How to disinfect : Bible's way

When Eisenhower (former president of United States) was young, he worked in his father's farm. One day, he hurt his leg. But that was a small wound, and he didn't pay much attention to it. After a few days, his leg got infected and swollen so large that his mother was alarmed, and family doctor was called. The doctor told them that if his leg was not amputated, the infection would kill him. But Eisenhower was not willing. That day, his mother peeled an red apple for him. He loved the apple so much that he ate even the peel. His mother saw this, and gave him more apples. After a few days, he recovered !

When I have a temperature or inflammation, I usually long for food that are red in color : red pepper (very hot ! and will take a long time to get used to), red carrot, red apple, tomato sauce. (Also, in Chinese diet, we have ginger, garlic, leeks, celery, onions, ... which we believe will boost our immune system, and I eat those too.)

In the Bible, things that are red seem to have some power to kill germs,

[Num 19:2-19]

LORD to Moses : 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 Eleazar the priest, and she shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him; and Eleazar 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 cedar wood 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.

Note :

  1. I myself do not understand fully the use of ashes from red heifer, cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet stuff. I hope someone may investigate it and find out the answer.

  2. cedar wood - cone bearing tree, with red, flagrant and sweet smelling wood. (In Hong Kong, I found some wood used in fruit-boxes, which is light in weight, and white in color, and has very strong aromatic smell. Is that another species of cedar ? Christmas tree - Bible's cedar ?)

  3. hyssop - evergreen perennial. About 2 feet tall and 12 inches spread. It has aromatic, minty, bitter leaves.

  4. scarlet stuff - I really don't know what it is. I found one book which says that it is wool dyed red with pomegranate. But I regard any fruit or vegetable that is red in color to be "scarlet stuff".

  5. ashes of red heifer - there are lot of chemicals in a heifer, so I think its ashes will contain lot of hydroxides of various chemicals. Ashes have long been used in the making of soap, in the tanning of animal skins for preservation.

To cleanse a leper or a leprous house, LORD taught us to use "scarlet stuff, hyssop, cedar wood", but this time, with "blood of small birds",

[Lev 14:1-9]

This shall be the law of the leper for the day of his cleansing. He shall be brought to the priest; and the priest shall go out of the camp, and the priest shall make an examination. Then, if the leprous disease is healed in the leper, the priest shall command them to take for him who is to be cleansed two living clean birds and cedar-wood and scarlet stuff and hyssop; and the priest shall command them to kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water. He shall take the living bird with the cedarwood and the scarlet stuff and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the of the bird that was killed over the running water; and he shall sprinkle it seven times upon him who is to be cleansed of leprosy; then he shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird go into the open field. And he who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and bathe himself in water, and he shall be clean; and after that he shall come into the camp, but shall dwell outside his tent seven days. And on the seventh day he shall shave all his hair off his head; he shall shave off his beard and his eyebrows, all his hair. Then he shall wash his clothes, and bathe his body in water, and he shall be clean.

[Lev 14:43-53]
(About leprosy in a house)

If the disease breaks out again in the house, after he has taken out the stones and scraped the house and plastered it, then the priest shall go and look; and if the disease has spread in the house, it is a malignant leprosy in the house; it is unclean. And he shall break down the house, its stones and timber and all the plaster of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city to an unclean place. Moreover he who enters the house while it is shut up shall be unclean until the evening; and he who lies down in the house shall wash his clothes; and he who eats in the house shall wash his clothes.

But if the priest comes and makes an examination, and the disease has not spread in the house after the house was plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, for the disease is healed. And for the cleansing of the house he shall take two small birds, with cedarwood and scarlet stuff and hyssop, and shall kill one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water, and shall take the cedarwood and the hyssop and the scarlet stuff, along with the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the bird that was killed and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. Thus he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedarwood and hyssop and scarlet stuff; and he shall let the living bird go out of the city into the open field; so he shall make atonement for the house, and it shall be clean.

(Note : I do not understand fully all these, I put forward these so that people who are interested may investigate and find out the reasons.)

Lastly, I would like to mention Chinese way to disinfect a house. (This I learned from a nurse, who learned it from her mother. I have never tested this method, and I record it here just for your information only).

Shut all windows and doors, a lit a bunch of fire-crackers inside the room.

Note :

  1. fire-cracker is made from gun-powder wrapped with paper.

  2. Gun-powder has the following ingredients,

    1. Potassium nitrate, KNO3, 75%.

    2. Sulphur, S, 12%.

    3. Charcoal ( carbon ), C, 13%.

  3. The actual chemical reaction is quite complicated, in essence, it is the decomposition of Postassium Nitrate into Postassium Nitrite by heat,

    2KNO3 -> 2KNO2 + O2

    This "nascent" oxygen is very reactive, and will react with sulphur and carbon to form sulphur dioxide, SO2 and carbon dioxide, CO2.

    The final product is a mixture of potassium sulphide, K2S, potassium carbonate, K2CO3, potassium sulphate, K2SO3, carbon dioxide, CO2, and nitrogen, N2 (not the simple potassium sulphide, nitrogen, carbon dioxide above).

  4. Should this method work, (I don't know if it works), I think it might be because of sulphur dioxide, SO2.
    Sulphur, made in the form of sulphur candle, was used in ancient times in fumigation.

    Also the gun-powder in the fire-cracker must have more sulphur than the above 12%, in order to generate SO2.

LORD taught us how to make "water of impurity" and taught us to use it to disinfect the unclean. Are there anyone who has the equipment and expertise and knowledge to verify its effectiveness, by actual scientific experiments ? and could explain why ? and could give the concentration for it to be effective ?

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