Unclean was the word the Pharisees most feared. They spent hours washing pots, spots, and dots! They followed and amplified to impossible proportions every little hygienic requirement of the Mosaic Law. Jesus answered the objections of the Pharisees by pointing out that unclean refers more to a state of the heart than to a state of the hands.
Bad attitudes, anger, adulteries, and arrogance cannot be removed from the human heart by any amount of hand washing. Unlike unclean foods that are simply processed through the body and the wastes removed naturally, unclean attitudes sit like poison in the human spirit and wait to spring into actions.
Aaron learned the mystery of cleansing before God: "Then he must dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel's defilement and return it to its former holiness" (Leviticus 16:19). Water may cleanse the body, but only blood can cleanse the spirit! Reach out and apply that blood to your spirit today.
15 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When any man has an unusual bodily discharge,
4 “‘Any bed the man with a discharge lies on will be unclean, and anything he sits on will be unclean.5 Anyone who touches his bed must wash their clothes
8 “‘If the man with the discharge spits
9 “‘Everything the man sits on when riding will be unclean,10 and whoever touches any of the things that were under him will be unclean till evening; whoever picks up those things
11 “‘Anyone the man with a discharge touches without rinsing his hands with water must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.
13 “‘When a man is cleansed from his discharge, he is to count off seven days
16 “‘When a man has an emission of semen,
19 “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her monthly period
20 “‘Anything she lies on during her period will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean.21 Anyone who touches her bed will be unclean; they must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and they will be unclean till evening.
25 “‘When a woman has a discharge of blood for many days at a time other than her monthly period
28 “‘When she is cleansed from her discharge, she must count off seven days, and after that she will be ceremonially clean.29 On the eighth day she must take two doves or two young pigeons
31 “‘You must keep the Israelites separate from things that make them unclean, so they will not die in their uncleanness for defiling my dwelling place,
32 These are the regulations for a man with a discharge, for anyone made unclean by an emission of semen,
16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord.
3 “This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place:
6 “Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.
11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household,
15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people
18 “Then he shall come out to the altar
20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.
23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments
26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat
15 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
“Any man who has a bodily discharge is ceremonially unclean.3 This defilement is caused by his discharge, whether the discharge continues or stops. In either case the man is unclean.4 Any bed on which the man with the discharge lies and anything on which he sits will be ceremonially unclean.5 So if you touch the man’s bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.6 If you sit where the man with the discharge has sat, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.7 If you touch the man with the discharge, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.8 If the man spits on you, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.9 Any saddle blanket on which the man rides will be ceremonially unclean.10 If you touch anything that was under the man, you will be unclean until evening. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.11 If the man touches you without first rinsing his hands, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.12 Any clay pot the man touches must be broken, and any wooden utensil he touches must be rinsed with water.
13 “When the man with the discharge is healed, he must count off seven days for the period of purification. Then he must wash his clothes and bathe himself in fresh water, and he will be ceremonially clean.14 On the eighth day he must get two turtledoves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle
16 “Whenever a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his entire body in water, and he will remain ceremonially unclean until the next evening.
19 “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening.20 Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean.21 If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.22 If you touch any object she has sat on, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.23 This includes her bed or any other object she has sat on; you will be unclean until evening if you touch it.24 If a man has sexual intercourse with her and her blood touches him, her menstrual impurity will be transmitted to him. He will remain unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies will be unclean.
25 “If a woman has a flow of blood for many days that is unrelated to her menstrual period, or if the blood continues beyond the normal period, she is ceremonially unclean. As during her menstrual period, the woman will be unclean as long as the discharge continues.26 Any bed she lies on and any object she sits on during that time will be unclean, just as during her normal menstrual period.27 If any of you touch these things, you will be ceremonially unclean. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.
28 “When the woman’s bleeding stops, she must count off seven days. Then she will be ceremonially clean.29 On the eighth day she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons and present them to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle.30 The priest will offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purify her before the Lord for the ceremonial impurity caused by her bleeding.
31 “This is how you will guard the people of Israel from ceremonial uncleanness. Otherwise they would die, for their impurity would defile my Tabernacle that stands among them.32 These are the instructions for dealing with anyone who has a bodily discharge—a man who is unclean because of an emission of semen33 or a woman during her menstrual period. It applies to any man or woman who has a bodily discharge, and to a man who has sexual intercourse with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.”
16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him.2 The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.
3 “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.4 He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on.5 Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
6 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.
11 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering,12 he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the Lord. Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain.13 There in the Lord’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant.
15 “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood.16 Through this process, he will purify
18 “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the Lord. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar.19 Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy.
20 “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat.21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness.22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.
23 “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there.24 Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord.25 He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
26 “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp.
27 “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned.28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp.
15 And the Lord spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.
3 And this shall be his uncleanness in his issue: whether his flesh run with his issue, or his flesh be stopped from his issue, it is his uncleanness.
4 Every bed, whereon he lieth that hath the issue, is unclean: and every thing, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean.
5 And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
6 And he that sitteth on any thing whereon he sat that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
7 And he that toucheth the flesh of him that hath the issue shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
8 And if he that hath the issue spit upon him that is clean; then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
9 And what saddle soever he rideth upon that hath the issue shall be unclean.
10 And whosoever toucheth any thing that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
11 And whomsoever he toucheth that hath the issue, and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
12 And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth which hath the issue, shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.
13 And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue; then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean.
14 And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the Lord unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest:
15 And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord for his issue.
16 And if any man's seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
19 And if a woman have an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days: and whosoever toucheth her shall be unclean until the even.
20 And every thing that she lieth upon in her separation shall be unclean: every thing also that she sitteth upon shall be unclean.
21 And whosoever toucheth her bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
22 And whosoever toucheth any thing that she sat upon shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
23 And if it be on her bed, or on any thing whereon she sitteth, when he toucheth it, he shall be unclean until the even.
24 And if any man lie with her at all, and her flowers be upon him, he shall be unclean seven days; and all the bed whereon he lieth shall be unclean.
25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
26 Every bed whereon she lieth all the days of her issue shall be unto her as the bed of her separation: and whatsoever she sitteth upon shall be unclean, as the uncleanness of her separation.
27 And whosoever toucheth those things shall be unclean, and shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.
28 But if she be cleansed of her issue, then she shall number to herself seven days, and after that she shall be clean.
29 And on the eighth day she shall take unto her two turtles, or two young pigeons, and bring them unto the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
30 And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for her before the Lord for the issue of her uncleanness.
31 Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile my tabernacle that is among them.
32 This is the law of him that hath an issue, and of him whose seed goeth from him, and is defiled therewith;
33 And of her that is sick of her flowers, and of him that hath an issue, of the man, and of the woman, and of him that lieth with her that is unclean.
16 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;
2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.
3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.
5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.
7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.
10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
11 And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself:
12 And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail:
13 And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not:
14 And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat:
16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness.
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.
20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat:
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:
22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.
23 And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there:
24 And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people.
25 And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.
26 And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp.
27 And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung.
28 And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.
7 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled,
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this.15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.”
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them.21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,22 adultery, greed,
7 One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus.2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating.3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands,
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’
8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’
14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand.15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.
17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used.18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you?19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you.21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder,22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
7 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem.
2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.
3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.
4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?
6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.
12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:
15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.
16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.
17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.
18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;
19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?
20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:
23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
11 Do not withhold your mercy
12 For troubles
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
14 May all who want to take my life
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
rejoice and be glad
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay.
11 Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O Lord: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.
12 For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.
13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me: O Lord, make haste to help me.
14 Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.
15 Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.
16 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The Lord be magnified.
17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding,
but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.
14 Wise people treasure knowledge,
but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.
13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.