Question about uncleanness (Hag 2:13-2:13)

“Then Haggai said.

‘If one who is unclean,

By contact with a dead body,

Touches any of these,

Does it become unclean?’

The priests answered.

‘Yes,

It becomes unclean.’”

Now Haggai asked the opposite question.  How does anyone become unclean, the opposite of holy?  Normally, people became unclean by touching a dead body.  What would happen if this unclean person, who had touched the dead body, touched the bread, the stew, the wine, the oil, or any other kind of food.  Would these food products become unclean?  The answer of the priests was the opposite of the question about holiness, yes.  Instead of no impact, the uncleanness would spread, so that all these things would be unclean, like a contagion.

Eliphaz ridicules Job (Job 15:7-15:16)

“Are you the first man that was born?

Were you brought forth before the hills?

Have you listened in the council of God?

Do you limit wisdom to yourself?

What do you know that we do not know?

What do you understand that is not clear to us?

The gray-haired and the aged are on our side.

Those people are older than your father.

Are the consolations of God too small for you?

Are the word that deals gently with you too small for you?

Why does your heart carry you away?

Why do your eyes flash?

You turn your spirit against God.

You let such words go out of your mouth.

What are mortals?

Can mortals be clean?

God puts no trust even in his holy ones.

The heavens are not clean in his sight.

How much less one who is abominable and corrupt!

You are a man who drinks iniquity like water!”

Eliphaz now ridicules Job. He wanted to know if he was the first person born so that he was older than the hills. Was he some kind of conciliar to God? Did he think that he was the only person with wisdom? Did he think that he was smarter than everyone else? There were a lot older people living longer than Job’s father. Was God too small for Job? Why did he have flashing eyes? Why has he turned against God? Why has be spoken such words? Any mortal born of a woman is unclean and not righteous. God does not even trust his holy angels in heaven because there is uncleanness there. Job was drinking iniquity like water. Once again, this is a harsh condemnation of Job.

Marriages with unclean strangers (Ezra 9:10-9:15)

“Now, our God,

What shall we say after this?

For we have forsaken your commandments,

You commanded us by your servants the prophets, saying,

‘The land which you are entering to possess is a land unclean

With the pollutions of the peoples of the lands,

With their abominations.

They have filled it from end to end with their uncleanness.

Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons,

Neither take their daughters for your sons,

Never seek their peace or prosperity,

So that you may be strong,

And eat the good of the land,

Leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’

After all that has come upon us

For our evil deeds,

For our great guilt,

Seeing that you, our God,

You have punished us less than our iniquities deserved.

You have given us such a remnant as this.

Shall we break your commandments again?

Shall we intermarry?

With the peoples who practice these abominations?

Would you not be angry with us?

Would you not destroy us?

Without remnant or survivor,

O Yahweh, God of Israel,

You are just.

We have escaped as a remnant,

As is now the case.

Here we are before you in our guilt,

For no one can face you because of this.”

Ezra believes that they have forsaken God’s commandments. The land that they entered was unclean. Therefore, they should not give their sons and daughters in marriage to these polluted abomination people. Otherwise there will be no inheritance for their children. Erza reported that you have not punished us enough. We deserve more punishment. We still have a remnant. You are just and we are guilty. Clearly this is a collective guilt. It is not one person or a group of people. All share in the guilt. They have not followed the commandments. They have not kept themselves clean. Intermarrying leads to uncleanness. The unclean people of the land will lead to greater guilt. Even the little remnant will be destroyed. No one can face Yahweh because of his guilty people.