Clean

klen (Anglo-Saxon cloene, "clear," "pure"): Rendering four Hebrew roots: bar, etc., "purify," "select," "make shining"; zakh, etc., "bright," "clean" "pure"; naqi, "free from," "exempt"; Taher, "clean," "pure," "empty," "bright" (?) the principal root, rendered "clean" 80 times (the King James Version); occurring in all its forms in various renderings about 200 times; also one Greek root, katharos, etc., akin to castus, "chaste," "free from admixture or adhesion of anything that soils, adulterates, corrupts" (Thayer's Lexicon). The physical, ritual, ethical, spiritual, figurative uses continually overlap, especially the last four.

See the definition of clean in the KJV Dictionary

1. Physical:

The physical use is infrequent: "Wash .... with snow water, and make my hands never so clean" (zakhakh, Job 9:30; figurative also); "clean provender" (hamits, the Revised Version (British and American) "savory"; the Revised Version, margin "salted"); "Cleanse .... inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also" (katharos, Mt 23:26); "arrayed in fine linen, clean (katharon) and white" (Re 19:8; the American Standard Revised Version "bright and pure").

See also the McClintock and Strong Biblical Cyclopedia.

2. Ceremonial:

The principal use was the ceremonial; applied to persons, places or things, "undefiled," "not causing defilement," or "from which defilement has just been removed"; Taher, almost exclusively ceremonial, being the chief Hebrew root. Katharos (New Testament), or derivatives, has this use clearly in Mr 1:44; Lu 5:14: "Offer for thy cleansing the things which Moses," etc.; Heb 9:13,12,23: "the cleanness of the flesh," etc. "Clean" is applied to animals and birds: "of every clean beast" (Ge 7:2); "of all clean birds" (De 14:11); (for list of unclean creatures see Le 14:1-57-Le 20:1-27); to places: "Carry forth .... unto a clean place" (Le 4:12); to buildings: "Make atonement for the house; and it shall be clean" (Le 14:53); to persons: "A clean person shall take hyssop" (Nu 19:18); to clothing: "garment .... washed the second time, and shall be clean" (Le 13:58); and to objects of all sorts, free or freed from defilement.

3. Ethical or Spiritual:

The ethical or spiritual meaning, either directly or figuratively, is found in the Old Testament chiefly in Job, Psalms, the Prophets, whose interest is ethico-religious, rather than ritual, but the predominant uses are found in the New Testament: "Cleanse yourselves (barar) ye that bear the vessels of Yahweh" (Isa 52:11); "How can he be clean (zakhah) that is born of a woman?" (Job 25:4) (principally moral, perhaps with allusion to the ceremonial defilement of childbirth); "The fear of Yahweh is clean" (Ps 19:9), that is, the religion of Yahweh is morally undefiled, in contrast to heathen religions; "He that hath clean (naqi) hands, and a pure heart" (Ps 24:4); "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean" (Taher, Ps 51:7); "Therefore said he, Ye are not all clean" (katharos, Joh 13:11). Here, as in Ps 51:7 and many others, the ritual furnishes a figure for the spiritual, illustrating the Divine purpose in the ritual, to impress, prefigure and prepare for the spiritual. A somewhat similar figurative moral use is found in Ac 18:6: "Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean" (katharos, "guiltless," "unstained").

See also UNCLEANNESS; PURIFICATION;DEFILEMENT .

Clean.--Adverb (in one case adjective): "utterly," "wholly"; usually rendering an intensive use of the Hebrew verb as Joe 1:7: "He hath made it clean bare" (lit. "stripping he will strip"); Zec 11:17: "Arm .... clean dried up"; Isa 24:19 the King James Version :"Earth is clean dissolved." Twice it renders a principal verb: Jos 3:17: "Passed clean over the Jordan" (literally, "finished with regard to J."); Le 23:22 King James Version: "Shall not make a clean riddance" (literally, "shall not finish the corners"; the American Standard Revised Version "shalt not wholly reap"). Once it renders a noun: Ps 77:8: "Is his lovingkindness clean gone for ever?" ("end," he-'aphec, "has his lovingkindness come to an end?"); and once an adverb "clean (ontos, "actually," "really") escaped" (2Pe 2:18); but the American Standard Revised Version, following the reading "oligos," "a little," "scarcely," renders "just escaping."

Philip Wendell Crannell

 
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