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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Leviticus 13

 

 

Verse 2

When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:

In the skin — For there is the first seat of the leprosy, the bright spot shining like the scale of a fish, as it is in the beginning of a leprosy.

The priest — The priest was to admit to, or exclude from, the sanctuary, and therefore to examine who were to be excluded.


Verse 3

And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and when the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh, it is a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.

When the hair is turned white — This change of colour was an evidence both of the abundance of excrementious humours, and of the weakness of nature, as we see in old and sick persons.

His flesh — For the leprosy consumed both the skin and the flesh.


Verse 4

If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days:

Seven days — For greater assurance; to teach ministers not to be hasty in their judgments, but diligently to search and examine all things before-hand. The plague is here put for the man that hath the plague.


Verse 6

And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold, if the plague be somewhat dark, and the plague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it is but a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

Dark — Contrary to the white colour of the leprosy. But the word may be rendered, have contracted itself, and thus the opposition seems to be most clear as the spreading of itself.

He shall wash his clothes — Though it was no leprosy, to teach us, that no sin is so small as not to need to be washed by the blood of Christ, which was the thing designed by all these washings.


Verse 10

And the priest shall see him: and, behold, if the rising be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be quick raw flesh in the rising;

White in the skin — With a preternatural and extraordinary whiteness.

Raw flesh — This shewed it was not a superficial leprosy but one of a deeper and more malignant nature, that had eaten into the very flesh, for which cause it is in the next verse called an old or inveterate leprosy.


Verse 13

Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague: it is all turned white: he is clean.

All his flesh — When it appeared in some one part it discovered the ill humour which lurked within, and withal the inability of nature to expel it; but when it overspread all, it manifested the strength of nature conquering the distemper, and purging out the ill humours into the outward parts.


Verse 14

But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean.

In it — That is in the place where the appearance of leprosy was, when the flesh was partly changed into a whiter colour, and partly kept its natural colour, this variety of colours was an evidence of the leprosy, as one and the same colour continuing, was a sign of soundness.


Verse 15

And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: for the raw flesh is unclean: it is a leprosy.

The raw flesh — This is repeated again and again, because raw or living flesh might rather seem a sign of soundness, and the priest might easily be deceived by it, and therefore he was more narrowly to look into it.


Verse 16

Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest;

Unto white — As it is usual with sores, when they begin to be healed, the skin which is white, coming upon the flesh.


Verse 21

But if the priest look on it, and, behold, there be no white hairs therein, and if it be not lower than the skin, but be somewhat dark; then the priest shall shut him up seven days:

Dark — Or, and be contracted.


Verse 22

And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a plague.

A plague — Or the plague of leprosy, of which he is speaking.


Verse 24

Or if there be any flesh, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the quick flesh that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white;

A hot burning — A burning of fire, by the touch of any hot-iron, or burning coals, which naturally makes an ulcer or sore in which the following spot is.


Verse 28

And if the bright spot stay in his place, and spread not in the skin, but it be somewhat dark; it is a rising of the burning, and the priest shall pronounce him clean: for it is an inflammation of the burning.

Of the burning — Arising from the burning mentioned, Leviticus 13:24.


Verse 30

Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it be in sight deeper than the skin; and there be in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it is a dry scall, even a leprosy upon the head or beard.

A yellow, thin hair — The leprosy in the body turned the hair white, in the head or beard it turned it yellow. And if a man's hair was yellow before, this might easily be distinguished from the rest, either by the thinness or smallness of it, or by its peculiar kind of yellow, for there are divers kinds of the same colour manifestly differing from one another.


Verse 31

And if the priest look on the plague of the scall, and, behold, it be not in sight deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague of the scall seven days:

No black hair — For had that appeared, it had ended the doubt, the black hair being a sign of soundness and strength of nature, as the yellow hair was a sign of unsoundness.


Verse 33

He shall be shaven, but the scall shall he not shave; and the priest shall shut up him that hath the scall seven days more:

He shall be shaven — For the more certain discovery of the growth or stay of the plague.


Verse 36

Then the priest shall look on him: and, behold, if the scall be spread in the skin, the priest shall not seek for yellow hair; he is unclean.

He shall not seek — He need not search for the hair, or any other sign, the spreading of it being a sure sign of leprosy.


Verse 39

Then the priest shall look: and, behold, if the bright spots in the skin of their flesh be darkish white; it is a freckled spot that groweth in the skin; he is clean.

If the spots be darkish white — Or, contracted, or confined to the place where they are, and white.


Verse 42

And if there be in the bald head, or bald forehead, a white reddish sore; it is a leprosy sprung up in his bald head, or his bald forehead.

It is a leprosy — It is a sign that such baldness came not from age, or any accident, but from the leprosy.


Verse 45

And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

His clothes shall be rent — In the upper and fore parts, which were most visible. This was done partly as a token of sorrow, because though this was not a sin, yet it was an effect of sin, and a sore punishment, whereby he was cut off both from converse with men, and from the enjoyment of God in his ordinances; partly as a warning to others to keep at a due distance from him wheresoever he came.

And his head bare — Another sign of mourning. God would have men though not overwhelmed with, yet deeply sensible of his judgments.

A covering on his upper lip — Partly as another badge of his sorrow and shame, and partly for the preservation of others from his breath or touch.

Unclean, unclean — As begging the pity and prayers of others, and confessing his own infirmity, and cautioning those who came near him, to keep at a distance from him.


Verse 46

All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.

He shall dwell alone — Partly for his humiliation; partly to prevent the infection of others; and partly to shew the danger of converse with spiritual lepers, or notorious sinners.


Verse 47

The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

Leprosy in garments and houses is unknown in these times and places, which is not strange, there being some diseases peculiar to some ages and countries. And that such a thing was among the Jews, cannot reasonably be doubted; for, if Moses had been a deceiver, a man of his wisdom, would not have exposed himself to the contempt of his people by giving laws about that which their experience shewed to be but a fiction.


Verse 48

Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin;

In the warp or woof — A learned man renders it in the outside, or in the inside of it. If the signification of these words be doubtful now, as some of those of the living creatures and precious stones are confessed to be, it is not material to us, this law being abolished; it sufficeth that the Jews understood these things by frequent experience.


Verse 55

And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his colour, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without.

If it have not changed its colour — If washing doth not take away that vicious colour, and restore it to its own native colour.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 13:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/leviticus-13.html. 1765.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, January 18th, 2020
the First Week after Epiphany
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