Troublesome Topic: “Leprosy” in a Garment

Lesson 13 of 13

Lev 13:47-59 gives regulations about a scourge in a garment. It does not indicate that the garment belonged to a person being punished with a skin disorder; it sounds like a different situation. The same Hebrew word is used here as for the punishing skin disorder, and the same word is also used of a scourge on a wall of a house, see Lev. ch 14, which is even less likely to be associated with a person’s skin disorder. In my opinion, these were not given to punish the wall or the garment but to teach their owners important spiritual lessons. The garment was burned and the house destroyed primarily to teach the seriousness of sin.

Many ancient Hebrew scholars saw these two situations as I do – as something sent directly from God and not occurring in nature or in any other nations around them. However, a few ancient Hebrew scholars disagreed.

Because of the use of this same word to refer to skin, garments and walls, I choose to paraphrase the word as follows: “struck by God with a visible abnormality.” When applied to men and women it was a skin disorder; when applied to garments and walls it was a fungus or mold. The skin disorder from God was a punishment for sin and a shot across the bow, a wake up call for them to repent. The fungus or mold in a garment or on a wall was a lesson sent from God intended to teach them about the seriousness of sin. It was also a warning, likely sent to those who were flirting with temptation.

The next lesson in the full series on Covenants is: The Food Laws Taught Three Major Truths.