This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
He shall be brought to the priest — Not into the priest's house, but to some place without the camp or city, which the priest shall appoint.
And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
Healed by God-For God alone did heal or cleanse him really, the priest only declaratively.
Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
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 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, to represent both the leper's sinfulness, 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 — The fragrant smell of which, signified the cure of the leper's ill scent.
And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
Killed — 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.
In an earthen-vessel — That is, 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, that is, 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 before.
And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
Into the open field — The place of its former abode, signifying the taking off that restraint which was laid upon the leper.
And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.
All his hair — Partly to discover his perfect soundness; partly to preserve him from a relapse through any relicks of it which might remain in his hair or in his clothes.
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.
But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.
All his hair — Which began to grow again, and now for more caution is shaved again.
And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
Oil is added as a fit sign of God's grace and mercy, and of the leper's healing. A log is a measure containing six egg-shells full.
And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the LORD, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
Maketh him clean — The healing is ascribed to God, Leviticus 14:13, but the ceremonial cleansing was an act of the priest using the rites which God had prescribed.
And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD:
A trespass-offering — To teach them, that sin was the cause of leprosy, and of all diseases, and that these ceremonial observations had a farther meaning, to make them sensible of their spiritual diseases, that they might fly to God in Christ for the cure of them.
And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
The priest shall put it — To signify, that he was now free to hear God's word in the appointed places, and to touch any person or thing without defiling it, and to go whither he pleased.
And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
The oil — As the blood signified Christ's blood by which men obtained remission of sins, so the oil noted the graces of the spirit by which they are renewed.
And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD:
Before the Lord — Before the second veil which covered the holy of holies.
And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:
Upon the blood — Upon the place where that blood was put.
And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
The priest shall put the blood — Upon the extremities of the body, to include the whole. And some of the oil was afterwards put in the same places upon the blood. That blood seems to have been a token of forgiveness, the oil of healing: For God first forgiveth our iniquities, and then healeth our diseases. When the leper was anointed, the oil must have blood under it, to signify that all the graces and comforts of the spirit, all his sanctifying influences are owing to the death of Christ. It is by his blood alone that we are sanctified.
Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
That all be not made unclean — 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 shew what great difference God makes between sins of ignorance, and sins against knowledge.
And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
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 help to repentance, which God afforded them above other people; or as a token of the mischievous nature of sin, typified by leprosy, which did not only destroy persons, but their habitations also: Hollow streaks - Such as were in the bodies of leprous persons.
Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
An unclean place — Where they used to cast dirt and filthy things.
To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
To teach — To direct the priest when to pronounce a person or house clean or unclean. So it was not left to the priests power or will, but they were tied to plain rules, such as the people might discern no less than the priest.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany