And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean.…
We learn lessons concerning -
I. THE BLEMISH OF MENTAL PECULIARITY. (Verse 40.) Evidently baldness was an unusual and an unsightly thing among the Israelites. Otherwise it would not have excited notice and could not have created derision (2 Kings 2:23; Isaiah 3:24; Ezekiel 7:18). It was regarded as an unbecoming peculiarity. Affecting the head, we may regard it as a type of mental peculiarity which does not amount to a serious sin, but is yet unusual and unbecoming. Many men who are substantially sound in heart and life, loving that which is highest and doing that which is just and right, are yet affected and afflicted by mental peculiarities - oddities, crotchets, fancies, awkwardness or crookedness of mental habit; things which are not formidably had, but which, because they are superficial, strike the eye, provoke general remark, and stand in the way of effective service.
1. It is right that those who observe them in others should remember that they are only blemishes, and nothing more; detracting in some degree from "the beauty of holiness," but not inconsistent with real and even admirable excellence. "He is bald, yet he is clean" (verse 40).
2. It is right that those who possess them should reflect, and act on the reflection, that these things, though only blemishes, may importantly diminish the power of the possessor to influence, guide, and win other people. The candle (character) is of much more importance than the candlestick (mental habit), but if character be obscured by some darkening "bushel," and not put on the candlestick of pleasant and agreeable habits, it will not "give light to all that are in the house" (Matthew 5:15).
II. THE EVIL OF ERROR. There might come on the bald head a spot, a sore; this might be a "white reddish sore" - leprous (verses 42, 43). But it might not; it might be nothing but a boil or some cutaneous disorder, which was not leprosy. In that case the patient Would be treated as described in verses 2-6. There would be something wrong, but it was not the unclean thing, leprosy. There is a mental disease which is something more serious than peculiarity and something less serious than guilty perversity. It is error; the arrival at wrong conclusions. There may be but small faultiness in coming to convictions which are not correct, but there may be positive disaster resulting therefrom. A man may innocently take the wrong road, but his innocency will not save him from walking into the bog or over the precipice to which it leads. Error is not the worst thing in the world, but it is a seriously bad and dangerous thing. When we are earnestly warned, by obviously thoughtful and godly men, that we are wrong in our judgments, it becomes us to listen patiently and consider well whether we are in the right track, or whether we have mistaken a false path for the "path of life."
III. THE SIN OF MENTAL PERVERSITY. (Verses 43, 44.) There is great significance in the sentence "the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean." The man who had leprosy in the head was accounted unclean in an especial degree: he was utterly unclean. Sin, of which this malady was so striking a type, never assumes so dangerous a phase as when it appears in the form of a perverted judgment or a darkened conscience. When, by sinning, a man has blunted his spiritual perceptions so that he "calls evil good, and good evil," he is in the last stage of moral decline; death is near at hand. If" our eye be evil" (if our judgment be perverted, our faculty of spiritual perception be diseased), our "whole body is full of darkness;" if "the light that is in,, us" (our own mental and spiritual faculty) be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 5:23). Witness the Pharisees in their treatment of our Lord. We may well be actively on our guard against, and may well be earnest in prayer that God will deliver us from, that of which leprosy in the head is the painful picture, - a guilty, blinding, ruinous perversity of mind. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the man whose hair is fallen off his head, he is bald; yet is he clean.