The Walk with God…Sanctification Leviticus 11-27, cont’d.
Leviticus 11-15 The Laws Concerning Purity, cont’d.
Leviticus 13-14-Purity concerning Leprosy
The term “leprosy” was used in a general manner to speak of a number of different kinds of outbreak, whether it was on a person, a garment, a utensil, or a house…that had the potential to be contagious, to spread sickness and disease. Obviously, there are some forms of disease that can be spread from person to person by contact. Thus, if a person had a disease of this type they were to be isolated from other people so as to stop its spread. We know today that there are also diseases that can be spread through contact or close proximity with objects. In recent years there has been much attention given to sicknesses caused by inhaling air or dust in a building that contains asbestos; levels of mold and mildew on walls in a home; drinking from containers that are made from certain types of plastic; heating food in a microwave on a plastic plate; or, children playing with objects that have lead in the paint on them. We have also become aware that disease can be spread from animals to people…such as avian flu, and people with open wounds contracting animal diseases through contact with infected animals. God was well aware of these things long before we were. So, He provided a method to protect His people from things that they didn’t even understand. He knew that if a person had an open wound it would be possible for him to contract a disease from an animal (even the hide, leather)…so, He gave instructions on what to do if a piece of clothing, or leather appeared to have some kind of leprosy (it looked like it was rotting, or had the appearance of infection). He also knew the affect that mold and mildew have on people. So, He provided a way to eliminate it from a home. Some people read these regulations concerning leprosy and believe it to be senseless, serving no purpose. But they have no idea that this was actually an act of love and protection by God for His people.
I wonder, how often today, just because we can’t make sense of out what God has said, do we put ourselves into a dangerous position by not being faithful and obedient to what He tells us. We’re really not as smart as we think we are.
For additional information on leprosy see:
For additional information on leprosy from a Jewish perspective see:
For information on the spread of animal diseases to people see:
Leviticus 13:1-43-Classifications of Leprosy.
Leprosy refers to a scaly condition found on humans and inanimate objects. In humans it refers to numerous kinds of skin eruptions…one of which is the disease that we refer to today as leprosy, or “Hansen’s disease”. The leper is always described as being ceremonially unclean…but not necessarily sinful. Although, there does seem to be the suggestion that leprosy served as an illustration of sin (cf. Isaiah 1:6; Psalm 51:7).
Leviticus 13:2-The Priest is the one who made the determination
Leviticus 13:3-In some instances, because the symptoms are not always adequate to determine the extent of the disease...the person would be declared ceremonially "unclean"...he would be place in isolation so that there could be further observation.
iii. Illnesses such as smallpox, measles, and scarlet fever might start out with a skin condition considered to be leprosy - and the person would be isolated for the necessary time until the condition cleared up. This quarantine helped prevent the spread of these diseases among the people of Israel…
- When leprosy first appears on your skin, it begins as small, red spots. Before too long they get bigger, and start to turn white, with a shiny or scaly appearance. Pretty soon the spots spread over the entire body and the hair begins to fall out - first from the head, then even from the eyebrows. As things get worse, the finger nails and toenails become loose; they start to rot and eventually fall off. Then the joints of fingers and toes begin to rot and start to fall off piece by piece. The gums start shrinking and can't hold teeth anymore, so each of them is lost. Leprosy keeps eating away at the face until the nose is literally lost, and the palate and even eyes rot - and the victim wastes away until death.
- Leprosy is like sin in many ways. There are some good reasons why many ancient rabbis considered a leper as someone already dead…
iii. "These precautions were taken not merely for sanitary reasons, or to guard against contagion, for it is not certain that leprosy was contagious, but in order that the people might be taught through the parable of leprosy, what a fearful and loathsome thing sin is in the sight of God." (Taylor)
Leviticus 13:44-46-Commands for a person with Leprosy
- Jewish custom said that you should not even greet a leper, and you had to stay six feet away from a leper. One Rabbi bragged that he would not even buy an egg on a street where he saw a leper, and another boasted that he threw rocks at lepers to keep them far from him. Rabbis didn't even allow a leper to wash his face.
Leviticus 13:47-59-Commands for an article (garment, clothing) with Leprosy
For an explanation of leprosy on a garment or house see:
Prayer: Father, leprosy is a terrible disease. It took men and women to the absolute lowest level in their society. And yet, Jesus loved lepers. He gave them hope, and forgiveness, and peace. Please help me to love those that others deem to be unlovable. Give me the love of Jesus…for all people.