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Today in Leviticus chapter 13 we read about contagious skin diseases and mildew. Quite a chapter! It does make sense to me that this level of detail is given by God on these topics. These instructions were health instructions for the community of Israel as a whole. The NIV Study Bible notes that "the ceremonially unclean were excluded from the camp (the area around the tabernacle and courtyard), where the Israelites lived in tents. Later, no unclean persons were allowed in the temple area, where they could mingle with others." I look at this from the standpoint that they did not have medicines back then to heal people of these contagious diseases - and as such, the only way to keep the diseases from spreading to the entire population was to isolate the sick. I know this doesn't sound compassionate on the surface... but was there a better option at that time? In the New Testament we read about Jesus curing people of leprosy, which was a couple of thousand of years later. It's obvious that skin diseases were a major issue in Moses' day and through Jesus' day - as was mildew during Israel's rainy season of October through March - particularly along the coast and by the Sea of Galilee where it is very humid. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on Leviticus chapter 13 begins at this link and you'll see a few "Next Commentary" links at the bottom of each page to take you through the chapter.
On a side note, leprosy, or Hansen's disease, is still in existence in our world today, though at much lower incidence rates than ever before. It is a sad disease to learn about... I did a google image search on the word leprosy and was pretty shocked by the pictures. The World Health Organization's website says this - "Today, diagnosis and treatment of leprosy is easy. Essential work is being carried out to integrate leprosy services into existing, general health services. This is especially important for communities at risk for leprosy, which are often the poorest of the poor and under-served. Full control of leprosy has eluded mainly in some parts of Angola, Brazil, India, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nepal, and United Republic of Tanzania." More info on leprosy in our world today is at the World Health Organization's website at this link.
All of a sudden now these 3 verses about Jesus and leprosy in Matthew chapter 8 verses 1 through 3 really stand out to me... - "When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy."
YouTube: Per our readings in Leviticus today, below is a brief documentary about Hansen's disease:
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