Dedication of the tabernacle…



Numbers 7:78 On the twelfth day Ahira son of Enan, the leader of the Naphtalites: 79 his offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering; 80 one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense; 81 one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering; 82 one male goat for a sin offering; 83 and for the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old. This was the offering of Ahira son of Enan. 

The 12 tribes of Israel took turns making offerings to God at the newly constructed tabernacle (the “tabernacle” was like a mobile temple). This passage describes the offering for the tribe of Naphtali. If you read this entire chapter (89 verses!) you will notice each tribe offered the exact same thing. The question that arises in my mind relates to the tedious repetition. Why not just describe the offering once and then mention it was the same for all 12 tribes?

My suggestion may have been more efficient from a literary standpoint, but I have to remember that scripture was created and passed down in what was mostly an oral culture. Most people didn’t have access to written copies so they memorized scripture. And I can understand that repeating the same thing 12 times would help if you were trying to commit scripture to memory. Still. 89 verses of this?

Lord thank you for the faithful people who memorized the scriptures in a time when written copies were few and far between. It’s their diligence that makes our access to your word possible today. Give us grace to be diligent in our own time for the sake of future generations. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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