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Friday, September 22nd, 2023
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 14

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



Rites and sacrifices for the cleansing of a leper; the leprosy being healed, and judged so by the priest, who, going without the camp, must take two living clean birds, &c. The manner of it: one to be slain, the other to be let loose, Leviticus 14:1-9.

On the eighth day two male lambs and one ewe lamb, and meat-offering, Leviticus 14:10-20.

If poor, Leviticus 14:21-32.

Of the leprosy of houses, how to be known, Leviticus 14:33-48.

The manner of cleansing them, Leviticus 14:49-53.

A repetition of this and the former chapter, Leviticus 14:54-57.

Verse 2

Not into the priest’s house, but to some place without the camp or city, Leviticus 13:46, which the priest shall appoint.

Verse 3

To wit, by God; for God alone did heal or cleanse him really, the priest only ministerially and declaratively, as ministers are said to remit sins, though it be granted that none can truly and properly forgive sins but God, Mark 2:7.

Verse 4

Two birds; the one to represent Christ as dying for his sins, the other to represent him as rising again for his purification or justification.

Clean; allowed for food and for sacrifice.

Cedar wood; a stick of cedar, to which the hyssop and one of the birds was tied by the scarlet thread. Cedar seems to be chosen, to note that the leper was now freed from that putrefaction or corruption which his leprosy had brought upon him, that kind of wood being in a manner incorruptible.

Scarlet; a thread of wool of a scarlet colour, Hebrews 9:19, to represent both the leper’s sinfulness, Isaiah 1:18, and the blood of Christ, and the happy change of the leper’s colour and complexion, which before was wan and loathsome, now sprightly and beautiful.

Hyssop, chosen partly for its fragrant smell, which signified the cure of the leper’s ill scent, and partly for conveniency in the use of sprinkling. See Exodus 12:22.

Verse 5

To wit, by some other man. The priest did not kill it himself, because it was not properly a sacrifice, as being killed without the camp, and not in that place to which all sacrifices were confined; and if it had been a sacrifice, that might be killed by another, so long as the sprinkling of the blood of it, which was the most proper and essential act in the sacrifice, was done by the priest.

Over running water; it seems to be a metathesis or transplacing of words, for over running water put

in an earthen vessel. Thus the blood of the bird and the water were mixed together, partly for the conveniency of sprinkling, and partly to signify Christ, who came by water and blood, 1 John 5:6. The running water, i.e. spring or river water, by its liveliness and motion did fitly. signify the restoring of liveliness to the leper, who was in a manner dead with his leprosy, as was noted before.

Verse 7

Seven times, to signify his perfect cleansing and restoration to all his former privileges. Compare Leviticus 4:17.

Into the open field, the place of its former abode, signifying the taking off that restraint which was laid upon the leper, and the liberty which the leper now had to return to his former habitation and conversation with other men.

Verse 8

Shave off all his hair; partly, to discover his perfect soundness; partly, to preserve him from relapse through any seeds or relics of it which might remain in his hair, or in his clothes; and partly, to teach him to put off his old lusts, and become a new man.

Out of his tent; out of his former habitation, in some separate place, lest some of his leprosy yet lurking in him should break forth to the infection of his family.

Verse 9

He shall shave all his hair, which began to grow again since it was first shaved, and now for more caution is shaved again.

Verse 10

Oil is added here as a fit sign of God’s grace and mercy, and of the leper’s healing.

Log, a measure for liquid things containing six eggshells-full.

Verse 11

The healing is ascribed to God, Leviticus 14:13, but the ceremonial cleansing or making of him clean and fit for society was an act of the priest using the rites which God had prescribed, whereby the sinner was cleansed.

Verse 12

For a trespass-offering, to teach them that sin was the cause of leprosy and of all diseases, and that these ceremonial observations had a further meaning, even to make them sensible of their spiritual diseases, their sins, and to fly to God in Christ for the cure of them.

Verse 13

In the holy place, to wit, in the court of the tabernacle. See Leviticus 1:11; Leviticus 7:7.

It is most holy; both of them are equally holy, and therefore to be offered in the same place.

Verse 14

To signify that he was now free to hear God’s word in the appointed places, from which he was before excluded, and to touch any person or tiring without defiling it, and to go whither he pleased.

Verse 15

As the blood signified Christ’s blood, by which men obtain remission of sins; so the oil noted the graces of the Spirit, by which they are regenerated and renewed.

Verse 16

i.e. Before the second veil which covered the holy of holies, where God is oft said to dwell, and to be present in a peculiar manner.

Verse 17

i.e. Upon the place of that blood, as it is expressed Leviticus 14:28, or where that blood was put, Leviticus 14:14; or, over and besides the blood, &c.; i.e. as the blood was put in those places, so shall the oil be.

Verse 36

That they empty the house, i.e. the possessors of the house. It is observable here, that neither the people nor the household stuff were polluted till the leprosy was discovered and declared by the priest, to show what great difference God makes between sins of ignorance, and sins against knowledge and conscience.

Verse 37

In the walls of the house this was an extraordinary judgment of God peculiar to this people, either as a punishment of their sins, which were much more sinful and inexcusable than the sins of other nations; or as a special mean and help to repentance, which God afforded to them above other people; or as a document of the mischievous nature of sin, typified by leprosy, which did not only destroy persons, but their habitations also: see Zechariah 5:4.

With hollow strakes, such as were in the bodies of leprous persons, Leviticus 13:3.

Verse 40

Where they used to cast dirt and filthy things.

Verse 41

The mortar or other rubbish.

Verse 57

To teach; to direct the priest when to pronounce a person or house clean or unclean. So it was not left to the priest’s power or will, but they were tied to plain rules, such as the people might discern no less than the priest.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Leviticus 14". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/leviticus-14.html. 1685.
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