God doesn’t shy away from the intimate discussions. He dives right in. This time He addresses bodily discharges.
As a woman I’m VERY familiar with this word and also acquainted with the biblical customs surrounding it. The primary discharge God addresses with women is their monthly cycle. We were first introduced to the “untouchable” or “unclean” aspect of this bodily function when Rachel hid the household gods of Laban by saying she was in that time of month and the men would NOT touch her or search where she was sitting. God hadn’t marked this “unclean” at this point but man had.
God chose to address discharges in both sexes and he chose to do so with men first. As a woman I hadn’t heard of a “discharge” that men would have. At first I thought He was referring to bloody diarrhea and such but found out (through google of course) that men can have a “discharge” from their penis. I will save the medical reasons for one’s doctor but sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections are two possible causes listed.
Both sexes, when experiencing a discharge of some form were considered unclean. Anything they sat on was unclean. Any bed they lie on was unclean. Any person they touched became unclean. And anyone who touched the unclean person’s clothes, bedding, or seat was then unclean also. The person who was touched or touched the unclean person or their things was only unclean until evening and until they bathed and washed their clothes. The unclean person though was unclean for seven days AFTER their discharge abated.
This must have been a very lonely time for one suffering from such an affliction. They were essentially untouchable; typhoid Mary. I imagine that only those who HAD TO would come in contact with them. This would be their physicians or priests or servants. This gives us just a SMALL taste of what the woman who had a discharge for TWELVE YEARS felt like when she went to Jesus for healing. She knew that by her simple touch, or even brushing up against another person, she was rendering them unclean also. She was desperation driven.
Both sexes also had to present the very same sacrifice after their seven day waiting period. God counted them equal in this but I will guarantee that women made more of these sacrifices than the men did. This is simply because women went through this routine EVERY month of their childbearing years where men only experienced this if they had some kind of infection. I wonder if the stigma was greater for men than women for this very reason.
Something else that piqued my curiosity was God’s instructions regarding the release of semen. Did this pertain to marital relations too or only to ejaculations without a partner? Verse 18 seems to imply that any sexual encounter where the man’s seed is released results in uncleanness for both parties. I imagine this is where we, at least in the West, have taken on the belief that sexual intercourse is “dirty” and not to be talked about in polite company. I wonder if God saw it that way before the fall of man. Did Adam and Eve have sexual relations before the fall or did the fall put a barrier between them that was only bridged through intimacy? Another question to add to my ever growing list of bench questions.
Father God, thank You for treating men and women equal in this respect. I have a feeling that Your laws were for the people’s health reasons and not as a punishment of some kind. Was the woman’s monthly cycle part of Eve’s curse in the garden? I never thought of it before but the monthly flow actually represents death. Because there is no life growing within the uterus the life sustaining portion of it dies and passes away. But the beauty of that is the fact that each month You allow a rebuilding and preparation again for new life. You are an AMAZING Designer!
Thank You for the lives You allowed me to grow within me. They are precious beyond words. Thank You also for the newest life that is growing in our family from my son and daughter in law. I look forward to sharing time with her in the not too distant future.
And speaking of the future of that family Lord, have YOUR will in their probable upcoming separation. If it is Your will, let this possibility fade away or decrease in size. If it is not Your will Lord, protect my son as he serves and his family as they are separated from him. Help his children as they miss him. Help me be a buffer for his wife’s loneliness and a help to her in whatever she needs. I have been in this position before and know the hardships that it brings. Help me be “enough” for ALL of those I serve, my husband included! I KNOW that I am NEVER alone in anything I walk through. Help me model that knowledge and shine Your strength whatever comes.
Thank You for the week we just enjoyed with all the family. Thank You also for being patient with me when I didn’t have time to write or simply felt overwhelmed by the material You are walking me through. I trust You will continue to carry me through these difficult books and provide the time for us to be together somehow.