5:1 1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 5:2 “Command the Israelites to expel 2 from the camp every leper, 3 everyone who has a discharge, 4 and whoever becomes defiled by a corpse. 5 5:3 You must expel both men and women; you must put them outside the camp, so that 6 they will not defile their camps, among which I live.” 5:4 So the Israelites did so, and expelled them outside the camp. As the Lord had spoken 7 to Moses, so the Israelites did.
1 sn The fifth chapter falls into four main parts: separation of the unclean (vv. 1-4), restitution for sin (vv. 5-10), the jealousy ordeal (vv. 11-28), and the summary (vv. 29-31). There is a good deal of literature on the biblical theme of holiness (for which see the notes on Leviticus primarily). But with regard to this chapter, see (with caution), Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger; J. Neusner, The Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism; and K. Milgrom, “Two Kinds of h£at£t£a„át,” VT 26 (1976): 333-37.
2 tn The construction uses the Piel imperative followed by this Piel imperfect/jussive form; it is here subordinated to the preceding volitive, providing the content of the command. The verb שָׁלַח (shalakh) in this verbal stem is a strong word, meaning “expel, put out, send away, or release” (as in “let my people go”).
3 sn The word צָרוּעַ (tsarua’), although translated “leper,” does not primarily refer to leprosy proper (i.e., Hansen’s disease). The RSV and the NASB continued the KJV tradition of using “leper” and “leprosy.” More recent studies have concluded that the Hebrew word is a generic term covering all infectious skin diseases (including leprosy when that actually showed up). True leprosy was known and feared certainly by the time of Amos (ca. 760
4 sn The rules of discharge (Lev 12 and 15) include everything from menstruation to chronic diseases (see G. Wyper, ISBE 1:947, as well as R. K. Harrison, Leviticus (TOTC), 158-66, and G. J. Wenham, Leviticus (NICOT), 217-25.
5 tn The word is נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), which usually simply means “[whole] life,” i.e., the soul in the body, the person. But here it must mean the corpse, the dead person, since that is what will defile (although it was also possible to become unclean by touching certain diseased people, such as a leper).
6 tn The imperfect tense functions here as a final imperfect, expressing the purpose of putting such folks outside the camp. The two preceding imperfects (repeated for emphasis) are taken here as instruction or legislation.
7 tn The perfect tense is here given a past perfect nuance to stress that the word of the