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Friday, June 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 14

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-57

Chapter 14

In chapter fourteen it begins with very fascinating words,

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing ( Leviticus 14:1-2 ):

Interesting, indeed, because leprosy is incurable. So God in the law made provision for the operation of His grace apart from human instrument. For in a technical sense leprosy was incurable, it is still incurable to the present day. And yet God has made there within the law the provision giving Him the leeway to work in a supernatural way to heal. And thus, the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. And it is interesting God declares the priest shall first go out of the camp and examines the person, because any person with leprosy had to live outside the camp. He was ostracized from the community. And so the priest had to go out from the camp and examine the man.

And then, if he beholds the plague of leprosy is healed in the leper; then he shall command him to take, the man that is cleansed, to take two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds shall be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and he shall pronounce him clean, and he shall let the living bird loose into the open field. Then he that is cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave all of his hair, wash himself with water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and he shall tarry abroad out of his tent for seven days. But it shall be on the seventh day, he shall shave all his hair off his head, his beard, his eyebrows, even all the hairs he shall shave off and shall wash his clothes, and he shall wash his flesh with water, and be cleaned. The eighth day he is to take two lambs without blemish, the one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and the three tenths of a deal of fine flour for the meal offering, mingled with oil ( Leviticus 14:3-10 ).

He is to offer a trespass offering, a sin offering, and then a burnt offering or an offering of consecration.

And he shall take the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the right ear, and upon the thumb of the right hand, and upon the great toe of the right foot of the leper who has been cleansed: And he, the priest shall pour some of the oil into the palm of his own left hand: And he shall dip his right finger in the oil, and then he shall sprinkle the oil with his finger seven times before Lord: the rest of the oil the priest is to put on the right ear, and upon the right thumb, and the big toe of the right foot ( Leviticus 14:14-17 ).

And thus, the process whereby the leper was brought back into the community and allowed to live once again among the people.

Leprosy has often been used as typical of sin, typical of sin because of the mystery of its origin and of its transmission. We don't know how leprosy is transmitted from one person to another. We don't know how a person gets leprosy, even as we don't know how sin is actually transmitted from one to another. And yet, there seems to be death has passed unto all men for all sin and there is that transmission, but we don't know how. Leprosy by all human standards is incurable.

Now through medicine, they can arrest leprosy in its development; but they can't cure it. It can only be arrested. It's incurable as far as human standards go. So sin incurable, as far as man is concerned. Leprosy is deadly, so also is sin deadly in its result. Leprosy is insidious in its development within the body. Destroying, first of all, the nerves progressing until it hits a vital area; even as sin seems to be progressive and insidious in that it destroys man's will to resist.

And so we see then in the cleansing of the leper, the two birds-the one that is killed, the blood caught in this clay vessel. The second bird dipped in that watery, blood mixture. I'm certain that if you sought to really look, you would find great symbolisms and a reason for the cedar wood, a reason for the scarlet, a reason for the hyssop, and a reason for the bloody water. For I am sure that in them there is something that does point to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for us.

It is interesting that there is sort of a scarlet thread woven through the Old Testament pointing to Jesus Christ. Here the leper was to bring scarlet. We remember that Rahab the harlot was to allow a scarlet cord out the window so that all that would be in the house where the scarlet cord was hanging from the window would be saved when the children of Israel captured Jericho. But the cedar wood could, of course, be looking forward to the cross. And I'm sure that they all in some way looked forward to the cross. Could it be that the cross was of cedar? I don't know. I wouldn't be surprised. The bloodied water surely speaks to us of when Jesus had his side pierced by the Roman soldier and there came forth blood and water. And it speaks of our cleansing through the blood of Jesus Christ. The hyssop, we remember while he was there upon the cross. They took the hyssop bush and they put vinegar upon it and put it to his lips when He cried, "I thirst." So I'm certain that in all of this, there is beautiful symbolism.

And as you read it and just open your heart to the Spirit, I'm sure that God can speak to you and give application to these things to your heart. I am not much of one to get into spiritualizing of scripture, though I believe there are spiritual analogies all the way through. That is just not my method or type of teaching; and thus, I will leave that to others who seem to have greater insights into those types of spiritual applications. I find them very interesting and beautiful when they are pointed out.

And so then the dedication of the man having been cleansed. The blood upon his ear, upon his thumb, and upon foot is really the symbol of the consecration of your life now to God. This was the thing that was done for Aaron when he was sanctified toward the priesthood, the blood upon his ear, thumb, and right toe. By speaking that your ear might be opened to God, that your hand might be busy doing the work of God and your feet walking in the path of God. And so we, having been cleansed from our sin, that isn't the end of it. We are now to live a life that is consecrated unto God, a life of commitment unto Him. Our ears open to His voice. Our hands doing His work. Our feet walking in His path. And so there is a whole analogy here of the leprous man and his cleansing with the sinful man and his cleansing; and thus, his consecration and commitment unto God.

And so he goes ahead and he details the laws of those that were plagued with leprosy. Verse thirty-two, it sort of gives a capsulation.

This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertains to his cleansing. The Lord spake to Moses and Aaron, saying ( Leviticus 14:32-33 ),

Now when you come in the land there was a plague that would also get in the houses. Probably sort of a mildew. And if this growth was in the houses, they were to scrape the rocks, they were to re-plaster them, and if it broke out again, they were to just tear down the house completely. But if after the re-plastering, it didn't break out again, then the house was considered clean, and they could go ahead and live in it. And so again the bringing of the birds and killing the one over the water and all much the same this is the law of leprosy, chapter fourteen.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 14". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/leviticus-14.html. 2014.
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