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I need help understanding what this means from the Bible

(347 Posts)

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WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 01:38:43

“The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.” Leviticus 12:1-5, ESV Literary Study Bible

What the fuck does unclean mean?

IntelligentYetIndecisive Sat 24-Feb-18 01:40:39

www.gotquestions.org/Bible-unclean.html

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 01:42:31

Thanks, but that doesn’t really answer the question for me.

JimboDoesTheLimboInHawaii Sat 24-Feb-18 01:45:30

Er.... Considered gross, not allowed to cook etc? In practise, probably varied a fair bit depending on how it was interpreted. Possibly segregated from the rest of the gang for the duration.
Tbf, this is from the same tome that says all women throughout time must experience labour pains because one of us once ate an apple, or something, so I wouldn't expect a huge amount of sensitivity to women's feelings.

IntelligentYetIndecisive Sat 24-Feb-18 01:45:43

www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/clean-unclean/

Ritual cleanliness had nothing to do with how physically clean something or something was.

Honestly, it's like some OCD version of worthy...

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 01:55:12

Jim grin

Thank you Intelligent. So I am wrong in assuming that the word unclean for menstruating or postnatal women is a derogatory one?

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 01:55:37

The word unclean really doesn’t make me think of positive things tho..

RamblinRosie Sat 24-Feb-18 01:58:22

It is, supposedly, a direct translation from the Old Testament.

Unclean means that you are dirty, so you can't go to church and your husband shouldn't have sex with you as you will be impure.

Why are you asking?

Is it being used as an excuse to be nasty to you?

IntelligentYetIndecisive Sat 24-Feb-18 01:59:41

Yes it's derogatory.

Any unclean person or animal near the sanctuary risked ostracism, severe punishment or death. sad

They could 'defile' the holy place, objects or worship or priests simply by being in the place or touching something or someone.

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 01:59:49

The reason I am asking is because I picked up a Bible today, randomly, in the charity shop and that’s the page it opened on. I was horrified to be honest.

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 02:02:06

I thought as much, Intelligent. Disappointing. I’ve never read the Bible before apart from the first few pages of Genesis and now I’m put off for life

It also says that you are unclean for longer if you give birth to a daughter. What the fuck?

Bloodybridget Sat 24-Feb-18 02:02:52

When I was a kid, brought up Roman Catholic, women were "churched" after childbirth, which always sounded a bit weird to me. I just found this on Wikipedia.

PastaOfMuppets Sat 24-Feb-18 02:03:54

While bleeding and considered unclean, some biblical passages dictate that a woman is not to touch or sit or lie on what anyone else touches or sits on or lies on ... eg not allowed to use the same seat as a man. Maybe once upon a time this stuff could be justified as bleeding women (menstruating or post-birth bleeding) used old rags and often bled on things that then all had to be scrubbed. But it is also a ritual sort of thing - metaphorical dirtiness. Even a woman not bleeding on anything is unclean simply because she is experiencing her female dirtiness and is showing her unworthiness.

RamblinRosie Sat 24-Feb-18 02:06:53

It's an ancient belief, over 2000 years old, that is still pushed by religious extremists.

PastaOfMuppets Sat 24-Feb-18 02:06:52

As for being unclean longer after birthing a girl, perhaps females are inherently just unclean so growing a girl child makes the woman more unclean, or maybe a woman who has shown herself to be capable of growing a boy child is more worthy of being churched / cleansed a bit sooner so her husband can get her pregnant again?

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 02:11:27

It’s fucking creepy man. It’s making me feel really uncomfortable.

numbereightyone Sat 24-Feb-18 02:11:33

It's the Old Testament, which basically Jesus went round telling everybody was bullshit grin I would particularly ignore Leviticus on the basis that it has been the source of hatred towards gay people for thousands of years. Leviticus also says that tattoos are an affront to God. Says it all really...

WaitrosePigeon Sat 24-Feb-18 02:16:12

Is there any part of the bible that I could read without horror or is it all bullshit?

RamblinRosie Sat 24-Feb-18 02:18:17

I'm not religious but I do feel empathy for the basics of the New Testament.

Love others and treat your neighbor as yourself.

This is Old Testament, so not really Christianity.

numbereightyone Sat 24-Feb-18 02:18:41

Leviticus is pretty much the worst of the OT.
Have a look at the New Testament and see if you like that any better?

annandale Sat 24-Feb-18 02:26:02

Try some of Ecclesiastes. And do remember when Jesus said 'do unto others' he was quoting a rabbi.

But yes, I found reading the Gospels a pretty chilling experience. I often wonder what religious people are reading that I'm not.

pallisers Sat 24-Feb-18 02:39:09

Read the new testaments - not the old - the gospels, not the old testament.

Not sure how anyone could be "chilled" by the sermon on the mount or the separation of the sheep and the goats. kind of odd if you are chilled by that. Just what values do you like to live your life by?

My theory on all this obsession with women and their periods and childbirth is that this was a patriarchal religion and society. But by giving birth a woman was actually doing something incredibly subversive - producing an entirely new human being from her own body, through her own labour. So much for the power of the patriarchy. They couldn't stop women reproducing but they could certainly label it as "unclean" to rob it of some of its power.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Sat 24-Feb-18 02:41:59

Of course it’s all bullshit! History hates women and half the reason is that stupid book. Imagine how different things would have been if some arsehole hadn’t decided we’re all doomed to a life of suffering because Eve, and by extension ALL WOMEN, are a bunch of stupid, dirty sluts.

Giving birth a bit painful? Good! Because you deserve it because you are inferior!

I’ll calm down now. You’ve just scratched the surface of the horrible misogyny in there.

pallisers Sat 24-Feb-18 02:50:46

Of course it’s all bullshit! History hates women and half the reason is that stupid book. Imagine how different things would have been if some arsehole hadn’t decided we’re all doomed to a life of suffering because Eve, and by extension ALL WOMEN, are a bunch of stupid, dirty sluts.

Yeah, it is all a stupid book's fault - get real. We'd be in exactly the same position as societies that never heard of the bible -and if you think that would mean nice lives for women dream on. It isn't religion that puts women down. it is patriarchal societies. in other words - men (but not all men are like that of course smile)

corythatwas Sat 24-Feb-18 02:55:03

Ritually unclean can involve all sorts of things, is not necessarily shaming and does not necessarily involve women. A man who has had sex would also be considered unclean (though only until that evening).

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