God outlines what animals are clean and unclean for consumption. They may only eat animals that chew cud and have a split hoof (camels, pigs, rabbits, etc are all out). They may eat any kind of fish with fins and scales, anything else in the water they are to detest. There are limited types of birds that can be eaten; eagles, vultures, ravens, gulls, hawks owl, etc are all out. The only insects ok to eat are locusts, crickets and grasshoppers (ew). If they even touch any of the unclean animals, they are to immediately wash themselves and their clothes. If something unclean falls into a pot, you have to break the pot and toss its contents. Bottom line: don't touch or eat anything that is remotely considered to be unclean.
A woman who gives birth must go through a period of being ceremonially unclean before she can do anything. If she has a boy, she is unclean for 7 days, circumcises the boy on the 8th day and then has to wait 33 days to be "purified" (waiting for the blood and ickiness to stop). If she has a girl, all the the uncleanliness time is doubled--14 days of being unclean and 66 days before purification. I am wondering why a baby girl takes longer to "cleanse"??
Since there weren't really doctors back then, the priests are given instruction on how to tell if something is an infectious skin disease or just a rash. Anyone with a skin ailment is supposed to be seen by a priest and let him make the judgment on what it is. Usually isolation is prescribed and the patient is monitored. While someone is deemed unclean, they have to live outside the city, wear torn clothes, not cover their head and shout "unclean" anytime they see someone.
Mildew is also discussed. Anything contaminated must be washed and then burned if it doesn't clear up.
At first I was a little shocked to read about all of these rules and regulations, then it hit me...God is not making them do all of this to be a bully, He's doing it to set them apart. He wants his people to act and live differently than the rest of the world. By following these guidelines, they are edifying themselves and making themselves holy for God. While encouraging, it is still a pretty big bill to pay up for.
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