[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: orion-list Guilty Corpses / Red Heifer

Dear list,

    I noticed today that 4Q276=4QTorohot B(b) line 2 has the priest 
"pronounce the clothes guilty" in conjunction with the red heifer 
purification ceremony (Num. 19), while 4Q277=4QTorohot B(c) line 13 says that 
those who officiate in the red heifer ceremony should wash his clothes and be 
impure until evening.  So I am inclined to believe that guilt attaches to any 
unburied corpse (and even the clothes of those who administer the rites of 
purification) -- although I would still welcome the list's input on this 
    But this raises another question.  While the Purification Rules quoted 
above have a person wash his clothes and remain impure till evening, this 
seems to contradict 1QM 14.2-3, which says "In the _morning_ they shall wash 
their clothes and shall wash off themselves the blood of the guilty 
corpses..."  Then the troops go back to the battlesite and sing a song of 
praise.  I am assuming that the troops wait until the next morning (after 
battle, which is presumed to last until dusk) to wash their clothes in order 
to do it by light and not miss any blood.  But those who touch a corpse are 
considered unclean for 7 days, right?  And yet 1QM 14:2-3, despite the 
concern for purity, does not seem to consider the troops impure after the 
simple ceremony of washing their clothes and bodies (undoubtedly with the 
waters with the ashes of the red heifer, administered by a priest).  Were the 
normal rules regarding impurity of corpses suspended for wartime exigencies?  
Are there any legal scholars who can comment on this as well?

    Thanks again,
    Russell Gmirkin
For private reply, e-mail to RGmyrken@aol.com
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to majordomo@panda.mscc.huji.ac.il with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.