When we last left Moses, he was writing down strange and onerous rules pertaining to justice, mercy, and the moral way of living (as punishment for backtalk to God). I won’t list all of the rules in this summary (you can find them in my previous blog posting, The Laws of Morality), but suffice it to say, God was probably just messing with Moses just to see what happens. After Moses had delivered the laws to the Israelites, they said they would happily follow them to avoid pissing God off because they saw what he did to Egypt and they are not as stupid as Pharaoh.
God was just giddy to see the look of fear and terror in His beloved playthings… I mean people. He came down onto Mount Sinai again, and called out to Moses, “Hey buddy, come back up here. Bring Aaron with you, I like him, and bring like… Seventy elders or whatever. I want witnesses. But only Moses comes close, the rest get to watch from a distance.”
“Are you asking me to pick out 70 elders to come up the mountain but still not come close to them just so you can watch 70 elders climb a mountain?” Moses asked sardonically.
“… No. Shut up. Bring the elders. Oh, but before you come up, I need you to be cleansed. So here’s how you are going to cleanse yourselves; you are going to sacrifice twelve bulls, one for each of the tribes with you, and collect all their blood, then take half of it and pour it on yourselves. Then you’ll be clean! Then you can come up the mountain.”
Moses heaved a heavy breath and went to gather twelve bulls, built twelve altars, and made sure he had twelve very large bowls to collect all the blood. He then engaged in the slaughter according to what God had said, because at this point this was probably one of the least frustrating things God had asked them to do, aside from the fact that there was a lot of meat there, and they weren’t allowed to eat it.
Then Moses, Aaron, and the seventy elders climbed Mount Sinai and saw God sitting at the top. Moses was frankly surprised they the elders weren’t killed by God for some reason (no, seriously, Exodus 24:11). Once they got to the top, God told Moses to come up further, away from the elders, and He’d write the Laws of the Covenant on stone tablets for Moses to take down to the Israelites.
When Moses arrived at the foot of the throne of God, he really wasn’t sure what he was expecting. Maybe that he’d get stone tablets quickly? But he wasn’t so lucky.
“Heeey Moses! How’s things with you? Having fun being the caretaker? Hey, I’m gonna spend some time writing these tablets, why don’t you make yourself comfortable?” God cheerfully began carving stones at about the same speed Moses could have.
“I’m… Well,” Moses replied unsurely. “How long are we talking here? How long will I be sitting alone with you?”
“Oh,” God said, then looked at the stones around him thoughtfully. “I should be done in about forty days. But hey, we get to hang out for forty days! I arranged it like this, because I am awesome, and I knew you’d want to hang out with me after being stuck with all those other boring people for so long!”
“I can’t even describe how I feel right now, God. You have no idea.” And so began forty days and forty nights of Moses hanging out with God.
After the forty days, before God sent Moses down Mount Sinai, He decided to drop the bombshell. “Hey buddy, these forty days have been awesome! Thanks for hanging out. But hey, I feel like the Israelites haven’t been sacrificing to me all that much since you came up here, so here’s what you’ll tell them to sacrifice to me when you get down there: I like gold, silver, and bronze, so those are good. Ummmm… Blue, purple, and scarlet string.”
“I like those colors. So yeah. Blue, purple, and scarlet. That’s important. Some goat hair would be nice. Make sure you burn it, though.”
“But that will smell awful!”
“Hahahaha! It sure will! Where was I? Goat hair. Right. Ram leather, but only the stuff that has been dyed red. I’d like some acacia wood, too. That stuff is great for medicine.”
“But if you burn it, you lose all of the medicinal parts…”
“I KNOW! It’ll be hilarious. Stop interrupting. Spice-scented olive oil, and any gems you have. Then you’re gonna build an insulated box for me to stay in so I can ride along with you guys.”
“An insulated box? Insulated against what?”
“I have this bad habit of accidentally killing people whenever my mind wanders. If you build the box according to these plans, there is only a minimal chance you’ll all be killed for being too close to me! Aren’t I awesome?!”
“Uhhh… Why does the box have to be made almost entirely out of gold?”
“It will be SUPER SHINY! It’ll blind anyone who looks at it! Won’t that be hilarious? And gold is like super heavy. I wanna watch you guys carry it around, everywhere, for the rest of forever. I mean, you guys would never lose something as important as this, right?”
Moses decided to keep all of the future questions to himself.
God looked thoughtful for a second. “Here, have some more plans. One for a bitchin’ tent that you are to put the box in. I don’t want a standard tent, and remember how I mentioned blue, purple, and scarlet? The tent had better be those colors! And I’ll need priests! Can’t have a solid worshiping without priests, right? But how will they know that these priests serve the most bitchin’ God of all time? Hmmm…” There was a brief pause before God continued. “Make the robes out of blue, purple, and scarlet, of course. But the best priest will need a bejeweled breastplate. We don’t want people thinking I am worshiped by peasants, right? How will they know how awesome I am if my priests are boring assholes?
“I think that about covers how they look. But how will I know they are serious about the position? Well, how about this. Have them sacrifice a bull to me, but remove its internal organs and burn those as sacrifice to me, and haul the rest of the body out and burn it in the wilderness. Eheheheh, that corpse is gonna be so hard to carry.
“Also, we’re just warming up. Take two rams and sacrifice them to me. Cut up the first one and cook it, but you can’t eat it. It is mine. The second one, take its blood and mix it with oil, then smear it on Aaron. Actually, you know what? Cover Aaron’s sons with it, too. Yeah, gotta know Aaron is serious about being a priest.”
Moses looked up at God for a moment, setting down the plans for the box. “You haven’t asked him to be a priest yet. How do you know he will even be sort of serious about it?”
God looked at Moses quizzically, “Wouldn’t anyone want to be a priest for such a bitchin’ religion? Wait, I get it! You’re jealous! You wanna be my High Priest. But you don’t have to be, you’re my boi! That’s like… Way better! The High Priest will barely ever get to talk to me! Haven’t we had such awesome conversations?! That’s what I thought.”
Moses again sighed heavily and looked back at the plans for the box.
“Also, bread. Lots of bread. But NO YEAST. You’ll make two different kinds of bread for this. One of the breads will be baked with olive oil mixed in. BUT NO YEAST. The other one will just be brushed with olive oil. ALSO NO YEAST! Did I mention I don’t like yeast? Because yeast is awful. Hell, I’d go as far as to say yeast is me-damned. Me-damned yeast. Hate that stuff.
“Anyway, once you have the bread, give it to Aaron and his sons, and have them wave the bread at me. (Author’s note: What? Seriously, what? Exodus 29:24-26) Then, burn it. Burn all that bread. I want to taste it in the air.
“Now, this is just on day one. For the next six days, sacrifice a bull each day.”
Moses didn’t even look up this time. “How many bulls do you think we have?”
“Psh, you think I care? I like burned bull, and that’s what you are going to keep burning. It’ll be awesome. Also, you think you are going to run out of bulls? Wait for this next one!
“Every day for the rest of eternity I want you to sacrifice two lambs. They have to be exactly one year old, so you’d better be calving those sheep every day. Also, wine. Lambs love wine. Sacrifice the lamb with wine.
“Anyway, I think that about covers it. As long as you do this stuff, I will be your God. But if you ever stop these sacrifices, you bitches are on your own. (Exodus 29:45-46)
“Now, this next part is important. I don’t know how many of you there are, so take a census. Also, for every person, take a ransom to ensure their good health (seriously, God blackmails them with plague threats in Exodus 30:12, and asks for protection money). The ransom price is one half a shekel. Also, I want to know how much the people like me, so no one is allowed to pay for anyone else. The poor have to provide their own ransom money! (Exodus 30:15) Use this money for the upkeep of my bitchin’ box. See? I’ve thought of everything. Aren’t I awesome?!
“Now, you guys smell a little funny, so I need you to make a huuuuuuuuuge basin of perfume. Literally enough to last for the rest of eternity, because anyone who makes any more of the perfume as per the recipe I am giving you will be SMOTE. Seriously, dead and sent to hell. This perfume is serious business. Also, only use it on the priests, because they are the only ones who can come even close to me. The rest of the smelly peasants just aren’t allowed nearby.
“And now the most important commandment I will ever give you. No work allowed on Saturday. If you, or anyone, or any of their animals, work on Saturday, even to lift a finger, wash, or whatever, kill them, and I’ll make sure their stay in hell is eternal and horrible.”
God then handed Moses the stone tablets that contained not just the ten commandments, but all of the Jewish rules, because it would be hilarious to watch a 90 year old man drag around gigantic slabs of rock.
I think Part 6 will be the last part of Exodus, then I can return to my regularly scheduled updates.
But seriously, this section was ten straight chapters of God making rules. I tried to capture the highlights, but seriously. The specificity is amazing in there for just the smallest things. There’s bread recipes, and rules for the patterns in the tent where they are supposed to store the ark, and rules for the smallest details in the lid of the ark. I am sorry, I really didn’t know how to capture any of this section but also make it funny. There’s just nothing interesting there, for ten straight chapters, except for the fact that the reason that God hasn’t talked to anyone since Jesus was around is because we stopped sacrificing the lambs (probably). So I guess that makes sense.