Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
Designate states of ritual suitability or unsuitability before God. Closely related to the states of holy and profane. Often used to denote a state of righteousness. Used in regard to physical state, behaviors, and animals.
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Clean and Unclean
Clean and Unclean (טָהוֹר‎, tahor; טָמֵא‎, tame'; καθαρὁς, katharhos; ἀκάθαρτος, akathartos). Designate states of ritual suitability or unsuitability before God. Closely related to the states of holy and profane. Often used to denote a state of righteousness. Used in regard to physical state, behaviors,
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Unclean and Clean
UNCLEAN AND CLEAN. These terms designate negative or positive ritual and moral conditions in persons and sometimes in objects. Uncleanness or impurity is basically defined as that which is a threat to or opposes holiness, and hence must be kept separate from that sphere. On the relationship of purity
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Clean and Unclean
Clean and Unclean Seeking to prevent famine and disease, Israel’s neighbors focused the full power of their cults on securing fertility. These communities also desired to insure themselves against angering the gods and thus being destroyed. Consequently, rigorous standards of correct procedure for conducting
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Clean, Cleanness
CLEAN, CLEANNESS. The translation of several Heb. and Gr. words having the idea of physical cleanness, and then of moral purity. The term is used in the physical, ceremonial, ethical, figurative, and spiritual senses, with the uses frequently overlapping. The chief usage is the ceremonial, applied to
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Clean and Unclean
CLEAN AND UNCLEAN. Heb. tāhōrltāmēʾ. Gk. katharosi akathartosi akatharsia. According to Lv. 10:10–11 it was the duty of the priests ‘to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean’ and to teach the people about the differences. These fundamental categories of
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Clean and Unclean
Clean and UncleanThat which is clean or pure is in its proper place, whereas that which is unclean or impure is disgustingly out of place. The clean is limited by its opposite, the unclean, for dirt automatically pollutes or contaminates what is clean. In order to restore something or someone to a state
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Clean and Unclean
Clean and Unclean. Israel’s cultic and religious life, like that of the surrounding nations, centered around holy places (e.g., the tabernacle), holy persons (the priest), holy times (the Sabbath, the Day of Atonement), and holy acts (sacrifices, offerings, and purifications). Worship of the deity and
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels
Clean and Unclean
Clean and uncleanDistinctions between what is to be considered ritually clean and unclean are established in Pentateuchal Law.* With some sources of uncleanness, contact is prohibited; with others, procedures for cleansing from incurred defilement are laid down. While observance of the fundamental rules
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
Clean, Cleanness
CLEAN, CLEANNESS. The rendering of several Heb. and Gk. words, having the primary meaning of freedom from dirt or filth, and then of moral purity. Generally, however, they signify freedom from ceremonial defilement. See Purification; Purity; Uncleanness.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary
CleanThe various forms of uncleanness according to the Mosaic law are enumerated in Lev. 11–15; Num. 19. The division of animals into clean and unclean was probably founded on the practice of sacrifice. It existed before the Flood (Gen. 7:2). The regulations regarding such animals are recorded in Lev.
Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Clean, Cleanness
CLEAN, CLEANNESS — pure, clear, uncontaminated. The distinctions between clean and unclean foods, animals, and people is elaborated in Leviticus 11–15. “Clean” refers to physical health as well as ceremonial purity, especially in the case of the diseased, notably lepers (Lev. 13:1–14, 57; 2 Kin. 5; Matt.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CLEAN<klen> (Anglo-Saxon, cloene, “clear,” “pure”): Rendering four Hebrew roots: בִּר‎ [bar], etc., “purify,” “select,” “make shining”; זְַ‎ [zakh], etc., “bright,” “clean” “pure”; נָקִי‎ [naqi], “free from,” “exempt”; טָהֵר‎ [Taher], “clean,” “pure,” “empty,” “bright” (?)
Key passages
Le 11:39–12:8

“ ‘And when one of the animals dies that is for you to eat, the one who touches its dead body shall become unclean until the evening. And the one who eats some of its dead body must wash his garments, and he shall be unclean until the evening; and the one who carries its dead body must …

Nu 19:9–22

A clean man will gather the ashes of the heifer, and he will put them in a clean place outside the camp; it will be for the community of the Israelites as a requirement for waters of impurity; it is a purification offering. The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer will wash his garments; …

Ps 51:7–10

Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean. Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and all my iniquities blot out. Create a clean heart for me, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within …

Eze 36:25–26

And I will sprinkle on you pure water, and you will be clean from all of your uncleanness, and I will cleanse you from all of your idols. And I will give a new heart to you, and a new spirit I will give into your inner parts, and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh, and I will …

Mk 7:15

There is nothing outside of a person that is able to defile him by going into him. But the things that go out of a person are the things that defile a person.”

See also
Topics & Themes