of heave offering, which was offered from ram of ordination, one for Aaron and the other for his sons. This verse is a description of what happened in 29:26.
29:28-30 This portion describes the future of the Aaronic priesthood and will be discussed in a latter blog post.

*In making this chart, I did consider the fact that , in Exodus, Moses is being commanded. In Leviticus, the narrative is actually occurring. That said, when reading this chart, please assume that the Exodus side of the chart, the right side, recognizes that God was commanding Moses.

In many places, the wording is different, yet the concepts remains consistent: consecration of Aaron and his sons. Aside from Exodus 29:28-30, a passage absent in Leviticus for good reason (this will be the subject of a later blog post), the only significant difference is the placement of Aaron and his son’s actual consecration. Leviticus places their consecration in 8:30, while Exodus does so in 29:21, the middle of the consecration ritual.

There are a few possible explanations for the differing locations of Aaron and his sons’ consecrations. First, it may simply be an issue of redaction. Perhaps the redactor failed to fully synchronize the P source and any contradictions within it. Second, it may be an intentional result to suggest that Moses intentionally consecrated them at a different time than God commanded. Third, perhaps the different is not significant because the consecration ritual was not as set in stone and people make it out to be. In other words, the ritual has a certain amount of flexibility to it because they are not directly interacting with God’s kabod.

The next post will discuss this difference further and explore why Exodus 29:28-30 is not included in Leviticus’ narrative.


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Exodus and Leviticus: A Parallel Reading (Part I)

The following is part of series exploring the narrative of P material and its explanation of why Nadab and Abihu are killed in Leviticus 10. Such a study is important because theology often misuses verse like Leviticus 10:1-3 to demonstrate the un-malleability and impossibility of keeping Torah, resulting in antinomianism. In order to demonstrate the true focus of Nadab and Abihu’s death, I will compare two passages of P material, Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 29 – 30:10. These pericopes, with a close reading, provide a reasonable explanation for the death of Aaron’s son.

Leviticus 8:1 – 10:3 should be read parallel to Exodus 29 – 30:10 because the two pericopes point toward a possible solution, or answer, for explaining Nadab and Abihu’s death. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, popular interpretations of Leviticus 10’s “unholy fire” often carry negative views of the value of cult worship. In response, I hope to demonstrate that the issue of “unholy fire”, or the improper actions of Nadab and Abihu, is not intended to emphasize the un-malleability of P’s law, but rather to draw focus on God’s kabod, his physicalized glory (Sommer 2015, 52).

In order to demonstrate this, two assumptions must be clarified. First, Lev 8:1 – 10:3 and Exodus 28 – 30:10 are both P material (Sommers 2015, 53). Having developed from the same theological traditions, these two pericopes are subject to parallel analysis. Second, the kabod, for P, “describes God’s body (the כָּבוֹד, or kabod) as consisting of a substance that looked like fire” (Sommers 2015, 53). This will be important later in analysis of the actual presence of fire-like kabod that represents God’s body.

Following is presentation of a portion of each pericope. Exodus 29:1-9 describes the necessary materials for sacrifice (vs. 1-2), coming to the doorway of the tent of meeting for washing (vs. 3), dressing Aaron in the High Priest garments (vs. 5-6), anointing Aaron (vs. 7), and dressing Nadab and Abihu in priests tunics (vs. 8), and binding sashes and caps on Aaron and his sons (vs. 9). Likewise, Leviticus 8:1-13 follows a similar narrative: proper sacrifice materials are brought (vs. 2), they meet at the doorway of the tent of meeting for washing (vs. 4, 6), Aaron is dressed in High Priest garments (vs. 7-9), Aaron is anointed (vs. 12), Nadab and Abihu receive priestly tunics (vs. 13), and Aaron and his sons are bound with caps and sashes (vs. 13). In essence, these two pericopes portray the same narrative trajectory with minor differences.

First, Leviticus details that “this is the thing which the LORD has commanded to do” (vs. 5). In essence, Leviticus 8:5 seems to refer back to Exodus 29:1-9 in that it seems to repeat, save for minor embellished details, exactly what God directly commanded Moses. Such repetition within P material is no surprise because other ancient Near Eastern materials operate similarly, employing tools like repetition within literary compositions. Secondly, Leviticus 8:8 specifies the Urim and Thummim on Aaron, while Exodus 29:5 does not discuss the Urim and Thummim. Third, Moses, in Leviticus 8:10-11, anoints the tabernacles, altar, utensils, basin, and stand prior to anointing Aaron in vs. 12. Exodus 29:7 contains solely a command to anoint Aaron. Fourth, Leviticus 8:1-13 notes repeatedly “just as the LORD had commanded Moses” (vs. 4, 5, 9, 13), while Exodus 29:1 abstains from such comment because it is only instruction.

In conclusion, a parallel comparison of Exodus 29:1-9 and Leviticus 8:1-13 demonstrates that both run parallel to each other, one as command and the other as past action. Leviticus 8:1-13 tends to use the waw-consecutive + imperfect to illustrate a continuous narrative of ritual, while Exodus 29:1-9 uses perfect Qal verbs to illustrate it as distant from the actual action. Thus, it is further reasonable to assume that these two passages are intended to be connected, one as the command and the other as action.

Next time, I will present the similarities and difference between Exodus 29:10-30 and Leviticus 8:14-30.

Sommer, Benjamin D. Revelation and Authority: Sinai in Jewish Scripture and Traditions. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015.

All biblical quotation taken from NASB.


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