Holman Bible Dictionary
For the Hebrews it was a dreaded malady which rendered its victims ceremonially unclean—that is, unfit to worship God (Leviticus 13:3 ). Anyone who came in contact with a leper was also considered unclean. Therefore, lepers were isolated from the rest of the community so that the members of the community could maintain their status as worshipers. Other physical disorders or the flow of certain bodily fluids also rendered one unclean (see Leviticus 12:1-14:32; Leviticus 15:1-33 ). Even houses and garments could have “leprosy” and, thus, be unclean (Leviticus 14:33-57 ).
Jesus did not consider this distinction between clean and unclean valid. A person's outward condition did not make one unclean; rather that which proceeds from the heart determines one's standing before God (Mark 7:1-23; compare Acts 10:9-16 ). Therefore, Jesus did not hesitate about touching lepers (Mark 1:40-45 ) and even commanded His disciples to cleanse lepers (Matthew 10:8 ). Jesus even made a leper the hero of one of His parables (Luke 16:19-31 ). See Diseases, Treatment of.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Leprosy'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/l/leprosy.html. 1991.