Word: Unclean/Defiled

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.'” Leviticus 12:1-5

“While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.” Luke 9:42

Hebrew: 2930. tame
Original Word: טָמֵא
Phonetic Spelling: (taw-may’)
Definition: Unclean; defiled; polluted

Greek: 169. akathartos
Original Word: ἀκάθαρτος, ον
Phonetic Spelling: (ak-ath’-ar-tos)
Definition: not clean; not purged; adulterated; not pure; wrong mix

[The antonym, 2508 /kathaírō (“clean“), means “free from wrong mixture” (unadulterated, unmixed).]

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Online Edition

UNCLE’ANadjective 1. Not clean; foul; dirty; filthy. 2. In Jewish law, ceremonially impure, not cleansed by ritual practices. 3. Foul with sin. 4. Not in covenant with God. 5. Lewd; unchaste.

DEFILEDparticiple passive Made dirty, or foul; polluted; soiled; corrupted; violated; vitiated.


As I was reading through these definitions of the words unclean and defiled, I began to see them in a different light. The word unclean means altered from it’s original state/plan/design. It means not in its pure form. This can mean clean vs. dirty, but it can also mean that it’s been altered in some way… even adding a squirt of lemon to water makes it impure. It doesn’t always mean something bad… but not what was. Thinking deeper on that… I saw how a sexual abuse victim was considered defiled because they were violated and have been changed in some way – be it fearful, alert, lonely, ashamed, etc. A sinful person, whether committing theft, adultery, or murder, becomes impure/unclean because it was not God’s best offer for their lives.

What if this also references birthing, because all the work that goes into birthing a child can alter the hormonal state of the woman’s body. Because of this, the time after a child is born is set aside to allow the women to return to their pure state – unaltered, unchanged, whole.

I’m just going to mull over this until I learn more about it, but I couldn’t ignore it either… I had to write it down!


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