1563.) Leviticus 13

Baby skin

Baby skin, so new and soft.

Leviticus 13   (NRSV)

Leprosy: Varieties and Symptoms

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: 2When a person has on the skin of his body

Skin:

The largest organ in your body is . . . your skin! It makes up 15% of your total body weight.  The thinnest skin is found on your eyelids, and the thickest, on your feet. Skin holds your body together, covering and protecting your bones and muscles and other organs. It helps keep your body at the proper temperature, and it enables you to have a sense of touch. Your skin keeps out bacterial invasions, and it has cells which can make Vitamin D out of sunlight.

a swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a leprous disease on the skin of his body, he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. 3The priest shall examine the disease on the skin of his body, and if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a leprous disease; after the priest has examined him he shall pronounce him ceremonially unclean. 4But if the spot is white in the skin of his body, and appears no deeper than the skin, and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest shall confine the diseased person for seven days. 5The priest shall examine him on the seventh day, and if he sees that the disease is checked and the disease has not spread in the skin, then the priest shall confine him seven days more. 6The priest shall examine him again on the seventh day, and if the disease has abated and the disease has not spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only an eruption; and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean. 7But if the eruption spreads in the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his cleansing, he shall appear again before the priest. 8The priest shall make an examination, and if the eruption has spread in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a leprous disease.

9When a person contracts a leprous disease, he shall be brought to the priest. 10The priest shall make an examination, and if there is a white swelling in the skin that has turned the hair white, and there is quick raw flesh in the swelling, 11it is a chronic leprous disease in the skin of his body. The priest shall pronounce him unclean; he shall not confine him, for he is unclean.

Feet of a leper, photographed by Candace Scharsu, who writes, "Deformities are caused by accidents because lepers lose their sense of touch due to nerve damage.  Fingers are caught on fire, cut, stabbed, stubbed, and broken till they're chiseled to nothing; toes are nibbled off by rats as they sleep."

Feet of a leper, photographed by Candace Scharsu, who writes, “Deformities are caused by accidents because lepers lose their sense of touch due to nerve damage. Fingers are caught on fire, cut, stabbed, stubbed, and broken till they’re chiseled to nothing; toes are nibbled off by rats as they sleep.”

12But if the disease breaks out in the skin, so that it covers all the skin of the diseased person from head to foot, so far as the priest can see, 13then the priest shall make an examination, and if the disease has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease; since it has all turned white, he is clean.

13. blood of Jesus

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”
–Leviticus xiii.13.

“We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and in no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then he is clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy; but when sin is seen and felt, it has received its deathblow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition.”

from Morning and Evening, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

14But if raw flesh ever appears on him, he shall be unclean; 15the priest shall examine the raw flesh and pronounce him unclean. Raw flesh is unclean, for it is a leprous disease. 16But if the raw flesh again turns white, he shall come to the priest; 17the priest shall examine him, and if the disease has turned white, the priest shall pronounce the diseased person clean. He is clean.

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Music:

HERE  is a “skin” song!  “Dancing Cheek to Cheek” — sung with attitude by jazz singer Jane Monheit!

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18When there is on the skin of one’s body a boil that has healed, 19and in the place of the boil there appears a white swelling or a reddish-white spot, it shall be shown to the priest. 20The priest shall make an examination, and if it appears deeper than the skin and its hair has turned white, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; this is a leprous disease, broken out in the boil. 21But if the priest examines it and the hair on it is not white, nor is it deeper than the skin but has abated, the priest shall confine him seven days. 22If it spreads in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is diseased. 23But if the spot remains in one place and does not spread, it is the scar of the boil; the priest shall pronounce him clean.

24Or, when the body has a burn on the skin and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a spot, reddish-white or white, 25the priest shall examine it. If the hair in the spot has turned white and it appears deeper than the skin, it is a leprous disease; it has broken out in the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean. This is a leprous disease. 26But if the priest examines it and the hair in the spot is not white, and it is no deeper than the skin but has abated, the priest shall confine him seven days. 27The priest shall examine him the seventh day; if it is spreading in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him unclean. This is a leprous disease. 28But if the spot remains in one place and does not spread in the skin but has abated, it is a swelling from the burn, and the priest shall pronounce him clean; for it is the scar of the burn.

Leper in a hospital.

Man in a leper hospital in India.

29When a man or woman has a disease on the head or in the beard, 30the priest shall examine the disease. If it appears deeper than the skin and the hair in it is yellow and thin, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an itch, a leprous disease of the head or the beard. 31If the priest examines the itching disease, and it appears no deeper than the skin and there is no black hair in it, the priest shall confine the person with the itching disease for seven days. 32On the seventh day the priest shall examine the itch; if the itch has not spread, and there is no yellow hair in it, and the itch appears to be no deeper than the skin, 33he shall shave, but the itch he shall not shave. The priest shall confine the person with the itch for seven days more. 34On the seventh day the priest shall examine the itch; if the itch has not spread in the skin and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean. He shall wash his clothes and be clean. 35But if the itch spreads in the skin after he was pronounced clean, 36the priest shall examine him. If the itch has spread in the skin, the priest need not seek for the yellow hair; he is unclean. 37But if in his eyes the itch is checked, and black hair has grown in it, the itch is healed, he is clean; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

38When a man or a woman has spots on the skin of the body, white spots, 39the priest shall make an examination, and if the spots on the skin of the body are of a dull white, it is a rash that has broken out on the skin; he is clean.

40If anyone loses the hair from his head, he is bald but he is clean.

13. bald head cap

41If he loses the hair from his forehead and temples, he has baldness of the forehead but he is clean. 42But if there is on the bald head or the bald forehead a reddish-white diseased spot, it is a leprous disease breaking out on his bald head or his bald forehead. 43The priest shall examine him; if the diseased swelling is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, which resembles a leprous disease in the skin of the body, 44he is leprous, he is unclean. The priest shall pronounce him unclean; the disease is on his head.

45The person who has the leprous disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head be disheveled; and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, “Unclean, unclean.” 46He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

The separation of the infected persons from the general population served to protect the community.  Leprosy, then, became a metaphor for the defilement and separation caused by sin.

The separation of the infected persons from the general population served to protect the community. Leprosy, then, became a metaphor for the defilement and separation caused by sin.

47Concerning clothing: when a leprous disease appears in it, in woolen or linen cloth, 48in warp or woof of linen or wool, or in a skin or in anything made of skin, 49if the disease shows greenish or reddish in the garment, whether in warp or woof or in skin or in anything made of skin, it is a leprous disease and shall be shown to the priest.

50The priest shall examine the disease, and put the diseased article aside for seven days. 51He shall examine the disease on the seventh day. If the disease has spread in the cloth, in warp or woof, or in the skin, whatever be the use of the skin, this is a spreading leprous disease; it is unclean. 52He shall burn the clothing, whether diseased in warp or woof, woolen or linen, or anything of skin, for it is a spreading leprous disease; it shall be burned in fire.

53If the priest makes an examination, and the disease has not spread in the clothing, in warp or woof or in anything of skin, 54the priest shall command them to wash the article in which the disease appears, and he shall put it aside seven days more. 55The priest shall examine the diseased article after it has been washed. If the diseased spot has not changed color, though the disease has not spread, it is unclean; you shall burn it in fire, whether the leprous spot is on the inside or on the outside. 56If the priest makes an examination, and the disease has abated after it is washed, he shall tear the spot out of the cloth, in warp or woof, or out of skin. 57If it appears again in the garment, in warp or woof, or in anything of skin, it is spreading; you shall burn with fire that in which the disease appears. 58But the cloth, warp or woof, or anything of skin from which the disease disappears when you have washed it, shall then be washed a second time, and it shall be clean.

59This is the ritual for a leprous disease in a cloth of wool or linen, either in warp or woof, or in anything of skin, to decide whether it is clean or unclean.

The NIV calls this contamination “infectious skin diseases” when it is found on people and “mildew” when it is found on items of clothing. Many scholars doubt whether any of the various the skin-related problems described above actually refer to modern leprosy (Hansen’s disease). Rather, the term covers a whole variety of skin diseases.

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The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
baby skin.    http://www.teluguone.com/tonecmsuserfiles/Baby%20Skin%20Care%20Tips%20in%20Winter%281%29.jpg
leper feet.    http://www.candacescharsu.com/new%20scharsu%20pics/Concerned%20/LeperFeet2a.jpg
power of the blood of Jesus.   http://mirrorministries.org/wp-content/uploads/power_blood.jpg
leper in hospital.   http://crmin.org/02india/images/SH%2031%20leper.jpg
bald head cap.   http://rlv.zcache.com/my_bald_head_is_cuter_than_your_bad_haircut_embroidered_hat-p233117174993203287a1j3b_400.jpg
quarantine sign.    http://www.australiasigns.com.au/gal/safetygal/thumbs/lrg-181-rbw-quarantine.jpg
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