Leviticus 14:33-57

Cleansing a Leprous House

33 The Lord further spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying:

34 “When you enter the land of Canaan, which I give you for a possession, and I put a mark of leprosy on a house in the land of your possession, 35 then the one who owns the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, ‘Something like a mark of leprosy has become visible to me in the house.’ 36 The priest shall then command that they empty the house before the priest goes in to look at the mark, so that everything in the house need not become unclean; and afterward the priest shall go in to look at the house. 37 So he shall look at the mark, and if the mark on the walls of the house has greenish or reddish depressions and appears deeper than the [t]surface, 38 then the priest shall come out of the house, to the [u]doorway, and [v]quarantine the house for seven days. 39 The priest shall return on the seventh day and [w]make an inspection. If the mark has indeed spread in the walls of the house,40 then the priest shall order them to tear out the stones with the mark in them and throw them away [x]at an unclean place outside the city. 41 He shall have the house scraped all around [y]inside, and they shall dump the plaster that they scrape off at an unclean place outside the city. 42 Then they shall take other stones and replace those stones, and he shall take other plaster and replaster the house.

43 “If, however, the mark breaks out again in the house after he has torn out the stones and scraped the house, and after it has been replastered, 44 then the priest shall come in and [z]make an inspection. If he sees that the mark has indeed spread in the house, it is a malignant mark in the house; it is unclean. 45 He shall therefore tear down the house, its stones, and its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall take them outside the city to an unclean place. 46 Moreover, whoever goes into the house during the time that he has [aa]quarantined it, becomes unclean until evening. 47 Likewise, whoever lies down in the house shall wash his clothes, and whoever eats in the house shall wash his clothes.

48 “If, on the other hand, the priest comes in and [ab]makes an inspection and the mark has not indeed spread in the house after the house has been replastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house clean because the mark has [ac]not reappeared. 49 To cleanse the house then, he shall take two birds and cedar wood and a [ad]scarlet string and hyssop, 50 and he shall slaughter the one bird in an earthenware vessel over [ae]running water. 51 Then he shall take the cedar wood and the hyssop and the [af]scarlet string, with the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird as well as in the [ag]running water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 52 He shall thus cleanse the house with the blood of the bird and with the [ah]running water, along with the live bird and with the cedar wood and with the hyssop and with the [ai]scarlet string. 53 However, he shall let the live bird go free outside the city into the open field. So he shall make atonement for the house, and it will be clean.”

54 This is the law for any mark of leprosy—even for a scale, 55 and for the leprous garment or house, 56 and for a swelling, and for a scab, and for a bright spot— 57 to teach [aj]when they are unclean and [ak]when they are clean. This is the law of leprosy.

This is (what appears to be) the end of instructions on dealing with leprosy. The instructions for a house are quite similar to those for a person or object that is infected, but what strikes me most is the first couple verses. The reason there might be disease in a house, at least initially, was because they were moving into enemy territory, and God was preparing the way for His people to take the land He had promised them. Many times, we see God miraculously intervening in their battles, but here He was, already weakening the enemy forces through disease before the Jews would ever get there.

And so, for their protection, God warns them to check out the houses that they take over, to be sure they don’t also get sick. It’s not a very nice thing to think about God killing off the inhabitants of Canaan, whether by disease, or outright warfare. I don’t pretend to know the mind of God in all matters, but we do know that these people were not strangers to God. Many of them were descendants of Abraham, through Esau, and all of them were descended from Adam and Noah. The former saw God face to face, the latter was preserved from a cataclysmic flood by sailing in a huge boat God told him to build. These people had no excuse for not serving God, but even worse was that they served blocks of wood and stone instead, and would even go so far as to sacrifice their own children to a god of their own imagining.

It’s a sobering thought to think that the people who saw God do such incredible things could have children that would turn to such selfish and debased wickedness. It is a warning to us, to train up our children, in the way that they should go (2 Timothy, if I remember right). For that reason, God also warned the Jews to pass on His commands and teaching, and to tell their children about the miracles. That’s a story for another day, but be sure that any children you have influence over know that you love God, and do your best to share Him in spite of the selfishness of our world.

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