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Concerning Bodily Discharges

15

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them:

When any man has a discharge from his member, his discharge makes him ceremonially unclean. 3The uncleanness of his discharge is this: whether his member flows with his discharge, or his member is stopped from discharging, it is uncleanness for him. 4Every bed on which the one with the discharge lies shall be unclean; and everything on which he sits shall be unclean. 5Anyone who touches his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 6All who sit on anything on which the one with the discharge has sat shall wash their clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 7All who touch the body of the one with the discharge shall wash their clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 8If the one with the discharge spits on persons who are clean, then they shall wash their clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 9Any saddle on which the one with the discharge rides shall be unclean. 10All who touch anything that was under him shall be unclean until the evening, and all who carry such a thing shall wash their clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 11All those whom the one with the discharge touches without his having rinsed his hands in water shall wash their clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 12Any earthen vessel that the one with the discharge touches shall be broken; and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.

13 When the one with a discharge is cleansed of his discharge, he shall count seven days for his cleansing; he shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in fresh water, and he shall be clean. 14On the eighth day he shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons and come before the Lord to the entrance of the tent of meeting and give them to the priest. 15The priest shall offer them, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement on his behalf before the Lord for his discharge.

16 If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water, and be unclean until the evening. 17Everything made of cloth or of skin on which the semen falls shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the evening. 18If a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, both of them shall bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening.

19 When a woman has a discharge of blood that is her regular discharge from her body, she shall be in her impurity for seven days, and whoever touches her shall be unclean until the evening. 20Everything upon which she lies during her impurity shall be unclean; everything also upon which she sits shall be unclean. 21Whoever touches her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 22Whoever touches anything upon which she sits shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening; 23whether it is the bed or anything upon which she sits, when he touches it he shall be unclean until the evening. 24If any man lies with her, and her impurity falls on him, he shall be unclean seven days; and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.

25 If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, not at the time of her impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond the time of her impurity, all the days of the discharge she shall continue in uncleanness; as in the days of her impurity, she shall be unclean. 26Every bed on which she lies during all the days of her discharge shall be treated as the bed of her impurity; and everything on which she sits shall be unclean, as in the uncleanness of her impurity. 27Whoever touches these things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and be unclean until the evening. 28If she is cleansed of her discharge, she shall count seven days, and after that she shall be clean. 29On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 30The priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf before the Lord for her unclean discharge.

31 Thus you shall keep the people of Israel separate from their uncleanness, so that they do not die in their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle that is in their midst.

32 This is the ritual for those who have a discharge: for him who has an emission of semen, becoming unclean thereby, 33for her who is in the infirmity of her period, for anyone, male or female, who has a discharge, and for the man who lies with a woman who 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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