Lev 13:38 “When a man or a woman has spots on the outer layer of their skin, white spots,
Lev 13:39 the priest will look, and if he notices that the spots on the outer layer of their skin are of a dull white, it is leukoderma that has broken out in the skin; he is pure.
Lev 13:40 “If a man’s hair falls out from his head, he is bald; he is pure.
Lev 13:41 And if a man’s hair falls out from his forehead, he has baldness of the forehead; he is pure.
Lev 13:42 But if there is on the bald head or the bald forehead a reddish-white diseased area, it is a leprous disease breaking out on his bald head or his bald forehead.
Lev 13:43 Then the priest will examine him, and if he notices that the diseased swelling is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, like the appearance of leprous disease in the outer layer of his skin,
Lev 13:44 he is a leprous man, he is contaminated. The priest must pronounce him contaminated; his disease is on his head.
We have seen that the priests had to be very cautious not to allow leprosy to remain in the Israelite community, without taking action to prevent it from infecting others. As such, leprosy served as an apt analogy for sin, and is used as such elsewhere in the Bible (2 Corinthians 6:16-17; Revelation 21:27). As the covenant community, the Israelite camp had to avoid all appearance of evil, so when something threatened the purity of the camp, action had to be taken to remove it.
Yet, there were conditions (as we have also seen) that mimicked the symptoms of leprosy, but were not to be treated the same way as leprosy. Two more such conditions are highlighted in today’s text: leukoderma (a pigmentation irregularity), and mere baldness. The priests were held responsible for correctly diagnosing each case, so that someone with only the appearance of leprosy would not be unfairly treated and isolated from the camp.
Here, as well, we find some helpful implications for those of us seeking to represent God’s holiness in the new covenant community. There are some who, simply because they appear different that other Christians, are often unfairly judged and criticised. We must learn to stop judging people by their mere outward appearance, and accept those whom God has accepted, because he sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
LORD, give us a discerning mind, so that we can welcome all those whom you have welcomed, and avoid any false diagnosis of their spiritual condition.