Scriptures

Leviticus 15

Introduction

‘The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness: ‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 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. ‘Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. ‘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. ‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean, 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. ‘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. ‘A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water. ‘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. 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. 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.’ Leviticus 15:1-15

Discharges Causing Uncleanness

Abnormal discharge was second only to leprosy in cutting the person off from the temple and worship. It also cut them off from all social life. The words, ‘keep separate’ come from the root of the word Nazarite. These laws were a reminder of Israel’s high calling, a Holy God wanted a Holy people, a people consecrated to special lives, in obedience to God.

Undoubtedly, social diseases were a large contribution to the nation’s problems. Sometimes overcrowded conditions, sometimes cultic and heathen influences. Purity was stressed, and so, disease had an adverse effect on both the guilty and the innocent, yet both were cut off.

The bodily discharges mentioned here which would make a person unclean included both the main sexual organs, as well as any unhygienic discharge. Any discharge from the body was unclean, the bed where one lay with a discharge or whatever he sat on also became unclean.

Those who came into contact with the person with a discharge were unclean until evening. They were to wash themselves and their clothes.

This contact could be by laying on his bed, sitting on his seat, touching him, having him spit on you. The saddle that the person with the discharge sat upon was unclean, if he touched something, it was unclean. If it was a clay pot it was to be broken, if something else it was to be washed.

After seven days he was to wash himself and his clothes in running water and on the eighth day he was to offer two turtle doves and two pigeons as a sin offering and burnt offering. Remember anyone who was unclean was out of fellowship with God’s people but after these offerings were given, they once again would be restored back into fellowship with God’s people.

What we see here is that life lived for God, meant all of life was lived for God and here in the Old Testament we see that a person’s physical cleanliness was necessary for them to approach God. A person had to be clean to continue to have a relationship with God.

‘When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. 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.’ Leviticus 15:16-18

The man was to wash himself and be unclean until evening and if the man was lying with a woman, she also had to wash herself and be unclean until evening.

In other words, God’s holy people must not be defiled. Being unclean in reference to sexual fluid emissions wasn’t sinful, though one was to wash his body and clothing in order to remove the uncleanness. In reference to sexual intercourse, the only defilement would be for a man to have intercourse with a woman who was going through her monthly period, which Moses deals with next.

‘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. ‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. 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. Whether it is the bed or anything she was sitting on, when anyone touches it, they will be unclean till evening. ‘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.’ Leviticus 15:19-24

Because of the blood which comes when a woman is going through her monthly period, the woman was unclean for seven days and whoever touched her was unclean until the evening. Whatever the woman sat on or lay on also became unclean and whoever touched the place where she sat or washed herself was unclean until evening.

If a man lay with the woman so as to get the discharge on him, he became unclean for seven days, and wherever he lay on was also became unclean.

Notice that there was no sacrifices involved for the person to become a part of the community again. this is because having sexual relationship wasn’t sinful. If they had sexual relationship whilst the woman was having her period, in order to remove the uncleanliness, the person simply had to wash, bathe, clean their clothes and wait seven days.

‘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. 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. Anyone who touches them will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. ‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean. 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. 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. ‘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.’ These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen, 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.’ Leviticus 15:25-33

Note that the text here isn’t dealing with the menstrual discharge, the text implies that the woman was to be unclean as if it were her monthly period, Mark 5:24-32.

Whatever the woman sat on or lay on was also unclean, whoever touched the place where she sat or washed herself was unclean until evening. After seven days she was to wash herself and on the eighth day, she was to offer two turtle doves and two pigeons as a sin offering and burnt offering.

These laws were a part of the bigger picture, which separated God’s people from the nations around them. Yes, other nations had laws but none of them were as strict as God’s laws, especially these laws concerning cleanliness.

Go To Leviticus 16

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."

1 Peter 3:15

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