At the end of ch14 it said that it was the end of rules about infectious skin diseases, and I thought “well that’s a relief”. So to genital emissions, male and female, normal and abnormal. Sigh.
There is a public health element blended with spiritual metaphors. So we have periods of quarantine and cleaning where there are diseased emissions. But we also have shorter and more minor times of uncleanliness for normal reproductive emissions, semen and menstruation.
I’ve been contemplating the element of equal opportunity here. Both men and women are made unclean for God by reproductive emissions, but women are unclean longer. The rest of the day for men (and women if they get the semen on them) and 5 days for women (and men if they get the blood on them).
Thing is, men have emissions more often, multiple times a week. So perhaps as a percentage of time being spent unclean, from a practical point of view, its about equal.
Some have argued the menstruation rule is an early recognition of women’s period pain and quite progressive in full social context… I don’t know about that.
On balance, it does blunt the misogyny accusation somewhat, particularly the parallel structure of the chapter, male and female rules alongside each other, its quite striking.
It also clear that none of it is individually blameworthy, Jesus said we are born into sin. To me this is a recognition of that, by saying that human reproduction is not the way of producing rightness with god, only gods cleansing intervention can do that.
Rather than pointing fingers at groups: at foreigners, criminals, men, women, sick, well etc. its actually saying actually dramatically and emphatically of course you need God’s cleansing grace, all of you. None is right before God.