Leviticus Chapter 13 Continued
We will continue on with the leper from the last lesson. We had decided that this is not only speaking of a physical disease but spiritual, as well.
Leviticus 13:20 “And if, when the priest seeth it, behold, it [be] in sight lower than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil.”
And has thoroughly viewed it and considered it.
“Behold, it be in sight lower than the skin”: Having eaten into and taken root in the flesh under the skin.
“And the hair thereof be turned white”: Which are the signs of leprosy before given (Lev. 13:3).
“The priest shall pronounce him unclean”: Not fit for company and conversation, but obliged to conform to the laws concerning leprosy.
“It is a plague of leprosy broken out of the boil”: Which was there before. This is an emblem of apostates and apostasy, who having been seemingly healed and cleansed, return to their former course of life. And to all the impurity of it, like the dog to its vomit, and the swine to its wallowing in the mire (Prov. 26:11). And so their last state is worse than the first (Matt. 12:45). As in this case; at first it was a boil, and then thought to be cured, and afterwards arises out of it a plague of leprosy.
We have been discussing the similarity between leprosy as a disease, and sin. Sin is spoken of as corruption. This is always a repulsive thing. The examining of this by the high priest is like the leader of the church examining the actions of someone who has erred. Was the thing they did in ignorance, was it a sin done with no intent of harm, or was it a sin from within? If this sin was a sin formed in the inside of man, then we see the worst kind of sin. This type sin, would separate the person from the flock. The leader of the church must decide which type of transgression this is. Is the sin to be forgiven and just go on, should there be some kind of restitution to the offended, or should the sinner be cut off from the flock?
Leviticus 13:21 “But if the priest look on it, and, behold, [there be] no white hairs therein, and [if] it [be] not lower than the skin, but [be] somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:”
Upon a person in a like case as first described, having had a boil, and that healed, and afterwards a white swelling, or a bright spot in the place of it.
“And, behold, there be no white hairs therein”: Not two hairs turned white, as Gersom interprets it.
“And if it be not lower than the skin”: The bright spot not lower than the skin; not having got into the flesh, only skin deep. The Targum of Jonathan is, not lower in whiteness than the skin. For the bright spot is described as white, and so the rising or swelling (Lev. 13:19).
“But be somewhat dark”: Or rather “contracted”; to which spreading is opposed in the next verse (see notes on Lev. 13:6).
“Then the priest shall shut him up seven days”: To wait and see whether it will spread or not. A boil and burning, the Jews say, make a man unclean in one week, and by two signs, the white hair, and the spreading. By the white hair, both at the beginning and at the end of the week after dismissal, and by spreading at the end of the week after it.
To look at this spiritually, this would be like the head of the church, telling the sinner to make restitution to the person wronged and come back to the church. The head of the church would then decide whether this person is truly repentant, and whether he would recommend him being brought back in as a member of the church.
Leviticus 13:22 “And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a plague.”
Upon viewing it on the seventh day, though it is not expressed, the swelling or bright spot; or “in spreading spread” (see notes on Lev. 13:7). Which Ben Gersom interprets, not of the skin of the flesh, but of the ulcer.
“Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean”: Even though there are no white hairs in it, nor is it lower than the skin, yet is not at a stand or contracted, but spreading.
“It is a plague”: Or stroke. It is one sort of a leprosy, and such a one as makes a man unclean in a ceremonial sense.
Leprosy is probably the most dreaded disease. In some cases, great portions of flesh fall off. This is the description of rampant sin as well. Especially when it sweeps through a church. The head of the church has to remove a habitual sinner from the membership to keep the sin from overwhelming the other members.
Leviticus 13:23 “But if the bright spot stay in his place, [and] spread not, it [is] a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.”
Continues as it was when first viewed.
“It is a burning boil”: But not a plague of leprosy.
“And the priest shall pronounce him clean”: As clear of a leprosy, and so not bound by the law of it, though attended with an inflammation or burning ulcer.
Sometimes a person is accused of sin, when they are not guilty. The head of the church has to decide, whether this just looks like sin on the surface, or if this is really sin. Just because a person is accused of sin is not enough, there must be proof for the head of the church to move upon it.
Leviticus 13:24 “Or if there be [any] flesh, in the skin whereof [there is] a hot burning, and the quick [flesh] that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white;”
Or “a burning of fire”: It is asked, what is a burning? That which is burnt with a coal or with hot ashes; all that is from the force of fire is burning. That is, whatever sore, pustule, or blister, is occasioned by fire touching the part, or by anything heated by fire.
“And the quick flesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white”: The Targum of Jonathan is, a white spot mixed with red, or only white. And so Aben Ezra interprets the last clause: this seems to set aside Bochart’s interpretation of the word “adamdemeth”, which we render “somewhat reddish”. And be, very white, bright, and glittering since white is here opposed unto it. Though it may be, the sense is, that the flesh burnt has a bright white spot in it, exceeding glittering. Or however, at least, a white one. By the “quick flesh” that burneth. Gersom says, is meant the weak, the tender flesh which is renewed there, after it is healed from the purulent matter in it.
Leviticus 13:25 “Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, [if] the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it [be in] sight deeper than the skin; it [is] a leprosy broken out of the burning: wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] the plague of leprosy.”
And examine it, whether it has the marks and signs of a leprosy or not, such as follows.
“Behold, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white”: Which before was black, or of another color from white. And is now, turned into the whiteness of chalk, as the Targum of Jonathan.
“And it be in sight deeper than the skin”: The same Targum is, “and its sight or color is deeper in being white like snow, more than the skin”. But this respects not the color of it, as appearing to the sight, but the depth of the spot, going below the skin into the flesh. Which, with the change of hair, are the two signs of leprosy (Lev. 13:3).
“It is a leprosy broken out of the burning”: Which sprung from there, and what that had issued in.
“Wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean”: A leper, and to be treated as such.
“It is the plague of leprosy”: Being a plain case, according to the rules by which it was to be judged of.
This sin mentioned here is more than skin deep. This is something very serious in nature. Christians, whose desire of their heart is to do right, will not have sin imputed to them.
1 John 2:1-2 “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world.”
Habitual sin is a sin of the heart, and Jesus will not take care of habitual sin for us. The sickness has gone too deep when the sin is habitual.
Hebrews 6:4-6 “For [it is] impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,” “And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,” “If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put [him] to an open shame.”
The Scripture (in Hebrews chapter 6), and the (Scripture above in Leviticus), where the person is declared unclean, are both speaking of someone who habitually sins after they have been saved.
Leviticus 13:26 “But if the priest look on it, and, behold, [there be] no white hair in the bright spot, and it [be] no lower than the [other] skin, but [be] somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:”
On the hot burning and bright spot in it, in another person.
“And, behold, there be no white hair on the white spot, and it be no lower than the other skin”: Why the word “other” should be supplied I know not, any more than in (Lev. 13:21).
“But be somewhat dark”: Or “contracted” (see notes on Lev. 13:21).
“Then the priest shall shut him up seven days”: As in the case of the burning boil or hot ulcer, as in (Lev. 13:21).
Leviticus 13:27 “And the priest shall look upon him the seventh day: [and] if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] the plague of leprosy.”
When that is come, any time on that day; not needing to wait until the end of it, or till, the seven days are precisely up. The same is to be understood in all places in this chapter where the like is used.
“And if it be spread much abroad in the skin”: In the space of seven days.
“Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean”: It is the plague of leprosy: according to the law. So that it was necessary, in such a case for him to conform to it in order to his cleansing.
Leprosy in the beginning, is a hidden disease. Sometimes the first indication that a person had it, would be a harmless looking little bump would surface. Many times, for literally years, that would be all you would see. Then when you least expect it, the thing would burst into a full blown sore. Sin is sometimes hidden for a long time, then all of a sudden, it will show its ugly face. We may hide our sin from the world, but the great High Priest (Jesus), knows all about our sin, and some time we will have to stand before Him and be judged.
Leviticus 13:28 “And if the bright spot stay in his place, [and] spread not in the skin, but it [be] somewhat dark; it [is] a rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean: for it [is] an inflammation of the burning.”
If, after being shut up, seven days, it appears that the spot is no larger than when it was first viewed, but is as it was, and not at all increased.
“But it be somewhat dark”: Either not so bright as it was, or more contracted.
“It is a rising of the burning”: Or a swelling of it, a swelling which sprung from it, and nothing else.
“The priest shall pronounce him clean”: From the leprosy, and so set him at liberty to go where he will, and dwell and converse with men as usual.
“For it is an inflammation of the burning”: Or an inflammation or blister occasioned by the burning, and no leprosy.
We can see here very clearly, that the High Priest is the final Judge. He is the only one that can declare us saved or unsaved. Many professing Christians will be surprised, when He says get away from me I never knew you (as in Matt. 7:23).
Leviticus 13:29 “If a man or woman have a plague upon the head or the beard;”
Any breaking out in those parts a swelling, scab, or spot, on a man’s beard or on a woman’s head. Or on the head of either man or woman. Or on a woman’s beard, if she had any, as some have had, though not common.
Leviticus 13:30 “Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it [be] in sight deeper than the skin; [and there be] in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a dry scall, [even] a leprosy upon the head or beard.”
The person on whom it is shall come or be brought unto him; and he shall look upon it and examine it.
“And, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin”: Which is always one sign of leprosy.
“And there be in it a yellow thin hair”: Like the appearance of thin gold, as the Targum of Jonathan. For, as Ben Gersom says, its color is the color of gold; and it is called thin in this place, because short and soft, and not when it is long and small. And so it is said, scabs make unclean in two weeks, and by two signs, by thin yellow hair, and by spreading. By yellow hair, small, soft, and short. Now this is to be understood, not of hair that is naturally of a yellow or gold color, as is the hair of the head and beard of some persons. But of hair changed into this color through the force of the disease. And so Jarchi interprets it, black hair turned yellow. In other parts of the body, hair turned white was a sign of leprosy, but here that which was turned yellow or golden colored. Aben Ezra observes, that the color expressed by this word is, in the Ishmaelitish or Arabic language, the next to the white color.
“Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean”: Declare him a leper, and unfit for company, and order him to do and have done for him the things after expressed, as required in such a case.
“It is a dry scall”: Or “wound”, as the Septuagint version; “nethek”, which is the word here used. Jarchi says, is the name of a plague that is in the place of hair, or where that grows. It has its name from plucking up. For there the hair is plucked away, as Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom note.
“Even a leprosy upon the head or beard”: As the head is the seat of knowledge, and the beard a sign of manhood, and of a man’s being arrived to years of discretion. When wisdom and prudence are expected in him. This sort of leprosy may be an emblem of errors in judgment, of false doctrines and heresies imbibed by persons, which eat as does a canker. And are in themselves damnable, and bring ruin and destruction on teachers and hearers, unless recovered from them by the grace of God.
The primary difference in this case, is that the hair turns yellowish red, rather than white. Looking at this from the spiritual standpoint, we could see in the beard; age, or someone who has been a believer for a long time. The head could possibly mean someone of authority in the church. Judgement begins at the house of God. In the verse above, it appears to me that the person did not come to the high priest to be examined, but the high priest noticed this problem and mentioned it. Again, this is a deep-seated sin, because it was deeper than the flesh.
Leviticus 13:31 “And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it [be] not in sight deeper than the skin, and [that there is] no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up [him that hath] the plague of the scall seven days:”
As it may appear in another person, brought to him for inspection and examination.
“And, behold, it be not in the sight deeper than the skin. It does not seem to be got into the flesh, or lower than the skin.
“And that there is no black hair in it”: Or, “but no black hair in it”. For, as Jarchi says, if there was a black hair in it, he would be clean, and there would be no need of shutting up. For black hair in scalls is a sign of cleanness, as it is said (Lev. 13:37). It would be a clear case that such a man had no leprosy on him. For black hair is a token of a strong and healthful constitution. And there could remain no doubt about it, and it would require no further trial and examination. Ben Gersom says it means two black hairs; and further observes, that black hair in the midst of a scall is a sign of cleanness; but this being wanting.
“Then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days”: From the time of his viewing the scall; and so Ben Gersom, this is the seventh day from the time of looking upon the scall.
This must be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, if this is an elder or leader who has been accused.
1 Timothy 5:19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”
This has to be proven beyond a shadow of doubt.
Leviticus 13:32 “And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the plague: and, behold, [if] the scall spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scall [be] not in sight deeper than the skin;”
To see whether it has got any deeper, or spread any further, and has any hair growing in it. And of what color, that he might be also able to judge whether it was a leprosy or not.
“And, behold, if the scall spread not”: Was neither gotten into the flesh, nor larger in the skin.
“And there be in it no yellow hair”: That is, a thin yellow hair, for such only, as Ben Gersom observes, was a sign of leprosy in scalls (as in Lev. 13:30). And the same writer observes, that “and” is here instead of “or”, and to be read, “or there be in it no yellow hair”. Since a scall was pronounced unclean, either on account of thin yellow hair, or on account of spreading.
“And the scall be not in sight deeper than the skin”: But be just as it was when first looked upon.
Leviticus 13:33 “He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up [him that hath] the scall seven days more:”
His head or beard, where the scall was, as Aben Ezra. And so, Ben Gersom, who adds, the law is not solicitous whether this shaving is by a priest or not; so it seems any one might shave him.
“But the scall shall he not shave”: That is, the hair that is in it, but that was to continue and grow, that the color of it might be easily discerned at the end of seven other days. According to the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, he was to shave round about it, but not that itself. Jarchi says, he was to leave two hairs near it, that he might know whether it spread. For if it spread it would go over the hairs, and into the part that was shaven. When it would be a clear case it was a spreading leprosy. Now, that there might be an opportunity of observing this, whether it would or not, the following method was to be taken.
“And the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more”: By which time it would be seen whether there was any increase or decrease, or whether at a standstill. And of what color the hair was, by which judgment might be made of the case.
Judgement of sin many times must be postponed until all the facts are in and the accused has a chance to defend himself. This being shaven could have a number of implications. It could be that even the very appearance of evil was to be removed. The shaving of the head could also be a momentary loss of authority, until the accusation died down. The seven still means spiritually complete. This waiting seven days here could also mean, until the church is satisfied there is no sin, only the appearance of sin. We are cautioned to not give even the appearance of evil. This would be doubly important for people in authority.
Leviticus 13:34 “And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, [if] the scall be not spread in the skin, nor [be] in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.”
That is, according to Ben Gersom, on the thirteenth day from the first inspection of him by the priest.
“And, behold, if the scall be not spread in the skin, nor be in sight deeper than the skin”: Neither appears spread on the surface of the skin, nor to have eaten into the flesh under it. Also, no thin yellow hair, though it is not expressed, for that made a person unclean, though there was no spreading.
“Then the priest shall pronounce him clean; free from leprosy.
“And he shall wash his clothes, and be clean”: There was no need to say he shall wash them in water, as Aben Ezra observes, that is supposed. And then he was looked upon as a clean person, and might go into the sanctuary, and have conversation with men, both in a civil and religious way, and not defile anything he sat upon.
This is a reprieve. The cleanliness of this leader is because the robe has been washed in the blood of the Lamb and made every whit whole. Sometimes, just for appearances sake, the person might be re-baptized.
Leviticus Chapter 13 Continued Questions
1. What 2 kinds of disease have we decided these lessons on leprosy are about?
2. What does the statement (lower than the skin indicate)?
3. What is sometimes called corruption?
4. When someone is accused of sin in the church, what 3 ways will the leader judge the sin?
5. Which one is the worst kind of sin?
6. What are the three punishments for the three transgressions?
7. How long shall the priest shut him up for, if the priest is not certain of his leprosy?
8. What is probably the most dreaded disease?
9. What is one of the terrible things that might happen to a leper in the last stages of leprosy.
10. What does the head of a church have to do to a habitual leper?
11. Why must that be done?
12. Sometimes a person is accused of sin, when they are not _______.
13. A person cannot be thrown out of the church on hearsay, what must happen first?
14. The sin in verse 24 and 25 is more than _____ _____.
15. Who will not have sin imputed to them?
16. Who is the Christian’s advocate with the Father?
17. What is habitual sin?
18. What do we learn from Hebrews chapter 6 about habitual sin?
19. Leprosy, in the beginning, is a ________ disease.
20. We may hide our sin from the world, but who always knows?
21. Who is the great High Priest who will eventually judge all?
22. Who declares everyone either saved, or unsaved?
23. What does a beard mean symbolically?
24. What does the head mean symbolically?
25. Where does judgement begin?
26. What does first Timothy 5:19 teach us?
27. Why does judgement need to be postponed sometimes?
28. What things could the shaving of the head mean?
29. What would be doubly important for the leaders of the church to do?