The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Question

"When a man had an ejaculation, he was considered unclean until the next evening. He was required to wash himself and anything his semen came in contact with. The Israelite laws regarding uncleanness did not imply that the man had sinned. The laws were a way to encourage healthy practices among the Jews. Both men and women had to separate themselves whenever there were emissions from their bodies. These laws cut down on the spread of diseases among the Israelites."

Hi,

I am 18 and am a Christian. I was wondering if whenever I had an erection and some pre-cum came out, or if I had a night emission, if I had to completely bathe myself underwater. Our bathtub is small. Will I be considered unclean until the evening or the next evening? What does "unclean" mean? Will anything I touch become unclean also? Or was this only for the Israelites? I have heard that Christians are not under these laws, is that right?

Thank you so much!


Answer

First off, to better understand the idea of uncleanness, I want you to read: Uncleanness.

The rules for uncleanness were a part of the Old Testament. We are not under those rules. See: Why We Don't Follow the Old Testament. But even those under the Law were not required to be completely submersed to become clean. "If any man has an emission of semen, then he shall wash all his body in water, and be unclean until evening. And any garment and any leather on which there is semen, it shall be washed with water, and be unclean until evening" (Leviticus 15:16-17). What it is saying is that an Israelite had to wash his whole body. Splashing a little water on himself was not enough -- just like your mom told you that getting your hands wet wasn't the same as washing your hands.

While there is no religious requirement for following these rules, there are some things we can learn from them. Having an erection or dripping pre-cum (pre-ejaculate) did not make an Israelite unclean. For the most part, it means you don't have to worry about cleaning up after dripping pre-cum. Fortunately, it doesn't stain and it dries rapidly. However, if you dripped a lot of pre-cum, you probably will want to put something else on since having tell-tale signs of being aroused can be embarrassing.

When you do have an ejaculation, you need to clean up after yourself. Semen contains a lot of sugars, which is why cloth that has dried semen on it feels "starched." Literally, it has been. Those sugars can become a breeding ground, so wash up anything that gets semen on it and wash yourself as well. It is just good sanitary practice.