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If there is a garment that has been struck [by God] with a visible abnormality,

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struck [by God] with a plague-spot, whether a garment of wool or a garment of linen,


If God strikes a garment with a visible abnormality that looks like a plague in order to teach someone a spiritual truth, no matter what kind of garment it is,



Two Hebrew words are used here; the one that appears first in Hebrew is most commonly the word translated “leprosy,” while the second Hebrew word is often translated “plague.” They are both nouns, but the second one is functioning as an adjective. My translation reverses the order so as it sounds correct in English.

The key Hebrew words in this verse

The Hebrew word that is often translated “leprosy” really means to be struck by God with a visible abnormality. When applied to people, it means being struck by God with a skin disorder. When applied to clothing or to the walls of a house, it means being struck by God with a mold or mildew.

When a person is struck by God in this way it was to punish a serious sin, but why would God strike a garment or the wall of a house?  I believe he did so in order to teach an important spiritual lesson to the human owners of the garment or house.

There appears to be no connection between the garment being discussed here and the garment of a person who has been struck by God with a visible abnormality on the skin discussed in the preceding verses. This cannot be used to prove that the skin disorder of the previous section of Leviticus 13 is malignant.

This passage also uses the Hebrew word which means to be struck with the mark of a plague, or to be struck with a plague spot.

The two words are very similar in meaning and sometimes they are used in tandem as is the case here. When that happens, it is for emphasis because otherwise it sounds redundant.