And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the
leprosy seven times
With the hyssop fastened to the cedar stick, with the scarlet wool or thread bound about it, dipped into the blood and water in the earthen vessel; to which the psalmist alludes, ( Psalms 51:7 ) ; the Egyptians had a great notion of "hyssop", as of a purifying nature, and therefore used to eat it with bread, to take off the strength of that F4: upon what part of the leper this sprinkling was made is not said; the Targum of Jonathan says, upon the house of his face, that is, upon the vail that was over his face: but in the Misnah F5 it is said to be on the back of his hand; and so Gersom, though some say it was on his forehead; and sprinkling was typical of Christ's blood of sprinkling, and of the application of it, and of sharing in all the blessings of it; and this was done seven times, to denote the thorough and perfect cleansing of him, and of every part, every faculty of the soul, and every member of the body, and that from all sin, and the frequent application of it: the last mentioned writer says, at every sprinkling there was a dipping, and that the sense is, that he should sprinkle and dip seven times, as Naaman the Syrian leper did in Jordan; but of the washing of the leper mention is afterwards made:
and shall pronounce him clean;
from his leprosy, and so fit for civil and religious conversation, to come into the camp or city, and into the tabernacle;
and shall let the living bird loose into the open field;
as a token of the freedom of the leper, and that he was at liberty to go where he pleased: the Misnic doctors say F6, when he came to let go the living bird, he did not turn its face neither to the sea, nor to the city, nor to the wilderness, as it is said, "but he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open field", as in ( Leviticus 14:53 ) ; the Targum of Jonathan here adds, if the man should be prepared to be smitten with the leprosy again, the live bird may return to his house the same day, and be fit to be eaten, but the slain bird he shall bury in the sight of the leper: some say, if the bird returned ever so many times, it was to be let go again: this may be a figure of the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and of his justification upon it, as the head and representative of his people, and of their free and full discharge from guilt, condemnation, and death, through him, and of his and their being received up into heaven, and whither their hearts should be directed, in affection and thankfulness for their great deliverance and salvation; see ( 1 Timothy 3:16 ) ( Colossians 3:1 Colossians 3:2 ) .
F4 Chaeremon apud Porphyr. de Abstinentia, l. 4. sect. 6.
F5 Ut supra. (Misn. Negaim, c. 11. sect. 4.)
F6 Ib. sect. 2.