I went to Christian Union tonight for the first time this term. We looked at Psalm 51 which is one of my favourite Psalms and very clear about forgiveness and how we should live as the people of God. It’s amazing how you notice something new every time you come to the Bible, and this time I noticed that David talks about being cleansed to be whiter than white by Hissop. Hissop was a type of tree in Israel and it’s quite important throughout the Bible as a sign of forgiveness – in the Passover (Exodus 12) the Israelites are instructed to put the blood of the lamb on their door posts using a branch of Hissop so that the Angel of Death might pass over their houses. In John 19:29 as Jesus is dying on the cross, someone gets a sponge of wine-vinegar and offers it to him on a Hissop stick. It’s also used throughout Leviticus 14 law about temple sacrifices, specifically to do with the blood of the animal which has been killed.
It’s really amazing to see how these really random themes just permeate all through the Bible – there’s really no chance to my mind that they could have been invented by the human authors of the Bible.