32-35 Once, during those wilderness years of the People of Israel, a man was caught gathering wood on the Sabbath. The ones who caught him hauled him before Moses and Aaron and the entire congregation. They put him in custody until it became clear what to do with him. Then God spoke to Moses: "Give the man the death penalty. Yes, kill him, the whole community hurling stones at him outside the camp."
36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and threw stones at him, an execution commanded by God and given through Moses.
So here's the thing. The God I know didn't do this. The God I know in Jesus, the God who was Jesus as described in the Gospels (read Matthew 12, among many other examples) didn't do this. Or, God is crazy. The Trinity is nothing more than a schizoid personality disorder. Or, maybe, God did a lot of growing up in a few hundred years.
Or maybe, just maybe, the person who wrote down this portion of Numbers was just factually mistaken. Maybe Moses thought this command came from God, but he was wrong. Or maybe the truth got lost in the oral tradition between Moses and this story getting written down. I don't know. But honestly, I truly feel this is the only reasonable, honest, authentic conclusion I can come to. And like all conclusions in this life, I recognize that it's provisional. I don't know what the truth of this situation was. I don't know jack. But I have to say that this particular question seems somewhat cut-and-dried for me right now.
I've never believed in Biblical factual inerrancy. I suspect I never will. I do believe that all scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, etc. What that means to me is that even this passage comes to me from God - even if it is, in fact, misrepresenting God. God wants me to learn something from this word. I don't think it's the literal meaning. I don't know what it might be.
If you have any thoughts, let me know.