In ch 28 we are introduced to the the Urim and the Thummim (v 30). They will appear several more times in the OT. No one knows what these actually were, but they were tools associated with ‘decision-making’, to put it kindly. More accurately, they were associated with divination, and supposedly had some magic properties that would determine the decision. The historical equivalent of a Ouija board, or rolling lucky dice.
Two things jumped out at me. First, anyone want to keep a running count of how many times over the next few weeks we will encounter the phrase “a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord.” (v 18) or a variation of this wording? Anyone want to take a guess? I remember from last time I skimmed through the bible, that this became almost a running joke. There’s a reason that Edward Falzon subtitled his book “God likes the smell of burning fat“. And all this sacrifice sure seems like a waste of good food.
Secondly, read verses 27-33. What happened to all the food? It seems to me that religion is being used to justify giving the best food to the priests. There’s more food in v 38-41. What about all that? Do you think the priests actually burned it all? or more likely kept it for themselves…
I’m sure I remember reading an article somewhere suggesting that all these sacrificial offerings were merely a primitive version of the greedy mega-church pastor who uses the money tithed by his poor parishioners to build mansions and buy jets. In times past, food was a precious and scarce commodity, and here it is being ‘sacrificed to the gods’ and presented to priests, who were likely very well fed at the expense of the common people. Makes sense to me – or am I being too cynical?