And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,…
The book up to this point is occupied with the counting and discipline of the people, both those for war and those for tabernacle service. Now the cleansing of the camp is to be attended to.
I. THE CLASSES WHO WERE DECLARED UNCLEAN. Certainly we must not be too curious in our inquiries here, or we may soon pass the verge of what is edifying. But there are some points of note with regard to all three classes. The leper. Why should he be declared unclean? Perhaps as suffering from a more manifest disease than others, maybe a peculiarly offensive one, and one of the most difficult to cure. These are conjectures which give a little light, but the great reason for ceremonial uncleanness in the case of human beings, as in the case of lower animals, is to be found in Jehovah's positive injunction. Leprosy was thus to be one of the great types in the body of the defiling effect of sin upon the soul. It is clear that in the course of ages the idea got fixed in the Israelite mind that the cure of leprosy was to be considered as a cleansing. Jesus commanded his apostles to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers. The leper was not a common victim, but singled out to impress the fact that the ultimate cause which produces disease is a strange and polluting thing; no necessary element in human nature, though now it be actually present in us all. The person with an issue. Thus uncleanness is connected with birth as well as with death. Whenever a child is born, a being is brought into the world, which certainly will add something to the evil in it, though possibly it may add much to the good. The saintliest of believers has had in hint the possibilities of the worst of unbelievers. Human nature is truly the creation of God, fearfully and wonderfully made; but there is also the fact of birth from sinful human parents to be remembered. This is a great mystery, to be delicately handled; but the uncleanness here indicated may be taken as intended to remind parents how one generation transmits not only nature, but sinful nature, to another. The person defiled by the dead. There is great. significance in being made unclean by the dead. Of all things in the world that manifest the effects of sin, this is the greatest - death. By sin came death. All lesser results lead up to this. A dead body, in one sense as sacred a thing as there is in the world, is yet also one of the most unclean. As long as there is life there is something to protest against the reign of sin, and resist it; but life being gone, sin riots and revels in the corruption of what was once fair and strong. The coffin and the gravestone hide, but they only hide. It was one of our Lord's most terrible words to the Pharisees to compare them to whited sepulchers.
II. THE LINE OF SEPARATION. There are large details in Leviticus respecting all these instances of uncleanness (chapters 12-15). The line of separation was clearly marked, sternly enforced. To go out of the camp meant much personal inconvenience, perhaps pain - suffering added on to existing suffering. Imagine the mother tending her sick child, waiting its expiring breath, closing its eyes, composing its body, then compelled to go without the camp. This typical ceremonial uncleanness indicates the sharp separation, between good and bad mere The word of God accords in all its references to this. There are two classes, and only two - the clean and the unclean, the sheep and the goats, the wheat and tares, the children of God and the children of wrath. It also indicates the extent to which discipline can be carried in the Church of Christ on earth. There are some offences so plain that the guilty may at once be cut off from outward communion. But there may be others quite as unworthy who yet do and must escape, because their life makes no crying scandal. Many a professed and long-continued adherent to the true Church is, nevertheless, as worldly, hard, and selfish as any of the ungodly. God reckons all such outside the camp. He alone has the knowledge and authority to reckon. Learn then the danger of all spiritual uncleanness. That so much was declared typically unclean, shows that spiritual uncleanness is a very great danger. The boundary between the Church and the world cannot be too strictly kept. Since we are all advancing to death, it is proof of the power of sin in our nature. We are all unclean with the worst of uncleanness. It only waits for us to feel all the evil, and the way is clear to the remedy (1 John 1:7-10). - Y.
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,