Psalm 13

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director; a psalm of David.

1 How long, Lord, will you continue to ignore me? How long will you pay no attention to me?

The four-fold refrain of “how long?” indicates the depths of emotion. David is asking God how long it will be until God acts on his behalf. He is not merely asking God to be conscious of him.

2 How long must I worry, and suffer in broad daylight? How long will my enemy gloat over me?

3 Look at me! Answer me, O Lord my God! Revive me, or else I will die!

4 Then my enemy will say, “I have defeated him!” Then my foes will rejoice because I am upended.

The Hebrew verb mowt (“upended”) refers to dying.1

5 But I trust in your faithfulness. May I rejoice because of your deliverance!

The confidence is expressed within the tension which exists between past experience and future hope. The past experience of the psalmist has been one of trust in God’s “lovingkindness,” namely the faithful covenant love of God which characterized all his dealings with his chosen people. The present reality was of such a nature as to undermine that past experience of trust, but it is in the nature of confidence to transform the present on the basis of past experience and thus to create hope for the future; and so the psalmist can affirm that he will “rejoice” in God’s deliverance, even though it has not yet come. The actual song of praise would burst forth once deliverance had been accomplished, but the knowledge that deliverance was coming created an anticipatory calm and sense of confidence.2

6 I will sing praises to the Lord when he vindicates me.

Bibliography

Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.


  1. Goldingay 2006, loc. 4191 
  2. Craigie 2004, p. 143 

Leviticus 13-14

Notes (NET Translation)

13:1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 2 “When someone has a swelling or a scab or a bright spot on the skin of his body that may become a diseased infection, he must be brought to Aaron the priest or one of his sons, the priests. 3 The priest must then examine the infection on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of the body, then it is a diseased infection, so when the priest examines it he must pronounce the person unclean.

Chapters 13-14 describe the role of the priesthood in diagnosing and purifying persons and objects afflicted with tsaraath. Older English translations translated tsaraath as “leprosy” but this is misleading because the Bible is not referring to what we know as Hansen’s disease. The term refers to skin diseases and to growths in garments and buildings. It is not an exact medical term. Some of the other Hebrew terms in this chapter are also obscure but I will not tarry on such uncertain matters in this commentary. The main point is that the priests determined whether a person or object was clean or unclean. The issue was one of ritual purity, not the identification of a contagious disease. The unclean were not allowed to participate in the cult.

13:4 “If it is a white bright spot on the skin of his body, but it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair has not turned white, then the priest is to quarantine the person with the infection for seven days. 5 The priest must then examine it on the seventh day, and if, as far as he can see, the infection has stayed the same and has not spread on the skin, then the priest is to quarantine the person for another seven days. 6 The priest must then examine it again on the seventh day, and if the infection has faded and has not spread on the skin, then the priest is to pronounce the person clean. It is a scab, so he must wash his clothes and be clean. 7 If, however, the scab is spreading further on the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his purification, then he must show himself to the priest a second time. 8 The priest must then examine it, and if the scab has spread on the skin, then the priest is to pronounce the person unclean. It is a disease.

13:9 “When someone has a diseased infection, he must be brought to the priest. 10 The priest will then examine it, and if a white swelling is on the skin, it has turned the hair white, and there is raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic disease on the skin of his body, so the priest is to pronounce him unclean. The priest must not merely quarantine him, for he is unclean. 12 If, however, the disease breaks out on the skin so that the disease covers all the skin of the person with the infection from his head to his feet, as far as the priest can see, 13 the priest must then examine it, and if the disease covers his whole body, he is to pronounce the person with the infection clean. He has turned all white, so he is clean. 14 But whenever raw flesh appears in it he will be unclean, 15 so the priest is to examine the raw flesh and pronounce him unclean – it is diseased. 16 If, however, the raw flesh once again turns white, then he must come to the priest. 17 The priest will then examine it, and if the infection has turned white, the priest is to pronounce the person with the infection clean – he is clean.

Verses 9-17 concern a chronic ailment. The afflicted does not need to be quarantined (v. 11) either because this is an old, already diagnosed condition or because the uncleanness of the ailment is evident immediately (e.g., there are bloody sores). When the afflicted has “turned all white” (v. 13) this means new, healthy skin has replaced the raw, unhealthy, reddish skin.

13:18 “When someone’s body has a boil on its skin and it heals, 19 and in the place of the boil there is a white swelling or a reddish white bright spot, he must show himself to the priest. 20 The priest will then examine it, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, then the priest is to pronounce the person unclean. It is a diseased infection that has broken out in the boil. 21 If, however, the priest examines it, and there is no white hair in it, it is not deeper than the skin, and it has faded, then the priest is to quarantine him for seven days. 22 If it is spreading further on the skin, then the priest is to pronounce him unclean. It is an infection. 23 But if the bright spot stays in its place and has not spread, it is the scar of the boil, so the priest is to pronounce him clean.

13:24 “When a body has a burn on its skin and the raw area of the burn becomes a reddish white or white bright spot, 25 the priest must examine it, and if the hair has turned white in the bright spot and it appears to be deeper than the skin, it is a disease that has broken out in the burn. The priest is to pronounce the person unclean. It is a diseased infection. 26 If, however, the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the bright spot, it is not deeper than the skin, and it has faded, then the priest is to quarantine him for seven days. 27 The priest must then examine it on the seventh day, and if it is spreading further on the skin, then the priest is to pronounce him unclean. It is a diseased infection. 28 But if the bright spot stays in its place, has not spread on the skin, and it has faded, then it is the swelling of the burn, so the priest is to pronounce him clean, because it is the scar of the burn.

13:29 “When a man or a woman has an infection on the head or in the beard, 30 the priest is to examine the infection, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin and the hair in it is reddish yellow and thin, then the priest is to pronounce the person unclean. It is scall, a disease of the head or the beard. 31 But if the priest examines the scall infection and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to quarantine the person with the scall infection for seven days. 32 The priest must then examine the infection on the seventh day, and if the scall has not spread, there is no reddish yellow hair in it, and the scall does not appear to be deeper than the skin, 33 then the individual is to shave himself, but he must not shave the area affected by the scall, and the priest is to quarantine the person with the scall for another seven days. 34 The priest must then examine the scall on the seventh day, and if the scall has not spread on the skin and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, then the priest is to pronounce him clean. So he is to wash his clothes and be clean. 35 If, however, the scall spreads further on the skin after his purification, 36 then the priest is to examine it, and if the scall has spread on the skin the priest is not to search further for reddish yellow hair. The person is unclean. 37 If, as far as the priest can see, the scall has stayed the same and black hair has sprouted in it, the scall has been healed; the person is clean. So the priest is to pronounce him clean.

This regulation specifically names men and women, underscoring that women are included in it, but that does not mean that the preceding regulations do not apply to women. Possibly the concern with facial hair might lead some to doubt that this regulation applied to women, so it was formulated to counter this possibility.1

The Hebrew word netheq (“scall”) differs from the earlier tsaraath.

Technically, it refers to the condition of the hair follicles, not of the skin. It describes the follicles of hair as being “torn” from the scalp after “splitting.” This occurs in certain skin ailments.2

Verse 31, there are no black hairs in it, seems to contradict the principles of diagnosis enunciated in vv. 30, 32, 36, 37. One would expect to read “and it seems no deeper than the skin and there are no yellow hairs in it,” whereas it actually says “no black hairs in it.” Keil would like to read tsahob (yellow) instead of shahor (black), but most commentators do not think the emendation is necessary. Any black hair in the infected area was sufficient to warrant a man being declared clean (cf. v. 37).3

13:38 “When a man or a woman has bright spots – white bright spots – on the skin of their body, 39 the priest is to examine them, and if the bright spots on the skin of their body are faded white, it is a harmless rash that has broken out on the skin. The person is clean.

13:40 “When a man’s head is bare so that he is balding in back, he is clean. 41 If his head is bare on the forehead so that he is balding in front, he is clean. 42 But if there is a reddish white infection in the back or front bald area, it is a disease breaking out in his back or front bald area. 43 The priest is to examine it, and if the swelling of the infection is reddish white in the back or front bald area like the appearance of a disease on the skin of the body, 44 he is a diseased man. He is unclean. The priest must surely pronounce him unclean because of his infection on his head.

13:45 “As for the diseased person who has the infection, his clothes must be torn, the hair of his head must be unbound, he must cover his mustache, and he must call out ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 The whole time he has the infection he will be continually unclean. He must live in isolation, and his place of residence must be outside the camp.

Vv. 45-46 describes what those declared unclean must do. Tearing of the clothes (Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 1:11), untidying of the hair (Lev. 10:6; 21:10), and covering the mustache (Ezek. 24:17, 22; Mic. 3:7) are signs of mourning. The unclean was to tell others of his condition so as to not transmit impurity to them. When the Israelites settled Canaan the unclean were to live outside the city gates (Lev. 13:46; 2 Kgs. 7:3).

13:47 “When a garment has a diseased infection in it, whether a wool or linen garment, 48 or in the warp or woof of the linen or the wool, or in leather or anything made of leather, 49 if the infection in the garment or leather or warp or woof or any article of leather is yellowish green or reddish, it is a diseased infection and it must be shown to the priest. 50 The priest is to examine and then quarantine the article with the infection for seven days. 51 He must then examine the infection on the seventh day. If the infection has spread in the garment, or in the warp, or in the woof, or in the leather – whatever the article into which the leather was made – the infection is a malignant disease. It is unclean. 52 He must burn the garment or the warp or the woof, whether wool or linen, or any article of leather which has the infection in it. Because it is a malignant disease it must be burned up in the fire. 53 But if the priest examines it and the infection has not spread in the garment or in the warp or in the woof or in any article of leather, 54 the priest is to command that they wash whatever has the infection and quarantine it for another seven days. 55 The priest must then examine it after the infection has been washed out, and if the infection has not changed its appearance even though the infection has not spread, it is unclean. You must burn it up in the fire. It is a fungus, whether on the back side or front side of the article. 56 But if the priest has examined it and the infection has faded after it has been washed, he is to tear it out of the garment or the leather or the warp or the woof. 57 Then if it still appears again in the garment or the warp or the woof, or in any article of leather, it is an outbreak. Whatever has the infection in it you must burn up in the fire. 58 But the garment or the warp or the woof or any article of leather which you wash and infection disappears from it is to be washed a second time and it will be clean.”

The modern mind sees little in common between human skin diseases and mold affecting garments or other household articles. The ancient Israelites saw things differently. They used the same word for both, tsaraat, which we have translated “serious skin disease.” From the standpoint of appearance, there are areas of resemblance between the two complaints. Both are abnormal surface conditions that disfigure the outside of the skin or garment. Both cause the surface to flake or peel. These verses draw out other points of similarity in the diagnostic tests that are applied to distinguish clean from unclean fungal infections.4

The fabric is burned in the camp instead of being dumped outside because, being organic, it can be totally destroyed and, hence, will not continue to contaminate like condemned but indestructible building materials.5

13:59 This is the law of the diseased infection in the garment of wool or linen, or the warp or woof, or any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.

14:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “This is the law of the diseased person on the day of his purification, when he is brought to the priest. 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine the infection. If the infection of the diseased person has been healed, 4 then the priest will command that two live clean birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric, and some twigs of hyssop be taken up for the one being cleansed. 5 The priest will then command that one bird be slaughtered into a clay vessel over fresh water. 6 Then he is to take the live bird along with the piece of cedar wood, the scrap of crimson fabric, and the twigs of hyssop, and he is to dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird slaughtered over the fresh water, 7 and sprinkle it seven times on the one being cleansed from the disease, pronounce him clean, and send the live bird away over the open countryside.

Chapter 14 concerns ritual cleansing of a person who has recovered from a skin disease. It has nothing to do with curing any physical disease that may have afflicted a person. This differentiates ancient Israel from her neighbors, who were known to attempt to cure diseases through exorcisms and magical rites. The piece of cedar wood, the scrap of crimson fabric (traditionally wool), and the twigs of hyssop were probably used for the sprinkling procedure. One bird was to be slaughtered over “living” water, meaning a stream or a spring. The release of the second bird may indicate the impurity has been carried away.

14:8 “The one being cleansed must then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe in water, and so be clean. Then afterward he may enter the camp, but he must live outside his tent seven days. 9 When the seventh day comes he must shave all his hair – his head, his beard, his eyebrows, all his hair – and he must wash his clothes, bathe his body in water, and so be clean.

This shaving of the hair was not normally allowed (Lev. 19:27). The shaving and bathing may have symbolized the removal of the contamination of impurity. Milgrom believes the person can still contaminate the profane by direct contact and the sacred by being in the same house. Therefore the person must live outside his tent for seven days so as to not inadvertently contaminate any sacred food or objects.6

14:10 “On the eighth day he must take two flawless male lambs, one flawless yearling female lamb, three-tenths of an ephah of choice wheat flour as a grain offering mixed with olive oil, and one log of olive oil, 11 and the priest who pronounces him clean will have the man who is being cleansed stand along with these offerings before the Lord at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.

“Hebrew log was a liquid measure of volume that consisted of approximately three-tenths of a liter.”7

14:12 “The priest is to take one male lamb and present it for a guilt offering along with the log of olive oil and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. 13 He must then slaughter the male lamb in the place where the sin offering and the burnt offering are slaughtered, in the sanctuary, because, like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; it is most holy. 14 Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 15 The priest will then take some of the log of olive oil and pour it into his own left hand. 16 Then the priest is to dip his right forefinger into the olive oil that is in his left hand, and sprinkle some of the olive oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 The priest will then put some of the rest of the olive oil that is in his hand on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering, 18 and the remainder of the olive oil that is in his hand the priest is to put on the head of the one being cleansed. So the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord.

Recall from 8:23 that the dabbing of blood on the earlobe, thumb, and big toe is probably a rite of purification. Wenham suggests that the dabbing with olive oil symbolizes the union between God, the priest, and the worshiper.

14:19 “The priest must then perform the sin offering and make atonement for the one being cleansed from his impurity. After that he is to slaughter the burnt offering, 20 and the priest is to offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest is to make atonement for him and he will be clean.

14:21 “If the person is poor and does not have sufficient means, he must take one male lamb as a guilt offering for a wave offering to make atonement for himself, one-tenth of an ephah of choice wheat flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of olive oil, 22 and two turtledoves or two young pigeons, which are within his means. One will be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering.

14:23 “On the eighth day he must bring them for his purification to the priest at the entrance of the Meeting Tent before the Lord, 24 and the priest is to take the male lamb of the guilt offering and the log of olive oil and wave them as a wave offering before the Lord. 25 Then he is to slaughter the male lamb of the guilt offering, and the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot. 26 The priest will then pour some of the olive oil into his own left hand, 27 and sprinkle some of the olive oil that is in his left hand with his right forefinger seven times before the Lord. 28 Then the priest is to put some of the olive oil that is in his hand on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering, 29 and the remainder of the olive oil that is in the hand of the priest he is to put on the head of the one being cleansed to make atonement for him before the Lord.

14:30 “He will then make one of the turtledoves or young pigeons, which are within his means, 31 a sin offering and the other a burnt offering along with the grain offering. So the priest is to make atonement for the one being cleansed before the Lord. 32 This is the law of the one in whom there is a diseased infection, who does not have sufficient means for his purification.”

14:33 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 34 “When you enter the land of Canaan which I am about to give to you for a possession, and I put a diseased infection in a house in the land you are to possess, 35 then whoever owns the house must come and declare to the priest, ‘Something like an infection is visible to me in the house.’ 36 Then the priest will command that the house be cleared before the priest enters to examine the infection so that everything in the house does not become unclean, and afterward the priest will enter to examine the house. 37 He is to examine the infection, and if the infection in the walls of the house consists of yellowish green or reddish eruptions, and it appears to be deeper than the surface of the wall, 38 then the priest is to go out of the house to the doorway of the house and quarantine the house for seven days. 39 The priest must return on the seventh day and examine it, and if the infection has spread in the walls of the house, 40 then the priest is to command that the stones that had the infection in them be pulled and thrown outside the city into an unclean place. 41 Then he is to have the house scraped all around on the inside, and the plaster which is scraped off must be dumped outside the city into an unclean place. 42 They are then to take other stones and replace those stones, and he is to take other plaster and replaster the house.

Presumably tents were treated in same fashion as the garments mentioned in chapter 13. Houses required a somewhat different approach.

In a recent publication (1989), S. Meier has cataloged the differences between the biblical and the Mesopotamian rites for the fungous house. The main points are: (1) in Leviticus the material on which the fungus has grown is discarded together with the fungus, whereas in Mesopotamia only the fungus is eliminated. (2) In Leviticus only the fungus is destructive: there is no hint of it being a portent of calamity, as in Mesopotamia. (3) In Mesopotamia the very presence of fungus is threatening, whereas in Leviticus it is threatening only if it spreads. Indeed, once it has been determined that the fungus has not spread, there is no requirement that it has to be removed. (4) In Leviticus only the house is perceived as afflicted, as proved the purification rite: the house alone is aspersed, not its owner. In Mesopotamia, however, the recipient of the aspersion is the owner, not the house.

In short, Israel’s priesthood has eviscerated the magical and demonic from the rites of the fungous house prevalent in the contiguous cultures and, as in the case of the scale-diseased person, has incorporated them into its overarching symbolic system that proclaims the victory of the forces of life over the forces of death.8

Verse 34 states that ultimately God caused the infection in such houses, for God is the source of all that happens. But the passage does not say the infection was punishment for sin.

Verse 36 indicates that things inside the house will only be rendered impure after the priest has declared the house is unclean. People and objects can be removed from the house prior to the priest’s entrance so they will not be rendered unclean if the house is declared unclean.

Verse 40 mentions stones but not all Israelite houses were made entirely of stones. Most Israelite buildings were built on stone foundations topped with mud brick.9

14:43 “If the infection returns and breaks out in the house after he has pulled out the stones, scraped the house, and it is replastered, 44 the priest is to come and examine it, and if the infection has spread in the house, it is a malignant disease in the house. It is unclean. 45 He must tear down the house, its stones, its wood, and all the plaster of the house, and bring all of it outside the city to an unclean place. 46 Anyone who enters the house all the days the priest has quarantined it will be unclean until evening. 47 Anyone who lies down in the house must wash his clothes. Anyone who eats in the house must wash his clothes.

14:48 “If, however, the priest enters and examines it, and the infection has not spread in the house after the house has been replastered, then the priest is to pronounce the house clean because the infection has been healed. 49 Then he is to take two birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric, and some twigs of hyssop to decontaminate the house, 50 and he is to slaughter one bird into a clay vessel over fresh water. 51 He must then take the piece of cedar wood, the twigs of hyssop, the scrap of crimson fabric, and the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and in the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 So he is to decontaminate the house with the blood of the bird, the fresh water, the live bird, the piece of cedar wood, the twigs of hyssop, and the scrap of crimson fabric, 53 and he is to send the live bird away outside the city into the open countryside. So he is to make atonement for the house and it will be clean.

In the case of a house, only the ritual of the two birds must be performed. No real sacrifices are necessary since houses merely need to be clean, not in communion with God.

14:54 “This is the law for all diseased infections, for scall, 55 for the diseased garment, for the house, 56 for the swelling, for the scab, and for the bright spot, 57 to teach when something is unclean and when it is clean. This is the law for dealing with infectious disease.”

Bibliography

Hartley, John E. Leviticus. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1992.

Levine, Baruch A. Leviticus. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 1-16. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

Rooker, Mark, and Dennis R. Cole. Leviticus. Kindle Edition. Holman Reference, 2000.

Wenham, Gordon J. The Book of Leviticus. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979.


  1. Hartley 1998, p. 192 
  2. Levine 1989, p. 80 
  3. Wenham 1979, loc. 2635-2638; cf. Levine 1989, p. 81 
  4. Wenham 1979, loc. 2665-2668 
  5. Milgrom 1991, p. 812 
  6. Milgrom 1991, p. 842-843 
  7. Levine 1989, p. 86 
  8. Milgrom 1991, p. 865 
  9. Milgrom 1991, p. 871 

Psalm 12

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director; according to the sheminith style; a psalm of David.

1 Deliver, Lord! For the godly have disappeared; people of integrity have vanished.

2 People lie to one another; they flatter and deceive.

Lies, here, are more accurately ‘emptiness’, a term which embraces falsehood but also its fringe of the insincere and irresponsible, which cheapen and corrode all human intercourse.1

3 May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that boasts!

4 They say, “We speak persuasively; we know how to flatter and boast. Who is our master?”

The imagined words of the wicked (v 5[4]) indicate the power within their grasp through the mastery of speech (cf. Jas 3:6–12), but their ultimate crime was that of hubris: Who will be our master?—and they believed the answer to be “No one”! The pride within them came forth in arrogant speech; refusing to acknowledge the mastery of God, they oppressed with their tongues the servants of God. So the psalmist prays that such speech be terminated (v 4[3]).2

5 “Because of the violence done to the oppressed, because of the painful cries of the needy, I will spring into action,” says the Lord. “I will provide the safety they so desperately desire.”

6 The Lord’s words are absolutely reliable. They are as untainted as silver purified in a furnace on the ground, where it is thoroughly refined.

The Lord’s words are contrasted with the words of humans from vv. 1-4.

7 You, Lord, will protect them; you will continually shelter each one from these evil people,

The psalmist’s confidence is due to the reliability of God’s words, not because of a change in his circumstances.

8 for the wicked seem to be everywhere, when people promote evil.

Bibliography

Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.


  1. Kidner 2008, p. 92 
  2. Craigie 2004, p. 138 

Leviticus 12

Notes (NET Translation)

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:

2 “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is unclean during the days of her menstruation.

The child is born clean while the new mother becomes unclean. The impurity of the new mother resembles the impurity of a menstruating woman (Lev. 15:19-24) in that it is the discharge (lochia) that follows childbirth that makes her impure.

3 On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised.

The rite of circumcision was initiated in Gen. 17:10-14. It identifies the son as a member of the covenant community. The eighth day is the first day after the new mother’s initial period of impurity has ended.

4 Then she will remain thirty-three days in blood purity. She must not touch anything holy and she must not enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled.

The new mother then enters a period known as demei toharah (“blood purity”), the meaning of which is not clear. According to B. Levine: “The sense of the statement is that discharges of blood that occur after the initial period of impurity are unlike menstrual blood and are not regarded as being impure.”1 The new mother can have contact with the common but not the holy.

The regulations governing a new mother may . . . represent a strong response to the emphasis on fertility in ancient Near Eastern polytheism. By contrast, there could be no place in the Israelite sanctuary for the celebration of birth because such would promote a mythological attitude toward God Himself. We know from the literature of other ancient Near Eastern societies that, within the pagan temples, birth dramas were enacted and myths of birth were recited. Both dramatized the birth of gods and goddesses and their sexual union in celebrations that expressed the human drive for fertility. The biblical restrictions, which excluded the new mother from religious life until she and her child had survived childbirth, created a distance between the event of birth and the worship of God, for God rules over nature and grants the blessing of new life, but He is not, of course, subject to the natural processes of procreation.2

5 If she bears a female child, she will be impure fourteen days as during her menstrual flow, and she will remain sixty-six days in blood purity.

The time periods in questions for bearing a daughter are twice those for bearing a son. Longer periods of uncleanness after the birth of a daughter were also customary among the Hittites, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Indians.3 No reason is given for this difference. A modern person may assume it is because the Israelites had a lower view of females. However, greater defilement was not necessarily an indication of lesser worth. For example, a dead human defiled more than a dead pig despite the fact humans were held in far higher esteem than pigs.4

6 “‘When the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she must bring a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the Meeting Tent, to the priest.

In this context, a sin offering was given to remove impurity, not to atone for an offense. The fact that the offerings were the same whether the mother bore a son or a daughter “undercuts any interpretation that the different lengths of impurity indicated that a baby boy had more intrinsic value than a baby girl.”5

7 The priest is to present it before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law of the one who bears a child, for the male or the female child.

8 If she cannot afford a sheep, then she must take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest is to make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.’”

According to Luke 2:22-24, Mary offered the sacrifice of the poor after the birth of Jesus.

Bibliography

Hartley, John E. Leviticus. Dallas, Tex.: Word Books, 1992.

Levine, Baruch A. Leviticus. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1989.

Milgrom, Jacob. Leviticus 1-16. New York: Doubleday, 1991.

Rooker, Mark, and Dennis R. Cole. Leviticus. Kindle Edition. Holman Reference, 2000.

Wenham, Gordon J. The Book of Leviticus. Kindle Edition. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979.


  1. Levine 1989, p. 73 
  2. Levine 1989, p. 250 
  3. Milgrom 1991, p. 744, 750; Rooker and Cole 2000, loc. 5173-5174 
  4. Milgrom 1991, p. 751 
  5. Hartley 1998, p. 169 

Psalm 11

Notes (NET Translation)

For the music director; by David.

1 In the Lord I have taken shelter. How can you say to me, “Flee to a mountain like a bird!

Yahweh is the true shelter or refuge.

2 For look, the wicked prepare their bows, they put their arrows on the strings, to shoot in the darkness at the morally upright.

3 When the foundations are destroyed, what can the godly accomplish?”

The “foundations” seem to refer to the order of society.1 According to VanGemeren, the question in the second half of the verse could also be translated as: “what can the godly do”?2 The answer to this question is that the godly can take refuge in Yahweh (v. 1) so that they will experience his favor (v. 7). Goldingay offers an additional perspective:

The obvious literal translation of the second colon is “The faithful one— what has he done?” (cf. LXX). The faithful one might be Yhwh, which would fit with v. 7 but requires considerable inference at this point; the faithful person reappears in v. 5 and is more likely a human being. Alternatively, v. 3b could be a critique of faithful people for doing nothing or a defense of them for doing nothing wrong, but it is again rather an isolated comment, whereas a reflection on the fact that nothing could have been done follows on well from v. 3b. The faithful could have done nothing to stop the collapse and/or could have done nothing once the collapse had happened. As the advisers’ words, they imply that the speaker has every excuse to get out of here.3

4 The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven. His eyes watch; his eyes examine all people.

The Hebrew word heykal (“temple”) can refer to a temple or palace. In this verse it does not refer to an earthly building.

5 The Lord approves of the godly, but he hates the wicked and those who love to do violence.

6 May the Lord rain down burning coals and brimstone on the wicked! A whirlwind is what they deserve!

The hot desert wind blows over the Middle East during the changes in season from spring to summer and from summer to fall. Its effects are devastating, as the beautiful vegetation changes overnight into parched, withered plants (cf. Isa 21:1; 40:7-8; Jer 4:11). The wicked will be like the flowers of the field, which are here today and gone tomorrow.4

7 Certainly the Lord is just; he rewards godly deeds; the upright will experience his favor.

Bibliography

Craigie, Peter C., and Marvin E. Tate. Psalms 1-50. Nashville: Nelson Reference & Electronic, 2004.

Goldingay, John. Psalms: Volume 1: Psalms 1-41. Kindle Edition. Baker Academic, 2006.

Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary. Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008.

VanGemeren, Willem. Psalms. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2008.


  1. VanGemeren 2008, p. 161 
  2. VanGemeren 2008, p. 162 
  3. Goldingay 2006, loc. 3881-3887 
  4. VanGemeren 2008, p. 163 

Re: It’s Easy To Convince An Atheist

Staks Rosch makes the typical claim that atheists would gladly convert if you just provided them with some valid evidence. But then he lets the cat out of the bag:

So what does valid evidence consist of? That’s a great question and I’m not really sure the answer. I guess they would have to present some form of evidence that can be independently verified under controlled conditions designed to filter out confirmation bias and subjective sensory data.

Before entertaining such requests I think it is important to pin the atheist down. He needs to get to a point where he is relatively sure on his answers to at least the following questions (feel free to suggest additional questions):

  1. What is evidence? Is invalid evidence still evidence?
  2. What does independent verification consist of?
  3. How does one control conditions so as to filter out confirmation bias?
  4. What is subjective sensory data? How does it differ from objective sensory data?
  5. How does one control conditions so as to filter out subjective sensory data?

Rosch continues by fielding what he takes to be a likely objection:

Oh, you see! The atheist’s standard for evidence can never be met! Wrong, this is the very same standard of evidence that everyone uses for pretty much anything that really matters to them.

But the problem is not so much that a standard of evidence can never be met. The problem is that he is not really sure what valid evidence is.  Regardless of the evidence presented he will not be really sure if the evidence is valid or not. He’s putting the cart before the horse. There is also the irony that he does not appear to have valid evidence for his belief that “this is the very same standard of evidence that everyone uses for pretty much anything that really matters to them.”

A layman's views on biblical scholarship, religion, philosophy and more

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