ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Thu Apr 26 12:40:01 EDT 2001
On Thu 26 Apr 2001 (13:14:20 +0100), apazera at yahoo.co.uk wrote:
> I wonder if "thtt'ni b'zwv" in Ps 51:9 means some
> ritual of purification described in Leviticum? I
> wonder if ritual of purification there by means of
> hyssop is concerning a human being?
You are right. The twigs of Hyssop were used as an Asperge or Applicator
to dip in the sacrificial blood, and then sprinkle it upon the worshipper
or the building to be cleansed. In Catholic churches, an Asperge is used to
sprinkle holy water for liturgical purposes. Compare Numbers 19:18-19, where
hyssop is used for sprinkling holy water in connection with funeral rites
and the field burial of corpses.
It was used in the Passover (Exodus 12:22-23) and in the Law of the Leper
(Leviticus 14:1-9). In the Passover, it was used to sanctify the Household
of believers, and to ward off the death of the eldest son. In spite of being
sprinkled upon the lintels and doorposts, the blood effectively protected
the believing family and their firstborn. In the case of cleansing the
leper, it clearly concerns a human being, a sufferer from leprosy TsaRa`aT.
Hyssop 'eZoB is a shrub, used for religious and medicinal purposes. The
name is a foreign word imported into Hebrew.
In Psalm 51:9 MT (51:7 English Versions) it is not the *hyssop* that purges
the sin from the sinner, but the *sacrificial blood* applied therewith.
Compare Isaiah 6:6-7, where forgiveness is effected by the application with
tongs of an ember from the altar of burnt offering. Burnt offerings were not
applicable to cleanse David's deliberate sin (Psalm 51:18 ); so the
reference to Hyssop is symbolical, or metaphorical, or rhetorical.
Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
<ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
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