- Rules whereby the priest was to judge of the leprosy, verse 1-44.
- Directions concerning the leper, verse 45, 46.
- Concerning the leprosy in garments, verse 47-59.
In the skin - For there is the first seat of the leprosy, the bright spot shining like the scale of a fish, as it is in the beginning of a leprosy. The priest - The priest was to admit to, or exclude from, the sanctuary, and therefore to examine who were to be excluded.
When the hair is turned white - This change of colour was an evidence both of the abundance of excrementious humours, and of the weakness of nature, as we see in old and sick persons. His flesh - For the leprosy consumed both the skin and the flesh.
Seven days - For greater assurance; to teach ministers not to be hasty in their judgments, but diligently to search and examine all things before-hand. The plague is here put for the man that hath the plague.
Dark - Contrary to the white colour of the leprosy. But the word may be rendered, have contracted itself, and thus the opposition seems to be most clear as the spreading of itself. He shall wash his clothes - Though it was no leprosy, to teach us, that no sin is so small as not to need to be washed by the blood of Christ, which was the thing designed by all these washings.
White in the skin - With a preternatural and extraordinary whiteness. Raw flesh - This shewed it was not a superficial leprosy but one of a deeper and more malignant nature, that had eaten into the very flesh, for which cause it is in the next verse called an old or inveterate leprosy.
All his flesh - When it appeared in some one part it discovered the ill humour which lurked within, and withal the inability of nature to expel it; but when it overspread all, it manifested the strength of nature conquering the distemper, and purging out the ill humours into the outward parts.
In it - That is in the place where the appearance of leprosy was, when the flesh was partly changed into a whiter colour, and partly kept its natural colour, this variety of colours was an evidence of the leprosy, as one and the same colour continuing, was a sign of soundness.
The raw flesh - This is repeated again and again, because raw or living flesh might rather seem a sign of soundness, and the priest might easily be deceived by it, and therefore he was more narrowly to look into it.
Unto white - As it is usual with sores, when they begin to be healed, the skin which is white, coming upon the flesh.
Dark - Or, and be contracted.
A plague - Or the plague of leprosy, of which he is speaking.
A hot burning - A burning of fire, by the touch of any hot-iron, or burning coals, which naturally makes an ulcer or sore in which the following spot is.
Of the burning - Arising from the burning mentioned, Leviticus 13:24.
A yellow, thin hair - The leprosy in the body turned the hair white, in the head or beard it turned it yellow. And if a man's hair was yellow before, this might easily be distinguished from the rest, either by the thinness or smallness of it, or by its peculiar kind of yellow, for there are divers kinds of the same colour manifestly differing from one another.
No black hair - For had that appeared, it had ended the doubt, the black hair being a sign of soundness and strength of nature, as the yellow hair was a sign of unsoundness.
He shall be shaven - For the more certain discovery of the growth or stay of the plague.
He shall not seek - He need not search for the hair, or any other sign, the spreading of it being a sure sign of leprosy.
If the spots be darkish white - Or, contracted, or confined to the place where they are, and white.
It is a leprosy - It is a sign that such baldness came not from age, or any accident, but from the leprosy.
His clothes shall be rent - In the upper and fore parts, which were most visible. This was done partly as a token of sorrow, because though this was not a sin, yet it was an effect of sin, and a sore punishment, whereby he was cut off both from converse with men, and from the enjoyment of God in his ordinances; partly as a warning to others to keep at a due distance from him wheresoever he came. And his head bare - Another sign of mourning. God would have men though not overwhelmed with, yet deeply sensible of his judgments. A covering on his upper lip - Partly as another badge of his sorrow and shame, and partly for the preservation of others from his breath or touch. Unclean, unclean - As begging the pity and prayers of others, and confessing his own infirmity, and cautioning those who came near him, to keep at a distance from him.
He shall dwell alone - Partly for his humiliation; partly to prevent the infection of others; and partly to shew the danger of converse with spiritual lepers, or notorious sinners.
Leprosy in garments and houses is unknown in these times and places, which is not strange, there being some diseases peculiar to some ages and countries. And that such a thing was among the Jews, cannot reasonably be doubted; for, if Moses had been a deceiver, a man of his wisdom, would not have exposed himself to the contempt of his people by giving laws about that which their experience shewed to be but a fiction.
In the warp or woof - A learned man renders it in the outside, or in the inside of it. If the signification of these words be doubtful now, as some of those of the living creatures and precious stones are confessed to be, it is not material to us, this law being abolished; it sufficeth that the Jews understood these things by frequent experience.
If it have not changed its colour - If washing doth not take away that vicious colour, and restore it to its own native colour.