Chapter 13: The Law of Leprosy
Laws of Leprosy and how to discern and control Leprosy. Leprous clothing is to be burnt.
What is Leprosy? Leprosy is a chronic disease caused by the “bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatois. Leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves, and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract. Skin lesions are the primary external sign of Leprosy. If untreated, Leprosy can be progressive, causing permanent damage to the skin, nerves, limbs and eyes. Fingers can be shorted, due to cartilage being absorbed into the body. Currently, around 2-3 million people in the world suffer from this disease. Over 1,000 leper colonies are still in existence, shut away from civilization. People today have a 95% immunity from Leprosy. Although rare, Leprosy can be treated within just a few weeks with modern medicine and incubation.
The Lord speaks to Moses and Aaron, about Leprosy:
“When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or a spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of Leprosy; then he shall be brought before… the priest… And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin…and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is leprosy; and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean” (Leviticus 13:2-3)
So anyone who had a bad scab or spot on their skin would have to be brought before the priest to determine if it is leprosy or not. If someone was pronounced to have this disease they would shut them up, away from everyone and the priest would check in on them every seven days. If after seven days the disease goes away, then the priest can pronounce them clean. They in-turn would have to wash their clothes and bathe, and be “clean” again.
If the leprosy was bad enough, their clothes would have to be burnt, to avoid having the disease spread to other people.
The rest of chapter 13 goes on to describe every possible scenario on detecting leprosy.
Chapter 14: Cleansing Lepers
In Mark 1:40-45; Jesus heals a leper and commands him to “…shew thyself (himself) to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded…” (Mark 1:44) The Leper was commanded to do, what Moses and Aaron were instructed of God to do. This is the Law of Cleansing Lepers:
The Lord speaks to Moses and instructs him of the Law of the Leper, or how to cleanse a leper, after the Leprosy has left the Leper.
- The priest shall go out and see if the Leper has healed.
- If the leprosy has been healed, the priest will command the leper to bring:
- two living birds
- cedar wood
- One of the birds will then be killed in an earthen vessel over running water.
- Then take the living bird, the cedar, scarlet and hyssop and dip them into the blood of the bird that was killed over running water.
- Then the leper will sprinkle the blood on himself, seven times.
- He will let the living bird free in the filed
- He will wash all his clothes
- He will shave his head and all the hair on his body.
- He will then bathe, until he is clean.
- Then the former Leper needs to stay by his tent for seven days.
- On the seventh day, he shall again shave off all his hair, including eyebrows.
- He will wash himself and his clothes.
- On the eighth day, he will take two lambs without blemish and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering mingled with oil and one log of oil.
- With this offering, he shall bring it to the door of the tabernacle and present them to the priest.
- The priest shall offer it in a similar manner as the Trespass Offering.
- The priest will take some of the blood from the Trespass Offering and put some blood on the Leper’s right ear, thumb of his right hand and the big toe of his right foot.
- The priest will put oil from the log of oil in the palm of his own left hand.
- The priest will dip his right finger into the oil that is on his left hand, and sprinkle it with his finger 7 times before the Lord.
- The remaining oil is to be put on the leper’s right ear, thumb of his right hand and the big toe of his right foot and then the rest to be poured on the Leper’s head.
- Then the priest will finish the offering of Trespass as Atonement for the un-cleanliness of the Leper, making him clean again.
A similar law is given for houses. If a house seems to have the plague a priest will go and investigate. If he sees the house might have Leprosy, the house is shut up for seven days. If he comes back and the house no longer has leprosy all is good. But if the house has leprosy that cannot be contained, the house is broken down and the pieces are carried to an unclean part of the city and a Trespass Offering is made with 2 birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop.