Use of ash, as mentioned in the Bible

Wu Siu Yan
26 October 2007

Ash is used to disinfect, to kill germs. Its use is mentioned in [Numbers 19],

Now the LORD said to Moses and to Aaron, "This is the statute of the law which the LORD has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, and upon which a yoke has never come. And you shall give her to Elea'zar the priest, and she shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him; and Elea'zar the priest shall take some of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight; her skin, her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burned; and the priest shall take cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet stuff, and cast them into the midst of the burning of the heifer. Then the priest shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterwards he shall come into the camp; and the priest shall be unclean until evening.

He who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place; and they shall be kept for the congregation of the people of Israel for the water for impurity, for the removal of sin. And he who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until evening. And this shall be to the people of Israel, and to the stranger who sojourns among them, a perpetual statute.

"He who touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days; he shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean; but if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. Whoever touches a dead person, the body of any man who has died, and does not cleanse himself, defiles the tabernacle of the LORD, and that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.

"This is the law when a man dies in a tent: every one who comes into the tent, and every one who is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days. And every open vessel, which has no cover fastened upon it, is unclean. Whoever in the open field touches one who is slain with a sword, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days. For the unclean they shall take some ashes of the burnt sin offering, and running water shall be added in a vessel; then a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the furnishings, and upon the persons who were there, and upon him who touched the bone, or the slain, or the dead, or the grave; and the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; thus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.

"But the man who is unclean and does not cleanse himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the LORD; because the water for impurity has not been thrown upon him, he is unclean. And it shall be a perpetual statute for them. He who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes; and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. And whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and any one who touches it shall be unclean until evening."

But its preparation is quite elaborate, which is suitable for a people to do together, but for individual, or a family, or a little group, I think, we can use simpler means, e.g.

In real emergency, as in war times when social order is totally non-existent, I think we can simply use ASH, (ash preferably from wood of red color, or cedar).

The composition of ash

The ash prepared as in [Num 19] must contain oxides of numerous chemicals. And such oxides, when dissolved in water, would become hydroxides.

Paul, in his advice to Timothy, about curing his illness and stomach upset, told Timothy to drink a little wine. Wine is ethanol, a hydroxide. ([1 Timothy 5:23] Paul to Timothy : "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.")

But if you a pregnant woman, do not drink wine [Judges 13].

Ash, mixed with water (to produce hydroxides), is added to flour to make noodles in Northern China.

Ash, when boiled with animal fat, gives soap, which can be used for cleaning.

There is a person, who came from the military, who advised people to use "charcoal" to treat dysentery, in survival situations.

I have experimented with ash (not charcoal) : I put ash in boiling water, and treated dysentery, and found that it works.

Also, I have simply used salt, half a teaspoonful of salt (or the amount you judge right for you), to cure dysentery.

Someone said that the attack of US on Iran is not a question of IF, but WHEN, and this I also think so. If that is the case, the world would become very dangerous in a short time.

Therefore a good knowledge with what GOD taught us in the Bible ([Exodus], [Leviticus], [Numbers]), the laws/commandments/ordinances/statutes, including the cleanliness rules, would be a very valuable asset to us and to our companions, in dangerous times, where all civil conveniences (hospital, clean water, sewage, waste disposal) may be disrupted as in WWII.

Bible's simple rules to better health and cleanliness