-Chapter 13 discusses in unpleasant detail the tests for spotting and dealing with leprosy in the camp of Israel. The LORD speaks these directions for His chosen people directly to Moses and Aaron, the brother of Moses (Exodus 4:14, Leviticus 13:1). Leprosy is a name applied to various diseases during those days and was greatly feared because of its potential for fatality. These diseases were highly contagious. It is interesting that it was the priests who acted as doctors for determining these matters in this theocratic form of government. They were given exact things to look for in making an assessment based on the rule and omniscience of God, who knows all things well. The tests included swelling, scabs, bright spots, discoloring, and infections on the skin. They also involved boils, the coloring of hairs, and defects below the skin level. Not only were the stipulations for the bodies of men and women covered, but their garments as well. Tainted clothes with the disease were to be burned with fire thus destroying the contamination.
-Lepers who had the infections were to tear their clothes, uncover their hair of their head, cover any facial hair, and cry out to the camp, “Unclean! Unclean!” They were to dwell outside of the camp alone to thwart the spreading of the disease (Leviticus 13:45-46). Today this may seem inhumane and ostracizing, but drastic situations called for drastic measures. If healed, the people were restored at the priests’ discretion after allowing for the proper time to inspect by God’s given Law. These practices were well in force even in Jesus’ time as denoted by accounts in the New Testament (Matthew 8:2-4, Mark 1:40-44, Luke 5:12-14; 17:11-17).
-*Application* Leprosy is often illustrated in the Bible as a type and symbol for sin. Just like leprosy, sin can be very contagious, it is absolutely destructive, and it leads to separation. The theme of holiness reigns supreme once again in this passage when we consider how this disease relates spiritually to iniquity.
Verse to Memorize: Leviticus 13:2