Leviticus 13:4
If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days:
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(4) If the bright spot be white.—But if upon inspection there merely appeared a white spot in the skin, and the above named two symptoms were absent, the case was not to be decided.

Then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague.—The individual thus suspected was to be separated from the rest of the community for seven days, during which time it would be seen whether it actually developed itself into this disorder. According to the canons which obtained during the second Temple, if a bridegroom was seized with this distemper he could not be shut up during the nuptial week. It will be seen that the words “him that hath” are in italics, thus indicating that they are not in the text; but “plague” here, as we have seen in Leviticus 13:3, denotes plagued person.

Leviticus 13:4. Seven days — For greater assurance; to teach ministers not to be hasty in their judgments, but diligently to search and examine all things beforehand. The plague is here put in the original for the man that hath the plague.

13:1-17 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?The hair in the plague is turned white - The sparing growth of very fine whitish hair on leprous spots in the place of the natural hair, appears to have been always regarded as a characteristic symptom.

the plague in sight be deeper than the skin of his flesh - Rather The stroke appears to be deeper than the scarf skin. The bright spot changed to a brownish color with a metallic or oily luster, and with a clearly-defined edge. This symptom, along with the whitish hair, at once decided the case to be one of leprosy.

3-6. the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh, &c.—The leprosy, as covering the person with a white, scaly scurf, has always been accounted an offensive blemish rather than a serious malady in the East, unless when it assumed its less common and malignant forms. When a Hebrew priest, after a careful inspection, discovered under the cutaneous blemish the distinctive signs of contagious leprosy, the person was immediately pronounced unclean, and is supposed to have been sent out of the camp to a lazaretto provided for that purpose. If the symptoms appeared to be doubtful, he ordered the person to be kept in domestic confinement for seven days, when he was subjected to a second examination; and if during the previous week the eruption had subsided or appeared to be harmless, he was instantly discharged. But if the eruption continued unabated and still doubtful, he was put under surveillance another week; at the end of which the character of the disorder never failed to manifest itself, and he was either doomed to perpetual exclusion from society or allowed to go at large. A person who had thus been detained on suspicion, when at length set at liberty, was obliged to "wash his clothes," as having been tainted by ceremonial pollution; and the purification through which he was required to go was, in the spirit of the Mosaic dispensation, symbolical of that inward purity it was instituted to promote. For greater assurance; to teach ministers not to be rash nor hasty in their judgments and censures, but diligently to search and examine all things beforehand.

The plague is here put for the man that hath the plague, as pride is put for a proud man, Jeremiah 50:31, and dreams for the dreamers, Jeremiah 27:9.

If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh,.... The Targum of Jonathan is, white as chalk in the skin of his flesh; but other Jewish writers make the whiteness of the bright spot to be the greatest of all, like that of snow; See Gill on Leviticus 13:2,

and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; though it be a bright spot, and be very white, yet these two marks not appearing, it cannot be judged a leprosy, at most it is only suspicious: wherefore

then the priest, shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days; in whom the bright spot is, and of whom there is a suspicion of the plague of leprosy, but it is not certain; and therefore, in order to take time, and get further knowledge, the person was to be shut up from all company and conversation for the space of seven days; by which time it might be supposed, as Ben Gersom observes, that the case and state of the leprosy (if it was one) would be altered; and Aben Ezra remarks, that most diseases change or alter on the seventh day.

If the bright spot be white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight be not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days:
4. If any of the symptoms are not found, the man is to be shut up seven days and again examined.

Verses 4-8. - In case the symptoms are not decisive, then the priest shall shut up him that hath the plague seven days. The words thus translated would perhaps be better rendered, then the priest shall bind up the part affected for seven days. The priest is to delay his judgment for a week, and, if necessary, for a second week, during which period the patient is, according to the rendering, either to be confined to his house or, more probably, to have the spot bandaged. Whether the disease be or be not leprosy will probably have declared itself by the end of that time; and if the plague be somewhat dark on the fourteenth day, that is, if it has begun to lose its colour and to fade away, and has not spread in the skin, the priest is to decide that it is not real leprosy, and pronounce the man clean. He is still, however, to be kept under supervision, and if the spot is found to spread, he is to be pronounced unclean, as it is proved to be a leprosy. Leviticus 13:4But if the bright spot was white upon the skin, and its appearance was not deeper than the skin, and the place therefore was not sunken, nor the hair turned white, the priest was to shut up the leper, i.e., preclude him from intercourse with other men, for seven days, and on the seventh day examine him again. If he then found that the mole still stood, i.e., remained unaltered, "in his eyes," or in his view, that it had not spread any further, he was to shut him up for seven days more. And if, on further examination upon the seventh day, he found that the mole had become paler, had lost its brilliant whiteness, and had not spread, he was to declare him clean, for it was a scurf, i.e., a mere skin eruption, and not true leprosy. The person who had been pronounced clean, however, was to wash his clothes, to change himself from even the appearance of leprosy, and then to be clean.
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