Today we begin Numbers Chapter 5.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James version, click here.
At first glance, the content in Numbers 5 appears to be territory we’ve ventured into before.
But don’t be fooled.
This is not repetition but PROGRESSION.
If one were to come up with a suitable title reflecting the overall theme of this chapter, “Purifying the Camp from Uncleanliness” might be an apt description.
Since the Tabernacle is where the very presence of God will come to dwell, the sanctuary and its surrounding areas must be carefully protected from being infected by UNCLEANNESS.
Only that which is CLEAN and then made HOLY can come into God’s presence.
And I remind you that the terms “clean” and “holy” are NOT the same thing.
Actually, come to think of it, this chapter is going to be a good review of some of the principles and concepts we were first introduced to in the beginning of Leviticus study.
For example, do you remember what the opposite of HOLY is?
It is not UNHOLY.
It is COMMON, and there isn’t necessarily anything sinful about being COMMON.
However, it is NOT the same as being HOLY.
Anyway, we’ll get deep into these concepts again later.
But for right now we’ve got to move onward!
Okay, so right off the bat, HASHEM says that anybody suffering from one of the following three conditions is not allowed to dwell among His chosen people.
-TZARA (a skin infection, NOT leprosy)
-ZAV (a genital discharge)
-TAMEI NEFESH (unclean from touching a corpse)
Everyone of these conditions represents a very serious kind of ritual impurity that spelled immediate excommunication for the afflicted from the camp of Israel.
And even after the infection in question cleared up there was still a required ritual waiting period of seven days.
Now what happened if the infection never did clear up?
Then that person, whether male or female, was permanently separated from Israel.
The afflicted individual was forced to live in a cave or tent outside of the borders of Israel.
Why such severity in dealing with such individuals?
Well, for one, it was to protect the healthy population from being infected.
And second, a much more important reason and there’s a strong spiritual lesson to be gleaned here is that no impure or UNCLEAN thing is ever allowed into an area where God’s presence dwells.
Meditate on the spiritual implications of that last statement and we’ll continue on with this topic from the next post.