Washing of the Word: Leviticus 13:47-14:6

Leviticus 13:47‑14:6  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Leviticus 13:47-14:647The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woollen garment, or a linen garment; 48Whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woollen; whether in a skin, or in any thing made of skin; 49And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be showed unto the priest: 50And the priest shall look upon the plague, and shut up it that hath the plague seven days: 51And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. 52He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woollen or in linen, or any thing of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire. 53And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; 54Then the priest shall command that they wash the thing wherein the plague is, and he shall shut it up seven days more: 55And the priest shall look on the plague, after that it is washed: and, behold, if the plague have not changed his color, and the plague be not spread; it is unclean; thou shalt burn it in the fire; it is fret inward, whether it be bare within or without. 56And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof: 57And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire. 58And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean. 59This is the law of the plague of leprosy in a garment of woollen or linen, either in the warp, or woof, or any thing of skins, to pronounce it clean, or to pronounce it unclean. 1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest: 3And the priest shall go forth out of the camp; and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper; 4Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: 5And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: 6As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: (Leviticus 13:47‑14:6)
We notice in our chapter that leprosy might appear in a garment or skin, as well as upon a man’s person. This would tell us that there is such a thing as being in an association or position where one is defiled by sinful surroundings. The garment with leprosy in it was therefore to be brought to the priest who was to shut it up seven days. On the seventh day he was to look and see if the leprosy was spreading, and if it was, the garment was to be burned. This would tell us that any association or position which is defiling, and which continually robs us in our souls, should be given up completely, no matter what it costs us.
If, however, after shutting the garment up it was found that the leprosy was not spreading, it was to be washed and shut up for seven days more. At the end of the seven days the priest was to look again, and if the leprous spot had not changed its color by the washing, it was unclean and had to be burned. It must be given up. If, however, it was changed by the washing, then the leprous spot was to be torn out and the garment could be used. These things would show us that if we apply the Word of God to what we are going on with and thus cleansed from the defilements, we may be able to continue there with God. This is like washing the leprous garment, tearing out the bad spot, and then using the clean part left. Some of the things in school life and business life are very defiling, but a Christian does not have to do them. He can apply the Word of God to the situation and refuse, even though he has to suffer for it. Like the garment with a piece torn out, there is a loss, but far better than allowing the whole thing to become leprous. Oh, what needful lessons there are for us here if we are willing to be taught of God!
The Cleansing of the Leper
We now come to the cleansing of the leper which is most interesting and instructive. First of all, the leper who was to be cleansed was to be brought to the priest. He did not even have to come himself — he was brought there. How could a helpless sinner do anything for himself? But what joyful news it is for him that Christ has done it all, even to bringing us to Himself by the compelling power of the Spirit of God. Then two living and clean birds were taken, telling us of the Lord Jesus, the sinless One, who came down from heaven; and who now having accomplished redemption has gone back to heaven again.
Cedar Wood, Scarlet and Hyssop
One of the birds was to be killed in an earthen vessel over running water, and so the Lord Jesus who came down from heaven took an earthly body as man, in order that He might die, the just One for us the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:1818For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1 Peter 3:18)). He perfectly fulfilled the Word of God in it all, like the running water in the type, and has glorified God about the question of sin. Then cedar wood, scarlet, and hyssop were taken, as well as the other bird which was still living, and all were dipped in the blood of the bird that had been killed. Then the man who was to be cleansed was sprinkled with the blood seven times. The cedar was the greatest tree of the forest, and the hyssop the most insignificant little plant, while the scarlet was the royal color in which kings were arrayed, but all were brought down to one level and dipped in the blood. Yes, the great must come down, and the great man must forget himself in order to be cleansed from his sins.
For Further Meditation
1. What is the spiritual application of tearing a leprous spot out of a garment?
2. The Word of God has tremendous power to wash and clean us. How many passages from Scripture can you find that present the cleansing power of God’s Word?
3. There are many, many encouragements in studying God’s Word daily. One nice reading schedule can be found in A Bible Word List and Daily Reading Scheme.