View Full Version : Dirty Hands

Mar 7th 2010, 08:11 AM
I got a question.

Was being unclean ALONE a sin?

If one day I stepped on a pile of pig crap barefoot.
Did I commit a sin ?

Or if I took the carcase of a rabbit for the hide.
Did I commit a sin ?

The reason I ask is because the way I understand it the mandate of being clean has to do specificly with the tabernacle , the ark of the convenant, and most importanly being in contact with Levi priests.

But the way it is portrayed I find often is that being unclean alone is a sin and is evil.

I thought it simply meant you needed to take a bath and wait a few days.

There is one place I think where it says it is a sin requiring a ofering if you conceal the fact that you are unclean or have touched a carcase of a unclean animal or done something to be unclean and you hide it you dont wash and you come into contact with clean people.

But if you wash if you dont conceal it and if you wait the time. Is being unclean a sin ?

Mar 7th 2010, 01:33 PM
"Unclean" in it's most flat sense of the word isn't what is implied by it's use in English.

It is more than just dirt.

Part of understanding this notion comes from the study of Anthropology of ANE customs.

A person becomes "unclean" when they become unholy. (Holy being a level of purity/good/focus)

Touching or considering(looking) something that doesn't belong to you, such as God's property, was a quick way to become unholy or unclean. Blood, for example, was life; all live belonged to God....taking or touching a person's or an animal's life was a sin...so forgiveness was needed.

Torah is the Hebrew word for the five books of moses. The book of the Law.
Tohorah is the Hebrew word for ceremonial cleansing.

Both of these words sound very similarly when properly pronounced except that the word Tohorah has a little breath in the middle of it. Breath is similar in notion with the wind or spirit and creates a beautiful little word play. Meaning that if you put a little Spirit into the Law it will cleanse you ceremonially/spritually.

A person's hands were customarily a metaphor for actions and control. Buying a gift and giving it to God was no where near the same as actually giving God a gift made by your own hands. (such as sheep raising or grain harvest) Sure....you could buy the grain or sheep and give it to God....but it isn't quite the same spiritually. It wasn't made by your hands. But...in some circumstances it was what had to be done so that the requirements of the Law could be fulfilled.

The "washing" of the hands or of a person's feet (as in Jesus's case) was more about the regular routine forgiveness that we need from just going places and trying to live in this world. (and in the Passover story of Jesus...feet stink and need washing)

The apostles feet were unclean...but not their hands...a very interesting metaphor stemming from "walking about" with the Son of God.

Mar 7th 2010, 07:49 PM
I think it shows unholiness as in the ritual purification. It's not that they are dirty but unholy as Moses was told to take out his shoes. As a note washing by water isn't the only way to purifiy it would also be by fire.

Jesus said about washing of hands that the pharisees asked about his desciples. "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread........For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man

Even if they were ritually clean Jews could immerse themselves in a ritual bath before entering the Temple Court. I forget what the pool was outside of the temple that was used, but it was one you could walk down steps until you get to the pool or bath very narrow.

but now we are washed by the blood of the Lamb

Mar 7th 2010, 10:23 PM
It was called a Mik-vah or Mik-vey....depending upon who you wish to believe for the pronunciation.

it was what we call a modern day Baptismal...because it is supposed to be done with flowing or living water. Stagnant water was not allowed to be used for this ceremony.

Mar 8th 2010, 12:04 AM
Thanks, John
I had that picture in my head, but could not remember the name.