We hear these words in the New Testament as Jesus walks down life's road--Lepers, those who have been around the dead, women who are bleeding, certain animals and birds. We hear of hand washing, foot washing, oil anointing...all a part of the religious rituals of the Israeli people.
"I am the LORD you God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy."Leviticus 11: 44
People from neighboring tribes and countries feared the Jewish people. Jews were a strong, healthy lot. They seemed to be heartier, less prone to infection and plagues than other surrounding communities.
Modern science has proven that much of this was due to the Hebrews' eating and cleansing codes.
"Eat certain foods in certain ways." Foods which were to be avoided we now know were from scavenging birds and sea creatures, and those which are high in cholesterol. Remember, the fat and the blood from clean animals was God's portion, not eaten by humans.
"Stay away from decaying flesh and isolate people with infection until they are well again." People who care for those who are sick are to stay away from the public also until they have washed their hands thoroughly. People did not enter immediately into the public after an illness was in their home. Incubation periods, though not fully understood, were at some level comprehended.
"Keep women indoors, away from the public sphere, who have just borne children." Though I don't understand why male children were less unclean, it makes sense to give women, who have just gone through labor, time off from household chores, conjugal rights and social engagements.
"Burn clothing that has been on people who have had a devastating illness." Establish a system in which someone, the priest, becomes an expert in disease. Have the priest serve as the health inspector.
Earlier we read male children were to be circumcised on the eighth day. Now we know little boys' clotting factor is not fully developed until the eighth day after their birth.
God's ways, though not always understood, are good ways. Water, oil, salt and vinegar (wine) were precious as they became the medicine cabinet of the day. Fidelity is best to keep STDs under control and to provide protection for women and children. Nutritious eating allows for a healthy bowel system. Resting every seventh day allows the body to recuperate from labor.
Be holy, the LORD declares.
Take care for your bodies. They are holy to me.
Take care for how you live together. The community is precious to me.
Take care in public arenas so that together you may remain healthy.
The Levitical Code is a marvel.
An early tome on infection control.