Hebrew Voices #98 – Toilets in Ancient Israel

In this episode of Hebrew Voices, Toilets in Ancient Israel, Nehemia Gordon talks with Rabbi Dr. David Moster about how ancient Israelites took care of their daily needs, how archaeological toilet finds verify the authenticity of the Bible, and profanity in the Bible.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Hebrew Voices #98 - Toilets in Ancient Israel

You are listening to Hebrew Voices with Nehemia Gordon. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Nehemia: I heard a lecture once about this by the archaeologist who excavated the toilet at Qumran. They walked around, looking for a place that could be a toilet and they got to a certain spot where they smelled it after 2,000 years.

Benjamin Netanyahu: Le ma’an Zion lo ekhesheh, u’l’ma’an Yerushalayim lo eshkot. (For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest. Isaiah 62:1)

Nehemia: Shalom, this is Nehemia Gordon with Hebrew Voices, and I'm here today with Rabbi Dr. David Moster. He is the Director of the Institute of Biblical Culture at biblicalculture.org. We did a previous episode with him on Hebrew Voices called "The Chinese Origin of the Sukkot Etrog.” Today, we're gonna be speaking with him about some of the courses he's offering at his Institute at biblicalculture.org., online courses that anybody can take. Shalom, Rabbi Dr. David Moster.

David: Thank you, Nehemia. It's great to be back.

Nehemia: I was looking over the syllabus you sent me, and I want to jump in right here. One of the courses that you offer talks about daily life in Biblical Israel. So, you have a topic here from daily life in ancient Israel called "Going to the Bathroom in Ancient Israel.” And I think it's important, because we take such things for granted. I remember hearing a talk once from Oprah, of all people. And she grew up in like some rural area. And when she came to the big city, I think it was Chicago, she saw a toilet and she couldn't imagine what it was for, because it was in the house. She thought it was for washing your feet.

David: Oh, my goodness.

Nehemia: I knew it wasn’t for that other thing, ‘cause it was in the house.

David: Oh, my goodness. Wow, yeah.

Nehemia: So, tell us about bathrooms in ancient Israel.

David: Yeah, so first, just some introduction. I didn't set out to get my PhD to teach about going to the bathroom in ancient Israel. So, how did this happen? I'm teaching a class on daily life, and I wanted to make sure that every student is engaged. And I asked each of them, “What's an aspect of life that you would be interested in learning about the Israelites?” And so, one of our friends said, “Going to the bathroom,” and we all laughed. But then I thought, “Oh, it's a great topic,” and it actually is.

So, going to the bathroom in ancient Israel, what's really interesting about it, is that there's not a lot of talk about it in the Biblical texts. In Deuteronomy 23:12 it says, "You shall have a designated area outside the military camp to which you shall go. With your utensils, you shall have a trowel. When you relieve yourself outside, you shall dig a hole with it and then cover up your excrement.” And this law about covering up the excrement is only about the military camp. But you can kind of infer, if this is talking about the military camp that you have to be clean or covered, then you could also infer that would actually be the same in the towns. But what about the larger cities like Jerusalem or Samaria, how and where did the people go?

Nehemia: Before you get to that, I want to say something about military camps. So, they did a study after World War II and they looked at the German military versus the British military, especially in North Africa, where they had a lot of records. And they found that the Germans were constantly sick with gastrointestinal diseases, let's call it that, and the British weren't. And they found out that the reason, when they investigated, was the British military manual had rules for digging a latrine. Every time, every night. A single night you set up camp, you dig a latrine.

And the Germans just said, “We're only here for one night.” They walked out, they did their business and then their groundwater got infected. And they were constantly sick. And this actually may have turned the tide of the war in North Africa, or certainly hurt the German military, thank God. That's incredible, like here's a statement in Deuteronomy 23 from the Biblical period. And we find in the 20th century, this is still an issue. And even today in the 21st century, look, this is a part of life, this situation. What would they do in a city when you're a 20-minute walk from the city walls? What would you do in ancient Jerusalem?

David: So, we have to guess, we can't know for sure, we don't have a clear answer. We can kind of guess, based on other cities as far back as 100 years ago, 200 years ago, or 1,000 years ago, what would people have done before modern plumbing? And so, one option would be to let’s say, go to a city gate right outside. Another option would be, there would be a latrine area, right?

Nehemia: In the city?

David: In the city. Other people might use a bucket and just throw it out the window, something like that. But we don't know what the Israelites did. But what's really interesting for me when I was studying this, about going to the restroom, is that… Just look at what I just said, going to the restroom, right? We use a euphemism because it's so hard for humans to talk about this.

Nehemia: Even today, yeah.

David: It's the same thing in the Bible, because in the Biblical texts going "number two,” so to speak, is called “mesikh et raglav,” he covered his legs. That's what it's called, “lehasikh et raglav,” to cover the legs.

Nehemia: Where do you see that?

David: You see that in a verse such as Judges 3:24, which says, “After Eglon had gone, the servants came. When they saw the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, ‘He must be covering his legs in the cool chamber.’”

Nehemia: And I remember learning this when I was in fourth grade, I believe it was fourth grade. And we were told that it was very hot, and he would stick his feet in water to cool it off. Wow, that's a connection to Oprah, I didn't even know that until you just said it. Wow.

David: No. So, what it meant was that he…

Nehemia: I'll be honest, that's what I thought it meant until just now, so I've learned something. Wow.

David: And the coolest thing about this euphemism, Nehemia, is that I was calling it, "going to the restroom.” They didn't have restrooms, or actually Eglon may have had a restroom.

Nehemia: Yeah, because he was a King, maybe he had a room.

David: Maybe a King or something like that. But for most people it wasn't like that. But the thing is, is that this difficulty of talking about it is also in the Bible, and then it's also in the interpreters of the Bible, until this day. Let me give you an example.

In many passages in the Book of Kings and Samuel, they're talking about slaughtering males, male people. And in this context, the phrase comes up of not going "number one,” urination. It's called “mashtin bakir,” or somebody who would urinate on a wall. And that would be a man standing up against a wall. For example, what I like to say, in 1 Samuel 25:22, it says, "God do so to David and more also, if by morning I leave so much as one male of all who belong to him.” And that's in the New Revised Standard version. If I leave one person alive, that's going to be such a terrible thing. I'm not going to leave one male alive.

Nehemia: That's what it says in the New Revised…

David: In the English.

Nehemia: Okay, in the English.

David: Then you look at the King James, and the King James says, "If I leave any that pisseth against the wall.”

Nehemia: Okay. And that's what it says in the Hebrew, right?

David: Yeah, it’s what it says in the Hebrew. What we see here is that in the New Revised Standard version, it's also in the Jewish Publication Society and other Bibles, is that there's this difficulty of talking about it. And in the text itself, the translators of People's Bible who don't know Hebrew, they would miss that nuance. There's kind of a nuance there, that it says that those who go urinate on a wall, it's kind of like almost slangish.

Nehemia: Yeah, it might actually refer to the younger people who hadn't learned to use the chamber pot, possibly.

David: Okay. You know, the more interpretations the better.

Nehemia: In other words, you've lost that possibility to distinguish those interpretations when you're told in the New Revised Standard version that it's just every male, and it didn't even tell you what the literal phrase was.

David: Right.

Nehemia: They've taken that ability away from you, to find out what the nuance there is.

David: And I will say, every single translation is right and every single translation is wrong.

Nehemia: That's a great saying, I'll steal that.

David: I can’t make a better translation. I'm not criticizing them, I'm just saying, we see what's going on here, when we take a peek under the rug and we see the Hebrew. So, that's what's going on. Now, let's go to 2 Kings 18, which you mentioned. And so, maybe this requires a bit of introduction. Many people, when they just read the Bible in the straight up English, or Spanish, or German, whatever non-Hebraic language they're studying, it's very simple to think that, “Oh, the text that we have in front of us has no other nuances to it. It's just straight down.” But the way the Hebrew Bible is passed down, the actual Hebrew texts had little margins on the side with like alternate versions for certain words, and this is what we have here in 2 Kings 18:27.

Nehemia: Well, I wouldn't consider this an alternate version.

David: Or a clean-up, right.

Nehemia: In other words, here's how I would describe this. I mean, because this is a certain category of kri-ketiv which are euphemisms, and that category is, when you look at the Biblical text, in the text you see one word. But when they read it publicly in the synagogue or in whatever context, they did not read that word because that word was considered offensive, and so they read a different word.

David: Right, and sometimes in Rabbinic it's called “tikun sofrim,” “effects of the scribes.”

Nehemia: Well, that's a completely different category, tikun sofrim. That's where it's changed in the body of the text. Here, the body of the text is left intact, and it has the word “khareyhem,” which if I was in Israel right now...I'm in the US, but if I was in Israel, I just said a curse word, a cuss word. And it's in the Bible, it's in the Biblical text, right? It says it right there in front of me, in black and white. And then, the way it's read in the Synagogue is not that word, that cuss word. It's “tso'atam,” “that which comes out of them,” their excrement, right?

David: It’s a little cleaner.

Nehemia: Yeah, and the context here is a famous story that I talk about all the time, I love this story. It's Rabshakeh, and he talks about the men who are on the walls of Jerusalem. He's talking to the diplomats, the highfalutin leftists. He said, “I didn't come to talk to you guys, I came to talk to those who are sitting on the wall, eating their – blank - and drinking their - blank - with you.” Meaning, “I'm not talking to you guys,” because they're trying to get him to talk in Aramaic. And he says, “No, no. I'm gonna talk in Hebrew,” because this is directed at the men on the walls, so they know that you're gonna lose this war, the simple man on the wall who doesn't know Aramaic, he only speaks Hebrew. And right now, because they're under siege, they're eating their excrement and drinking, it says, “the water of their legs.” But it didn’t say that in the body of the text, it's in the margin. In the body of the text it has very vulgar words, from the perspective of ancient Israel, and even today, right? The first word is, even today.

David: Right, after teaching this for so long, I’ve kind of gotten used to saying it, you know. You see, I'm having difficulty, this is what this is all about.

Nehemia: This is a word that begins with S and ends with T, and it's not sherbet. And in Israel, you would use this word like you stub your toe. Not me, of course. Some people, they stub their toe and they would say the word right here in the Bible. They would yell it out at the top of their lungs, or they would call me that if I cut them off in traffic, “You X,” right? They'd use that word, and it's there in the Bible, and they didn't read that. And I guess you're right. This shows that they were uncomfortable with these words, right? Now, why is it recorded in the Bible? Because apparently, Rabshakeh used this word to shock people.

David: The Assyrians, right, yes.

Nehemia: Rabshakeh, this Assyrian general, he's kind of like the Donald Trump of the ancient world, right? And he's tweeting out. And people are like, “He's this high official. Did he just really use that word? I can't believe it. I'm scandalized by this.” And yeah, he did it because he wanted to get your attention.

David: Right. There was another cool thing about this. So basically, what we just went through is, you know, all the Biblical texts about going to the bathroom. Your listeners are still with us, pat on the back, you made it through, you know, a tough topic. But one of the cool things outside the Bible, there are these archaeologists at Lakhish, in the territory of Judah, a great city of Judah. And they found in the city gate at the entrance, there was what appeared to be a destruction layer of an old temple, probably a temple not to the Lord, to the ba'als, or to the other gods or something like that. And so, there's that destructed temple, and right on top of it is what looks like a toilet.

Nehemia: Oh, wow. They turned the temple into a toilet.

David: And the idea is that this is actually reflected in the Biblical text itself. It says in 2 Kings 10:26 that they... This is talking about Yehu from the north, but we can kind of apply it later on. “They,” Yehu and his men, “brought out the pillar that was in the temple of ba'al and burned it. Then they demolished the pillar of ba'al and destroyed the temple of ba'al and made it to a latrine to this day.” A place of excrement.

Nehemia: Wow, that's really cool. Wait, what's the word in Hebrew there? I'm not able to pull it up at the moment.

David: It refers to what we were just talking about. It's the same case of what we were just talking about.

Nehemia: Where's that? I want to see it. 2 Kings, what is it?

David: 10:26-27. And we have a kri uketiv, which means that there's the kind of what's written and then what's said, the euphemism, again from…

Nehemia: Oh, wow, there it is. It's the word "sherbet" right there in the Bible, or it's "place of sherbet.”

David: Right, something like that. And instead of that it's turned to "excrement,” it's made more sort of meek.

Nehemia: Wow.

David: Right, and so what we have here is that in Lakhish, when these archaeologists found this…

Nehemia: That’s awesome.

David: …that's how they interpreted it as saying, “Well, what's going on here?” What probably happened is that one of the greatest Kings in the Bible, if not the greatest King of the Judahic Kings is King Hizkiyahu, at least one of the greatest. And what he did is, he got rid of a lot of idolatry. And the archaeologists, they way they interpreted this is that in Lakhish, King Hizkiyahu destroyed that little temple...

Nehemia: Hezekiah.

David: Right, yeah, Hezekiah. And so, that's how the archaeologists interpreted it. Whether they're right or wrong we'll never really know, because that's archaeology.

Nehemia: But that makes perfect sense. In other words, it's exactly what Yehu did. And he had set the precedent. And so, when Hezekiah destroyed the high place in Lakhish, he replaced it with a toilet, which is the natural place for a toilet, as well.

David: Yes.

Nehemia: And guys, when you read in Deuteronomy about not bringing a sacrifice in one of your gates, the context here is that the Israelites would set up altars in their gates, they would set up little temples. And the point of Deuteronomy is, “No, bring it only to Jerusalem, not in one of your gates.” That's why "one of your gates" means "one of your cities,” ‘cause every city gate…Not every, but most city gates in ancient Israel during the periods of idolatry, would have what they called the “high places.” They would have a sanctuary to ba'al, or even to the God of Israel, but in the wrong place, you know, and they kind of would mix it. That's pretty cool stuff. Very, very cool. Wow, that's awesome. So, this is the kind of thing that people can learn in your course at biblicalculture.org, and at your YouTube channel and your website. Wow, this is great stuff. Wonderful.

David: Yeah, I'll say this class, “Daily Life in Ancient Israel,” when I started, I told the students... And I want to reiterate, we started with telling time in ancient Israel. We didn't start with going to the bathroom.

Nehemia: You talked about the calendar and everything.

David: Right, we talked about the calendar.

Nehemia: Okay, we love the calendar here in Hebrew Voices, but we don't have time to get into that today.

David: But what I told the students is, what I told our community was, “Hey, guys. We have just started the first course of what could be 50 courses.”

Nehemia: Right.

David: Because if you think about it, every part of Tanakh, of the Old Testament, of the New Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls, all of this is daily life. It's just kind of packaged in certain ways, but it's reflecting people who have real daily lives. That includes going to war, that includes getting married, that includes traveling. All these things are part of the daily life of ancient Israel, and that was one of our courses. But I know you're interested in some other courses.

Nehemia: Well, before we get to that, you mentioned the Dead Sea Scrolls, so I've gotta talk really…I heard a lecture once about this by the archaeologist who excavated the toilet at Qumran. It was 2,000 cubits outside the city. And the way they found it is in one of the scrolls it says, “When you need to relieve yourself…” here, I used another euphemism. It says, “Walk 2,000 cubits...” I don't remember if it was 2,000 or 1,000. It says a certain number of cubits outside of the town, “and bury it.” So, they walked that distance. And in a circumference, they walked around looking for a place that could be a toilet. And they got to a certain spot where they smelled it, after 2,000 years. Bear in mind…

David: They were able to figure it out.

Nehemia: Well, it's in the desert.

David: It’s in the desert, right.

Nehemia: And it was a very important excavation, because the assumption was, the people at Qumran were fastidious about cleanliness. They were obsessively clean and must have been very healthy people. And they dug the latrine, and they came to the conclusion that the people were constantly sick with diarrhea, and probably died in their 30s because of dehydration out in the desert, with constant diarrhea.

So, what happened, what's going on? Well, they're going to the mikvah every morning, and it's the desert and there it's the same water for six months until it rains. And even then, you're not completely clearing it out, right? So, they were constantly sick, these people, because they went to the mikvah every morning, out there in the desert. It's the same mikvah water. One guy is sick, everybody's sick. And so, they cracked the code of the toilet of Qumran and found out they were actually very unhealthy people and very dirty people, because they showered every day...not showered, they bathed every day. It was actually a downside.

David: Right. Well yeah, even talking about Qumran, you know, once you get to the Roman period, or closer and closer to it, you have a lot more of these real toilets, you know, public restrooms, and then you get bathhouses.

Nehemia: With running water, you have, in the Roman period. Look, there's a famous scene in the Monty Python movie, Life of Brian, where they say, “What did the Romans do for us?” And the one guy says, “Well, there's the aqueducts.” “Okay, besides the aqueducts, there's the public toilets.” “Besides the aqueducts and the public toilets, what have the Romans done for us?” And they actually mentioned that. Pretty funny.

David: Yes, excellent. So yeah, we did other things like, you know, daily life, telling time. One of the things that I made a video about that was very popular was Israelite fashion.

Nehemia: Oh, wow.

David: How did the Israelites dress?

Nehemia: Yeah, that's pretty cool.

David: Not many people know this, but we actually have three sources that clearly illustrate ancient Israelites. And all three of them come from the archnemesis, the Assyrians.

Nehemia: And you mean they graphically represent the ancient Israelites?

David: Graphically. So, what we're looking at here is a woman from Lakhish, in the area of Judah, where we just talked about…

Nehemia: The toilet.

David: …the latrine. She is from this area. She lived here and she's been exiled. And what we see here is that she is dressed in a tunic cloak kind of thing, and a long hat. And that long hat would have helped her to keep warm in the middle of the night. You wouldn't have had a comforter like we do today, or a blanket, even. And the interesting thing is, it's not just her. Look right behind her, her daughters are dressed just like her.

Nehemia: So, this isn't for modesty, it's actually functional in Israel. And especially, Lakhish is not in the mountains but it's in the foothills, and it can get chilly there in the winter. It's not Tel Aviv. It can get quite cold.

David: Yeah. And actually, a number of Biblical texts talk about that. If you take a person's cloak as a pledge, you must return it to him at night. Because if you don't, they're gonna freeze.

Nehemia: And it says, “Well, what will he sleep with,” right?

David: Right.

Nehemia: Yeah. And there's a famous inscription from a place called Mesad Hashavyahu, where the guy actually has a debt and he can't pay the debt. And the guy comes and takes away his cloak. And he writes a letter to the judge, and we have the letter. We have an ostracon copy of the letter, where he says, “Look, I don't have another garment. Make him give me my garment back.” And he literally has one garment. And it's like one piece of cloth, essentially, for this really poor guy. Maybe he has a loincloth besides that, but you know, he's cold at night because he doesn't have his piece of cloth.

David: Right, yeah. And so, ancient Israel was a place where if you didn't have your cloak at night, you would freeze. To death? I don't know, maybe. I don't know, I don't think so.

Nehemia: In Jerusalem you'd freeze to death, potentially, in the winter, but not in Lakhish.

David: Yeah, maybe sometimes, right.

Nehemia: I mean, I think it's important for us to remember, because, I mean, at least in the United States here, and in Israel, we go through t-shirts like they’re, you know, I'd even say like they're socks, right?

David: Right.

Nehemia: But even to make a statement like that, right? We throw our clothes out. And I actually heard a podcast about this a while back, that people would donate their clothes. And they would then bring those clothes to Africa and sell them for like 10 cents for a t-shirt, which for some African countries, it's a lot of money. But what it was doing, it was putting the local textile businesses out of business, the local textile companies, because how can you compete with the t-shirt they bought, you know, probably for less than a penny, because they bought it in bulk. They bought a container full of clothes, and they're selling it for 10 cents apiece. So, if you're an African textile manufacturer, you can't compete with that.

So, we take these things for granted. We read in Genesis how he gave Binyamin, Benjamin, he gave him 10 garments. It's like your grandfather who comes and he brings you a handkerchief. When I was a kid, my grandfather literally would come on holidays and bring me a handkerchief. And I'm like, “What do I do with this?” Or he brought me socks, and I'm like, “I already have socks. Why are you bringing me socks?” But it wasn't that long ago, that was a big deal. And boy, in Biblical times that was a really big deal.

David: It wasn't grandfather giving you a handkerchief. It was grandfather giving you a hedge fund.

Nehemia: Right. In other words, you would have a situation... You actually read this in the Middle Ages. You have these documents. When a woman would get married, they'd write all the things she came into the marriage with in case there was a divorce, she would get that stuff back. It was called a “nedunia.”

And one of the things it mentions there is that she comes with tablecloths, and she comes with certain garments, and it's like, why are you guys bothering a scribe with all this petty information? Because it was a big deal, cloth was expensive before the Industrial Revolution. And so, people can learn about what it was like and get a picture of that from your course about daily Israel. We're not going to give everybody the whole thing, because we don't have time to get that. They could actually go to your YouTube channel, can't they? What's your YouTube channel where they can find out more information about some of this?

David: On YouTube search biblicalculture.org, one word, and then you'll find us. And in the past few months, we've been putting out a video every two weeks. So, there's steady streaming of content.

Nehemia: Wonderful. So, guys, we're not gonna get to everything today. You can go to his website, biblicalculture.org and get more information, or to his YouTube channel. All right. Guys, this was an incredible topic. We didn't get to what I really wanted to talk about, which was the Psalms. And you have a whole class that we'll do next time, about how the Mishnah relates to the New Testament and deals with Biblical contradictions. Okay, we're not going to get to that, that'll be next time.

So, you heard it here, David Moster talking about toilets in ancient Israel. David, I do this thing where I ask the guests to end with a prayer. And you being a Rabbi Doctor, would you end with some kind of prayer? Maybe it's a prayer about...

David: I will.

Nehemia: I don't want to sound facetious here, but a prayer related to the bathroom. In Judaism there's a traditional bathroom prayer. You know, and when you get to be older, you realize, “Hey, you can't take these things for granted,” right? You can get to an age where it doesn't work anymore.

David: Right. So, I was actually just putting my son to bed recently, just an hour ago. And he's the best guy, he’s a little guy, under one. Still a little kid, but he has special needs. And it’s like every time I hold him and I look into him, I have so many hopes and wishes for him that I could just convey and just it would go to him automatically, almost like electricity going through.

And so, the best thing I could wish for him, and for everyone here, and for listeners who know people, is really health. And that actually is what we were dealing with today. And so, the blessing I would give to your listeners is of health for them, and also their loved ones.

Nehemia: Amen.

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Rabbi Dr. David Moster is the Founder and Director of The Institute of Biblical Culture, a non-profit organization that aims to provide the general public with an in-depth understanding of the Bible and its cultural world. Moster holds a PhD in Biblical Studies from Bar Ilan University, an MA in Ancient Israel from New York University, and Rabbinical ordination from Yeshiva University.

Depiction of ancient communal restrooms.

Depiction of ancient communal restrooms.

Verses Mentioned
Deuteronomy 23:12-14
Judges 3:24
1 Samuel 25:22 – New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
1 Samuel 25:22 King James Version (KJV)
2 Kings 18:27
2 Kings 18:4
2 Chronicles 29-32
2 Kings 10:27
Deuteronomy 12:11-14
Exodus 22:26
Deuteronomy 24:13
Genesis 45:22

  • Neil Froese says:

    Now that brings more meaning to what we read in the Bible, and the stories I’ve learned while I was really young

  • J Ellis says:

    Before spinning wheels were introduced it took 10 spinners to supply the thread for one weaver. A typical garment represented one “man year” of labor from start to finish until industrialization was widely adopted.

  • daniel says:

    Real interesting, especially the part in II Kings 10 and the matching archaeology! Had to smile, though, remembering what my Jewish friend’s mom would call this way back when we were young … “bathroom humor”. On my way to check out TIBC link you posted. Thanks again, NG !

  • Mark Dunn says:

    But, did they still get scorned by their wives for not putting the seat down when they finished?

  • Charles R Perschbacher says:

    My wife told me “great now I’ll have to find another word for sherbet … that was great … then I explained they weren’t talking about sherbet, but another s word … so hillarious. Who doesn’t like a good fart joke… toilet humor etc…

  • Gisselle Mendoza says:

    Interesting to know. Thank you for sharing.

  • Olivia fromChillChat says:

    Very interesting. Thanks NG for the insight something mundane, yet so neccessary.

  • Olivia says:

    Very interesting to learn about the mundane, yet very necessary things. Thanks NG !!

  • Adri Kruger says:

    Very interesting subject. Thank you for clarity on this. Great episode.

  • Reyes Nava says:

    Great insight that gives new meaning to “Cleanliness is Next to Godliness”
    Truly all of His instructions are for our good.

    “And Yehovah commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Yehovah our God, for our good continually, that he might preserve us alive, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 6:24