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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 13 : Regulations About Defiling Skin Diseases

 

Part A: Skin Infections

v.1-3 The Priest to act in a medical capacity

v.4-8 Ongoing Checking

v.9-17 Procedures for a Chronic Skin Disease

v.18-23 Procedure for Boils

v.24-28 Procedures for Burns

v.29-37 Procedures for Sores

v.38-46 The More Serious ongoing Disease

Part B: Moulds

v.47-50 Distinguishing Defiling Moulds

v.51,52 Getting rid of persistent mould

v.53-59 Continuing Checking of the mould

 

[Introductory Notes: Reading about skin diseases and moulds may not appeal to everyone but we should note the following. Since the 2020/21 Coronavirus Pandemic we have become very much more aware of infections and how they spread. What is remarkable is that these health procedures are over three thousand years old! For a closely knit nation of probably about two million people living in the desert for a number of years, and then moving into a land occupied by pagan nations who probably cared little about these things, these procedures show us the Lord who cares for His people and, by these laws,

•  makes them health conscious, and

•  lays down medical procedures that equip the priests to

•  diagnose problems and

•  limit the spread of these infections by isolation & regular checking and

•  confirm when healing has taken place.

This chapter is really all about the practical procedures and the next chapter deals with spiritual implications of the way the Lord lends His approval to these procedures.]

 

 

v.1-3 The Priest to act in a medical capacity

 

v.1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,

v.2 “When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, [ The Hebrew word for defiling skin disease, traditionally translated “leprosy,” was used for various diseases affecting the skin; here and throughout verses 3-46.] they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest.

v.3 The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean.

 

(Notes: This is guidance for a clinical procedure. This wasn't left to haphazard approaches; this was a process laid down. The priest was to examine it and assess its nature (v.3). If, by its nature, he determines that it is an infection the person is put in the ‘ceremonially unclean' group which, as we've suggested before, is as likely to mean that he's excused religious duties as much as it says anything about his spiritual or physical state. In this context though, it certainly means the person needs to take steps to remedy their condition.]

 

 

v.4-8 Ongoing Checking

 

v.4 If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days.

v.5 On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days.

v.6 On the seventh day the priest is to examine them again, and if the sore has faded and has not spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a rash. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean.

v.7 But if the rash does spread in their skin after they have shown themselves to the priest to be pronounced clean, they must appear before the priest again.

v.8 The priest is to examine that person, and if the rash has spread in the skin, he shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease.

 

[Notes: It may be that the priest needs to carry on observing it and in that case (v.4) he puts the person in isolation for seven days to observe whether it is getting worse. On the seventh day he carries out a further inspection and makes a determination. If it is unclear then the person stays in isolation for a further seven days (v.5). There is then a further inspection and the priest makes a determination that either it is nothing to worry about or that it is infectious (v.6). If it does appear to be spreading, they are declared ‘unclean'.]

 

 

v.9-17 Procedures for a Chronic Skin Disease

 

v.9 “When anyone has a defiling skin disease , they must be brought to the priest.

v.10 The priest is to examine them, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white and if there is raw flesh in the swelling ,

v.11 it is a chronic skin disease and the priest shall pronounce them unclean . He is not to isolate them, because they are already unclean.

v.12 “If the disease breaks out all over their skin and, so far as the priest can see, it covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot,

v.13 the priest is to examine them, and if the disease has covered their whole body, he shall pronounce them clean. Since it has all turned white, they are clean.

v.14 But whenever raw flesh appears on them, they will be unclean.

v.15 When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce them unclean. The raw flesh is unclean; they have a defiling disease.

v.16 If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest.

v.17 The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.

 

[Notes: Guidance rules to determine that it is a real infectious skin infection (v.9 on). The crucial issue becomes whether there is ‘raw flesh' or an open sore (v.10,14-16). This is the sign of something serious (v.11). If the skin infection just goes white that is a sign of it clearing up and he is all right (v.12,13,16,17).

 

 

v.18-23 Procedure for Boils

 

v.18 “When someone has a boil on their skin and it heals,

v.19 and in the place where the boil was, a white swelling or reddish-white spot appears, they must present themselves to the priest.

v.20 The priest is to examine it, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has turned white, the priest shall pronounce that person unclean. It is a defiling skin disease that has broken out where the boil was.

v.21 But if, when the priest examines it, there is no white hair in it and it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days.

v.22 If it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling disease.

v.23 But if the spot is unchanged and has not spread, it is only a scar from the boil, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

 

[Notes: Guidance procedures when boils occur and appropriate actions taken.]

 

 

v.24-28 Procedures for Burns

 

v.24 “When someone has a burn on their skin and a reddish-white or white spot appears in the raw flesh of the burn,

v.25 the priest is to examine the spot, and if the hair in it has turned white, and it appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling disease that has broken out in the burn. The priest shall pronounce them unclean ; it is a defiling skin disease.

v.26 But if the priest examines it and there is no white hair in the spot and if it is not more than skin deep and has faded, then the priest is to isolate them for seven days.

v.27 On the seventh day the priest is to examine that person, and if it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease.

v.28 If, however, the spot is unchanged and has not spread in the skin but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce them clean; it is only a scar from the burn.

 

[Notes: Guidance procedures when burns occur and appropriate actions taken.]

 

 

v.29-37 Procedures for Sores

 

v.29 “If a man or woman has a sore on their head or chin,

v.30 the priest is to examine the sore, and if it appears to be more than skin deep and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce them unclean; it is a defiling skin disease on the head or chin.

v.31 But if, when the priest examines the sore, it does not seem to be more than skin deep and there is no black hair in it, then the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days.

v.32 On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread and there is no yellow hair in it and it does not appear to be more than skin deep,

v.33 then the man or woman must shave themselves, except for the affected area, and the priest is to keep them isolated another seven days.

v.34 On the seventh day the priest is to examine the sore, and if it has not spread in the skin and appears to be no more than skin deep, the priest shall pronounce them clean. They must wash their clothes, and they will be clean.

v.35 But if the sore does spread in the skin after they are pronounced clean,

v.36 the priest is to examine them, and if he finds that the sore has spread in the skin, he does not need to look for yellow hair; they are unclean.

v.37 If, however, the sore is unchanged so far as the priest can see, and if black hair has grown in it, the affected person is healed. They are clean, and the priest shall pronounce them clean.

 

[Notes: Guidance procedures when sores occur and appropriate actions taken. Because of the nature of a ‘sore' and its possibility of spreading, the isolation requirements are more stringent until it has well and truly cleared up.]

 

 

v.38-46 The More Serious ongoing Disease

 

v.38 “When a man or woman has white spots on the skin,

v.39 the priest is to examine them, and if the spots are dull white, it is a harmless rash that has broken out on the skin; they are clean.

v.40 “A man who has lost his hair and is bald is clean.

v.41 If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, he is clean.

v.42 But if he has a reddish-white sore on his bald head or forehead, it is a defiling disease breaking out on his head or forehead.

v.43 The priest is to examine him, and if the swollen sore on his head or forehead is reddish-white like a defiling skin disease,

v.44 the man is diseased and is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean because of the sore on his head.

v.45 “Anyone with such a defiling disease must wear torn clothes, let their hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of their face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!'

v.46 As long as they have the disease they remain unclean . They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

 

[Notes: Guidance procedures when what occurs is more commonly probably known as leprosy and appropriate actions taken. Because of the nature of leprosy and its possibility of spreading, the isolation requirements are more stringent and the very real likelihood of it not clearing up is dealt with.]

 

 

v.47-50 Distinguishing Defiling Moulds

 

v.47 “As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mould —any woolen or linen clothing,

v.48 any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather—

v.49 if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mould and must be shown to the priest.

v.50 The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days.

 

[Notes: Moving away from personal infections to potential infections caused by mould, guidance is given to distinguish potentially ‘defiling' fungus. The priest takes it into ‘quarantine' for seven days.]

 

 

v.51,52 Getting rid of persistent mould

 

v.51 On the seventh day he is to examine it, and if the mould has spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather, whatever its use, it is a persistent defiling mold; the article is unclean.

v.52 He must burn the fabric, the woven or knitted material of wool or linen, or any leather article that has been spoiled; because the defiling mould is persistent, the article must be burned.

 

[Notes: When fungus spreads in the week, the material must be burned.]

 

 

v.53-59 Continuing Checking of the mould

 

v.53 “But if, when the priest examines it, the mould has not spread in the fabric, the woven or knitted material, or the leather article,

v.54 he shall order that the spoiled article be washed. Then he is to isolate it for another seven days.

v.55 After the article has been washed, the priest is to examine it again, and if the mould has not changed its appearance, even though it has not spread, it is unclean. Burn it, no matter which side of the fabric has been spoiled.

v.56 If, when the priest examines it, the mould has faded after the article has been washed, he is to tear the spoiled part out of the fabric, the leather, or the woven or knitted material.

v.57 But if it reappears in the fabric, in the woven or knitted material, or in the leather article, it is a spreading mold; whatever has the mould must be burned.

v.58 Any fabric, woven or knitted material, or any leather article that has been washed and is rid of the mould, must be washed again. Then it will be clean.”

v.59 These are the regulations concerning defiling moulds in woolen or linen clothing, woven or knitted material, or any leather article, for pronouncing them clean or unclean.

 

[Notes: If the mould hasn't spread, it is washed and kept aside for another week, after which if it is still visible, the article is to be burnt. If the mould has faded, the part with the mould can be torn off and the rest saved. If it reoccurs, whatever is affected is to be burnt. If the article is rid of mould it can be washed and saved.]

      

      

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 14