For Bible Study Nerds

The story of the “Woman with an Issue of Blood” is told in three of the four gospel accounts: Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-24, and Luke 8:40-53. In addition to Matthew’s details, Luke informs us that “no one could heal her” (Luke 8:43) and Mark adds “she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors.”

Ever wonder what the prescribed treatments were for continuous uterine bleeding during Jesus’ time? The good news is that the Babylonian Talmud shared a list of procedures for curing this woman’s condition. The bad news is that most of those “treatments” were awful—and ineffective. Here are just a few “cures” this woman likely endured:

  • Eat barley grain taken from the dung of a white mule, then try not to have a bowel movement for three days.
  • Sit at a crossroads, holding a cup of wine, until a man comes up from behind and scares you by shouting, “Cease your discharge!”
  • Have your doctor smear sixty pieces of clay on you (presumably around your vaginal area) while saying to you, “Cease your discharge!”
  • Boil fenugreek, saffron, and cumin in wine, then drink it while your doctor inanely commands, “Cease your discharge!”

It’s no wonder this poor young woman ran to Jesus for help!


Works Cited:

[GISM 87-88; ZB1, 237]



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