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Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 15

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-12


As with the leper, this chapter is about defilement. However, there is a big difference between the defilement discussed in this chapter and that caused by leprosy. Leprosy is sin, and therefore defilement, by one’s own will. A discharge is something that happens involuntarily, without intent. It is a discharge that comes from a human being, without even committing a sin. These are discharges such as nocturnal ejaculation, monthly menstruation and other discharges that, like a giving birth in Leviticus 12, are related to human nature. Discharges defile precisely because they originate from the nature of man who has fallen into sin.

The lesson we can learn from this chapter is that there are things we say or do, without the intention of hurting anyone, but which still have a wrong effect. They originate spontaneously from us, we can’t do anything about it, but we often feel immediately thereafter that it didn’t come from the new life. We realize that the Lord Jesus would not have spoken or acted like that.

If Someone Has a Discharge

The discharge in question here does not seem to indicate seminal emission, because it is mentioned separately in Leviticus 15:16. Thought is of gonorrhea, a venereal disease, or diarrhea. Whoever has the discharge is unclean. Anyone who or anything that touches the impure is also unclean. Anyone who touches something that is touched by the unclean person also becomes impure. Mentioned are: his bed (Leviticus 15:4-Deuteronomy :), his chair (Leviticus 15:6), his body (Leviticus 15:7), his saliva (Leviticus 15:8), his saddle (Leviticus 15:9), everything which is under him (Leviticus 15:10).

Anyone who is unclean by touching someone who has a discharge or what has come into contact with it, is unclean until the evening. To clean himself he needs to wash his clothes and himself.

One application is that hearing unclean language influences our use of language and we also express language that makes us unclean. To be cleansed of this uncleanness, we must read God’s Word, of which the water is a picture. By reading God’s Word we recognize the origin of our speaking or acting. We humble ourselves before the Lord and bring our conduct and our speaking back into conformity with the Word of God. It’s about things we do unconsciously, things that have crept into our minds.

Although the defilement extends further than in the case of a leper, there is no offering or removal out of the camp, as in the case of a leper. In leprosy we see sin revealing itself as real corruption. That corruption is present in nature, but is allowed in the heart. A long-term operation is necessary to clean the conscience. In the case of a discharge, one should only wash oneself with water once and in some cases only bring a bird as a sin offering and a bird as a burnt offering. This shows that these cases of uncleanness are not charged as heavily as in the case of the leper. God makes a difference in the nature of sin. It is important that we do the same. That demands of our continued dependence on Him and His Word.

Verses 13-15

Cleansing a Man From a Discharge

There are two forms of cleansing:
1. Cleansing of someone or what has become unclean by contact, either of the discharge or of what has become unclean by contact with the discharge. This has been dealt with in the previous verses (Leviticus 15:1-2 Kings :).
2. Cleansing of him who has the discharge and is therefore unclean. This is dealt with in the abovementioned verses (Leviticus 15:13-Ezra :).

In the cleansing of the one who has the discharge, offerings are brought. It presents the work of the Lord Jesus as the means of reconciliation. We see that He was the sin offering and burnt offering. The defilement has been removed. There is no investigation by the priest, as with the leper. It is not a public evil.

If the discharge has stopped, a period of cleansing follows. It takes seven days. On the seventh day he must wash his clothes and bathe his body. On the eighth day two pigeons are offered as offerings. This happens at the tent of meeting, by the priest.

Our whole behavior influences the meeting. Therefore, we should always as priests check ourselves whether a discharge has occurred, or whether we have been in contact with someone who has a discharge, through which things have crept into our speaking and behavior that are not suitable for God’s presence. We may then think of the offering of the Lord Jesus, Who was made a sin offering and at the same time as burnt offering is God’s perfect pleasure.

Verses 16-18

Unclean By a Seminal Emission

An ejaculation makes impure. It seems to be two cases:
1. the nightly seminal emission (which is also called the ‘wet dream’);
2. The seminal emission during sexual intercourse.

Just like the birth of a child, this is not a sinful act. There is no guilt, no offering is prescribed.

As Christians, we know that sexuality is a gift from God. We can talk about it, but we will not do so in an inappropriate way. Not because we are ashamed of it, but because it is something intimate. We may release more about it than is appropriate, as it were an involuntary seminal emission.

Seminal emission during sexual intercourse also causes the need for both husband and wife to wash themselves with water. Even in the most intimate experience of unity between two people it is necessary to be determined that it is not a perfect, uncontaminated unity. This is not to restrict pleasure, but to strengthen the desire for the unity spoken of by sexual intercourse (Ephesians 5:31-Jonah :).

In both cases it is necessary to use water. By reading the Word of God, our thoughts are cleansed of the filth that sticks through the world to what God has given as beautiful in marriage. With Him, the picture of Christ and the church and the love of Christ for the church always stands for attention. That is how it should be with us. If man and woman use that water together, they will be cleansed of the filth that the world makes of the sexual intercourse, on the one hand, and on the other hand they will see and experience it as God intended.

Verses 19-27

When a Woman Has a Discharge

The discharge of a woman has two forms. The first form is that of menstrual discharge, the monthly discharge (Leviticus 15:19-Jeremiah :). What applies to the discharge of the man in Leviticus 15:2-2 Kings : also applies here to the periodic discharge of the woman. The second form is that of discharges outside menstruation (Leviticus 15:25-Daniel :). The woman who is healed by the Lord Jesus in the midst of a crowd suffers from this form of discharge, called hemorrhage (Mark 5:25-Joel :; Luke 8:43-Galatians :).

Although, as said, it is an involuntary discharge, the discharge makes unclean. It is even so that the LORD compares the defilement of His people with the idols with the monthly uncleanness of a woman (Ezekiel 36:17). The continuing discharge ultimately leads to death. Also, all the time that the discharge lasts, she may not enter the sanctuary, that the tabernacle of the LORD may not be defiled (Leviticus 15:31). Given the nature of this discharge, there is a relationship with leprosy. Therefore David mentions them in the curse he pronounces on the house of Joab in one breath (2 Samuel 3:29).

Verses 28-30

Cleansing of a Woman From a Discharge

For the cleansing of her who has had a discharge, the same ritual applies as for the man who is cleansed from the defilement of his discharge (Leviticus 15:13-Ezra :).

Verse 31

Purpose of Cleansing

The necessity of cleansing the defilement is that God’s dwelling that is among His people. Where He dwells, that is now in the church and in the believer, uncleanness may have no place. God and something of sin are not compatible.

Verses 32-33

Law for the One With a Discharge

The detail with which the law on the discharge is given shows how much the LORD has in mind the welfare of His people. He would like to be in their midst and indicates in His grace how this privilege can be enjoyed by pointing out what prevents Him from being with them.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 15". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/leviticus-15.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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