Today’s reading is: Lev. 12:1-14:32
Leviticus Chapter Twelve
- Childbirth leaves a woman ceremonially unclean (Lev. 12:1-8).
- For the birth of a son, the mother had a seven day period of menstrual uncleanness, followed by a 33 day period of ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. 12:1-4 cf. 15:19-30).
- For the birth of a daughter, the mother had a fourteen day period of menstrual uncleanness, followed by a 66 day period of ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. 12:5).
- Childbirth is the time for a woman to reflect.
- The new mother can reflect upon the entrance of sin into the world, and the woman’s role in the fall of man (Gen. 3:16). The doubled time of separation for the birth of a daughter then, is a reflection of the woman’s “double” subjection—the consequences of Eve’s sin and the consequences of Adam’s sin.
- The new mother can reflect upon the entrance of a unique human being into the kosmos (Jn. 16:21). The joy of new life celebrates both her literal child as well as the Seed of the Woman promise to mankind (Lk. 1:42,48; 1st Tim. 2:15).
- At the conclusion of the enforced separation, special offerings were required for the restoration of the woman to ceremonial cleanness (Lev. 12:6-8; Lk. 2:22-24).
Leviticus Chapter Thirteen
- The Lord then revealed to Moses and Aaron extensive teachings on “leprosy” (Lev. 13:1-14:57).
- צָרַעַת tsāra‘ath #6883: leprosy. צָרַע tsāra‘ #6879: to be diseased of skin, leprous.
- In people, a malignant skin disease.
- In clothing or buildings, a mildew or mold.
- Tsāra‘ath was rendered by the ancients:
- [LXX, NT] λέπρα lepra #3014: leprosy. λεπρός lepros #3015: leprous.
- [Vulg., lat.] leprae.
- Biblical leprosy is now understood to be something different from modern leprosy, or Hansen’s Disease.
- Hebrew tsāra‘ath and Greek lepra likely refer not only to actual leprosy, but also to such skin diseases as psoriasis, lupus, ringworm, and favus.
- The terms continue to be rendered as “leper” or “leprous” in many modern translations, for lack of any better term.
- Alternative translations include “serious disease” (CSB), “infectious skin disease” (LEB), “diseased infection” (NET).
- God’s infliction of Divine discipline can take the form of bodily diseases upon pagan nations, such as Egypt (Ex. 15:25b,26).
- Personal sin cannot be automatically assumed, however, as the root cause of all physical infirmities (Job 2:7; Jn. 9:2,3).
- Just as a holy nation was to have a holy diet (Lev. 11), and holy mothers (Lev. 12), a holy nation is also to have holiness in their physical health (Lev. 13&14).
- Skin diseases, and other marks of the physical curse upon the earth (such as in clothing or buildings) rendered the Jewish people ceremonially unclean before the Lord. See below for additional disabilities (Lev. 21:16-24).
- The Levitical priesthood was tasked with ministering to the leper, not as physicians, but as the spiritual arbiters of clean vs. unclean (Lev. 13:2ff.). No cure was provided, only quarantine (Leprosy in the modern world has been curable since the mid-20th century).
Leviticus Chapter Fourteen
- The course of action for the leper is to be separated from the fellowship of the congregation, and to be restored only upon the cleansing offerings (Lev. 14:1-32).
- Lepers in the Bible included:
- Moses (momentarily) (Ex. 4:6).
- Miriam (Num. 12:10).
- Naaman, the Syrian (2nd Kgs. 5:1) and many others in his day (Lk. 4:27).
- Gehazi (2nd Kgs. 5:27).
- Four unnamed lepers (2nd Kgs. 7:3).
- King Uzziah (2nd Kgs. 15:5; 2nd Chr. 26:21).
- An unnamed leper (Matt. 8:1-4; Mk. 1:40-44; Lk. 5:12-14).
- Ten unnamed lepers (Lk. 17:11-19).
- Simon (Matt. 26:6; Mk. 14:3).
(Chapter Fourteen continues tomorrow)