Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 14

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-32

Restoration after healing (14:1-32)

A lengthy ritual was laid down for the restoration of a cleansed leper or any other person who had been healed of an infectious skin disease. The ritual lasted more than a week, and began at the place where the person was temporarily living outside the camp (14:1-3; cf. v. 10).
The cleansed person, previously ‘dead’ through his disease, symbolized his ‘death’ by killing a bird, symbolized his cleansing by draining the bird’s blood into a bowl of pure water, and symbolized his new life of freedom by releasing a second bird, which had been stained with the blood of the first. The priest then sprinkled some of the blood seven times on the cleansed person, using a brush made of hyssop bound to a cedarwood handle with red cord. One reason why the bird’s blood was dropped into the bowl of water was to ‘expand’ it, because the amount of blood from one bird was not by itself enough for all the ritual (4-7).
Washing and shaving completed the cleansing ritual for the first day. The person was then allowed to return to the camp, but not yet to visit his own tent (8-9).
After waiting outside his tent for a week, the cleansed person offered sacrifices at the tabernacle and was re-admitted to the full fellowship of Israel. Since he had not been able to fulfil his religious responsibilities during the time of his isolation from from the tabernacle, he first offered a guilt offering in repayment. The priest then applied some of the sacrificial blood, along with holy oil, to the person’s head, hand and foot, symbolizing the person’s total rededication to the service of God (10-18). This was followed by the presentation of a sin offering, a burnt offering and a cereal offering (19-20). The person who was too poor to afford animals for the sin offering and burnt offering could offer birds instead, though the cleansing ritual itself followed the usual pattern (21-32).

Verses 33-57

Mildew in houses (14:33-57)

Instructions were also given concerning what people were to do when, upon settling in Canaan, they lived in houses where mildew and fungus on the walls attracted disease-carrying germs. First they were to arrange for the priest to make a thorough inspection (33-36). If, after a week’s quarantine, the trouble persisted, the owners of the house were to remove and replace infected plaster and stones (37-42). If this did not cure the trouble, they had to demolish the house (43-47). The ritual for the rededication of a cleansed house was similar to that for the rededication of a cleansed person (48-57).

Bibliographical Information
Fleming, Donald C. "Commentary on Leviticus 14". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/leviticus-14.html. 2005.
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