This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall, And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house, And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot: To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
Thus concludes the two chapters (Lev. 13-14) devoted to diagnosing and dealing with the plague of leprosy. Such chapters are easy to skip. Yet we do ourselves no favors by treating them as â€œlesser-thanâ€; these chapters require us to do the hard spade work of mining what principle, truth, or instruction is to be found. So, letâ€™s â€œspelunk” right into the deep caverns of the typological gem I think is being shown to us here.
The ancients would certainly have good reason to view the plague-spot as devastating, for it was an almost certain death sentence, andâ€“while one waited to dieâ€“almost total isolation from community. We learn that the priest first diagnoses whether the person indeed has the dreaded blight. If the diagnosis is positive, Leviticus 13:46 pronounces the fearful sentence, â€œAll the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.â€ Think of the weight of that: total separation & isolation to the one found unclean; cut-off completely from fellowship with the covenant people of God.
However, should the leper recover and be healed (and that by the certain mercy of God), a few things must happen. A priest declared the man unclean (Lev. 13:3), so it must be a priest to declare him clean. To do this, the priest leaves the camp and meets the unclean one where he is, outside the camp (Lev. 14:3); if he finds the man clean, a strange ceremony is held (as described Lev. 14:4-9).
Two birds are brought, one is killed and its blood drained into a vessel full of water from a spring. Then, the living bird is plunged in, along with cedar, scarlet wool, and hyssop. The healed leper is then sprinkled seven times with this bloody water; and then the living bird is set free. Solomon once spoke of the plague of each manâ€™s heart (1 Kings 8:38); and we must never gloss over the many pictures given to us of the filth of our sinful self and the great cost of our cleansing. Here we find a vibrant picture of our salvation. A leper, once forever cut off from God and Godâ€™s people, is pronounced clean by an innocent fowl being slain, and another rising to heaven soaked in a pledge of bloody water; and only through this violent sacrifice can the leper again join the camp of God.