Leviticus Chapter 15

The previous two chapters dealt with leprosy and the cleansing of lepers, which was part of the law of Moses. The act of cleansing, was not to be rid of the disease, but rather to become worthy to participate in the ordinances and rituals of the Lord. Being unclean with leprosy, was to be unworthy in the sight of the Lord, and I think there are several occasions throughout the bible, where leprosy was brought on by some type of sin. The laws regarding being unclean in other ways, continue in this chapter as well.

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 Speak 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.
3 And 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.
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And 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.
7 And 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.
8 And 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.
9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
10 And 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.
11 And 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.
12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.

The header of this chapter, clarifies that an issue means a discharge. Therefore a discharge from the flesh of a man, made him unclean. According to Numbers chapter 5, they were sent outside of the encampment, just as the lepers were. Anywhere he slept or sat, was to be considered unclean. If anyone else touched, sat or slept where the unclean man had been, they were to wash their clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. Anyone who touched someone with this or was spat upon by him, was also to wash his clothes, bathe and be considered unclean until evening. The saddle he sat on, or anything that was under him, was considered unclean. If they carried any of these things, they were considered unclean until evening. If the unclean washed in an earthen vessel, it was to be broken and if it was wood, it was to be rinsed with water.

As a side note, I think that when it says they would be “unclean until the even”, it probably means that they would be considered unclean for the remainder of that day.

13 And 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.
14 And 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:
15 And 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.
16 And 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.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.

Once the man was free of the issue, he was to go through the cleansing ritual for seven days. He would wash his clothes and bathe each day. On the eighth day, he would take two turtle doves or young pigeons and offer them at the door of the tabernacle. One would be for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord. The priest would make atonement for the man. Any relations between a man and woman would cause them to be unclean until evening.

19 And 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.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And 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.
25 And 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.
26 Every 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.
27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.

A woman with an issue was separated from others for seven days. Anyone who touched her would be considered unclean. All that she sat or laid on was unclean. Anyone who touched her bed, or anything she touched, would be unclean and would need to wash their clothes and bathe. If a man had relations with a woman who was unclean from an issue of blood, he was also unclean for seven days. If the issue lasted longer, she was to continue to be separated and considered unclean.

28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29 And 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.
30 And 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.
31 Thus 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.
32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
33 And 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.

Her cleansing would also be seven days, and then she was to take two turtle doves or two young pigeons to the door of the tabernacle and offer them to the priest. They would be her sin offering and burnt offering, and the priest would make atonement for her.

I’m not sure if these issues of uncleanliness had anything to do with the spiritual worthiness of the individual. It seems that for those with an issue, like those of leprosy, if they were required to be sent out of the camp, they were unworthy of the spirit of the Lord to dwell with them. I think that a lot of this chapter, has to do with the very physical laws of hygene, which needed to be in place to keep the people of Israel a healthy and thriving community. There were some very physical parts of the law of Moses, that remind me that the Lord was in the details of their lives. He is in the details of our lives today. I know this. When we are unhealthy, sick, and such, our minds and bodies become consumed with that very physical need. It is very hard to focus on spiritual things when this happens. It is very important for us to be mindful of how to take care of the bodies we have been given. If we knowingly rebel against those things which will keep our bodies clean and well, we are not worthy of the spirit in the same sense as those who pollute the spirit within themselves, with the effects of sin. Part of the reason for us coming here to gain a body, is to learn mastery of it. This was a lesson for the Israelites, just as it is for us today. And just like it was for them, we can only be worthy of the spirit’s companionship, when we repent and return with our sacrifice of a willing heart and mind to the Lord. Then, the Lord’s atonement will take affect in our lives and we will be clean and worthy of the spirit and the covenants with the Lord.

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