To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To teach when it is unclean.—This verse is intimately connected with Leviticus 14:54, viz.: “This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy . . . to afford instruction in the day of uncleanness, and in the day of cleanness:” that is, to furnish them with instructions against the time when they would have to deal with these cases in taking possession of the promised land. The ancient authorities, however, insisted upon the literal rendering which is substantially exhibited in the Margin of the Authorised Version, viz., “To teach concerning the day of uncleanness and concerning the day of cleanness: i.e., to instruct the people on which days this distemper may be examined and decided. Hence the ancient Chaldee Version of Jonathan renders it, “That the priests may teach the people to discern between the dark days, when his leprosy is to be examined, and between the bright days.” (See Leviticus 13:2.)
Leviticus 14:57. To teach when it is unclean and when it is clean — To direct the priest when to pronounce a person or house clean or unclean. Upon the whole, we may see in these laws the religious care we ought to take of ourselves to keep our minds from the dominion of all sinful affections and dispositions, which are both their disease and their defilement, that we may be fit for the service of God. We ought also to avoid all bad company, and, as much as may be, coming within the danger of being affected by it. Touch not the unclean thing, saith the Lord, and I will receive you.Leviticus 14:52; and in Leviticus 14:53 it is said, "and make an atonement for it." Such language is used figuratively when it is applied to things, not to persons. The leprosy in houses, the leprosy in clothing, and the terrible disease in the human body, were representative forms of decay which taught the lesson that all created things, in their own nature, are passing away, and are only maintained for their destined uses during an appointed period, by the power of Yahweh. To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Leviticus 14:49-53) to perform the same rite of purification as was prescribed for the restoration of a man, who had been cured of leprosy, to the national community (Leviticus 14:4-7). The purpose was also the same, namely, to cleanse (חטּא cleanse from sin) and make atonement for the house, i.e., to purify it from the uncleanness of sin which had appeared in the leprosy. For, although it is primarily in the human body that sin manifests itself, it spreads from man to the things which he touches, uses, inhabits, though without our being able to represent this spread as a physical contagion.
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