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Uncleanness

UNCLEANNESS (טָמֵא֒, H3237, טֻמְאָה, H3240, LXX, NT ἀκάθαρτος, ἀκαθαρσία, to be unclean, unclean, uncleanness). In addition, Heb. uses various analagous terms. Since the background is always religious, NT uses κοινόω, G3124, to make common, with the force of destroying holiness, and so making or counting as unclean. 1. The meaning of the concept. Persons, foods, places, and objects could all be unclean. The uncleanness could be inherent or acquired by contamination. “In the minds of the ancients there was a close connection between the notion of purity or cleanness and the notion of being consecrated to God. There was a mysterious and frightening force inherent in things which were impure and in things which were sacred, and these two forces acted on everything with which they came into contact, placing the objects or persons which touched them under a kind of interdict. Both what was impure and what was consecrated were alike ‘untouchable’” (R. de Vaux). We are dealing with concepts