Bible studies for writers

Bible studies for writers | Numbers 10

Remember how at the end of Exodus God filled the finally completed Tabernacle, and the priests got all gussied up, and the Israelites were all organized and ready to move out? Well, that’s where we are again in this chapter of Numbers, but Moses gives us a few more details and explains a little better about how it all went down. It’s sort of like this whole event and process was so complex and contained so many fine details that Moses just kept thinking of things to add on, so he wrote the stories again and again in different contexts and with different themes. It’s nice, really, when you think about it. I do this ALL THE TIME in my writing. While it drives me nuts, it does give me different perspectives of situations, and it also tells me that through time and experience, my viewpoints and thoughts about a situation change. Sometimes, however, I will find duplicate stories (I write a lot of non-fiction about events from my past), and I will tell the story the same way with the same outcome and the same viewpoint, but each story has one or two details that I missed in the other(s). I hope that makes sense. I feel like I rattled on a bit there, but my point is that Moses gives us five books’ worth of history with different details here and there but always, always, always the same foundational story and outcome. I was comparing the marching order of the tribes today with the blessings bestowed on each of the brothers way back in Genesis 49. Have a look-see. The positions and duties of each tribe are uncanny. I particularly loved Dan’s blessing compared with his troop’s role as rear guard of the Israelite community. Back in Genesis 49 (v. 16-17), Jacob said, “Dan will govern his people, like any other tribe in Israel. Dan will be a snake beside the road, a poisonous viper along the path that bites the horse’s hooves so its rider is thrown off.” The first time I read Jacob’s prophecy for Dan, I thought, man, oh, man, he’s in for it. But doesn’t this prophecy just take on a whole different meaning now???

Writing prompt: prophecy

Go back to Genesis 49 and compare each tribe’s prophecy by Jacob to their roles in the Israelite army in Numbers 10. Write about how each prophecy contributes to each tribe’s position in Numbers 10.


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