this is the law of leprosy; respecting every sort of it, and which is very remarkably enlarged upon.
INTRODUCTION TO Leviticus 15
This chapter treats of uncleanness by issues in men and women; in men, a running issue, Leviticus 15:1, which defiles him, and everything he touches, or that touches him or them, Leviticus 15:4; the cleansing from which is directed to, Leviticus 15:13; and seed flowing from him, Leviticus 15:16; in women, their ordinary courses, Leviticus 15:19; or extraordinary ones, Leviticus 15:25; and the law for the cleansing of them, Leviticus 15:28; and a recapitulation of the whole, Leviticus 15:32.
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).
(s) So Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Edaiot, c. 5. sect. 1.((t) Zabim, c. 1. sect. 1. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.
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 Matthew 15:18.
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 Titus 1:15.
(u) Zabim, c. 2. sect. 4. (w) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Niddah, c. 6. sect. 3.
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.
(x) Zabim, ut supra. (c. 2. sect. 4.)
shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even; as in the preceding case. See Gill on Leviticus 15:5.
shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even; as before. See Gill on Leviticus 15:5.
(y) Zabim, c. 5. sect. 1, 7.
then he shall wash his clothes, &c. as in the foregoing instances. See Gill on Leviticus 15:5.
(z) Hilchot Metame Mishcab, c. 1. sect. 16.
shall be unclean; and not fit for another to use, but be defiling to him, as follows.
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 Leviticus 15:5.
(a) Misn. Zabim, c. 3. sect. 1. & c. 4. sect. 5, 7.
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, 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
(b) Hilchot Mechosre Capharah, c. 3. sect. 1.
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 according to the usual rites.
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.
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 Deuteronomy 23:10.
(c) "----& noctem flumine purgas." Pers. Satyr. 2.((d) Chaeremon. apud Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. c. 7. (e) Misn. Tamid. c. 1. sect. 1.
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 Jde 1:23.
they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even; so Herodotus (f) 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 (g) of the Egyptians, that they never go into their temples from their wives unwashed; see Exodus 19:15.
(f) Clio, sive, l. 1. c. 198. (g) Euterpe, sive, l. 2. c. 64.
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 an euphemism is so called, in the same sense as the phrase is used of men, Leviticus 15:2; and so it distinguishes it from any flow of blood elsewhere, as a bleeding at the nose, &c.
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, Leviticus 15:7; the pollution of the one reached to the same things as that of the other; and so, in the Misnah (h), 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.
(h) Zabim, c. 5. sect. 6, 7.
everything also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean; chair, stool, &c. as is the case of a man, Leviticus 15:4.
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 (i) speaks of menstrues as very infectious, or worse, to various creatures and things, in a natural way.
(i) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 15.
and her flowers be upon her; or, "her separation" (k), her monthly courses not being ceased:
he shall be unclean seven days; and be excluded from all conversation civil and religious:
and all the bed whereon she lieth shall be unclean; that and every thing upon it; and this uncleanness also lasted seven days, as Aben Ezra notes, and defiled others, though it is not written.
(k) "menstruum ejus", Pagninus, Montanus; "separatio ejus", Drusius.
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.
and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation; as such were when she was in that condition, see Leviticus 15:20.
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.
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.
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 laboured 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; whither the man that had an issue brought his; See Gill on Leviticus 15:14.
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 honour 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 (m), 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.
(l) Misn. Zabim, c. 2. sect. 1.((m) Leo Modena's History of Rites, Customs, &c. of the present Jews, par. 1. c. 8.
and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith; involuntarily, that suffers a nocturnal pollution.