Notes: March 24, 2008 – Leviticus 13

Chapters 13, along with chapter 14, discusses leprosy-how to identify it and how to treat it. The following outline is not precise, there is much overlapping of ideas between sections.

I.  Bright spots and scabs (1-3)

II. Swelling and ulcers (4-17)

III. Inflammation (18-28)

IV. Bright spots and blisters in the hair and beard (29-37)

V. Hair loss and baldness (38-39)

VI. What the leper must do, and what must be done to him (40-46)

VII. What must be done to garments that display leprous signs (47-59)

Meditation Points:

  • At this late date, it may be impossible to identify with certainty the exact physical condition called leprosy in these chapters. For sure it is not the same as what modern medicine identifies as leprosy.
  • This was, indeed, a physical condition; but it seems not to have been a contagious disease. Biblical leprosy was cleansed, not cured by a physician. God could remove it as it as quickly or as subtly as it had appeared.
  • Moses was familiar with leprosy, and so were the Egyptians (Exodus 4:6-7). Perhaps this provides a clue to our understanding of the condition–it was a means whereby God arrested the attention of men. See also Miriam (Numbers 12:10), Gehazi ( 2 Kings 5:27); and King Uzziah ( 2 Chronicles 26:20).
  • The large lesson is to see leprosy as a figure of moral pollution requiring cleansing. Moreover, we should learn to examine ourselves for signs of this pollution, and we should be able to discern the difference between that which calls for radical isolation and purification, and that which is merely incidental to being in a world of sin.
  • The examination of leprosy required time to determine whether the pollution was spreading or not. The health examiner looked to see how deep the pollution sank. Was the leprosy localized or had it already run its course over the whole body? Were there indications of current hot spots, bright spots, off-color hair? Sin is a pervasive plague; and leprosy is a fit figure thereof.
  • See the leper covering his lip, and confessing his uncleanness everywhere he goes ( Leviticus 13:45)? The leper is unfit for society and he should be banished until he becomes clean again ( Leviticus 13:46). What if churches were to practice such discipline with members living in open and obvious sin?