Wednesday, February 02, 2011

New Year: Lev 13-15 for Feb 2

The fact that the priest's job included inspections of skin, of houses, of clothing, (including the timing of these inspections), and working with the walls and plaster of houses, as well as the performance of special ceremonies associated with the pronouncement of cleanness -- all these things might stick in front of our faces on first reading. Though it is not the primary and first job that comes to mind when we think of "priest," it is his job.

Notice that the priest does not perform anything to cure or fix the conditions found, but is responsible for the proper amount of isolation, plus the recognition of the changes of condition that would result in the pronouncement of cleanness.

We're definitely faced with a task of huge magnitude, the contemplation of which makes us wonder if these laws could ever have been fully followed in Israel. They set a high standard for their time. For a priest to be involved in the intimate details of man and wife makes us drop our mouths lower than to the chin. How could this be? But picture yourself as in the society of the time. This is a very realistic passage in the Bible, because it self-authenticates these books: they are not telling a fictional story. Just as the nation could have no advantage in producing a story that flattered the nation in its origins so little, it could have no advantage in highlighting the detailed interest of the priest in the most private parts of married life. It only could be included, because it was there. These things were really the priests' jobs.

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