And the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,…
It is not permissible to treat this chapter in any detail; to do so would he to act inconsistently with the very object of the legislation, viz, the encouragement of all delicacy of thought as well as propriety of conduct. But the fact that such a chapter as this (with others like it) is found in Scripture is suggestive and instructive. We gather -
I. THAT PERSONAL PURITY WAS AND IS A MATTER OF THE VERY GREATEST CONSEQUENCE IN THE SIGHT OF GOD. Into the relation of the sexes, and into the thoughts, words, and actions which belong to that relation, sin has introduced confusion and degradation. That which should have been the source of nothing but pure and holy joy has become the ground on which the very worst and most debasing consequences of sin are exhibited. Save, perhaps, in some phases of heathen idolatry, there is nothing in which man has shown so grievous a departure from the will of God, and so pitiful a spectacle of uttermost degradation, as in the realm of the sexual relations. It was the design of the Holy One of Israel to train for himself a people which should be free from the flagitious and abominable corruption into which the heathen nations had sunk. But he desired to go further than this: to promote and foster, by careful legislation, not only
(1) morality in its more general sense, but also
(2) decency of behaviour, and even
(3) delicacy of thought.
The Jews were taught and trained to put far away from them everything that was unclean. With this view it was made unlawful not only for those who had knowingly violated moral laws, but for those who had unwittingly offended the laws of ceremonial cleanness, to draw near to their God or to their fellows.
II. THAT SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS THEREON ARE A MATTER OF HOLY EXPEDIENCY. It was needful that the children of Israel should receive particular and precise instructions, for they were to be separated from all surrounding nations in their customs, and so in their character - notably in this matter of purity. Moreover, they were admitted to the near presence of God, and must therefore be clear of all impurity; death would be the penalty of defiling the tabernacle of God (verse 31). Special admonitions and special care are needed:
1. In the case of those who are placed in circumstances of peculiar delicacy.
2. In the case of those who are bound to be above all suspicion of any kind of indelicacy.
3. In the case of the young, who may be led into evil, the magnitude and consequences of which they cannot know. Parental warning, wisely and timely given, may save sons and daughters from much bodily mischief and spiritual suffering.
III. THAT, IN THIS MATTER, WE MUST CONSIDER WHAT IS DUE, NOT ONLY TO OURSELVES, BUT TO OTHERS ALSO. All those details of Divine precept, by which every person and article anywise brought into contact with the unclean man or woman (verses 4-12, 20-24, 26-27) became unclean, bring out the important truth that impurity is an essentially communicable evil. It is so physically; "let sinners look to it." It is so spiritually. How guilty in the very last degree are those who drive a nefarious trade in corrupt literature! How shameful to put indecent thought into print to pollute the young! How demoralizing to the soul, how displeasing to God, how scrupulously to be avoided, the questionable conversation that borders on the indelicate and impure (Ephesians 5:3, 4, 12; Colossians 3:8)! - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying,