Leviticus 13 and14 focus on the issue of leprosy and how to deal with those who are afflicted by this horrible disease. What must be understood when reading this chapter is that Leprosy in bible times is not the same disease that we call leprosy today. Leprosy today (Hansen’s disease) was unknown to the readers of Leviticus. This disease has to do with the impairment of one’s nerve endings. The leprosy of the bible, on the other hand, was some form of skin disease. A person having leprosy was “unclean” (v.8) and was forced to live “alone and outside the camp.” (v.46) These lepers were required to go around with their heads uncovered, cover their mouths, and cry out “unclean, unclean” (v.4) which were all signs of mourning in the Old Testament. This conduct was to show that Lepers were symbolically dead and needed to be isolated from the “living” community. Chapter 14 tells how cleansing is needed to restore such a person to that “living” community.
What a rich picture of how each of us are in our sinful states. We are dead and isolated from those that are truly alive. We stand in need of cleansing, of something that can wash away our disease for good. Praise God that Jesus touches lepers (see Mark 1:41) and by His blood, brings us the cleansing that we so desperately need.