Vayikra 13

1 3 And Hashem spoke unto Moshe and Aharon, saying,
2 When a man shall have in the skin of his basar a swelling, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his basar like the nega tzara’at; then he shall be brought unto Aharon the kohen, or unto one of his Banim the kohanim;
3 And the kohen shall examine the nega in the skin of the basar; and when hair in the nega is turned white, and the nega in appearance be deeper than the skin of his basar, it is a nega tzara’at; and the kohen shall examine him, and pronounce him tamei.
4 If the bright spot be white in the skin of his basar, and in appearance be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white, then the kohen shall quarantine him that hath the nega shivat yamim;
5 And the kohen shall examine him on the yom hashevi’i; and, hinei, if the nega in his sight be unchanged, and the nega spread not in the skin; then the kohen shall quarantine him another shivat yamim;
6 And the kohen shall examine him again on the yom hashevi’i; and, hinei, if the nega be somewhat faded, and the nega spread not in the skin, the kohen shall pronounce him tahor; it is but a scab; and he shall wash his clothes, and be tahor.
7 But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath shown himself to the kohen for his tohorah, he shall appear before the kohen again.
8 And if the kohen see that, hinei, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is a tzara’at.
9 When the nega tzara’at is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the kohen;
10 And the kohen shall examine him; and, hinei, if the swelling be white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and there be raw basar in the swelling;
11 It is an old tzara’at in the skin of his basar, and the kohen shall pronounce him tamei, and shall not quarantine him; for he is tamei.
12 And if a tzara’at break out abroad in the skin, and the tzara’at cover all the skin of him that hath the nega from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the kohen looketh,
13 Then the kohen shall consider; and, hinei, if the tzara’at have covered all his basar, he shall pronounce him tahor that hath the nega; it is all turned white; he is tahor.
14 But on the day when raw basar appeareth in him, he shall be tamei.
15 And the kohen shall see the raw basar, and pronounce him to be tamei; for the raw basar is tamei; it is a tzara’at.
16 Or if the raw basar turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the kohen;
17 And the kohen shall see him; and, hinei, if the nega be turned into white, then the kohen shall pronounce him tahor that hath the nega; he is tahor.
18 The basar also, in which, even in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed,
19 And in the place of the boil there be a white swelling, or a bright spot, white, and somewhat reddish, and it be shown to the kohen;
20 And if, when the kohen examine it, hinei, it be in appearance deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be turned white; the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is a nega tzara’at broken out of the boil.
21 But if the kohen examine it, and, hinei, there be no white hair therein, and if it be not deeper than the skin, but be somewhat faded, then the kohen shall quarantine him shivat yamim;
22 And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is a nega.
23 But if the bright spot stay in its place, and spread not, it is a burning boil; and the kohen shall pronounce him tahor.
24 Or if there be any basar, in the skin whereof there is a hot burning, and the raw basar that burneth have a white bright spot, somewhat reddish, or white,
25 Then the kohen shall examine it; and, hinei, if the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it be in appearance deeper than the skin, it is a tzara’at broken out of the burning; therefore the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is the nega tzara’at.
26 But if the kohen examine it, and, hinei, there be no white hair in the bright spot, and it be no deeper than the other skin, but be dim, then the kohen shall quarantine him shivat yamim;
27 And the kohen shall examine him on the yom hashevi’i; and if it be spread much abroad in the skin, then the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is the nega tzara’at.
28 And if the bright spot stay in its place, and spread not in the skin, but it be dim, it is a swelling of the burn, and the kohen shall pronounce him tahor; for it is an inflammation of the burning.
29 If an ish or isha have a nega upon the head or the chin,
30 Then the kohen shall examine the nega, and, hinei, if it be in appearance deeper than the skin, and there be in it a yellow thin hair, then the kohen shall pronounce him tamei; it is a scale, even a tzara’at upon the head or chin.
31 And if the kohen examine the nega of the scale, and, hinei, it be not in appearance deeper than the skin, and that there is no black hair in it, then the kohen shall quarantine him that hath the nega of the scale shivat yamim;
32 And in the yom hashevi’i the kohen shall examine the nega; and, hinei, if the scale spread not, and there be in it no yellow hair, and the scale be not in appearance deeper than the skin,
33 He shall be shaven, but the scale shall he not shave; and the kohen shall quarantine him that hath the scale another shivat yamim;
34 And in the yom hashevi’i the kohen shall examine the scale; and, hinei, if the scale be not spread in the skin, nor be in appearance deeper than the skin, then the kohen shall pronounce him tahor; and he shall wash his clothes, and be tahor.
35 But if the scale spread much in the skin after his tohorah,
36 Then the kohen shall examine him; and, hinei, if the scale be spread in the skin, the kohen need not seek for yellow hair; he is tamei.
37 But if the scale be in his sight unchanged, and that there is black hair grown up therein; the scale is healed, he is tahor; and the kohen shall pronounce him tahor.
38 If an ish also or an isha have in the skin of their basar bright spots, even white bright spots,
39 Then the kohen shall examine; and, hinei, if the bright spots in the skin of their basar be faint white, it is a bohak spot that groweth in the skin; he is tahor.
40 And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he tahor.
41 And he that hath his hair fallen off from the front of his scalp, he is bald at the forehead; yet is he tahor.
42 And if there be in the bald head, or bald forehead, a white reddish nega, it is a tzara’at breaking out in his bald head, or his bald forehead.
43 Then the kohen shall examine it; and, hinei, if the swelling of the nega be white reddish in his bald head, or in his bald forehead, as the tzara’at appeareth in the skin of the basar,
44 He is an ish tzaru’a, he is tamei; the kohen shall pronounce him utterly tamei; his nega is in his head.
45 And the tzaru’a in whom the nega is, his clothes shall be torn, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his lower face, and shall cry, Tamei! Tamei!
46 All the days wherein the nega shall be in him he shall be tamei; he is tamei; he shall live alone; outside the machaneh shall his moshav be.
47 When a garment has the nega tzara’at in it, whether it be a wool garment, or a linen garment;
48 Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of wool; whether in a leather, or in anything made of leather;
49 And if the nega be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the leather, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of leather, it is a nega tzara’at, and shall be shown unto the kohen;
50 And the kohen shall examine the nega, and quarantine it that hath the nega shivat yamim;
51 And he shall examine the nega on the yom hashevi’i; if the nega be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a leather, or in any work that is made of leather, the nega is a malignant tzara’at; it is tamei.
52 He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in wool or in linen, or any thing of leather, wherein the nega is; for it is a malignant tzara’at; it shall be burned in the eish.
53 And if the kohen shall examine, and, hinei, the nega be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in anything of leather,
54 Then the kohen shall command that they wash the thing wherein the nega is, and he shall quarantine it another shivat yamim;
55 And the kohen shall examine the nega, after that it is washed; and, hinei, if the nega has not changed its appearance, and the nega be not spread, it is tamei; thou shalt burn it in the eish; whether the eating away hath brought bareness in the front or back.
56 And if the kohen examine, and, hinei, the nega be somewhat faded after the washing of it, then he shall tear it out of the garment, or out of the leather, or out of the warp, or out of the woof;
57 And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of leather, it is a spreading nega; thou shalt burn that wherein the nega is with eish.
58 And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of leather it be, which thou shalt wash, if the nega be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be tahor.
59 This is the torah of the nega tzara’at in a garment of wool or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of leather, to pronounce it tahor, or to pronounce it tamei.

Vayikra 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

Directions to the priest to judge concerning leprosy. (1-17) Further directions. (18-44) How the leper must be disposed of. (45,46) The leprosy in garments. (47-59)

Verses 1-17 The plague of leprosy was an uncleanness, rather than a disease. Christ is said to cleanse lepers, not to cure them. Common as the leprosy was among the Hebrews, during and after their residence in Egypt, we have no reason to believe that it was known among them before. Their distressed state and employment in that land must have rendered them liable to disease. But it was a plague often inflicted immediately by the hand of God. Miriam's leprosy, and Gehazi's, and king Uzziah's, were punishments of particular sins; no marvel there was care taken to distinguish it from a common distemper. The judgment of it was referred to the priests. And it was a figure of the moral pollutions of men's minds by sin, which is the leprosy of the soul, defiling to the conscience, and from which Christ alone can cleanse. The priest could only convict the leper, (by the law is the knowledge of sin,) but Christ can cure the sinner, he can take away sin. It is a work of great importance, but of great difficulty, to judge of our spiritual state. We all have cause to suspect ourselves, being conscious of sores and spots; but whether clean or unclean is the question. As there were certain marks by which to know it was leprosy, so there are marks of such as are in the gall of bitterness. The priest must take time in making his judgment. This teaches all, both ministers and people, not to be hasty in censures, nor to judge anything before the time. If some men's sins go before unto judgment, the sins of others follow after, and so do men's good works. If the person suspected were found to be clean, yet he must wash his clothes, because there had been ground for the suspicion. We have need to be washed in the blood of Christ from our spots, though not leprosy spots; for who can say, I am pure from sin?

Verses 18-44 The priest is told what judgment to make, if there were any appearance of a leprosy in old sores; and such is the danger of those who having escaped the pollutions of the world are again entangled therein. Or, in a burn by accident, ver. ( 24 ) . The burning of strife and contention often occasions the rising and breaking out of that corruption, which proves that men are unclean. Human life lies exposed to many grievances. With what troops of diseases are we beset on every side; and thy all entered by sin! If the constitution be healthy, and the body lively and easy, we are bound to glorify God with our bodies. Particular note was taken of the leprosy, if in the head. If the leprosy of sin has seized the head; if the judgment be corrupted, and wicked principles, which support wicked practices, are embraced, it is utter uncleanness, from which few are cleansed. Soundness in the faith keeps leprosy from the head.

Verses 45-46 When the priest had pronounced the leper unclean, it put a stop to his business in the world, cut him off from his friends and relations, and ruined all the comfort he could have in the world. He must humble himself under the mighty hand of God, not insisting upon his cleanness, when the priest had pronounced him unclean, but accepting the punishment. Thus must we take to ourselves the shame that belongs to us, and with broken hearts call ourselves "Unclean, unclean;" heart unclean, life unclean; unclean by original corruption, unclean by actual transgression; unclean, therefore deserving to be for ever shut out from communion with God, and all hope of happiness in him; unclean, therefore undone, if infinite mercy do not interpose. The leper must warn others to take heed of coming near him. He must then be shut out of the camp, and afterward, when they came to Canaan, be shut out of the city, town, or village where he lived, and dwell with none but those that were lepers like himself. This typified the purity which ought to be in the gospel church.

Verses 47-59 The garment suspected to be tainted with leprosy was not to be burned immediately. If, upon search, it was found that there was a leprous spot, it must be burned, or at least that part of it. If it proved to be free, it must be washed, and then might be used. This also sets forth the great evil there is in sin. It not only defiles the sinner's conscience, but it brings a stain upon all he has and all that he does. And those who make their clothes servants to their pride and lust, may see them thereby tainted with leprosy. But the robes of righteousness never fret, nor are moth-eaten.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 13

In this chapter an account is given of the various sorts of leprosy, and the rules by which they were to be judged of, Le 13:1-3 of the bright spot and scab, Le 13:4-8 of the rising or swelling, Le 13:9-17 of the bile or hot ulcer, Le 13:18-23 of the hot burning or inflammation, Le 13:24-28 of the plague of the scall, Le 13:29-37 of bright spots or blisters, Le 13:38,39 and of shedding the hair, and baldness, Le 13:40-44 of what the leper was to do, and to be done unto, Le 13:45,46 of the leprosy in garments made of linen, woollen, or of skin, Le 13:47-59.

Vayikra 13 Commentaries