Rules About Corpses
Most Relevant Verses
“If a murder victim is found lying in a field in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him, your elders and judges must come out and measure the distance from the victim to the nearby cities. The elders of the city nearest to the victim are to get a young cow that has not been yoked or used for work. read more.
The elders of that city will bring the cow down to a continually flowing stream, to a place not tilled or sown, and they will break its neck there by the stream. Then the priests, the sons of Levi, will come forward, for Yahweh your God has chosen them to serve Him and pronounce blessings in His name, and they are to give a ruling in every dispute and case of assault. All the elders of the city nearest to the victim will wash their hands by the stream over the young cow whose neck has been broken. They will declare, ‘Our hands did not shed this blood; our eyes did not see it. Lord, forgive Your people Israel You redeemed, and do not hold the shedding of innocent blood against them.’ Then they will be absolved of responsibility for bloodshed. You must purge from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, for you will be doing what is right in the Lord’s sight.
“This is the law when a person dies in a tent: everyone who enters the tent and everyone who is already in the tent will be unclean for seven days, and any open container without a lid tied on it is unclean.
Anyone in the open field who touches a person who has been killed by the sword or has died, or who even touches a human bone, or a grave, will be unclean for seven days.
Or if someone touches anything unclean—a carcass of an unclean wild animal, or unclean livestock, or an unclean swarming creature—without being aware of it, he is unclean and guilty.
The Holiness of the PriestsThe Lord said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron’s sons, the priests, and tell them: A priest is not to make himself ceremonially unclean for a dead person among his relatives, except for his immediate family: his mother, father, son, daughter, or brother. He may make himself unclean for his young unmarried sister in his immediate family.
A priest may not come near a dead person so that he becomes defiled. However, he may defile himself for a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a brother, or an unmarried sister.
But there were some men who were unclean because of a human corpse, so they could not observe the Passover on that day. These men came before Moses and Aaron the same day
and said to him, “We are unclean because of a human corpse. Why should we be excluded from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time with the other Israelites?”
He said to me: “Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place for the soles of My feet, where I will dwell among the Israelites forever. The house of Israel and their kings will no longer defile My holy name by their religious prostitution and by the corpses of their kings at their high places.
Since it was the preparation day, the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a special day). They requested that Pilate have the men’s legs broken and that their bodies be taken away.