Leviticus 15

 

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר   15:1

Levi. 15:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying,

דַּבְּרוּ אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַאֲמַרְתֶּם אֲלֵהֶם אִישׁ אִישׁ כִּי יִהְיֶה זָב מִבְּשָׂרֹו זֹובֹו טָמֵא הוּא   15:2

Levi. 15:2  “Speak to the children of Israel and you shall say to them, ‘Any man, when there shall be an issue from his flesh, his issue, it is unclean.’

Bible commentators seem to agree that the flesh spoken of here is the penis.  But there is not quite the same degree of agreement as to what the discharge or issue is.  Some believe it is semen.  I think that is incorrect, because vss. 15:16f seem to deal with semen.  I suspect it relates to a discharge that might result from a venereal or urinary infection.

וְזֹאת תִּהְיֶה טֻמְאָתֹו בְּזֹובֹו רָר בְּשָׂרֹו אֶת־זֹובֹו אֹו־הֶחְתִּימ בְּשָׂרֹו מִזֹּובֹו טֻמְאָתֹו הִוא   15:3

Levi. 15:3  ‘And this shall be his uncleanness because of his issue:  Whether his flesh runs with its issue or his flesh is stopped from its issue, it is his uncleanness.’

כָּל־הַמִּשְׁכָּב אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב עָלָיו הַזָּב יִטְמָא וְכָל־הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר־יֵשֵׁב עָלָיו יִטְמָא   15:4

Levi. 15:4  ‘Every bed on which the one who has the issue might lie shall be unclean, and every thing on which he might sit shall be unclean.’

וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִגַּע בְּמִשְׁכָּבֹו יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:5

Levi. 15:5  ‘And anyone who shall come in contact with his bed shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

וְהַיֹּשֵׁב עַל־הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר־יֵשֵׁב עָלָיו הַזָּב יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:6

Levi. 15:6  ‘And one sitting on anything on which the one who has the issue shall have sat shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

Another of my many disagreements!  Scholars and commentators seem to believe that the reference to bathing oneself suggests a mikvah, that is, a ritual public bath.  I find this hard to imagine or justify in this circumstance.  Wouldn’t such a person, if he is unclean, make the water of a public bath unclean?  Doesn’t that mean that the water would have to be changed?  Maybe my ignorance is showing here, but doesn’t unclean mean that whatever touches the unclean person becomes unclean?  In this verse we are told that merely sitting where an unclean person sat makes the person unclean, suggesting the possibility that he may have come in contact with any latent residue of the discharge.  Doesn’t it seem as if unclean in these chapters implies contagion?  For more on bathing one’s flesh, see Levi. 16:26.

וְהַנֹּגֵעַ בִּבְשַׂר הַזָּב יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:7

Levi. 15:7  ‘And one coming in contact with the flesh of the one who has the issue shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

וְכִי־יָרֹק הַזָּב בַּטָּהֹור וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:8

Levi. 15:8  ‘And when the one who has the issue might spit on one who is clean, then he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

וְכָל־הַמֶּרְכָּב אֲשֶׁר יִרְכַּב עָלָיו הַזָּב יִטְמָא   15:9

Levi. 15:9  ‘And any of the saddles on which the one who has the issue shall ride shall be unclean.’

וְכָל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה תַחְתָּיו יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב וְהַנֹּושֵׂא אֹותָם יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם   15:10

וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב

Levi. 15:10   ‘And any one coming in contact with anything that might have been under him shall be unclean till the evening, and one carrying them shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִגַּע־בֹּו הַזָּב וְיָדָיו לֹא־שָׁטַף בַּמָּיִם וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:11

Levi. 15:11   ‘And anyone who might be touched by the one who has the issue while his hands had not been thoroughly rinsed in water, then he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and be unclean till the evening.

It could be very interesting if it is true that the one who has the issue can apparently touch someone without consequence if he had previously washed his hands.  From the wording of this verse, it certainly seems that is the case.

וּכְלִי־חֶרֶשׂ אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע־בֹּו הַזָּב יִשָּׁבֵר וְכָל־כְּלִי־עֵץ יִשָּׁטֵף בַּמָּיִם   15:12

Levi. 15:12   ‘And an earthen vessel that the one who has the issue might touch shall be destroyed, and every vessel of wood shall be thoroughly rinsed in water.’

וְכִי־יִטְהַר הַזָּב מִזֹּובֹו וְסָפַר לֹו שִׁבְעַת יָמִים לְטָהֳרָתֹו וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרֹו בְּמַיִם חַיִּים וְטָהֵר   15:13

Levi. 15:13   ‘And when the one who has the issue would be cleansed from his issue, then he shall count for himself seven days in regard to his cleansing, and shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in living [fresh, clean] water, and he shall be clean.’

וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁמִינִי יִקַּח־לֹו שְׁתֵּי תֹרִים אֹו שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי יֹונָה וּבָא לִפְנֵי יְהוָה אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּנְתָנָם   15:14

אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן

Levi. 15:14   ‘And on the eighth day he shall take for himself two turtle doves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord to the entrance of the tent of meeting and give them to the priest.’

וְעָשָׂה אֹתָם הַכֹּהֵן אֶחָד חַטָּאת וְהָאֶחָד עֹלָה וְכִפֶּר עָלָיו הַכֹּהֵן לִפְנֵי יְהוָה מִזֹּובֹו   15:15

Levi. 15:15   ‘And the priest shall offer them, one a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for him before the Lord for his issue.’

וְאִישׁ כִּי־תֵצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת־זָרַע וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם אֶת־כָּל־בְּשָׂרֹו וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:16

Levi. 15:16   ‘And a man, when a flow of seed might come out of him, then he shall bathe all his flesh in water, and be unclean till the evening.

This verse appears to relate to the consequence of an act of copulation, the word for flow implying that.  Not every commentator agrees with this, however, as at least one considers the flow to mean being involuntary.  I disagree with the latter view, because the word strongly suggests intercourse and the commentator’s opinion also ignores v. 15:18 below.  Finally, at first glance it’s uncertain whether all his flesh means his entire body or merely his sexual organ.  The term can mean either.  However the uncertainty seems to be cleared up in v. 15:18.  It probably means his entire body.

On another note, wouldn’t it be more likely that the sexual act would be performed in the evening or at night?  Then would this mean that the man is unclean for the rest of the night and day until the next evening?  Furthermore, must he bathe his flesh immediately or can he wait until later (but before evening) when it might be more convenient?

וְכָל־בֶּגֶד וְכָל־עֹור אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶה עָלָיו שִׁכְבַת־זָרַע וְכֻבַּס בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:17

Levi. 15:17   ‘And every garment and every hide on which the flow of seed might be, then it shall be washed in water and be unclean till the evening.’

וְאִשָּׁה אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב אִישׁ אֹתָהּ שִׁכְבַת־זָרַע וְרָחֲצוּ בַמַּיִם וְטָמְאוּ עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:18

Levi. 15:18   ‘And the woman with whom the man of the flow of seed will have lain, then they shall bathe in water and they shall be unclean till the evening.’

Shall they bathe together?  I suppose if they are married, that would be acceptable.  But is this also considered a reference to a public bath?  I’m fairly certain it was assumed to be by ancient scholars.  If there are separate baths for men and women, both baths would be unclean as a result.

וְאִשָּׁה כִּי־תִהְיֶה זָבָה דָּם יִהְיֶה זֹבָהּ בִּבְשָׂרָהּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים תִּהְיֶה בְנִדָּתָהּ וְכָל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהּ יִטְמָא   15:19

עַד־הָעָרֶב

Levi. 15:19   ‘And a woman, when there will be an issue in her flesh, blood would be the issue, she shall be in her impurity seven days, and whoever might be coming in contact with her shall be unclean till the evening.’

This verse is undoubtedly referring to menstruation.  Does “coming in contact with her” mean sexual contact, or does merely hugging, or kissing or touching her hand count as contact?  From the following verses, particularly v. 15:24, I’d guess the latter is sufficient contact to trigger uncleanness.  But understand that here the uncleanness is not a matter of contagion, but apparently of cleanliness.  Throughout this chapter God is telling us that the natural (yes, and unnatural as well) secretions of the lower parts of our bodies detract from our holiness.

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר תִּשְׁכַּב עָלָיו בְּנִדָּתָהּ יִטְמָא וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־תֵּשֵׁב עָלָיו יִטְמָא   15:20

Levi. 15:20   ‘And anything on which she may lie in her impurity shall be unclean, and anything on which she may sit shall be unclean.’

וְכָל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמִשְׁכָּבָהּ יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:21

Levi. 15:21   ‘And any one coming in contact with her bed shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and be unclean till the evening.’

וְכָל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּכָל־כְּלִי אֲשֶׁר־תֵּשֵׁב עָלָיו יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:22

Levi. 15:22   ‘And any one coming in contact with anything on which she might have sat shall wash his clothes and bathe in water and shall be unclean till the evening.’

וְאִם עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּב הוּא אֹו עַל־הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר־הִוא יֹשֶׁבֶת־עָלָיו בְּנָגְעֹו־בֹו יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:23

Levi. 15:23   ‘And if he is on the bed or he is on the thing on which she might have sat, on his coming in contact with it, he shall be unclean till the evening.’

וְאִם שָׁכֹב יִשְׁכַּב אִישׁ אֹתָהּ וּתְהִי נִדָּתָהּ עָלָיו וְטָמֵא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְכָל־הַמִּשְׁכָּב אֲשֶׁר־יִשְׁכַּב   15:24

עָלָיו יִטְמָא

Levi. 15:24   And if a man will in any way lie with her, then her impurity shall be on him and he shall be unclean seven days, and any bed on which he might lie shall be unclean.’

וְאִשָּׁה כִּי־יָזוּב זֹוב דָּמָהּ יָמִים רַבִּים בְּלֹא עֶת־נִדָּתָהּ אֹו כִי־תָזוּב עַל־נִדָּתָהּ כָּל־יְמֵי זֹוב טֻמְאָתָהּ   15:25

כִּימֵי נִדָּתָהּ תִּהְיֶה טְמֵאָה הִוא

Levi. 15:25   ‘And a woman, when a flow of her blood might issue many days not in the time of her impurity, or when she might have an issue beyond her normal impurity, all the days of the flow of her uncleanness shall be like the days of her impurity; she is unclean.’

כָּל־הַמִּשְׁכָּב אֲשֶׁר־תִּשְׁכַּב עָלָיו כָּל־יְמֵי זֹובָהּ כְּמִשְׁכַּב נִדָּתָהּ יִהְיֶה־לָּהּ וְכָל־הַכְּלִי אֲשֶׁר תֵּשֵׁב עָלָיו   15:26

טָמֵא יִהְיֶה כְּטֻמְאַת נִדָּתָהּ

Levi. 15:26   ‘Any bed on which she might lie any days of her issue shall be like the bed of her impurity to her, and any thing on which she might sit shall be unclean like the uncleanness of her impurity.’

וְכָל־הַנֹּוגֵעַ בָּם יִטְמָא וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   15:27

Levi. 15:27   ‘And any one coming in contact with them shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean till the evening.’

וְאִם־טָהֲרָה מִזֹּובָהּ וְסָפְרָה לָּהּ שִׁבְעַת יָמִים וְאַחַר תִּטְהָר   15:28

Levi. 15:28   ‘But if she is cleansed from her issue, then she shall count for herself seven days, and after she shall be clean.’

וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁמִינִי תִּקַּח־לָהּ שְׁתֵּי תֹרִים אֹו שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי יֹונָה וְהֵבִיאָה אֹותָם אֶל־הַכֹּהֵן אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל   15:29

מֹועֵד

Levi. 15:29   ‘And on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtle doves or two young pigeons and bring them to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting.’

וְעָשָׂה הַכֹּהֵן אֶת־הָאֶחָד חַטָּאת וְאֶת־הָאֶחָד עֹלָה וְכִפֶּר עָלֶיהָ הַכֹּהֵן לִפְנֵי יְהוָה מִזֹּוב טֻמְאָתָהּ   15:30

Levi. 15:30   ‘And the priest shall offer the one, a sin offering, and the other, a burnt offering, and the priest shall make atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.’”

וְהִזַּרְתֶּם אֶת־בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִטֻּמְאָתָם וְלֹא יָמֻתוּ בְּטֻמְאָתָם בְּטַמְּאָם אֶת־מִשְׁכָּנִי אֲשֶׁר בְּתֹוכָם   15:31

Levi. 15:31   “So you shall separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness that they shall not die by defiling My tabernacle that will be in their midst with their uncleanness.”

זֹאת תֹּורַת הַזָּב וַאֲשֶׁר תֵּצֵא מִמֶּנּוּ שִׁכְבַת־זֶרַע לְטָמְאָה־בָהּ   15:32

Levi. 15:32   This is the law of one who has a issue and from whom a flow of seed will go out, to be unclean by it,

וְהַדָּוָה בְּנִדָּתָהּ וְהַזָּב אֶת־זֹובֹו לַזָּכָר וְלַנְּקֵבָה וּלְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁכַּב עִם־טְמֵאָה   15:33

Levi. 15:33   and of one who might be sick with her impurity, and of one who might have an issue, of a male or of a female, and of the man who might lie down with the one who is unclean.

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

180.  The law pertaining to one who has an issue from his flesh shall be

           followed.   Vss. 15:2-15:14

181.  The law pertaining to one who ejaculates shall be followed.   Vss. 15:15-15:18

182.  The law pertaining to female vaginal discharge shall be

          followed.   Vss. 15:19-15:29

 

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