The Cleansing from Leprosy.
THE MANNER OBSERVED IN PURIFYING A LEPER. - V.1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, v.2. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing, when he is found cured of the terrible disease with which he had been suffering: He shall be brought unto the priest; v.3. and the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper, literally, healed away from, that is, healed and gone away from, a careful inspection showing that all symptoms and marks of the disease have disappeared; v.4. then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar-wood, and scar let, and hyssop. The purpose was to make the person that had been sick Levitically clean. The living birds signified that the leperís dead flesh, the body that was all but dead, was restored to life and vigor; the cedar-wood denoted restoration from evil-smelling rotting of the tissues and the endurance of life: the scarlet (wool or thread or a bit of cloth), restoration of the color of health and freshness to the skin; the fragrant hyssop, the restoration from the exceedingly bad odor of the disease and the purity of life which was now to be expected of the patient. V.5. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel, which could afterward be destroyed, over running water, the vessel having been partly filled with water from a spring or brook. V.6. As for the living bird, which yet remained, he shall take it, and the cedar-wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water, so that the mixture of water and blood would cling to the feathers of the bird and to the other objects; v.7. and he (the priest) shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, as on similar occasions of peculiar solemnity, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose in to the open field. This signified that the former leper was released from the fetters of his sickness and could once more return to the enjoyment of full social and religious fellowship with the other people of his nation. V.8. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, on his whole body, and wash himself in water that he may be clean; and after that he shall come in to the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days. ďThis remaining restriction seems designed still further to impress upon the mind the fearful character of the disease from which the leper had recovered; and still more, to postpone the full restoration of the leper to his family until he had first, by the prescribed sacrifices, been restored to fellowship with God.Ē (Lange.) V.9. But it shall be on the seventh day that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off, for a second thorough cleansing; and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean, restored to full Levitical purity. He was now in a condition to offer the prescribed sacrifices of the eighth day. V.10. And on the eighth day he shall take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three-tenth deals of fine flour for a meat-offering, one-tenth of an epha (about two and one half quarts) being figured for each sacrificial animal, mingled with oil, and one log (about seven-tenths of a pint) of oil. V.11. And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, all the prescribed sacrifices, before the Lord, at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation; v.12. and the priest shall take one he-lamb, and offer him for a trespass-offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave-offering before the Lord, this ceremony distinguishing the leperís sacrifice from others of the same kind and serving for the worshiperís consecration; v.13. and he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin-offering and the burnt offering, in the Holy Place, north of the altar of burnt offering: for as the sin-offering is the priestís, so is the trespass-offering; it is most holy. V.14. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass-offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip, or lobe, of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, to consecrate the organs of the hearing of the Word, of doing the will of the Lord, and of walking in the path of His commandments, as in the consecration of the priests. V.15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand; v.16. and the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord, before the altar in the court; V.17. and of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass-offering which he had just applied in the same manner; v.18. and the remnant of the oil that is in the priestís hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to restore him to the privilege of his priestly kingship, from which he had been excluded by his disease; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord. Thus was the propitiation made and the gulf which had existed between God and man bridged over and covered. V.19. And the priest shall offer the sin-offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness, for the leprosy was only the outward expression of the inner impurity of sin; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering, the ewe lamb which had been provided. V.20. And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat-offering up on the altar; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean. All this was but a shadow and figure of the sacrifices of good works in which the believers of the New Testament are diligent. V.21. And if he be poor and can not get so much, then he shall take one lamb for a trespass-offering to be waved, instead of the two animals which the more well-to-do were expected to bring, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour (about two and one half quarts), mingled with oil for a meat-offering, and a log of oil (about seven-tenths of a pint); v.22. and two turtle-doves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get, as he can afford, according to his means; and the one shall be as in-offering and the other a burnt offering. V.23. And he shall bring them on the eighth day, after the first ceremony of washing or lustration, vv. 4-8, for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, before the Lord. V.24. And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass-offering and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave-offering before the Lord, to distinguish the leperís offering from the ordinary sacrifices of the same kind and to symbolize his renewed consecration to the Lord V.25. And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass-offering; and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass-offering, and put it up on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and up on the thumb of his right hand, and up on the great toe of his right foot; v.26. and the priest shall pour of the oil in to the palm of his own left hand; v.27. and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord; v.28. and the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand up on the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and up on the thumb of his right hand, and up on the great toe of his right foot, up on the place of the blood of the trespass-offering; v.29. and the rest of the oil that is in the priestís hand he shall put up on the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord, as before, vv. 16-18, and with the same significance. V.30. And he shall offer the one of the turtle-doves or of the young pigeons, such as he can get, v.31. even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin-offering and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat-offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord. The necessity of atonement, of propitiation, of bridging the gulf between God and sinful man by means of the sacrifices that prefigured the perfect offering of Christ, is brought out again and again. V.32. This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing, who is actually not in a position to afford the more expensive sacrifices. While cleansing was absolutely necessary, the Lord did not intend to place insuperable obstacles in the way of the person who wished to be restored to full communion with God and full fellowship with the covenant people.
LEPROSY IN A HOUSE. - V.33. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, v.34. When ye be come in to the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, which is here definitely foreseen, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession, if it should be found that the Lord had afflicted a house in this way, as a reminder of the fact that not only their bodies, but also their places of habitation should be considered consecrated to the Lord, v.35. and he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house, v.36. then the priest shall command that they empty the house, clear the house by moving all the furniture and utensils out, before the priest go in to it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean, for all the furniture mould be looked upon as unclean if it were still in the house when the sentence of condemnation would be passed upon the structure. And afterward the priest shall go in to see the house; v.37. and he shall look on the plague, on the spot or area which seems to be infected, and behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall, the reference undoubtedly being to fungous growths which partake of the nature of diseases, are often poisonous, and eat into the stones, v.38. then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house and shut up the house seven days. V.39. And the priest shall come again the seventh day, according to the division of time usually observed in ceremonies of this kind, and shall look; and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house, v.40. then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, which were affected by the fungous disease, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city. V.41. And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, to remove all the loose and soft particles of lime or sand from the stones; and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place; v.42. and they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other mortar, and shall plaster the house. V.43. And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plastered, the infection thus being not merely on the surface, but indicating a deep-seated trouble, v.44. then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house, an infection which eats away the substance of the stones; it is unclean. V.45. And he shall break down the house, that is, the priest shall cause this to be done, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house, all the building materials used in its construction; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. V.46. Moreover, he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. V.47. And he that lieth in the house, reclining there for the purpose of eating or sleeping, shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes, not so much on account of the danger of infection as to prevent the contraction of symbolical uncleanness. V.48. And if the priest shall come in and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house after the house was plastered, after the removal of the infected stones, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed. V.49. And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop; v.50. and he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water; v.51. and he shall take the cedar-wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird and in the running water, the blood being mixed with the water in the earthen vessel, and sprinkle the house seven times. V.52. And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar-wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet; v.53. but he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house, as a structure infected with the uncleanness of sin, as it appeared in the fungous growth on the walls; and it shall be clean. The rite thus was exactly the same as that used for the leper without the camp, vv. 4-7, and the house was restored from its taint to its proper relations and purposes. V.54. This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, scab or scurf, v.55. and for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, v.56. and for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot, v.57. to teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean; this is the law of leprosy, as it is contained in these two chapters.