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LEVITICUS 15 COMMENTARY
EDITED BY GLENN PEASE
Discharges Causing Uncleanness
1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
BARNES, "...
pure heart well kept are the issues of life (Pro_4:23), but out of an unclean heart comes
that which is defiling, Mat_12:3...
arrangement here is striking. Two types of discharges, long term and transient, are
mentioned with regard to both men and ...
rinsed in water."
"Shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until even ..."
The six-fold repetit...
deal with the cases of ceremonial defilement by issues in men; Leviticus 15:19-30,
with analogous cases in women. The prin...
{Genesis 3:16} "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy
conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring ...
in ancient and in modern times among many other peoples. But this is no objection
to the truth of the interpretation of th...
power as reaching to the very source and fountain of life, where it is needed no less.
The law concerning the removal of t...
Since Aaron’s advancement to High Priest Moses wanted him more involved,
especially with matters related to the tabernacle...
It must have existed, in certain measures, ever since prostitution prevailed in the world;
and this has been in every nati...
“flesh” is the body as in Lev_15:7, “whoever touches the flesh of him that hath the issue,”
as compared with Lev_15:19, “w...
same bed, or ridden on the same saddle. Thus did God desire to impress them with
horror, that they might be more accustome...
The Uncleanness Resulting From Exceptional Emissions From The Male Sexual
Organ (Leviticus 15:2-15).
Leviticus 15:2-3
“Spe...
scatters forth its luscious images, than the dull, brutal feelings of the stupid, ignorant
boor.” Even the quiet and invol...
Cleanliness a religious dut
y:—We get here an illustration of that which so often occurs in the law of Moses, viz.,
that d...
Atonement required for secret sins
A full atonement is required for our inward, secret sins, as much as for open and flagr...
unbelieving is m thing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” There is
absolutely nothing in the entire Bib...
his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it [is] his uncleanness.
Ver. 3. It is his uncleanness.] Hereby they we...
found, is thereby rendered unclean.
TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean:
an...
5 Anyone who touches his bed must wash their
clothes and bathe with water, and they will be
unclean till evening.
GILL, "A...
6 Whoever sits on anything that the man with a
discharge sat on must wash their clothes and
bathe with water, and they wil...
spits on someone who is clean that person must follow the usual cleansing
procedures. This may especially have occurred wh...
be admitted into the enjoyment of his own sacred privileges.
8 “‘If the man with the discharge spits on anyone
who is clea...
9 “‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be
unclean,
GILL, "And what saddle soever he sitteth upon that hath the is...
were under him will be unclean till evening;
whoever picks up those things must wash their
clothes and bathe with water, a...
is, the seat in the palanquin on which the passenger sits. If touched by any one after
the man with the issue has sat on i...
and not a thing, as directed and prescribed in the above cases instanced in; all which are
designed to instruct men to abs...
wooden vessel defiled in the same way should not, but be rinsed and cleansed, when an
earthen vessel might as well be rins...
beyond the possibility of cleansing by washing. See Leviticus 11:33, note.
PETT, "Leviticus 15:12
“And the earthen vessel,...
and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water; typical of the
fountain opened in Christ to wash in for sin an...
Bathe his flesh in running water.—Or, more literally, living water. It will be seen
that whilst all other defiled persons ...
“And when he who has an issue is cleansed of his issue, then he shall number to
himself seven days for his cleansing, and ...
according to the usual rites.
ELLICOTT, " (14) And on the eighth day he shall take to him.—If after the bathing
on the eve...
GILL, "And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the
other for a burnt offering,.... As in the case...
16 “‘When a man has an emission of semen, he
must bathe his whole body with water, and he will
be unclean till evening.
BA...
TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:16 And if any man’s seed of copulation go out from him, then
he shall wash all his flesh in water, an...
the evening.”
More remarkably a man’s natural emissions are seen as rendering the man unclean.
For they too are seen as pr...
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
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Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
Leviticus 15 commentary
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Leviticus 15 commentary
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Leviticus 15 commentary

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A verse by verse commentary on Leviticus 15 dealing with the laws regulating washing and sacrifice when a man or woman has a bodily discharge such as his semen or her period.

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Leviticus 15 commentary

  1. 1. LEVITICUS 15 COMMENTARY EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Discharges Causing Uncleanness 1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, BARNES, "This chapter would seem to take its place more naturally before Lev_ 12:1-8, with the subject of which it is inmediately connected. Compare especially Lev_ 12:2 with Lev_15:19. It stands here between two chapters, with neither of which has it any close connection. GILL, "And the Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron,.... Aaron is spoken to as well Moses, because some of these purifications, after mentioned, depended on the priest, as the affair of profluvious men and women, as Gersom observes: saying; as follows. HENRY 1-18, "We have here the law concerning the ceremonial uncleanness that was contracted by running issues in men. It is called in the margin (Lev_15:2) the running of the reins: a very grievous and loathsome disease, which was, usually the effect and consequent of wantonness and uncleanness, and a dissolute course of life, filling men's bones with the sins of their youth, and leaving them to mourn at the last, when all the pleasures of their wickedness have vanished, and nothing remains but the pain and anguish of a rotten carcase and a wounded conscience. And what fruit has the sinner then of those things whereof he has so much reason to be ashamed? Rom_6:21. As modesty is an ornament of grace to the head and chains about the neck, so chastity is health to the navel and marrow to the bones; but uncleanness is a wound and dishonour, the consumption of the flesh and the body, and a sin which is often its own punishment more than any other. It was also sometimes inflicted by the righteous hand of God for other sins, as appears by David's imprecation of a curse upon the family of Joab, for the murder of Abner. 2Sa_3:29, Let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue, or is a leper. A vile disease for vile deserts. Now whoever had this disease upon him, 1. He was himself unclean, Lev_15:2. He must not dare to come near the sanctuary, it was at his peril if he did, nor might he eat of the holy things. This signified the filthiness of sin, and of all the productions of our corrupt nature, which render us odious to God's holiness, and utterly unfit for communion with him. Out of a 1
  2. 2. pure heart well kept are the issues of life (Pro_4:23), but out of an unclean heart comes that which is defiling, Mat_12:34, Mat_12:35. 2. He made every person and thing unclean that he touched, or that touched him, Lev_15:4-12. His bed, and his chair, and his saddle, and every thing that belonged to him, could not be touched without a ceremonial uncleanness contracted, which a man must remain conscious to himself of till sunset, and from which he could not be cleansed without washing his clothes, and bathing his flesh in water. This signified the contagion of sin, the danger we are in of being polluted by conversing with those that are polluted, and the need we have with the utmost circumspection to save ourselves from this untoward generation. 3. When he was cured of the disease, yet he could not be cleansed from the pollution without a sacrifice, for which he was to prepare himself by seven days' expectation after he was perfectly clear from his distemper, and by bathing in spring water, Lev_15:13-15. This signified the great gospel duties of faith and repentance, and the great gospel privileges of the application of Christ's blood to our souls for our justification and his grace for our sanctification. God has promised to sprinkle clean water upon us, and to cleanse us from all our filthiness, and has appointed us by repentance to wash and make ourselves clean: he has also provided a sacrifice of atonement, and requires us by faith to interest ourselves in that sacrifice; for it is the blood of Christ his Son that cleanses us from all sin, and by which atonement is made for us, that we may have admission into God's presence and may partake of his favour. K&D, "The Uncleanness of Secretions. - These include (1) a running issue from a man (Lev_15:2-15); (2) involuntary emission of seed (Lev_15:16, Lev_15:17), and the emission of seed in sexual intercourse (Lev_15:18); (3) the monthly period of a woman (Lev_15:19-24); (4) a diseased issue of blood from a woman (Lev_15:25-30). They consist, therefore, of two diseased and two natural secretions from the organs of generation. COFFMAN, "Verse 1 This chapter deals with uncleanness deriving from sexual discharges of both normal and abnormal natures in both men and women. We may at first be somewhat surprised that normal sexual discharges should be construed as causing uncleanness. However, the mystery of life itself is suggested by these rules, and the thought that even in the sacred right of procreation the animal lusts of mankind so necessary in the exercise of that right nevertheless carried deep and powerful overtones of human depravity and the need of divine cleansing. "There is an almost necessary connection between religion and sex because both belong to the sphere of the sacred."[1] An amazing difference here from previous chapters lies in the fact that they dealt with defiling things that were outside of man, but this deals with "the defiling things that come OUT OF US."[2] Jesus himself declared that it is not what goes into a person that defiles him, but what comes OUT OF him! (Matthew 15:11). Of course, Jesus was speaking primarily of evil thoughts, but there seems to be also an application of his words here. The balance and symmetry of the chapter 2
  3. 3. arrangement here is striking. Two types of discharges, long term and transient, are mentioned with regard to both men and women, and that makes four elements in the chapter. "The discharges of women are discussed in reverse order from those of men, giving an overall chiastic pattern (AB-BA)."[3] Some commentators complain of the placement of this chapter, preferring to connect it with Leviticus 12, but it appears to us as appropriately placed here as would be the case with any other placement of it. Some have also questioned whether or not the word "flesh" (Leviticus 15:2) actually refers to the sex organ, but, of course, it does. As Keil puts it, "The fact that the same term `flesh' (Leviticus 15:19) certainly refers to a sexual discharge points unmistakably to a secretion from sexual organs."[4] Also, Orlinsky, stated flatly that the word "flesh" fails to reproduce the idiomatic force of the Hebrew word [~basar] in this passage, and that it should be translated "member."[5] Two exceedingly important derivations of the rules laid down here were identified by Jellie as, "a ban on self-destroying indulgences, and the impediment to the spread of loathsome diseases."[6] Leviticus 15:1-15 deal with some kind of disease; Leviticus 15:16-18 deal with normal discharges; Leviticus 15:19-24 concern normal female discharges; and Leviticus 15:25-30 deal with abnormal or diseased discharges. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath an issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 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. Every bed whereon he that hath the issue lieth shall be unclean; and every thing whereon he sitteth shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he that hath the issue sat shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. 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. 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. And what saddle soever he that hath the issue rideth upon shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And whomsoever he that hath the issue toucheth, without having rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And the earthen vessel, which he that hath the issue toucheth, shall be broken; and every vessel of wood shall be 3
  4. 4. rinsed in water." "Shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until even ..." The six-fold repetition of these phrases in this single passage indicates the archaic manner of presenting such instructions and points to the times of Moses, not to later centuries. The nature of the "issue" here is disputed, but we find no reason for rejecting the teaching of Wenham: "As early as the Septuagint (circa 250 B.C.) the complaint in question here has been identified as gonorrhea, and most commentators accept this diagnosis."[7] However, Keil denied this. Meyrick stated unequivocally that, "It appears to be identical with the disease called by physicians `gonorrhea', or perhaps `blenorrhea'."[8] To us it seems certain enough that some form of venereal infection must have been meant. The necessity of offering a sin-offering after the initial symptoms disappeared seems also to point in the same direction. Whether his flesh run ... or his flesh be stopped ..." (Leviticus 15:3). Keil rendered this: "Whether the member lets the matter flow out, or by closing retains it,"[9] it is his uncleanness. "Saddle ..." (Leviticus 15:9). Orlinski stated that this word is too restrictive, and that what is really meant is "any means of riding."[10] COKE, "Leviticus 15:1. And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, &c.— Some other cases respecting both sexes are here mentioned; and, no doubt, with the same view to moral purity, and reverence to the worship of God, as the former. We leave all physical remarks to the physicians. BENSON, "Leviticus 15:1. The laws in this chapter, although, in the main, aiming at the same end with the foregoing cases, namely, to teach the necessity of moral purity, and preserve the reverence due to the worship of God, yet were also particularly intended as a restraint upon immoderate indulgences of the flesh. EBC, "OF THE UNCLEANNESS OF ISSUES Leviticus 15:1-33 INASMUCH as the law concerning defilement from issues is presupposed and referred to in that concerning the defilement of child bearing, in chapter 12, it will be well to consider this before the latter. For this order there is the more reason, because, as will appear, although the two sections are separated, in the present arrangement of the book, by the law concerning defilement by leprosy (Leviticus 13:1-59; Leviticus 14:1-57), they both refer to the same general topic, and are based upon the same moral conceptions. The arrangement of the law in Leviticus 15:1-33 is very simple. Leviticus 15:2-18 4
  5. 5. deal with the cases of ceremonial defilement by issues in men; Leviticus 15:19-30, with analogous cases in women. The principle in both classes is one and the same; the issue, whether normal or abnormal, rendered the person affected unclean; only, when abnormal, the defilement was regarded as more serious than in other cases, not only in a physical, but also in a ceremonial and legal aspect. In all such cases, in addition to the washing with water which was always required, it was commanded that on the eighth day from the time of the cessation of the issue, the person who had been so affected should come before the priest and present for his cleansing a sin offering and a burnt offering. What now is the principle which underlies these regulations? In seeking the answer to this question, we at once note the suggestive fact that this law concerning issues takes cognisance only of such as are connected with the sexual organisation. All others, however, in themselves, from a merely physical point of view, equally unwholesome or loathsome, are outside the purview of the Mosaic code. They do not render the person affected, according to the law, ceremonially unclean. It is therefore evident that the lawgiver must have had before him something other than merely the physical peculiarities of these defilements, and that, for the true meaning of this part of the law, we must look deeper than the surface. It should also be observed here that this characteristic of the law just mentioned, places the law of issues under the same general category with the law (chapter 12) concerning the uncleanness of child bearing, as indeed the latter itself intimates. {Leviticus 12:2} The question thus arises: Why are these particular cases, and such as these only, regarded as ceremonially defiling? To see the reason of this, we must recur to facts which have already come before us. When our first parents sinned, death was denounced against them as the penalty of their sin. Such had been the threat: "In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt die." The death denounced indeed affected the whole being, the spiritual as well as the physical nature of man; but it comprehended the death of the body, which thus became, what it still is, the most impressive manifestation of the presence of sin in every person who dies. Hence, as we have seen, the law kept this connection between sin and death steadily before the mind, in that it constantly applied the principle that the dead defiles. Not only so, but, for this reason, such things as tended to bring death were also reckoned unclean; and thus the regulations of the law concerning clean and unclean meats, while strictly hygienic in character, were yet grounded in this profound ethical fact of the connection between sin and death; had man not sinned, nothing in the world had been able to bring in death, and all things had been clean. For the same reason, again, leprosy, as exemplifying in a vivid and terrible way disease as a progressive death, a living manifestation of the presence of the curse of God, and therefore of the presence of sin, a type of all disease, was regarded as involving ceremonial defilement and therefore as requiring sacrificial cleansing. But in the curse denounced upon our first parents was yet more. It was specially taught that the curse should affect the generative power of the race. For we read: 5
  6. 6. {Genesis 3:16} "Unto the woman He said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children." Whatever these words may precisely mean, it is plain that they are intended to teach that, because of sin, the curse of God fell in some mysterious way upon the sexual organisation. And although the woman only is specifically mentioned, as being "first in the transgression," that the curse fell also upon the same part of man’s nature is plain from the words in Genesis 5:3, where the long mortuary record of the antediluvians is introduced by the profoundly significant statement that Adam began the long line, with its inheritance of death, by begetting a son "in his own likeness, after his image." Fallen himself under the curse of death, physical and spiritual, he therewith lost the capacity to beget a creature like himself in his original state, in the image of God, and could only be the means of bringing into the world a creature who was an inheritor of physical weakness and spiritual and bodily death. In the light of this ancient record, which must have been before the mind of the Hebrew lawgiver, we can now see why the law concerning unclean issues should have had special relation to that part of man’s physical organisation which has to do with the propagation of the race. Just as death defiled, because it was a visible representation of the presence of the curse of God, and thus of sin, as the ground of the curse, even so was it with all the issues specified in this law. They were regarded as making a man unclean, because they were manifestations of the curse in a part of man’s nature which, according to the Word of God, sin has specially affected. For this reason they fell under the same law as death. They separated the person thus affected from the congregation, and excluded him from the public worship of a holy God, as making him "unclean." It is impossible now to miss the spiritual meaning of these laws concerning issues of this class. In that these alone, out of many others, which from a merely physical point of view are equally offensive, were taken under the cognisance of this law, the fact was thereby symbolically emphasised that the fountain of life in man is defiled. To be a sinner were bad enough, if it only involved the voluntary and habitual practice of sin. But this law of issues testifies to us, even now, that, as God sees man’s case, it is far worse than this. The evil of sin is so deeply seated that it could lie no deeper. The curse has in such manner fallen on our being, as that in man and woman the powers and faculties which concern the propagation of their kind have fallen under the blight. All that any son of Adam can now do is to beget a son in his own physical and moral image, an heir of death, and by nature unclean and unholy. Sufficiently distasteful this truth is in all ages; but in none perhaps ever more so than our own, in which it has become a fundamental postulate of much popular theology, and of popular politics as well, that man is naturally not bad, but good, and, on the whole, is doing as well as under the law of evolution, and considering his environment, can reasonably be expected. The spiritual principle which underlies the law concerning defilement by issues, as also that concerning the uncleanness of child bearing, assumes the exact opposite. It is indeed true that similar causes of ceremonial uncleanness have been recognised 6
  7. 7. in ancient and in modern times among many other peoples. But this is no objection to the truth of the interpretation of the Mosaic law here given. For in so far as there is genuine agreement, the fact may rather confirm than weaken the argument for this view of the case, as showing that there is an ineradicable instinct in the heart of man which connects all that directly or indirectly has to do with the continuance of our race, in a peculiar degree, with the ideas of uncleanness and shame. And, on the other hand, the differences in such cases from the Mosaic law show us just what we should expect, -a degree of moral confusion and a deadening of the moral sense among the heathen nations, which is most significant. As has been justly remarked, the Hindoo has one law on this subject for the Brahman, another for others; the outcast for some deadly sin, often of a purely frivolous nature, and a newborn child, are reckoned equally unclean. Or, -to take the case of a people contemporary with the Hebrews, -among the ancient Chaldeans, while these same issues were accounted ceremonially defiling, as in the law of Moses, with these were also reckoned in the same category, as unclean, whatsoever was separated from the body, even to the cuttings of the hair and the parings of the nails. Evidently, we thus have here, not likeness, but a profound and most suggestive moral contrast between the Chaldean and the Hebrew law. Of the profound ethical truth which vitalises and gives deep significance to the law of Moses, we find no trace in the other system. And it is no wonder if, indeed, the one law is, as declared, a revelation from the holy God, and the other the work of sinful and sin blinded man. It is another moral lesson which is brought before us in these laws that, as God looks at the matter, sin pertains not only to action, but also to being. Not only actions, from which we can abstain, but operations of nature which we cannot help, alike defile; defile in such a manner and degree as to require, even as voluntary acts of sin, the cleansing of water, and the expiatory blood of a sin offering. One could not avoid many of the defilements mentioned in this chapter, but that made no difference; he was unclean. For the lesser grades of uncleanness it sufficed that one be purified by washing with water; and a sin offering was only required when this purification had been neglected; but in all cases where the defilement assumed its extreme form, the sin offering and the burnt offering must be brought, and be offered for the unclean person by the priest. So is it, we are taught, with that sin of nature which these cases symbolised; we cannot help it, and yet the washing of regeneration and the cleansing of the blood of Christ is required for its removal. Very impressive in its teaching now becomes the miracle in which our Lord healed the poor woman afflicted with the issue of blood, {Mark 5:25-34} for which she had vainly sought cure. It was a case like that covered by the law in Leviticus 15:25-27; and he who will read and consider the provisions of that law will understand, as otherwise he could not, how great her trial and how heavy her burden must have been. He will wonder also, as never before, at the boldness of her faith, who, although, according to the law, her touch should defile the Lord, yet ventured to believe that not only should this not be so, but that the healing power which went forth from Him should neutralise the defilement, and carry healing virtue to the very centre of her life. Thus, if other miracles represent our Lord as meeting the evil of sin in its various manifestations in action, this miracle represents His healing 7
  8. 8. power as reaching to the very source and fountain of life, where it is needed no less. The law concerning the removal of these defilements, after all that has preceded, will admit only of one interpretation. The washing of water is the uniform symbol of the cleansing of the soul from pollution by the power of the Holy Ghost; the sacrifices point to the sacrifice of Christ, in its twofold aspect as burnt offering and sin offering, as required by and availing for the removal of the sinful defilement which, in the mind of God, attaches even to that in human nature which is not under the control of the will. At the same time, whereas in all these cases the sin offering prescribed is the smallest known to the law, it is symbolised, in full accord with the teaching of conscience, that the gravity of the defilement, where there has not been the active concurrence of the will, is less than where the will has seconded nature. In all cases of prolonged defilement from these sources, it was required that the affected person should still be regarded as unclean for seven days after the cessation of the infirmity, and on the eighth day came the sacrificial cleansing. The significance of the seven as the covenant number, the number also wherein was completed the old creation, has been already before us: that of "the eighth" will best be considered in connection with the provisions of chapter 12, to which we next turn our attention. The law of this chapter has a formal closing, in which are used these words (Leviticus 15:31): "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 in the midst of them." Of which the natural meaning is this, that the defilements mentioned, as conspicuous signs of man’s fallen condition, were so offensive before a holy God, as apart from these purifications to have called down the judgment of death on those in whom they were found. In these words lies also the deeper spiritual thought-if we have rightly apprehended the symbolic import of these regulations-that not only, as in former cases mentioned under the law of offerings, do voluntary acts of sin separate from God and if unatoned for call down His judgment, but that even our infirmities and the involuntary motions of sin in our nature have the same effect, and, apart from the cleansing of the Holy Spirit and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, ensure the final judgment of death. PETT, " This Is The Word Of Yahweh (Leviticus 15:1). Leviticus 15:1 “And Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,” The variation between Yahweh speaking just to Moses and sometimes to both Moses and Aaron, is a sign of the authenticity of the narrative. It is unlikely that an inventor would have introduced such variation so spasmodically. Again it is emphasised that we have here Yahweh’s words, but here to both Moses and Aaron. 8
  9. 9. Since Aaron’s advancement to High Priest Moses wanted him more involved, especially with matters related to the tabernacle. PULPIT, "RUNNING ISSUES FROM THE HUMAN BODY. These are the fourth cause of ceremonial uncleanness. We are not to look for a moral basis for the regulation on account of any vicious habit connected with such issues. They are foul and repulsive, and simply for that reason they are causes of ceremonial uncleanness to those who suffer from them, and to those who crone in contact with persons suffering from them. 2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge, such a discharge is unclean. CLARKE,"When any man hath a running issue - The cases of natural uncleanness, both of men and women, mentioned in this chapter, taken in a theological point of view, are not of such importance to us as to render a particular description necessary, the letter of the text being, in general, plain enough. The disease mentioned in the former part of this chapter appears to some to have been either the consequence of a very bad infection, or of some criminal indulgence; for they find that it might be communicated in a variety of ways, which they imagine are here distinctly specified. On this ground the person was declared unclean, and all commerce and connection with him strictly forbidden. The Septuagint version renders ‫הזב‬ hazzab, the man with the issue, by ὁ γονορῥυης, the man with a gonorrhea, no less than nine times in this chapter; and that it means what in the present day is commonly understood by that disorder, taken not only in its mild but in its worst sense, they think there is little room to doubt. Hence they infer that a disease which is supposed to be comparatively recent in Europe, has existed almost from time immemorial in the Asiatic countries; that it ever has been, in certain measures, what it is now; and that it ever must be the effect of sensual indulgence, and illicit and extravagant intercourse between the sexes. The disgraceful disorder referred to here is a foul blot which the justice of God in the course of providence has made in general the inseparable consequent of these criminal indulgences, and serves in some measure to correct and restrain the vice itself. In countries where public prostitution was permitted, where it was even a religious ceremony among those who were idolaters, this disease must necessarily have been frequent and prevalent. When the pollutions and libertinism of former times are considered, it seems rather strange that medical men should have adopted the opinion, and consumed so much time in endeavoring to prove it, viz., that the disease is modern. 9
  10. 10. It must have existed, in certain measures, ever since prostitution prevailed in the world; and this has been in every nation of the earth from its earliest era. That the Israelites might have received it from the Egyptians, and that it must, through the Baal-peor and Ashteroth abominations which they learned and practiced, have prevailed among the Moabites, etc., there can be little reason to doubt. Supposing this disease to be at all hinted at here, the laws and ordinances enjoined were at once wisely and graciously calculated to remove and prevent it. By contact, contagion of every kind is readily communicated; and to keep the whole from the diseased must be essential to the check and eradication of a contagious disorder. This was the wise and grand object of this enlightened Legislator in the ordinances which he lays down in this chapter. I grant, however, that it was probably of a milder kind in ancient times; that it has gained strength and virulence by continuance; and that, associated with some foreign causes, it became greatly exacerbated in Europe about 1493, the time in which some have supposed it first began to exist, though there are strong evidences of it in this country ever since the eleventh century. GILL, "Speak unto the children of Israel,.... From whence we learn, says the above mentioned writer, that these uncleannesses were only usual among the children of Israel, not among the Gentiles; that is, the laws respecting them were only binding on the one, and not on the other (s): and say unto them, when any man; in the Hebrew text it is, "a man, a man", which the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases, a young man, and an old man: hath a running issue out of his flesh; what physicians call a "gonorrhoea", and we, as in the margin of our Bibles, "the running of the reins": because of his issue, he is unclean; in a ceremonial sense, though it arises from a natural cause; but if not from any criminal one, from a debauch, but from a strain, or some such like thing, the man was not defiled, otherwise he was; the Targum of Jonathan is,"if he sees it three times he is unclean;''so the Misnah (t). JAMISON, "When any man hath a running issue — This chapter describes other forms of uncleanness, the nature of which is sufficiently intelligible in the text without any explanatory comment. Being the effects of licentiousness, they properly come within the notice of the legislator, and the very stringent rules here prescribed, both for the separation of the person diseased and for avoiding contamination from anything connected with him, were well calculated not only to prevent contagion, but to discourage the excesses of licentious indulgence. K&D 2-3, "The running issue from a man is not described with sufficient clearness for us to be able to determine with certainty what disease is referred to: “if a man becomes flowing out of his flesh, he is unclean in his flux.” That even here the term flesh is not a euphemism for the organ of generation, as is frequently assumed, is evident from Lev_15:13, “he shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water,” when compared with Lev_16:23-24, Lev_16:28, etc., where flesh cannot possibly have any such meaning. The 10
  11. 11. “flesh” is the body as in Lev_15:7, “whoever touches the flesh of him that hath the issue,” as compared with Lev_15:19, “whosoever toucheth her.” At the same time, the agreement between the law relating to the man with an issue and that concerning the woman with an issue (Lev_15:19, “her issue in her flesh”) points unmistakeably to a secretion from the sexual organs. Only the seat of the disease is not more closely defined. The issue of the man is not a hemorrhoidal disease, for nothing is said about a flow of blood; still less is it a syphilitic suppuration (gonorrhaea virulenta), for the occurrence of this at all in antiquity is very questionable; but it is either a diseased flow of semen (gonorrhaea), i.e., an involuntary flow drop by drop arising from weakness of the organ, as Jerome and the Rabbins assume, or more probably, simply blenorrhaea urethrae, a discharge of mucus arising from a catarrhal affection of the mucous membrane of the urethra (urethritis). The participle ‫ָב‬‫ז‬ ‫ֶה‬‫י‬ ְ‫ה‬ִ‫י‬ is expressive of continued duration. In Lev_ 15:3 the uncleanness is still more closely defined: “whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh closes before his issue,” i.e., whether the member lets the matter flow out or by closing retains it, “it is his uncleanness,” i.e., in the latter case as well as the former it is uncleanness to him, he is unclean. For the “closing” is only a temporary obstruction, brought about by some particular circumstance. CALVIN,"2When 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 (17) 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 11
  12. 12. 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 (Psalms 24:3), 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. ELLICOTT, " (2) A running issue out of his flesh.—Flesh, as is frequently the case, euphemistically denotes private parts. (See Genesis 6:10; Genesis 7:13; Leviticus 6:3; Leviticus 16:4; Ezekiel 16:26; Ezekiel 23:20, &c.) Because of his issue he is unclean.—Better, his issue is unclean. Hence, any one coming in contact with it, or with the garment on which traces of the secretion are found, is thereby rendered unclean. TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:2 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. Ver. 2. A running issue.] An involuntary flux of semin, such as David imprecateth upon Joab. [2 Samuel 3:29] BENSON. "Leviticus 15:2. A running issue — A grievous and loathsome disease, and generally the consequence of sin. Such a one was in a state of uncleanness all the time it was upon him. “If it proceeded merely from innocent, accidental causes,” says Maimonides, “as a strain in the back, carrying too great a burden, or violent leaping, the man was not defiled with it, nor concerned in this law.” PETT, "Verses 2-15 12
  13. 13. The Uncleanness Resulting From Exceptional Emissions From The Male Sexual Organ (Leviticus 15:2-15). Leviticus 15:2-3 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, “When any man has an issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. 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.” The ancients had their own way of disguising sexual language. Bald openness in such matters was seen as indecent. Thus here the reference to ‘flesh’ was a disguise for ‘penis’. What is being referred to is any emission from the penis. This could include the effect of venereal diseases as well as over exuberant sex glands. Any ‘lifegiving’ flow was to be seen as unclean, in the same way as for the woman birthflow was unclean. They lacked the perfection that God had intended for them. And they produced sinners fated to die. There may also be the thought that in losing the discharge they were losing some of their life force and were therefore not ‘whole’. BI 2-33, "Because of his issue he is unclean. Human nature unclean 1. We learn, in a very striking manner, the intense holiness of the Divine presence. Not a soil, not a stain, not a speck can be tolerated for a moment in that thrice- hallowed region. 2. Again, we learn that human nature is the ever-flowing fountain of uncleanness. It is hopelessly defiled and defiling. 3. Finally, we learn, afresh, the expiatory value of the blood of Christ, and the cleansing, sanctifying virtues of the precious Word of God. When we think of the unsullied purity of the sanctuary, and then reflect upon nature’s irremediable defilement, and ask the question, “However can we enter and dwell there?” the answer is found in “the blood and water” which flowed from the side of a crucified Christ—a Christ who gave up His life unto death for us, that we might live by Him. (C. H. Mackintosh.) Secret uncleanness All the uncleannesses here enumerated are such as were, for the most part, unknown except to the individual alone. They must, therefore, refer to sins of solitude and secrecy. The lesson is here taught that we may be great sinners without anybody else knowing anything about it. There may be a very correct exterior life, and yet a secret cherishing of pride, and lust, and unbelief, and a secret painting of the walls with imagery, as much unfitting us for the society of the pure and good as any open and outbreaking wickedness. “The lively imagination of a gay, poetic mind is not less sinful when it 13
  14. 14. scatters forth its luscious images, than the dull, brutal feelings of the stupid, ignorant boor.” Even the quiet and involuntary exudations of natural feeling are often to be numbered with the uncleanest things. It is amazing how deep-seated the contaminations of sin are. A man may be truly penitent. He may be set to be a good servant of God; and yet, every now and then, he will find the disgusting uncleanness of sin quietly and unintentionally escaping from him, contaminating himself and those who come in contact with him or touch what he has touched. His whole nature is yet so full of remaining corruption that the least agitation causes it to trickle over. He lies down to sleep, and presently he finds it in his dreams. He puts forth his hand to welcome a friend, and the very touch sometimes awakes wrong echoes in the soul. He is accidentally thrown into the mere neighbourhood of sin, and the very atmosphere about him seems at times to be laden with excitations of impurity. His depravity cleaves to him like an old sore. Nor are these secret and involuntary outflowings of corruption mere trifles, unworthy of notice. They are here set forth under images and types among the most offensive and disgusting. They are too loathsome for public recital—too hideous even for the mind to dwell upon. God intends thus to signify His deep abhorrence of our inherent corruptions. He means to intimate to us that we have reason to be ashamed and confounded at the secret disorder which still works in us. Nay, He yet adds to these defilements a judicial sentence. They were uncleannesses which excluded from the sanctuary and everything holy. They brought condemnation with them. And some of them were so bad as to need atonement by blood. We need, therefore, to be on our guard against the beginnings of evil. It is indeed melancholy that we, as Christians, still have so much impurity cleaving to us. But still it is not without its good effects. We need something to keep us humble, to drive us continually to the throne of grace, and to keep us ever mindful of our dependence upon the mercy of God. It helps to soften us towards the failings of others, and to make us charitable in our judgments of offenders. It helps greatly to reconcile us to the idea of dying. It contributes to make our dying day a blessed day, because it will put an everlasting end to these vexations. Then we shall be delivered. “from the body of this death.” (J. A. Seiss, D. D.) Purity required In tins chapter the defilement of sin is the leading thought. Here again there can be no doubt that there was a sanitary element in the regulations. “Cleanliness is next to godliness” is not, as some suppose, a Bible sentence, but it is beyond all question a Bible sentiment. The first all-embracing law of the Mosaic economy is, “Be holy.” And the second is like unto it, “Be clean”: clean in person, clean in garments, clean in house, clean in camp, clean everywhere. Who can tell how much the world owes to these “health laws of Moses”? “It is certainly a curious thing,” writes one who is an authority on the subject, “worthy the notice of every student of the progress of the human race, whether his standpoint be religious or purely scientific, that the moving camp in the wilderness was governed by as strict and perfect a sanitary code as any sanitary commission could now devise.” But in the Mosaic institutes the purity of the soul was ever kept before the mind as the main thing to be desired and secured. “Our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,” was always the first thing; “our bodies washed with pure water” was the second (Heb_10:22); and throughout the book of the law these two have been by God so joined together that no candid mind can put them asunder. (J. M. Gibson, D. D.) 14
  15. 15. Cleanliness a religious dut y:—We get here an illustration of that which so often occurs in the law of Moses, viz., that duties of the lowest, humblest order are urged on the people by the highest and noblest sanctions. Common work may be dignified by great motives. It will be regarded by a wise Christian man as a part of his duty which is by no means to be neglected, to maintain order and unsullied cleanliness in person and home. (C. Clemance, D. D.) The secret flow of sin from the natural heart, typified in the running issue We are here taught the disgusting constancy with which our original, deep-seated corruption will naturally discover itself. In all situations, towards all persons, at all seasons, this filthiness of the secret soul may be traced. In Lev_15:4 the man is represented as unclean when he lieth down to sleep, or even to rest at noon. Ah! yonder lies a sinner, and the very ground under him is accursed. His very pillow may shortly become a spear under his throat; just as Jonah’s rest soon became a tempestuous sea. A friend comes to see him and gently wakes him, but touches his couch in so doing, and becomes thereby unclean (verse 5); for the man is all polluted. However amiable the friend you visit, yet, if still in his unhealed corruption, your intercourse with him spreads its baleful influence over you. You have insensibly been injured by the contact. Oh, how we should watch our souls in mingling with a world lying in wickedness l Oh, how holy, how marvellously strong in holiness was Jesus, who breathed this polluted air and remained as holy as when He came! If the man leave the spot, and another occupy it, that other has seated himself in the sinner’s place (verse 6), and the memory of his sin is not gone. He is in contact with a polluted thing. As when one of us now reads the details of a sinner’s career, and our mind rests thereon, we are involved in this sin. If a physician (verse 7) or an attendant touch the sick man’s flesh, he is in contact with sin, and becomes polluted. This legal consequence of any actual contact with the defiled shows us, no doubt, the danger and hazard of even attempting to aid the polluted. It is at the risk of being ourselves involved in their sin. Therefore it must be watchfully done, not boldly and adventurously. You breathe an impure atmosphere: proceed with caution. If (verse 8) any even accidental touch occur—as if the diseased man spit or sneeze, so as anything from him reaches the bystander, pollution is spread. An accidental word, a casual expression, an unexpected look, may suggest sin; and if it does, forthwith wash it all away ere evening comes. “Let not the sun go down upon thy wrath.” Leave no stain for a moment upon thy conscience. When the man rides forth, lo! yonder is a sinner; and his saddle is polluted; and the mattress he spread on the floor of his tent for a temporary rest in his journey (verse 10) is so polluted that the attendant who lifts it is defiled. Oh! sad, sad estate of man! In going out or coming in, in the house or by the way, his inward fountain of sin flows on unceasingly, and the Holy One of Israel follows him with His eye to mark him as a sinner. Nay, if he put his hand forth (verse 11) to touch any one-to give him a friendly welcome, or aid him in any work, he conveys pollution, unless he have first “rinsed his hands in water.” The sinner, whose natural heart is still unhealed, cannot do even a kind act without sin—his only mode of doing so would be “washing in clean water.” And the vessels he uses (verse 12)must be broken or rinsed in water; even as the earth, on which the sinner has stood as his theatre for committing evil shall be broken in pieces by the fire of the last day (“All these things shall be dissolved,” 2Pe_ 3:11), the trial by water being already past. (A. A. Bonar.) 15
  16. 16. Atonement required for secret sins A full atonement is required for our inward, secret sins, as much as for open and flagrant sins. The sinful vision that our fancy spread out before us for a moment must be washed away by blood. The tendency which our soul felt to sympathise in that act of resentment or revenge must be washed away by blood. The hour, or minutes, we spent in brooding over our supposed hard lot must be redeemed by blood. The selfish wish we cherished for special prosperity in some undertaking that was to reflect its credit on us only, is to be washed away by blood. The proud aspiration, the sensual impulse, the world-loving eye or soul cast on earth’s glories, must be washed away by blood. The darkness, ignorance, suspicion, and misconception we entertain toward God and His salvation, retest be washed in blood. “Behold, Thou desirest truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part (hidden region of the soul) Thou shalt make me to know wisdom” (Psa_ 51:6). (A. A. Bonar.) Impurity a contagious evil All those details of Divine precept, by which every person and article anywise brought into contact with the unclean man or woman became unclean, bring out the truth that impurity is an essentially communicable evil. It is so physically; “let sinners look to it.” It is so spiritually. How guilty in the very last degree are those who drive a nefarious trade in corrupt literature! How shameful to put indecent thought into print to pollute the young! How demoralising to the soul, how displeasing to God, how scrupulously to be avoided, the questionable conversation that borders on the indelicate and impure! (see Eph_5:3-4; Eph_5:12; Col_3:8). (W. Clarkson.) Beware of contact with sinful persons All this mystically teaches us to beware of courting or choosing the conversation of those that have received any tincture of vice, and not to contract acquaintance with any persons who we have reason to believe are not on good terms with God. There is such a venomous contagion in vice and immorality that familiarity with sinners does, of itself, make a man an associate in their practices: so saith the son of Sirach (Sir_13:1), and thus the apostle commands (1Ti_5:22). (Biblioth. Bibl.) Plain speaking on the subject of purity That plain speaking and plain dealing, such as we find here, was necessary, is amply proved by the history of the ancient world, and of the modern world too. The Bible is the only book that has exercised any considerable effect in keeping men and women pure. There are many books, where everything offensive to the ear is studiously avoided, which nevertheless are very poison to the soul. In the Bible, on the other hand, while there is not a little that is offensive to the ear, there is absolutely nothing that is poisonous to the spirit, unless the spirit has been poisoned already; for we must remember that while “to the pure all things are pure,” “unto them that are defiled and 16
  17. 17. unbelieving is m thing pure, but even their mind and conscience is defiled.” There is absolutely nothing in the entire Bible that will not exert a holy and purifying influence on those who read it in the right spirit. And as a historical fact, such has been the result among those who have made these Scriptures their companion and counsellor. The Jews alone among the nations of antiquity had even the conception of purity as we understand it now. Consider for a moment whence we derive those exalted notions of purity which are widely prevalent in modern society, especially among Christian people. Even the purest and the best of Greek philosophers, those who in other respects have come nearest to Bible ethics, are wofully behind in regard to personal purity of heart and life, some of them tolerating and others approving that which enlightened Christian sentiment utterly condemns. Let any one fairly investigate the genesis and “evolution” of our modern ideas of chastity and purity and he will find that they are traceable chiefly to the Hebrew Scriptures as their source. And so the remarkable fact will present itself that to these very Scriptures, and largely to those parts of them which the corrupt imagination of certain cavillers finds an indecency which is all its own, we owe that very sentiment of delicacy which makes it impossible for us to read them aloud in public or in the family. (J. M. Gibson, D. D.). 3 Whether it continues flowing from his body or is blocked, it will make him unclean. This is how his discharge will bring about uncleanness: GILL, "And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue,.... Or the sign of it, by which it may be judged whether he is unclean by it or no: whether his flesh run with his issue; or salivates, or emits a flow of matter like a saliva, or in the manner of spittle: or his flesh be stopped from his issue; with it, or because of it; because it is gross, as Jarchi says, it cannot come forth freely: it is his uncleanness; whether it be one or the other, he is reckoned on account of it an unclean person. This was an emblem of the corruption and vitiosity of nature, and of all evil things that are in or flow out of the evil heart of man, which are defiling to him; see Mat_15:18. TRAPP, " And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with 17
  18. 18. his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it [is] his uncleanness. Ver. 3. It is his uncleanness.] Hereby they were taught the turpitude of sin, of original sin especially, that peccatum peccans, as the Schools call it; that sinful sin, as St Paul, [Romans 7:13] for so filthy it is, that he can call it no worse than by its own name, as wanting a fitter epithet. 4 “‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean. GILL, "Every bed whereon he lieth that hath the issue is unclean,.... Which he constantly makes use of; so the Targum of Jonathan, which is peculiar to him, and appointed and appropriated for him to lie upon. Jarchi says, every bed that is fit to lie upon, thou is appropriated to another service; but, he adds meaning is, which he shall lie upon (or continue to lie upon); for it is not said, which he hath laid upon, but which he lieth upon, and is used by him continually; according to the Misnah (u), a man that has an issue defiles a bed five ways, so as to defile a man, and to defile garments; standing, sitting, lying, hanging, and leaning: and everything whereon he sitteth shall be unclean; which is appropriated to sit upon; and so the Targum, as before, what is his proper peculiar seat, what he is used to sit upon, and is fit for that purpose: and it is observed by some Jewish writers (w) that a vessel that is not fit to sit upon is excluded, as if a man was to turn up a bushel, or any other measure, to sit upon it; see Tit_1:15. K&D 4-8, "Every bed upon which he lay, and everything upon which he sat, was defiled in consequence; also every one who touched his bed (Lev_15:5), or sat upon it (Lev_15:6), or touched his flesh, i.e., his body (Lev_15:7), was unclean, and had to bathe himself and wash his clothes in consequence. ELLICOTT, " (2) A running issue out of his flesh.—Flesh, as is frequently the case, euphemistically denotes private parts. (See Genesis 6:10; Genesis 7:13; Leviticus 6:3; Leviticus 16:4; Ezekiel 16:26; Ezekiel 23:20, &c.) Because of his issue he is unclean.—Better, his issue is unclean. Hence, any one coming in contact with it, or with the garment on which traces of the secretion are 18
  19. 19. found, is thereby rendered unclean. TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. Ver. 4. Every bed.] Sin is more catching than any plague, and more defiling than any out house; [Mark 7:23] Paul found it as noisome to his soul as a dead body to his sense, [Romans 7:24] or as the sanies; (a) of a plague sore to a rich robe. Job abhors himself for it in dust and ashes. [Job 40:4] And Isaiah looks upon himself as an undone man by reason of it. [Isaiah 6:5] BENSON, "Leviticus 15:4. Every bed whereon he lieth, &c. — Thus, such persons were cut off from all communications with mankind, and were shunned and avoided by every one, as an abomination. And this could not but tend to render them all extremely careful not to bring upon themselves so loathsome a disease. WHEDON, "4. Every bed — The inconveniences of ceremonial impurity are strikingly set forth in this and the following verses. The only posture in which the man did not communicate ceremonial impurity was standing without touching any vessel or utensil. The obstruction to social intercourse, business, and trade must have exceeded one’s conception. The man, while under this disability, could neither sit nor lie down without spreading impurity; nor could he eat or drink without defiling the vessel which he touched; while the grasp of friendship polluted the person of his friend and incapacitated him for the public offices of religion and for communion with his kindred until he had washed his clothes and bathed himself, and waited for the friendly shades of evening to emancipate him from ceremonial bondage. Till his purification he was to be excluded from the camp. Numbers 5:2. In contrast with this burdensome ritual Christianity is appropriately called “the law of liberty.” PETT, "Leviticus 15:4 “Every bed on which he who has the issue lies shall be unclean, and everything on which he sits shall be unclean.” When a man has such an issue fairly constantly any bed he lies on is unclean and everything on which he sits is unclean. This would, of course, at first only be known to those who knew him well enough to be aware of it. But it would help to prevent his family, apart from his wife, from possibly catching the disease. However, no doubt he had to inform the priest and others in order to explain why he could not go into the court of the tabernacle and partake of peace offerings, and why he must not even be touched. Thus it would become gradually known. 19
  20. 20. 5 Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. GILL, "And whosoever toucheth his bed,.... Is unclean. According to the Misnah (x), a bed defiles a man seven ways, so as to defile garments; standing, sitting, lying, hanging, and leaning, and by touching, and by bearing: shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water; in forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan: and be unclean until the even; be unfit for conversation with other men till the even, though both his body and clothes are washed. ELLICOTT, "Verse 5-6 (5, 6) And whosoever toucheth his bed.—The defiling power of the patient was so great that the bed, seat, or saddle which he rendered unclean by any of the above- named five acts polluted again any one who came in contact with these articles in seven different ways: by standing, sitting, lying, hanging, leaning, touching, or bearing them. The person thus polluted had to remain in this condition, debarred from the privileges of the sanctuary, till sundown, when he had to wash his garments, and immerse his whole body in water. PETT, "Leviticus 15:5-7 “And whoever touches his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And he who sits on anything on which he who has the issue sat shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And he who touches the flesh of him who has the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.” All who come in contact with anything that might have been affected by his sexual emission, whether his bed, his chair or his flesh (and here it probably means his body), become unclean and must wash their clothes and themselves and be unclean until the evening. Speaking medically the hope was that any discharge which was on their clothes would thus be removed without infecting them, and the same with the discharge which had actually touched their bodies. But the ritual reason was in order to remove the cause of uncleanness. 20
  21. 21. 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. GILL, "And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue,.... Shall be unclean, even though he does not touch it. Jarchi says, though there should be, as he adds, ten things or vessels one upon another, they all defile because of sitting, and so by lying: shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even; as in the preceding case. See Gill on Lev_15:5. "WHEDON, "6. He that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat — The very stool occupied for a moment by a man afflicted with the issue was ceremonially defiled. The precautions are as great as they would have been if the issue had been a deadly contagion, except that there was no quarantine required. We should assert that the gonorrhea virulenta, or syphilitic suppuration, was under consideration, were not history against such a supposition. PETT, "Leviticus 15:8-11 “And if he who has the issue spits on him who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whatever saddle he who has the issue rides on shall be unclean. And whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until the evening. And he who bears those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening. And whomever he who has the issue touches, without having rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the evening.” Spitting was a way of conveying a deliberate insult (Numbers 12:14; Deuteronomy 25:9; Job 30:10; Isaiah 50:6; Matthew 26:67; Matthew 27:30, etc.). But if the man 21
  22. 22. spits on someone who is clean that person must follow the usual cleansing procedures. This may especially have occurred when someone joked about his condition so that the spitting was a retaliation (such a possibility would therefore probably save him from many ribald and unkind comments, for he had a speedy way of riposte). It may also result from a man coughing accidentally and excessively. Any saddle he rides on is unclean, and anyone who touches anything that has been under him will be unclean until the evening. And anyone who carries anything which has been in contact with him or who has been touched by him when he has not rinsed his hands in water, must wash their clothes, and themselves, and be unclean until the evening. We note especially here the idea that the infection can be passed on through the spittle, and the fact that washing the hands helps to prevent the spread of the infection, both matters of only comparatively recent medical knowledge. Yet it is here, over three thousand years ago, specifically mentioned. It is true of course that an element of avoiding ‘uncleanness’ is involved, but it would not really seem necessary to have mentioned it for any other reason than hygiene, especially the washing of hands. This must be considered quite remarkable. 7 “‘Whoever touches the man who has a discharge must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening. GILL, "And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue,.... Shall also be unclean, even any part of his flesh, or member of his body: the Jewish canon is (y), he that toucheth one that has an issue, or he that has an issue touches him, or anyone moves him that has an issue, or he moves him, defiles food, and drink, and washing vessels by touching, but not by bearing; and particularly touching the issue itself is instanced in, and such a man's spittle, &c. are defiled: shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even; as before. See Gill on Lev_15:5. ELLICOTT, "(7) And he that toucheth the flesh.—With such intense loathing was the person regarded who had contracted this infirmity, that even the medical man who had professionally to examine him became defiled for the rest of the day. He had to wash his clothes and immerse the whole of his body in water before he could 22
  23. 23. be admitted into the enjoyment of his own sacred privileges. 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. GILL, "And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean,.... Not purposely, which is not usual for a man to do, and whenever it is done, nothing is more affronting; but accidentally, when, as Aben Ezra expresses it, he spreads his spittle, and it falls upon a clean person; and under this, as Gersom observes, is comprehended whatever is brought up by coughing, as phlegm, or flows from the nose, or is pressed out of it; and so Maimonides (z): and this may denote all corrupt communication which proceeds out of the mouth of evil men, whether immoral or heretical, which not only defiles the man himself, but those he converses with; for evil communication corrupts good manners: then he shall wash his clothes, &c. as in the foregoing instances. See Gill on Lev_ 15:5. ELLICOTT, "(8) If he . . . spit upon him.—Spitting in the face of a person was, and still is, commonly resorted to among Oriental nations as an expression of insult and contempt (Numbers 12:14; Deuteronomy 25:9; Isaiah 1:6; Job 30:10; Matthew 26:67, &c.). Suffering from the disease here discussed, the patient would naturally be more irritable, and hence be liable to give vent more frequently to this mode of expressing his wrath. Now, any person upon whom he happened to heap this indignity became defiled by the spittle in the same manner, and had to go through the same purification, as he who chanced to touch his garments, or as the physician who had to examine him. TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:8 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. Ver. 8. Spit upon him.] Noting the pollution that comes to men’s souls by those that spit heresies and belch out blasphemies. 23
  24. 24. 9 “‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean, GILL, "And what saddle soever he sitteth upon that hath the issue,.... When he rides upon any beast, horse, ass, or camel, whatever is put upon the creature, and he sits upon it, the saddle, and whatever appertains to it, the housing and girdle: shall be unclean; and not fit for another to use, but be defiling to him, as follows. JAMISON, "what saddle ... he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean — (See on Gen_31:34). K&D, "The conveyance in which such a man rode was also unclean, as well as everything under him; and whoever touched them was defiled till the evening, and the person who carried them was to wash his clothes and bathe himself. ELLICOTT, " (9) And what saddle soever.—Better, and any carriage. The word here translated “saddle” only occurs twice more: viz., 1 Kings 5:6 in Hebrew, or Leviticus 4:26 in English, where it is rendered “chariot” in the Authorised Version, and in Song of Solomon 3:10, where it is translated “covering” but where it manifestly denotes the seat inside the palanquin. With the feminine termination the word in question occurs no less than forty-four times, and is invariably translated in the Authorised Version “chariot.” What kind of vehicle the masculine form of the expression in question denotes in the three passages in which it occurs must be decided from the context. In Kings, the horses which are used in connection with it show that it was a carriage drawn by animals. In Canticles it is a vehicle, or the essential part of it, carried by men, and this is the kind of vehicle meant in the passage before us. It is the well-known palanquin so largely used in the East. Shall be unclean.—The conveyance used is to be unclean, and hence, is not to be used by any one else. It will be seen that the present text does not say how long the vehicle is to be defiled, though in every other instance the time is fixed. (See Leviticus 15:5-11.) There can, therefore, hardly be any doubt that the reading in the LXX., which has here until evening, is the original one, and that the words have dropped out of the Hebrew text. 10 and whoever touches any of the things that 24
  25. 25. 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. GILL, "And whosoever toucheth anything that was under him shall be unclean until the even,.... Either when lying along, or sitting, or riding, as in Lev_ 15:4; various are the traditions of the Jews concerning these things; if one that has an issue and a clean person sit together, in a ship, or on a beam, or ride together on a beast, though their garments do not touch, they are unclean, &c. (a): and he that beareth any of those things; that carries any of the above things from place to place, as his bed, his seat, his saddle, or anything on which he has lain, sat, or rode. shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even; See Gill on Lev_15:5. COKE, "Verse 10 Leviticus 15:10. And bathe himself in water— Compare with Leviticus 15:11; Leviticus 15:21-22; Leviticus 15:27. REFLECTIONS.—The euphemism of the Scripture is beautiful, and to be imitated. Even when it speaks of evil things, it is in such a way as to avoid exciting evil ideas. The loathsome disease here mentioned, is usually the consequence and punishment of impurity, leaving a rotten carcass and a guilty conscience. It rendered a man incapable of appearing at the sanctuary, it made him to be shunned by every body around him; and whatever he touched was unclean. When he was healed, he washed; and when after seven days waiting he gave full confirmation of his cure, he might bring his sacrifice. Note; 1. Though the servants of their lusts may count it a light affair to be cut off in this world from the congregation of the Lord, where they seldom care to appear, they will find it a terrible thing to be cut off from it in eternity. 2. Nothing wars more dangerously against the soul than evil concupiscence. 3. The company of such persons is more to be avoided, than of him who has the plague. 4. Yet the vilest need not despair: when he returns to the blood of Jesus, there is hope in his end. ELLICOTT, " (10) And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him.—That 25
  26. 26. is, the seat in the palanquin on which the passenger sits. If touched by any one after the man with the issue has sat on it, he contracts defilement till sundown. And he that beareth any of those things.—Better, And he that beareth them. That is, whoso carries the palanquin, with the patient in it, from one place to another, contracts defilement. (See Leviticus 11:28; Leviticus 11:40.) 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. CLARKE,"And whomsoever he toucheth - Here we find that the saliva, sitting on the same seat, lying on the same bed, riding on the same saddle, or simple contact, was sufficient to render the person unclean, meaning, possibly, in certain cases, to communicate the disorder; and it is well known that in all these ways the contagion of this disorder may be communicated. Is it not even possible that the effluvia from the body of an infected person may be the means of communicating the disease? Sydenham expressly says that it may be communicated by lactation, handling, the saliva, sweat, and by the breath itself, as well as by those grosser means of which there is no question. But the term unclean, in this and the following cases, is generally understood in a mere legal sense, the rendering a person unfit for sacred ordinances. And as there was a mild kind of gonorrhea that was brought on by excessive fatigue and the like, it may be that kind only which the law has in view in the above ordinances. GILL, "And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue,.... Not only he that touched him that had the issue, but whomsoever, and indeed whatsoever he touched, as the Targum of Jonathan, the Septuagint, and Arabic versions, were unclean; See Gill on Lev_15:4, and hath not rinsed his hands in water; which is to be understood, not of the man that is touched, but of him that toucheth; and is interpreted by the Jewish writers, generally, of bathing the whole body; according to Aben Ezra, the simple sense is, every clean person, whom he that hath an issue touches and hath rinsed his hands, he is indeed unclean, but not his garments; and if his hands are not rinsed his garments are unclean, and this is as he that touches all that is under him; wherefore it follows: he shall wash his clothes, &c. that is, if a man is touched, as the Targum of Jonathan, 26
  27. 27. and not a thing, as directed and prescribed in the above cases instanced in; all which are designed to instruct men to abstain from conservation with impure persons in doctrine and practice. K&D, "This also applied to every one whom the man with an issue might touch, without first rinsing his hands in water. ELLICOTT, " (11) And hath not rinsed his hands in water.—If the patient happens to touch any one with his hands without having first washed his hands, the man who has thus been touched by the unwashen hands of the defiled invalid contracts pollution till sundown of the day on which he has been touched. He has to wash his clothes and immerse his whole body in water before he can partake of the privileges of the sanctuary. This is the only instance where the touch of the hand as imparting defilement is expressly mentioned, and where the washing of the hands alone is ordered in the Mosaic-Law to prevent the communication of pollution. The washing of the hands over the heifer, ordered in Deuteronomy 21:6, is of a different kind. It is meant to renounce any share in the guilt of the murder, or rather, to protest their innocence. WHEDON, "11. Rinsed his hands — It is generally understood that this act refers to the diseased man. The Greek and Latin versions convey this meaning. The Hebrew is doubtful. The Syriac refers the hand rinsing to the person touched, though it is strange that he should be cleansed by washing his hands when some other part was touched. 12 “‘A clay pot that the man touches must be broken, and any wooden article is to be rinsed with water. GILL, "And the vessel of earth that he toucheth which hath an issue shall be broken,.... That it might not be made use of afterwards; which was ordered, that they might be careful what they touched who were in such circumstances: according to Gersom an earthen vessel received no uncleanness but from the middle, though he owns the law does not distinguish between the middle and the outside; wherefore Jarchi is of opinion, that if the back or outside of it was touched, it was unclean, and to be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water; and after that be used: what should be the reason why an earthen vessel defiled by touching should be broken, and a 27
  28. 28. wooden vessel defiled in the same way should not, but be rinsed and cleansed, when an earthen vessel might as well be rinsed and fit for use as that, is not easy to say; it depended upon the will of the lawgiver: according to Ainsworth, the one may signify the destruction of reprobate persons, the other the cleansing of penitent sinners. JAMISON, "the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken — It is thought that the pottery of the Israelites, like the earthenware jars in which the Egyptians kept their water, was unglazed and consequently porous, and that it was its porousness which, rendering it extremely liable to imbibe small particles of impure matter, was the reason why the vessel touched by an unclean person was ordered to be broken. K&D, "Vessels that he had touched were to be broken to pieces if they were of earthenware, and rinsed with water if they were of wood, for the reasons explained in Lev_11:33 and Lev_6:21. ELLICOTT, " (12) And the vessel of earth . . . shall be broken.—For the reason why vessels of a porous clay must be destroyed when contaminated by defilement, see Leviticus 6:28; Leviticus 11:33. This, however, is the only instance where an earthen vessel touched on the outside was defiled, thus again showing the intense loathing with which the guilt of this kind of infirmity was regarded. Every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.—As these kinds of vessels were both more expensive and more difficult to restore, the Law, which so frequently takes into consideration the circumstances of the people, mercifully spares the more costly utensils. These are to undergo the same baptism as human beings. The administrators of the law during the second Temple took the expression “wood” in a more generic sense, as denoting more enduring material than clay; hence they included vessels made of copper, brass, silver, &c. With regard to the manner in which the vessels thus polluted are to be immersed, they ordained that if the utensil is dipped with its mouth downward, or if the vessel, at the time of its immersion, contains any liquor except water, the baptism is illegal. They, moreover, ordained that all new vessels which are purchased, or otherwise acquired, must likewise be immersed, for fear lest the maker, or some of those who have handled them prior to the purchase, might have been in a state of defilement. Hence the orthodox Jews to this day literally baptize cups, plates, knives, forks, or any new utensil which they buy. It is to this law that Christ refers when He says, “And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing [literally, the baptism] of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables,” or, as the Margin has it more correctly, “beds,” or couches (Mark 7:4). WHEDON, "12. The vessel of earth… shall be broken — The reason for this command will be found in the fact that the earthen vessels in use among the Hebrews were unglazed, and from their porous nature, capable of defilement 28
  29. 29. beyond the possibility of cleansing by washing. See Leviticus 11:33, note. PETT, "Leviticus 15:12 “And the earthen vessel, which he who has the issue touches, shall be broken; and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.” Any earthenware vessel he touches shall be broken, and presumably seen as unclean, every wooden vessel has to be rinsed with water. Again the purpose is to stop the spread of uncleanness. The broken vessel will presumably be thrown out into the unclean place outside the camp. It is quite clear from all this how ‘unclean’ the emission was seen to be. It was an emission that produced life which would result in death, and weakened the one from whom it came. To touch it was possibly especially unclean because it might be seen as partaking of someone else’s life force. 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. BARNES, "The mere cessation of the issue does not make him clean: he must wait seven days, etc., preparatory to his offering sacrifice. GILL, "And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue,.... That is, it is ceased from him, as the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi explain it; for otherwise, according to the ceremonial law, he was not yet cleansed, until he had done everything next prescribed; but when he perceived there was an entire stop put to his disorder: then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing; by which time it would appear whether he was thoroughly rid of it or not; and these seven days, as Jarchi observes, must be seven pure days, quite free from pollution, and continued in a constant course, without interruption; for, as Gersom says, if he saw any impurity in anyone of these days it did not come into the account: nay, according to Maimonides (b), he must begin to number again from the day of the last appearance: 29
  30. 30. and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water; typical of the fountain opened in Christ to wash in for sin and uncleanness, even the fountain of his blood, which cleanses from all sin; and in which both the persons and garments of the saints are washed and made white: and shall be clean; in a ceremonial sense; as all that are washed from their sins in the blood of Christ are clean in a spiritual and evangelical sense. JAMISON, "then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing — Like a leprous person he underwent a week’s probation, to make sure he was completely healed. Then with the sacrifices prescribed, the priest made an atonement for him, that is, offered the oblations necessary for the removal of his ceremonial defilement, as well as the typical pardon of his sins. K&D 13-15, "When he was cleansed, i.e., recovered from his issue, he was to wait seven days with regard to his purification, and then wash his clothes and bathe his body in fresh water, and be clean. On the eighth day he was to bring two turtle-doves or young pigeons, in order that the priest might prepare one as a sin-offering and the other as a burnt-offering, and make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue. COFFMAN, "Verse 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 he shall bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean. And on the eighth day, he shall take to him two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons, and come before Jehovah unto the door of the tent of meeting, and give them unto the priest: and the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him before Jehovah for the issue." These verses deal with the ceremonial cleansing and forgiveness of him that had the issue following a period of confirmation that the disease had subsided and disappeared. ELLICOTT, "13) And when he . . . is cleansed of his issue.—That is, recovered or healed of his infirmity (see Leviticus 15:28), as the real purification was not accomplished till he had performed the ritual prescribed in this and in the two following verses. He is, however, not to perform these rites as soon as he finds that the issue has ceased, but has to wait seven clear days, so as to afford sufficient time to ascertain whether the infirmity had actually disappeared. If any vestige of it was seen during these seven days, or even at the end of the seventh day, and after he was baptized, he had again to count seven other days. 30
  31. 31. Bathe his flesh in running water.—Or, more literally, living water. It will be seen that whilst all other defiled persons and things were to be immersed in a collection of water, the restored man who had suffered from the issue in question was ordered to bathe in a fountain or in spring water. For the phrase “living water,” see Leviticus 14:5; Leviticus 14:50. It is more than probable that the term “flesh” has here, too, the euphemistic sense in which it has hitherto been used in this section. (See Leviticus 15:2-3; Leviticus 15:7.) This derives support from the fact that whenever bathing of the body is ordered, the phrase for it throughout this section is uniformly “bathe in water” simply, which occurs no less than ten times (Leviticus 15:5-8; Leviticus 15:10-11; Leviticus 15:18; Leviticus 15:21-22; Leviticus 15:27), and where the Authorised Version has in all cases inserted himself in italics. This, moreover, seems to be confirmed by the fact that in the only passage in this section where the expression “flesh” is used in its literal sense for “body” (see Leviticus 15:16), the sacred writer designedly added (ĕth kol) “all,” so that it might be distinguished from the euphemistic sense in which it is used in all the other passages in this section, This, however, would not exclude the bathing of the body as well, but, on the contrary, premises it. TRAPP, "Verse 13 Leviticus 15:13 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. Ver. 13. Bathe his flesh.] This taught them to run to that open fountain, that kings’ bath. [Zechariah 13:1 Ezekiel 36:29] WHEDON, "Verses 13-15 13-15. When he… is cleansed — When by any means his issue was healed and his physical purity was restored he was to pass through a ceremonial cleansing after seven days by washing his clothes and bathing his flesh in running, that is, living, water, and by presenting to the priest two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. For the order see Introduction, (5.) The sin offering was required because all natural evil springs more or less directly from moral evil or sin. An atonement… for his issue — The physical defilement needed to be covered from the eye of Infinite Purity, and its moral cause needed expiation, in addition to the satisfaction which should be rendered for duties omitted during the period of uncleanness. Jesus Christ “bare our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17, note. If we “are complete in him,” (Colossians 2:10,) both body and soul, diseased by sin, are to be ultimately restored by the great Physician. PETT, "Leviticus 15:13 31
  32. 32. “And when he who has an issue is cleansed of his issue, then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes; and he shall bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.” When the disease has run its course, which may take some time, even years, and the man appears to be healed, then he must wait seven days, after which he must wash his clothes, and himself in running water, at which point he will be ‘clean’, that is no longer seen as ‘unclean’. He can now enter the tabernacle court to make his offerings. The seven day wait is probably so as to ensure that his hope is not premature, although it may simply be a time of waiting on God in gratitude. The washing of his clothes will remove past stains (clothes were not necessarily washed all that often). Washing himself in running water will ensure that anything left on his flesh is removed, and that the water will not be touched by anyone else. After this he is no longer ‘unclean’. All traces of the uncleanness have been removed. 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. GILL, "And on the eighth day,.... Having on the seventh done as before directed: he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; of his own, or purchase them; this was the meanest offering that was brought, and of the least expense, and which, in other cases, the poorer sort were allowed to bring, but here it was the offering of poor and rich: and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; not into the tabernacle, where he was not admitted till the sacrifice was offered, and atonement made; but he was to stand at the door of the tabernacle, at the eastern gate; and so fronting the west, where stood the holy of holies, the place of the divine Majesty, he is said to come before the Lord, presenting himself to him to be cleansed: and give them unto the priest; the two doves or pigeons, to be offered for him 32
  33. 33. according to the usual rites. ELLICOTT, " (14) And on the eighth day he shall take to him.—If after the bathing on the eve of the seventh day no sign of the infirmity is seen, he is to bring on the eighth day the appointed sacrifices. It is very striking that whilst in other cases it was only the poor who, out of consideration, were allowed two turtledoves or two young pigeons (see Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 12:8; Leviticus 14:22), in the case before us the meanest offering was prescribed for all alike who suffered from this infirmity, without giving them the choice of bringing a more costly sacrifice. The phrase “he shall take to him” is simply a Hebrew pleonastic way for saying “he shall take.” The door of the tabernacle of the congregation.—Better, the entrance of the tent of meeting, which here means the .eastern gate, where the offerer would face the west, or Holy of Holies, the place of the Lord’s Divine majesty, and hence, “before the Lord.” PETT, "Leviticus 15:14-15 “And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, and come before Yahweh to the door of the tent of meeting, and give them to the priest, and the priest shall offer them, the one for a purification for sin offering, and the other for a whole burnt offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him before Yahweh for his issue.” The unusual nature of the emissions will have drawn attention to the fact that these were no ordinary emissions. They are thus recognised as being connected with sin and requiring spiritual purification. That is why he has to make a purification for sin offering, and a whole burnt offering, of two turtle doves or two young pigeons. He has to be fully atoned for, reconciled to God and purified. But with all this it is noteworthy that the man is not excluded from the camp. While this probably indicated an infectious disease the purpose was to contain it, not to fully quarantine him. 15 The priest is to sacrifice them, the one for a sin offering[a] and the other for a burnt offering. In this way he will make atonement before the Lord for the man because of his discharge. 33
  34. 34. GILL, "And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering,.... As in the case of a new mother who is poor, and of a poor leper, Lev_12:8, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord for his issue; which, though not in itself sinful, yet might be occasioned by sin, for which the atonement was made: or, however, it was a ceremonial uncleanness, and therefore a ceremonial expiation must he made for it, typical of the atonement by the blood and sacrifice of Christ, by which all kinds of sin is expiated and removed. ELLICOTT, " (15) And the priest shall make an atonement.—That is, for the sinful act which has brought about the infirmity. The severity with which people were treated who had contracted this disease may further be seen from the fact that they had to remain without the camp (Numbers 5:1-4). During the second Temple they were debarred from partaking of the Paschal meal, and were banished from the precincts of the holy city. Hence, when David in his great indignation wanted to invoke an imprecation upon his adversaries, he exclaimed “Let there not fail from the house of Joab one that hath an issue” (2 Samuel 3:29). ELLICOTT, "(16) And if any man’s seed.—The second case, discussed in this and the following verses, is that of an involuntary emission, as in Deuteronomy 23:10. The man who sustained it had simply to immerse his whole body in water the following morning, and remain unclean till sundown. Similar rites were performed by the ancients under the same circumstances. Thus the Egyptian priests when they were defiled by a dream purified themselves by bathing their bodies; and, according to the directions of the Koran, any faithful Mahommedan who meets with such an accident must not perform his prayers till he has gone through the prescribed oblation. (Koran, 4:46.) TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:15 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. Ver. 15. And the priest shall offer them.] This priest and these sacrifices led them to Christ, who bore our sicknesses and expiated our sins. Seest thou then the bloody issue of thy corruptions always running, and gushing out at thine eyes, ears, mouth, flesh? the issue of blood and water opened in Christ’s side runs alway for washing it away. 34
  35. 35. 16 “‘When a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. BARNES 16-18, "Most of the ancient religions made a similar recognition of impurity and of the need of purfication. Lev_15:17 Every garment - Compare Jud_1:23. GILL, "And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him,.... Not in lawful cohabitation, nor voluntarily, but involuntarily, as Aben Ezra observes; not through any disorder, which came by an accident, or in any criminal way, but through a dream, or any lustful imagination; what is commonly called nocturnal pollution (c): then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even; and so the Egyptian priests, when it happened that they were defiled by a dream, they immediately purified themselves in a laver (d) so the Jewish priests did when the like happened to them asleep in the temple (e); see Deu_23:10. K&D, " "Verse 16 "And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even. The woman also with whom a man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even." The cases here may be considered one, despite the two manifestations of it, the first involuntary, the second as a result of copulation. Both deal with normal discharges. "It is clear that these instances were recognized as less serious."[11] Viscount Melbourne, a typical Victorian who died in 1848, wrote that, "Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life."[12] No doubt the same view is characteristic of our own society today, but it is clear enough from these passages that God demands an accounting of His human children in matters that may be regarded as most private and intimate. "The woman also with whom a man shall lie ..." "There is no implication that the woman is NOT the man's wife, or that the marital act is in any way degrading or sinful."[13] 35
  36. 36. TRAPP, "Leviticus 15:16 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. Ver. 16. Go out from him.] By nocturnal pollutions, filthy dreams, &c. BENSON, "Verses 16-18 Leviticus 15:16-18. And be unclean until the even — So as that they should not dare to approach the sanctuary for that day; until even — That is, till next day began. This law served both to preserve a due regard to natural purity, and to restrain the immoderate use of the marriage-bed. WHEDON, "Verse 16 16. Seed of copulation — In the restatement of this law in Deuteronomy 23:10, the impurity is described as involuntary. It is not an infusion, but an effusion. In Luther’s version the words im schlaf, in the sleep, are added. In the light of this precept of the law it would not seem that “the sexual impulses, and their dream images in sleep, are morally wholly indifferent.” The spirit feels disgraced, as though it had lost its kingly sceptre and had been involuntarily dragged about by the wheel of nature, as Hector was dishonoured when his feet were bound to the axle of Achilles’s chariot. Antiquity, from India to Egypt, loathes the dreamer who defiles the flesh. The form of expression, go out from him, does not seem to refer to the solitary vice, masturbation, improperly called Onanism, (Genesis 38:9,) one of the most destructive crimes ever committed by fallen man; and yet it must include this vice. “In many respects,” says Dr. A. Clarke, “it is several degrees worse than common whoredom, and has in its train more awful consequences, though practised by numbers who would shudder at the thought of criminal connexion with a prostitute. It excites the powers of nature to undue action, and produces violent secretions, which necessarily and speedily exhaust the vital energy. Appetite ceases; nutrition fails, tremors are generated; and the wretched victim, superannuated even before he had time to arrive at man’s estate, debilitated in mind to idiotism, tumbles into the grave, and his guilty soul (guilty of self-murder) is hurried into the awful presence of its Judge.” PETT, "Verses 16-18 The Uncleanness of A Man’s Natural Emission (Leviticus 15:16-18). Leviticus 15:16-17 “And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the evening. And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until 36
  37. 37. the evening.” More remarkably a man’s natural emissions are seen as rendering the man unclean. For they too are seen as producing imperfect life, life which will die, and as reducing his strength and his ‘perfection’. There is no way here that a man’s sexual relationship with a woman can be seen as anything but secular. Far from connecting him with God, it is seen to keep him at a distance. He cannot enter the tabernacle court, nor can he partake of peace offerings on the same day as he engages in sexual relations. So whatever else it is sex is not an aid to spirituality. It is therefore significant that the angels in Heaven do not engage in it, they ‘neither marry nor are given in marriage’ (Matthew 22:30). And as a result of his emission he must wash himself thoroughly and will be unclean until the evening. Note that as ever it is the passage of time that finally cleanses. The washing removed the earthiness and the semen, the passage of time makes clean. (Old Testament ritual washing never cleanses on its own). Under special circumstances sexual relations have to be abstained from altogether by a man for they prevent his approach to God, and his effectiveness as a soldier of God. See Exodus 19:15; Leviticus 22:4; Deuteronomy 23:10; 1 Samuel 21:4-5; 2 Samuel 11:11. Indeed any time he would approach God in the tabernacle court or partake in peace offerings he must abstain from sexual relations that day.. This view of the semen as being polluted was a regular one outside Canaan, both in Babylon and Egypt and among certain Semites. 17 Any clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it will be unclean till evening. GILL, "And every garment, and every skin,.... Or that is made of skin, which a man wears, or lies upon, see Lev_13:48, whereon is the seed of copulation; or on any other, for, as Gersom says, there is the same law concerning the rest of vessels, seeing this is a principal uncleanness, and defiles vessels; and perhaps the law makes mention of these, because it is more apt to be found on them: 37

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