This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woolen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(59) This is the law of the plague of leprosy.
—That is, the above-mentioned regulations are to guide the priests in their decisions whether a garment or leathern utensil is leprous or not, and in their declaration of its being clean or defiling.
Leviticus 13:59. This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment — The learned confess that this leprosy in a garment was a sign and a miracle in Israel; an extraordinary punishment inflicted by the divine power, as a token of great displeasure against a person or family. The garment suspected to be tainted was not to be burned immediately; for in no case must sentence be given merely upon a surmise; but it must be shown to the priest. If, upon search, it was found that there was a leprous spot, (the Jews say, no bigger than a bean,) it was to be burned, or at least that part of it in which the spot was. If the cause of the suspicion were gone, yet it must be washed, and then it might be used, Leviticus 13:58. This was intended to intimate the great malignity which there is in sin. It not only defiles the sinner’s conscience, but it brings a stain on all his employments and enjoyments, all he has, and all he doeth. To them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, Titus 1:14. And we are hereby taught to hate even the garments spotted with the flesh, Jdg 1:23. Those that make their clothes servants to their pride and lust, may see them thereby tainted with a leprosy, and doomed to the fire, Isaiah 3:18; Isaiah 3:24; but the ornament of the hidden man of the heart is incorruptible, 1 Peter 3:4. The robes of righteousness never fret nor are moth eaten.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.Either - in these verses, should be or. See Leviticus 13:47, Leviticus 13:49.
It should be noticed that no religious or symbolic rite is prescribed for leprosy in clothing. The priest had only to decide whether the process of decay was at work in the article presented to him and to pronounce accordingly. Compare the leprosy in houses, Leviticus 14:33-53. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. This is the law of the plague of leprosy,.... The rules by which it was to be judged of; whether or no it was
in a garment of woollen, or linen, either the warp or woof, or any thing of skins; which include everything in which this sort of leprosy was:
to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean; either to declare it free from the plague of the leprosy, or as infected with it, and so accordingly dispose of it. This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woolen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
If the mole had not spread during the seven days, the priest was to cause the fabric in which the mole appeared to be washed, and then shut it up for seven days more. If the mole did not alter its appearance after being washed, even though it had not spread, the fabric was unclean, and was therefore to be burned. "It is a corroding in the back and front" (of the fabric of leather). פּחתת, from פּחת, in Syriac fodit, from which comes פּחת a pit, lit., a digging: here a corroding depression. קרחת a bald place in the front or right side, גּבּחת a bald place in the back or left side of the fabric or leather.
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