While he was in one of the cities, a man full of leprosy came. And when he saw Jesus, he fell on his face and begged him, « Lord, if you want, you can purify me. » Before studying Leviticus 14, you should know that if a person fell ill with leprosy, he had to live outside the camp. The same goes for sin. When we sin, we cut ourselves off from full communion with the Lord and His Church. For example, we may not be allowed to partake of the sacrament or receive a temple counsel. The steps to become ceremoniously free from leprosy can be found in the following groups of verses. Read each group of verses from Leviticus 14, summarize each step, and explain how the steps teach the process of sin and repentance. With each group of verses, you will find a question that will help you focus your thinking. It is worth highlighting the claim first mentioned by the Egyptian historian *Manetho and repeated by *Chaereman, *Lysimachus and other Egyptian writers hostile to the Jews and quoted by *Apion that not only was Moses a leper, but the children of Israel were expelled from Egypt because they suffered from leprosy. In fact, according to Lysimachus, the seventh day was called Sabbaton because of the groin leprosy disease they suffered from, which is called Sabbo in Egyptian (Jos., Apion, 1:227ff., 2:20-21). Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in great favor, because through him the Lord had given victory to Syria.
He was a powerful and courageous man, but he was a leper. Now, in one of their raids, the Syrians had taken away a little girl from the Land of Israel, and she was working for Naaman`s wife. She said to her mistress, « Be my Lord with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy. Then Naaman came in and said to her Lord, « Such and such the daughter of the land of Israel spoke. And the king of Syria said, « Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. So he went to take ten silver talents, six thousand gold shekels and ten changes of clothes. And as is usually the case with the subjects that worry us in the Bible, we see God`s heart in relation to the subject, which is ultimately reflected in the character and actions of Jesus Christ, which is the culmination of God`s revelation for us. Jesus did not stigmatize or condemn people with skin diseases. Instead, he responded as it says in the Gospel of Matthew: « A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, `Lord, when you are ready, you can purify me.` Jesus reached out and touched the man.
« I`m ready, » he said. « Be clean! » He was immediately purified of his leprosy. In the process of restoring man`s health and ceremonial purity, Jesus overcame isolation and touched man, showing that God`s desire for someone in such a situation is healing and the restoration of communion. Then Usija was furious. Now he had incense in his hand to burn incense, and when he got angry with the priests, in the presence of the priests in the house of the Lord, at the altar of incense, leprosy burst on his forehead. The warp-woof metaphor in Leviticus 13:47-59, the law dealing with cloth leprosy, reinforces Paul`s conclusion. A priest must examine a cloth that is believed to be a leper, but for seven days he does not make a decision on the arrangement of the garment, during which he must remain isolated, separated from the people of Israel (verse 50). After the seven days, he again examines the suspicious garment (verse 51).
When leprosy spread, « be it warp or woof,. he will be burned in the fire » (verse 52). If leprosy has not yet spread, the garment should be washed and insulated for another seven days (verses 53-54). If the leprosy has not changed color after this second week, the garment should be burned even if the plague has not spread (verse 55). When the plague is gone, the garment is clean and fit to use after being washed a second time (verse 58). Verses 2 and 3 If leprosy symbolizes sin, who could the priest represent? She said to her mistress, « Be my Lord with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy. When he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him, knelt before him, and said, « Lord, if you will, you can purify me. » And Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, « I will; Be clean.
And immediately his leprosy was cleaned. And Jesus said to him, « See that you say nothing to no one, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses offered as proof of them. » Levitikus 13-14 consists of the following sections: the diagnosis of skin conditions (13: 2-28, 38-39, summarized below), hair (13: 29-37) and scalp (13: 40-44); the exclusion of the incurable (13:45-46; cf. Lam 4:15); diagnosis of clothing deterioration, likely due to mold or fungus (13: 47-59); the ritual of rehabilitating the healed « leper » (14:1-32); the diagnosis of « leprosy » of houses, probably caused by the spread of the household sponge, mineral precipitation or the growth of lichens and fungi (14: 33-53); and the summary (14:54-57). The structure is logical, with houses placed at the end (cf. 14:34), reflecting the reality of the time when the texts were written. Although not all technical terms are understood (see comments), the symptoms indicated are able to provide an accurate medical definition. The condition can occur spontaneously (13:2-17), follow a boil (13:18-23) or burn on the skin (13:24-28) or develop on the head or beard (13:29-45). The first symptoms are those of subcutaneous swelling or tubercle, cuticular crust (sappaḥat) and whitish red spot (baheret). « The crux of the problem lay in the degree of skin penetration achieved by the disease. If it affected the epidermis or the outermost layer of the skin and did not cause pathological changes in the hair, the disease was not considered particularly serious. As such, it can be eczema, leukoderma, psoriasis, or a related skin condition. But if the disease had infiltrated the dermis (corium) and caused the hair to break or break and lose its color, then `leprosy` had to be suspected » (R.K.
Harrison). This diagnostic principle also applied to diseases of the scalp (13, 29-37), in which the condition was called netek (neteq) (JPS « scall »). And a leper came to him, begged him and knelt down and said, « If you want, you can clean me up. » Pitifully moved, he reached out, touched him, and said, « I will; Be clean. And immediately leprosy left him, and he was cleaned. The priest was called to inspect the suffering. If « leprosy » was not suspected but not sure, the priest imposed a seven-day quarantine. At the end of this period, the patient was re-examined and, if no further degeneration was detected, he was isolated for another week, after which he could be declared cured. However, the priest did nothing to promote healing. His rituals were performed only after the end of the disease. It was the responsibility of the afflicted themselves to pray (1 Kings 8:37-38; II Kings 20:2-3) and quickly (II Sam. 12:16) to obtain God`s healing. Deuteronomy 24:8-9 calls on the people to follow the authority of priests in all matters related to « leprosy », citing as a precedent the case of Miriam (see Num 12:11-16), who questioned the authority of Moses (alternatively, the late author of Number 12 (see Sparrow) was inspired by the juxtaposition of priestly authority in matters of « leprosy » with the mention of an unnamed punishment, which was imposed on Miriam by God in Deuteronomy 24:9).
It is worth noting that in Miriam`s case, healing did not come through the priest Aaron, who was involved in the insult, but through the prophet Moses and his prayer. In the Bible, healing comes directly from God (Ex 15:26) or through the prophet (e.g., Moses, Ex 15:25; Elisha, 2 Kings 2:21; Isaiah II Kings 20:7–8). On the other hand, in the Tannaitic period, there is little evidence of real cases of leprosy.
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