Leviticus 15:4-12 explains what you must do when you’re around a man who is having an unclean issue from his flesh. Let’s see how these commandments measure up.
Everything that the man touches is considered unclean—beds he sleeps in, things he sits on, even the saddle he rides on. In fact, anyone who touches theses articles that have been made unclean, become unclean themselves and must wash their own clothes and bathe in water to become clean again. Washing yourself after touching pus-soaked sheets? That makes sense. Maybe there’s something to this idea of the bible having prophetic knowledge after all? Let’s continue.
Anyone who touches the skin of an unclean man must wash his clothes and bathe, and is unclean until sundown. Hm… this is kind of missing the mark a bit. Merely shaking hands with someone who has gonorrhea won’t contaminate you to the point where you must douse your entire body in water. Come to think of it, washing your clothes for this and the first conditions seems a little silly as well. But wait, a few verses later God repeats this commandment and says that you only have to wash your whole body if you fail to wash your hands. So, maybe this isn’t so strange after all.
If the man touches anything made of wood, rinse it with water. If he touches a clay pot, shatter it. Okay, things are starting to get crazy again. Why only wash wood? What about metal or leather? And why do clay pots have to be broken? Why can’t they just be washed? And now that I think about it, the authors keep saying “rinse with water” rather than “wash with a detergent.” Rinsing might help against some things, but it’s certainly not optimally effective. Soap was certainly well-known by the Israelites, why didn’t God ever tell them to use it?
If the unclean man spits on someone, they too are unclean and must wash. Um… okay, God’s starting to go off the deep end again! This passage is a bit, well, odd. Was it such a common practice for Israelites to go around spitting on each other that God needed to create this caveat? At first, I thought it was just a poor translation of saying, something like, “if the discharge spews onto a person,” which would be really gross, but at least make sense. However, all of the translations I’ve read make it pretty clear that they’re talking about the unclean man expectorating.
So, we’ve got a bit of a mixed bag here. Some of the stuff makes sense, some of it doesn’t make any sense, do we call this a draw? Well please consider the following: God never tells the unclean man to bathe! Seriously, if the bible has such a thorough understanding of bacteria, why is it that unclean people are never told to wash? Why are only the clean people told to wash? Something tells me the bible isn’t as prophetic as confirmation biased believers want it to be.