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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 15

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-33

Leviticus 15:2. Running issue. The holy scriptures speak modestly of obscene things. It is a kind of gonorrhea, occasioned by whoredom, or by lascivious habits. How strikingly is the providence of God displayed in deterring the wicked from profligacy, by this most dreadful disease of rottenness in the bones: and if he so afflict the body, what punishment is that which awaits the soul.

Leviticus 15:16-18 . This accident happening to a man in a dream, whether sleeping alone or with his wife, rendered him totally unclean, because occurrences of this kind seldom happen to one whose heart is habitually right with God.

Leviticus 15:24. If a man lie with her at all, either by coition or otherwise, he shall be unclean seven days. If it were a gross case, so as to bring him before the magistrates, he was to be utterly cut off from the congregation. See on Exodus 12:15. Leviticus 20:18. The wisdom and equity of this law is founded on the purity of the divine nature, which abhors the offensive uncleanness of mankind. Also on the guard to which it prompts us, for though the beasts are but slightly affected with menses, they shun from instinct this impurity. It is besides injurious to health, conveying to the progeny those hereditary diseases which the infirmity alluded to is designed to carry off.

Leviticus 15:27. Whosoever toucheth shall be unclean. The ritual law was indeed a yoke which the Jews could not bear. What a cloud of persons and of things made a man unclean! The rabbins in many instances restricted the prohibitory touch to holy vessels; yet the burden was but slightly relieved. In Jerusalem, the population being dense, only a small proportion of the people could legally be accounted clean.

Leviticus 15:31. Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel. The Samaritan and Septuagint copies read, Thus shall you make the children of Israel cautious concerning their uncleanness, that they die not.


How dreadful is the state of the corrupt and guilty world! How bitter and impure the streams of original sin, when modesty is lost, and religion insulted. The Lord afflicts the body with disease, the conscience with terror, and enlarges the jaws of hell to receive its prey. It was death for man or woman, so polluted, to enter the congregation of the Lord. Their eyes and looks are full of sin, and all around them is impure. Unless the body of a sinful leper was healed, he could never more enter the congregation of the Lord. The gospel is not less rigorous than the law; for whoremongers and adulterers God will judge, and they shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

At the sixteenth verse, all men, and youth in particular, have instruction. No plea arising from passion or dream is allowed, for God has made no man under a necessity of sinning. The laws of temperance will preserve the body in purity, and religion will sanctify the soul. Young men, says the blessed Polycarp, keep your flesh as the temple of God. War a good warfare, keep the heart with all diligence, and God will keep you from falling. Having first given your affections, next present your bodies to him a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, which is your reasonable service. Endeavour to live in childlike innocence, in purity of thought, and the God of purity will make you his habitation for ever.

Let us then be stimulated to all holiness of body and mind, by a sight of the awful situation of the wicked. See the licentious youth of our age, early initiated into vice, with a sallow, pallid countenance, feeble in their walk, emaciated in their frame, and gloomy in their looks. Almost every disease incident to the human body is superinduced. They are old and worn-out men in the flower of their age; a terror to themselves, and an affliction to their friends. Oh what we owe to divine wisdom! Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand are riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 15". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/leviticus-15.html. 1835.
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