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Re: orion-list guilty corpses

Dear all,

   I notice in rereading Num. 31, which deals with captives, battle spoil, 
etc., that whoever had slain anyone or touched a corpse (probably in 
despoiling the dead) were required to remain outside the camp a full seven 
days and to undergo the purification rituals involving lustrations on the 
third and seventh day (Num. 31:19).  The War Scroll doesn't directly address 
the issue of the uncleanness incurred by slaying the enemy -- and indeed 1QM 
14:3 seems inconsistent with the legal requirement of Num. 31:19.  (Indeed, 
it would require that the soldiers who had slain the enemy would be excluded 
from the ranks for seven days, which seems highly impractical.  Does the War 
Scroll sidestep this issue?  It does envision crucial battles lasting only a 
single day... perhaps since a second engagement that same week could not 
utilize the best troops from the first battle.)  Several tractates of the 
Talmud hold that a sword used to slay a man is also subject to seven-day 
uncleanness (based on the explicit mention of the sword at Num. 19:16).  The 
War Scroll also doesn't contain regulations for purifying war weaponry.  
4QM(a) 1-3 7 does however mention smelters and metal-smiths accompanying the 
legions, which would be helpful not only in repairing weaponry but also in 
melting down metallic booty despoiled from the enemy, as required by Num. 
31:22-23 and 4Q271=4QD(f) 2 9-10 (as provisionally restored by Baumgarten).

Best regards,
Russell Gmirkin

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