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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Leviticus 14

 

 

Introduction

PART THIRD THE LAWS OF PURITY

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Leviticus 11-15

The Preliminary Conditions of Sacrifice: the Typical Cleanness and Purifying”—Lange.

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PRELIMINARY NOTE ON CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS—AND ON DEFILEMENT BY CONTACT

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There has been no little debate as to the origin and ground of the distinction between clean and unclean animals. Such a question can only be settled historically. In Genesis 7:2 Noah is directed to take into the ark “of every clean beast by sevens, the male and his female,” while “of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” There was then already a recognized distinction, and this distinction had nothing to do with the use of animal food, since this had not yet been allowed to man. After the flood, when animal food was given to man ( Genesis 9:3), it was given without limitation. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” It may therefore be confidently affirmed that this distinction did not have its origin and ground in the suitableness or unsuitableness of different kinds of animal food, as has been contended by many. Neither could it possibly have been founded in any considerations peculiar to the chosen people, since it is here found existing so many ages before the call of Abraham. Immediately after the flood, however, we have a practical application of the distinction which seems to mark its object with sufficient plainness: “Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” ( Genesis 8:20). The original distinction must therefore be held to have been between animals fit and unfit for sacrifice (comp. Calvin in Leviticus 11:1). On what ground the selection was originally made for sacrifice is wholly unknown; but it is altogether probable that the same kind of animals which were “clean” in the time of Noah were included in the list of the clean under the Levitical law. Many of the latter, however, were not allowable for sacrifice under the same law, nor is it likely that, they ever were; on the other hand, all were admissible for food in Noah’s time, while under the Levitical law many are forbidden. While, therefore, the original distinction must be sought in sacrificial use, it is plain that the details of this distinction are largely modified under the Levitical law prescribing the animals that may be allowed for food.

When inquiry is now made as to the grounds of this modification, the only reason given in the law itself is comprehensive ( Leviticus 11:43-47; Leviticus 20:24-26; Deuteronomy 14:21): “For I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” “I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.” This points plainly to the separation of the Israelites by their prescribed laws of food from other nations; and it is indisputable that the effect of these laws was to place almost insurmountable impediments in the way of familiar social intercourse between the Israelites and the surrounding heathen. When this separation was to be broken down in the Christian Church, an intimation to that effect could not be more effectively conveyed than by the vision of St. Peter of a sheet let down “wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air,” with the command, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat” ( Acts 10:13). The effectiveness of the separation, however, is to be sought in the details, not in the general character of the distinction, as it is now well known that the ordinary diet of the Egyptians and other nations of antiquity was substantially the same with that of the Israelites. Various reasons given by the fathers and others, with replies showing their fallacy, may be found in Spencer, de leg. Hebr. I. c. vii, § 1, what he considers the true reasons (seven in number) being given in the following section. Comp. also Calvin in Leviticus 11:1.

It is to be observed that the distinction of clean and unclean animals has place only at their death. All living animals were alike clean, and the Hebrew had no scruple in handling the living ass or even the dog. The lion and the eagle, too, as has been well observed by Clark, were used in the most exalted symbolism of prophetic imagery. But as soon as the animals were dead, a question as to their cleanness arose; this depended on two points: a) the manner of the animal’s death; and b) the nature of the animal itself. All animals whatever which died of themselves were unclean to the Israelites, although they might be given or sold to “strangers” ( Deuteronomy 14:21), and the touch of their carcasses communicated defilement ( Leviticus 11:39-40). This then was one broad distinction of the law, and was evidently based upon the fact that from such animals the blood had not been withdrawn.

But a difference is further made between animals, even when properly slaughtered. In a very general way, the animals allowed are such as have been generally recognized among all nations and in all ages as most suitably forming the staple of animal food; yet the law cannot be considered as founded upon hygienic or any other principles of universal application, since no such distinction was recognized, in the grant to Noah. Moreover, the obligation of its observance was expressly declared to have been abrogated by the council at Jerusalem, Acts 15. The distinction was therefore temporary, and peculiar to the chosen people. Its main object, as already shown, was to keep them a separate people, and it is invested with the solemnity of a religious observance. In providing regulations for this purpose, other objects were doubtless incidentally regarded, such as laws of health, etc., some of which are apparent upon the surface, while others lie hidden in our ignorance of local customs and circumstances.

Before closing this note it is worthy of remark that the dualistic notions which formed the basis of the distinction between clean and unclean animals among the Persians were absolutely contradicted by the theology of the Israelites. Those animals were clean among the Parsees which were believed to have been created by Ormuzd, while those which proceeded from the evil principle, Ahriman, were unclean. The Hebrews, on the contrary, were most emphatically taught to refer the origin of all things to Jehovah, and however absolute might be the distinction among animals, it was yet a distinction between the various works of the one Creator.

The general principles of determination of clean animals were the same among the Israelites as among other ancient nations; in quadrupeds, the formation of the foot and the method of mastication and digestion; among birds, the rejection as unclean of birds of prey; and among fish, the obvious possession of fins and scales. All these marks of distinction in the Levitical law are wisely and even necessarily made on the basis of popular observation and belief, not on that of anatomical exactness. Otherwise the people would have been continually liable to error. Scientifically, the camel would be said to divide the hoof, and the hare does not chew the cud. But laws for popular use must necessarily employ terms as they are popularly understood. These matters are often referred to as scientific errors; whereas they were simply descriptions, necessarily popular, for the understanding and enforcement of the law.

Defilement by contact comes forward very prominently in this chapter, as it is also frequently mentioned elsewhere. It is not strange that in a law whose educational purpose is everywhere so plain, this most effective symbolism should hold a place, and the contaminating effect of converse with evil be thus impressed upon this people in their spiritual infancy. It thus has its part with all other precepts of ceremonial cleanness in working out the great spiritual purposes of the law. But beyond this, there is here involved the great truth, but imperfectly revealed under the old dispensation, that the body, as well as the soul, has its part in the relations between God and man. The body, as well as the soul, was a sufferer by the primeval sentence upon sin, and the body, as well as the soul, has part in the redemption of Christ, and awaits the resurrection of the just. The ascetic notions of the mediæval ages regarded the body as evil in a sense entirely incompatible with the representations of Scripture. For not merely is the body the handmaid of the soul, and the necessary instrument of the soul’s action, but the service of the body as well as the soul is recognized in the New Testament (e.g., Romans 12:1) as a Christian duty. On its negative side, at least, this truth was taught under the old dispensation by the many laws of bodily purity, the series of which begins in this chapter. The laws of impurity from physical contact stand as an appendix to the laws of food and as an introduction to the other laws of purity, and form the connecting link between them.


Verses 1-57

C.—CLEANSING AND RESTORATION OF A LEPER

Leviticus 14:1-32

1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3and the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, ifthe plague [spot[FN1]] of leprosy be healed in the leper; 4then shall the priest command to take[FN2] for him that is to be cleansed two birds[FN3] alive and clean, and cedar wood and scarlet, and hyssop: 5and the priest shall command that one of the birds be 6 killed in an earthen vessel over running [living[FN4]] water: as for[FN5] 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 running7[living28] water: 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 fields 8 And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash [bathe[FN6]] 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.

9But 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 [bathe30] his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.

10And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs [two young rams[FN7]] without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering [an oblation[FN8]], mingled with oil. and one log of oil 11 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: 12and the priest shall take one he lamb [ram31], and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:13 and Hebrews 9 shall slay the lamb [ram31] in the place where Hebrews 33shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest’s, so Isaiah 10 the trespass offering: it is most holy: 14and 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: 15and the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand: 16and 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: 17and 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[FN11] of the trespass offering: 18and the remnant of[FN12] the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour [put[FN13]] upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord 19 And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering: 20and the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering [oblation32] upon the altar:[FN14] and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.

21And if he be poor, and cannot get so much: then he shall take one lamb [ram31] for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth 22 deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil; and two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering 23 And he shall bring them on the eighth day for [of[FN15]] his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord 24 And the priest shall take the lamb [ram31] of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: 25and he shall kill the lamb [ram31] 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: 26and the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own[FN16] left hand: 27and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord: 28and the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand 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 place of the blood of the trespass offering: 29and the rest of[FN17] the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord 30 And he shall offer the one of the turtle doves, or of the young pigeons, 31such as he can get; even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord.

32This is the law of him in whom is the plague [spot1] of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.

D.—LEPROSY IN A HOUSE

Leviticus 14:33-53

33And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, 34When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague35[spot1] of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession; and he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague [spot1] in the house: 36then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague [spot1], that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house: 37and he shall look on the plague [spot1], and, behold, if the plague [spot1] be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes,[FN18] greenish or reddish [very green or very red[FN19]], which in sight are lower than the wall; 38then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days: 39and the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague [spot1] be spread in the walls of the house; 40then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague [spot1] Isaiah, and they shall cast them into an 41 unclean place without the city: and he[FN20] shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place: 42and they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and Hebrews 44shall take other mortar, and shall plaister the house 43 And if the plague [spot1] come again, and break out in the house, after that Hebrews 44hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered; 44then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague [spot1] 45be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean. And Hebrews 44shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and Hebrews 44shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place 46 Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even 47 And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.[FN21]

48And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague [spot1] hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague [spot1] is healed 49 And he shall take 50 to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: and he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: 51and he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and[FN22] in the running [living28] water, and sprinkle the house seven times: 52and he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running [living28] water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: 53but he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.

E.—CONCLUSION

Leviticus 14:54-57

54, 55This is the law for all manner of plague [spot1] of leprosy, and scall, and for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, 56and for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: 57to teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

Leviticus 14:2. נֶגַע, a word of very frequent occurrence in these two chapters where it is uniformly translated in the A. V. (except Leviticus 13:42-43, sore) plague, as it is also in Genesis 12:17; Exodus 11:1; Deuteronomy 24:8 (in reference also to leprosy); 1 Kings 8:37-38; Psalm 91:10. Elsewhere the renderings of the A. V. are very various: sore, stroke, stripe, wound. By far the most common rendering in the LXX. is ἁφή=tactus, ictus. The idea of the word is a stroke or blow, and then the effect of this in a wound or spot. Clark therefore would translate here stroke, which meets well enough the meaning of the word itself, but does not in all cases convey the sense in English. It is perhaps impossible to find one word in English which can be used in all cases; but that which seems best adapted to Leviticus is the one given by Horsley and Lee, and adopted here: spot. So Keil, Wilson and others. There is no article in the Heb.

Leviticus 14:3. The sense is here undoubtedly the scarf skin (Clark), the cuticle, in contradistinction to the cutis, the true skin below. So Wilson, who says: “This distinction in reality constitutes one of the most important points of diagnosis between real leprosy and affections of the skin otherwise resembling leprosy.” But as we have in Heb. only the one word עוֹר for both (except the ἁπ. λέγ. גֶּלֶד, Job 16:15), there does not seem to be warrant for changing the translation, especially as in English skin answers to either with the same indefiniteness.

Leviticus 14:4. The construction in Leviticus 14:3-4; Leviticus 14:10 is without a preposition; in Leviticus 14:16-17 it is with the preposition לְ, as is expressed in the A. V.

Leviticus 14:4-5, etc. According to Rosenmüller and Gesenius, נֶגַע is used by metonymy for the person upon whom it is. This view is adopted by Lange. It appears in the Targ. of Onk. and in the Vulg, and has been followed by the A. V. Far better is the rendering of the Sam, LXX. and Syr.: the priest shall bind up the spot, or sore. This is the exact translation of the Hebrews, and is advocated by Horsley, Boothroyd, and many others. Fuerst does not recognize the sense by metonymy. The same change should perhaps also be made in ver 12 See Exegesis. In the case of shutting up the leprous house ( Leviticus 14:38) the word house is distinctly expressed in the Heb.

Leviticus 14:6. כֵּהָה=dim, pale, faint, weak, dying. The idea is that of something in the process of fading away, disappearing. LXX. ἀμαυρὰ, Vulg. obscurior.

Leviticus 14:6. It does not appear why the conjunction in the A. V. should be printed in italics; it Isaiah, however wanting in18 MSS, the Sam, and LXX.

Leviticus 14:9. The conjunction is wanting in the Hebrews, but is supplied in the Sam. and versions.

Leviticus 14:10; Leviticus 14:24. מִחְיָה, according to Rosenmueller and Fuerst an indication, and this is the sense given in Targ, Onk. and the Syr, and apparently also in the Vulg. The LXX. renders ἀπὸ τοῦ ὑγιοῦς τῆς σαρκὸς τῆς ζώσης ἐν τῇ οὐλῇ, taking the מ as preposition, and understanding it, as the Rabbins, of a spot of proud flesh in the midst of the cicatrice. The margin of the A. V. is the quickening of living flesh; scar would express the sense, but this is appropriated to צָרֶבֶת, Leviticus 14:23; Leviticus 14:28, and mark gives the exact rendering of the Hebrew, and meets the requirements of the context.

Leviticus 14:2. נֶגַע, a word of very frequent occurrence in these two chapters where it is uniformly translated in the A. V. (except Leviticus 13:42-43, sore) plague, as it is also in Genesis 12:17; Exodus 11:1; Deuteronomy 24:8 (in reference also to leprosy); 1 Kings 8:37-38; Psalm 91:10. Elsewhere the renderings of the A. V. are very various: sore, stroke, stripe, wound. By far the most common rendering in the LXX. is ἁφή=tactus, ictus. The idea of the word is a stroke or blow, and then the effect of this in a wound or spot. Clark therefore would translate here stroke, which meets well enough the meaning of the word itself, but does not in all cases convey the sense in English. It is perhaps impossible to find one word in English which can be used in all cases; but that which seems best adapted to Leviticus is the one given by Horsley and Lee, and adopted here: spot. So Keil, Wilson and others. There is no article in the Heb.

Leviticus 14:4. The construction in Leviticus 14:3-4; Leviticus 14:10 is without a preposition; in Leviticus 14:16-17 it is with the preposition לְ, as is expressed in the A. V.

Leviticus 14:13. The pronoun should obviously refer to the man rather than the spot.

Leviticus 14:16. נֶהפַּךְ. This being the same verb as is used in Leviticus 14:3-4; Leviticus 14:17, in the same sense, the rendering should certainly be the same. The alteration in the A. V. was evidently on account of the previous translation of יָשׁוּב by turn. It is better to put the new word there.

Leviticus 14:17. The preposition is the same as in the previous verse, and the change in the A. V. may have been simply accidental.

Leviticus 14:18. The word בּוֹ seems redundant, and is wanting in 4 MSS. and the Sam.

Leviticus 14:19. אֲדַמְדָּמֶת. The reduplication of the letters in Heb. always intensifies the meaning (see Bochart, Hieroz. Pt. II, lib. V, c. vi, Ed. Rosen. III, p 612 ss.); if therefore this be translated red at all, it must be very red, which would be inconsistent with the previous white. This obvious inconsistency has led the ancient versions into translations represented by the somewhat reddish of the A. V, and frequently to rendering the previous conjunction or. But as there is no conjunction at all in the Hebrews, it seems better to follow the suggestion of Pool, Patrick and others, and understand the word as meaning very bright, shining, glistening. Comp the description of leprosy, Exodus 4:6; Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27.

Leviticus 14:18 (bis), 20, 23. שֶׁחִין, burning ulcer, would perhaps be a better, because a more general word; but boil was probably understood with sufficient latitude.

Leviticus 14:23; Leviticus 14:28. צ׳ הַמִּכְוָה,צָרֶבֶת הַשְּׁחִין, Rosenmueller, cicatrix ulceris. So all the ancient versions, and so Gesenius. So also Coverdale and Cranmer, and so Riggs. Fuerst, however, inflammation.

Leviticus 14:24. The margin of the A. V. is better than the text. This paragraph ( Leviticus 14:24-28) is plainly in relation to leprosy developing from a burn on the skin. So Gesen, Fuerst, Pool, Patrick, etc. So the LXX. and Vulg.

Leviticus 14:31. The meaning of שָׁחֹר =black is established. The LXX, yellow, can therefore only be considered as an emendation of the text, substituting צָהֹב, and this is followed by Luther, Knobel, Keil, Murphy and others; it Isaiah, however, sustained by no other ancient version nor by any MS, and the change in the LXX. must be considered as simply an effort to avoid a difficulty. Keil and Clark propose, as a less desirable alternative, the omission of the negative particle. There Isaiah, however, no real difficulty in the text as it stands. See Exegesis.

Leviticus 14:32. The Sam. here substitutes נֶתֶק, scall, for נֶגַע, spot.

Leviticus 14:39. בֹּהַק, a word ἁπ. λέγ. according to Gesen. a harmless eruption of a whitish color which appears on the dark skin of the Arabs, and is still called by the same name.

Leviticus 14:40. קֵרֵחַ, used here apparently for the back of the head in contradistinction to גִּבֵּחַ the fron4, which occurs only here (but its derivative, גַּבַּחַת, is found Leviticus 14:42 bis, 43,55). קֵרֵחַ, however, is elsewhere baldness in general. Comp. Deuteronomy 14:1.

Leviticus 14:45. Comp. Textual Note5 on Leviticus 10:6.

Leviticus 14:45. שָׂפָם. There is some doubt as to the true meaning. It is translated beard in the A. V, 2 Samuel 19:24 (25), and so Fuerst and Gesenius would render it here, guided by the etymology. All the ancient versions, however, translate it either mouth or lips, and a word etymologically signifying beard (or rather the sprouting place of hair) would easily come to have this sense in use. It is a different word from the זָקָן=beard of Leviticus 14:29.

Leviticus 14:46. בָּדָד. The alone of the A. V. would ordinarily be a good enough translation, but is liable to be misunderstood. The leper was simply to dwell apart from the clean Israelites, but might and did live with other lepers.

Leviticus 14:49. יְרַקְרַק. The reduplication of the letters intensifies the meaning. Comp. note 13 on Leviticus 14:19. אֲדַמְדָּמֶת, too, as noted above, may here mean either very red, or, as before, glistening. There is so little knowledge about the fact that neither of them can be certainly decided upon; but as in this case we have the disjunctive (as also in Leviticus 14:37), it seems more probable that two distinct colors were intended.

Leviticus 14:55. The margin of the A. V. gives the literal rendering of the Heb. bald in the head thereof, or in the forehead thereof, and there can be no doubt that these are terms figuratively applied to the cloth or skin for the right and wrong side, as in the text.

Chap14. Leviticus 14:4. The Sam, LXX. and Syr. here read the verb in the plural, expressing the fulfillment of the command.

Leviticus 14:4. The margin of the A. V. reads sparrows, for which there seems to be no other authority than the Vulg. The Heb. does not define the kind of bird at all.

Leviticus 14:5. Better, living water, which is the exact rendering of the Heb. Ordinarily living water is a figure for running water; but here the water is contained in a vessel, and had therefore simply been filled from a spring or running stream.

Leviticus 14:6. אֵת. The conjunction which seems to be needed at the beginning of this verse is supplied in the Sam. and6 MSS. There is nothing in Heb. answering to the as for of the A. V.

Leviticus 14:8. רָחַץ is applied only to the washing of the surface of objects which water will not penetrate. Comp. Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 9:14, etc. It is a different word from כָּבַם of the previous clause, which is used of a more thorough washing or fulling. The English is unable in all cases to preserve the distinction; but it should be done as far as possible, and רָחַץ is frequently translated bathe in the following chapter ( Leviticus 15:5-8; Leviticus 15:10-11; Leviticus 15:13; Leviticus 15:18; Leviticus 15:21-22; Leviticus 15:27) and elsewhere.

Leviticus 14:10. שְׁנֵי־כְבָשִׂים. See Textual Note5 on Leviticus 3:7. The age is not exactly specified in the Heb.; but the Sam. and LXX. add of the first year, as in the following clause.

Leviticus 14:10. See Textual Note 2 on Leviticus 2:1.

Leviticus 14:12. The Sam. and LXX. have the plural. Probably the sing, of the Heb. is not intended to have the priest for its nominative, but to be impersonal.

Leviticus 14:13. One MS, the Sam, LXX. and Vulg. supply the particle of comparison, כְּ.

Leviticus 14:17. Two MSS, the LXX. and Vulg. here read, as the Heb. in Leviticus 14:28, upon the place of the blood.

Leviticus 14:18. For בַּשֶּׁמֶן three MSS. and the Syr. read מִן־הַשֶׁמֶן, as in Leviticus 14:16. On this use of בְּ, however, see Fuerst, Lex. בְּ־, 3, b. γ. Gesen. Lex. A2.

Leviticus 14:18. יִתֵּן is better translated put, both as more agreeable to the meaning of the word itself, and because the oil remaining in the left hand could hardly suffice for pouring.

Leviticus 14:20. The Sam. and LXX. add before the Lord.

Leviticus 14:23. The preposition is here so liable to be misunderstood that it is better to change it. It has reference to the eighth day appointed for his cleansing (as the Vulg.), not to the sacrifices for his cleansing (as the LXX.). So Geddes and Boothroyd. In Leviticus 14:10 the difficulty does not occur.

Leviticus 14:26. עַל־כַּף הַכּהֵן, an expression understood by Houbigant to mean that one priest should pour into the hand of another; the sense given in the A. V. following the Vulg. Isaiah, however, doubtless correct.

Leviticus 14:29. The Sam. here reverses its change of reading in Leviticus 14:18, and has בְּ for מן.

Leviticus 14:36. שְׁקַעֲרוּרֹת, a word ἁπ. λέγ., but its meaning sufficiently well ascertained. The A. V. follows the LXX, Chald. and Vulg, and the same sense is given by Rosenm, Fuerst and Gesen, though by each with a different etymology.

Leviticus 14:37. See Notes 13 on Leviticus 13:19; Leviticus 13:24 on Leviticus 14:49.

Leviticus 14:41. All the ancient versions except the Vulg. change the causative form of the verb to the plural, as the following verb is plural. Also in Leviticus 14:42-43; Leviticus 14:45; Leviticus 14:49, they have the plural.

Leviticus 14:47. The LXX. here adds, what is of course implied, and be unclean until the even.

Leviticus 14:51. The LXX. has dip them in the blood of the bird that has been killed over the living water, and this is doubtless the sense of the text.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

A. The Examination and its result.

The indications of the disease. Leviticus 14:1-8.

Leviticus 14:1. This communication is addressed to Moses and Aaron conjointly because it requires examinations and determinations entrusted to the priests.

Leviticus 14:2-8. The first case, of symptoms like leprosy. Leviticus 14:2. Man is of course used generically for a person of either sex. No stress is to be laid upon the fact that the expression skin of his flesh is found only in this chapter; for the word skin occurs here nearly as often as in all the rest of the Scripture put together, and very similar expressions do occur elsewhere, e.g. Exodus 34:29-30; Exodus 34:35, “the skin of his face,” and the skin is often spoken of as covering the flesh, e.g. Ezekiel 37:6; Ezekiel 37:8, etc.A rising, a scab, or a bright spot, are different indications of incipient leprosy; the disease itself was more deeply seated, but it betrayed itself, as it does still, by these marks. The last two terms are only used in connection with this disease, and the first is only elsewhere used figuratively of dignity or excellency. “The name leprosyצָרַעַת is derived from צָרַע=to strike down, to strike to the ground: the leper is he who has been smitten by God.” Lange. For the examination of the leper one of the ordinary priests was sufficient as well as the high-priest; the Talmudists assert that priests debarred by physical imperfection from ministering at the altar were competent to the examination of lepers. The priests were expected, if occasion required, to consult with experts, but the formal sentence rested with them alone.

Leviticus 14:3. These marks, however, might exist without having been caused by leprosy. Two distinguishing characteristics are now mentioned, and if both these concurred, there could be no doubt about the case—the priest was at once to pronounce him unclean; (a) if the hair growing upon the spot had turned white. The hair of the Israelites was normally black; if it had turned white upon the spot it betrayed a cause at work beneath the surface of the skin. (b) If the spot was in appearance deeper than the skin. “These signs are recognized by modern observers (e.g. Hensler); and among the Arabs leprosy is regarded as curable if the hair remains black upon the white spots, but incurable if it becomes whitish in color.” Keil. Judgment was of course required in the application of the second test; but if the indications were clear, the case was decided, and the duty of the priest was to declare the existing fact.

Leviticus 14:4-8. The determination of cases in which the indications are not decisive. First, Leviticus 14:4-6, the case in which the suspicion of leprosy should prove unfounded. If there were suspicious looking spots, but yet they appeared on examination to be merely superficial, and there was no change in the color of the hair growing in them, either of two things might be possible: the spots might be the effect of true leprosy not yet sufficiently developed to give decisive indications: or they might be a mere eruption upon the skin, of no importance. To ascertain which of these was the fact, the priest was to bind up the spot seven days.—At the end of that time a second examination was to be made; if then the indications were favorable, the same process was to be repeated. If at the end of this time the indications were still favorable, and especially if the suspicious spot, had become faint, tending to disappear, the priest was to pronounce the man clean. Yet still the very suspicion, unfounded as it proved to be, had brought some semblance of a taint upon the Prayer of Manasseh, and he must wash his clothes. These two periods of seven days each are usually looked upon as periods of a sort of quarantine, during which the man himself was to be secluded, and this view has been incorporated into the A. V. here and throughout these chapters. It is not, however, required by the Hebrew, and in view of the great hardship it would impose upon those who were in reality entirely free from the disease, it seems more likely that the simple rendering of the Hebrew gives the true sense. The extreme slowness with which leprosy is oftentimes developed has been considered a difficulty in the way of a determination in reality, in so short a time; however, the two things are not at all incompatible. A fortnight was quite long enough to determine the character of any ordinary eruption; if it was none of these, and yet possessed the characteristics of leprosy, then it must be decided to be leprosy, although months or years might pass before the disease showed much further progress. Leviticus 14:7-8, however, show that even the leprous spots themselves did not remain quite unchanged during this time. On the second examination the priest could ascertain if the spots had begun to spread. If not, the disease, although it might possibly already exist, was not pronounced; but if they had spread, all doubt was at an end; the priest shall pronounce him unclean. Another view is taken of Leviticus 14:7. Rosenmüller says that in the word לְטָהֳרָתוֹ the לְ is to be taken for postquam as in Exodus 19:1; Numbers 1:1; 1 Kings 3:18; this sense is followed in the Vulg. and Luther, and adopted by Vatablus, Patrick, and other commentators. According to this the law would relate to the breaking out of the leprosy afresh at some time after he had been pronounced clean by the priest. The translation of the A. V, however, which is here followed, seems more exactly the sense of the Hebrew.

Leviticus 14:9-11. The second case is one in which ulceration has already begun. Either it is a long-standing case in which the command for inspection has been neglected, or else one in which sentence of cleanness has been pronounced on insufficient grounds. With the appearance of a mark of raw flesh in the rising, in combination with the other indications, all doubt was removed; it must be an old leprosy, and the priest shall at once pronounce him unclean.

Leviticus 14:12-17. The third case is looked upon according to differing medical views, either as a different disease, the lepra vulgaris, which “scarcely affects the general health, and for the most part disappears of itself, though it often lasts for years” (Clark); or as a case of the true leprosy in which “the breaking out of the leprous matter in this complete and rapid way upon the surface of the whole body was the crisis of the disease; the diseased matter turned into a scurf, which died away and then fell off” (Keil). Patrick compares it to the eruptions in measles and small pox, when there is safety in their full development. The suspected person thus either had a harmless disease, or he had had the leprosy and was cured. In either case sentence of cleanness was to be pronounced. But ( Leviticus 14:14-15) if ulceration appeared (it would seem either at the moment or afterwards) he was at once to be declared unclean. This ulceration, however, might proceed from some other cause; therefore, although the man must be declared unclean in view of so suspicious an indication, yet if it afterwards passed away, the sentence might be reversed, and the man pronounced clean without further investigation.

Leviticus 14:18-23. The fourth case is that of a suspected leprosy arising from an abscess or boil which had been healed. Such disturbed conditions of the surface were peculiarly apt to become the seat of disease. The indications are much the same as in the other cases, the terms first mentioned here being equally applicable to the others. Reliance is again placed ( Leviticus 14:20) upon the depth of the spot and the change in the color of the hair. If these indications were clear, as in Leviticus 14:3, the priest should at once pronounce the man unclean; if they were doubtful, he was to proceed as in Leviticus 14:4, and be guided by the result of a second examination at the end of seven days. In such a case a single interval of a week appears to have been sufficient, and no further examination is provided for. After one week it could be certainly determined whether it was merely the scar of the ulcer, or whether leprosy had really broken out in it.

Leviticus 14:24-28. The fifth case is that of suspected leprosy developing from a burn, another of those injuries favorable for the development of the disease. The indications and the procedure are precisely the same as before. In Leviticus 14:26 the A. V. has inserted the word other unfortunately.

Leviticus 14:29-37. The case of leprosy suspected in an eruption upon the hairy part of the head, or upon the beard. Although this is spoken expressly in regard to both men and women, yet the indications are so dependent upon hair that it is not proper to substitute here chin for beard, as is done by Keil. The word used זָקָן is a different one from the שָׂפָם of Leviticus 14:45, which is often translated beard; the Ancient Versions, however, give beard here, and either mouth or lips there. Pliny (Nat. Hist. lib. xxvi1) speaks of such a disease imported into Italy from Asia in the reign of Tiberius, neither painful nor fatal, “yet any death preferable to it.” In Leviticus 14:30 the A. V. has unnecessarily modified the symptoms by inserting the indefinite article before yellow thin hair. The word שֵׂעָר is collective, as in Leviticus 14:3, and freq. In this form of the disease the natural hair seems to have been supplanted by thin, yellow (צַהֹב=golden, shining) hair. This is declared to be נֶתֵק, translated in the A. V. dry scall, and immediately explained as a leprosy upon the head or beard. The word occurs only in these chapters. The indications given in Leviticus 14:29-30, were not absolutely decisive. It would seem from Leviticus 14:31, that in the coming on of true leprosy the effect upon the hair was only gradually produced, part of the hair remaining for a time of its natural color; while in the case of other harmless cutaneous eruptions, of more rapid progress, all the hair on the affected spot was speedily changed. Hence the entire absence of black hair at the first was a favorable symptom. In this view the text is consistent enough with itself as it stands, and Keil is wrong in saying “there is certainly an error in the text.” In case of this favorable symptom the priest should bind up the spot for two periods of a week, making a further examination at the end of each of them. The favorable indications were that the spot did not spread, did not appear to be deep-seated, and the yellow hair disappeared. If this was the case at the end of the first period, the person was to be shaven with the exception of the spot, and at the end of the second pronounced clean, and to wash his clothes.—If, however, ( Leviticus 14:35-36) the trouble afterwards spread, the person was to be again examined by the priest, and being satisfied of this single fact, the priest must pronounce him unclean. Yet if this spreading was only temporary, he might finally be pronounced clean ( Leviticus 14:37) provided the natural hair grew again in the spot.

Leviticus 14:38-39. This is the case of a harmless eruption in the skin termed בֹּהִק, LXX. ἀλφός. It is still known among the Arabs and called by the same name, bohak. “It is an eruption upon the skin, appearing in somewhat elevated spots or rings of unequal sizes and a pale white color, which do not change the hair; it causes no inconvenience, and lasts from two months to two years.” Keil. It is placed here, because it might be, without proper examination, mistaken for leprosy, and its appearance was probably most nearly assimilated to the symptoms last mentioned. The sufferer by it was at once discharged as clean, without further ceremony.

Leviticus 14:40-44. The baldness of the head, whether on the front or back, constitutes no uncleanness; yet leprosy might be developed in the bald parts, and then was to be dealt with as in other cases. The reason for speaking of baldness at all in this connection is probably that the color of the hair has been made of so much importance in determining the symptoms of leprosy, that the legislator would cut off all opportunity for cavil in suspected cases.

Leviticus 14:45-46. The law for the pronounced leper. The leper was in the first place to put on the signs of mourning (comp. Ezekiel 24:17; Ezekiel 24:22), some say “for himself as one over whom death had already gained the victory” (Clark); but it may have been merely as a mark of great affliction, and some of the signs were also signs of shame (comp. Micah 3:7). And shall cry, Unclean, unclean, as a warning to any passers by. This command is not, as sometimes asserted, to guard against the danger of communicating the disease; but rather to avoid making others ceremonially unclean by contact with a leper. The Rabbins carried this sort of defilement so far as to assert that “by merely entering a house, a leper polluted everything without it,” (Mishna, Kelim i4; Negaim xiii11, as cited by Keil). All the days.—The law constantly keeps in view the possibility of the recovery of the leper; but it is uncertain whether this indicates that the true leprosy was then less incurable than now, or whether it has regard to the possibility of error in the determination of the disease. In either case, while the symptoms continued for which he had been pronounced unclean, and until by the same authority he was again formally declared clean ( Leviticus 14:1-32), he was to dwell apart; without the camp. Comp. Numbers 5:2-4; Numbers 12:14-15; 2 Kings 15:5; Luke 17:12. The Jews say that there were three camps from all of which the leper was excluded: that of God (the tabernacle), that of the Levites, and that of Israel. After the settlement in the Holy Land the camp was considered in this, as in other commands, to be represented by the walled city. Yet after the erection of synagogues lepers were allowed to enter a particular part of them set apart for their use, (Mishna ubi supra).

B. Leprosy in clothing and Leather, Leviticus 13:47-59.

Only three materials for clothing are here mentioned: wool, linen, and skins. The two former were the usual materials among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, and only these are mentioned Deuteronomy 22:11; Proverbs 31:13; Hosea 2:9. It is a dispute among the Talmudists whether garments of camel’s hair are included or not. Woolen and linen were forbidden by the law ( Leviticus 19:19) to be mixed in the same garment. On the nature of the leprosy here described, see the preliminary note to this chapter. Leviticus 14:48. Whether it be in the warp or woof has occasioned much unnecessary perplexity on account of the supposed difficulty in one of these remaining unaffected in the cloth by any disintegration occurring in the other; and Keil would translate “the flax and the wool;” Clark, De Wette, Knobel and others, (with whom Keil also seems to concur) explain it of yarn prepared for warp and yarn prepared for woof. There is really however, no difficulty in the matter, if the trouble is supposed to arise from some original fault in the material or in the processes of its preparation. Whichever was made of such material would first show the defect, and it could be seen in the cloth that the trouble arose from either the warp or the woof, as the case might be. The same sort of thing is sometimes observed in cloth now when the proper proportion has not been observed between the strength of the two kinds of thread, so that the cloth will tear with undue ease in one direction but not in the other; or when, in cloth woven of different colors, one set of threads has been injured in the dyeing. A distinction is made between a skin and any thing made of skin. The former were whole skins, as sheep skins dressed with the wool on for a sort of cloak for the poor, or for mats, etc., and also made into leather for bottles and other uses; the latter the endless variety of smaller articles made of leather. Leviticus 14:49. A strong green or red spot was prima facie evidence of leprosy, and subjected that in which it appeared to priestly examination. According to Maimonides (cited by Patrick) the spot must be “as broad as a bean,” and if smaller than this was of no consequence. Leviticus 14:50. Bind up the spot.—Here as in Leviticus 14:4, etc, the usual interpretation is that of the A. V, shut up it that hath the spot; but the Hebrew in all these places only means necessarily the binding up of the spot itself, not a sort of quarantine upon the person or thing on which it is. See Textual note4. In this case there is not the same hardship involved in the other rendering as in the case of the human subject: but still the rendering is objectionable as implying much more strongly than the law itself the idea of contagiousness. Leviticus 14:51-57 describe the appearances by which the priest must determine whether the suspicious spots were really leprosy or not. These turn upon whether the spot increased. If it did, then he was at once to burn that garment. The expression in Leviticus 14:52, 58, whether warp or woof, and in Leviticus 14:56 out of the warp or out of the woof is to be understood of the cloth in which the disease has appeared in either the warp or the woof. Fretting, Leviticus 14:51-52(Bochart, lepra exasperata), is equivalent to corroding. If however, the spot had not increased at the examination made at the end of a week, the suspected article was to be washed and the process repeated. If at the end of another week after the washing there was no change in the color of the spot, the thing was to be condemned and burned, although there was no apparent spreading. In such case it is fret inward,i.e., the material itself was faulty and unfit for use. Whether it be bare within or without; lit. bald in the head thereof, or in the forehead thereof, (Margin A. V. See Texual note20). As the disease itself is figuratively named from its resemblance to the human leprosy, so these terms are used in the same way, and are generally considered to mean the right or the wrong side of the cloth or skin. On the other hand, if at the end of the week after the washing the spot had become less distinct ( Leviticus 14:56), it was to be torn out of the garment or skin. If it reappeared ( Leviticus 14:57) the thing was to be burned; but otherwise ( Leviticus 14:58) to be washed a second time and then pronounced clean. Leviticus 14:59 is simply the usual conclusion, stating that the foregoing is the law for the cases specified.

C. Cleansing and restoration of the leper, Leviticus 14:1-32.

This communication was addressed to Moses alone, because there were no questions to be determined by priestly examination; it simply directs what is to be done in the case of a person already pronounced clean by the priest. Leviticus 14:1-20 prescribe the normal course, Leviticus 14:21-31 allow certain modifications for the poor, and Leviticus 14:32 is the conclusion.

A new Proper Lesson of the law begins here, and extends to the close of the following chapter; the parallel lesson from the prophets is 2 Kings 7:3-20, containing the account brought into Samaria by the four lepers of the flight, of the besieging army of the Syrians.

Lange: “a. The theocratico-political atonement, or the taking again of the person pronounced clean into the camp, i.e., into the congregation of the people. Hence this first act of atonement took place without the camp (later, before the gate of the city). The leper was to be represented by two birds, living and clean. They must be wild birds, since the tame turtle doves or the young pigeons would not have flown away when released. Since these birds represent the maximum of free motion, we may certainly find this thought indicated: want of free motion was a chief cause of the leprosy.” [This inference, however, it is to be remembered, is only an inference, not a part of the law which carefully abstains from any mention of the causes]. “One of these birds was slain over a vessel in which there was already some fresh spring or river water. It is not to be understood that in this the purification by water was indicated together with the atoning blood, since the washing follows farther on; on the contrary, in the fresh water the thought of living motion is again brought out. The blood of the slain bird dropped into this water; the few drops of blood, in and of themselves, would not suffice for the sprinkling. Nevertheless also, the blood of the slain bird considered as typically sick, through death became fresh again in its signification. The living bird, which was to remain alive, was dipped in the augmented blood of the dead bird. But very note-worthy are the allegorical accompaniments which jointly serve to illustrate the living bird, and were therefore dipped with it in the blood; a piece of cedar wood, as a symbol of the endurance of life; a piece of scarlet, as a symbol of the freshness of life; some hyssop, as a symbol of the purity of life through constant purifications of life.” (See Keil, p106, [trans, p385 s.]). After the living bird with these accompaniments had been dipped in the blood, the person to be cleansed was sprinkled seven times with this blood. No further mention is made of the dead bird, since its flesh was not a sacrifice; but the living bird, hallowed by the blood of the dead, is set free. We may rightly see in the two birds the double position of the leper in his leprosy: in the slain bird he appears as he had fallen into death; in the one that is set free, on the contrary, he appears as by God’s mercy he is recovered to unrestrained motion. But we might also in this contrast find the thought, that the leprosy, as it falls upon one part of the community, keeps the other part all the more free; or, that health and disease are separated as opposite poles in regard to the common national life. In any case, it is a fact that, in regions where Cretinism prevails, which is analogous to leprosy, the freshest and strongest forms occur near the sick. Meanwhile, the person sprinkled with the blood must complete this purification in several ways: first, by washing his clothes; secondly, by cutting off all his hair from his whole body, (whether also his eyebrows and eyelashes?); thirdly, by bathing himself. Then he might go into the camp, but must yet add seven days more on the outside of his tent. Why? Keil answers with the Chaldee et non accedat ad latus uxoris suæ. But the law would not have been too modest to say so. With this is to be noticed that this same direction is applied to several analogous cases. He who is healed of a running issue, must wait seven days after the recognition of his healing before he can bring his sacrifice ( Leviticus 15:13). The same applies to the woman with an issue of blood (ib. 28). So too, for the Nazarite in whose presence a man had died ( Numbers 6:10). Particularly weighty is the direction of the seven days’ waiting which, according to Leviticus 8:35, must introduce the final consecration of the priests. We cannot say that during these seven days the priest was yet unclean; but he had not indeed become fully clean for the service of the priesthood. When we look back at the ordinance of the second seven days in reference to one who has been recognized as clean—the leprous Prayer of Manasseh, or garment, or house,—there appears a distinction of cleanness of a first and second grade, a negative and a positive cleanness, which latter was a kind of priestly consecration. Every Israelite, in his degree should have this priestly consecration; but especially near to it stood the Nazarite, and next to him we place the cleansed leper. In the new covenant, the highly favored sinner stands higher than the Christian of less experience of salvation; the Song of Solomon, who was lost and found, higher than the elder brother; Mary Magdalene higher than a common maiden.” [It must be always borne in mind, however, that this superiority does not rest upon any advantage in having sinned, but upon the earnestness of love on the part of him who has been forgiven. See Luke 7:47. F. G.]. “This fact appears to have been typically represented in the Old Testament by the restoration of the cleansed leper to the worship of the congregation.” [It was represented, that is to say, in the very full ceremonies and sacrifices accompanying the restoration, but not in any higher position of the cleansed leper after his restoration was accomplished.—F. G.].

b. The theocratico-religious atonement. The offering obligatory upon the leper was very extensive; two Hebrews -lambs, one ewe-lamb, three tenth parts of wheaten flour mingled with oil, and a log of oil. The trespass offering formed the beginning of the offering, for the leper has by the connection with his people come into its guilt.” [Nevertheless, it is hard to see how this could have been the reason, when the leper had been absolutely separated from his people, and was now to be restored to his connection with them. But see under Leviticus 14:12.—F. G.]. “The blood of this trespass offering was first treated like the blood of the trespass offering of the priest; it was put on the tip of the right ear, on the thumb of the right hand, and on the thumb or great toe of the right foot, all with the same meaning as in the consecration of the priests. In addition to this, the oil comes into use, which indeed, as being common oil, is different from the anointing oil of the priests, but is still a symbol of the Spiritual life. With this oil in minute measure, the priest, with a finger of his right hand dipped in the oil which had been poured into the hollow of the left, executed a seven-fold sprinkling before the Lord, i.e., towards the sanctuary. Then, with the rest of the oil, the three parts of the body were anointed which had been smeared with the blood of the trespass offering. The blood baptism preceded, as the negative consecration; the oil baptism must follow, as the positive atonement. The head of the leper was also anointed with the oil. He was thus to be made a man of the Spirit in each way, by his tribulation, and his deliverance. Then followed the sin offering, for which, in accordance with Leviticus 4:28; Leviticus 4:32, the ewe-lamb was to be used. In this place the addition is made: he shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed [ Leviticus 14:31]. Plainly his sin is assumed in this to be individual guilt, in contradistinction from his share in the common guilt. It is rightly presupposed that the leprosy in each one stands in connection with his individual sinfulness; however light, it has for its result, sins of ill-will, of bitterness, of impatience, of self-forgetfulness, of prejudice toward the community. Now first can the presentation of the burnt offering follow, with the other Hebrews -lamb, and with the meat offering.”

“The ordinance may be modified in case the person to be purified is poor. The direction for the sacrifice itself is indeed almost analogous to the direction in the case of the poor woman in child-birth; only here the lamb for the trespass offering, the tenth deal of wheaten flour sprinkled with oil for a meat offering, and the log of oil for anointing, could not be dispensed with by the bringing of two doves or young pigeons. Moreover, the trespass offering, as well as the oil, is directed to be made a wave-offering before Jehovah. It is the same ritual as the wave or the consecration offering at the consecration of the priests ( Leviticus 8:22; Leviticus 8:27). Thus this waving here also can only signify a peculiar consecration of the leper, which is more strongly expressed in the case of the poor leper who must be shaken free with his gift, must be brought to a swinging up, or heave offering (Aufschwung).”

Some points in the above will be found differently treated below.

Leviticus 14:1-3. The starting point for the following directions is the priestly inspection of the leper supposed to be healed. This must take place without the camp, and if it resulted favorably, then the following directions were to be observed. (The expression נִרְפָּא מִן, as Keil notes, is a “const. prægnans, healed away from, i.e., healed and gone away from”).

Leviticus 14:4-8. The restoration to the camp. This was formally accomplished by a very full and significant ritual, proportioned to the abhorrence in which leprosy was to be held, and the rigidness of the exclusion of the leper from the society of his people. There was no sacrifice, since the person to be cleansed was not yet in a condition to offer sacrifice, nor was anything offered, or even brought by him, nor was anything placed upon the altar. The ceremony was, however, a purification which is always related to sacrifice as a symbolic step towards a restoration to fellowship with God.

For the significance of the things used in this ceremony, Abarbanel is quoted by Patrick to the following effect: the living birds signify that the leper’s dead flesh was restored to life and vigor; the cedar wood restoration from putrefaction; the scarlet (wool, or thread, or a bit of cloth) restoration of the color of health to the complexion; the hyssop (which was fragrant) restoration from the exceedingly ill odor of the disease.

An earthen vessel was taken—probably that after this use it might be broken up and destroyed—and partly filled with water from a spring or brook, and one of the birds killed over it in such a way that its blood should fall into and be mingled with the water. In this the living bird was to be dipped with the other things, and then the person to be cleansed was sprinkled with it with that sevenfold sprinkling prescribed on occasions of peculiar solemnity (see Leviticus 4:6); and the person was then to be pronounced clean. After this the living bird was let loose into the open field. In attempting to estimate the significance of this rite, it is to be remembered that precisely the same ritual is prescribed for the cleansing of the leprous house ( Leviticus 14:49-53), and the cedar, scarlet and hyssop, were also burned with the red heifer, whose ashes, placed in water, were to be used for purifications ( Numbers 19:6). The water, the blood, the cedar and the scarlet are mentioned in the Ep. to the Heb. ( Leviticus 9:19-20) as having been used by Moses in sprinkling the Book of the Covenant and the people (see Exodus 24:6-8), and generally hyssop was used in various forms of sprinkling. Except therefore in regard to the birds, no significance can be attributed to these things which is not common to other purifications besides those of the leper, and even in regard to the birds, none which is not common to the cleansing of the leprous man and the leprous house ( Leviticus 14:53). In view of this, and of the analogy of the scapegoat ( Leviticus 16:21-22), the living bird let loose must be considered as bearing away the unclean-ness of the leper (Von Gerlach), and not as signifying the social resurrection of the leper in his restoration to the congregation. Of this last, the bird flying away to return no more could hardly have been a symbol. On the natural history of the cedar (Juniperus oxycedrus), and the hyssop, see Clarke. The scarlet is said in the Mishna to have been used for tying the other things to the living bird when they were dipped together in the water mingled with blood. Nothing is said of the disposal of all these things after they had fulfilled their purpose. After this ceremonial, the symbolical cleansing was still further set forth ( Leviticus 14:8) by the leper’s washing his clothes, and shaving off all his hair, and bathing himself. He might then enter the camp, but not yet his own tent. This remaining restriction seems designed to still further impress upon the mind the fearful character of the disease from which the leper had recovered: and still more, to postpone the full restoration of the leper to his family until he had first, by the prescribed sacrifices, been restored to fellowship with God.

Leviticus 14:9. After an interval of a week, the restored person was to be again shaved completely, to again wash his clothes, and again bathe himself. He was now prepared to offer the prescribed sacrifices on the following day; for he was now clean.

Leviticus 14:10-20. The restoration to fellowship with God, and admission to the sanctuary. Now for the first time the cleansed leper brings himself the things necessary for the completion of his cleansing. Three victims are to be offered; for a trespass, for a sin, and for a burnt offering. With these also he brought the prescribed oblation and the oil for his anointing; the oil was to be waved with the trespass offering ( Leviticus 14:12) as its consecration to God, and the whole oblation (although three tenth deals seem to be required with reference to the three sacrifices) was to be offered upon the altar with the burnt offering ( Leviticus 14:20). The flour amounted to nearly six quarts, the separate oil to about half a pint. Leviticus 14:12. Offer him for a trespass offering.—The offering thus designated was not required to be of a definite value, as in the ordinary trespass offerings, and it was altogether peculiar in its ritual, being waved with the oil for a wave offering before the Lord.—This was never done with any part of the ordinary trespass offering ( Leviticus 5:14 to Leviticus 6:7); only in the sacrifice of Leviticus 23:20 was the whole victim ever waved; as still another peculiarity, the wave offering was placed in this case, not in the hands of the offerer, but in those of the priest. What then was here the significance of the waving? Keil, Clark, and others, consider it as a consecration of the cleansed leper represented by the victim. It is true that there was, in the ritual as a whole, a kind of consecration of the person to his restored position as one of the people of the Lord; but this can scarcely have been the meaning of this particular ceremony. When the Levites were consecrated to the service of the Lord by a wave offering, they were themselves waved ( Numbers 8:11; Heb. A. V. marg.); when the priests were consecrated, the wave offering was placed in their hands, and consisted of certain parts, not, of a trespass offering, but of their “ram of consecration” ( Leviticus 8:25-28); when portions of the ordinary peace offerings were consecrated by waving, they were always placed in the hands of the offerer. From all these the waving of the whole ram of the leper’s trespass offering essentially differs; nor does it seem possible that it could signify his consecration, unless it were in some way placed in his own hands. More probably, this part of the ritual was simply designed to distinguish the leper’s from the ordinary trespass offering; that while it was still to be classed generically with that offering, it was yet specifically distinct from it. A consideration of this fact will remove, partially at least, the difficulty of understanding why a trespass offering should have been required of the cleansed leper. The reason given by Oehler and others, that it was a kind of fine, or satisfaction rendered for the fact, that during the whole period of his sickness, in consequence of his exclusion from the camp, the leper had failed to perform his theocratic duties, is shown by Keil to be entirely untenable, since no such offering was required in parallel cases of persons excluded from the sanctuary when affected with diseased secretions; to this it may be added, that no penalty was required, as in the case of trespass offerings for such offences. Nor is the reason above given by Lange quite satisfactory. The true idea in this offering seems to be that the leper, by his very sickness, had been in the condition of an offender against the theocratic law of purity; yet that this was, in his case, not an actual, but only a quasi trespass, is shown by the omission to require it to be of definite value and by the ritual directing it to be made also into a wave offering. The leper had not merely failed to present his required offerings in consequence of his exclusion from the camp, but he had actually lived in a condition of extremest theocratic uncleanness (far more so than in the case of the secretions), and consequently in symbolic opposition to the Head of the theocracy. He must therefore present a trespass offering; but as all this had been done not only involuntarily, but most unwillingly, the offering was distinguished by being waved. Leviticus 14:13. For as the sin offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering.—This, already known as the general law ( Leviticus 7:7), is here repeated, because otherwise the peculiarity of this trespass offering might seem to make it an exception. It is most holy. See on Leviticus 2:3.

In regard to the order of the various offerings: here the sin offering ( Leviticus 14:19) precedes the burnt offering according to the general rule; but the trespass offering comes before them both. The reason above given why the trespass offering should have been offered at all, explains also why it should have been offered first. In the case of the reconsecration of the defiled Nazarite ( Numbers 6:11-12), the condition of the offerer was different; he was already in full standing as a member of the theocracy, and offered the sin-offering first, and then the trespass offering. Here the healed leper must present the trespass offering first, as the mark of his restoration to the privileges of the theocratic community, before he offers any other sacrifice.

The restored leper was touched with the blood of the victim ( Leviticus 14:14) in the same way as the priests with the blood of the ram of consecration ( Leviticus 8:23), and doubtless with the same general symbolical meaning. Next comes the use of the oil. It was first employed in a sevenfold sprinkling towards the sanctuary ( Leviticus 14:16), and then touched with the finger of the priest upon all the points which had already been touched with the blood of the victim, “which seems to have been a token of forgiveness by the blood, and of healing by the oil.” Patrick. With the remnant of the oil in his hand, the priest was to anoint the head of him that is to be cleansed. In all this then there appears with sufficient plainness, a kind of consecration; but it was a consecration, not to any peculiar position or privilege, but simply to his becoming again one of the chosen people—the nation who were by their calling “a kingdom of priests,”—from whom he had been temporarily excluded. This is sufficiently shown by the following clause, to make an atonement for him before the LORD. The unction was not as a propitiation for his sin. in the ordinary sense of the word—that is provided for by the same expression in connection with the sin offering in the following verse ( Leviticus 14:19); but it was to cover over the gulf by which he had been separated, to make an at-one-ment for him who had been alienated and separated by his leprosy. Then follows the sin offering with its proper atonement. There need be no question here of the propriety of the sin offering; it was always in place for sinful Prayer of Manasseh, but especially for one who had been so long debarred from bringing it to the altar. Lastly, came also ( Leviticus 14:20) the burnt offering with its atonement. With the last was offered a three-fold oblation; for although the oblation might not be offered with the trespass and sin offering, yet in this case these were so peculiar in their use that they were able each to pass on an additional oblation, as it were, to the burnt offering.

Leviticus 14:21-31. The alternative offering of the poor leper. In this case all things proceed as before with the same offerings and the same ritual, except that for the sin and burnt offerings, turtle doves or young pigeons are allowed, and the oblation is reduced to the normal oblation for the burnt offering ( Numbers 15:4) of one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil.

It will be seen that the restoration of the healed leper thus consisted of several stages. First, he was examined by the priest, and satisfactory evidence being found that the disease was cured, he was then purified without the camp by a solemn and significant ceremonial, which yet was not a sacrifice. After this he was admitted to the camp, but must still remain a week without entering either his own tent or the sanctuary. At the end of this time he offered a singularly full and solemn sacrifice, consisting of a modified trespass offering, together with a sin and burnt offering. He was touched with the blood of his offering and anointed with oil. Each stage of his restoration was marked by lustrations. Thus at last was he once more restored to full communion with God and full fellowship with the covenant people.

D. Leprosy in a house. Leviticus 14:33-53.

The communication on this subject is again addressed to Moses and Aaron conjointly, since here again the exercise of the priestly functions of examination and determination is called into play ( Leviticus 14:33), and it all looks forward distinctly to the future, when ye be come into the land of Canaan( Leviticus 14:34), for in the wilderness, of course, they had no houses. The wholly prospective character of this part of the law explains why it is placed last of all.

“This regulation is plainly concerning keeping the houses clean,—the sanitary police as regards the houses;—just as the Jewish poor-law (see Winer, Art. Arme etc.) is a striking proof of the humanity of the Mosaic legislation. One may well say:—the tender care for the superintendence of health and of the poor, which here appears in Israel in typical and legal form, still in the Christian commonwealth comes far short of the true spiritual realization. Trouble of dwellings and poor troubles, bad dwellings and faulty superintendence of the poor, are a chapter which our time has first taken into the circle of its activity.” Lange. That the “leprous” houses were unhealthy, does not yet seem established on sufficient proof; so far as this law is concerned, it may be that the legislation rests entirely on other grounds. At the same time, the view of Lange may be true.

Leviticus 14:34. I put the spot of leprosy in a house.—“Thus also these evil conditions in houses are decrees of Jehovah. As the house is the enlarged human family, so the decree upon the house is an enlargement of the decree upon man.” Lange. “Jehovah here speaks as the Lord of all created things, determining their decay and destruction, as well as their production; comp. Isaiah 45:7.” Clark. Abundant quotations from Jewish authorities are cited by Patrick, showing that they looked upon this infliction (from which, however, they considered Jerusalem to be exempted) as a special and direct divine judgment. Certainly, as Keil notes in opposition to Knobel, the expression here excludes the idea that the leprosy was communicated to houses by infection from man; and this becomes still more certain from the fact that the people who had been in the house are regarded as clean.

When notice had been sent to the priest ( Leviticus 14:35) of a suspicious appearance in the house, he was first to order it to be “cleared ( Leviticus 14:36), lest everything in it should become unclean. Consequently, as what was in the house became unclean only when the priest had declared the house affected with leprosy, the reason for the defilement is not to be sought for in physical infection, but must have been of an ideal or symbolical kind.” Keil. The rules guiding the priestly examination, and the course to be pursued in consequence of his decision ( Leviticus 14:37-47), are as nearly as possible like those given in the case of cloth and of skin. First: If on the preliminary examination there seemed to be good ground for suspicion, the house was to be shut up for a week ( Leviticus 14:38); it was then Revelation -examined, and if the grounds of suspicion were confirmed by the spread of the trouble, the affected stones were to be taken out, the inside of the house scraped, and the stones and dirt to be carried without the city unto an unclean place. Then other stones were to be put in their place, and the house plastered with other mortar, ( Leviticus 14:42). This ended the matter, if no fresh ground of suspicion arose. But if the trouble reappeared, the priest must examine the house once more, and if he found that the leprosy had broken out afresh, he must command the entire demolition of the house, and the carrying forth of its material to an unclean place ( Leviticus 14:45). Any one entering the house while shut up became unclean till evening; and if he ate or slept in the house, he must also wash his clothes ( Leviticus 14:46-47). From what has been said before, it is clear that the ground of this provision was not any supposed danger of infection, but to prevent the contraction of symbolical uncleanness.

Leviticus 14:48-53. The ceremony of purification. In case the leprosy did not spread in the house after the means used for its cure, the priest was to pronounce it clean, and then to perform purificatory rites exactly like those used for the leper without the camp. In reference to the views expressed there, Lange says, here “One may indeed ask whether the allegorizing there spoken of would also be proper here. The contrast between the living bird, which flies free, and the dead bird, seems here to illustrate the contrast between the healthy sojourn under God’s free heaven, and the harmful sojourn in musty, diseased houses. But the fact is also here well worthy of note, that there is not the least mention made of any atoning worship.” In ver 53 it is said that the priest shall make an atonement for the house. This is often spoken of as figurative; but in fact it is better to take it quite literally. According to the primary meaning of the Hebrew word “he shall cover,” i.e., he shall, by this ceremony, put out of sight the uncleanness of the house; or in its derived and customary sense, he shall make an at-one-ment, i.e., he shall restore the house from its tainted character, shut up and forbidden to be used, to its proper relations and purposes. On leprosy in garments and houses, see preliminary note.

E. Conclusion. Leviticus 14:54-57.

These verses simply form the conclusion of the whole law of leprosy contained in chapters13,14. Although these chapters are made up of no less than three separate divine communications ( Leviticus 13:1; Leviticus 14:1; Leviticus 14:33), yet they constitute altogether but one closely connected series of laws. The summary is in the usual form; but in Leviticus 14:56 the names of the symptoms of various forms of leprosy are repeated from Leviticus 13:2.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

I. On leprosy in clothes: “The alternative, according to which the Levitical regulations are to have either a religious typical meaning alone, or a dietetic sanitary purpose alone, is here shown with especial clearness to be incorrect. The typical point, indeed, is not to be mistaken: even the attire of men was not to be infected with plague spots of sinful corruption. But not less prominently, the point of the moral duty of cleanliness is brought forward upon a religious basis.” Lange. Exeg.

II. On leprosy in man: “We must distinguish between the horror of death of the Grecian spirit, and the theocratic antipathy against the signs of death in life, and the remains of the living in the corpse. The act of dying was ethical for the Hebrews in a bad, or in a good sense. Even the Old Testament knows an ethical Euthanasia opposed to the death of despair. But in a sphere where all is founded upon immortal life, a being for life and not for death, all signs of decay must be put aside.” Lange, Exeg.

III. The peculiar defilement of leprosy, leading to exclusion from the camp, or in other words, to excommunication from the ancient church, evidently has its foundation in the peculiar character of the disease. It was especially associated with death, usually ultimately resulting in death, and being in its later stages, a sort of living death—a death already begun in the members—and presenting a fearful image of death. But death was the sentence upon sin, and hence leprosy and its treatment have always been understood as symbolizing sin and its treatment, both by Jewish and Christian commentators.

IV. The examination and determination of leprosy was intrusted to the priests, not on account of their being supposed to possess superior medical knowledge, but only in view of its theocratic relations. Any other treatment of the leper might properly be undertaken by physicians when any were to be had; but the exclusion of the leper from, or his restoration to the commonwealth of Israel, the communion of the church of God, was properly a priestly act. It is to this alone that the law applies. This was indeed, in strictness the province of God Himself; but as He committed the administration of His church in general to human hands, so also particularly in this matter. The sentence of the priests was final, and admitted of no appeal; the authority had been Divinely committed to them, and although they might perhaps sometimes decide wrongly, there was no other redress than a further examination when there seemed to be occasion for it, by the same authority. Thus was the priestly authority to bind and loose in the ancient church confirmed in heaven. Of course their decrees of exclusion from the earthly church did not determine anything concerning the leper’s salvation.

V. By the extension of the term leprosy to garments and houses, and the similar treatment of them when thus affected, it seems to be taught that there is not merely an analogy, but a certain sympathy between man and the inanimate things by which he is surrounded. (Comp. Romans 8:22). They are to be associated in his mind with his own state and condition, and are to be so treated as to bring home to him in a lively way the things that concern himself. The Rabbins consider the trouble in houses as confined to the land of Canaan, and Divinely sent as a warning to the people against their sinfulness. If this warning were unheeded, then the leprosy passed to their clothes, and finally to their persons. However this may be, it is noticeable that the leprosy here treated is only, as suggested by Lange, in the various habitations of the human spirit; in the body, which is indeed an actual part of the man himself, but which is often looked upon and spoken of as the tabernacle of the soul; in the clothing, which was a still more outer covering; and finally in the house, the outermost dwelling. Not a word is ever spoken of leprosy in animals.

VI. In the ceremonial for the purification of leprosy, so much more full than for any other defilement, it is seen how the purificatory rites rise in importance as the uncleanness becomes a more striking symbol of the impurity of sin. This symbolism reached its climax in the leper, and in his purification; but yet it was only symbolism; for as the defilement of sin lies deeper, so must the sacrifice for its removal be higher.

VII. Calvin observes that the final cleansing of the leper was appointed for the eighth day after his entrance into the camp. As his circumcision, or first admission into the church of God was on the eighth day after his birth into the world; so now he was, on the corresponding day, to be born again into the church after his exclusion. Another parallel, too, may be here carried out between first entering into communion with God, and being restored to it by repentance after having been alienated by sin.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

“The priestly people of God have always a war to wage with the defilements of the natural life.… Especially is the uncleanness of leprosy, and in it of all diseases, to be combated; so also all the Unhealthy conditions of houses and clothes are an object of the priestly battle, of the wrestling after an ideal moulding of all the conditions of life. How much these costly types still lack of their complete fulfillment in the Christian community has already been pointed out.” Lange.

Leprosy defiled all who came in contact with it; a lively image of the contaminating effect of sin. See 1 Corinthians 15:33. Yet it did not defile the priests, who were to make a close and careful inspection of it, because this was their commanded duty; so neither does sin contaminate those who, in the fear of God and as duty to Him, strive to the utmost to recover and save the sinner.

As the priest for the purification of the leper went without the camp, and there stayed and held converse with the leper for his cleansing, so Christ left His dwelling-place in heaven and came among sinners that He might purify them from their sin. Hesychius. “It is remarkable how well even the Jewish teachers themselves understood the symbolical meaning of this regulation” [concerning the exclusion of the leper from the camp]; “for thus speaks one of them on this place: ‘If a man considers this, he will be humbled and ashamed on account of his sin; since every sin is a leprosy, a spot upon his soul. And, as it is written of the leper, his clothes shall be rent, etc.; in like manner, the defilement on his soul, which is far removed from the holiness on high, shall equally separate him from the camp of Israel. And if a man turns to repentance in order to be cleansed from his spots, behold he is clean from his leprosy, but otherwise the leprosy remains clinging to his soul; and in this world, and in the world to come, he is far removed from the whole camp there above until he has become cleansed.’ The law instructs how to know leprosy, pronounces the leper unclean, shuts him out from the congregation, but it has not power to heal him; this was reserved for the Son of God, to cleanse bodily in figure, and spiritually also, as the true Redeemer from sin and its consequences.” Von Gerlach.

“Ceremonial uncleanness involves ceremonial guilt, and demands an atonement. So moral impurity involves moral guilt, which requires a propitiation. The uncleanness and the guilt mutually imply each other; yet they are totally distinct, and must be removed by totally different means. The Spirit of God by the truth of Revelation removes moral impurity; the Mediator, by His undertaking for the guilty, relieves him from the consequences of his guilt.…. The symbols of purification and propitiation come together in the ceremonial connected with the leper’s Revelation -entrance into communion with God. The water and the blood meet in the initial sacrifice; the oil and the blood are associated in the final one.” Murphy.

As the cicatrices left by ulcers and burns were points where leprosy was peculiarly likely to be developed, so Origen, following the allegorical interpretation, notes that the wounds upon the soul, though healed, are peculiarly liable to become the occasion for the development of sin. The integrity of purity once lost, there is a dangerous spot in the heart which needs the care of the great Physician of souls.

The Christian Fathers generally give a spiritual interpretation of the two birds used in the purification of the leper or the leprous house. Thus Theodoret (Qu19): “They contain a type of the Passion of salvation. For as the one bird was slain and the other, dipped in its blood, was set free; so our Lord was crucified for leprous humanity, the flesh indeed receiving death, but the Divinity appropriating to itself the suffering of the humanity.” This thought is quite common in the Fathers. The two birds typify the two natures of Christ, and the purification of the sinner is accomplished only by their union in Him.

The Fathers also consider the leprous house symbolical of Israel. (See e.g. Theodoret. Qu18): Israel was examined and purified, and the evil stones of its building removed by the many judgments upon the nation, and especially by the carrying away “without the camp” to Babylon. But at last when its incurable sin broke out afresh in the crucifixion of the Lord of life, the whole house was pulled down and its stones cast out into an unclean place.

Blood and water are constantly joined together in the purifications of the law, as in this of leprosy, so in all other cases. Whatever may be the underlying truth on which this symbolism rests, the symbolism itself culminates in the reality of the purification for sin accomplished by Christ upon the cross, out of whose side flowed the blood and the water for the cleansing of the world. See John 19:34; 1 John 5:6; 1 John 5:8.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Leviticus 14:2. נֶגַע, a word of very frequent occurrence in these two chapters where it is uniformly translated in the A. V. (except Leviticus 13:42-43, sore) plague, as it is also in Genesis 12:17; Exodus 11:1; Deuteronomy 24:8 (in reference also to leprosy); 1 Kings 8:37-38; Psalm 91:10. Elsewhere the renderings of the A. V. are very various: sore, stroke, stripe, wound. By far the most common rendering in the LXX. is ἁφή=tactus, ictus. The idea of the word is a stroke or blow, and then the effect of this in a wound or spot. Clark therefore would translate here stroke, which meets well enough the meaning of the word itself, but does not in all cases convey the sense in English. It is perhaps impossible to find one word in English which can be used in all cases; but that which seems best adapted to Leviticus is the one given by Horsley and Lee, and adopted here: spot. So Keil, Wilson and others. There is no article in the Heb.

FN#2 - Chap14. Leviticus 14:4. The Sam, LXX. and Syr. here read the verb in the plural, expressing the fulfillment of the command.

FN#3 - Leviticus 14:4. The margin of the A. V. reads sparrows, for which there seems to be no other authority than the Vulg. The Heb. does not define the kind of bird at all.

FN#4 - Leviticus 14:5. Better, living water, which is the exact rendering of the Heb. Ordinarily living water is a figure for running water; but here the water is contained in a vessel, and had therefore simply been filled from a spring or running stream.

FN#5 - Leviticus 14:6. אֵת. The conjunction which seems to be needed at the beginning of this verse is supplied in the Sam. and6 MSS. There is nothing in Heb. answering to the as for of the A. V.

FN#6 - Leviticus 14:8. רָחַץ is applied only to the washing of the surface of objects which water will not penetrate. Comp. Leviticus 1:9; Leviticus 1:13; Leviticus 9:14, etc. It is a different word from כָּבַם of the previous clause, which is used of a more thorough washing or fulling. The English is unable in all cases to preserve the distinction; but it should be done as far as possible, and רָחַץ is frequently translated bathe in the following chapter ( Leviticus 15:5-8; Leviticus 15:10-11; Leviticus 15:13; Leviticus 15:18; Leviticus 15:21-22; Leviticus 15:27) and elsewhere.

FN#7 - Leviticus 14:10. שְׁנֵי־כְבָשִׂים. See Textual Note5 on Leviticus 3:7. The age is not exactly specified in the Heb.; but the Sam. and LXX. add of the first year, as in the following clause.

FN#8 - Leviticus 14:10. See Textual Note 2 on Leviticus 2:1.

FN#9 - Leviticus 14:12. The Sam. and LXX. have the plural. Probably the sing, of the Heb. is not intended to have the priest for its nominative, but to be impersonal.

FN#10 - Leviticus 14:13. One MS, the Sam, LXX. and Vulg. supply the particle of comparison, כְּ.

FN#11 - Leviticus 14:17. Two MSS, the LXX. and Vulg. here read, as the Heb. in Leviticus 14:28, upon the place of the blood.

FN#12 - Leviticus 14:18. For בַּשֶּׁמֶן three MSS. and the Syr. read מִן־הַשֶׁמֶן, as in Leviticus 14:16. On this use of בְּ, however, see Fuerst, Lex. בְּ־, 3, b. γ. Gesen. Lex. A2.

FN#13 - Leviticus 14:18. יִתֵּן is better translated put, both as more agreeable to the meaning of the word itself, and because the oil remaining in the left hand could hardly suffice for pouring.

FN#14 - Leviticus 14:20. The Sam. and LXX. add before the Lord.

FN#15 - Leviticus 14:23. The preposition is here so liable to be misunderstood that it is better to change it. It has reference to the eighth day appointed for his cleansing (as the Vulg.), not to the sacrifices for his cleansing (as the LXX.). So Geddes and Boothroyd. In Leviticus 14:10 the difficulty does not occur.

FN#16 - Leviticus 14:26. עַל־כַּף הַכּהֵן, an expression understood by Houbigant to mean that one priest should pour into the hand of another; the sense given in the A. V. following the Vulg. Isaiah, however, doubtless correct.

FN#17 - Leviticus 14:29. The Sam. here reverses its change of reading in Leviticus 14:18, and has בְּ for מן.

FN#18 - Leviticus 14:36. שְׁקַעֲרוּרֹת, a word ἁπ. λέγ., but its meaning sufficiently well ascertained. The A. V. follows the LXX, Chald. and Vulg, and the same sense is given by Rosenm, Fuerst and Gesen, though by each with a different etymology.

FN#19 - Leviticus 14:37. See Notes 13 on Leviticus 13:19; Leviticus 13:24 on Leviticus 14:49.

FN#20 - Leviticus 14:41. All the ancient versions except the Vulg. change the causative form of the verb to the plural, as the following verb is plural. Also in Leviticus 14:42-43; Leviticus 14:45; Leviticus 14:49, they have the plural.

FN#21 - Leviticus 14:47. The LXX. here adds, what is of course implied, and be unclean until the even.

FN#22 - Leviticus 14:51. The LXX. has dip them in the blood of the bird that has been killed over the living water, and this is doubtless the sense of the text.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Leviticus 14:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/leviticus-14.html. 1857-84.

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Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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