Moses sent them the thousand from each tribe to the army
The famous Moses, the prophet, the orchestrator of freedom
gets a lot of attention for his basket in the water back story,
for his striking of the Egyptian task-master
for his commingling with the Bush that burned
but wasn’t consumed.
We know all about the holy flack he got for
hitting the rock, and we feel bad, after he spearheaded
a forty year project to get us to the promised land,
that he doesn’t get to cross the river with us.
But the details of him as the head of an army
although we read them every year, or at least
we’re assigned to read them every year,
don’t get as much attention.
The thousands of men he sent to war.
The commands he issued to kill every enemy male.
The slaughtered kings, the captured women
and children, and possessions, and livestock.
The burned cities and castles. The plunder.
Moses laid a path of war on his way to
the Holy Land, all by the Lord’s command.
This is our holy text. This is the legacy of
how we earned freedom.
. . . along with Phinehas the son of Eleazar the kohen
to the army, with the sacred utensils
Beware the spatula of destiny!