Menstruation and the Bible
The biblical law states when a woman menstruates she is unclean for seven days. The text says that
And then, the verse that governed the life of the menstruating woman cured by Jesus:
These basic regulations seem harsh/impractical to
a modern woman who does not allow herself, or cannot afford, time out during her period of menstruation.
Jennie Ebeling writes about it in her book 'Women's Lives in Biblical Times':
'Although the Hebrew Bible does not provide many details about the reality of menstruation, Leviticus 15 relates that regular and abnormal female genital discharge was considered unclean and that menstruating women were restricted from participating in public religious activity during that time (Lev. 15.18-33); these purity regulations were written much later than the Iron Age I period, however.
Specifically, menstruation resulted in a seven-day period of impurity when a woman could not enter the sanctuary. The menstruating woman and the objects under her could transfer impurity, and anyone who touched her or these objects would experience a period of impurity and would be compelled to wash themselves and their clothes. If a man engaged in intercourse with a menstruating woman he was either impure for seven days (Lev. 15.24) or cut off from his people, along with the woman (Lev. 20.18)...
stories about menstruation
Rachel's story provides some interesting information about the reality of female menstruation in the context of the ancient Israelite household. In this passage, after Rachel steals her father Laban's teraphim — household gods — and sits on them to hide them, she matter-of-factly tells her father that she cannot stand up when he enters the tent to search for them because "the way of women is upon me" (Gen. 31.35).
might reflect a small and tight social group in which everybody knew which of the women menstruated, and
when, and it was perhaps not at all unusual for household members to discuss female menstruation. In addition, Laban did not find Rachel's reason for not standing up unusual or suspicious, so it may have been considered normal for a menstruating woman to be seated more than usual...
Jennie Ebeling, 'Women's Lives in Biblical Times, T. & T. Clark International, 2010
Family, work and religion : the tribe, the family, slaves, women's tasks, beliefs
Stages of a woman's life: Puberty, menstruation, marriage, childbirth, death, burials
Clothing and housing : ancient fabric, weaving, different styles for rich and poor