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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 15: Discharges Causing Uncleanness

 

[Introductory Notes: This is not breakfast reading material. In fact some may prefer to miss this whole chapter and your faith is not compromised if you do! Nevertheless it is part of the canon of scripture, and these are instructions given by God to the embryonic nation of Israel. To understand something of the chapter we need to realise various things:

1. The concept of ‘holy' or ‘holiness' as conveyed in Leviticus is first and foremost in the context of God who is holy, utterly different, perfect, beautiful, love and goodness.

2. To introduce and emphasise this concept in terms of Israel's response, as they learn just a little of what this means [that He is perfect and has designed mankind in the way we work and live] cleanliness is emphasised as a preliminary (and it is only preliminary) expression in the human, of holiness, a recognition that as fallen beings we need ‘cleaning up'. Thus we have seen in Exodus and Leviticus so far directions for creating a dwelling place in their midst for God and the ways they should go about preparing to meet with Him in His Holy State. ‘Casual' is not a word that fits here.

3. We also need to remember that God is the one who designed us and designed the way we live, procreate etc. etc. Sex, gender, and all aspects of sexuality are, we should remember, part of God's design. Therefore the things we find in this chapter are not ‘dirty' or ‘unclean' in the sense we might refer to a child who comes in from playing with mud pies, but when ‘unclean' is used as a description it is purely in the context of the unacceptable state of a person for entering the rituals to do with the Tabernacle worship without preparation. There is nothing wrong with these things, but they do not fit into to picture of utter cleanliness that goes with the thoughts of carefully preparing to meet God at the Tabernacle.

4. Why these distinctions? Because they are just that, distinctions. They remind the Israelite not to be casual about approaching God. They remind him or her that parts of their lives are for them and not to be taken into the public arena [something often forgotten in today's world]. Even as we seek to present ourselves in a respectable manner when seeking to honour someone, at a civic banquet to honour a new mayor, say, then holding back in some circumstances, and getting cleaned up before approaching God at the Tabernacle is the same thing.

In this chapter, rather that incorporating additional comments we leave the secondary subheadings to speak to the verses.]

 

 

FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 15: Discharges Causing Uncleanness

 

v.1-18 Men & discharges

v.19-30 Women & discharges

v.31-33 Summary

 

 

v.1-18 Men & discharges

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,

v.2,3 At first sight an unusual discharge is ‘unclean'

v.2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. [ i.e. be suspicious of the unusual]

v.3 Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean.

v.3-12 ‘Uncleanness' is conveyed

This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness:

v.4 “‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean.

v.5 Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.6 Whoever sits on anything that the man with a discharge sat on must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.7 “‘Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.8 “‘If the man with the discharge spits on anyone who is clean, they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.9 “‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean,

v.10 and whoever touches any of the things that were under him will be unclean till evening; whoever picks up those things must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.11 “‘Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.12 “‘A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water.

v.13-15 After a time of such uncleanness follow the procedure

v.13 “‘When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days for his ceremonial cleansing; he must wash his clothes and bathe himself with fresh water, and he will be clean.

v.14 On the eighth day he must take two doves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord to the entrance to the tent of meeting and give them to the priest.

v.15 The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the Lord for the man because of his discharge.

v.16-18 Washing after semen emissions

v.16 “‘When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening.

v.17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening.

v.18 When a man has sexual relations with a woman and there is an emission of semen, both of them must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

   

     

v.19-30 Women & discharges

 

v.19-24 A woman's period is not seen as unclean (implied) but what she touches is

v.19 “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean till evening.

v.20 “‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean.

v.21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.22 Anyone who touches anything she sits on will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.23 Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening.

v.24 “‘If a man has sexual relations with her and her monthly flow touches him, he will be unclean for seven days; any bed he lies on will be unclean.

v.25-27 Any other female discharge makes her unclean that can be conveyed

v.25 “‘When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period or has a discharge that continues beyond her period, she will be unclean as long as she has the discharge, just as in the days of her period.

v.26 Any bed she lies on while her discharge continues will be unclean, as is her bed during her monthly period, and anything she sits on will be unclean, as during her period.

v.27 Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.

v.28-30 After a time of such uncleanness follow the procedure

v.28 “‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean.

v.29 On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting.

v.30 The priest is to sacrifice one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement for her before the Lord for the uncleanness of her discharge.

   

   

v.31-33 Summary

 

v.31 “‘You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place, which is among them.'” [i.e. the holy use of the Tabernacle is therefore behind all these personal hygiene issues.]

v.32 These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen,

v.33 for a woman in her monthly period, for a man or a woman with a discharge, and for a man who has sexual relations with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.

       

       

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 16