This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
in the day
And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
Lepers were obliged to live in a detached situation, separate from other people, and to keep themselves actually at a distance from them. They were distinguished by a peculiar dress; and if any person approached, they were bound to give him warning, by crying out, Unclean! unclean!
Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
or, sparrows. The word tzippor, from the Arabic zaphara, to fly, is used in the Scriptures to denote birds of every species, particularly small birds. But it is often used in a more restricted sense, as the Hebrew writers assert, to signify the sparrow. Aquinas says the same; and Jerome renders it here the sparrow. So the Greek [strouthia] in Matthew and Luke, which signifies a sparrow, is rendered by the Syriac translator tzipparin, the same as the Hebrew tzipporim. Nor is it peculiar to the Hebrews to give the same name to the sparrow and to fowls of the largest size; for Nicander calls the hen [strouthos katoikados] the domestic sparrow, and both Plautus and Ausonius call the ostrich, passer marinus, "the marine sparrow." It is evident, however, that the word in this passage signifies birds in general; for if the sparrow was a clean bird, there was no necessity for commanding a clean one to be taken, since every one of the species was ceremonially clean; but if it was unclean, then it could not be called clean.
And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
As for 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 running water:
the living bird
And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
into the open field
Heb. upon the face of the field.
And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.
But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his clothes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.
wash his flesh
Lictenstein states that "among the Koossas, (a nation of South Africa,) there are certain prevailing notions respecting moral [ceremonial] uncleanness. All children are unclean till they are admitted among grown-up persons (which happens with the males through the various ceremonies attending circumcision); all lying-in women are unclean for the first month; all men who have lost their wives, for a fortnight, and all widows for a month; a mother who has lost a child, for two days; all persons who have been present at a death, the men returning from a battle, etc. No one may have intercourse with such an unclean person, till he has washed himself, rubbed his body with fresh paint, and rinsed his mouth with milk. But he must not do this till after the lapse of a certain time, fixed by general consent for each particular case, and during this time he must wholly refrain from washing, painting, or drinking milk."
And on the eighth day he shall take two he lambs without blemish, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
of the first year
Heb. the daughter of her year. three tenth.
a meat offering
log of oil
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:
And the priest shall take one he lamb, and offer him for a trespass offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the LORD:
And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:
in the place
as the sin
it is most holy
And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the LORD:
And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:
And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest's hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD.
make an atonement
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:
And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.
And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil;
Heb. his hand reach not. one lamb.
to be waved
Heb. for a waving.
And two turtledoves, 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.
two turtle doves
Tor, the turtle or ring-dove, so called by an onomatopoeia from its cooing, as in Greek [trugon], Latin, turtur and English, turtle. It is a species of the dove or pigeon, here called yonah, and in the Syriac yauno, from the verb to oppress, afflict, because of its being particularly defenceless, and exposed to rapine and violence. The dove is a genus of birds too well known to need a particular description; and of which there are several species besides the turtle-dove; as the wood pigeon, tame pigeon, and others. The dove is universally allowed to be one of the most beautiful objects in nature. The brilliancy of her plumage, the splendour of her eye, the innocence of her look, the excellence of her dispositions, and the purity of her manners, have been the theme of admiration and praise in every age. To the snowy whiteness of her wings, and the rich golden hues that adorn her neck, the inspired Psalmist alludes in most elegant strains. (Ps 68:13.) The voice of the dove is particularly tender and plaintive, and bears a striking resemblance to the groan of a person in distress; to which the inspired bards frequently allude. (Isa 38:14; 59:11; Eze 7:16.) Her native dwelling is in the caves or hollows of the rock; allusions to which fact also occur in the Sacred Writings, (So 2:14; Jer 48:28.) Her manners are as engaging as her form is elegant, and her plumage rich and beautiful. She is the chosen emblem of simplicity, gentleness, chastity, and feminine timidity, and for this reason, as well as from their abounding in the East, they were probably chosen as offerings by Jehovah.
And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
And the rest of 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.
And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;
This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.
When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;
I put the plague of leprosy
It was probably from this text, that the leprosy has been in general considered to be a supernatural disease, inflicted immediately by God himself; but it cannot be inferred from this expression, as it is well known, that in Scripture, God is frequently represented as doing what, in the course of his providence, he only permits to be done.
And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
or, prepare. be not made.
And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
13:7,8,22,27,36,51 The consideration of the circumstances will exhibit the importance and the propriety of the Mosaic ordinance on the subject of the house leprosy. 1. Moses ordained that the owner of a house, when any suspicious spots appeared on the walls, should be bound to give notice of it, in order that the house might be inspected; and that person, as in the case of the human leprosy, was to be the priest, whose duty it was. Now this would serve to check the mischief at its very origin, and make every one attentive to observe it. 2. On notice being given, the priest was to inspect the house, but the occupant had liberty to remove everything previously out of it; and that this might be done, the priest was empowered to order it ex officio; for whatever was found within a house declared unclean, became unclean along with it. 3. If, on the first inspection, the complaint did not appear wholly without foundation, but suspicious spots or dimples were actually to be seen, the house was to be shut up for seven days and then to be inspected anew. If, in this interval, the evil did not spread, it was considered as have been a circumstance merely accidental, and the house was not polluted; but if it had spread, it was not considered a harmless accident, but the real house leprosy; and the stones affected with it were to be broken out of the wall, and carried to an unclean place without the city, and the walls of the whole house here scraped and plastered anew. 4. If, after this, the leprosy broke out afresh, the whole house was to be pulled down, and the materials carried without the city. Moses therefore, never suffered a leprous house to stand. 5. If, on the other hand, the house being inspected a second time, was found clean, it was solemnly so declared, and offering made on the occasion; in order that every one might know for certain that it was not infected, and the public be freed from all fears on that score. By this law many evils were actually prevented--it would check the mischief in its very origin, and make every one attentive to observe it: the people would also guard against those impurities whence it arose, and thus the health be preserved and not suffer in an infected house. These Mosaic statues were intended to prevent infection by the sacred obligations of religion. Ceremonial laws many keep more conscientiously and sacredly than moral precepts.
Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
without the city
And he 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:
into an unclean place
And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house.
And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered;
Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.
into an unclean place
Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
shall be unclean
And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.
wash his clothes
And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
shall come in
Heb. in coming in shall come in, etc. because.
This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
of a house
And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
when it is unclean, and when it is clean
Heb. in the day of the unclean, and in the day of the clean. this is.