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15. Discharges Causing Uncleanness

And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 3And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness. 4Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. 5And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 6And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 7And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 8And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 9And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean. 10And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 11And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 12And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water. 13And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. 14And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest: 15And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue. 16And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. 17And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. 18The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

19And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even. 20And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean. 21And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 22And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 23And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even. 24And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean. 25And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean. 26Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation. 27And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 28But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 30And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness. 31Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them. 32This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; 33And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.

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34. When ye be come into the land. Another sort of leprosy is here treated of, as to which we may not unreasonably rejoice that it is now unknown to us. But, as God had honored that people with extraordinary privileges, so it was consistent that their ingratitude should be punished by more severe penalties, if they defiled the gifts in which they excelled. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that punishments were inflicted upon them, which it fills us with surprise and horror to hear of. It was a sad sight to behold the leprosy invading the human body; but there was something portentous to perceive it affecting their houses also, and driving out the owners and their families; for if they wittingly and voluntarily remained there, the contagion spread to themselves and all their furniture. But, since God marked with public ignominy those whose houses were struck with leprosy, He commands them to confess their guilt, and not only when the evil had made much advance, but when any suspicion of it had begun to exist. It appears, too, from the Law, that some were but lightly chastised: for, if after the priest’s inspection, in seven days the plague did not increase on the scraped walls, the possessor returned to his house. God punished others more severely, and it was necessary that the building should be utterly destroyed, because the pollution was incurable. But, although these were tokens of God’s wrath, yet, inexpiating the uncleanness, He exercised His people in the study of purity; for it was just as if He drove away from approaching His sanctuary those who came from an unclean house. The sense, then, was that. they should each of them diligently endeavor to keep their houses pure, and chaste, and free from every stain. But if, through God’s mercy, the plague ceased, a sacrifice of thanksgiving was to be offered, as for the human beings (who had been healed.) The next chapter, in which general pollutions and their purifications are not treated of, but only one kind of pollution is glanced at, which has reference to fleshly lust, would perhaps be suitably introduced under the Seventh Commandment; but it will presently appear from the context that it must be brought under this head.

2 When any man hath a running issue. He here alludes to other species of contamination, for which a solemn purification is required. And, first, he teaches that men are defiled by the flow of the seminal fluid, which occurs in two ways, either when it involuntarily bursts out in sleep, or when it escapes gradually in the disease, which the Greeks call γονόρ᾿ῥοια This Supplement might, as I have said, be appended to the Seventh Commandment, because every 1717     “Toute intemperance de la chair et lubricite, qu’on appelle.” — Fr. The negative is here added from the Fr indisposition arising from lust appears here to be condemned; but, if we look more closely, we shall perceive that it is a general law for the cultivation of purity, and which must not be confined to chastity alone. For this flux, arising from disease and debility, unless it be contracted from immoderate venery, has nothing in common with venereal lust. Besides, what is immediately after added concerning the menstruation of women, is connected with other forms of uncleanness and defilement. The sum then is, that the seminal-flux is reckoned among the pollutions which prevented the Israelites from entering the tabernacle, and from the external service of God; and thence the rule must always be borne in mind, that whatever proceeds from an unclean man is corrupt, and that no one can duly offer either himself, or what he possesses, to God, except he who is pure and perfect in soul and body. Thus Paul explains the end and object of this ceremony, when he exhorts believers that, being received as God’s peculiar people, they should cleanse themselves

"from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.”
(2 Corinthians 7:1.)

But Moses further declares, that uncleanness is contracted, not only when the seed is emitted, but when it is retained; and that not only is the man himself rendered unclean, but whatever he may have touched — his bed, his seat, his saddle, his clothes; and that the contagion extends to others also, if any should have lain on the same bed, or ridden on the same saddle. Thus did God desire to impress them with horror, that they might be more accustomed to fly from all impurity. Nor would the crime have been detestable: in itself, had not spiritual purity been set forth under this external exercise and symbol. Thus, too, in (Psalm 24:3, 4), the truth of this figure is described:

"Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart."

Therefore he who was conscious of no sin in the seminal-flux, still must be reminded by this sign of the corruption of his nature; and at the same time be an example to others, that all should diligently take heed to themselves, because corruption cleaves to the whole human race. In the ablution the remedy of the evil was proposed, since the mark of ignominy induced them to repentance. It is expedient that whosoever is infected with any stain should be brought to shame, so as to be displeased with himself; but the acknowledgment of the evil would produce despair, unless the hope of pardon were associated with it. Therefore, those to whom purification was necessary, are always sent to water; and, whenever water is mentioned, the passage in St. John should be brought to mind, that Christ came “by water and blood,” to purge and expiate all uncleanness. (1 John 5:6.) Besides the water, a sacrifice of turtle doves, or two young pigeons is added; and this has reference to the same thing; viz., that purification for the unclean must be sought for elsewhere, which we have at length obtained by the sacrifice of Christ.

19. And if a woman have an issue. Women are now spoken of who suffer under a twofold issue of blood; for with almost all it occurs every month, (whence it is called menses, or menstruation,) and some labor under a constant hemorrhage. He declares both to be unclean; and, after menstruation, a certain period of separation is appointed, during which the law prohibited their cohabitation with men; but, if the blood flowed beyond the usual time, the time of purification is postponed until it ceased. Whence it appears, that in every shameful thing the Jews were reminded of their uncleanness, that thus they might be accustomed to modesty and seek after purity. And this still more clearly appears at the end of the chapter, where it is said, (v. 3l,) “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not — when they defile my tabernacle.” God, I say, briefly sets forth His intention that He would drive away all profanation far from His people; because he desires sincerity to prevail amongst his worshippers, and cannot bear his tabernacle to be polluted by any stain.




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