Leviticus 13

1 The LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “When a man shall have a rising in his body’s skin, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes in the skin of his body the plague of leprosy, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest, or to one of his sons, the priests: 3 and the priest shall examine the plague in the skin of the body: and if the hair in the plague has turned white, and the appearance of the plague is deeper than the body’s skin, it is the plague of leprosy; and the priest shall examine him, and pronounce him unclean. 4 If the bright spot is white in the skin of his body, and its appearance isn’t deeper than the skin, and its hair hasn’t turned white, then the priest shall isolate the infected person for seven days. 5 The priest shall examine him on the seventh day, and, behold, if in his eyes the plague is arrested, and the plague hasn’t spread in the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days. 6 The priest shall examine him again on the seventh day; and behold, if the plague has faded, and the plague hasn’t spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. It is a scab. He shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 7 But if the scab spreads on the skin, after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall show himself to the priest again. 8 The priest shall examine him; and behold, if the scab has spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is leprosy. 9 “When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought to the priest; 10 and the priest shall examine him. Behold, if there is a white rising in the skin, and it has turned the hair white, and there is raw flesh in the rising, 11 it is a chronic leprosy in the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean. He shall not isolate him, for he is already unclean. 12 “If the leprosy breaks out all over the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of the infected person from his head even to his feet, as far as it appears to the priest; 13 then the priest shall examine him; and, behold, if the leprosy has covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean of the plague. It has all turned white: he is clean. 14 But whenever raw flesh appears in him, he shall be unclean. 15 The priest shall examine the raw flesh, and pronounce him unclean: the raw flesh is unclean. It is leprosy. 16 Or if the raw flesh turns again, and is changed to white, then he shall come to the priest; 17 and the priest shall examine him; and, behold, if the plague has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him clean of the plague. He is clean. 18 “When the body has a boil on its skin, and it has healed, 19 and in the place of the boil there is a white rising, or a bright spot, reddish-white, then it shall be shown to the priest; 20 and the priest shall examine it; and behold, if its appearance is lower than the skin, and its hair has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is the plague of leprosy. It has broken out in the boil. 21 But if the priest examines it, and behold, there are no white hairs in it, and it isn’t deeper than the skin, but is dim, then the priest shall isolate him seven days. 22 If it spreads in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is a plague. 23 But if the bright spot stays in its place, and hasn’t spread, it is the scar from the boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean. 24 “Or when the body has a burn from fire on its skin, and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a bright spot, reddish-white, or white, 25 then the priest shall examine it; and behold, if the hair in the bright spot has turned white, and its appearance is deeper than the skin; it is leprosy. It has broken out in the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is the plague of leprosy. 26 But if the priest examines it, and behold, there is no white hair in the bright spot, and it isn’t lower than the skin, but is faded; then the priest shall isolate him seven days. 27 The priest shall examine him on the seventh day. If it has spread in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean. It is the plague of leprosy. 28 If the bright spot stays in its place, and hasn’t spread in the skin, but is faded, it is the swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him clean; for it is the scar from the burn. 29 “When a man or woman has a plague on the head or on the beard, 30 then the priest shall examine the plague; and behold, if its appearance is deeper than the skin, and the hair in it is yellow and thin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is an itch, it is leprosy of the head or of the beard. 31 If the priest examines the plague of itching, and behold, its appearance isn’t deeper than the skin, and there is no black hair in it, then the priest shall isolate the person infected with itching seven days. 32 On the seventh day the priest shall examine the plague; and behold, if the itch hasn’t spread, and there is no yellow hair in it, and the appearance of the itch isn’t deeper than the skin, 33 then he shall be shaved, but he shall not shave the itch; and the priest shall shut him up who has the itch seven more days. 34 On the seventh day, the priest shall examine the itch; and behold, if the itch hasn’t spread in the skin, and its appearance isn’t deeper than the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean. He shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 35 But if the itch spreads in the skin after his cleansing, 36 then the priest shall examine him; and behold, if the itch has spread in the skin, the priest shall not look for the yellow hair; he is unclean. 37 But if in his eyes the itch is arrested, and black hair has grown in it; the itch is healed, he is clean. The priest shall pronounce him clean. 38 “When a man or a woman has bright spots in the skin of the body, even white bright spots; 39 then the priest shall examine them; and behold, if the bright spots on the skin of their body are a dull white, it is a harmless rash, it has broken out in the skin; he is clean. 40 “If a man’s hair has fallen from his head, he is bald. He is clean. 41 If his hair has fallen off from the front part of his head, he is forehead bald. He is clean. 42 But if there is in the bald head, or the bald forehead, a reddish-white plague; it is leprosy breaking out in his bald head, or his bald forehead. 43 Then the priest shall examine him; and, behold, if the rising of the plague is reddish-white in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, like the appearance of leprosy in the skin of the flesh, 44 he is a leprous man. He is unclean. The priest shall surely pronounce him unclean. His plague is on his head. 45 “The leper in whom the plague is shall wear torn clothes, and the hair of his head shall hang loose. He shall cover his upper lip, and shall cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ 46 All the days in which the plague is in him he shall be unclean. He is unclean. He shall dwell alone. Outside of the camp shall be his dwelling. 47 “The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it is a woolen garment, or a linen garment; 48 whether it is in warp, or woof; of linen, or of wool; whether in a skin, or in anything made of skin; 49 if the plague is greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, or in the warp, or in the woof, or in anything made of skin; it is the plague of leprosy, and shall be shown to the priest. 50 The priest shall examine the plague, and isolate the plague seven days. 51 He shall examine the plague on the seventh day. If the plague has spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in the skin, whatever use the skin is used for, the plague is a destructive mildew. It is unclean. 52 He shall burn the garment, whether the warp or the woof, in wool or in linen, or anything of skin, in which the plague is: for it is a destructive mildew. It shall be burnt in the fire. 53 “If the priest examines it, and behold, the plague hasn’t spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in anything of skin; 54 then the priest shall command that they wash the thing in which the plague is, and he shall isolate it seven more days. 55 Then the priest shall examine it, after the plague is washed; and behold, if the plague hasn’t changed its color, and the plague hasn’t spread, it is unclean; you shall burn it in the fire. It is a mildewed spot, whether the bareness is inside or outside. 56 If the priest looks, and behold, the plague has faded after it is washed, then he shall tear it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57 and if it appears again in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in anything of skin, it is spreading. You shall burn with fire that in which the plague is. 58 The garment, either the warp, or the woof, or whatever thing of skin it is, which you shall wash, if the plague has departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and it will be clean.” 59 This is the law of the plague of mildew in a garment of wool or linen, either in the warp, or the woof, or in anything of skin, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–17

The plague of leprosy was an uncleanness, rather than a disease. Christ is said to cleanse lepers, not to cure them. Common as the leprosy was among the Hebrews, during and after their residence in Egypt, we have no reason to believe that it was known among them before. Their distressed state and employment in that land must have rendered them liable to disease. But it was a plague often inflicted immediately by the hand of God. Miriam’s leprosy, and Gehazi’s, and king Uzziah’s, were punishments of particular sins; no marvel there was care taken to distinguish it from a common distemper. The judgment of it was referred to the priests. And it was a figure of the moral pollutions of men’s minds by sin, which is the leprosy of the soul, defiling to the conscience, and from which Christ alone can cleanse. The priest could only convict the leper, (by the law is the knowledge of sin,) but Christ can cure the sinner, he can take away sin. It is a work of great importance, but of great difficulty, to judge of our spiritual state. We all have cause to suspect ourselves, being conscious of sores and spots; but whether clean or unclean is the question. As there were certain marks by which to know it was leprosy, so there are marks of such as are in the gall of bitterness. The priest must take time in making his judgment. This teaches all, both ministers and people, not to be hasty in censures, nor to judge anything before the time. If some men’s sins go before unto judgment, the sins of others follow after, and so do men’s good works. If the person suspected were found to be clean, yet he must wash his clothes, because there had been ground for the suspicion. We have need to be washed in the blood of Christ from our spots, though not leprosy spots; for who can say, I am pure from sin?

Verses 18–44

The priest is told what judgment to make, if there were any appearance of a leprosy in old sores; and such is the danger of those who having escaped the pollutions of the world are again entangled therein. Or, in a burn by accident, ver. #(24). The burning of strife and contention often occasions the rising and breaking out of that corruption, which proves that men are unclean. Human life lies exposed to many grievances. With what troops of diseases are we beset on every side; and thy all entered by sin! If the constitution be healthy, and the body lively and easy, we are bound to glorify God with our bodies. Particular note was taken of the leprosy, if in the head. If the leprosy of sin has seized the head; if the judgment be corrupted, and wicked principles, which support wicked practices, are embraced, it is utter uncleanness, from which few are cleansed. Soundness in the faith keeps leprosy from the head.

Verses 45–46

When the priest had pronounced the leper unclean, it put a stop to his business in the world, cut him off from his friends and relations, and ruined all the comfort he could have in the world. He must humble himself under the mighty hand of God, not insisting upon his cleanness, when the priest had pronounced him unclean, but accepting the punishment. Thus must we take to ourselves the shame that belongs to us, and with broken hearts call ourselves “Unclean, unclean;” heart unclean, life unclean; unclean by original corruption, unclean by actual transgression; unclean, therefore deserving to be for ever shut out from communion with God, and all hope of happiness in him; unclean, therefore undone, if infinite mercy do not interpose. The leper must warn others to take heed of coming near him. He must then be shut out of the camp, and afterward, when they came to Canaan, be shut out of the city, town, or village where he lived, and dwell with none but those that were lepers like himself. This typified the purity which ought to be in the gospel church.

Verses 47–59

The garment suspected to be tainted with leprosy was not to be burned immediately. If, upon search, it was found that there was a leprous spot, it must be burned, or at least that part of it. If it proved to be free, it must be washed, and then might be used. This also sets forth the great evil there is in sin. It not only defiles the sinner’s conscience, but it brings a stain upon all he has and all that he does. And those who make their clothes servants to their pride and lust, may see them thereby tainted with leprosy. But the robes of righteousness never fret, nor are moth-eaten.

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