14:1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 14:2 “This is the law of the diseased person on the day of his purification, when 1 he is brought to the priest. 2 14:3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine the infection. 3 If the infection of the diseased person has been healed, 4 14:4 then the priest will command that two live clean birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric, 5 and some twigs of hyssop 6 be taken up 7 for the one being cleansed. 8 14:5 The priest will then command that one bird be slaughtered 9 into a clay vessel over fresh water. 10 14:6 Then 11 he is to take the live bird along with the piece of cedar wood, the scrap of crimson fabric, and the twigs of hyssop, and he is to dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird slaughtered over the fresh water, 14:7 and sprinkle it seven times on the one being cleansed 12 from the disease, pronounce him clean, 13 and send the live bird away over the open countryside. 14
14:8 “The one being cleansed 15 must then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe in water, and so be clean. 16 Then afterward he may enter the camp, but he must live outside his tent seven days. 14:9 When the seventh day comes 17 he must shave all his hair – his head, his beard, his eyebrows, all his hair – and he must wash his clothes, bathe his body in water, and so be clean. 18
14:10 “On the eighth day he 19 must take two flawless male lambs, one flawless yearling female lamb, three-tenths of an ephah of choice wheat flour as a grain offering mixed with olive oil, 20 and one log of olive oil, 21 14:11 and the priest who pronounces him clean will have the man who is being cleansed stand along with these offerings 22 before the Lord at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.
14:12 “The priest is to take one male lamb 23 and present it for a guilt offering 24 along with the log of olive oil and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. 25 14:13 He must then slaughter 26 the male lamb in the place where 27 the sin offering 28 and the burnt offering 29 are slaughtered, 30 in the sanctuary, because, like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; 31 it is most holy. 14:14 Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, 32 on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe 33 of his right foot. 14:15 The priest will then take some of the log of olive oil and pour it into his own left hand. 34 14:16 Then the priest is to dip his right forefinger into the olive oil 35 that is in his left hand, and sprinkle some of the olive oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 14:17 The priest will then put some of the rest of the olive oil that is in his hand 36 on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering, 14:18 and the remainder of the olive oil 37 that is in his hand the priest is to put on the head of the one being cleansed. So the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord.
14:19 “The priest must then perform the sin offering 38 and make atonement for the one being cleansed from his impurity. After that he 39 is to slaughter the burnt offering, 14:20 and the priest is to offer 40 the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest is to make atonement for him and he will be clean.
14:21 “If the person is poor and does not have sufficient means, 41 he must take one male lamb as a guilt offering for a wave offering to make atonement for himself, one-tenth of an ephah of choice wheat flour mixed with olive oil for a grain offering, a log of olive oil, 42 14:22 and two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 43 which are within his means. 44 One will be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. 45
14:23 “On the eighth day he must bring them for his purification to the priest at the entrance 46 of the Meeting Tent before the Lord, 14:24 and the priest is to take the male lamb of the guilt offering and the log of olive oil and wave them 47 as a wave offering before the Lord. 14:25 Then he is to slaughter the male lamb of the guilt offering, and the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, 48 on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe 49 of his right foot. 14:26 The priest will then pour some of the olive oil into his own left hand, 50 14:27 and sprinkle some of the olive oil that is in his left hand with his right forefinger 51 seven times before the Lord. 14:28 Then the priest is to put some of the olive oil that is in his hand 52 on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the place of the blood of the guilt offering, 14:29 and the remainder of the olive oil that is in the hand 53 of the priest he is to put 54 on the head of the one being cleansed to make atonement for him before the Lord.
14:30 “He will then make one of the turtledoves 55 or young pigeons, which are within his means, 56 14:31 a sin offering and the other a burnt offering along with the grain offering. 57 So the priest is to make atonement for the one being cleansed before the Lord. 14:32 This is the law of the one in whom there is a diseased infection, 58 who does not have sufficient means for his purification.” 59
1 tn Heb “and.” Here KJV, ASV use a semicolon; NASB begins a new sentence with “Now.”
2 tn The alternative rendering, “when it is reported to the priest” may be better in light of the fact that the priest had to go outside the camp. Since he or she had been declared “unclean” by a priest (Lev 13:3) and was, therefore, required to remain outside the camp (13:46), the formerly diseased person could not reenter the camp until he or she had been declared “clean” by a priest (cf. Lev 13:6 for “declaring clean.”). See especially J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:831, who supports this rendering both here and in Lev 13:2 and 9. B. A. Levine, however, prefers the rendering in the text (Leviticus [JPSTC], 76 and 85). It is the most natural meaning of the verb (i.e., “to be brought” from בּוֹא [bo’, “to come”] in the Hophal stem, which means “to be brought” in all other occurrences in Leviticus other than 13:2, 9, and 14:2; see only 6:30; 10:18; 11:32; and 16:27), it suits the context well in 13:2, and the rendering “to be brought” is supported by 13:7b, “he shall show himself to the priest a second time.” Although it is true that the priest needed to go outside the camp to examine such a person, the person still needed to “be brought” to the priest there. The translation of vv. 2-3 employed here suggests that v. 2 introduces the proceeding and then v. 3 goes on to describe the specific details of the examination and purification.
3 tn Heb “and he shall be brought to the priest and the priest shall go out to from outside to the camp and the priest shall see [it].” The understood “it” refers to the skin infection itself (see the note on 13:3 above). The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.
4 tn Heb “And behold, the diseased infection has been healed from the diseased person.” The expression “diseased infection” has been translated as simply “infection” to avoid redundancy here in terms of English style.
5 tn The term rendered here “crimson fabric” consists of two Hebrew words and means literally, “crimson of worm” (in this order only in Lev 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52 and Num 19:6; for the more common reverse order, “worm of crimson,” see, e.g., the colored fabrics used in making the tabernacle, Exod 25:4, etc.). This particular “worm” is an insect that lives on the leaves of palm trees, the eggs of which are the source for a “crimson” dye used to color various kinds of cloth (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 86). That a kind of dyed “fabric” is intended, not just the dye substance itself, is made certain by the dipping of it along with the other ritual materials listed here into the blood and water mixture for sprinkling on the person being cleansed (Lev 14:6; cf. also the burning of it in the fire of the red heifer in Num 19:6). Both the reddish color of cedar wood and the crimson colored fabric seem to correspond to the color of blood and may, therefore, symbolize either “life,” which is in the blood, or the use of blood to “make atonement” (see, e.g., Gen 9:4 and Lev 17:11). See further the note on v. 7 below.
6 sn Twigs of hyssop (probably one or several species of marjoram thymus), a spice and herb plant that grows out of walls in Palestine (see 1 Kgs 4:33 [5:13 HT], HALOT 27 s.v. אֵזוֹב, and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 195), were particularly leafy and therefore especially useful for sprinkling the purifying liquid (cf. vv. 5-7). Many of the details of the ritual procedure are obscure. It has been proposed, for example, that the “cedar wood” was a stick to which the hyssop was bound with the crimson material to make a sort of sprinkling instrument (Hartley, 195). In light of the burning of these three materials as part of the preparation of the ashes of the red heifer in Num 19:5-6, however, this seems unlikely.
7 tn The MT reads literally, “And the priest shall command and he shall take.” Clearly, the second verb (“and he shall take”) contains the thrust of the priest’s command, which suggests the translation “that he take” (cf. also v. 5a). Since the priest issues the command here, he cannot be the subject of the second verb because he cannot be commanding himself to “take” up these ritual materials. Moreover, since the ritual is being performed “for the one being cleansed,” the antecedent of the pronoun “he” cannot refer to him. The LXX, Smr, and Syriac versions have the third person plural here and in v. 5a, which corresponds to other combinations with the verb וְצִוָּה (vÿtsivvah) “and he (the priest) shall command” in this context (see Lev 13:54; 14:36, 40). This suggests an impersonal (i.e., “someone shall take” and “someone shall slaughter,” respectively) or perhaps even passive rendering of the verbs in 14:4, 5 (i.e., “there shall be taken” and “there shall be slaughtered,” respectively). The latter option has been chosen here.
8 tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר, taher, “to be clean”).
10 tn Heb “into a vessel of clay over living water.” The expression “living [i.e., ‘fresh’] water” (cf. Lev 14:50; 15:13; Num 19:17) refers to water that flows. It includes such water sources as artesian wells (Gen 26:19; Song of Songs 4:15), springs (Jer 2:13, as opposed to cisterns; cf. 17:13), and flowing streams (Zech 14:8). In other words, this is water that has not stood stagnant as, for example, in a sealed-off cistern.
sn Although there are those who argue that the water and the blood rites are separate (e.g., E. S. Gerstenberger, Leviticus [OTL], 175-76), it is usually agreed that v. 5b refers to the slaughtering of the bird in such a way that its blood runs into the bowl, which contained fresh water (see, e.g., N. H. Snaith, Leviticus and Numbers [NCBC], 74; G. J. Wenham, Leviticus [NICOT], 208; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:836-38; cf. esp. Lev 14:51b, “and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and in the fresh water”). This mixture of blood and water was then to be sprinkled on the person being cleansed from the disease.
11 tc Heb “the live bird he [i.e., the priest] shall take it.” Although the MT has no ו (vav, “and”) at the beginning of this clause, a few medieval Hebrew
12 tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר [taher, “to be clean”]).
14 sn The reddish color of cedar wood and the crimson colored fabric called for in v. 4 (see the note there, esp. the association with the color of blood) as well as the priestly commands to bring “two live” birds (v. 4a), to slaughter one of them “over fresh water” (literally “living water,” v. 5b), and the subsequent ritual with the (second) “live” bird (vv. 6-7) combine to communicate the concept of “life” and “being alive” in this passage. This contrasts with the fear of death associated with the serious skin diseases in view here (see, e.g., Aaron’s description of Miriam’s skin disease in Num 12:12, “Do not let her be like the dead one when it goes out from its mother’s womb and its flesh half eaten away”). Since the slaughtered bird here is not sacrificed at the altar and is not designated as an expiatory “sin offering,” this ritual procedure probably symbolizes the renewed life of the diseased person and displays it publicly for all to see. It is preparatory to the expiatory rituals that will follow (vv. 10-20, esp. vv. 18-20), but is not itself expiatory. Thus, although there are important similarities between the bird ritual here, the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:20-22), and the red heifer for cleansing from corpse contamination (Num 19), this bird ritual is different in that the latter two constitute “sin offerings” (Lev 16:5, 8-10; Num 19:9, 17). Neither of the birds in Lev 14:4-7 is designated or treated as a “sin offering.” Nevertheless, the very nature of the live bird ritual itself and its obvious similarity to the scapegoat ritual suggests that the patient’s disease has been removed far away so that he or she is free from its effects both personally and communally.
15 tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר [taher, “to be clean”]).
16 tn Heb “and he shall be clean” (so ASV). The end result of the ritual procedures in vv. 4-7 and the washing and shaving in v. 8a is that the formerly diseased person has now officially become clean in the sense that he can reenter the community (see v. 8b; contrast living outside the community as an unclean diseased person, Lev 13:46). There are, however, further cleansing rituals and pronouncements for him to undergo in the tabernacle as outlined in vv. 10-20 (see Qal “be[come] clean” in vv. 9 and 20, Piel “pronounce clean” in v. 11, and Hitpael “the one being cleansed” in vv. 11, 14, 17, 18, and 19). Obviously, in order to enter the tabernacle he must already “be clean” in the sense of having access to the community.
17 tn Heb “And it shall be on the seventh day.”
20 tn This term is often rendered “fine flour,” but it refers specifically to wheat as opposed to barley (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 10) and, although the translation “flour” is used here, it may indicate “grits” rather than finely ground flour (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:179; see the note on Lev 2:1). The unit of measure is most certainly an “ephah” even though it is not stated explicitly (see, e.g., Num 28:5; cf. 15:4, 6, 8), and three-tenths of an ephah would amount to about a gallon, or perhaps one-third of a bushel (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 196; Milgrom, 845). Since the normal amount of flour for a lamb is one-tenth of an ephah (Num 28:4-5; cf. 15:4), three-tenths is about right for the three lambs offered in Lev 14:10-20.
21 tn A “log” (לֹג, log) of oil is about one-sixth of a liter, or one-third of a pint, or two-thirds of a cup.
22 tn The MT here is awkward to translate into English. It reads literally, “and the priest who pronounces clean (Piel participle of טָהֵר, taher) shall cause to stand (Hiphil of עָמַד, ’amad) the man who is cleansing himself (Hitpael participle of טָהֵר) and them” (i.e., the offerings listed in v. 10; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity). Alternatively, the Piel of טָהֵר could be rendered “who performs the cleansing/purification” (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:827), perhaps even as a technical term for one who holds the office of “purification priest” (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 87). It is probably better, however, to retain the same meaning here as in v. 7 above (see the note there regarding the declarative Piel use of this verb).
23 tn Heb “And the priest shall take the one lamb.”
24 tn See the note on Lev 5:15 above. The primary purpose of the “guilt offering” (אָשָׁם, ’asham) was to “atone” (כִּפֶּר, kipper, “to make atonement,” see v. 18 below and the note on Lev 1:4) for “trespassing” on the
25 tn Heb “wave them [as] a wave offering before the
26 tn Heb “And he shall slaughter.”
27 tn Heb “in the place which.”
30 tn Since the priest himself presents this offering as a wave offering (v. 12), it would seem that the offering is already in his hands and he would, therefore, be the one who slaughtered the male lamb in this instance rather than the offerer. Smr and LXX make the second verb “to slaughter” plural rather than singular, which suggests that it is to be taken as an impersonal passive (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:852).
32 tn Heb “and the priest shall put [literally ‘give’] on the lobe of the ear of the one being cleansed, the right one.”
33 tn The term for “big toe” (בֹּהֶן, bohen) is the same as that for “thumb.” It refers to the larger appendage on either the hand or the foot.
34 tn Heb “And the priest…shall pour on the left hand of the priest.” As the Rabbis observe, the repetition of “priest” as the expressed subject of both verbs in this verse may suggest that two priests were involved in this ritual (see m. Nega’im 14:8, referred to by J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:852), but the seemingly unnecessary repetition of “priest” in several verses throughout the chapter argues against this (see esp. vv. 3, 14, 18, 20, 24, and 26). Moreover, in this case, “priest” may be repeated to avoid confusing the priest’s hand with that of the one being cleansed (cf. v. 14).
35 tn Heb “his right finger from the oil.”
36 tn Heb “on his hand.”
37 tn Heb “and the remainder in the oil.”
38 tn Heb “do [or “make”] the sin offering.”
39 tn Heb “And after[ward] he [i.e., the offerer] shall slaughter.” The LXX adds “the priest” as the subject of the verb (as do several English versions, e.g., NAB, NIV, NCV, NLT), but the offerer is normally the one who does the actually slaughtering of the sacrificial animal (cf. the notes on Lev 1:5a, 6a, and 9a).
40 tn Heb “cause to go up.”
41 tn Heb “and his hand does not reach”; NAB, NRSV “and cannot afford so much (afford these NIV).”
43 tn Heb “from the sons of the pigeon,” referring either to “young pigeons” or “various species of pigeon” (contrast J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:168 with J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 14; cf. Lev 1:14 and esp. 5:7-10).
44 tn Heb “which his hand reaches”; NRSV “such as (which NIV) he can afford.”
45 tn Heb “and one shall be a sin offering and the one a burnt offering.” The versions struggle with whether or not “one” should or should not have the definite article in its two occurrences in this verse (KJV, ASV, NAB, NASB all have the English definite article with both). The MT has the first without and the second with the article.
46 tn Heb “to the doorway of”; KJV, ASV “unto the door of.”
47 tn Heb “and the priest shall wave them.” In the present translation “priest” is not repeated a second time in the verse for stylistic reasons. With regard to the “waving” of the “wave offering,” see the note on v. 12 above.
48 tn Heb “and the priest shall put [literally ‘give’] on the lobe of the ear of the one being cleansed, the right one.”
49 tn The term for “big toe” (בֹּהֶן, bohen) is the same as that for “thumb.” It refers to the larger appendage on either the hand or the foot.
51 tn Heb “and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger from the oil which is on his left hand.”
52 tn Heb “on his hand.”
53 tn Heb “on the hand.”
54 tn Heb “give.”
55 tn Heb “the one from the turtledoves.”
56 tc Heb “from which his hand reaches.” The repetition of virtually the same expression at the beginning of v. 31 in the MT is probably due to dittography (cf. the LXX and Syriac). However, the MT may be retained if it is understood as “one of the turtledoves or young pigeons that are within his means – whichever he can afford” (see J. Milgrom’s translation in Leviticus [AB], 1:828, contra his commentary, 862; cf. REB).
57 tn Heb “and the one a burnt offering on the grain offering.”
58 tn Heb “This is the law of who in him [is] a diseased infection.”
59 tn Heb “who his hand does not reach in his purification”; NASB “whose means are limited for his cleansing”; NIV “who cannot afford the regular offerings for his cleansing.”