Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tall Tales Of Wilderness Wanderings (Part 4 of 13): Logistical Improbabilities in the Wilderness-Wandering Tales What About the Meal Offerings?


by Farrell Till


In "Sacrifices and the Size of the Hebrew Camps", we saw that it would have been logistically impossible for four priests to have officiated at all of the animal sacrifices that the Levitical law required of the Israelites during their wilderness years. In addition to the many bloody animal sacrifices decreed by the inscrutable Yahweh, the Israelites were required to make "meal-offerings" to Yahweh, and these were just as rigidly regulated as the animal sacrifices (Lev. 2:1-16; 6:14-21; 7:11-14), from all of which the priests were of course authorized to take their share.

The size of these "meal-offerings" was not designated, but let's just suppose that the average size was 4 ounces, which would seem like an embarrassingly small amount to offer to the almighty Yahweh, who had delivered the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. I mean, how ungrateful could one get? So if only one meal-offering per year, per person, were sacrificed in the wilderness wanderings, 750,000 pounds of meal per year would have been required. This would have equaled 375 tons of meal per year that went up in smoke while the Israelites were in the wilderness. Over the entire 40-year stretch, 15,000 tons of meal would have been sacrificed.

Now where could the Israelites have obtained in the wilderness the grain to make this much meal for their sacrifices? The Sinai was a desert terrain, which hardly seems like the type of land from which 375 tons of grain could have been harvested each year. Besides, there is not even a hint in the wilderness stories that the Israelites ever engaged in agricultural activities while they were wandering about.

Doesn't anybody besides me ever wonder about the logistical requirements that would have been necessary to make the wilderness-wandering tales historically accurate?  

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