If there was anything the people during the exodus were good at, it was complaining. They started back in the early days and here they are over a year later, and they’re still whining. They’re lamenting the lack of meat, and saying how they had all kinds of food to eat in Egypt. They don’t mention that they were slaves, with no freedom, and often beaten, and their sons murdered, but you known at least they had fish and melons to eat.
The complaining was so bad, that Moses asked God to kill him if it was going to continue. Spoiler alert; it’s going to continue.
God tells Moses that he’s going to grant their request for meat, but because the people prefered their slavery in Egypt with meat over their liberty in the desert without meat, God is going to send them meat for a full 30 days until they’re sick of eating it. And so a great cloud of quails comes and covers the camp so that they had more meat than they could eat.
Chapter 12 has a short story about a bit of envy between the siblings of Moses over his role as prophet and mediator of the covenant. Aaron and Miriam say they’ve both heard God speak, so why does Moses get all the limelight. God nips this brewing coup attempt in the bud and calls out the two siblings. He tells them that most prophets receive words from him in their dreams, but Moses speaks to him face to face like a friend. This face to face conversations with God do somewhat take place on Mount Sinai, during his two separate 40 day stints on top of the mountain, but they full take place when he speaks to the Son on the mountain of transfiguration.
Because of this mini rebellion, Miriam is struck with leprosy and has to remain outside the camp for seven days until she can be purified, and only then can they continue their march.
Now it’s Zophar’s turn to give his second speech. He starts out by noting his offense that Job is rejecting their “advice” and saying God will judge what they have said. With each passing speech it becomes less abstract ideas about sin and punishment, and becomes more personal.
He then launches into a speech about the folly of the wicked. He notes that their sin may be sweet at first, but turns bitter in the mouth. These are all true sayings, but they really don’t apply to Job at all.
Job has his opportunity to answer, and in his opening he asks that they first listen to his words before they continue to mock him. Like I said, it’s getting more and more personal.
Job offers as a rebuttal to Zophar that lived experience shows that the wicked often live a long life and prosper, despite his assertions that the wicked are cut down by God in the prime of their life. Job says they often die of old age and go to the grave in peace with their children around them.
Job makes the point that moral standing doesn’t always influence comfortable or uncomfortable a person’s life might be on this earth. As he said that the wicked often have a good life, and also the righteous sometimes live lives of poverty and discomfort.
Hearing Jesus taking on the questions of the Sadducees, a scribe comes up and asks him a question. In Matthew’s account of this conversation, he tells us that the scribe is a member of the Pharisees and asks this question to test Jesus, while Mark doesn’t include these details. Maybe it’s because when he asks what the greatest commandment is, Jesus gives an answer that he completely agreed with. He then threw in a comment of agreement and Jesus told him he wasn’t far from the kingdom. Maybe Mark downplayed the scribe’s intentions to better focus in the fact that he was in complete agreement with Jesus.
The chapter closes with Jesus watching people drop their donations in the box for the temple treasury. The rich people came by and put in large amounts of money, but Jesus takes notice of a widow that gave two pennies. She gave her all to God, literally. This was a greater gift than the hundreds of gold coins given by the others, because it was deeply sacrificial.
This is like the first ever sacrificial offerings of Cain and Abel, where one gave his best and the other just gave some. Or how there was restrictions on sacrificing lame or sick animals. You’re only supposed to give your best to God, not your leftovers.