|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-9 The priests could not cleanse the lepers; but when the Lord removed the plague, various rules were to be observed in admitting them again to the ordinances of God, and the society of his people. They represent many duties and exercises of truly repenting sinners, and the duties of ministers respecting them. If we apply this to the spiritual leprosy of sin, it intimates that when we withdraw from those who walk disorderly, we must not count them as enemies, but admonish them as brethren. And also that when God by his grace has brought to repentance, they ought with tenderness and joy, and sincere affection, to be received again. Care should always be taken that sinners may not be encouraged, nor penitents discouraged. If it were found that the leprosy was healed, the priest must declare it with the particular solemnities here described. The two birds, one killed, and the other dipped in the blood of the bird that was killed, and then let loose, may signify Christ shedding his blood for sinners, and rising and ascending into heaven. The priest having pronounced the leper clean from the disease, he must make himself clean from all remains of it. Thus those who have comfort of the remission of their sins, must with care and caution cleanse themselves from sins; for every one that has this hope in him, will be concerned to purify himself.
Verse 2. - This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing. The ceremonies in the first stage of cleansing, which restored the outcast to the common life of his fellows, were the following:
1. The priest formally examined the leper outside the camp, and made up his mind that he was clean.
2. An earthen vessel was brought with fresh water, and one of two birds was killed, and its blood was allowed to run into this water.
3. The other bird was taken and dipped in the vessel, with a piece of cedar wood and hyssop, which had first been tied together by a band of scarlet wool; and the leper was sprinkled seven times with the blood and water dripping from the feathers of the living bird.
4. The priest pronounced the man clean.
5. The bird was let fly into the open field.
6. The man washed his clothes, shaved his whole body, and bathed.
7. He returned within the camp, but not yet to his tent.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
This shall be the law of the leper, in the day of his cleansing,.... Or the rules, rites, ceremonies, and sacrifices to be observed therein. Jarchi says, from hence we learn that they were not to purify a leper in the night:
he shall be brought unto the priest: not into the camp, or city, or house, where the priest was, for till he was cleansed he could not be admitted into either; besides, the priest is afterwards said to go forth out of the camp to him; but he was to be brought pretty near the camp or city, where the priest went to meet him. As the leper was an emblem of a polluted sinner, the priest was a type of Christ, to whom leprous sinners must be brought for cleansing; they cannot come of themselves to him, that is, believe in him, except it be given unto them; or they are drawn with the powerful and efficacious grace of God, by which souls are brought to Christ, and enabled to believe in him; not that they are brought against their wills, but being drawn with the cords of love, and through the power of divine grace, sweetly operating upon their hearts, they move towards him with all readiness and willingness, and cast themselves at his feet, saying, as the leper that came to Christ, "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean", Matthew 8:2 Mark 1:40; and it is grace to allow them to come near him, and amazing goodness in him to receive and cleanse them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2, 3. law of the leper in the day of his cleansing—Though quite convalescent, a leper was not allowed to return to society immediately and at his own will. The malignant character of his disease rendered the greatest precautions necessary to his re-admission among the people. One of the priests most skilled in the diagnostics of disease [Grotius], being deputed to attend such outcasts, the restored leper appeared before this official, and when after examination a certificate of health was given, the ceremonies here described were forthwith observed outside the camp.
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