Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Day 56: Sacrificial Rules and the Unclean Women

Leviticus 3, 4, 5, and Mark 5:21-43

These passages tell us about rules for sacrifice and healing of a girl and a woman. The rules presented here help to highlight the rule breaking people accused Jesus of committing.

Leviticus 3

This section begins the rules for sacrifice and offerings. Chapter three talks about sacrifices made by or for an individual. Well-being offerings, which are spoken of in Chapter 17 also, are for all meat that is eaten. This prevents the idea of mass slaughter by reminding everyone that all life has meaning. This sacrifice could be male or female.

Leviticus 4

This section of rules contains that lovely number of completion, the number 7. These are specific rules for the priests to follow as they begin sacrificing in the tent of meeting. There is to be an ash heap outside of the tent that is only to contain the remainder of the now sacred sacrifice. I also found it interesting that the sin offerings were different depending on your place in the nation of Israel.
An ordained priest must sacrifice a bull for their sin offering (an offering for sin that you did not know at the time was sin, but later were convicted of its sinfulness) If the religious leaders led the whole assembly of Israelites to sin one bull was to be sacrificed. The elders laid hands on it as a way of representing the whole of Israel. If a ruler sins they could sacrifice a male goat. If a regular everyday person sins and later learns and repents, they could sacrifice a female goat.

Leviticus 5

When you became aware of sin you have guilt and must bring an offering. This awareness is important to the nature of the offering. The writers also allowed a sliding scale for those in different economic ranges.
There is also the idea that the sacrifice or the equivalent must be given. This refers to when a sacred object has been made unclean or damaged. The person must give the amount to replace the item and give a sacrifice or extra silver that would equal the cost of a sacrifice and the priests would do a sacrifice for them.

Mark 5: 21-43

This portion of Mark contains the story of Jarius’ daughter and the hemorrhaging woman. Mark loves to tell stories by splitting one in half and inserting another story. These stories are called intercalations. I had a New Testament professor who called them sandwich stories. These two events relate to and help interpret one another.
There are many similarities in these accounts. We do not know either females names. These unnamed women both have illnesses. The woman has been hemorrhaging for 12 years while the girl is 12 years old. The woman touches Jesus’ clothing to be healed. Jesus touches the girl and heals her. The woman has been “unclean” for 12 years, exiled from community because of her illness. The girl is thought to be dead and will now be put out from the community. Her death would make her unclean.
What do you think Jesus might be saying about the designations of clean and unclean?

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