The Law of Leprosy, Part II
I explained last week that certain physical afflictions made a person unclean under the law, but nothing is said about these things in the New Testament. Nowhere in the New Testament is a person with any of these afflictions barred from attending the church.
As I said then, if these things really defiled a person, then there would, in fact, be the same requirements now. Also, if physical defilement was a concern, then it would appear that the Lord cared more about the people of Israel than those of the church. Such is not the case.
Even more, certain physical deformities and afflictions precluded a person from ever being in the priesthood. If this type of thing had more than a spiritual meaning, then no person who had those afflictions today would be allowed into the ministry. But the New Testament never speaks of such things. These, and many other clues tell us that the things we are looking at have much more than a physical meaning which was merely intended to keep the camp pure from disease.
Text Verse: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
Another point to consider goes far beyond any notion that these leprosy verses are only speaking of purity within the nation for the physical well-being of the people. The word for leprosy covers a multitude of skin diseases. Some really will defile other people who come into contact with them. Others surely are not as contagious.
But, there are many other things which are highly contagious, and of which the Bible says nothing. Surely the Lord knows all about these things, and yet they are never mentioned in the purity laws of the Torah. If all that He was concerned about was health, why isn’t there a law for anyone with the flu to be isolated? What about chickenpox, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, shingles, scarlet fever, impetigo, mumps, ringworm, tonsillitis, bronchitis, or charlie-itis?
These and a host of other contagious diseases are never even glanced at, and yet scholars would say that the leprosy and mold laws are simply given for the health and well-being of the society, as if this were the only few things that could affect it. We overlook the obvious when we overlook the need to determine why the Lord selected these particular things to talk about.
When He did, He chose particular words which would then be transferable to spiritual truths found in the New Testament. They are truths which cover doctrine which is necessary for the spiritual health of the church. This… this is why these things are given, and so let’s see if we can figure some of them out. It’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.
I. A Boil in the Skin (verses 18-23)
18 “If the body develops a boil in the skin, and it is healed,
The word of God now moves from laws concerning tsaraat, or leprosy, to the shekhin, or boil. Though this is the first time the boil is mentioned in Leviticus, it is not the first time it is found in Scripture. Going back to the ten plagues of Egypt we find its source. There in Exodus 9, they are mentioned four times.
Thus, they are, like leprosy, a striking of God as if in a curse. This becomes perfectly evident from Deuteronomy 28. In the curses upon Israel for disobedience, this is one of them –
“The Lord will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed.” Deuteronomy 28:27
Likewise, poor Job was afflicted with boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And finally, King Hezekiah was afflicted with a boil that almost took his life, but it was cured by the application of a poultice of figs. These are the times that boils are mentioned in Scripture, and they each reflect a strike of God, either directly, or as in the case of Job, as an allowance by God.
The word shekhin comes from an unused root which means to burn, and thus it is an inflammation which produces a boil. The boil or inflammation which is described here was, at the time of Christ, defined as having a risen from a wound from stone, word, metal, pitch, hot water, etc. It is being set in contrast to the wound incurred by fire mentioned in verse 24.
19 and in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling or a bright spot, reddish-white,
If from this wound, one of two things arises, it had to be taken to the priest. The first is a seeth levanah, or a “swelling white.” This word for swelling was seen in verse 2. It comes from the word nasa, which means “lifted” or “to rise.” It indicates a swelling of the flesh. Such a swelling would be spiritually equated with the pride of life. The word lavan, or white, comes from lavan meaning brick. This takes us back to the thought of works as has been seen many times.
The second is a bahereth, or “bright spot.” It is also the same as in verse 2. As we saw, it comes from the adjective bahir which means bright. It indicates then a whitish spot which is found on the flesh, or even a glossy pimple. It would indicate that which draws attention to itself; the lust of the eyes.
This bright spot is then further identified as levanah adamdamet, or reddish white. The word adamdam is used here for the first of six times, all will be in chapters 13 & 14. It is simply a reduplication of the word adom, or red. Thus it gives the sense of reddish. The use of the word adom is explained in Isaiah –
“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’
Says the Lord,
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.'” Isaiah 1:18
In picture, we are being shown an example of works which have the appearance of being sinful. In order to determine if this is infectious, further action is needed…
19 (con’t) then it shall be shown to the priest;
The priest will determine if the boil is unclean or if it requires further observance. As the high priest is the one who mediates for the people, he is typical of Christ who determines whether our deeds are acceptable or unacceptable; clean or unclean.
However, the lower priests were given authority to make these declarations concerning what is clean and what is unclean. Therefore, these pronouncements which we have seen and will continue to see, explain Jesus’ words of Matthew 16:19. There He said to the apostles –
“And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:19
In this statement, the keys are referring to a true knowledge of doctrine. Just as a priest could look at a wound, and with the word of the law to guide him, he could make a determination of distinguishing between what is clean and what is unclean, so could Jesus’ disciples make similar determinations.
This then follows through, logically, with the church age as well. We have the word of God, and we are to use it in a priestly manner by inspecting what is sound doctrine and what is unsound; what consists of good works, and what sinful works look like; and so on. Adam Clarke explains it with the following words –
“The priest polluted or cleansed, i. e., declared the man clean or unclean, according to signs well known and infallible. The disciples or ministers of Christ bind or loose, declare to be fit or unfit for Church fellowship, according to unequivocal evidences of innocence or guilt. In the former case, the priest declared the person fit or unfit for civil society; in the latter, the ministers of Christ declare the person against whom the suspicion of guilt is laid, fit or unfit for continued association with the Church of God. The office was the same in both, a declaration of the truth, not from any power that they possessed of cleansing or polluting, of binding or of loosing, but by the knowledge they gained from the infallible signs and evidences produced on the respective cases.” Adam Clarke
What appears to be a passage about infectious diseases, which it is in literal history, is actually more fully and completely about discerning the word of God and applying its precepts properly in spiritual matters. Whether it is Israel of old, inspecting a boil on an arm, or the church of today looking at a person’s conduct, both are gauged by what has already been given in the word of God.
20 and if, when the priest sees it, it indeed appears deeper than the skin, and its hair has turned white, the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a leprous sore which has broken out of the boil.
This verse is a close repeat of verse 3, but instead of the word amoq, or “deeper” of verse 3, this verse includes a new word, shaphal, here also translated as “deeper.” It gives the sense of abased, lowered, or humbled.
This verse being similar to verse 3, carries much of the same meaning as it did there. This is an infection which is of the flesh, and which is displayed in unclean works. There is a turning, or a perversion of what should exist. But as we saw, the type of wound is derived from the sense of inflammation or burning, and the result is that of being abased. Thus, this is in type and picture, that of sexual sin. It is what Paul speaks of in Romans 1 –
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.” Romans 1:26, 27
Unfortunately, in much of the church today, such infections are not called out as unclean, but are rather hailed as right and proper. There is no adherence to the word of God, and there is no discernment by those who should be making judgments according to that same word.
21 But if the priest examines it, and indeed there are no white hairs in it, and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall isolate him seven days;
This verse corresponds closely to verse 4. If an evaluation by the priest indicates that the bright spot is, at this time, not seemingly leprous because it lacks the two identifying marks, then the person is to be shut up in a state of isolation for seven days. The same word used in verse 4, sagar, is used again here. It is the shutting up of something. It can be for protecting someone against harm, and it can also be to bring someone harm.
Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. An evaluation of the flesh is to be remade after this set interval. In picture, it is given to show that we are not to be hasty in rendering a judgment which could be incorrect. We are being asked to consider a spiritual state of others by these Old Testament physical examples.
22 and if it should at all spread over the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a leprous sore.
The Hebrew says v’im pasoh tiphseh – “and if spreading it spreads.” This spreading of the infection is, in type and picture, an indication of a confirmation of sexual immorality within the church. In such a case, the book of 1 Corinthians explains what the judgment is to be –
“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
The pronouncement is to be made – “Unclean. You are out of fellowship.” The person has, and is, a leprous sore.
23 But if the bright spot stays in one place, and has not spread, it is the scar of the boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
The words say, “And if in its place stands the bright spot.” To stand is to remain fixed and firm. One stands against the forces of evil. One stands firm in doctrine. One stands on the word of God. There was the basis for wrong doing, but the symptoms have not taken hold of the person.
This verse can be described by the sentiment, “Nothing to see here, move along.” There may have been a transgression which was considered a wound on the body, the church. It was inspected, and thankfully it has not spread. It was monitored, and no error is seen. The word tsarebeth, translated as “scar of the boil” is found only three times in the Bible. The second will be in verse 28, and the last will be in Proverbs 16:27 –
An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
It comes from the word tsarav, which means to burn. Thus one can see that there was a burning, as if in a passion, but the passion was quenched. The church, therefore, determines that there is nothing to see in this matter. The declaration is “Clean.”
I have transgressed and not done what was right
A wound stands as a testimony to my sinful act
But I will not let it take me over, against it I will fight
I will stand on God’s word, and that is a fact
The burning took hold of me, and I failed my Lord
But there is a fountain of cleansing if I turn again to Him
This is what is said in His marvelous word
And in that precious pool of life, from now on will I swim
Thank You, O God, for second chances in Christ
Thank You that You have cleansed us through the blood of Jesus
For us was the Lamb of God sacrificed
God has done such a marvelous thing for us
II. A Burn on the Skin By Fire (verses 24-28)
24 “Or if the body receives a burn on its skin by fire,
Now a new type of wound will be detailed. This is from a new word in Scripture, mikvah. It will be seen five times through verse 28, and then it will not be seen again. Be sure to enjoy it while it lasts. Mikvah comes from kavah, scorched or seared. Both times kavah is used, it is speaking of walking on fire or coals –
“Can one walk on hot coals,
And his feet not be seared?
29 So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
Whoever touches her shall not be innocent.” Proverbs 6:28
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.”Isaiah 43:2
And so in this verse, we have a burning in the flesh which is the result of fire. If this occurs, then an evaluation needs to be made upon the coming of any infection…
24 (con’t) and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a bright spot, reddish-white or white,
This is similar to what was said in verse 19, but it also includes a word which was seen last week in verse 10, mikhyah, described by scholars as “proud flesh.” The Hebrew says mikhyah ha’mikvah, or “proud flesh that burns.” Again, like before, if from this wound, comes a bahereth levanah adamdemet ow levanah, or “a bright spot, reddish white, or white,” then it requires further investigation. As we have seen, this then would indicate sinful works which draw attention to themselves.
25 then the priest shall examine it; and indeed if the hair of the bright spot has turned white, and it appears deeper than the skin,
The symbolism continues to be the same as before, but the word “deeper” here is not the same as verse 18. Rather, it is the same word, amoq, that was used in verses 3 & 4. It is deeper in a comparative sense, and it indicates a deep thing, or even something mysterious. This type of infection then is that which is described by Paul in 1 Timothy 4 –
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, 3 forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; 5 for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5
Here we have being described the mysterious doctrines of demons which sear the conscience of those who teach them and who follow them. They are self-serving works which are identified by the outwardly pious attitude, but which reflect only inner corruption because they reject the work of Christ and depend on self to obtain merit. Because of such deeds we see that…
25 (con’t) it is leprosy broken out in the burn. Therefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a leprous sore.
The description for this leprosy goes back to a word used in verse 12, parakh. It indicates that which flourishes or blossoms. Thus it is a blossoming leprosy. The attitude of those described by Paul to Timothy perfectly reflect the sentiment. Their wound is one that multiplies and blossoms forth. The pronouncement for them is “Unclean!” They have, and they are, the plague of leprosy.
26 But if the priest examines it, and indeed there are no white hairs in the bright spot, and it is not deeper than the skin, but has faded, then the priest shall isolate him seven days.
However, in the evaluation by the priest, if the bright spot doesn’t have white hairs (sinful works), and it is not deeper than the skin, (proud flesh), then more is required. Interestingly, the word for “deeper” here goes back to the same word as verse 18. It is shaphal, not amoq, and so it isn’t just not of depth, it is not even abased. The skin has not lowered at all, and instead it has faded. This fading is the word keheh from verse 6. It means to darken. The brightness of the wound has diminished. Should these things be the case, then he shall be isolated seven days.
27 And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day. If it has at all spread over the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a leprous sore.
Seven is the number of spiritual perfection. Seven days, then, is reflective of the proper time to spiritually discern this condition. In the examination, the same condition as was seen in verse 7 and 22 is used, im pasoh tiphseh, in spreading it has spread.
In this, the person has been burned by the doctrine of demons, and the infection has spread all over him. His doctrine is leprous, and he is a leper. He is unclean. But thank goodness not everyone who is so tainted remains that way…
28 But if the bright spot stays in one place, and has not spread on the skin, but has faded, it is a swelling from the burn. The priest shall pronounce him clean, for it is the scar from the burn.
Again, the word amad, or stand, is used. There may have been the introduction of crummy doctrine, but the infection was caught, and the individual stands against it so that it doesn’t spread, but rather dims, then the person is to be pronounced clean from their burn. As promised earlier, the word mikvah, or burn, is now used for the last time in Scripture. You can wave farewell to it.
Time and again, we are seeing pictures of doctrine and how to handle it. We are to keep from bad doctrine, we are to stay away from those who would infect us with it, and we are to stand on the truth of the word of God. However, there is the truth that the person who has the affliction has no idea if it is unclean or not. They have to go to the priest to have it identified.
The sad thing is that the infection normally comes from the priest they go to for an examination. In other words, if a person gets crummy doctrine at Church of Apostasy under Pastor Heretic, and he is told he has an infection by a friend, if he goes back to Pastor Heretic to examine him, he is going to be told he is clean. This is why knowing the Bible is so hugely important, and why it is so, so frustrating to see people trust leaders who are already as unclean as any festering, leprous boil imaginable. It is maddening.
O God, open our eyes to the truth of Your word
There are countless views on what is wrong and what is right
Lead us in the correct path as is expected by the Lord
Keep us from bad doctrine, that terrible plight
Should we stray, lead us back to You by Your Spirit
Keep us from works which will never truly satisfy
Help us to stand on the work of Jesus; He our sure Merit
Yes, keep us, O Lord, from ever going awry
And Lord, for those whose doctrines are evil
Keep us from them, lead us to sound and proper teachers
May we never be seduced by the lies of the devil
Yes, keep us, O Lord, from nutty heretical preachers
III. A Sore On the Head or Beard (verses 29-37)
29 “If a man or woman has a sore on the head or the beard,
The wording here is correctly translated, b’rosh o b’zaqan, “the head or the beard.” However, it indicates “the place of the beard,” not just the beard itself, thus it is the chin. One might think that a sore on the head or chin would normally be the same type of thing that would affect anywhere else on the rest of the body, and so why would there be a distinction between the two? It is, again, to give us spiritual pictures of other things.
What is fun, at least to me, is that the zaqan, or beard, is now introduced into the Bible. Although only speculation, it is pretty certain that all the great men of God since creation itself, until the time of Moses had beards, and most of them since then have as well.
The zaqan, despite being so magnificent a display of manliness, is actually only seen 19 times in the Bible. It comes from the verb zaqen, which is to be or become old, and so it can be translated as “old man.” Let’s leave comments on that alone for now.
30 then the priest shall examine the sore; and indeed if it appears deeper than the skin, and there is in it thin yellow hair, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean.
Once again, an inspection is needed. In this case, the word amoq is again used. It is a deep sore. In addition to that, it has a hair described with a new word, tsahov, or “yellowish.” This will only be seen three times, through verse 36, and then it is biblical history. It comes from tsahev, an even rarer word which is translated as shiny. In Ezra 8, its only use, it describes shiny bronze as precious as gold. It thus signifies that which is gleaming and golden in color.
The word thin is daq. It comes from the word daqaq which indicates being pulverized or crushed. Thus, this is something small or thin. If such a deep sore with thin, shiny, yellowish or golden hair is in it, that fellow is unclean. His head or chin is leprous, and he is a leper…
30 (con’t) It is a scaly leprosy of the head or beard.
The word “scaly” is new. It is netheq. It will be seen 14 times in chapters 13 & 14, and then it too will be gone. It comes from nathaq which indicates breaking off, plucking away, or rooting out. Thus, it is a scale than can be pulled away.
31 But if the priest examines the scaly sore, and indeed it does not appear deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale seven days.
Again, a period of seven days is used to determine if what has arisen to the sight is something contagious and unclean, or if it is just something which looks bad, but has no uncleanness in and of itself. The requirements are 1) it does not appear deeper than the skin. The word is amoq, and it indicates that which is deep; and 2) there is no black hair in it.
Surprisingly, the word black, or shakhor is new to Scripture. For such a common adjective, one would think it would have been used a jillion times by now. But no. Even more surprising, is that it will be used just 6 times in the Bible. Other words do indicate black, but the specific adjective is rather rare. It comes from a root which is identical to shakhar which means to seek, and which then comes from the dawning of the morning. It is a jet black.
The scholar Keil sees a problem with this. He says that there is an error in the text. The verse says, “no black hair.” But verse 37 will says that there is a black hair. And so he states that this verse either needs to drop the word no, or change black to yellow. Some other scholars appear to agree with him, but this is incorrect.
A black hair would indicate that things were OK at this point. Verse 37 indicates that the black hair had grown into it. This is the purpose of isolating the person. It would give time for things to either degrade or progress enough so that a final determination could be made. The two weeks of isolation would allow time for a black hair to become well evident. If there was already a black hair in it, then there would be no need to isolate the person at this time.
32 And on the seventh day the priest shall examine the sore; and indeed if the scale has not spread, and there is no yellow hair in it, and the scale does not appear deeper than the skin,
On the seventh day, three things are to be looked for: 1) no spreading of the scale; 2) no yellowish hair, and; 3) the scale isn’t deeper than the skin. If these three are the case, then…
33 he shall shave himself, but the scale he shall not shave.
By shaving, he will clear out any chance of the surrounding hair interfering with a proper evaluation, or irritating the scale. Only the area of the scale is not shaved. This then is to see if the scale grows outward, and it will allow the hairs in the scale area to grow at the same time as the non scale areas so that they can be compared. And finally, in not shaving the scale itself, it won’t become inflamed and give a false reading if it wasn’t leprosy in the first place.
33 (con’t) And the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale another seven days.
Seven days are again appointed. By this time, a hair will grow out of the area, or no hair will grow out of it, but it will remain unchanged. Either the hair, or the appearance, will make the determination possible.
34 On the seventh day the priest shall examine the scale; and indeed if the scale has not spread over the skin, and does not appear deeper than the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. He shall wash his clothes and be clean.
Only two things are needed for a declaration of being clean. The first is no spreading of the scale, and the second is that it is not deeper than the skin. If both of these are true, then he is to be declared clean. After the declaration, he was then do the same thing as was instructed back in verse 6, wash his clothes.
It is a ceremonial act. He was detained fourteen days on suspicion, and was thus considered tainted by ceremonial pollution. Plus, one’s clothes would need to be washed after 14 days, or things could only go from bad to worse. After washing his clothes he will be considered clean.
35 But if the scale should at all spread over the skin after his cleansing,
Unlike verse 7 from last week which was somewhat ambiguous, there is no doubt that this is speaking of happening after he has been declared clean and washed his clothes. What will next be described is after that point…
36 then the priest shall examine him; and indeed if the scale has spread over the skin, the priest need not seek for yellow hair. He is unclean.
This is for a sore on the head. Other sores were seen to have spread, and yet it didn’t necessarily mean there was uncleanness involved. But for a sore on the head, even without secondary evidences, the person was to be declared unclean. A spreading of this scaly leprosy on the head is sufficient for this.
37 But if the scale appears to be at a standstill, and there is black hair grown up in it, the scale has healed. He is clean, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.
This verse at first seems superfluous. If it takes us back to verse 34 and the examination after the second week of isolation, then he has already been declared clean because of what it said there. However, if it follows logically after the previous verse, then he has been declared unclean because it has spread since he was declared clean.
But what appears to be the reason for this verse, is to show that it is the word of God as given to the priests which determines what makes a person clean or unclean. The priest is to give his rendering based on that, and nothing else.
With this final section, we see a leprosy somewhat different than the others. First, it is the first time it includes a woman. The others simply said man, person, or body, but this one specifies a woman. Secondly, it is a specific part of the body in that it affects the head or the beard.
For head, the word is rosh. It carries many meanings, first, leader, ruler, top, and on and on. Here it is the head which is the seat of knowledge, and biblically, the symbol of authority or preeminence. The beard is specifically a sign of manhood, and even more, a man of years and thus supposed discretion. In such a man, prudence and wisdom are what one would expect.
However, there is now a sore upon the head of such a person – male or female. It is deep, implied by the use of the word amoq four times in these few verses. The next time the word will be used will be in Job 11 when comparing the deep things of God. They are higher than heaven and deeper than hell according to the passage. After that, it will be used in Proverbs to speak of an adulteress as being a deep pit. Everything about this passage now is speaking of what is presented to the church of Thyatira in Revelation 2 –
“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden.” Revelation 2:18-24
The sore upon the head is symbolic of the sore upon the leader of the congregation, here termed, the angel of the church at Thyatira. The sore, rather than of wisdom and prudence, is a cancer which has infected the head. It is deep, and it has sear sahov dag, thin yellow hair. The word used to describe the hair is being compared to the feet of fine brass of Christ.
It is that most unusual word concerning gleam as if gold, and which came from the word used to describe the fine bronze of Ezra’s time which was as valuable as gold. The “fine brass” used to describe Jesus’ feet is another very rare word, khalkolbanan, which carries the same meaning. Bronze, or brass, signifies judgment. Christ’s feet are the seat of His judgment. This person has judgment in the sore of the head or beard. It is a thin, weak judgment, as the words imply.
The plague is Jezebel, who is described, just as the adulteress of Proverbs. She is a deep infection, and her doctrines are perverse. In fact, the Lord describes her doctrines as the depths of Satan. It is a perfect contrast to the wisdom of the Lord which was described in Job – higher than the heaven and deeper than hell. The Lord says that He will cast her into a bed, along with those who commit adultery with her, into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. This is the picture which we are seeing here.
In this, identified with thin yellow hair, there is an immediate pronunciation of being unclean. It is why a woman is specified for the first time. No woman is to be in such a position of authority in the church according to 1 Corinthians 14, and 1 Timothy 2. There is no need to look for any further sign. It is plague; it is unclean.
However, if there is a sore on the head which cannot be properly identified as wholly unclean, and there is no black hair in it, then the person is to be isolated. The black hair would indicate seeking proper doctrine, as the root of the word implies, “to seek.”
But because that is not evident, there is a period of evaluation, just as it was in verses 4-6 from last week. If after a first evaluation, there is no sign of further corruption, then the evaluation is conducted for another seven days, at which time a verdict is to be rendered. If the plague has not spread, the infection is ended and the person is proclaimed clean. But if the bad doctrine returns at anytime after he is pronounced clean, there is no need to look for any further telltale signs, he is unclean and is to be expelled.
The final verse, verse 37, is given as a support for the leader who has corrected his error. It says, if the scale is at a standstill and he has a black hair grown up in it, he is healed. The standing still of the scale signifies that bad doctrine is no longer being spread, and the black hair signifies right doctrine is being sought out.
What is obvious in these verses, is that the truth of the matter, and not the determination by the priest, is what shows a person to be clean or not. If the priest pronounced an unclean person clean, or if he pronounced a clean person unclean, it doesn’t negate the truth of the state in relation to the word. Ultimately, it is the word which determines what is clean. The judgment of the priest must be in accord with it, or it is null and void.
This is what is seen here. Just because a church ordains a person, it does not mean that they are suitable to be ordained. Likewise, just because someone claims a leader is not suitable for the ministry, it does not mean he isn’t. Instead, the qualifications are already laid out in the word of God. This is what is seen concerning a sore upon the head of a person in this otherwise difficult to understand set of verses from Leviticus.
As you can see, there is a surface meaning to what is given in the Bible, but there is also something that is being pictured for us to consider. As I said earlier, there are many other things which can bring about infections of one sort or another in a society, and the Lord knows all of them. But he chose these things which are detailed in Leviticus to teach us spiritual truths as well.
And the greatest spiritual truth of all is that we need Jesus. It is He who is on prominent display here. He is the one who ultimately determines if we are clean or if we are unclean, and if that condition is temporal or eternal. Let us be sure to come to Him for full purification, so that we will not be condemned on that great Day, and also so that we will be pleasing to Him even now if we have already been saved by Him.
Closing Verse: But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—
as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’ Revelation: 2:25-29
Next Week: Leviticus 13:38-59 More interesting things for us to seek out and see… (The Law of Leprosy, Part III) (21st Leviticus Sermon)
The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if you have a lifetime of sin heaped up behind you, He can wash it away and purify you completely and wholly. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.
The Law of Leprosy
“If the body develops a boil in the skin, and it is healed
And in the place of the boil there comes a white swelling
Or a bright spot, reddish-white
Then it shall be shown to the priest; for his decision-telling
And if, when the priest sees it
It indeed appears deeper than the skin
And its hair has turned white
The priest shall pronounce him unclean; Shoot! leprosy again
It is a leprous sore which has broken out of the boil
Something that will make everyone else recoil
But if the priest examines it
And indeed there are no white hairs in it, not in this phase
And it is not deeper than the skin but has faded
Then the priest shall isolate him seven days
And if it should at all spread over the skin
Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean
It is a leprous sore
That is what this does mean
But if the bright spot stays in one place, and has not spread
It is the scar of the boil
And the priest shall pronounce him clean
From him nobody will need to recoil
“Or if the body receives a burn
On its skin by fire
And the raw flesh of the burn becomes a bright spot
Reddish-white or white, as if on a white-wall tire
Then the priest shall examine it
And indeed if the hair of the bright spot has turned white
And it appears deeper than the skin
It is leprosy broken out in the burn, it is a leprous sight
Therefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean
It is a leprous sore; this is what that spot does mean
But if the priest examines it
And indeed there are no white hairs in the bright spot
And it is not deeper than the skin
But has faded, a little bit or even a lot
Then the priest shall isolate him seven days
And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day, for sure
If it has at all spread over the skin
Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; It is a leprous sore
But if the bright spot stays in one place
And has not spread on the skin, but has faded, so do we learn
It is a swelling from the burn that is seen
The priest shall pronounce him clean, for it is the scar from the burn
“If a man or woman has a sore on the head or the beard
Then the priest shall examine the sore
And indeed if it appears deeper than the skin
And there is in it thin yellow hair; not like before
Then the priest shall pronounce him unclean
It is a scaly leprosy of the head or beard; this is what it does mean
But if the priest examines the scaly sore
And indeed it does not appear deeper than the skin, such are its ways
And there is no black hair in it
Then the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale seven days
And on the seventh day the priest shall examine the sore
And indeed if the scale has not spread; it stayed where it has been
And there is no yellow hair in it
And the scale does not appear deeper than the skin
He shall shave himself, but the scale he shall not shave
Yes, he shall follow in these ways
And the priest shall isolate the one who has the scale
Another seven days
On the seventh day the priest shall examine the scale
And indeed if the scale has not spread over the skin
And does not appear deeper than the skin
Then the priest shall pronounce him clean; this battle he did win
He shall wash his clothes and be clean
In response to what the priest has seen
But if the scale should at all spread over the skin after his cleansing
Then the priest shall examine him to see what can be seen
And indeed if the scale has spread over the skin
The priest need not seek for yellow hair; he is unclean
But if the scale appears to be at a standstill
And there is black hair grown up in it
The scale has healed; he is clean
And the priest shall pronounce him clean; so I do submit
Lord God, by Your goodness alone we are reconciled to You
You sent Jesus to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
And so help us to trust in Him alone; yes through and through
Our deeds can’t satisfy, and they leave us in more of a mess
But what Christ has done is fully sufficient to save
In Him we are cleansed and made pure in Your sight
Help us to live by faith alone; this is how we are to behave
And through Him all things are made perfect and right
Thank You, O God, for Christ Jesus our Lord
And for what we know of Him through Your superior word
Hallelujah and Amen…