Male Bodily Discharges1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When any man ▼ has a discharge ▼ from his body, ▼
▼ Heb “man, man when there is a discharge from his flesh.” The repetition of the word “man” is distributive, meaning “any [or “every”] man” (GKC 395-96 #123.c). It is well-recognized that the term “flesh” (i.e., “body”) in this chapter refers regularly and euphemistically to the male and female genital members or areas of the body (HALOT 164 s.v. בָּשָׂר 5.b; see also, e.g., B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 93). The euphemism has been retained in this translation since it is, in fact, intended in the Hebrew text. Some English versions partially remove the euphemism (e.g., NAB “from his private parts”; NRSV “from his member”) while some remove it completely (e.g., NLT “a genital discharge”; TEV “from his penis”; CEV “with an infected penis”).his discharge is unclean. 3 Now this is his uncleanness in regard to his discharge ▼ – whether his body secretes his discharge or blocks his discharge, he is unclean. All the days that his body has a discharge or his body blocks his discharge, ▼
▼ Smr, LXX, and the Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus Scroll from Qumran (11QpaleoLev; Fragment G contains Lev 14:52–15:5 and 16:2–4, and agrees with the LXX of Lev 15:3b) are in essential (although not complete) agreement against the MT in Lev 15:3b and are to be preferred in this case. The shorter MT text has probably arisen due to a lengthy haplography. See K. A. Mathews, “The Leviticus Scroll (11QpaleoLev) and the Text of the Hebrew Bible,” CBQ 48 (1986): 177-78, 198; D. N. Freedman, “Variant Readings in the Leviticus Scroll from Qumran Cave 11, ” CBQ 36 (1974): 528-29; D. N. Freedman and K. A. Mathews, The Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus Scroll, 32. The MT of Lev 15:3 reads: “Now this is his uncleanness in [regard to] his discharge – whether his body secretes his discharge or blocks his discharge, this is his uncleanness.” Smr adds after MT’s “blocks his discharge” the following: “he is unclean; all the days that his body has a discharge or his body blocks his discharge, this is his uncleanness.” Thus, the MT appears to skip from Smr טמא הוא “he is unclean” in the middle of the verse to יא/טמאתו הו “this is his uncleanness” at the end of the verse, leaving out “he is unclean; all the days that his body has a discharge or his body blocks his discharge” (cf. the BHS footnote). 11Q1 (paleoLeva frag. G) is indeed fragmentary, but it does have ימי ז בו כל “…in him, all the days of the fl[ow],” supporting Smr and LXX tradition. The LXX adds after MT “blocks his discharge” the following: “all the days of the flow of his body, by which his body is affected by the flow,” followed by “it is his uncleanness” (i.e., the last two words of the MT).▼
▼ The contrast between the dripping or flowing from the male sexual member as opposed to there being a blockage is important. One might not understand that even though a blockage actually causes a lack of discharge, it is still unclean.this is his uncleanness. ▼
▼ Heb “it is his uncleanness,” but the last clause recapitulates the effect of the first clause in this verse, both of which introduce the regulations for such uncleanness in the following verses. In other words, whether his discharge flows from his penis or is blocked in it, he is still unclean and must proceed according to the following regulations (vv. 4ff).
4 “‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, ▼
▼ Heb “All the bed which the man with a discharge sits on it shall be unclean”; cf. NLT “Any bedding.”and any furniture he sits on will be unclean. ▼
▼ Heb “and all the vessel which he sits on it shall be unclean”; NASB “everything on which he sits.”5 Anyone who touches his bed ▼
▼ Heb “And a man who touches in his bed”; NLT “touch the man’s bedding.”must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. ▼ 6 The one who sits on the furniture the man with a discharge sits on must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 7 The one who touches the body ▼
▼ Heb “And the one who touches in the flesh.” In this instance, “flesh” (or “body”) probably refers literally to any part of the body, not the genitals specifically (see the discussion in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:914).of the man with a discharge must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 8 If the man with a discharge spits on a person who is ceremonially clean, ▼
▼ Heb “And if the man with a discharge spits in the clean one.”that person must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 9 Any means of riding ▼
▼ The Hebrew term for “means of riding” is a cognate noun from the verb “ride” later in this verse. It refers to anything on which one may ride without the feet touching the ground including, for example, a saddle, a (saddle) blanket, or a seat on a chariot (see, e.g., J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:916).the man with a discharge rides on will be unclean. 10 Anyone who touches anything that was under him ▼
▼ Heb “which shall be under him.” The verb is perhaps a future perfect, “which shall have been.”will be unclean until evening, and the one who carries those items ▼
▼ Heb “them”; the referent (the previously mentioned items which were under the unclean person) has been specified in the translation for clarity.must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 11 Anyone whom the man with the discharge touches without having rinsed his hands in water ▼
▼ Heb “And all who the man with the discharge touches in him and his hands he has not rinsed in water.”must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 12 A clay vessel ▼ which the man with the discharge touches must be broken, and any wooden utensil must be rinsed in water.
Purity Regulations for Male Bodily Discharges13 “‘When the man with the discharge becomes clean from his discharge he is to count off for himself seven days for his purification, and he must wash his clothes, bathe in fresh water, ▼ and be clean. 14 Then on the eighth day he is to take for himself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, ▼ and he is to present himself ▼
▼ The MT has the Qal form of the verb בּוֹא (bo’) “to come” here, but the LXX (followed generally by the Syriac and Tg. Ps.-J.) reflects the Hiphil form of the same verb, “to bring” as in v. 29 below. In v. 29, however, there is no additional clause “and give them to the priest,” so the Hiphil is necessary in that context while it is not necessary here in v. 14.before the Lord at the entrance of the Meeting Tent and give them to the priest, 15 and the priest is to make one of them a sin offering ▼ and the other a burnt offering. ▼ So the priest ▼
▼ Heb “And the priest.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.is to make atonement for him before the Lord for ▼ his discharge.
16 “‘When a man has a seminal emission, ▼
▼ Heb “And a man when a lying of seed goes out from him”; KJV, ASV “any man’s seed of copulation”; NIV, NRSV, TEV, NLT “an emission of semen.”he must bathe his whole body in water ▼
▼ Heb “and he shall bathe all his flesh in water.”and be unclean until evening, 17 and he must wash in water any clothing or leather that has semen on it, and it will be unclean until evening. 18 When a man has sexual intercourse with a woman and there is a seminal emission, ▼
▼ Heb “And a woman who a man lies with her a lying of seed.”they must bathe in water and be unclean until evening.
Female Bodily Discharges19 “‘When a woman has a discharge ▼ and her discharge is blood from her body, ▼ she is to be in her menstruation ▼ seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening. 20 Anything she lies on during her menstruation will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 22 Anyone who touches any furniture she sits on must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23 If there is something on the bed or on the furniture she sits on, ▼
▼ Heb “and if on the bed it (הוּא, hu’) is or on the vessel which she sits on it, when he touches it….” The translation and meaning of this verse is a subject of much debate in the commentaries (see the summary in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:938–40). It is difficult to determine what הוּא refers to, whether it means “he” referring to the one who does the touching, “it” for the furniture or the seat in v. 22, “she” referring to the woman herself (see Smr היא rather than הוא), or perhaps anything that was lying on the furniture or the bed of vv. 21–22. The latter view is taken here (cf. J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 202).when he touches it ▼
▼ The MT accent suggest that “when he touches it” goes with the preceding line, but it seems to be better to take it as an introduction to what follows (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 202).he will be unclean until evening, 24 and if a man actually has sexual intercourse with her so that her menstrual impurity touches him, ▼
▼ Heb “and if a man indeed lies with her and her menstrual impurity is on him.”then he will be unclean seven days and any bed he lies on will be unclean.
25 “‘When a woman’s discharge of blood flows ▼
▼ Heb “And a woman when the flow of her blood flows.”many days not at the time of her menstruation, or if it flows beyond the time of her menstruation, ▼
▼ Heb “in not the time of her menstruation or when it flows on her menstruation.”all the days of her discharge of impurity will be like the days of her menstruation – she is unclean. 26 Any bed she lies on all the days of her discharge will be to her like the bed of her menstruation, any furniture she sits on will be unclean like the impurity of her menstruation, 27 and anyone who touches them will be unclean, and he must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. ▼
Purity Regulations from Female Bodily Discharges28 “‘If ▼ she becomes clean from her discharge, then she is to count off for herself seven days, and afterward she will be clean. 29 Then on the eighth day she must take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons ▼ and she must bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Meeting Tent, 30 and the priest is to make one a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. ▼
▼ Heb “And the priest shall make the one a sin offering and the one a burnt offering.”So the priest ▼
▼ Heb “And the priest.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.is to make atonement for her before the Lord from her discharge of impurity.
Summary of Purification Regulations for Bodily Discharges31 “‘Thus you ▼
▼ Heb “And you shall.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV).are to set the Israelites apart from their impurity so that they ▼
▼ Heb “and they.” Here the Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) indicates a negative purpose (“lest,” so NAB, NASB).do not die in their impurity by defiling my tabernacle which is in their midst. 32 This is the law of the one with a discharge: the one who has a seminal emission ▼
▼ Heb “and who a lying of seed goes out from him.”and becomes unclean by it, ▼
▼ Heb “to become unclean in it.”33 the one who is sick in her menstruation, the one with a discharge, whether male or female, ▼
▼ Heb “and the one with a discharge, his discharge to the male and the female.”and a man ▼
▼ Heb “and for a man.”who has sexual intercourse with an unclean woman.’”
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