By Don Boys, PhD:
Informed health officials say that Egypt was the medical center of the ancient world. The ancient historian Herodotus recorded that during the days of the Medo-Persian Empire, it was King Darius’ practice “to keep in attendance certain Egyptian doctors, who had a reputation for the highest eminence in their profession.” However, Egypt was not nearly as medically informed as ancient Israel. Frankly, I think Egypt was more proficient in building (think, pyramids) than medicine. Israel was far advanced of the other nations in health issues.
For instance, Egyptian health officials gave instructions how to draw splinters from the flesh which consisted of “worm blood, mole, and donkey dung.” However, doctors S. I. McMillen and David Stern note that dung “is loaded with tetanus spores” and “a simple splinter often resulted in a gruesome death from lockjaw.”
The Ancient Egyptian provided prescriptions for skin disease as “A hog’s tooth, cat’s dung, dog’s dung, aau-of-samu-oil, berries-of-the-xet-plant, pound and apply as poultice.” Other remedies included dried excrement of a child, hog dung, and a farmer’s urine. One recipe to prevent hair growth included lizard dung and the blood from a cow, donkey, pig, dog, and stag.
It was said that the urine of a faithful wife was effective in the treatment of sore eyes. It seems ancient Egyptians had a thing about dung and urine! Israel was not so backward.
The Encyclopedia Britannica’s conclusion regarding the Bible’s instructions on sanitary and medical practices is very revealing: “The Old Testament is a mine of information on social and personal hygiene. The Jews were indeed pioneers in matters of public health.”
The Jews’ strict regulations regarding sexual activity along with their sanitation regulations plus their treatment of infectious diseases were millennia ahead of all other nations. God gave specific instructions for Israel regarding human waste. They were to relieve themselves away from the living area and to carry a tool for covering excrement! People in third world nations still don’t have this basic knowledge!
The Encyclopedia of Medical History declares, “The idea of contagion was foreign to the classic medical tradition and found no place in the voluminous Hippocratic writings. The Old Testament, however, is a rich source for contagionist (sic) sentiment, especially in regard to leprosy and venereal disease.” Maybe, just maybe we should use the Bible to control our personal lives, not because it is ancient but because it is accurate.
When one looks at the book of Leviticus for treatment of infectious disease he does not see dirty, dangerous, and deadly remedies and ingredients prescribed by Egypt and other ancient civilizations. In fact, the Pentateuch reveals awareness of germs and disease that “modern” medicine did not grasp for 3,500 years after the books were written!
For thousands of years doctors denied that disease could be transmitted by imperceptible means but in the 1860s Louis Pasteur confirmed in his Germ Theory of Disease that most infectious diseases were caused by microorganisms originating from outside the body.
Moses gave specific instructions to prevent the spread of disease from dung and dead bodies thousands of years before modern man understood the danger. Moses instructed Jews that diseases such as leprosy were dangerous to everyone and such infected people were to “dwell alone without the camp.” Lev. 13:45 commands when an infected person came into the vicinity of others who were not infected, the infected person was to “cover his upper lip, and shall cry, ‘unclean! unclean!’” That was not unkind and saved thousands of innocent lives.
It is obvious that the covering of the upper lip was to keep the infected person from coughing, sneezing, or spitting on non-infected people. On Oct. 9, 2014, it was announced that researchers found that a patient showing no symptoms of the disease “can still transmit a virus like Ebola by air if droplets containing the virus are transmitted to another person by a sneeze or cough.” That is contrary to what major health officials have been saying!
It was 1873 that mankind finally realized that leprosy was infectious instead of hereditary but then, Moses and the Israelites knew about it 3,500 years earlier! If a Jew was suspected of being infected he was examined by a priest who confirmed whether or not he was. If so, then he was to be removed from the living area until he was healed. That meant quarantine and while it was unpleasant and uncomfortable, it was not unreasonable.
Because of Israel’s advanced knowledge they were the only culture cognizant of infectious disease with the knowledge how to deal with them. They were the only group to practice quarantine until the Black Death (bubonic plague) smacked the face of Europe in the 14th century. Millions were dying of plague until church leaders in Vienna thought about the Bible’s plan to stop the spread of infectious disease. Officials required all ships entering Vienna’s port on the Danube to be isolated 40 days to ensure that none of the sailors or passengers was infected. Other cities followed the plan and the Black Death was stopped.
U.S. and world health officials had better realize they are health officials not politicians dedicated to not making anyone angry. We must prohibit anyone to enter the U.S. who has been to any African nation unless they have been in quarantine 21 days. That also includes our southern border. People are entering our nation daily without any physical examination and no shots. Even animals have to have shots to enter and kids have to have vaccinations to go to school. You think maybe we could be a little stricter with the deadly Ebola virus? It is time to act now. If Ebola reaches a critical mass, it could become a medical tsunami that will burn itself out after killing millions of people.
Maybe Obama should sign an executive order forbidding the Ebola virus to enter the U.S.!
Ancient Israel told us how to stop Ebola: confirm, contain, and confine the disease.
Watch these 8 minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota: “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
© Copyright by Don Boys, PhD, 2014. All rights reserved.