Can the Israelites ever have sex again?
As part of the revisions for my dissertation, I am looking at the ritual proscriptions in Exodus 19 where by Moses sacralizes the people of Israel through lustration and prohibition of sexual contact. However, what I am trying to discover is when this state of heightened ritual purity ends.
Source-critically, the passage begins in Exod 19:10-16aβ, 18:
10YHWH said to Moses: “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow. Have them wash their clothes 11and prepare for the third day, for on the third day YHWH will come down upon Mount Sinai before the eyes of all the people. 12You shall set limits for the people all around, saying, “Be careful not to go up the mountain or to touch the edge of it. Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. 13No hand shall touch them, but they shall be surely stoned or shot with arrows; whether animal or human being, they shall not live. When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.” 14So Moses went down from the mountain to the people. He consecrated the people, and they washed their clothes. 15And he said to the people, “Prepare for the third day; do not go near a woman.” 16On the morning of the third day, 18Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, for YHWH had descended upon it in fire; the smoke went up like the smoke of a kiln, while the whole mountain shook violently.
I believe that this source next appears in Exodus 24:1-2, 9-11bα (for arguments, see David Wright, Inventing God’s Law, 498, n.79):
1Then he said to Moses, “Come up to YHWH, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a distance. 2Moses alone shall come near YHWH; but the others shall not come near, nor shall the people come up with him.” 9Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, 10and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement lapis lazuli, like the very heaven for clearness. 11God did not lay his hand on the chief men of the children of Israel; also they beheld God.
However, where do these proscriptions end? I am entertaining the idea that this source next moves to Exod 33:1-3a and perhaps even the theophany in 33:12-34:28. However, none of this enters my concern of when these proscriptions are complete. When can the Israelites have sex again? Any thoughts?