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Lk 17: 12-19 - Leprosy, According to Mosaic Law

Diagnosis: The priest was given the task of diagnosing whether an infection was leprous or benign (Leviticus 13:1-3). In addition, the priest also diagnosed leprosy arising from boils on the skin and from skin burns, whether it occurs on bare skin or in a person’s hair (Leviticus 13:4-46). Clothing also was brought to the priest for inspection and diagnosis; if the clothing had leprosy that was spreading, the clothing had to be burned (Leviticus 13:47-59).

The Life of a Leper: Lepers were required to live alone or separated from society, outside the camp. His (or her) clothing was to be torn (as in a state of mourning); he had to keep his head uncovered and his mustache covered. Whenever non-lepers came along, the leper was required to say, "Unclean! Unclean!" to warn the non-lepers to stay away (Leviticus 13:45-46).

Purification of a Leper: When a leper was cleansed or healed, he needed to show himself to a priest for verification. The priest then met the leper outside the camp and checked him over (Leviticus 24:1-3). If the leper was indeed healed, a series of offerings were performed involving two live birds. One bird was killed over running water and the other bird was dipped in the bloody water and then released. The leper was sprinkled seven times with the bloody water (Leviticus 14:4-8).

Following this, the leper was shaved of all body hair, including his eyebrows, and then bathed. Eight days later, he was required to offer another offering involving three lambs (two males, one ewe) plus flour and oil. Only after all this could the leper return to normal society (Leviticus 14:9-32).



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