The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment;…
Our garments are our immediate surroundings, and there may be in them as well as in ourselves that which is offensive and "unclean." There was an impurity in the garment as well as in the human body against which the Law provided. The classing of clothes and houses with the human skin as leprous, "has moved the mirth of some and the wonder of others... but the analogy between the insect which frets the human skin and that which frets the garment that covers it, between the fungous growth that lines the crevices of the epidermis and that which creeps in the interstices of masonry, is close enough for the purposes of ceremonial law." The legal provision here made for the leprous garment suggests to us -
I. THE IMPURE SURROUNDINGS BY WHICH WE MAY BE ENVIRONED. These are many:
1. Depraved tastes and cravings in our body (for the body is the immediate clothing of the spirit).
2. Unholy companionships.
3. Corrupt political associations.
4. Impure, demoralizing books (or any form of hurtful literature).
5. Injurious occupation - that which wounds the conscience or enfeebles the inner life.
6. A deadening Church - a religious society where the form without the power of godliness is left.
II. THE DIVINELY SUGGESTED TREATMENT OF THEM. We gather from these verses that we should:
1. Exercise vigilance in detecting. With the same carefulness with which the priest made himself sure in the matter of the leprous garment (verses 50-57), we must make certain whether there be in any of our surroundings - or of those for whom we are responsible - the plague which will work spiritual mischief in the heart and ultimate ruin to the character.
2. Make serious effort to cleanse. If, after seven days, there had been no spreading of the plague, the priest was to wash the garment (verse 54), and if the plague departed, it was to be washed a second time, and then it was clean (verse 58). All that was salvable was to be saved. If by vigorous and repeated washing any spotted garment could be preserved, it was not to be destroyed. All that is reformable in our institutions and surroundings must be reformed. We must cleanse where we can make pure and where it is unnecessary to destroy. But sometimes we must:
3. Unscrupulously destroy. When unmistakable signs of leprosy appeared, the priest was to "burn that garment;" it was to "be burnt in the fire" (verse 52). When we find in anything that surrounds us and that is exerting an influence upon us, that which is really hurtful to us - that which would lead us astray from God, we must sacrifice it altogether, at whatever cost (see Mark 9:43-47). Our belongings must be put into the fire rather than be permitted to stain our soul. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment;