Wednesday, July 8, 2009

LEVITICUS: Chapter 15

Chapter 15
Summary:God gives further instructions to Moses and Aaron to relate to the people of Israel.

When a man has a "running issue out of his flesh" (meaning genital discharge) he is "unclean". He is considered "unclean" not only while his discharge is active, but as it heals as well. Any bed he lies on and anything he sits on is contaminated and therefore "unclean" as well.

Anyone else who touches the man's bed or anything he has sat on is considered defiled and "unclean" until the evening and must bathe and wash their clothes. The same applies to anyone touching him. Anyone he spits on(!) is considered defiled and "unclean" until the evening and must bathe and wash their clothes also. Any saddle he rides on is also defiled and "unclean". Anyone touching or carrying anything that was beneath him shall be defiled and "unclean" until the evening and must bathe and wash their clothes. If the defiled man touches anyone without first washing his hands, that person must bathe and wash their clothes and will be considered "unclean" and defiled until evening. Any earthenware pot touched by the defiled man must be broken, and every wooden utensil must be rinsed in water.

When the discharge stops, the man will begin a seven day "cleansing ceremony" by washing his clothes and bathing himself in running water. On the eight day, he will take two turtledoves or two young pigeons and bring them to a priest at the entrance to the tabernacle. The priest shall sacrifice the birds there, one for a "sin offering" and one for a "burnt offering", and by doing so, the priest will make atonement for the man because of his discharge.

Whenever a man ejaculates semen, he shall wash all of his flesh in water and be considered defiled and "unclean" until the evening. Any clothing or bedding that his semen spilled on must be washed and will remain defiled and "unclean" until the evening. After sexual intercourse, both the woman and the man must bathe themselves and are defiled and "unclean" until the evening.

When a woman menstruates she will be considered defiled and "unclean" for seven days; and whomever touches her during her seven day "uncleanliness" shall also be considered "unclean" until the evening. Anything she lies on or sits on during that time shall also be defiled and "unclean". Anyone touching her bed or anything she sits upon shall wash their clothes and bathe themmselves and be considered defiled and "unclean" until the evening. Any man having sexual intercourse with her during this time is considered defiled and "unclean" for seven days, and every bed that he lies upon is to be considered defiled and "unclean" as well.

If her menstruation continues past her normal period, or at an irregular time during the month, the same rules apply as during her normal period - anything she lies on or sits upon is considered defiled and "unclean". Anyone touching her bed or anything she sits upon shall be considered defiled and "unclean" and shall wash their clothes and bathe; they will be considered defiled and "unclean" until the evening. Seven days after her menstruating stops, she shall no longer be "unclean".

On the eighth day, she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons to bring to the priest at the entrance of the tabernacle. The priest shall offer one as a "sin offering" and the other for a "burnt offering", which will offer atonement for her "uncleanliness".

God tells Moses and Aaron that in this way the people of Israel will be cleansed from their "uncleanliness", lest they die because they defiled "God's" tabernacle, that is amongst them.

Thus this is God's laws about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), seminal emissions (of any kind), a woman's menstruation, and for any man having sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman.
Thoughts:God now doles out his thoughts on human sexuality to Moses and Aaron, kicking off his thoughts about STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

If you're giving off a discharge from your genital region then you're considered "defiled" and "unclean" in the eyes of God. This goes for anything you lie down or sit upon - including beds, chairs, mats, rugs, etc. Heck, you'll even defile anyone who you come into physical contact with! The only difference being, that those items and people you've defiled can be washed with water and are only defiled until sundown. Whenever your STD goes away you'll have to get some birds handy to "apologize" to God for your sins.

Perhaps we might postulate that most STDs are contracted from risky sexual encounters, so perhaps God is just trying to frighten people out of being promiscuous. However, God continues on with his thoughts on sexuality and addresses seminal emissions.

Whenever a man ejaculates semen - by any means - he is defiled and considered "unclean" until the evening. Anything his semen might have gotten onto (beds, linens, other people, etc.) must be thoroughly washed, but is also considered unclean until the evening. Even when a man has regular sexual intercourse with a woman, both himself and his female partner are defiled and "unclean" until sundown. Now, it's obvious to see the problem here - there's no way of avoiding this "sin" against God. Any and every male that has reached puberty is prone to ejaculation, and they have little control over this. Males who don't regularly engage in sexual activity (whether it be any form of intercourse or masturbation) are prone to nocturnal emissions - otherwise known as "wet dreams". This is normal and unavoidable unless a man is sexually active or at least comfortable with masturbation. The problem is, most religions frown upon masturbation (and I'm sure we'll hear from Yahweh eventually about his thoughts on the subject) and sexual intercourse outside of marriage is a sin as well, so unless you marry at the first onset of puberty, you are pretty much trapped into committing and dealing with this "sinful behavior" and becoming "unclean" in the eyes of God.

Things however are much worse if you happen to be "cursed" with being female. Every time a woman menstruates she is considered "unclean" for seven days. Anything she sits upon, lies down on, or anyone she touches during her period is also "defiled" (until the evening) and has to be cleaned and washed immediately. Any man daring enough to have sexual intercourse with her during her "period of defilement" will find himself "unclean" for seven days as well, and every bed that he lays down upon is also "unclean" during these seven days. If a woman's period runs late or is irregular, then the rules apply for the duration of her menstruation period regardless. Seven days after her period is over, she'll finally be "clean" again - that is once she gathers up a pair of birds for some animal sacrifices at the good ol' tabernacle - one for a "sin offering" and one for a "burnt offering", to "atone" for her "uncleanliness".

Let's stop right there - menstruation is a normal biological function that a woman is probably going to endure every month for a good forty years or so of her life. So every month a woman is expected to have a priest kill a pair of birds for her "sin" of being female for the next forty years after she reaches puberty. Over her lifetime this would amount to roughly 960 turtledoves and/or pigeons slaughtered simply because of her physical nature. Now if we recall, God and Moses claimed that over 600,000 (male) Israelis left Egypt on their pilgrimage to the "promised land". Even if we assume that there were half as many women (which is probably hitting way under the mark, considering polygamy was commonplace and accepted in the Old Testament) that leaves us with an estimate of about 300,000 women gathering turtledoves and pigeons for "sin offerings" and "guilt offerings" every month. In one year, 300,000 women would need to have 7,200,000 birds to die for their "sins" and "guilt" of being female. That alone is a staggering number, but its actually far more reasonable to think that the number of female Hebrews probably was closer in numbers to the amount of male Hebrews, thereby needing over 14 million birds to be slaughtered each year. To assert that this actually occurred without the extinction of turtledoves and/or pigeons is ludicrous. Even going back to our conservative estimate of only 7 million birds being killed each year, the Exodus (according to the bible) lasted roughly forty years, which would have resulted in the deaths of 288 million birds - and that's not counting the use of such birds in other "guilt offerings", "burnt offerings", and "sin offerings". Folks, there's just no way that this could have occurred without at the very least causing the extinction of these birds, not to mention finding and gathering that many birds in the region of the middle eastern desert.

Taking that logical fallacy aside, how one could condone God's insistence on an apology, or "atonement", for a woman having a monthly period is just unfathomable and only compounds the amount of sexism and misogyny strewn throughout the bible. Furthermore, women are made to feel dirty and filthy by the claim that everything and every person they touch becomes "contaminated" and "defiled" during her period.

God caps off his laws to Moses and Aaron by stating that the people must be "cleansed" in this way because being "unclean" is highly offensive to the existence of God's precious tabernacle that he made the Israelis construct for him in the first place. Worst of all God commands these animal sacrifices and "atonement" under the guise so that he won't have to kill people for defiling his precious tabernacle.

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