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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Leviticus 13

 

 

Verse 1

Leviticus 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, saying,

Ver. 1. And the Lord spake.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 7:22"}


Verse 2

Leviticus 13:2 When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh [like] the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:

Ver. 2. Like the plague of leprosy.] Leprosy is both an effect and type of sin; which is such a sickness of the soul, as those are of the body, which physicians say are corruptio totius substantiae, universal diseases tending to the issues of death. It dries up and draws out the very vital blood and life of the soul.


Verse 3

Leviticus 13:3 And the priest shall look on the plague in the skin of the flesh: and [when] the hair in the plague is turned white, and the plague in sight [be] deeper than the skin of his flesh, it [is] a plague of leprosy: and the priest shall look on him, and pronounce him unclean.

Ver. 3. The plague in the skin of the flesh.] That is, the white bright spot. [Leviticus 13:2] Compare Exodus 4:6, Numbers 12:10.

Is turned white.] This might note such as have continued long and are aged in any wickedness.

Be deeper than the skin of his flesh.] Compare Numbers 12:12, 2 Kings 5:14. Such are they whose wickedness is not only acted by their hands, but seated in their hearts and sunk into their spirits: like the spots of the leopard, which no art can cure, no water wash off, because they are not in the skin, but in the flesh and bones, in the sinews and most inner parts. Ingrained diseases are not easily stirred, much less destroyed.


Verse 4

Leviticus 13:4 If the bright spot [be] white in the skin of his flesh, and in sight [be] not deeper than the skin, and the hair thereof be not turned white; then the priest shall shut up [him that hath] the plague seven days:

Ver. 4. Shall shut up him.] For further trial of truth, that daughter of time. We may not precipitate a censure, but be slow to speak, slow to wrath. The leper must be shut up from week to week, till the thing were certain: so till men’s perverseness be made "manifest," [2 Timothy 3:9] we must suspend our censures. Many are like candles whose tallow is mixed with brine; no sooner lighted, but they spit up and down the room.


Verse 5

Leviticus 13:5 And the priest shall look on him the seventh day: and, behold, [if] the plague in his sight be at a stay, [and] the plague spread not in the skin; then the priest shall shut him up seven days more:

Ver. 5. Spread not in the skin.] So if men mend by admonition, and take up in time; if they refuse not to be reformed, hate not to be healed, as Babylon, [Jeremiah 51:9] as Ephraim. [Hosea 7:1] "When I would have healed Ephraim, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered," or brake out as a leprosy in his forehead. See Ezekiel 24:13.


Verse 6

Leviticus 13:6 And the priest shall look on him again the seventh day: and, behold, [if] the plague [be] somewhat dark, [and] the plague spread not in the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean: it [is but] a scab: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

Ver. 6. It is but a scab.] Such as may be "the spot of God’s children." [Deuteronomy 32:5] Sin makes wicked men the object of God’s hatred, the saints of his pity; as we hate poison in a toad, but we pity it in a man.

And he shall wash his clothes.] The best cannot wash in innocency; he must therefore wash in tears. [Isaiah 1:16] God also will set in and wash such with the blood of his Son.


Verse 7

Leviticus 13:7 But if the scab spread much abroad in the skin, after that he hath been seen of the priest for his cleansing, he shall be seen of the priest again:

Ver. 7. But if the scab spread.] So if sin be gaining and growing still upon the sinner, even after admonition, or is scattered and spread to the infecting of others, it is a very ill sign.


Verse 8

Leviticus 13:8 And [if] the priest see that, behold, the scab spreadeth in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a leprosy.

Ver. 8. The scab spreadeth.] This signifieth that there was yet more corruption within the body, and the inward parts were not sound. Think the same of the reign of sin in our mortal bodies. [Romans 6:12; Romans 6:14; Romans 6:20]


Verse 9

Leviticus 13:9 When the plague of leprosy is in a man, then he shall be brought unto the priest;

Ver. 9. He shall be brought unto the priest.] Who was to discern it by the law of leprosy: so must we find out our sins by the moral law. [Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7] "The works of the flesh are manifest." [Galatians 5:19] Neither need we half so much caution or curiosity to be persuaded of our spiritual leprosy, which is too apparent: only those many ceremonies, as one well noteth, may put us in mind how much more exquisite our diligence ought to be in finding and ferreting out our special sins.


Verse 10

Leviticus 13:10 And the priest shall see [him]: and, behold, [if] the rising [be] white in the skin, and it have turned the hair white, and [there be] quick raw flesh in the rising;

Ver. 10. And there be quick raw flesh.] It is one of the most remarkable things in all this law, saith a learned divine, that quick or sound flesh in the sore should be judged leprosy, and the man unclean: whereas if the leprosy covered all his flesh, he was pronounced clean. [Leviticus 13:13] Hereby may be meant, (1.) Such as justify themselves and their wickedness, as Jonah did his anger; whereas he who judged himself, is like him who had the leprosy all over, and might be declared clean: or, (2.) Such who sin against the light of knowledge, and the quickening, yea, rawness of a galled conscience.


Verse 11

Leviticus 13:11 It [is] an old leprosy in the skin of his flesh, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean, and shall not shut him up: for he [is] unclean.

Ver. 11. It is an old leprosy.] So habituated sinners, that are crooked and aged with good opinions of themselves, these are seldom or never set straight again.


Verse 12

Leviticus 13:12 And if a leprosy break out abroad in the skin, and the leprosy cover all the skin of [him that hath] the plague from his head even to his foot, wheresoever the priest looketh;

Ver. 12. And if a leprosy.] So called, because so counted at first: but it proves no more than a kind of scurf or scab.


Verse 13

Leviticus 13:13 Then the priest shall consider: and, behold, [if] the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce [him] clean [that hath] the plague: it is all turned white: he [is] clean.

Ver. 13. He shall pronounce him clean,] i.e., Not infectiously or incurably unclean.


Verse 14

Leviticus 13:14 But when raw flesh appeareth in him, he shall be unclean.

Ver. 14. But when raw flesh.] Because it showed that there were still corrupt and poisoned humours in the body, not easy to be expelled till death.


Verse 15

Leviticus 13:15 And the priest shall see the raw flesh, and pronounce him to be unclean: [for] the raw flesh [is] unclean: it [is] a leprosy.

Ver. 15. It is a leprosy.] Properly so called; a fretting soreness or scabbedness. The Greeks call it Elephas, or Elephantiasis, when the skin grows hard as the elephant’s skin. This the Israelites brought, likely, out of Egypt; for it was bred only about the Nile, and is therefore called the botch of Egypt. [Deuteronomy 28:27]


Verse 16

Leviticus 13:16 Or if the raw flesh turn again, and be changed unto white, he shall come unto the priest;

Ver. 16. Turn again,] viz., To be white like the rest of the body: so if a sinner stop or step back, &c.


Verse 17

Leviticus 13:17 And the priest shall see him: and, behold, [if] the plague be turned into white; then the priest shall pronounce [him] clean [that hath] the plague: he [is] clean.

Ver. 17. He is clean,] i.e., He will be so shortly: for why? the venom of the plague is coming forth apace.


Verse 18

Leviticus 13:18 The flesh also, in which, [even] in the skin thereof, was a boil, and is healed,

Ver. 18. Was a boil, and is healed.] Seemed to be healed, as apostates to have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of Christ, [2 Peter 2:20] and to have known the way of righteousness, [2 Peter 2:21] and yet the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. They become altogether filthy. [Psalms 53:3] Forsakers of the covenant, yea, wicked doers against the covenant. [Daniel 11:30; Daniel 11:32] These sin not common sins, as Core and his company died not common deaths. [ 1:11]


Verse 22

Leviticus 13:22 And if it spread much abroad in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a plague.

Ver. 22. And if it spread much abroad.] So, if sin reign, there is no pardon: rebel it may, reign must not.


Verse 23

Leviticus 13:23 But if the bright spot stay in his place, [and] spread not, it [is] a burning boil; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

Ver. 23. But if the bright spot stay.] Sin, if it reign not, is not imputed; for "we are not under the law, but under grace." [Romans 6:12; Romans 6:14]


Verse 25

Leviticus 13:25 Then the priest shall look upon it: and, behold, [if] the hair in the bright spot be turned white, and it [be in] sight deeper than the skin; it [is] a leprosy broken out of the burning: wherefore the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] the plague of leprosy.

Ver. 25. A leprosy broken out of the burning.] Seldom do passions burn, but there is a leprosy breaking out of that burning; such as causeth the climate where such lepers live to be like the torrid zone, too hot for any to live near them.


Verse 30

Leviticus 13:30 Then the priest shall see the plague: and, behold, if it [be] in sight deeper than the skin; [and there be] in it a yellow thin hair; then the priest shall pronounce him unclean: it [is] a dry scall, [even] a leprosy upon the head or beard.

Ver. 30. A yellow thin hair.] Which is a true sign of a scall.


Verse 34

Leviticus 13:34 And in the seventh day the priest shall look on the scall: and, behold, [if] the scall be not spread in the skin, nor [be] in sight deeper than the skin; then the priest shall pronounce him clean: and he shall wash his clothes, and be clean.

Ver. 34. He shall wash his clothes.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 13:6"}


Verse 35

Leviticus 13:35 But if the scall spread much in the skin after his cleansing;

Ver. 35. After his cleansing.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 13:18"}


Verse 37

Leviticus 13:37 But if the scall be in his sight at a stay, and [that] there is black hair grown up therein; the scall is healed, he [is] clean: and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

Ver. 37. Black hair.] A sign of soundness. Quod sanitas in corpore, id sanctitas in corde, saith Bernard.


Verse 39

Leviticus 13:39 Then the priest shall look: and, behold, [if] the bright spots in the skin of their flesh [be] darkish white; it [is] a freckled spot [that] groweth in the skin; he [is] clean.

Ver. 39. A freckled spot.] Or white leprous eruption. This made not a man unclean: no more do mere infirmities make God abhor us.


Verse 44

Leviticus 13:44 He is a leprous man, he [is] unclean: the priest shall pronounce him utterly unclean; his plague [is] in his head.

Ver. 44. His plague is in his head.] Such a leper is every ignorant man; how much more the man that is a heretic! whom therefore after the first and second admonition we must reject, [Titus 3:10] yea from such stand off. [1 Timothy 6:5] Keep aloof as from lepers, their very breath is infectious; and like the dogs of Congo, they bite, though they bark not. (a)


Verse 45

Leviticus 13:45 And the leper in whom the plague [is], his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering upon his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

Ver. 45. His clothes shall be rent.] To show his sorrow for sin, the cause of his calamity.

And his head bare.] That men might not mistake him; and further to show his humility, whereof this also was a ceremony.

A covering upon his upper lip.] His moustaches that by his breath he might not infect others: and to show that God will not hear a good motion from an ill mouth.

Unclean, unclean.] Say we the same in our humblest acknowledgments; but withal add that of the leper in the Gospel, yet "Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." [Matthew 8:2]


Verse 46

Leviticus 13:46 All the days wherein the plague [shall be] in him he shall be defiled; he [is] unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp [shall] his habitation [be].

Ver. 46. Without the camp.] And that utterly, if incurable, as Uzzias. A lively type of excommunication, which the apostle describeth in 2 Corinthians 5:11-12, and our Saviour in Matthew 18:17.


Verse 47

Leviticus 13:47 The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, [whether it be] a woollen garment, or a linen garment;

Ver. 47. The garment also.] A plague not anywhere else read or heard of: being nothing like clothes now-a-days infected with the plague, but far more strange and dangerous; whether it did spread or fret inward, the garment was to be burnt with fire. This signified that all instruments of idolatry, or of any other sin, are to be destroyed and made away. As the law commandeth, "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire." [Deuteronomy 7:25-26] And Jude alludeth to it, when he biddeth us "save some with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." [ 1:23] See Isaiah 30:22, Acts 19:19. Justiciaries also shall one day find, that though to the world-ward they "wash themselves with snow water, and make their hands never so clean; yet God will plunge them in the ditch, and their own clothes shall make them to be abhorred." [Job 9:30-31]


Verse 59

Leviticus 13:59 This [is] the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean.

Ver. 59. This is the law of the plague.] A plague ordinary among the Jews, not so among Christians, who should therein see great cause of thankfulness. It is observed to have most infested the Jews upon their revoltings from religion, and that Christians took the infection of it from their country, when they went thither to recover it, out of the hands of the Turks. But what a lewd liar was that Egyptian mentioned by Phagius, who said, that both Jews and Christians were a foul discharge of most base and beastly people, followed with a foul disease, that forced them to rest one day in seven. A blister on that foul tongue, may it well be said. From Miriam’s example, [Numbers 12:10-15] the Jewish doctors gather that leprosy is a punishment for an evil tongue.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 13:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/leviticus-13.html. 1865-1868.

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