Leviticus Chapter 15 Continued
Verses 16-18: This passage refers to ceremonial uncleanness; it does not suggest that sexual intercourse within marriage is impure. Because intercourse involves bodily fluids, the husband and wife were to wash afterward for purification. In this case, no sacrifices were required for cleansing, only washing in water.
These verse refer to natural sexual gland secretions for which no offerings were required.
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.”
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.
“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. So, the Jewish priests did when the like happened to them asleep in the temple (see Deut. 23:10).
Copulation has to do with a sexual act. The seed for life comes from the man. This is what is spoken of here. Even though this is a natural act between man and woman, they will be unclean and must wash. Their uncleanness lasts for the rest of that day.
Leviticus 15:17 “And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.”
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.
“Shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even (see Jude 1:23).
This is just speaking of general hygiene.
Leviticus 15:18 “The woman also with whom man shall lie [with] seed of copulation, they shall [both] bathe [themselves] in water, and be unclean until the even.”
It seems to respect any congress of a man and woman, whether in fornication or adultery, or lawful marriage. And particularly the latter. For though marriage is honorable and holy, and carnal copulation in itself lawful. Yet such is the sinfulness of nature, that as no act is performed without pollution. So neither that of generation, and by which the corruption of nature is propagated, and therefore required a ceremonial cleansing.
“They shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even”: So Herodotus reports, that as often as a Babylonian man lay with his wife, he had used to sit by consecrated incense, and the woman did the same. And in the morning they were both washed, and did not touch any vessel before they had washed themselves. And he says the Arabians did the like. And the same historian relates of the Egyptians, that they never go into their temples from their wives unwashed (see Exodus 19:15).
The seed of copulation implanted in the woman’s womb, is a mystery no human truly understands. Sometimes when everything is just right, the woman will conceive and bring forth a child 9 months later.
Verses 19-30: While a woman’s irregular “discharge” mandated an offering”, ordinary, monthly discharges such as menstruation were not associated with sin or wrongdoing, and therefore no offering was required. Cleansing was commanded, however, because in that era, bathing and washing clothes were infrequent, and a failure to clean up might lead to disease. Contemporary readers should view these rituals as protective rather than punitive.
Verses 19-24: These verses concern the natural menstrual discharge of a woman for which no offerings were required.
Leviticus 15:19 “And if a woman have an issue, [and] her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.”
Having finished, as Aben Ezra observes, what was to be said of the male, now the Scripture begins with the female, whose issue, of a different sort, is thus described.
“And her issue in her flesh be blood”: Or, “blood be her issue in her flesh”. Not in any part of her, but in that which by a euphemism is so called, in the same sense as the phrase is used of men (Lev. 15:2). And so, it distinguishes it from any flow of blood elsewhere, as a bleeding at the nose, etc.
“She shall be put apart seven days”: Not out of the camp, nor out of the house, but might not go into the house of God.
“Whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even”: The same as one that had touched a man that had an issue (Lev. 15:7). The pollution of the one reached to the same things as that of the other. And so, in the Misnah, they are put together, and the same is ascribed to the touch of the one as of the other. It may be understood of everything as well as of every person.
Each month a woman has an issue of blood. This blood is actually a cleansing process. This usually lasts several days, and this is the purpose in being put apart for seven days. Women usually feel bad during this time. We know of the woman in the Bible who had an issue of blood 12 years. She spent all of her living trying to get better. The bad thing about this issue was that during that period of time she could not go to the temple. This long term issue affected her physically by weakening her body, and affected her spiritually in that she could not go to the temple. This is a personal thing with a woman, it would really not be correct for anyone to touch her during this time. We must also take note, that if a woman did not have this cycle of the issue of blood, there would be no babies born. Without the shedding of her blood, there would be no new life that babies bring. That is the very reason that Sarah having a baby after this time had passed for her, made it a very large miracle.
Leviticus 15:20 “And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.”
During her being apart from her husband, with whom she might be, and do all offices for him, but not lie with him. And whatsoever she lay upon during this time, bed or couch, and the clothes upon them, were unclean.
“Everything also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean”: Chair, stool, etc. as is the case of a man (Lev. 15:4).
Leviticus 15:21 “And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even.”
The same thing that is said of a profluvious man, and so in (Lev. 15:22).
Leviticus 15:22 “And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even.”
Which was appropriated to her to sit upon, as the Targum of Jonathan, which was her proper and peculiar seat, what she usually sat upon. Such were obliged to wash their clothes and bathe, as in all the above cases (see Lev. 15:5).
Leviticus 15:23 “And if it [be] on [her] bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.”
That is, if any person or thing should be upon her bed or seat. A vessel on her bed, or a vessel upon a vessel, as Aben Ezra expresses it.
“When he toucheth it”: That person or thing that should be on her bed or seat, as well as touch her bed or seat.
“Shall be unclean until the even”: In a ceremonial sense; so defiling was a woman in such circumstances, and to whom the Scriptures often compare unclean persons and things. And Pliny speaks of menstrual cycles as very infectious, or worse, to various creatures and things, in a natural way.
This is speaking of close association with the blood of this woman, as it was with the issue of the man. The same rules apply in both situations.
Leviticus 15:24 “And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.”
A husband who had intercourse with his wife during her menstrual period was unclean for a week. The issue here is not prohibition due to sin but uncleanness.
This would be if the blood of the woman were on him, then he would be unclean seven days.
Leviticus 15:25 “And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she [shall be] unclean.”
Not an ordinary but an extraordinary one. Not within that time, but out of it, and which continued three days at least. So the Targum of Jonathan, and sometimes many years. As the poor woman Christ cured, which she had had twelve years (see notes on Matt. 9:20).
“Or if it run beyond the time of her separation”: Beyond the seven days of her separation, and so out of the usual way and time of it. Whereby it appears to be somewhat extraordinary and unusual.
“All the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation”: All the while it was upon her, be it ever so many days or years, she was kept apart from her husband, and in all respects in the same condition and circumstances, as in the seven days of her separation because of her monthly courses.
“She shall be unclean”: As long as it is upon her, and neither be admitted to her husband’s bed. Nor to the house of God, which made her condition a very deplorable one.
The seven days were chosen, because under natural circumstances she would be finished with her monthly cycle. As long as she is still in the way of women, whether a week, month or years, she is classified as unclean. She would be turned away from the church for this time, as well as being avoided by her friends and family.
Leviticus 15:26 “Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.”
As defiled and as defiling as that (Lev. 15:20).
“And whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation”: As such were when she was in that condition (see Lev. 15:20).
She is ceremonially unclean. This is not a sin that she has done, but is in fact, part of every woman’s life from her teens until sometime after she is 50 years of age. It would have been more important to stay away from embarrassment then. There is much progress in handling this monthly problem today. Life is in the blood, and in some mysterious way, this causes life.
Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.”
In another mysterious way, the woman is cleansed with the blood each month.
Leviticus 15:27 “And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe [himself] in water, and be unclean until the even.”
Her bed and seat. The Septuagint version is, “that toucheth her” (see Lev. 15:19).
“And shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even”: Let it be observed, that in all the above passages, where it is said, “he shall bathe himself in water”. The Targum of Jonathan adds, in forty seahs or pecks of water. For this was done by dipping the body all over.
We see that the washing of water is the cleansing power.
Leviticus 15:28 “But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.”
The disease is healed, or a stop is put to it; there are no signs of it remaining.
“Then she shall number to herself seven days”: From the time she observed it to cease.
“And after that she shall be clean”: Having bathed herself according to the usual manner of unclean persons, for their cleansing. When she would be fit to be admitted to her husband, though not as yet into the tabernacle, until she had offered her offering next directed to.
This is the same time as the man with the issue. There are 2 separate things here though. This is a natural happening with the woman that is beyond her control.
Leviticus 15:29 “And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.”
From the cessation of her issue, and the healing of it. At least from the time she began to number for her cleansing.
“She shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons”: The same as the man that had an issue was obliged to bring. Now this is to be understood not of a woman that had an ordinary issue, or her monthly courses. For this would have been both troublesome and expensive to have brought every month. But of a woman that had labored under an extraordinary one. Though some think every menstruous woman was obliged to this offering.
“And bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation”: Where the man that had an issue brought his (see notes on Lev. 15:14).
Leviticus 15:30 “And the priest shall offer the one [for] a sin offering, and the other [for] a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the LORD for the issue of her uncleanness.”
As in the case of a man that had an issue, the offerings of one and the other were the same and for the same purpose (see notes on Lev. 15:15). There being a legal uncleanness in their case, atonement must be made by sacrifice, typical of the atonement of Christ, who by himself has purged our sins. The design of these several laws concerning uncleanness by issues, was to set forth the filthiness of sin arising from the corruption of human nature. Particularly the pollution of fleshly lusts, and the necessity of purification from them by the grace of God, and blood of Christ. And of holiness of heart and life, in order to a near approach to God, particularly in public worship, as the next words suggest.
Remember, this is not a sin she has done. This is ceremonial uncleanness. This is inherited sin if you will.
Verses 31-33: In all these instructions, God was showing the Israelites that they must have a profound reverence for holy things; and nothing was more suited to that purpose than to bar from the tabernacle all who were polluted by any kind of uncleanness, ceremonial as well as natural, physical as well as spiritual, In order to mark out His people as dwelling before Him in holiness, He required of them complete purity and didn’t allow them to come before Him when defiled, even by involuntary or secret impurities. And when one considers that God was training a people to live in His presence, it becomes apparent that these rules for the maintenance of personal purity, pointing to the necessity of purity in the heart, were neither too stringent nor too minute.
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] among them.”
Or because of it, and while they are in it, as from other persons, even their nearest relations, and from the house of God, as the next clause shows. Or teach them, by observing the above laws and rules, to separate themselves, and that they be careful and cautions to keep themselves apart while in such impurities. And the children of Israel are only made mention of, because these laws are only binding upon them. With their proselytes and servants, free or not free, but not upon Gentiles (see notes on Lev. 15:2).
“That they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them”: From whence it appears, that men and women, in the above circumstances, might not go into the tabernacle. And it was chiefly to prevent their access to it that these laws were given, for the greater reverence and honor of it. And that for such persons to enter there was a pollution of it, and the punishment was cutting off, or death. And for one to die in his impurity, without purification and sacrifice, was a dreadful thing, and to be deprecated, and to be guarded against by an observance of the above laws. But the Jews now say, that forasmuch as the reason of these precepts was, because such persons were forbidden to enter into the temple, that being destroyed, all these precepts of uncleanness are ceased also.
We see in this, that the children of Israel were a separated people. They must not even give the appearance of evil. The primary thing being taught here, is that a woman in this condition should not be allowed in the sanctuary.
Leviticus 15:32 “This [is] the law of him that hath an issue, and [of him] whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;”
In (Lev. 15:32), is a recapitulation of the several laws in this chapter, as of a man that has a “gonorrhea”.
“And of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith”: Involuntarily, that suffers a nocturnal pollution.
Leviticus 15:33 “And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.”
Her monthly courses, for these are a sickness (Lev. 20:18). And make a woman languid and faint, as the word is rendered (Lam. 1:13). Or to be in pain, as some render it here. And pains are reckoned among the signs of them by the Misnic doctors.
“And of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman”: Of both, whether the one or the other.
“And of him that lieth with her that is unclean”: Though her own husband.
This is speaking of the sickness of all flesh. This sickness is a disease of the flesh inherited from Adam and Eve. This is not voluntary sin; this is inherited sin in the flesh.
Romans 7:25 “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”
As long as we are in flesh, temptations come. Our biggest enemy is our flesh. We must overcome the flesh.
Romans 6:19 “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.”
Romans 8:8-9 “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Romans 8:12-13 “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”
Praise God we believers in Christ are not under the law, we are of grace.
Leviticus Chapter 15 Continued Questions
1. What does copulation have to do with?
2. If a man’s seed of copulation go out from him, what shall he do?
3. How long does his uncleanness last?
4. Chapter (15:17), is speaking of general ___________.
5. How long shall the woman be separated out when she has an issue of blood?
6. What is the woman’s loss of blood each month?
7. How many years did the woman in the Bible have an issue of blood?
8. What was one of the very bad things that happened to her during the 12 years?
9. If a woman did not have this cycle of the issue of blood, there would be no ________ _______.
10. What made the miracle of Sarah having a baby during her old age even more of a miracle?
11. Everything she comes in contact with, during her days of separation, becomes _______.
12. How long shall the man be unclean, if any of her blood touches him?
13. Was 7 days the only time she might be classified as unclean for the issue of blood?
14. What type of uncleanness is this?
15. Life is in the ________.
16. Washing of the water is the ___________ power.
17. This is a natural function of the woman’s _____.
18. What shall she take to the priest at the end of the 7 days of separation?
19. What two offerings will the priest make for her?
20. What is the primary lesson being taught about the woman’s separation?
21. This is a sickness of all ________.
22. This is not voluntary sin, this is ____________ sin.
23. With the mind I serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of ___.
24. They that are in the flesh cannot _________ _____.
25. We are in the Spirit, if what happened?
26. If ye live after the flesh, ye shall _____.
27. If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye _______ ______.