Thursday, March 6, 2014

Singing the Scriptures - Numbers 15:32-36 in Music

I think it was nearly the very first time I ever went to Synagogue. It was a Sabbath morning, and an aged friend had asked me to take her there. I had been picking up sticks from an overnight storm in the early morning. And I got the call - so I said sure - and off we went to the Synagogue.

The lesson was Numbers 15 - curious, isn't it. There is a longish discussion of this passage here.  How does one approach such a passage. I was not taken out and stoned, but I have died in the death of Messiah - so there's my 'out' from the 'keep'. Is that also a cop out?

Well - look at the music. The bar numbered 33, verse 36, of the stoning and death of this diligent fellow is a long bar - 23 syllables on the same reciting note. I think it is dismal, not heart-breaking as David's lament over Absalom, nor entreating as Moses recital of Deuteronomy 8:11, nor angry as Moses complaint in Numbers 11. Perhaps this bit of law does not belong in the Land. They were in the wilderness at that time.

View of the place of the Skull from the Garden Tomb
This is yet another example of word-painting as implied in the te'amim of the Hebrew Scriptures. It is also perhaps a type of the death of Messiah outside the camp as noted in Hebrews 13:11, recalling the one who carried his wood to the place of the skull.

(All the bits and pieces of the music noted are in various posts on this blog and together here.)