Numbers 16:1 – 18:32: Haftarah: I Samuel 11:14 – 12:22

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Book of Jubilees 10.1–3

In the third week of that jubilee the polluted demons began to lead astray the children of Noah’s sons and to lead them to folly and to destroy them. 2 And the sons of Noah came to Noah, their father, and they told him about the demons who were leading astray and blinding and killing his grandchildren. 3 And he prayed before the Lord his God and he said, “God of the spirits which are in all flesh, who has acted mercifully with me and saved me and my sons from the water of the Flood and did not let me perish as you did the children of perdition, because Great was your grace upon me, and great was your mercy upon my soul. Let your grace be lifted up upon my sons, and do not let the evil spirits rule over them, lest they destroy them from the earth.

(Num 17:3) Babylonian Talmud – b. Menah. 11:3, IV.8.A–E

A. And how on the basis of Scripture do we know that, as to Holy Things, we raise something to a higher level of sanctification, but we do not bring something down to a lower level of sanctification? B. Said Rabbi, “Said Scripture, ‘And Moses raised the tabernacle and laid its sockets and set up its boards and put in its bars and raised up its pillars’ (Ex. 40:18) [he did it all himself].” C. And how do we know that one may raise in level of sanctification what is at a lower level? D. Said R. Aha bar Jacob, “Said Scripture, ‘Even the fire pans of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, and let them be made beaten plates for a covering of the altar, for they are become holy, because they were offered before the Lord, that they may be a sign unto the children of Israel’ (Num. 17:3). E. “To begin with they were mere appurtenances of the altar, but in the end they were made part of the altar itself.”

(Num 17:13)  Philo of Alexandria – Heir of divine things 205-206

And the Father who created the universe has given to his archangelic and most ancient Word a pre-eminent gift, to stand on the confines of both, and separated that which had been created from the Creator. And this same Word is continually a suppliant to the immortal God on behalf of the mortal race, which is exposed to affliction and misery; and is also the ambassador, sent by the Ruler of all, to the subject race. And the Word rejoices in the gift, and, exulting in it, announces it and boasts of it, saying, “And I stood in the midst, between the Lord and you;”  neither being uncreate as God, nor yet created as you, but being in the midst between these two extremities, like a hostage, as it were, to both parties: a hostage to the Creator, as a pledge and security that the whole race would never fly off and revolt entirely, choosing disorder rather than order; and to the creature, to lead it to entertain a confident hope that the merciful God would not overlook his own work. For I will proclaim peaceful intelligence to the creation from him who has determined to destroy wars, namely God, who is ever the guardian of peace.

(Num 17:13)  Caesarius of Arles – Sermon 110.2

Then Moses encouraged the high priest to offer incense in the camp and to pray for the people: “For the people have already begun to be destroyed.” Moses saw in spirit what was happening, and therefore Aaron departed to offer incense for the people. He stood between the living and the dead, and the Lord’s fury was alleviated. If you know the course of history and have been able to perceive with your eyes, so to speak, the priest standing in the middle between the living and the dead, rise now to the loftier heights of these words. See how the true priest, Jesus Christ, took the censer of human flesh, put fire on the altar which doubtless is that splendid soul with which he was born in the flesh, further added incense which is his pure spirit, stood between the living and the dead and did not allow death to proceed any farther.

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