The Law of Leprosy in the Bible

Now we read the coming of the priest. “And let the priest out.” Now, if this is a reference to our Lord Jesus as the high priest who, when He came among us in His incarnate state, came out of the camp to seek and save what is lost, whether represented by it or not, we are not sure, but it certainly agrees with this. The coming of the priest could then indicate the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We read later in verse 3: “This is what the priest will look like, and when the infection of leprosy is cured in the leper, then the priest will give the order to take two pure birds alive and cedar wood and a scarlet string and hyssop for the one who is to be purified.” Well, note this, it is supposed to receive birds, take two clean birds alive. He does not say which ones, but the missionary speaks of sparrows as a means by which purification should take place. I have always wondered what the practical use of a sparrow was, and it is obvious that they had a practical use at the time. So both birds should be taken. Now, let`s look at the instruction in chapter 14: “Then the Lord said to Moses, saying, `Such shall be the law of the leper on the day of his cleansing.` Now he must be taken to the priest, and the priest must go out. The purification of the leper, mentioned here in verses 1 and 2, is a purification that has just taken place. This is not something that was done by anyone, but the following simply assumes that there has been a purification. By the way, the law of Moses contained no provision for the purification of a leper.

You can see it here. The law had nothing to do with that. He simply says, “It will now be the law of the leper on the day of its purification.” So, if suddenly, for no apparent reason, the leper discovers that his leprosy leaves him and that he has been purified, then the first thing he does is call the priests, because the priest is the one who will declare him officially pure and he must be officially declared pure by the priests. So he calls the priest first. And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, I will; Pure. And immediately, his leprosy was purified. Now let`s look at chapter 13, verse 45 and verse 46, for here we have the state of the leper. After God explained in the first part of chapter 13 how leprosy could be determined, now in verse 45, verse 46 of chapter 13, some of the things that are supposed to apply to the person in whom this disease was found are exposed. Verse 45 says, “As for the leper who has the infection, his garment will be torn.” They must be torn.

Now the tear was something that had taken place as evidence of grief for death; So the tearing of the leper`s clothes was designed to represent the desperate state of a leper. “And the hair of his head shall be bare, and he shall cover his mustache, and cry out, `Impure! Unclean! He should remain unclean every day he has the infection; He is unclean. By the way, when these words are used here, “He is unclean,” the reference does not refer so much to the disease itself in the physical sense, but to man`s ceremonial status before the Levitical economy. He remains ceremonially unclean until he is declared pure by the priest when healing has come; So this “impure, impure” means that it is ceremonially impure, although the disease itself can produce what would be called impurity in the physical sense. It is the law of lepraplage in a garment of wool or linen, either in the chain or in the fabric or anything made of furs, to declare it pure or to declare it impure. And when leprosy bursts into the skin, and leprosy covers all the skin [of him who has the plague] from head to foot, wherever the priest looks; Before you study Leviticus 14, you should know that a person who has caught leprosy must live outside the camp. The same goes for sin. When we sin, we cut ourselves off from full communion with the Lord and His Church. For example, we may not be allowed to partake of the sacrament or receive a temple recommend. The metaphor of Leviticus 13:47–59, the law dealing with cloth leprosy, reinforces Paul`s conclusion. A priest should examine a cloth believed to be leperous, but make no decision on the disposition of the garment for seven days, during which time he should remain isolated, separated from the people of Israel (verse 50). After seven days, he examined the suspicious garment again (verse 51).

If leprosy has spread, “whether it is chain or woof. it shall be burned in the fire” (verse 52). If the leprosy has not yet spread, the garment should be washed and isolated for another seven days (verses 53–54). If the leprosy has not changed color after this second week, the garment should be burned, even if the plague has not spread (verse 55). When the plague is gone, the garment is clean and usable after being washed a second time (verse 58). The garment also, in which is the plague of leprosy, [whether it is] a woollen dress or a linen dress; So we turn to Leviticus chapter 13 and chapter 14, which give us “The Law of Leper Purification.” Chapter 13 is a very long chapter of fifty-nine verses in which Moses gives instructions on the tests by which it can be determined that leprosy exists not only in individuals, but even in homes. And then, at the beginning of chapter 14, he talks about the law of purification of the leper. To teach when it is impure and when it is pure: this is the law of leprosy. And the priest will look at the plague in the skin of the flesh; and when the hair turns white in the plague, and the plague is deeper in sight than the skin of its flesh, it is a plague of leprosy; and the priest will look at him and declare him unclean. Then the priest shall consider: And behold, when leprosy has covered all his flesh, he will declare pure him who has the plague: all things have become white; He [is] pure.

And she said to her mistress: If God, my Lord, were with the prophet who is in Samaria! for he would deliver him from his leprosy. If the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he will be taken to the priest; And it shall scatter seven times upon him who is to be purified of leprosy, and declare it pure, and free the bird living in the open field. Naaman`s leprosy will therefore cling to you and your descendants forever. And he came out of his presence like a leper [as white] as snow. This is the law for all kinds of lepraplages and scall, and if the plague is greenish or reddish in the garment or in the skin, either in the chain, or in the wound, or in anything of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and will be shown to the priest: Uzziah was angry and had a censor in his hand to burn incense; and while he was angry with the priests, leprosy even rose on his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the altar of incense. If a man has in the skin of his flesh a rise, a crust, or a point of light, and let him be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be taken to Aaron the priest, or to one of his sons, the priests; Then the priest will look at him; and behold, if the rise of the wound is reddish white in his bald head or in his bald forehead, as leprosy appears in the skin of the flesh; And he brought the epistle to the king of Israel, saying, Now, if this letter has come to you, behold, I have sent you Naaman, my servant, that you may deliver him from his leprosy. He shall therefore burn with the skin this garment, whether it be a chain or a thrower, wool or linen, or any other thing in which the plague is found: for it is a shocking leprosy; It must be burned in the fire. The steps to being ceremoniously cleansed from leprosy can be found in the following groups of verses.

Read each group of verses in Leviticus 14, summarize each step, and explain how the steps teach the process of sin and repentance. With each group of verses, you will find a question to help you focus your thinking. Leprosy has terrorized humanity since biblical times and was recorded as early as 600 BC. J.-C. in India, China and Egypt. The term “leprosy” and its semantic variants are mentioned 68 times in the Bible.