It's Grumpy Time

The Israelites are complaining about 


Having to eat mana all the time.


Miriam complains about 


Moses’s new black bride from Cush


Aaron complains about Moses 


Getting all the attention from the Lord,


Acting as if he is the only person the Lord talks to.


The Lord hears all this and is chagrined.


How to get them all to shut up?


Up to now the Lord’s response was merely 


To zap the troublemakers.


But if the Lord keeps zapping Israelites


They will never choose the Lord 


Or the society 


The Lord is trying to establish for them.


So the Lord takes a step back and decides


On different strategies


If the Israelites won’t stop complaining about 


Their diet lacking meat,


He’ll give them so much meat 


They’ll be throwing up for days.


This works!  The Israelites shut up already.


As for Aaron, as high priest to the one God, 


The strategy is straightforward:


The Lord tells him that Moses is unlike any leader 


That the Lord has communicated with.  


The Lord doesn’t have to talk to Moses 


In riddles or dreams.  


For the Lord can speak directly to him, 


Knowing that Moses will immediately get it.


Chastened, Aaron shuts up immediately.


Handling Miriam is trickier.  


She is Moses’s beloved sister, 


Who had saved him from certain death as a baby.


You can’t zap such an important person, 


However insulting she.has been to her brother.


Besides, Moses himself begins 


Begging the Lord not to punish her.


Moses is a good boy, a good brother, 


But he has to understand


Miriam would be better served 


By retreating from the camp for seven days.


How do you do this?  


Well, you strike her with a skin disease,


By doing so, the Lord immediately 


activates one of  the laws 


That he has dictated to Moses:


With a skin disease, the victim must be held 


Outside the camp for seven days. 


To assure that Miriam will not be left behind 


By her impatient compatriots,  


Another law is invoked:


The  Israelites are not allowed to break camp 


Until the Lord signals them to do so.


This works too, but far better 


Than the way the other complaints were handled.


In this case, the Lord is appealing to justice 


By invoking laws.  


Even better, by applying this to one of Moses’s siblings, 


The Lord is providing a precedent that 


All Israelites can see for themselves.  


A law isn’t thus merely an abstract:  


It can be concrete and practical and, yes, 


Far more merciful than 


The one response of zapping all complainers.


The rule of law has been established.

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