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Covenantal provisions for forgiveness and Reconciliation

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Chapter Summary

Whenever an Israelite committed some Levitical or Deuteronomic offense, an obstacle was placed between himself and the Lord, on the one hand, and himself and the community, on the other. This chapter first considers repeated cleansings from various types of ritual impurity, second special baptisms related to initiation and cleansings from defilement at birth, and third the conditions whereby sin could be forgiven on the Day of Atonement. Israel had commandments to fulfill, but it was understood that the woman would never keep them all perfectly. Therefore provisions were made for restitution. Individual Israelites, who had broken commandments and had thus become defiled or sinful, were temporarily excommunicated from the group and only readmitted after the sin had been removed. The reason the Kingdom of God had been withheld was that Israel was still in her sin.

Keywords: baptisms; cleansings; Day of Atonement; Deuteronomic offense; Israel

10.1163/9789004265967_007
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