In the cleansing of a house that had leprosy it is said two birds were brought and one slain.Four items namely Hyssop,Cedar,Scarlet and the bird are to be dipped into the blood of the slain bird and then sprinkle the house seven times.

Leviticus 14:51 NIV

Then he is to take the cedar wood, the hyssop, the scarlet yarn and the live bird, dip them into the blood of the dead bird and the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times

It is not clear whether each stated article would sprinkle seven times or the seven times refer to all of them combined

Seven times each item or combined?


1 Answer 1


I suggest that the choice of items here, cedar, scarlet yarn, bird and hyssop is both practical and culticly significant. I will not comment on the cultic significance but allow me to offer a simple comment about the practical side of this.

First, not that we have scarlet yarn/thread specifically mentioned, along with a piece of wood and a sprig of hyssop. The priest was to told to dip "them" (אֹתָ֗ם Lev 14:51) in the blood and water.

By this I assume that the priest used the scarlet yarn to tie the hyssop and bird to the cedar to temporarily make a single object to sprinkle the blood and water. Following the seven sprinkles, the unharmed bird was to be liberated (V53), presumably by cutting the scarlet yarn.

A similar procedure was used in Lev 14:6 where Ellicott observes:

(6) And shall dip them and the living bird.—With the crimson thread the priest tied together lengthwise the bundle of hyssop and the cedar wood, extended about them the wings and the tail of the living bird, and then dipped all the four in the mixture of blood and water which was in the earthen vessel.

Gill provides more detail:

and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop; which were all bound up in one bundle, but whether the living bird was joined to them is a question; according to Jarchi they were separate, the bird by itself, and the cedar wood, &c. by themselves; they were neither bound together nor dipped together; and Ben Gersom is very distinct and expressive; we learn from hence, says he, that three were bound up in one bundle, but the living bird was not comprehended in that bundle; but according to the Misnah (c) they were all joined together, for there it is said, he (the priest) takes the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, and rolls them up with the rest of the scarlet thread, and joins to them the extreme parts of the wings and of the tail of the second bird and dips them; and this seems best to agree with the text, as follows:

and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water; that is, into the blood of it as mixed with the running water in the earthen vessel, which together made a sufficient quantity for all these to be dipped into it; whether separately, first the living bird, and then the cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop, or all together: the bird that was kept alive was a type of Christ, who as a divine Person always alive, and ever will; he is the living God, and impassable: the dipping of this living bird in the blood of the slain one denotes the union of the two natures in Christ, divine and human, and which union remained at the death of Christ; and also shows that the virtue of Christ's blood arises from his being the living God: the dipping of the cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop, into the same blood, signifies the exercise of the several graces of the Spirit upon Christ, as crucified and slain, and their dealing with his blood for pardon and cleansing, as faith and hope do, and from whence love receives fresh ardour and rigour.

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