Lev 12:1-15:33, ki tazria paragraph divisions 2012 apr 28
Lev 11-13, clean and unclean defined from scripture 2011 feb 21
Ki tazria forms its own chiastic structure:
1a) Lev 12:2-5, The law of separation for a woman because of uncleanness following childbirth;
1b) Lev 12:6-7a, She shall bring her burnt + sin offering/ the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean;
central axis) Lev 12:7b, This is the law for her who has borne a male or a female;
2b) Lev 12:8, She shall bring her burnt + sin offering/ the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean;
2a) Lev 12:9-13:59, The law of distinguishing a leprous plague, and of separation while unclean.
Very interesting, but what does it mean? The law concerning a woman’s flow of blood is painting a picture of uncleanness that arises from death. Recall that the life is in the blood (Gen 9:4). When a woman suffers loss of blood, she is suffering loss of life, and becomes unclean by it.
The law concerning leprosy is also painting a picture of uncleanness that arises from death. The leprous man must dwell alone outside the camp, and cry, “Unlcean! Unclean!” whenever anyone came near. We have seen this same picture of exile from family, home, and even the earth, from the opening chapters of Genesis. Adam was exiled from the Garden, Cain was exiled from Adam’s home, the wicked of the earth were exiled from the earth by Noah’s Flood. By comparison of the common theme of separation and exile, Scripture is showing us that the leprous man, the woman in her flow of blood, is suffering the same state as the fallen or sinful man.
Now leprosy is a fatal disease. But it does not kill in one day. Where have we heard this before? In the day that Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he would die (Gen 2:17). But he did not die in one day. In the mean time, Adam began dying until the day he died, and so also the leprous man begins dying until the day he dies. Adam was a walking, breathing dead man. So also, the leprous man is a walking, breathing dead man.
In the law of clean and unclean (which began in last week’s Torah portion), we are being taught about three situations that produce uncleanness arising from death: the dead carcasses of unclean animals, the woman’s flow of blood, and leprosy. But the law does not end there. In each instance, we are told how to go from a state of uncleanness to cleanness. For the woman’s flow of blood the Scripture says:
So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean. Lev 12:8
And next week we will see that for the leprous man, the Scripture says:
So the priest shall make atonement for him, and he shall be clean. Lev 14:20
Scripture is teaching us that we are walking, breathing dead men, all on the face of the earth, because of our uncleanness that arises from death, until the day the anointed priest (a prophetic picture of the Anointed One, the Messiah) makes atonement for us – then we shall be clean!