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Leviticus 13:40-44

Baldness on the Head

13:40 “When a man’s head is bare so that he is balding in back, 1  he is clean. 13:41 If his head is bare on the forehead 2  so that he is balding in front, 3  he is clean. 13:42 But if there is a reddish white infection in the back or front bald area, it is a disease breaking out in his back or front bald area. 13:43 The priest is to examine it, 4  and if 5  the swelling of the infection is reddish white in the back or front bald area like the appearance of a disease on the skin of the body, 6  13:44 he is a diseased man. He is unclean. The priest must surely pronounce him unclean because of his infection on his head. 7 

1 tn Heb “And a man, when his head is rubbed bare, he is bald-headed.” The translation offered here, referring to the back of the head (i.e., the area from the top of the head sloping backwards), is based on the contrast between this condition and that of the following verse. See also B. A. Levine, Leviticus (JPSTC), 82.

2 tn Heb “And if from the front edge of his face, his head is rubbed bare.” See the note on v. 40 above.

3 tn The rendering “balding in front” corresponds to the location of the bareness at the beginning of the verse.

4 tn Heb “and the priest shall see it” (cf. KJV). The MT has “him/it” which some take to refer to the person as a whole (i.e., “him”; see, e.g., J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:770; NIV, NRSV, etc.), while others take it as a reference to the “infection” (נֶגַע, nega’) in v. 42 (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 172, 177). Smr has “her/it,” which would probably refer to “disease” (צָרַעַת, tsaraat) in v. 42. The general pattern in the chapter suggests that “it,” either the infection or the disease, is the object of the examination (see, e.g., v. 3 above and v. 50 below).

5 tn Heb “and behold.”

6 tn Heb “like appearance of disease of skin of flesh.”

7 tn Or perhaps translate, “His infection [is] on his head,” as a separate independent sentence (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NRSV). There is no causal expression in the Hebrew text connecting these two clauses, but the logical relationship between them seems to be causal.

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