Leviticus 15:19 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(19) And if a woman have an issue.—Having legislated for cases in connection with man—as well as for one case in which both the husband and the wife are concerned, the Law now lays down directions for two cases affecting the woman.
And her issue in her flesh be blood.—Better, if her issue, &c. This clause defines the preceding one, stating more minutely what the issue consists of and proceeds from.
She shall be put apart seven days.—Though as a rule the discharge ceases after three or four days, yet, as in the first stage after childbirth, the period of uncleanness is extended to seven days to include exceptional cases. (See Lev. 12:2.) To fully appreciate the merciful provisions of the laws here enacted, it is necessary to bear in mind not only the gross superstitions which obtained among the ancients about women in this condition, but the cruel treatment to which wives and daughters were subjected, and in some countries both in the Old and New Worlds still are subjected. It was believed that if a woman in this condition sat under a tree, all its fruit fell off; at her approach the edge of a tool became blunted, and copper utensils contracted a fetid smell, and meat got sour, and a thousand other things. Hence the Parsees not only isolated her from the rest of the family, but forbade her speaking to any one, and those who took food to her in her seclusion had to put it at some distance from her. The Zabii purified with fire every place which she trod. Even if the wind which came from the quarter where she was blew upon any one, he became polluted. To this day the negroes in Issing, the Calmucks, and many others, have special houses for them outside each town and village; and at the River La Plata they are sewn into hammocks, with only a small aperture for the mouth, till they are well again. To restrain the Jews from sharing these superstitions, and from resorting to any of these inhuman acts, as well as for sanitary purposes, the Lawgiver ordained these benign and necessary rules.
Whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean.—Like other unclean persons, she defiled by being touched. Though not expressed here, it is implied that he who contracted this defilement had both to wash his garments and bathe his body as usual.
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.