Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 2. Issue of seed, shall be unclean. These legal uncleannesses were instituted in order to give the people a horror of carnal impurities. (Challoner) — If the gonorrhœa, and the lawful act of marriage, (ver. 16,) and nocturnal delusions, (Deuteronomy xxiii. 10,) induce a kind of uncleanness—surely to imitate Onan is most detestable, Genesis xxviii. 9. (Tirinus) — The Jews rank the latter crime with murder, and so does Tertullian. See Exodus xxi. 22.
Ver. 3. At every moment, is not in Hebrew, but something like it occurs in the Samaritan and Septuagint. According to the Hebrew, the uncleanness subsists for some time after the issue has ceased. Grotius pretends that these disorders were contagious; but the reason why God requires such purity in his people, is given [in] ver. 31. He dwelt among them, and would not allow of any disrespectful behaviour. There were to live like priests in his temple. The pagans in Egypt, Greece, and Italy, required the like attention to cleanliness in their priests. (Herod., ii.) — Noctem flumine purgas. (Persius ii.) (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Such a one; the person under the disorder, unless he have washed his hands.
Ver. 12. Broken, after he is perfectly healed. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Offer, (faciet) “shall sacrifice.” (Du Hamel) — For sin. Legal, or any other that he may have incurred.
Ver. 16. Evening, whether the action were lawful or not. (Menochius) — Some explain this verse, of nocturnal inconveniences; and ver. 18, of the act of marriage. The latter rendered unclean only in as much as it hindered a person from partaking of any thing sacred, though he might perform the duties of life. (Calmet) — This law was to lay some restraint on the too frequent use of marriage. (Theodoret) (Du Hamel)
Ver. 19. At….month. The Hebrew and other versions omit this. (Calmet) — But “her issue in her flesh,” implies as much. (Haydock) — Days, not out of the camp, but from the company of men.
Ver. 20. One, except infants, &c.
Ver. 24. Days, supposing the case was not brought before the judge, and the man did it through ignorance: otherwise it was death, chap. xx. 18.
Ver. 28. Run. Then she might act as usual, without defiling what she touched. It seems from ver. 13, that this law regarded only the time while the tabernacle was in the camp. It would have been very difficult to observe it, when the people were dispersed throughout the land of Chanaan. (Calmet)
Ver. 31. Teach. So the Septuagint also read. Hebrew, “Thus you shall remove….from their filth.” (Houbigant) — Filth. God threatens to kill them, if they approach unclean. (Menochius) — St. Jerome (in Gal. v.) understands this of those abominable sins, which ought not to be mentioned. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Other legal uncleannesses.
1 And the Lord spoke* to Moses and Aaron, saying:
2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: The man that hath an issue of seed, shall be unclean.
3 And then shall he be judged subject to this evil, when a filthy humour, at every moment, cleaveth to his flesh, and gathereth there.
4 Every bed on which he sleepeth, shall be unclean, and every place on which he sitteth.
5 If any man touch his bed, he shall wash his clothes: and being washed with water, he shall be unclean until the evening.
6 If a man sit where that man hath sitten, he also shall wash his clothes: and being washed with water, shall be unclean until the evening.
7 He that toucheth his flesh, shall wash his clothes: and being himself washed with water shall be unclean until the evening.
8 If such a man cast his spittle upon him that is clean, he shall wash his clothes: and being washed with water, he shall be unclean until the evening.
9 The saddle on which he hath sitten shall be unclean:
10 And whatsoever has been under him that hath the issue of seed, shall be unclean until the evening. He that carrieth any of these things, shall wash his clothes: and being washed with water, he shall be unclean until the evening.
11 Every person whom such a one shall touch, not having washed his hands before, shall wash his clothes: and being washed with water, shall be unclean until the evening.
12 If he touch a vessel of earth, it shall be broken: but if a vessel of wood, it shall be washed with water.
13 If he who suffereth this disease be healed, he shall number seven days after his cleansing; and having washed his clothes, and all his body in living water, he shall be clean.
14 And on the eighth day he shall take two turtles, or two young pigeons, and he shall come before the Lord, to the door of the tabernacle of the testimony, and shall give them to the priest:
15 Who shall offer one for sin, and the other for a holocaust: and he shall pray for him before the Lord, that he may be cleansed of the issue of his seed.
16 The man from whom the seed of copulation goeth out, shall wash all his body with water: and he shall be unclean until the evening.
17 The garment or skin that he weareth, he shall wash with water, and it shall be unclean until the evening.
18 The woman, with whom he copulateth, shall be washed with water, and shall be unclean until the evening.
19 The woman, who at the return of the month hath her issue of blood, shall be separated seven days.
20 Every one that toucheth her, shall be unclean until the evening.
21 And every thing that she sleepeth on, or that she sitteth on in the days of her separation, shall be defiled.
22 He that toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes: and being himself washed with water, shall be unclean until the evening.
23 Whosoever shall touch any vessel on which she sitteth, shall wash his clothes: and himself being washed with water, shall be defiled until the evening.
24 If a man copulateth with her in the time of her flowers, he shall be unclean seven days: and every bed, on which he shall sleep, shall be defiled.
25 The woman that hath an issue of blood many days out of her ordinary time, or that ceaseth not to flow after the monthly courses, as long as she is subject to this disease, shall be unclean, in the same manner as if she were in her flowers.
26 Every bed on which she sleepeth, and every vessel on which she sitteth, shall be defiled.
27 Whosoever toucheth them shall wash his clothes: and himself being washed with water, shall be unclean until the evening.
28 If the blood stop and cease to run, she shall count seven days of her purification:
29 And on the eighth day she shall offer for herself to the priest, two turtles, or two young pigeons, at the door of the tabernacle of the testimony.
30 And he shall offer one for sin, and the other for a holocaust, and he shall pray for her before the Lord, and for the issue of her uncleanness.
31 You shall teach therefore the children of Israel, to take heed of uncleanness, that they may not die in their filth, when they shall have defiled my tabernacle that is among them.
32 This is the law of him that hath the issue of seed, and that is defiled by copulation,
33 And of the woman that is separated in her monthly times, or that hath a continual issue of blood, and of the man that sleepeth with her.
1: Year of the World 2514.