Lev 11:39 “And if any animal which you may eat dies, whoever touches its carcass will be contaminated until the evening,
Lev 11:40 and whoever eats of its carcass will wash his clothes and be contaminated until the evening. And whoever carries the carcass will wash his clothes and be contaminated until the evening.
Lev 11:41 “Every swarming thing that swarms on the ground is detestable; it will not be eaten.
Lev 11:42 Whatever goes on its belly, and whatever goes on all fours, or whatever has many feet, any swarming thing that swarms on the ground, you will not eat, because they are detestable.
Lev 11:43 You will not make your souls detestable with any swarming thing that swarms, and you will not contaminate yourselves with them, and become contaminated through them.
Lev 11:44 Because I am Yahveh your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, because I am holy. You will not contaminate your souls with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.
Lev 11:45 Because I am Yahveh who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. You will therefore be holy, because I am holy.”
Lev 11:46 This is the law about beast and bird and every living soul that moves through the water and every soul that swarms on the ground,
Lev 11:47 to divide between the contaminated and the pure and between the living creature that may be eaten and the living creature that may not be eaten.
wash and wait
The word “soul” does not indicate a separate disembodied self. The soul is the self. That is how an Israelite’s soul could be contaminated by the soul of a prohibited animal, or even by an animal that is allowed, if the Israelite touches its dead carcass. Here the reason for these restrictions is laid out. Touching a prohibited animal, or a dead animal, leads to contamination of the soul by that animal’s soul. A living, non-prohibited animal may be appropriately slaughtered and eaten for food, and such does not contaminate the human soul. But a non-living soul (a dead soul) contaminates, and a prohibited soul contaminates.
Religions are constantly getting the soul wrong. To take one’s theology from Plato, and assume that souls are immortal, just destroys the purpose of this text. You cannot be contaminated by a dead soul if the soul never dies.
The Bible says that God breathed life into Adam and Eve, and they became living souls. Then it says sin made them mortal, and they died — not just their bodies, but their whole souls. That is why our souls need a Saviour. If they were immortal, they would not need a Saviour.
The prescription for soul contamination was to wash one’s clothes and wait until evening. This wonderfully demonstrates the process of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification.
LORD, thank you for giving us an answer to the problem of sin’s contamination.