When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot…
Sin is a corrupting and disorganising disease, as well as a brutal degradation and hereditary uncleanness. It is a loathsome putrescence of the whole nature. It is a sickness of the whole head, and a faintness of the whole heart. Deliverance from it is called a cure and a healing, as well as a pardon. Notice its beginnings. Leprosy was, for the most part, hereditary. After doing its work in the parent it was very apt to break out in the child. Sin began in Adam, and having wrought nine hundred years in him he died; but the taint of it was left in all who sprang from him. But leprosy was not always hereditary. Hence the necessity of a special symbol on the subject of innate depravity, such as we have in the preceding chapter. The germ of all human sin is derived from our connection with a fallen parentage. But leprosy, whether hereditary, or contracted by contagion or otherwise, began far within. Its seat is in the deepest interior of the body. It is often in the system as many as three or a dozen years before it shows itself. How exactly this describes sin l Nero and Caligula were once tender infants, apparently the very personifications of innocence. Who that saw their sweet slumbers upon the bosoms of their mothers would ever have suspected that in those gentle forms were latent seeds which finally developed into bloody butchery, and tyranny, and vice, at which the world for ages has stood amazed! And little do we know of those depths of deceit which we carry in ourselves, or to what enormities of crime we are liable any day to be driven. The taint of leprosy is within, and nothing but watchfulness and grace can keep it from breaking out in all its corrosive and wasting power.
1. The first visible signs of leprosy are often very minute and inconsiderable, and not easily detected. A small pustule or rising of the flesh — a little bright red spot like that made by a puncture from a pin — a very trifling eruption, indentation, or scaliness of the skin — or some other very slight symptom, is usually the first sign which it gives of its presence. And from these small beginnings the whole living death of the leper is developed. How vivid the picture of the fact, that the worst and darkest iniquities may grow out of the smallest beginnings! A look of the eye, a desire of the heart, a thought of the imagination, a touch of the hand, a single word of compliance, is often the door of inlet to Satan and all bell's troops.
2. Leprosy is also gradual in its development. It does not break out in its full violence at once. Its first manifestations are so trifling that one who did not understand it would consider it nothing at all. No man is an outbreaking and confirmed villain at once. People are shocked, and hold up their hands in horror at scandalous crimes; but they forget that these are only the easy sequences of little indulgences and sins of which they take no account. They need to be told that there is a close interior brotherhood and cohesion between sins, and that he who takes one to his favour is at once beset with all the rest.
3. Again, leprosy is in itself an exceedingly loathsome and offensive disorder — a kind of perpetual small-pox, only more deeply seated and attended with more inward corruption.
4. Again, leprosy under this law carried with it a most melancholy condemnation. f Jewish leper was not only horribly diseased, but also fearfully cursed in consequence of his disease. He was pronounced unclean by the law and by the priests. Such is the type, and it is the same with the antitype. Every sinner is condemned as well as diseased, and condemned for the very reason that he is diseased. There is a sentence of uncleanness and exclusion upon him. He has no fellowship with the saints, and no share in the holy services of God's people. He is a spiritual outcast — a moral leper — unclean, and ready for the realms of everlasting banishment and death.
5. And yet the picture is not quite complete. It remains to be said that there was no earthly cure for leprosy. The prophet of God, by his miraculous power, could remove it, but no human power or skill could. It was beyond the reach of physician or priest. And so it is with sin. It is a consumption which cannot be cured — a cancer which cannot be extracted — a leprosy which cannot be cleansed — except by the direct power of Divine grace.
(J. A. Seiss, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests:
WEB: "When a man shall have a rising in his body's skin, or a scab, or a bright spot, and it becomes in the skin of his body the plague of leprosy, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest, or to one of his sons, the priests: