Leviticus 13:47
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mold--any woolen or linen clothing,

New Living Translation
"Now suppose mildew contaminates some woolen or linen clothing,

English Standard Version
“When there is a case of leprous disease in a garment, whether a woolen or a linen garment,

New American Standard Bible
"When a garment has a mark of leprosy in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment,

King James Bible
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

Holman Christian Standard Bible
If a fabric is contaminated with mildew--in wool or linen fabric,

International Standard Version
"When clothing becomes infected with a contagion—whether the clothing is wool or linen—

NET Bible
"When a garment has a diseased infection in it, whether a wool or linen garment,

New Heart English Bible
"The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it is a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Now about clothing-if there is a green or red area on a piece of clothing

JPS Tanakh 1917
And when the plague of leprosy is in a garment, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

New American Standard 1977
“When a garment has a mark of leprosy in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment,

Jubilee Bible 2000
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it is a woolen garment or a linen garment;

King James 2000 Bible
The garment also that the disease of leprosy is in, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

American King James Version
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

American Standard Version
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

Douay-Rheims Bible
A woollen or linen garment that shall have the leprosy

Darby Bible Translation
And if a sore of leprosy is in a garment, in a woollen garment, or a linen garment,

English Revised Version
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

Webster's Bible Translation
The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

World English Bible
"The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it is a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

Young's Literal Translation
'And when there is in any garment a plague of leprosy, -- in a garment of wool, or in a garment of linen,
Study Bible
Mildewed Clothing
46"He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. 47"When a garment has a mark of leprosy in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment, 48whether in warp or woof, of linen or of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather,…
Cross References
Leviticus 13:46
"He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

Leviticus 13:48
whether in warp or woof, of linen or of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather,

Leviticus 13:52
"So he shall burn the garment, whether the warp or the woof, in wool or in linen, or any article of leather in which the mark occurs, for it is a leprous malignancy; it shall be burned in the fire.

Leviticus 13:59
This is the law for the mark of leprosy in a garment of wool or linen, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.

Leviticus 14:55
and for the leprous garment or house,
Treasury of Scripture

The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment;

The garment This leprosy in garments appears so strange to us, that it has induced some, with B. Patrick, to consider it as an extraordinary punishment inflicted by God upon the Israelites, as a sign of his high displeasure; while others consider the leprosy in clothes (and also houses) as having no relation to the leprosy in man. When Michaelis was considering the subject, he was told by a dealer in wool, the wool of sheep which die of a disease, if it has not been shorn from the animal while living, is unfit to manufacture cloth, and liable to something like what Moses here describes, and which he imagines to be the plague of leprosy in garments. The whole account, however, as Dr. A. Clarke observes, seems to intimate that the garment was {fretted} by the contagion of the real leprosy; which it is probable was occasioned by a species of {animacula, or vermin} burrowing in the skin, which we know to be the cause of the {itch}; these, by breeding in the garments, must necessarily multiply their kind, and fret the garments, i.e. corrode a portion of the finer parts, after the manner of {moths}, for their nourishment. The infection of garments has frequently been known to cause the worst species of scarlet fever, and even the plague; and those infected with {psora}, or itch animal, had communicated the disease even in six or seven years after the infection.

Isaiah 3:16-24 Moreover the LORD said, Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, …

Isaiah 59:6 Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves …

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are …

Ezekiel 16:16 And of your garments you did take, and decked your high places with …

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast …

Ephesians 4:22 That you put off concerning the former conversation the old man, …

Colossians 3:3 For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Jude 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even …

(47) The garment also that.--Better, And if a garment hath. The fact that the same phrase, "plague of leprosy," is used both in the case of garments and of human beings, and that the symptoms and working of leprous garments and those of leprous men are identical, shows beyond doubt that the same distemper is meant. The theory, therefore, that "plague of leprosy" is here used figuratively of garments fretted by a species of animalcul or vermin, which feed upon and corrode the finer parts of the texture in the manner of moths, is contrary to the uniform import of this phrase in the discussion of the disorder, and is against the testimony of the administrators of the law during the second Temple, who came in personal contact with the complaint. They assure us that leprosy of garments and houses was not to be found in the world generally, but was a sign and miracle in Israel to guard them against an evil tongue. Equally untenable is the theory that it denotes an infectious condition of clothes caused by contact with the leprous matter of wounds and boils, which is so strong that it corrodes and injures all kinds of texture. Neither the regulations here laid down, nor the further development of them exhibited in the canons which obtained during the second Temple, regard leprosy as contagious. This is evident from the fact that the priest was in constant and close contact with the leper; that the leper who was entirely covered was pronounced clean, and could mix with the community (see Leviticus 13:12-13); that the priest himself ordered all the things in a leprous house to be taken out before he entered it, in order that they might be used again (see Leviticus 14:36); that according to the ancient canons a leprous minor, a leprous heathen or proselyte, as well as leprous garments in houses of non-Israelites, do not render any one unclean, nor does a bridegroom who is seized with this malady during the nuptial week defile any one. All this most unquestionably implies that there was no fear of contagion on the part of the authorities who had personally to deal with this distemper.

Whether it be a woollen garment.--As among the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, woollen and linen garments were the only apparel worn by the Israelites. (Comp. Deuteronomy 22:11; Hosea 2:7; Hosea 2:11; Proverbs 31:13.) The administrators of the law during the second Temple, however, took this enactment literally as referring strictly to wool of sheep and flax, but not to hemp and other materials. Hence they declared that a material made of camels' hair and sheep's wool is not rendered unclean by leprosy if the camels' hair preponderates, but is unclean when the sheep's hair preponderates, or when both are equal. The same rule also applies to mixtures of flax and hemp. Dyed skins and garments are not rendered unclean by leprosy. We have here another proof that these authorities did not regard leprosy as contagious.

Verse 47. - Whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment. Wool and flax are the two materials for clothes mentioned in Deuteronomy 22:11; Proverbs 31:13; Hosea 2:7. The garments also, that the plague of leprosy is in,.... Whether this sort of leprosy proceeded from natural causes, or was extraordinary and miraculous, and came immediately from the hand of God, and was peculiar to the Jews, and unknown to other nations, is a matter of question; the latter is generally asserted by the Hebrew writers, as Maimonides (e), Abraham Seba (f), and others (g); but others are of opinion, and Abarbinel among the Jews, that it might be by the contact or touch of a leprous person. Indeed it must be owned, as a learned man (h) observes, that the shirts and clothes of a leper must be equally infectious, and more so than any other communication with him; and the purulent matter which adheres thereunto must needs infect; such who put on their clothes; for it may be observed, that it will get between the threads of garments, and stick like glue, and fill them up, and by the acrimony of it corrode the texture itself; so that experience shows that it is very difficult to wash such a garment without a rupture, and the stains are not easily got out: and it must be allowed that garments may be scented by diseases, and become infectious, and carry a disease from place to place, as the plague oftentimes is carried in wool, cotton, silk, or any bale goods; but whether all this amounts to the case before us is still a question. Some indeed have endeavoured to account for it by observing, that wool ill scoured, stuffs kept too long, and some particular tapestries, are subject to worms and moths which eat them, and from hence think it credible, that the leprosy in clothes, and in skins here mentioned, was caused by this sort of vermin; to which, stuffs and works, wrought in wool in hot countries, and in times when arts and manufactures were not carried to the height of perfection as now, might probably be more exposed (i); but this seems not to agree with this leprosy of Moses, which lay not in the garment being eaten, but in the colour and spread of it:

whether it be a woollen garment or a linen garment: and, according to the Misnic doctors (k), only wool and linen were defiled by leprosy; Aben Ezra indeed says, that the reason why no mention is made of silk and cotton is because the Scripture speaks of what was found (then in use), as in Exodus 23:5; wherefore, according to him, woollen and linen are put for all other garments; though, he adds, or it may be the leprosy does not happen to anything but wool and linen; however, it is allowed, as Ben Gersom observes, that when the greatest part of the cloth is made of wool or linen, it was defiled by it: the Jewish canon is, if the greatest part is of camels hair, it is not defiled; but if the greatest part is of sheep, it is; and if half to half (or equal) it is defiled; and so flax, and hemp mixed together (l); the same rule is to be observed concerning them.

(e) Hilchot Tumaat Tzarat, c. 16. sect. 10. (f) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 99. 3.((g) Ramban, Bechai, Isaac Arama, & alii, apud Muisium in loc. (h) Scheuchzer. Physica Sacra, vol. 2. p. 326. (i) Calmet's Dictionary, in the word "Leper". (k) Misn. Celaim, c. 9. sect, 1.((l) Ib. Negaim, c. 11. sect. 2.47-59. The garment … that the … leprosy is in—It is well known that infectious diseases, such as scarlet fever, measles, the plague, are latently imbibed and carried by the clothes. But the language of this passage clearly indicates a disease to which clothes themselves were subject, and which was followed by effects on them analogous to those which malignant leprosy produces on the human body—for similar regulations were made for the rigid inspection of suspected garments by a priest as for the examination of a leprous person. It has long been conjectured and recently ascertained by the use of a lens, that the leprous condition of swine is produced by myriads of minute insects engendered in their skin; and regarding all leprosy as of the same nature, it is thought that this affords a sufficient reason for the injunction in the Mosaic law to destroy the clothes in which the disease, after careful observation, seemed to manifest itself. Clothes are sometimes seen contaminated by this disease in the West Indies and the southern parts of America [Whitlaw, Code of Health]; and it may be presumed that, as the Hebrews were living in the desert where they had not the convenience of frequent changes and washing, the clothes they wore and the skin mats on which they lay, would be apt to breed infectious vermin, which, being settled in the stuff, would imperceptibly gnaw it and leave stains similar to those described by Moses. It is well known that the wool of sheep dying of disease, if it had not been shorn from the animal while living, and also skins, if not thoroughly prepared by scouring, are liable to the effects described in this passage. The stains are described as of a greenish or reddish color, according, perhaps, to the color or nature of the ingredients used in preparing them; for acids convert blue vegetable colors into red and alkalis change then into green [Brown]. It appears, then, that the leprosy, though sometimes inflicted as a miraculous judgment (Nu 12:10; 2Ki 5:27) was a natural disease, which is known in Eastern countries still; while the rules prescribed by the Hebrew legislator for distinguishing the true character and varieties of the disease and which are far superior to the method of treatment now followed in those regions, show the divine wisdom by which he was guided. Doubtless the origin of the disease is owing to some latent causes in nature; and perhaps a more extended acquaintance with the archæology of Egypt and the natural history of the adjacent countries, may confirm the opinion that leprosy results from noxious insects or a putrid fermentation. But whatever the origin or cause of the disease, the laws enacted by divine authority regarding it, while they pointed in the first instance to sanitary ends, were at the same time intended, by stimulating to carefulness against ceremonial defilement, to foster a spirit of religious fear and inward purity. 13:47-59 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.
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Leviticus 13:46
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