Leviticus Chapter 14 Second Continued
Verses 33-57: This section covers contaminated houses which most likely involved some kinds of infectious bacteria, fungus or mold.
Also, this section is an extension of the law concerning clothing and personal articles (13:47-59). Since the passage also refers to houses made of “stone” and not the tents in which the people lived at the time, these laws referred to the people’s future residences in the “land of Canaan”.
Leviticus 14:33 “And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,”
At the same time as the above laws were delivered concerning the leper, and the cleansing of him, or however immediately upon that. The affair of the leprosy of houses being what belonged to the priest to examine into and cleanse from.
“Saying”: As follows.
Leviticus 14:34 “When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;”
“I put the plague of leprosy”: God’s sovereign hand is acknowledged in the diseases that were in Canaan (compare Exodus 4:11; Deut. 32:39). He had His purposes for these afflictions, as He always does. Uniquely, in Israel’s case, they allowed for object lessons on holiness.
A leprous plague could also affect a “house”. As with a leprous garment (13:47-59), this probably refers to a form of mildew, mold or fungus.
This particular plague would not immediately apply to the children of Israel out here in the wilderness, because they did not live in houses. They lived in tents, while on their way to the Promised Land. This is a principle that God is teaching them, as well as being literal. We see from this that the Promised Land was a gift to them by God. Notice, that God put this plague of leprosy in the house. We must look deeper and see the spiritual lesson here. This house could be a dwelling, it could be the temple, or it could be their country, or it could be the people themselves.
Leviticus 14:35 “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:”
As soon as he observes any sign of leprosy in it, or which gives him a suspicion of it.
“Saying, it seemeth unto me there is as it were a plague in the house”: He must not say expressly there is one, how certain whatsoever he may be of it, because the matter must be determined by a priest.
The most important thing I see in this is that the owner of the house is to report the suspicion of leprosy. If this is the temple or our modern church, the person in authority, such as the pastor or elder would be responsible to report the first sight of sin. In the case of the country, the prophet should warn the head of the country.
Leviticus 14:36 “Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go [into it] to see the plague, that all that [is] in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:”
Clear it of all persons and things. Everybody was obliged to go out of it. And all the furniture of it, and all the household goods in it, were to be removed from it.
“Before the priest go into it to see the plague”: That all that is in the house be not made clean. As would be the case should the priest view it, and pronounce it unclean before the removal of them. Agreeably to which is the Jewish tradition, before a priest comes to see the plague, not anything in the house is defiled. But after he is come to see it, even bundles of sticks, and of reeds, are defiled, which are not reckoned under the uncleanness to be removed. So that this was a kindness to the owner of the house. That his loss might not be so great as it otherwise would be, if he did not take care to get his goods out previous to the inspection of the priest.
“And afterward the priest shall go in to see the house”: To examine it, to see whether the signs of leprosy are in it.
This examination should not be done with an audience. The best way to split a church wide open, is to bring the appearance of evil up before the whole congregation. This type of problem, should be handled by the board of the church and the pastor. These Israelites can be thought of as God’s house. We believers also are part of God’s house. I would tend to believe that this is possibly speaking of the congregation, more than one person. In the following Scriptures, you will see how believers, and prophets make up the wall of the house with Jesus Christ as the Cornerstone.
Ephesians 2:19-22 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;” “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];” “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord:” “In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
Leviticus 14:37 “And he shall look on the plague, 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;”
“Greenish or reddish”: The disease would appear to be some sort of contagious mildew. Leprosy (Hansen’s disease), as we know it today, is not the problem here since it is a disease related to the human senses, i.e., the destruction of feeling due to the dysfunction of the nerves. It is not known to be contagious either, and it couldn’t be developed in a house. The matter of cleansing such houses in delineated (in verses 38-53).
Leviticus 14:38 “Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:”
This 7 day period of waiting is to see if the suspicion was ungrounded, or to allow a short time for this problem to right itself. Plague is like an infection. I believe this is just giving a time to the one who is examining this, to determine if there is any need for doing anything.
Leviticus 14:39 “And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, [if] the plague be spread in the walls of the house;”
On the seventh day from his shutting of it up, he shall open it again, go into it, and observe in what condition it is.
“And, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house”: The hollow strakes are become deeper, or the colored spots are become larger. Spreading was always a sign of leprosy, both in the bodies of men, and in garments.
Leviticus 14:40 “Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague [is], and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:”
1 Peter 2:5 “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”
I believe the stones spoken of here are the believers, who make up the temple. You can easily see why it would be necessary to remove a stone that might infect all the stones. This would be removing one member who was causing all to doubt. A false doctrine being brought to the church, or someone encouraging immorality in others, would be another reason you would have to remove them.
Leviticus 14:41 “And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:”
All the walls on each side, and at each end, and every stone in them. Which, though they had no appearance on them, yet should there be any infection in them, which as yet was not seen, it might be removed, and a spread prevented.
“And they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city, into an unclean place”: The scrapings they were to put into some vessel, and carry them thither and pour them out, or into a cart, and there throw them. That they might lie with other rubbish, and not be made use of any more. Where trash was cast, and other filth, that the people might not be infected by them.
To me this looks as if there would need to be some cleansing to the ones who were left. In the case there had been a false doctrine taught, there would need to be strong teaching to cleanse the thoughts of those who had heard the false message. Here are a few Scriptures that explain it better than I can.
Psalms 51:7 “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”
Psalms 79:9 “Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name: and deliver us, and purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake.”
In the next Scripture, we see that it is sometimes necessary to remove the person causing the problem.
Ezekiel 20:38 “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD.”
The filth that is removed from each one must never be allowed to stay and start the trouble again. These last 2 Scriptures say it all.
2 Timothy 2:21 “If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work.”
Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Leviticus 14:42 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.
From elsewhere, such as are sound and whole.
“And put them in the place of these stones”: Such as will exactly answer them, as to number and size, and so fill up the space vacant by the removal of the other, and support the building.
“And he shall take other mortar, and plaster the house”: The master of the house was to do this, or take care that it was done. But others by the order of the priest, as they took away the tainted stones, put others in their place.
These new stones are new believers who take the place of those who were removed. After they are brought in, the church is re-plastered to make them part of the building.
Verses 43-53: If the “plague” was eradicated, the priest would perform ceremonies similar to those for the cleansed person. If not, the dwelling was to be destroyed (“break down the house”), and the person who lived and ate there was to “wash his clothes”.
Leviticus 14:43 “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;”
In the above signs of it.
“After that he hath taken away the stones”: Which were infected, or ordered them to be taken away.
“And after he hath scraped the house”: So that there seemed to be no remains of the plague.
“And after it is plastered”: To prevent if possible any return of it, but in vain.
Leviticus 14:44 “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: it [is] unclean.”
On the seventh day of the second week. Though, according to Maimonides, this was at the end of the third seven day, or on the nineteenth day from his first inspection into it. The seventh day being reckoned for the last of the first week, and the first of the second, and so on.
“And, behold, if the plague be spread in the house”: After all the above precaution is taken.
“It is a fretting leprosy in the house”: Like that in the garment (see notes on Lev. 13:51).
“It is unclean”: And so not to be inhabited.
Leviticus 14:45 “And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry [them] forth out of the city into an unclean place.”
Order it to be pulled down, and demolished entirely. That is, the priest shall give such orders. But Gersom thinks this was to be done by the owner of the house, and that he was to do it himself, and have no associate with him in it.
“The stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house”: And, according to the Jewish canons, a house was not defiled with the plague of leprosy, unless it had in it stones, and timber, and dust, or earth. A house which had not stones, timber, and dust in it, and the plague appeared in it, even if anyone after that brought in stones; timber, and dust, it was clean.
“And he shall carry them forth out of the city unto an unclean place”: Such materials were not to be made use of to rebuild that house, or to be employed in the building of any other. This house may be an emblem of a visible church of God on earth, which is often in Scripture compared to a house. As that signifies both an edifice and a family, and is sometimes called the house of the living God. And into which sometimes the leprosy of immorality and profaneness gets and spreads, or of errors and heresies, which creep in unawares, spread themselves gradually, and sometimes very fast, and eat as do a canker, and are very troublesome and defiling.
And which God permits to enter in, that they which are approved might be made manifest. Now when this is the case, or there is any appearance of it, the priests, the ministers of the Lord, are to be told of it, who are to examine into it, and rebuke sharply, as the case requires. And care is to be taken that the infection spread not. The tainted stones, immoral or heretical persons, are to be removed from the communion of the church, and others to be put in their place, as may present. Such as are dug out of the common quarry of nature, and separated from the rest of the world, and are hewn and squared by the Spirit and grace of God, and are become lively stones. Such are to be added to the church for the support and increase of it. Sharp reproofs are to be given to those who are incorrigible, which may be signified by the scraping of the house. And forgiveness, tenderness, and love, that covers a multitude of sins, are to be shown to those who truly repent, of which plastering may be an emblem. But if, after all, the above disorders in principle and practice spread, and they appear to be incurable, then the house is pulled down.
The church-state or candlestick is removed out of its place. And this may be illustrated in two instances, first in the Jewish church, which is sometimes called the house of Israel, and in which great corruptions prevailed, especially in the times of Christ and his apostles. And all means of reformation then being ineffectual, it was utterly destroyed, their ecclesiastical state, and all the ordinances of it. The temple, the house of God, was demolished, and not one stone left upon another (Matt. 24:2). And next in the church of Rome, once a church of God, a temple of his, where antichrist rose up and sat, and has by him been overspread with the leprosy of immorality, false doctrine, superstitious and idolatrous worship. And at times God has been emptying it, or removing his own people out of it, and will do so again before the utter destruction of it. Which is hastening on. When it will be utterly demolished, as Babylon its emblem was. So that a stone of it shall not be taken, either for foundations or for a corner (Jer. 51:26). This also may be applied to the earthly houses of our tabernacles, in which the leprosy of sin is so deeply rooted, that, until they are dissolved, it will never be removed, notwithstanding all the means made use of for the mortification of the deeds of the body.
This has to do with a body of believers who continue with the false doctrine after the people who started it are removed. This body of believers should be disbanded, because as long as the church stays together, they will spread this false doctrine. I fully believe this is why God allowed the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed. The people would not stop sacrificing, even though Jesus had fulfilled the sacrifice forever when He was crucified.
Leviticus 14:46 “Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.”
The utmost of which were three weeks, as Jarchi observes. During the time a house was shut up, no man might enter it. If he did, he;
“Shall be unclean until the evening”: Might not have any conversation with men until the evening was come, and he had washed himself. Nay, according to the Misnah, if a clean person thrust in his head, or the greatest part of his body, into an unclean house, he was defiled. And whoever entered into a leprous house, and his clothes are on his shoulder, and his sandals (on his feet), and his rings on his hands, he and they are unclean immediately. And if he has his clothes on, and his sandals on his feet, and his rings on his hands, he is immediately defiled, and they are clean.
Leviticus 14:47 “And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.”
Which is more than bare entrance into it, and might be supposed the more to be infected by it, and therefore obliged to the washing of himself, and his garments.
“And he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes”: If he stayed no longer than while he ate half a piece of wheaten bread he was clean. But not if he stayed so long as to eat a like quantity of barley bread, and sat down and ate it with food.
Anyone who had taken part in these services where these false doctrines had been brought, must seek God all over again and wash in the blood of the Lamb, as if he or she had never been saved.
Leviticus 14:48 “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: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.”
That is, on the seventh day of the second week of its being shut up.
“And, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plastered (see notes on Lev. 14:42).
“Then the priest shall pronounce the house clean”: Fit to be inhabited, and so no more to be shut up, but free for use as before.
“Because the plague is healed”: The infection being wholly removed by taking out the stones, scraping, and plastering the house, and so an entire stop put to the spread of it.
We see in this church, that the removing of the troublesome stones worked. This church is clean; their doctrine is sound. The new members (stones), are helping.
Leviticus 14:49 “And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:”
The priest, or by his fellow priest, as Aben Ezra, though some interpret it of the master of the house. In (Lev. 14:49), an account is given of the manner of cleansing a leprous house, which is the same with that of cleansing a leprous man (see notes on Lev. 14:4-7).
“Two birds”: The birds here indeed are not described as “alive and clean” (Lev. 14:4). But both are plainly implied and the house is said to be cleansed with the blood of the slain bird, as well as with the living bird. And it was the upper door post of the house which was sprinkled seven times with it, but there were no sacrifices offered. In this case, as in the cleansing of the leper, the atonement for it was made by the other rites. Which were sufficient to render it habitable again, and free for use, either of the owner or any other person.
“And cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: (see notes on Lev. 14:4).
Leviticus 14:50 “And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:”
See notes on (Lev. 14:5).
Leviticus 14:51 “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, and sprinkle the house seven times:”
See notes on (Lev. 14:6).
“And sprinkle the house seven times”: See notes on (Lev. 14:7).
Leviticus 14:52 “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:”
See notes on (Lev. 14:4).
Leviticus 14:53 “But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.”
See notes on (Lev. 14:7).
To sum this up; we see a church that had problems purging out the evil. In the last few verses, they have rededicated the church to God. They are, again, in good standing with God.
Leviticus 14:54 “This [is] the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,”
The leprosy in general in the bodies of men, and of that in particular which was on the head and beard, and went by the name of the scall (Lev. 13:29). In (Lev. 14:54), is a recapitulation of the several laws and rules relating to leprosy of all kinds, delivered in this and the preceding chapter.
Leviticus 14:55 “And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,”
Of which (see Lev. 13:47).
“And of a house”: Largely treated of in this chapter (Lev. 14:34).
Leviticus 14:56 “And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:”
Which were three sorts of leprosy in the skin of man’s flesh (see notes on Lev. 13:2).
Leviticus 14:57 “To teach when [it is] unclean, and when [it is] clean: this [is] the law of leprosy.”
“To teach when it is unclean … clean”: The priest needed instruction in identifying and prescribing the course for disease such as that described herein, to teach people the importance of distinguishing holy things.
We can see in the last few lessons, that it must first be determined if it was leprosy. The disease could have been some minor skin disease. We see that whether the leprosy was of the person, his garments or his house, it all symbolized sin. We have also been looking into the ways to rid the leprosy, so that a person could get back into good standing with God.
Leviticus Chapter 14 Second Continued Questions
1. When was the law of the leprosy of the house to be in effect?
2. Why was it not in effect immediately?
3. What kind of message is God bringing here besides the literal we can see?
4. The Promised Land was a ______ to them from God.
5. What are some of the things this house could be?
6. Who must report the leprosy of the house?
7. Who would be this person who reports it in our church today?
8. In verse 36, what is the first thing they are to do, before the priest goes in?
9. This examination should not be done in front of an _____________.
10. In a church, who should handle this type of problem?
11. Who make up the wall of God’s house?
12. Ephesians 2:19 calls believers what?
13. Who is the chief Cornerstone?
14. We are a habitation of God through _____ ________.
15. How long shall the priest shut up the house?
16. What is this 7 days for?
17. What is this plague like?
18. What does the priest do, if the plague is spreading?
19. What kind of stones are the believers called?
20. We are an _______ priesthood.
21. What are 2 of the things that could be thought of as leprosy in the church?
22. Where should they put the scrapings that came off the stones?
23. Why would there need to be strong teaching in a church that had had this problem?
24. Chapter 79 of Psalms says to purge what away?
25. What must we do to be a vessel of honor?
26. How does God purge away our sins?
27. What should be put in the place of the removed stones?
28. Who are these new stones?
29. What shall be done, if the plague spreads after the cleansing?
30. Why did God allow the temple in Jerusalem to be destroyed?
31. What shall be done after the house is declared clean?