Sunday, June 3, 2012

How Many Animals were Sacrificed During the Festival of Shelters?

Today's Reading:
  • Numbers 28:16 - 29:40
  • Proverbs 11:18 - 19
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Numbers 28:16 - 29:40
Today I am trying to understand more about the sacrificial requirements in Numbers.  What I am trying to understand is if these sacrifices are by person, by family, by clan or by tribe.  28:3-8 tells us that the following sacrifices were required daily:
  • Two one-year-old lambs
  • Four quarts of choice flour mixed with two quarts pure olive oil
  • Two quarts alcoholic drink
 So first of all I'm trying to wrap my head around the daily sacrifice, because it seems like an awful lot to me -- to sacrifice two lambs per day would be 730 one-year lambs per year, plus 1,460 quarts of choice flour mixed with 730 quarts of olive oil, and 730 quarts of some alcoholic drink.  So how is this broken up -- is this per person?

When you look at some of the festivals, the numbers are even more astounding.  Take a look at the Festival of Shelters, for instance, discussed starting in 29:12.  The Festival of Shelters was a seven day festival, with sacrifices required each day in addition to the normal daily sacrifices:
  • Day One
    • 13 Young Bulls
    • Two Rams
    • 14 one-year-old lambs
    • 78 quarts of choice flour to go with the bulls
    • 8 quarts of flour to go with the lambs
    • 28 quarts of flour for the lambs
    • 1 Male goat for sin offering along with grain and liquid
  • Day Two
    • 12 Young Bulls
    • Two Rams
    • 14 one-year lambs
    • 108 quarts choice flour (Bulls:  6 * 12 == 72) (Rams: 4 * 2 == 8) (Lambs 2 * 14 == 28)
    • 1 Male goat for sin offering along with grain and liquid
This list goes on for each of the seven days of the festival, with the bull count lessening by one per day.  So that leaves a total of:
  • Lambs: 14 * 7 == 98
  • Rams:     2 * 7 == 14
  • Bulls:      13 + 12 + 11 + 10 + 9 + 8 + 7 == 70
  • Flour for Lambs:  2 * 98 == 196 Quarts
  • Flour for Rams:    4 * 14 == 56 Quarts
  • Flour for Bulls:     6 * 14 == 84 Quarts
That is an insane amount of offerings, and I don't see how a single family could cover it all.  Of course I don't know what it was like living in that time, did everyone have huge herds of animals?  I would still think, however, that the offering had to be split in some way that a single family didn't take the entire offering on themselves.  Then again, the families were quite large and extended back then.

So in the end I don't know what to make of the sheer amount of offerings or how the system actually worked per person/family/tribe/whatever.  Perhaps I'll find out more later!

Proverbs 11:18 - 19
18  Evil people get rich for the moment, but the reward of the godly will last.
19  Godly people fine life; evil people find death.
What is more important to you -- riches in this life, or an everlasting life where you never have to worry about how much money you have?  Do you want to live it up in this life and disregard your eternal life?  For me the choice is easy.  What is your choice?

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