Today we begin Leviticus Chapter Thirteen.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Bible, click here.
Leviticus chapters 13 and 14 deals with the ritual impurity that results from skin diseases.
What’s interesting is that these chapters also deal with the impurity that results from “skin diseases” on non-living things like clothing and houses.
A nice logical way to break up the content of Leviticus chapter 13 is as follows:
Verses 1-46: Skin diseases that break out on humans.
Verses 47-58: Skin diseases that break out on leather and fabrics.
However, we’re going to be breaking this chapter up into even smaller chunks as we move through it, starting with verses 1-8.
So here we see the Levitical priests taking on a whole new role.
So far their list of duties had acting as officiators of rituals and teachers.
Now to add another aspect to their role as guardians of the Lord’s Holiness, they are now called upon to diagnose skin disease and whether a person should be quarantined or not.
They also have to determine if the skin disease has sufficiently healed to the point where the person can be allowed back into society.
Finally, the priests will also prescribe and officiate over the purification rites necessary to take one from UNCLEAN to CLEAN to HOLY.
So do you remember what TZARAT was considered to be in ancient Hebrew society?
It was considered to be an outward manifestation of a person’s inward spiritual condition.
In other words, it was thought that certain (not all) skin diseases were YHVH’s way of making your inward condition of UNCLEANNESS that was known only to God up until that point in time visible for everybody to see.
Now a common misunderstanding that I don’t want you to fall for is to think that the Priests took on the role of doctors or healers here.
They did NOT.
They did NOT provide prescriptions to the afflicted on how to get rid of the skin disease nor did they give them medicine or some kind of balm to take care of any resulting itching, bleeding or pain.
They also did not say some kind of prayer or incantation over the victim to get rid of the disease.
Their role was simple.
The Levitical Priests were to simply diagnose whether a person had contracted a skin disease or not.
If it was determined that a person had indeed contracted a skin disease, then it had to be determined what general category it fell into and whether or not that person had to be isolated and taken OUTSIDE THE CAMP OF ISRAEL.
After a period of time, the priests also had to conduct an examination to see if the afflicted individual could be allowed to come back inside the community.
This new role was an extension of everything they had been doing up until now: DIVIDING AND SEPARATING THE CLEAN FROM THE UNCLEAN.