Contemporary English Version
Clean and Unclean Animals
11 The Lord told Moses and Aaron 2 to say to the community of Israel:
You may eat 3 any animal that has divided hoofs and chews the cud.[a] 4-8 But you must not eat animals such as camels, rock badgers, and rabbits that chew the cud but don’t have divided hoofs. And you must not eat pigs—they have divided hoofs, but don’t chew the cud. All of these animals are unclean,[b] and you are forbidden even to touch their dead bodies.
9-12 You may eat anything that lives in water and has fins and scales. But it would be disgusting for you to eat anything else that lives in water, and you must not even touch their dead bodies.
13-19 Eagles, vultures, buzzards, crows, ostriches, hawks, sea gulls, owls, pelicans, storks, herons, hoopoes,[c] and bats are also disgusting, and you are forbidden to eat any of them.
20-23 The only winged insects you may eat are locusts, grasshoppers, and crickets. All other winged insects that crawl are too disgusting for you to eat.
24-28 Don’t even touch the dead bodies of animals that have divided hoofs but don’t chew the cud. And don’t touch the dead bodies of animals that have paws. If you do, you must wash your clothes, but you are still unclean until evening.
29-30 Moles, rats, mice, and all kinds of lizards are unclean. 31 Anyone who touches their dead bodies or anything touched by their dead bodies becomes unclean until evening. 32 If something made of wood, cloth, or leather touches one of their dead bodies, it must be washed, but it is still unclean until evening. 33 If any of these animals is found dead in a clay pot, the pot must be broken to pieces, and everything in it becomes unclean. 34 If you pour water from this pot on any food, that food becomes unclean, and anything drinkable in the pot becomes unclean.
35 If the dead body of one of these animals touches anything else, including ovens and stoves, that thing becomes unclean and must be destroyed. 36 A spring or a cistern where one of these dead animals is found is still clean, but anyone who touches the animal becomes unclean. 37 If the dead body of one of these animals is found lying on seeds that have been set aside for planting, the seeds remain clean. 38 But seeds that are soaking in water become unclean, if the dead animal is found in the water.
39 If an animal that may be eaten happens to die, and you touch it, you become unclean until evening. 40 If you eat any of its meat or carry its body away, you must wash your clothes, but you are still unclean until evening.
41-42 Don’t eat any of those disgusting little creatures that crawl or walk close to the ground. 43 If you eat any of them, you will become just as disgusting and unclean as they are. 44 I am the Lord your God, and you must dedicate yourselves to me and be holy, just as I am holy. Don’t become disgusting by eating any of these unclean creatures. 45 I brought you out of Egypt so that I could be your God. Now you must become holy, because I am holy!
46-47 I have given these laws so that you will know what animals, birds, and fish are clean and may be eaten, and which ones are unclean and may not be eaten.
What Women Must Do after Giving Birth
12 The Lord told Moses 2 to say to the community of Israel:
If a woman gives birth to a son, she is unclean for seven days, just as she is during her monthly period. 3 Her son must be circumcised on the eighth day, 4 but her loss of blood keeps her from being completely clean for another thirty-three days. During this time she must not touch anything holy or go to the place of worship. 5 Any woman who gives birth to a daughter is unclean for two weeks, just as she is during her period. And she won’t be completely clean for another sixty-six days.
6 When the mother has completed her time of cleansing, she must come to the front of the sacred tent and bring to the priest a year-old lamb as a sacrifice to please me[d] and a dove or a pigeon as a sacrifice for sin. 7 After the priest offers the sacrifices to me, the mother will become completely clean from her loss of blood, whether her child is a boy or a girl. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she can offer two doves or two pigeons, one as a sacrifice to please me and the other as a sacrifice for sin.
13 The Lord told Moses and Aaron to say to the people:
2 If sores or boils or a skin rash should break out and start spreading on your body, you must be brought to Aaron or to one of the other priests. 3 If the priest discovers that the hair in the infected area has turned white and that the infection seems more than skin deep, he will say, “This is leprosy[e]—you are unclean.”
4 But if the infected area is white and only skin deep, and if the hair in it hasn’t turned white, the priest will order you to stay away from everyone else for seven days. 5 If the disease hasn’t spread by that time, he will order you to stay away from everyone else for another seven days. 6 Then if the disease hasn’t gotten any worse or spread, the priest will say, “You are clean. It was only a sore. After you wash your clothes, you may go home.”
7 However, if the disease comes back, you must return to the priest. 8 If it is discovered that the disease has started spreading, he will say, “This is leprosy—you are unclean.”
9 Any of you with a skin disease must be brought to a priest. 10 If he discovers that the sore spot is white with pus and that the hair around it has also turned white, 11 he will say, “This is leprosy. You are unclean and must stay away from everyone else.” 12-13 But if the disease has run its course and only the scars remain, he will say, “You are clean.” 14-15 If the sores come back and turn white with pus, he will say, “This is leprosy—you are unclean.”
16-17 However, if the sores heal and only white spots remain, the priest will say, “You are now clean.”
18-19 If you have a sore that either swells or turns reddish-white after it has healed, then you must show it to a priest. 20 If he discovers that the hair in the infected area has turned white and that the infection seems more than skin deep, he will say, “This is leprosy—you are unclean.” 21 But if the white area is only on the surface of the skin and hasn’t gotten any worse, and if the hair in it hasn’t turned white, he will have you stay away from everyone else for seven days.
22 If the sore begins spreading during this time, the priest will say, “You are unclean because you have a disease.” 23 But if it doesn’t spread, and only a scar remains, he will say, “You are now clean.”
24 If you have a burn that gets infected and turns red or reddish-white, 25 a priest must examine it. Then if he discovers that the hair in the infected area has turned white and that the infection seems more than skin deep, he will say, “The burn has turned into leprosy, and you are unclean.” 26 But if the priest finds that the hair in the infected area hasn’t turned white and that the sore is only skin deep and it is healing, he will have you stay away from everyone else for seven days. 27 On the seventh day the priest will examine you again, and if the infection is spreading, he will say, “This is leprosy—you are unclean.” 28 However, if the infection hasn’t spread and has begun to heal, and if only a scar remains, he will say, “Only a scar remains from the burn, and you are clean.”
29 If you have a sore on your head or chin, 30 it must be examined by a priest. If the infection seems more than skin deep, and the hair in it has thinned out and lost its color, he will say, “This is leprosy—you are unclean.” 31 On the other hand, if he discovers that the itchy spot is only skin deep, but that the hair still isn’t healthy, he will order you to stay away from everyone else for seven days. 32 By that time, if the itch hasn’t spread, if the hairs seem healthy, and if the itch is only skin deep, 33 you must shave off the hairs around the infection, but not those on it. Then the priest will tell you to stay away from everyone else for another seven days. 34 By that time, if the itch hasn’t spread and seems no more than skin deep, he will say, “You are clean; now you must wash your clothes.”
35-36 Later, if the itch starts spreading, even though the hair is still healthy, the priest will say, “You are unclean.” 37 But if he thinks you are completely well, he will say, “You are clean.”
38 If white spots break out on your skin, 39 but the priest discovers that it is only a rash, he will say, “You are clean.”
40-41 If you become bald on any part of your head, you are still clean. 42-43 But if a priest discovers that a reddish-white sore has broken out on the bald spot and looks like leprosy, he will say, 44 “This is leprosy—you are unclean.”
45 If you ever have leprosy, you must tear your clothes, leave your hair uncombed, cover the lower part of your face, and go around shouting, “I’m unclean! I’m unclean!” 46 As long as you have the disease, you are unclean and must live alone outside the camp.
47-50 If a greenish or reddish spot[f] appears anywhere on any of your clothing or on anything made of leather, you must let the priest examine the clothing or the leather. He will put it aside for seven days, 51 and if the mildew has spread in that time, he will say, “This is unclean 52 because the mildew has spread.” Then he will burn the clothing or the piece of leather.
53 If the priest discovers that the mildew hasn’t spread, 54 he will tell you to wash the clothing or leather and put it aside for another seven days, 55 after which he will examine it again. If the spot hasn’t spread, but is still greenish or reddish, the clothing or leather is unclean and must be burned. 56 But if the spot has faded after being washed, he will tear away the spot. 57 Later, if the spot reappears elsewhere on the clothing or the leather, you must burn it. 58 Even if the spot completely disappears after being washed, it must be washed again before it is clean.
59 These are the rules for deciding if clothing is clean or unclean after a spot appears on it.
- 11.3 chews the cud: Some animals that eat grass and leaves have more than one stomach and chew their food a second time after it has been partly digested in the first stomach. This partly digested food is called the “cud.”
- 11.4-8 unclean: In the Old Testament “clean” and “unclean” refer to whatever makes a person, animal, or object acceptable or unacceptable to God. For example, a person became unclean by eating certain foods, touching certain objects, and having certain kinds of diseases or bodily discharges.
- 11.13-19 Eagles. . . hoopoes: Some of the birds in this list are difficult to identify.
- 12.6 sacrifice to please me: See the note at 1.1-3.
- 13.3 leprosy: The word translated “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
- 13.47-50 spot: The Hebrew word translated “spot” and “mildew” in verses 47-59 is the same one translated “leprosy” earlier in the chapter.