Leviticus 13: We now come to the appetizing chapter of “running sores and leprosy.” This chapter discusses a skin affliction that is termed “leprosy,” but leprosy as we know it today (Hansen’s Disease) does not at all fit the description given here. The name of the disease is tsara’ath. The disease described here is unknown today and was possibly a result of sin in one’s life. We know that Miriam was struck with leprosy when she rebelled against Moses and his wife who was a Cushite. Whether or not this disease was always a result of sin is unknown.
While this chapter deals directly with the physical aspects of this disease, a drash of this chapter shows us the exceeding awfulness of sin.
Leviticus is a book of worship of Elohim. However, it has an extended section on this skin disease of tsara’ath. This disease is an accurate symbol of sin in the heart of mankind. It shows the exceeding awfulness of sin and the effect of sin in action. We are going to see here how Elohim sees us in our sinful condition.
The hopelessness and dreadfulness of sin are accurately portrayed in the leper trudging down the hot dusty road crying out, “Unclean, unclean!!!!” This is a reminder to the Israelite in that day, and to us today, that the moral leper is in need of cleansing also.
Many people have the false impression that they may enter the kingdom of heaven on their own works. If that were possible (which it’s not) then you would travel the streets of the kingdom shouting “Unclean, unclean!!” You could touch nothing and no person could come within sight distance of you. However, we are told that nothing unclean will be a part of the redeemed Kingdom (Rev. 21:23-27).
(Lev 13:1 NASB) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
(Lev 13:2 NASB) “When a man has on the skin of his body a swelling or a scab or a bright spot, and it becomes an infection of leprosy on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest, or to one of his sons the priests.
Lev 13:2: In the diagnosis of tsara’ath, the patient is to be brought to the high priest for examination. He may not have been a skilled physician as we think of them today, but when you have diagnosed a few dozen candidates, you could probably be pretty good at it.
Tsara’ath was a loathsome disease that was apparently very contagious and uncurable. People who caught it were cast out from the rest of society and left to die. It is an accurate picture of sin (Psalm 38:3-11).
In the same way, any manifestation of sin in your life needs to immediately be brought to your High Priest. He is also the Great Physician. We are to pray about eliminating sin in our lives and that includes even the smallest manifestation of sin. If not, it can easily consume us.
(Lev 13:3 NASB) “And the priest shall look at the mark on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of leprosy; when the priest has looked at him, he shall pronounce him unclean.
Lev 13:3: There was no rash judgement made when it came diagnosing tsara’ath. The man or woman was carefully watched for a period of days. If the spot began to disappear, the person was declared clean. If the hair turned white, that meant the hair was dead and the disease was going beneath the skin. The person was then pronounced unclean.
Leprosy and sin start in a small way. It starts as a rising, a scab, or a bright spot. It goes from being very small to being a death-dealing disease.
This is how Elohim sees sin (James 1:15).
Sin is just like leprosy also in that it doesn’t kill in a day. It kills slowly and surely. The final course of both is death.
Tsara’ath does not bring about sharp pain and agony like some diseases. It simply makes a man waste away. By the time he truly realizes what is happening to him, it is too late. He is as good as dead. The disease just makes them sad and restless.
Today’s’ world is just like this. People are wandering around aimlessly not realizing that death is around the corner. They do not understand what is wrong with the world, they just know they are becoming sad and restless. We have a generation of itchy feet. It is sin that affects them like tsara’ath.
We have many psychologists that think the moral nature of sinful man can be improved. But man is corrupt beyond repair. We must have the Father’s Spirit within us to guide us in His ways and a realization of Messiah in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Sin and tsara’ath both separate us from Elohim. The leper was not only shut out from society, but he was shut out from the Temple. Tsara’ath is a fitting symbol of sin that separates us from Elohim (Isaiah 59:2). The problem with the vast majority of the world is that they do not know sin when they commit it. They ignore the ways of the Father and follow after the desires of their heart (Deut. 29:18-20).
(Lev 13:4 NASB) “But if the bright spot is white on the skin of his body, and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair on it has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate him who has the infection for seven days.
Lev 13:4: There is no haste in diagnosing someone with tsara’ath. Elohim is in the same way, slow to anger with us (2 Peter 3:9).
(Lev 13:5 NASB) “And the priest shall look at him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the infection has not changed, and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days.
Lev 13:5: If the priest is still not sure, he gives it another seven days.
Interestingly enough. this method of quarantine is the only tried and true method of eliminating incurable diseases even today. In the fourteenth century, those who were infected with the black plague kept their family members in the house with them. Entire families and towns were wiped out due to spread of infection. The people attributed the mass deaths to evil spirits. The people finally started following the laws of quarantine outlined in Leviticus 13 and they brought the disease under control.
This is yet another evidence of the authenticity of Elohim’s Word.
(Lev 13:6 NASB) “And the priest shall look at him again on the seventh day; and if the infection has faded, and the mark has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a scab. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean.
Lev 13:6: When Yeshua physically healed physical disease, He was demonstrating that He can heal spiritual lepers and can forgive sins (Luke 5:17-26).
(Lev 13:7 NASB) “But if the scab spreads farther on the skin, after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again to the priest.
(Lev 13:8 NASB) “And the priest shall look, and if the scab has spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is leprosy.
Lev 13:8: Several chances were given if there was a possibility of improvement.
Sinners are the same way. Elohim will gives man many chances to turn from sin. Unfortunately, many of them keep turning back to their sin (2 Peter 2:22).
(Lev 13:9 NASB) “When the infection of leprosy is on a man, then he shall be brought to the priest.
(Lev 13:10 NASB) “The priest shall then look, and if there is a white swelling in the skin, and it has turned the hair white, and there is quick raw flesh in the swelling,
(Lev 13:11 NASB) it is a chronic leprosy on the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; he shall not isolate him, for he is unclean.
Lev 13:11: If a man has recurring cases of leprosy, there is no reason to quarantine him, he is definitely unclean.
(Lev 13:12 NASB) “And if the leprosy breaks out farther on the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of him who has the infection from his head even to his feet, as far as the priest can see,
(Lev 13:13 NASB) then the priest shall look, and behold, if the leprosy has covered all his body, he shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; it has all turned white and he is clean.
Lev 13:13: If the tsara’ath has spread all over his body and has healed over to where his flesh is not white and not an open sore, then he is clean.
(Lev 13:14 NASB) “But whenever raw flesh appears on him, he shall be unclean.
(Lev 13:15 NASB) “And the priest shall look at the raw flesh, and he shall pronounce him unclean; the raw flesh is unclean, it is leprosy.
Lev 13:15: The obvious outward sign of tsara’ath is raw flesh.
(Lev 13:16 NASB) “Or if the raw flesh turns again and is changed to white, then he shall come to the priest,
(Lev 13:17 NASB) and the priest shall look at him, and behold, if the infection has turned to white, then the priest shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; he is clean.
Lev 13:17: If the tsara’ath scabs over, or has flesh growing back over it, the person was healed.
(Lev 13:18 NASB) “And when the body has a boil on its skin, and it is healed,
(Lev 13:19 NASB) and in the place of the boil there is a white swelling or a reddish-white, bright spot, then it shall be shown to the priest;
(Lev 13:20 NASB) and the priest shall look, and behold, if it appears to be lower than the skin, and the hair on it has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is the infection of leprosy, it has broken out in the boil.
Lev 13:20: Tsara’ath can come in the form of a boil also.
(Lev 13:21 NASB) “But if the priest looks at it, and behold, there are no white hairs in it and it is not lower than the skin and is faded, then the priest shall isolate him for seven days;
(Lev 13:22 NASB) and if it spreads farther on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infection.
(Lev 13:23 NASB) “But if the bright spot remains in its place, and does not spread, it is only the scar of the boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
Lev 13:23: These verses talk about the inspection of a boil.
(Lev 13:24 NASB) “Or if the body sustains in its skin a burn by fire, and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a bright spot, reddish-white, or white,
(Lev 13:25 NASB) then the priest shall look at it. And if the hair in the bright spot has turned white, and it appears to be deeper than the skin, it is leprosy; it has broken out in the burn. Therefore, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infection of leprosy.
Lev 13:25: A burn can cause an opening for tsara’ath to infect a person also.
(Lev 13:26 NASB) “But if the priest looks at it, and indeed, there is no white hair in the bright spot, and it is no deeper than the skin, but is dim, then the priest shall isolate him for seven days;
(Lev 13:27 NASB) and the priest shall look at him on the seventh day. If it spreads farther in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infection of leprosy.
(Lev 13:28 NASB) “But if the bright spot remains in its place, and has not spread in the skin, but is dim, it is the swelling from the burn; and the priest shall pronounce him clean, for it is only the scar of the burn.
Lev 13:28: This section describes leprosy from a burning infection.
(Lev 13:29 NASB) “Now if a man or woman has an infection on the head or on the beard,
(Lev 13:30 NASB) then the priest shall look at the infection, and if it appears to be deeper than the skin, and there is thin yellowish hair in it, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a scale, it is leprosy of the head or of the beard.
Lev 13:30: Tsara’ath can break out in hidden spots such as in the hair or beard.
These passages are warning us to inspect ourselves closely for sin in our lives.
(Lev 13:31 NASB) “But if the priest looks at the infection of the scale, and indeed, it appears to be no deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the person with the scaly infection for seven days.
(Lev 13:32 NASB) “And on the seventh day the priest shall look at the infection, and if the scale has not spread, and no yellowish hair has grown in it, and the appearance of the scale is no deeper than the skin,
(Lev 13:33 NASB) then he shall shave himself, but he shall not shave the scale; and the priest shall isolate the person with the scale seven more days.
(Lev 13:34 NASB) “Then on the seventh day the priest shall look at the scale, and if the scale has not spread in the skin, and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean; and he shall wash his clothes and be clean.
(Lev 13:35 NASB) “But if the scale spreads farther in the skin after his cleansing,
(Lev 13:36 NASB) then the priest shall look at him, and if the scale has spread in the skin, the priest need not seek for the yellowish hair; he is unclean.
(Lev 13:37 NASB) “If in his sight the scale has remained, however, and black hair has grown in it, the scale has healed, he is clean; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
Lev 13:37: Careful inspection was performed before a man was pronounced unclean. We should be very careful in our assessments of others also.
(Lev 13:38 NASB) “And when a man or a woman has bright spots on the skin of the body, even white bright spots,
(Lev 13:39 NASB) then the priest shall look, and if the bright spots on the skin of their bodies are a faint white, it is eczema that has broken out on the skin; he is clean.
Lev 13:39: A freckle is not leprosy.
(Lev 13:40 NASB) “Now if a man loses the hair of his head, he is bald; he is clean.
(Lev 13:41 NASB) “And if his head becomes bald at the front and sides, he is bald on the forehead; he is clean.
Lev 13:41: Baldness is not leprosy.
(Lev 13:42 NASB) “But if on the bald head or the bald forehead, there occurs a reddish-white infection, it is leprosy breaking out on his bald head or on his bald forehead.
(Lev 13:43 NASB) “Then the priest shall look at him; and if the swelling of the infection is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, like the appearance of leprosy in the skin of the body,
(Lev 13:44 NASB) he is a leprous man, he is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean; his infection is on his head.
(Lev 13:45 NASB) “As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’
Lev 13:45: The clothing of the unclean man was to be torn and his head was to be uncovered. He was to cover his upper lip and go about crying “Unclean, unclean!!” The awful state of the man with tsara’ath is described here.
Sin is the same way. It is contagious and will spread to a whole group every time it is allowed to. A father has the right to live his own life as he pleases, but he has no right to take his son to hell in judgment with him.
(Lev 13:46 NASB) “He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
Lev 13:46: Some people comfort themselves saying they want to go to hell where all their friends are. Notice that the unclean man is alone. He was cast out and separated.
(Lev 13:47 NASB) “When a garment has a mark of leprosy in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment,
(Lev 13:48 NASB) whether in warp or woof, of linen or of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather,
(Lev 13:49 NASB) if the mark is greenish or reddish in the garment or in the leather, or in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is a leprous mark and shall be shown to the priest.
(Lev 13:50 NASB) “Then the priest shall look at the mark, and shall quarantine the article with the mark for seven days.
(Lev 13:51 NASB) “He shall then look at the mark on the seventh day; if the mark has spread in the garment, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in the leather, whatever the purpose for which the leather is used, the mark is a leprous malignancy, it is unclean.
(Lev 13:52 NASB) “So he shall burn the garment, whether the warp or the woof, in wool or in linen, or any article of leather in which the mark occurs, for it is a leprous malignancy; it shall be burned in the fire.
(Lev 13:53 NASB) “But if the priest shall look, and indeed, the mark has not spread in the garment, either in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather,
(Lev 13:54 NASB) then the priest shall order them to wash the thing in which the mark occurs, and he shall quarantine it for seven more days.
(Lev 13:55 NASB) “After the article with the mark has been washed, the priest shall again look, and if the mark has not changed its appearance, even though the mark has not spread, it is unclean; you shall burn it in the fire, whether an eating away has produced bareness on the top or on the front of it.
(Lev 13:56 NASB) “Then if the priest shall look, and if the mark has faded after it has been washed, then he shall tear it out of the garment or out of the leather, whether from the warp or from the woof;
(Lev 13:57 NASB) and if it appears again in the garment, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is an outbreak; the article with the mark shall be burned in the fire.
(Lev 13:58 NASB) “And the garment, whether the warp or the woof, or any article of leather from which the mark has departed when you washed it, it shall then be washed a second time and shall be clean.”
(Lev 13:59 NASB) This is the law for the mark of leprosy in a garment of wool or linen, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.
Lev 13:59: This extended passage refers to the disposal of garments of the infected person. It doesn’t matter how wonderful the fabric is, they are unclean. Once again, the microbiological insights given by the Word of Elohim 4000 years ago are remarkable.
It is through the faithfulness of the Father that His people receive Spirit of the Father within themselves through the blood of Messiah that His people are made clean. With that cleansing in our lives, we must stay out of the muck and mire of sin. Or else we might get infected again.
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas