The Law of the Nazirite

When YHWH gave the priesthood and temple duties to the Levites He made provision for other men to dedicate themselves to His service, either temporarily or for their entire lives. Samuel, Sampson, and John the baptist were lifelong Nazirites. To show their separation these men were not to shave off their hair, not was it to be long like a woman’s hair, as Paul forbids in II CORINTHIANS 11:14:

EZEKIEL 44:20 (NASB)  Also they shall not shave their heads, yet they shall not let their locks grow long; they shall only trim the hair of their heads.

NUMBERS 6:5 (NASB)  All the days of his vow of separation no razor shall pass over his head…he shall let the locks of hair on his head grow long.

This meant not excessively short or shorn. When the days of a temporary dedication were over, then they were to shave their heads and bring a sacrifice.

The dedication of a Nazirite alludes to the then coming New Testament priesthood of all Christian men. There is a reference to it in SONG OF SHELOMOH 7:5:

Your head crowns you like Carmel, And the flowing locks of your hair are like purple threads.

Purple threads symbolize the crown or mitre of the royal priesthood. In fact, the word nazar means to hold aloof, to separate oneself, to abstain, to devote oneself. It is closely related to the word nezer which means a consecration, consecrated head, a diadem, a crown, and was the headgear of the priest, who was prohibited from being defiled and was separated from anything secular.

Another related word is nadir – to promise or vow, and neder – a promise , vow, or vowed sacrifice. Interestingly, a neder was a thank offering which could even be made by Gentiles as in YONAH 1:6.

The Nazirite vow was entirely voluntary but once made could not be annulled. Yahshua was called a Nazarene to relate Him to the dedication of a Nazirite, despite the fact He was descended from the priestly tribe of Levi through His mother (Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron LUKE 1:5, so this descent was through the women’s grandmother). The vow also reaches into the New Testament and time of the Gentiles when the priesthood reverted back to the ‘firstborn’, that is, those born of the Spirit. This is a spiritual birth resulting in a spiritual devotion that YHWH desires of His people (DEUT. 6:5).

Because now all men are members of the royal and everlasting priesthood, the Nazirite vows are obsolete–it serves as a symbol only. Today, true one hundred percent Christians are dedicated to YHWH from the time of their spiritual rebirth–sometimes by their parents from birth–until they die or are translated, and even beyond death.

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…Shall in No Wise Pass from the Law

DEUTERONOMY 22:11 and LEVITICUS 19:19 commands us not to wear clothing of both wool and linen.

Why not? Does this mean we are not to wear fabric with two materials woven together? First, it is important to remember that there were only animal wool and flax available when these Laws were written. The priestly garments were of linen so the wearers would not sweat, but stay smelling fresh. Wool made them sweat.

A more specific reason was that the curtains around the Holy Place, the Most Holy Place, the screen for its entrance, and the veil separating the two were made of wool mixed with linen (EX. 26:1, 31, 36. Only some Bible versions have yarn written after blue, purple, and scarlet which specifies it as wool). Like the holy anointing oil to be used exclusively in the Holy Place, this fabric made of wool and linen was only for the Holy Place curtains. One other article made from this special fabric was the ephod, which was interwoven with gold threads.

If we ensure our garments are not made of fabric with a wool and cotton or linen blend, we can easily fulfill this Law. Any other fabric blend is probably acceptable.

Alliances and treaties with pagan nations

A number of Laws prohibit a righteous Christian nation that follows YHWH from making treaties and alliances or have fellowship with or even show mercy to pagan, god-worshipping nations. Among them are EXODUS 34:15, DEUTERONOMY 7:2 and 20:16-18. How many Communist and pagan regimes and countries are propped up by the foreign aid payments from more prosperous Christian first-world, industrialized nations? If these nations refused to help the pagan ones, or trade with them, undoubtedly they would collapse, leaving their starving people clamouring for the blessings through Yahshua Messiah they witness in Christian countries. The only section of these nations we should give aid and solace to is the Church in them, and missionaries who are taking the Gospel to the people there.

No god-worshipper, unless he repents, should be permitted to live in a righteous country, let alone be allowed to worship or build a pagan temple.

Blasphemy is forbidden

That is, committing sin while professing to keep YHWH’s Law. According to LEVITICUS 24:16, it is a sin punishable by death.

We must not devalue, hide, or cause YHWH’s Name to be forgotten (EX. 20:7). We must not profane His Name (LEV. 22:32), or curse Him or His delegated authorities (EX. 22:28). Neither are we to doubt or rebel against the Most High (DEUT. 6:16), or worship Him in any way except that which He has ordained (DEUT. 12:4).

No man who has a defect or disability may be a priest.

He must be completely whole, healed, and healthy to glorify YHWH as our healer (LEV. 21:17-18, 21-23). Priests also must be ritually clean before they minister. Spiritually this means they must not be in sin, as well as being repentant for past sins (LEV. 22:6-7). This applies equally to anyone coming to the temple or church (NUM. 5:3, 19:20). Today pastors, ministers, elders, deacons, and adult male Christians are considered priests.

An altar must not be made of cut stone (EX. 20:25).

Symbolically we are stones that build up into YHWH’s temple with Yahshua being the top- or cornerstone. Being uncut stones means YHWH creates and forms us according to His purposes. To be cut means we are operating in our own strength.

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One Jot or One Tittle…

Images and idols

The second Commandment forbids the making of images. It is little known or understood that an image in the form of any creature, from Heaven, Hell, or the sea is an abomination. How many of us have houses full of ornaments, figurines, and sculptures? The Law does not state idols are prohibited, but (brazen or cast 3D) images! One need only ask oneself, did the Israelites make or have dolls or images? Even the brazen serpent was destroyed when it became an idol. King Shelomoh (Solomon) broke this Law when he had images incorporated into his throne and into the sea in the temple.

There are many pretty objects we can use to beautify our homes, and with which children may play other than images. Have more babies so little girls can learn how to be mothers on the real thing. Are your images so important to you that you cannot get rid of them? If so, they have surely become idols.

On my return from Bali and later Africa, I brought with me bags full of images. Some I recognized immediately for what they were when I recommitted myself to Messiah at age 31. These were quickly disposed of, including a hand-sized metal crucifix on which hung an image of Yahshua my grandfather had brought back with him from Palestine in World War II. Another was a repulsive Balinese god or demon wrestling a snake which left me wondering what beauty I had ever seen in it. The last image to go by smashing with a hammer was a soapstone sculpture of a pregnant woman I’d bought to commemorate expecting Ranyhyn in Africa. It was discerned to be the image devoted to an African fertility god. Of course. What else would it be? African tribes seldom make images merely to decorate their mud huts. All of these items had curses attached to them.

A woman must not dress like a man (DEUT. 22:5)

It is interesting to note that in Biblical days the only women to wear very short or shorn hair like a man were prostitutes. So too only prostitutes wore their hair uncovered by scarves or other appropriate feminine head wear. Paul writes about this in detail in I CORINTHIANS 11 and it is discussed more fully in Let Her Be Covered.

In the same vein, a man must not dress like or as a woman. Is it permissible for women to wear long pants? I do, but certainly not in some countries. But I believe that whatever is acceptable in a particular country may be worn so long as it is decent, appropriate, and clean–unless you live on the street or some such place (mind you, I lived on the street with three young children for a year and we were never dirty. In addition I’ve been three times around the world including across the Sahara Desert and I managed to wash every day. See Third Trial: Sell All You Have and Follow Me and Ladders, Sand Dunes, Soft Edges, and Prayer)– without enticing the opposite sex to sin. Men also may wear a long dress-like garment or a sarong if that is acceptable garb.

Papua New Guinea is one country in which it is not acceptable for a woman to wear shorts, long pants, or even a swimming costume. Yet the native women often go topless without anyone so much as glancing at them.

In LEVITICUS 19:28 there is a command against the cutting of our bodies or putting tattoo marks on those perfect bodies with which we were created.

I interpret this to mean anything which deliberately pierces the skin: tattoos, earrings and other piercings, injections and immunizations, acupuncture, surgical operations and procedures. The priests of Baal cut their skin. Pagan medical practices were rife with blood-letting, leaching, and drilling holes in skulls to facilitate the release of evil spirits. Pagan religious rituals in India and the Middle East dictate the cutting of the skin.

Far from releasing evil spirits, it is my contention that these practices lead to possession by evil spirits with the cut or hole being a doorway for them. Any implants in the body will ensure the demons residency in that body until the insert is removed. Ask any former Satanist the truth about this. A quick investigation into the history of medicine will also reveal that the modern techniques of surgery are not so modern at all, but have been practised for thousands of years, usually for spiritual, pagan, or religious reasons.

This obviously does not apply to cuts and wounds from accidents, though if they occur frequently I would seek YHWH for a reason or legal right from sin in your life.

Men are admonished not to shave the edges of their beards or their heads (LEV. 19:27).

Priests of Baal shaved their heads and shaved their beards into goatees, that is, a small beard on the chin. Firstly, YHWH’s men are to have beards–all of them, with no exceptions. Only women and children had no whiskers. The men were not to shave at all but to have full beards and short hair. This does not necessarily mean a long waist length beard as depicted in pictures of Moses and Abraham. Men may trim their beards short, but not shave them at the sides or edges nor shave off all their hair.

The only exceptions to this were when a man came to the temple after fulfilling a Nazirite vow (NUM. 6:18, ACTS 21:24), and the ritual cleansing of a leper (LEV. 14:8-9).

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Till Heaven and Earth Pass…

The Feasts, Sabbaths, and Sabbatical Year

These holidays with their past and future meanings are discussed in detail in other posts such as Coca Cola and the Santa Claus Suit. Sufficient for me to say here is that YHWH took the keeping of His rest days and years, and celebrations so seriously He sent the Israelites into captivity for seventy years when they failed to obey the Laws pertaining to them. In addition the man found collecting firewood on the Sabbath in the wilderness was put to death as the Law prescribed (EX. 31:4, NUM. 15:32-36).

Yet look at the state of these special days now. The Church has no idea of their true meanings. Substituted for them are ancient Roman and pagan feast days called by the names of gods. Even our days of the week and months are named for gods and goddesses, as a quick look in a good dictionary will reveal. Deliberately failing to keep YHWH’s Sabbaths, like adultery, rape, murder, homosexuality, bestiality, and witchcraft, is a sin unto death. No truer words are ever spoken when overwork is described as working oneself to death. How many heart attacks occur in those whose hearts are not right with YHWH regarding resting each Sabbath day (or at least one day a week)?

No Usury

There is to be no interest charged among YHWH’s people (EXODUS 22:5). Father knew this practice led to huge debt within a nation, culminating–as we see happening currently worldwide–in the economic collapse of it, widespread unemployment, rampant inflation, spiraling prices, dissatisfaction among the populace, out of control crime, and eventual anarchy.

The Jews were expelled from country after country for their practice of usury. They mistakenly thought they alone were YHWH’s chosen so were permitted to lend to the goyim* on interest. Little did they know the curse was in fact on them by charging interest to the descendants of the ten lost Israelite tribes of the former northern kingdom.

Not only must we refrain from lending on interest, we are forbidden to be in debt at all (DEUT. 15:6, PRO. 22:26) for it also attracts a curse, often of poverty, failed businesses, and economic depression as described above. Usurers were also put to death (EZE. 16:13).

I once received a phone call from a telemarketer canvassing about housing loans.

“No, thank you, I’m a Christian and I never get into debt. It’s a sin,” I told the caller.

A shocked reply came back, “I’m a Christian too, but I’ve never heard that. As a matter of fact my boss is my pastor.”

I quoted some relevant Scriptures to him and offered many more for my Christian brother to search out himself.

“No, no,” he said, and rang off, clearly agitated. I’ve often wondered what happened with that situation once that man could no longer plead ignorance before the righteous Judge.

Circumcision of Baby Boys

According to GENESIS 17:10-12, 14 we must circumcise baby boys on the eighth day as a sign of the covenant between us and our Heavenly Father. Sadly, it has only been in the last generation that this duty has been neglected. See Be Circumcised, Was Titus Compelled or Not? and Circumcision and Ear Piercing.

A Childless Widow to Marry Her Brother-in-Law

Another Law in DEUTERONOMY 25:7-10 states that if a man dies without children, leaving a wife, one of his brothers, or the next kinsman that may lawfully marry her, must marry the widow to raise up the first son as the dead man’s child. In the Church, all men are brothers so the widow would be free to marry any Christian man. In any case in the next Scripture permission is given, albeit reluctantly, for the brother of this woman’s dead husband to release the widow.

It would be a simple matter for the first son of such a coupling to be named for the dead husband, but it is doubtful today this Law would apply as there is no land allotment for sons. Like the Laws of slavery, it may no longer be applicable. And in Australia at least all children of a marriage must take at birth the father’s name by Australian law. So even if it was undertaken according to the Word, it would have to be unofficial. If the situation arises, the will of YHWH should be sought.

Recompense and Punishment

Jails in ancient Israel were unlike whose we have today. They were to hold accused persons until a suitable punishment could be meted out. Punishments were rendered according to the Law: capital punishment for murder, rape, adultery, witchcraft, homosexuality, bestiality, and Sabbath breaking; a thief had to repay the amount he had stolen plus more, even to the point of becoming his victim’s slave; deliberate sin was punished by the guilty being ‘cut off’ or cast out, perhaps sent to live in a desert area. There were also public beatings. Somewhat removed from our politically correct wrist slappings of today!

Tempered by grace, criminals who had not committed deliberate sin or one unto death could be given one chance but with counselling. Perhaps there are mitigating circumstances. If so, how can he or she be assisted to live a righteous life? Along with community service or help to repay the theft, the perpetrator could be ordered to attend church and a Bible study for a period of time. A second offense, of course, deserves the required penalty.

What about the death penalty? One who has committed evil deserving of such should be removed permanently from society to cleanse it and prevent re-offense by the guilty party. Appropriate spiritual guidance should first be administered to them for the salvation of their soul should they choose that way.

*Goyim is the Hebrew word for Gentiles. Singular: Goy.

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The Census and the Ransom

In EXODUS 30:11-16, 28:25-26; and NUMBERS 1:2, 26:2 and 31:50 we find the Israelite men over twenty years old requiring to be numbered and to pay a redemption price. Women and children were never counted in a census. This was not because they were unimportant. Wives were one flesh with their husbands. Unmarried virgin daughters were hidden until married. Children were not counted because they were not of fighting age or at the age of accountability, that is, twenty years. Obviously the number of men that could be mustered–for that is the true meaning of the word numbered–needed to be known in case they were required for defence of the nation. The allotment of the land was also determined by the census.

The atonement price to be paid at the time of a census is to remind the men of their need of YHWH for their salvation, especially when they may be going to war. It also shows how important each individual is to his Heavenly Father.

An accurate rendering of EXODUS 30:12 is:

When you lift up the head of the sons of Israel to draw them up in troops for marching or battle, each one shall give the ransom of his soul to YHWH when mustering or drawing them up, and there shall not be stumbling, affliction, punishment (i.e. a mortal blow or fatal disease) among them.

It appears from EXODUS 23:28, DEUTERONOMY 7:20, and YOSHUA 24:12 that it was never Father’s will for Israel to engage in warfare. YHWH promised to drive out the Canaanites by sending hornets ahead of His people. At some point Israel may have cursed herself by going to war against the peoples of the land instead of allowing YHWH to deal with them miraculously as He had promised. As He had previously done in Egypt, the Red Sea crossing, then later at Yericho.

A righteous nation should find it unnecessary to go to war or even defend itself, for YHWH will do it for them as is made clear in LEVITICUS 26:6-8:

And I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid…neither shall the sword go through your land. And you shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword.

If no sword is to pass through, presumably the chasing will take place outside the righteous nation’s borders, or the edge of it.

However if a nation lifts their hand against another outside YHWH’s perfect will, then the ransom will cover this and allay any curse they may bring upon themselves by violently taking other men’s lives.

YHWH commanded Moses and the Israelites to destroy the Amalekites because they had attacked the stragglers of the Israelites as they journeyed through the wilderness. Obviously by doing so the Amalekites had committed an unpardonable sin and cursed themselves unto death. But one must wonder why Israel allowed her old, young, weak, and sick to lag behind the rest of the group. These people should have been in the middle of a group where they could be assured of due attention and care. It is little different today in many societies: we relegate the sick to hospitals lacking in necessary spiritual care and love; our old people go to aged care facilities; and our children to day care centres and public schools where they are taught and cared for by strangers with who knows what moral standards and beliefs.

There is a warning in this: nothing is to be done lightly. YHWH’s Law must be obeyed to the seemingly smallest detail or even a whole nation can curse itself with just a word. This Israel did in EXODUS 20:18-19 when they pleaded with Moses to speak to them instead of YHWH, for the people were so afraid they thought they would die. This curse resulted in DEUTERONOMY 18:15-19 in which YHWH commanded the people to listen to the prophets He would raise up to speak to them. If they refused to listen to Him, they would still be required to listen to those He sent to speak for Him.

To this day this curse continues on all who refuse to hear YHWH. He will send them someone to speak for Him so they are without excuse. A humble person will receive Father’s prophet (HEB. 12:25; ACTS 3:23) and receive a prophet’s reward (MATT. 10:41). A proud person will say, “YHWH will tell me Himself,” and receive nothing. (I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard these foolish words from Christians who are ignorant of the Scriptures in this matter.)

Another instance where a curse was placed on the people of ancient Israel because of their words refusing YHWH Himself was in I SAMUEL 8:4-8 when they demanded Samuel appoint them a king. From that point on until this present day a monarch has reigned on the earthly throne, after Saul, that of David’s as promised by YHWH (GEN. 49:10). This is a little known fact discussed in a series of previous posts starting from One King Shall Be King to Them All, and essential to a full and correct understanding of past and future prophecy

As hard as it may be to accept, according to such Scriptures as DEUTERONOMY 12:2-4, 13:12-15, 20:17, there is no–or should not be–place for any false religion in a Christian nation. In Israel in ancient times, aliens were allowed into the country and accepted as citizens so long as they made YHWH their Father and obeyed His Laws. Not one iota has changed. Yet we accept and even welcome to our shores Islamic mosques, Buddhist temples, and altars and images to false gods on high mountains, on the hills and under every spreading tree, including satanic sects, Wicca and witchcraft.

On my way to church one day the path I was taking led through a particular recreation area of my city in which was set up all the paraphernalia to celebrate Buddha’s birthday. This was a mere man, dead and buried in his grave. I often wonder if Buddha himself would have been aghast at the pointless adulation he receives. There are Buddhist prayer flags atop Mount Everest! No wonder so many lose their lives there, for these places and images sacred to false gods curse a nation and its people. The same applies to false ‘Christian’ religious establishments and their doctrines. They all need to be examined closely by the Church at large. Are they teaching and preaching doctrinal purity and truth according to YHWH’s Word? Or are they threatening their adherents’ salvation with a false message?

Of course to change the laws concerning these things we need righteous political leaders and judges like Moses, Samuel, Joseph, David, and Daniel. We need people who are willing to be politically incorrect, persecuted, slandered, imprisoned, and killed for truth’s sake. Where are the Eliyahus (Elijahs), the John the Baptists, the Daniels of our day and nations? Remember, god-worshipers were meted out the same punishment as murderers, rapists, and adulterers. Eliyahu righteously killed the 400 prophets of Baal. No, I am not advocating murder. Never. But the Church can defeat these invasions of our Promised Land if it comes together as a spiritual force–as was done recently to stop the bombing of Syria by the West, which has in some ways become the enemy of love.

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Tithes and Offerings

In essence, ten percent of everything we earn is given for YHWH’s work and for the poor. Specifically, those to whom this goes are: ministers of the Gospel such as pastors–who incidentally are to receive a double portion–missionaries, travelling evangelists, and any societies or groups that support or administer these ministries. The poor include Christian charitable organizations and anyone we may hear about or are led by the Holy Spirit to help financially (NUM. 18:21-24, DEUT. 14:22-27). We are commanded to give to all who ask, so long as we have what is being requested of us.

Houses. land, children, babies, time, talents, and our lives may all be tithed or dedicated to the service of YHWH, either for a period of time or a lifetime (as in the vow of the Nazirite in the Old Testament). It is important any commitments made are kept like an oath. In the case of children being dedicated, as was Samson, we can only inform them. It will ultimately be their own choice.

A second tithe or ten percent of a person’s income was to be set aside to use at the Feasts in Yerushalem (DEUT. 12:6-7). Then a third tithe was to be set aside in the third and sixth years of a seven year cycle so that the poor and Levites could eat and enjoy the Feasts, presumably if they were unable to provide for themselves from other income (DEUT. 4:28-29, 26:12).

Concerning these, we must remember that we do not live, at present, physically in our Promised Land. Few of us own land to which, YHWH’s Law says, we are entitled, therefore we remain in a strange land.

In this alien land, we are required to pay taxes as Yahshua did in order to avoid giving offence (MATT. 17:25-27, LUKE 20:25, ROM. 13:17). Taxes pay for capital works, education, health care, defence, and many other things. However, Yahshua stated in MATTHEW 17:26 that the sons (of Abraham or the Kingdom) are exempt from paying tax. In a nation which follows YHWH’s Laws the tithes are sufficient. Public needs are met by everyone when the need arises, such as was done in the wilderness with the construction of the tabernacle, and the many calls to men between twenty and fifty to gather when they went to war or to defend Israel against an enemy.

There is a vast difference between how we live in our strange land now, whether Christian or not, and how YHWH’s people are supposed to live in His Kingdom or Promised Land. All education, for instance, was conducted at home by the parents, or freely by the priests. Elderly parents were cared for in the home of the eldest son and his family who inherited a double portion to facilitate their support. The sick were nursed at home unless the disease was infectious. It was truly a community effort far removed from the community as we know it today where many people do not even know their next door neighbour.

Most of us would be well stretched financially if we had to pay a second or even third tithe because we don’t own our land or houses. If we do own them outright there remain rates and bills to pay that never stop coming. In Israel during Bible times there was no excuse. In Yahshua’s discourse with the rich young ruler in MATTHEW 19:16-23, it becomes clear that although this man had kept the Ten Commandments, it was according to his own standards and not YHWH’s. Verse 21 reveals he had failed to fulfill the Law of the third tithe, that of giving to the poor, so by that time he owed so much he would have to sell all his possessions to repay the debt. The selfishness and greed in this young man’s heart rendered him unable to do so even when corrected lovingly by the Son of YHWH Himself, as well as being given an alternative to becoming destitute–that of following the Son. Sadly, the man did not recognize Yahshua, for his wealth had become the object of his worship.

Imagine, as with the writing of YHWH’s Laws upon our buildings, if every child was given at birth a portion of land upon which to live and raise produce for his family’s upkeep. Imagine if three times a year we all went to one central place to celebrate our national holidays in joy and thanksgiving. Imagine if the poor could legally trespass upon any property to glean or eat a portion deliberately left to them for their satisfaction. Imagine if every person, every business, every industry, and corporation gave the first fruits of their produce to support the the work of YHWH. Imagine if all mothers stayed home caring for and teaching their children. There would be no unemployment. Imagine if all adult men were required to commit a portion of every year to public works, with only the morally upright and those with YHWH’s wisdom appointed to government positions.

This is the essence of tithing–giving from a heart of love, the pinnacle of YHWH’s Kingdom.

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Laws of Ritual Purity

The Laws of ritual impurity dictated that a person was unclean for a certain period of time if they touched something or someone unclean or ate impure food. These included the following from the book of LEVITICUS:

11:8, 24  the carcass of an unclean animal;

11:39-40  a clean animal that has died or been killed by wild animals;

17:15  eating the meat of a clean animal that has died or been killed by wild animals;

11:32, 34, 15:12  anything that touches a dead body or any food that comes into contact with an article that has touched a dead body;

15:19-28  a menstruating woman, anyone who touches her and anything on which she lays or sits, a woman with a discharge of blood;

12:2-5  women after childbirth;

13:23  anyone with an infectious skin disease;

13:47, 50-51  clothing with infectious mildew;

14:34-44  a house with an infectious mildew;

15:2  a man with an abnormal discharge;

15:16-18  anyone or anything in contact with semen;

19:11-14  a corpse and anyone who touches it.

The Israelites had been slaves for sometime between 80 and 140 years at the time of the exodus. (Not 400 or 420 years as most scholars teach. The 420 year stretch was from when Abraham entered Canaan until the Israelites exited Egypt. ‘Scholars’ have no business interpreting the Bible unless they are led to do so by the Holy Spirit or it is merely personal study. It is the place of YHWH’s ordained teachers, evangelists, prophets, and apostles to do so as He leads and to reveal or teach it.)

Slaves have little opportunity  or motivation to practice even basic hygiene. Coming also out from Egypt where, according to the Eber Papyrus, a medical book from 1500 BC, a typical prescription was the application of the urine of a faithful wife to cure pinkeye, they probably had little understanding of cleanliness either. To splinters, ancient Egyptian doctors applied a salve of worm blood and donkey dung. The Eber Papyrus states: ‘It is good for a wound to rot a little,’ and lists ingredients for prescriptions such as beetle shells, mouse tails, cat hair, breast milk, and human semen. It is therefore not surprising YHWH implemented strict laws of hygiene and cleansing.

Consider a menstruating slave woman without benefit of elasticized underwear, disposable sanitary pads, a washing machine, packaged soap, or running water. Recently into Australia there came an influx of refugees from Afghanistan. These people had to be taught by the immigration officers how to use a toilet and toilet paper rather than squat publicly in the street whenever the urge took them. The women would let their menstrual blood simply run down their legs on to clothing, bedding, furniture, and footpaths.

The medical and hygiene practices of the ancient and not so ancient cultures resulted in the deaths of millions from infected wounds, childbirth fever, and epidemics. Only recently I have been reading about Bloody Mary and her mother, Katherine of Aragorn, wife of Henry VIII. If these ladies fell ill or pregnant, their physicians had to make a diagnosis without touching them, in fact from across the room, for they were anointed and could only be touched by their husbands. Out of bounds was talk also about their menstrual cycles. Scoffed at was the Moors use of a calendar to calculate a baby’s due date. The physicians of the day warned against the eating of fruit, vegetables, and raw foods. England in the Middle Ages was a meat-eaters paradise. And of course they did not wash more than once or twice a year! And no wonder: water was often severely contaminated by sewage. Obviously the people of that Age did not read the Bible much or take note of it if they did.

Into the ancient Egyptian system was born and raised Moses.  According to ACTS 7:22, he was educated in all the learning and wisdom of the Egyptians. Yet he contradicted his university level training to faithfully record YHWH’s promise to the Israelites:

EXODUS 15:26  If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of YHWH thy Father; and do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am YHWH that healeth thee.

YHWH our beloved Father promises complete freedom from sickness and disease. Again through Moses the promise is reiterated in DEUTERONOMY 7:14-15:

Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you or your cattle. And YHWH shall take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

No sickness, no infertility, and no miscarriages. The Laws of ritual purity were first and foremost to train the Israelites in basic sanitation, then prevent the spread of infections or epidemics, and to protect each individual from catching a disease, carrying one, or giving it to another. YHWH had instigated protective quarantine.

The laws prevented new mothers and their babies from becoming infected by any of the billions of germs carried by everyone, which became known as labour or childbirth fever. Following childbirth and menstruation, the cervix or opening to the uterus is more open and susceptible to the influx of infectious organisms, particularly if the woman fails to wash and wear clean clothing. They also prevented infections being caught by others coming into contact with her bloody discharge. Furthermore, the period of separation or ‘uncleanness’ gave the mother an opportunity to bond with her new baby, and have a rest from the sexual attentions of an overzealous husband.

It is a recent discovery that contact with dead bodies can cause septicaemia or blood poisoning through a small break in the skin. Doctors who performed autopsies, then used the same unwashed hands to examine patients, caused numerous deaths, including their own, until the invention of the microscope, rubber gloves, and the simple implementation of hand washing.

In Biblical times there were no bathrooms as we have now. Daily washing was not practiced. YHWH had to specifically instruct His people to wash before day’s end in the case of contamination. To become unclean by some means was not particularly sinful–there were no penalties attached. But to neglect the bathing and washing of clothing at evening WAS sinful. It resulted in the person being cut off or separated from Israel. If a person did not know they had become unclean, it was sufficient when they became aware, to make a sin offering as well as to wash.

Living in our time of daily showers and hand washing whenever necessary, it is seldom that we would transgress the laws of ritual purity. Note that a newborn baby is not considered unclean as it touches its mother. There is a spiritual symbol here. The menstruating woman and new mother are both called unclean because the events bring to mind that each new baby, as beautiful and desired as he or she may be, is born in sin. In addition, this ‘uncleanness’ brings to mind the result of the curse put on Eve to multiply her pain, worry, sorrow, toil, and conceptions on relation to pregnancy and childbirth (GEN. 3:`6). This pain and sorrow is no doubt a reflection of that felt by Father at Adam and Eve’s betrayal in Eden.

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