Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 14

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2514. B.C. 1490.

The manner of cleansing a leper, Leviticus 14:1-9 . The sacrifices to be offered for him, Leviticus 14:10-32 . The management of a house suspected of leprosy, Leviticus 14:33-53 . The summary of the whole, Leviticus 14:54-57 .

Verse 1

Leviticus 14:1. The priests having been instructed in the foregoing chapter how to judge of the leprosy, are here directed concerning the kinds and manner of those sacrifices and ceremonies which were requisite for the legal purification of the leper, after the priest judged him to be healed, in order that he might be readmitted to the civil and religious privileges of the Jewish community.

Verse 2

Leviticus 14:2. He shall be brought to the priest Not to the priest’s tent or house, but to some place without the camp, or city, where the priest should appoint to meet him.

Verse 3

Leviticus 14:3. Healed By God, for God alone did heal or cleanse him really, the priest only declaratively.

Verse 4

Leviticus 14:4. Two birds The one to represent Christ as dying for his sins, the other to represent him as rising again for his purification or justification. Alive and clean Allowed for food and for sacrifice. Cedar-wood A stick of cedar, to which the hyssop and one of the birds were tied by the scarlet thread. Cedar seems to be chosen, to denote that the leper was now freed from that corruption which his leprosy had brought upon him, that kind of wood being in a manner incorruptible. Scarlet A thread of wool of a scarlet colour, to represent both the leper’s sinfulness, and the blood of Christ, and the happy change of the leper’s colour and complexion, which before was wan and loathsome, now sprightly and beautiful. Hyssop The fragrant smell of which signified the cure of the leper’s ill scent.

Verse 5

Leviticus 14:5. That one of the birds be killed By some other man. The priest did not kill it himself, because it was not properly a sacrifice, as being killed without the camp, and not in that place to which all sacrifices were confined. In an earthen vessel That is, over running water put in an earthen vessel. Thus the blood of the bird and the water were mixed together, partly for the convenience of sprinkling, and partly to signify Christ, who came by water and blood, 1 John 5:6. The running water, (that is, spring or river water,) by its liveliness and motion, did fitly signify the restoring of liveliness to the leper, who was in a manner dead before.

Verse 7

Leviticus 14:7. Into the open field The place of its former abode, signifying the taking off that restraint which was laid upon the leper, and that he was restored to free conversation with his neighbours.

Verse 8

Leviticus 14:8. All his hair Partly to discover his perfect soundness, partly to preserve him from a relapse through any relics of it which might remain in his hair or in his clothes. Out of his tent Out of his former habitation, in some separate place, lest some of his leprosy, yet lurking in him, should break forth to the infection of his family.

Verse 9

Leviticus 14:9. He shall shave all his hair Which began to grow again, and now, for more caution, is again shaved off. He shall be clean Legally declared so to be, so as to be readmitted both to his family and the public worship.

Verse 10

Leviticus 14:10. Two he-lambs, and one ewe-lamb For three kinds of sacrifice, namely, a trespass-offering, a sin-offering, and a burnt-offering. Flour for a meal-offering For to each of these sacrifices there was a meal or bread- offering appropriated, consisting of a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour. Mingled with oil This is added as a fit sign of God’s grace and mercy, and of the leper’s being healed. A log is a measure containing about six egg-shells full.

Verse 11

Leviticus 14:11. Maketh him clean The healing is ascribed to God, (Leviticus 14:13,) but the ceremonial cleansing was an act of the priest, using the rites which God had prescribed.

Verse 12

Leviticus 14:12. A trespass-offering This being the first time of the leper’s appearing in the assembly for God’s worship after his recovery, it was proper he should pay this public testimony of homage and gratitude to his deliverer, beginning with an act of humiliation for sin, which is the source of all those pains and diseases to which mankind are obnoxious.

Verse 14

Leviticus 14:14. The priest shall put it To signify that he was now free to hear God’s word in the appointed places, and to touch any person or thing without defiling it, and to go whither he pleased.

Verses 15-17

Leviticus 14:15-17. The oil As the blood signified Christ’s blood, by which men obtain remission of sins, so the oil denoted the graces of the Spirit, by which they are renewed. Before the Lord Before the second veil which covered the holy of holies. Upon the blood Upon the place where that blood was put.

Verse 25

Leviticus 14:25. The priest shall put the blood Upon the extremities of the body, to include the whole. And some of the oil was afterward put in the same places upon the blood. That blood seems to have been a token of forgiveness, the oil of healing; for God first forgiveth our iniquities, and then healeth our diseases. When the leper was anointed, the oil was to have blood under it, to signify that all the graces and comforts of the Spirit, all his sanctifying influences, are owing to the death of Christ. It is by his blood alone that we are sanctified.

Verse 34

Leviticus 14:34. I put the plague of leprosy in a house Now they were in the wilderness, dwelt in tents, and had no houses; and therefore this law is made only as an appendix to the former laws concerning the leprosy, because it related not to their present state, but to their future settlement in Canaan. The leprosy in a house is as unaccountable as the leprosy in a garment: but if we do not see what natural causes can be assigned for it, we may resolve it into the power of the God of nature, who here saith, I put the leprosy in a house, as ( Zec 5:4 ) his curse is said to enter into a house and consume it, with the stones and timber thereof.

Verse 36

Leviticus 14:36. That all be not made unclean It is observable here, that neither the people nor the household stuff were polluted till the leprosy was discovered and declared by the priest, to show what great difference God makes between sins of ignorance, and sins against knowledge.

Verse 37

Leviticus 14:37. In the walls of the house This, it seems, was an extraordinary judgment of God peculiar to this people, either as a punishment of their sins, which were much more aggravated and inexcusable than the sins of other nations; or as a special help to repentance, which God afforded them above other people; or as a token of the mischievous nature of sin, typified by leprosy, which did not only destroy persons, but their habitations also. Hollow streaks Such as were in the bodies of leprous persons.

Verse 40

Leviticus 14:40. That they may take away the stones Some have thought the leprosy in the house was typical of the idolatry which did strangely cleave to the Jewish Church, and though some of the reforming kings took away the infected stones, yet still it broke out again, till, by the captivity in Babylon, God took down the house and carried it to an unclean land; and that proved an effectual cure of their inclination to idols, and idolatrous worship. An unclean place Where they used to cast dirt and filthy things.

Verse 57

Leviticus 14:57. To teach when it is unclean and when it is clean To direct the priest when to pronounce a person or house clean or unclean. Upon the whole, we may see in these laws the religious care we ought to take of ourselves to keep our minds from the dominion of all sinful affections and dispositions, which are both their disease and their defilement, that we may be fit for the service of God. We ought also to avoid all bad company, and, as much as may be, coming within the danger of being affected by it. Touch not the unclean thing, saith the Lord, and I will receive you.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 14". Benson's Commentary. 1857.