Part 2 of Proof that the Bible is the Inspired Word of God
First of all, 2 things to keep in mind: the existence of germs was unknown until the late 1800s. And the first 5 books of the Bible were recorded by Moses approximately 1491-1451 BC. In these books God gives the Israelites medical instructions that far exceed the level of even the Egyptians back then. (The most advanced civilization at the time.)
In Exodus 15:26, God told the Israelites that if they obeyed all of His commandments and statutes that He gave to Moses, He would protect them from the plagues and sickness that afflicted the ancient Egyptians.
The medical laws and principles He then gave them were designed to protect everyone from the devastating diseases that have afflicted mankind throughout history.
Remember the Jews had lived as slaves to the Egyptians for 430 years. Whatever they knew of folk medicine and remedies was what they learned from the Egyptians. And they probably had all the same sicknesses. Deut. 28:27-28 tells us what they were; “The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, the tumors, with the scab and with the itch from which you can not be healed. The Lord will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of the heart.”
The Egyptian’s level of medical knowledge was extremely primitive and dangerous. For instance, for healing of an infected splinter wound, they were to make an application of an ointment of the blood of worms mixed with donkey dung! The author said that the various germs in this, including tetanus from the donkey dung would have made the patient forget the pain of the splinter because he would be dying from the treatment!
For snakebites they poured water over a pagan idol and then gave it to the victim to drink. Some of the other things they used in their medicines were: lizard’s blood, swine’s teeth, moisture from pigs’ ears, putrid meat, waste from just about every animal and even humans, etc. etc.
This would have all been familiar to Moses and the Israelites. But, Moses didn’t write about any of this. Only what God told him to. 213 out of 613 Biblical commandments found in the Torah are detailed medical regulations.
People back then, and even thousands of years later didn’t know that invisible and deadly germs could exist on eating and cooking utensils. Yet Lev. 6:28 says to discard broken pottery (because the cracks could contain harmful germs). They were also told to scour metal utensils.
Also throughout history, because they didn’t have refrigeration, people would eat decaying meat and just disguised the smell with lots of spices.
In Lev. 11:35 Moses wrote, “And everything on which a part of any such carcass falls shall be unclean; whether it is an oven or cooking stone, it shall be broken down; for they are unclean, and shall be unclean to you.” They weren’t to eat decaying meat; it was to be kept separate so it didn’t contaminate anything else. They weren’t to eat already dead animals because whatever they died from could affect them. That’s in Lev. 7:24
God also gave them laws to prevent the spread of infections. Numbers 19:14-17 talks about if a man dies in a tent, the people who had been in the tent should be kept in quarantine. If there were any vessels in the tent, which weren’t covered, they were unclean. If a person touched a dead body, they were unclean for 7 days and had to purify themselves. All of these rules we skimmed through while reading the Old Testament were given to keep them healthy!
An Hungarian Doctor worked in Vienna in 1845 and he noticed the high number of deaths of women who had babies in hospitals. (And these were mostly homeless and poor because well off women had their babies at home during this time.) He noticed that the doctors would be treating a woman who died and then go treat another woman without washing their hands. This was normal medical practice back then – because they didn’t know. But, 3500 years before this, God commanded the Israelites to wash their hands in running water when dealing with the sick. And it’s in Lev. 15:13.
God even knew not to wash your hands over again in the same bowl of water because the germs would just be floating there!
Leprosy killed millions of people over the course of history. But, the Bible had the priests acting as sort of medical control officers. They examined sick people to see if it was leprosy. If it was they pronounced him unclean and kept him from other people. Lev.13:43, 44, 46
There were laws for people recovering from illnesses and having to purify themselves and wait 7 more days, so they didn’t infect someone else.
Everyone knows about the Black Plague back in the Middle Ages. It seemed unbeatable. Almost 1/3 of the population of Europe died from it in the 14th century. Entire counties and towns were wiped out. The doctors had no clue what to do for these people even though they made the rounds – and then often died from it themselves.
Do you know how it was finally stopped? Some church leaders looked to the Bible for a divine medical solution for an apparently hopeless solution. And they began to follow the basic laws of sanitation and disease control. Lev. 13:46 told them what they needed to know: Quarantine!
There were more instructions for the caregivers: start cleaning their clothes and putting the clothes out in the sunlight. But, Moses’ instructions to segregate infected patients from their families and other people was one of the most important medical advancements in human history. The quarantine. Part of what the church fathers who read Lev. back during the plague did was, make a special medical quarantine compound outside the city where the sick were taken and caregivers fed them. Those who died in the streets or at home were instantly buried. Before, the dead would often be left in the house for a time with the living family.
God also gave the Israelites (and us) strict laws of hygiene and cleanliness. People used to not take baths (except the Jews). King James I of England (who was the one who ordered the translation of the Bible called The King James Version) never took a bath in his life! And Queen Isabelle was known to have said she only had one bath at birth and one on her wedding day! That’s why people back then loved snuff and perfume so much!
But, way back in Exodus 19:10 God told Moses to have the Israelites wash their clothes!
And the priests were told to wash their hands and feet in running water and their clothes. Remember the priests were the ones responsible for preparing and sacrificing animals on the altar.
The Bible also contains detailed instructions concerning the purification following the birth of a child.
There are a lot of other things: like the Israelites were told to build a kind of huge incinerator outside the city to burn the germ filled waste of sacrificed animals. Lev.4:11-12 says, “the bull’s hide and all its flesh, with its head and legs, its entrails and offal, the whole bull he shall carry outside the camp, it shall be burned on wood.”
At that time no one knew that animal waste and decaying organs would be dangerous because of microscopic germs. How would Moses have known – unless God told him?