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Leviticus 13:47-59

Infections in Garments, Cloth, or Leather

13:47 “When a garment has a diseased infection in it, 1  whether a wool or linen garment, 2  13:48 or in the warp or woof 3  of the linen or the wool, or in leather or anything made of leather, 4  13:49 if the infection 5  in the garment or leather or warp or woof or any article of leather is yellowish green or reddish, it is a diseased infection and it must be shown to the priest. 13:50 The priest is to examine and then quarantine the article with the infection for seven days. 6  13:51 He must then examine the infection on the seventh day. If the infection has spread in the garment, or in the warp, or in the woof, or in the leather – whatever the article into which the leather was made 7  – the infection is a malignant disease. It is unclean. 13:52 He must burn the garment or the warp or the woof, whether wool or linen, or any article of leather which has the infection in it. Because it is a malignant disease it must be burned up in the fire. 13:53 But if the priest examines it and 8  the infection has not spread in the garment or in the warp or in the woof or in any article of leather, 13:54 the priest is to command that they wash whatever has the infection and quarantine it for another seven days. 9  13:55 The priest must then examine it after the infection has been washed out, and if 10  the infection has not changed its appearance 11  even though the infection has not spread, it is unclean. You must burn it up in the fire. It is a fungus, whether on the back side or front side of the article. 12  13:56 But if the priest has examined it and 13  the infection has faded after it has been washed, he is to tear it out of 14  the garment or the leather or the warp or the woof. 13:57 Then if 15  it still appears again in the garment or the warp or the woof, or in any article of leather, it is an outbreak. Whatever has the infection in it you must burn up in the fire. 13:58 But the garment or the warp or the woof or any article of leather which you wash and infection disappears from it 16  is to be washed a second time and it will be clean.”

Summary of Infection Regulations

13:59 This is the law 17  of the diseased infection in the garment of wool or linen, or the warp or woof, or any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean. 18 

Leviticus 14:33-57

Purification of Disease-Infected Houses

14:33 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 14:34 “When you enter the land of Canaan which I am about to give 19  to you for a possession, and I put 20  a diseased infection in a house in the land you are to possess, 21  14:35 then whoever owns the house 22  must come and declare to the priest, ‘Something like an infection is visible to me in the house.’ 14:36 Then the priest will command that the house be cleared 23  before the priest enters to examine the infection 24  so that everything in the house 25  does not become unclean, 26  and afterward 27  the priest will enter to examine the house. 14:37 He is to examine the infection, and if 28  the infection in the walls of the house consists of yellowish green or reddish eruptions, 29  and it appears to be deeper than the surface of the wall, 30  14:38 then the priest is to go out of the house to the doorway of the house and quarantine the house for seven days. 31  14:39 The priest must return on the seventh day and examine it, and if 32  the infection has spread in the walls of the house, 14:40 then the priest is to command that the stones that had the infection in them be pulled and thrown 33  outside the city 34  into an unclean place. 14:41 Then he is to have the house scraped 35  all around on the inside, 36  and the plaster 37  which is scraped off 38  must be dumped outside the city 39  into an unclean place. 14:42 They are then to take other stones and replace those stones, 40  and he is to take other plaster and replaster the house.

14:43 “If the infection returns and breaks out in the house after he has pulled out the stones, scraped the house, and it is replastered, 41  14:44 the priest is to come and examine it, and if 42  the infection has spread in the house, it is a malignant disease in the house. It is unclean. 14:45 He must tear down the house, 43  its stones, its wood, and all the plaster of the house, and bring all of it 44  outside the city to an unclean place. 14:46 Anyone who enters 45  the house all the days the priest 46  has quarantined it will be unclean until evening. 14:47 Anyone who lies down in the house must wash his clothes. Anyone who eats in the house must wash his clothes.

14:48 “If, however, the priest enters 47  and examines it, and the 48  infection has not spread in the house after the house has been replastered, then the priest is to pronounce the house clean because the infection has been healed. 14:49 Then he 49  is to take two birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric, and some twigs of hyssop 50  to decontaminate 51  the house, 14:50 and he is to slaughter one bird into a clay vessel over fresh water. 52  14:51 He must then take the piece of cedar wood, the twigs of hyssop, the scrap of crimson fabric, and the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird and in the fresh water, and sprinkle the house seven times. 14:52 So he is to decontaminate the house with the blood of the bird, the fresh water, the live bird, the piece of cedar wood, the twigs of hyssop, and the scrap of crimson fabric, 14:53 and he is to send the live bird away outside the city 53  into the open countryside. So he is to make atonement for the house and it will be clean.

Summary of Purification Regulations for Infections

14:54 “This is the law for all diseased infections, for scall, 54  14:55 for the diseased garment, 55  for the house, 56  14:56 for the swelling, 57  for the scab, 58  and for the bright spot, 59  14:57 to teach when something is unclean and when it is clean. 60  This is the law for dealing with infectious disease.” 61 

1 tn Heb “And the garment, if there is in it a mark of disease.”

2 tn Heb “in a wool garment or in a linen garment.”

3 sn The warp (vertical) and woof (horizontal) thread may be two different sets of thread not yet woven together, or they may refer to two different kinds of thread already woven, in which case one might have the disease in it while the other does not. See the explanation in J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:809-10.

4 tn Heb “in any handiwork of skin” (cf. KJV, ASV, NRSV); most other modern English versions have “leather.”

5 tn Heb “and the infection is.” This clause is conditional in force, and is translated as such by almost all English versions.

6 tn Heb “And the priest shall see the infection and he shall shut up the infection seven days.”

7 tn Heb “to all which the leather was made into a handiwork.”

8 tn Heb “And if the priest sees and behold”; NASB “and indeed.”

9 tn Heb “a second seven days.”

10 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV).

11 tn Heb “the infection has not changed its eye.” Smr has “its/his eyes,” as in vv. 5 and 37, but here it refers to the appearance of the article of cloth or leather, unlike vv. 5 and 37 where there is a preposition attached and it refers to the eyes of the priest.

12 tn The terms “back side” and “front side” are the same as those used in v. 42 for the “back or front bald area” of a man’s head. The exact meaning of these terms when applied to articles of cloth or leather is uncertain. It could refer, for example, to the inside versus the outside of a garment, or the back versus the front side of an article of cloth or leather. See J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:814, for various possibilities.

13 tn Heb “And if the priest saw and behold….”

14 tn Heb “and he shall tear it from.”

15 tn Heb “And if”; NIV, NCV “But if”; NAB “If, however.”

16 tn Heb “and the infection turns aside from them.”

17 sn The Hebrew term translated “law” (תוֹרָה, torah) introduces here a summary or colophon for all of Lev 13. Similar summaries are found in Lev 7:37-38; 11:46-47; 14:54-57; and 15:32-33.

18 tn These are declarative Piel forms of the verbs טָהֵר (taher) and טָמֵא (tame’) respectively (cf. the notes on vv. 3 and 6 above).

19 tn Heb “which I am giving” (so NAB, NIV).

20 tn Heb “give.”

21 tn Heb “in the house of the land of your possession” (KJV and ASV both similar).

22 tn Heb “who to him the house.”

23 tn Heb “And the priest shall command and they shall clear the house.” The second verb (“and they shall clear”) states the thrust of the priest’s command, which suggests the translation “that they clear” (cf. also vv. 4a and 5a above), and for the impersonal passive rendering of the active verb (“that the house be cleared”) see the note on v. 4 above.

24 tn Heb “to see the infection”; KJV “to see the plague”; NASB “to look at the mark (mildew NCV).”

25 tn Heb “all which [is] in the house.”

26 sn Once the priest pronounced the house “unclean” everything in it was also officially unclean. Therefore, if they emptied the house of its furniture, etc. before the official pronouncement by the priest those possessions would thereby remain officially “clean” and avoid destruction or purification procedures.

27 tn Heb “and after thus.”

28 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV).

29 tn For “yellowish green and reddish” see Lev 13:49. The Hebrew term translated “eruptions” occurs only here and its meaning is uncertain. For a detailed summary of the issues and views see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:870. The suggestions include, among others: (1) “depressions” from Hebrew שׁקע (“sink”) or קער as the root of the Hebrew term for “bowl” (LXX, Targums, NAB, NASB, NIV; see also B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 90), (2) “streaks” (ASV, NJPS), (3) and “eruptions” as a loan-word from Egyptian sqr r rwtj (“eruption; rash”); cf. Milgrom, 870; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus (WBC), 198-99. The latter view is taken here.

30 tn The Hebrew term קִיר (qir,“wall”) refers to the surface of the wall in this case, which normally consisted of a coating of plaster made of limestone and sand (see HALOT 1099 s.v. קִיר 1.a; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:871; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 199).

31 tn Heb “and he shall shut up the house seven days.”

32 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “If the mark has indeed spread.”

33 tn Heb “and the priest shall command and they shall pull out the stones which in them is the infection, and they shall cast them.” The second and third verbs (“they shall pull out” and “they shall throw”) state the thrust of the priest’s command, which suggests the translation “that they pull out…and throw” (cf. also vv. 4a, 5a, and 36a above), and for the impersonal passive rendering of the active verb (“be pulled and thrown”) see the note on v. 4 above.

34 tn Heb “into from outside to the city.”

35 tn Or, according to the plurality of the verb in Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Targums, “Then the house shall be scraped” (cf. NAB, NLT, and the note on v. 40).

36 tn Heb “from house all around.”

37 tn Heb “dust” (so KJV) or “rubble”; NIV “the material”; NLT “the scrapings.”

38 tn Heb “which they have scraped off.” The MT term קִיר (qir, “wall” from קָצָה, qatsah, “to cut off”; BDB 892), the original Greek does not have this clause, Smr has הקיצו (with uncertain meaning), and the BHS editors and HALOT 1123-24 s.v. I קצע hif.a suggest emending the verb to הִקְצִעוּ (hiqtsiu, see the same verb at the beginning of this verse; cf. some Greek mss, Syriac, and the Targums). The emendation seems reasonable and is accepted by many commentators, but the root קָצָה (qatsah, “to cut off”) does occur in the Bible (2 Kgs 10:32; Hab 2:10) and in postbiblical Hebrew (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 179, notes 41c and 43d; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:873; cf. also קָצַץ, qatsats, “to cut off”).

39 tn Heb “into from outside to the city.”

40 tn Heb “and bring into under the stones.”

41 tn Heb “after he has pulled out the stones, and after scraping (variant form of the Hiphil infinitive construct, GKC 531) the house, and after being replastered (Niphal infinitive construct).”

42 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “If he sees that the mark has indeed spread.”

43 tn Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. have the plural verb, perhaps suggesting a passive translation, “The house…shall be torn down” (cf. NAB, NIV, TEV, NLT, and see the note on v. 4b above).

44 tn Once again, Smr, LXX, and Syriac have the plural verb, perhaps to be rendered passive, “shall be brought.”

45 tn Heb “the one who comes into.”

46 tn Heb “he,” referring to the priest (see v. 38). The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

47 tn Heb “And if the priest entering [infinitive absolute] enters [finite verb]” For the infinitive absolute used to highlight contrast rather than emphasis see GKC 343 §113.p.

48 tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “and the mark has not indeed spread.”

49 tn The pronoun “he” refers to the priest mentioned in the previous verse.

50 tn Regarding these ritual materials, see the note on v. 4 above.

51 tn Regarding the Piel of חָטָא (khata’, cf. v. 52) meaning to “decontaminate” or “perform a decontamination,” see the notes on Lev 8:15 and 9:15.

sn In Lev 8:15, for example, the “sin offering” is used to “decontaminate” the burnt offering altar. As argued above (see the note on v. 7 above), these ritual materials and the procedures performed with them do not constitute a “sin offering” (contrast vv. 19 and 31 above). In fact, no sin offering was required for the purification of a house.

52 tn See the note on v. 5 above.

53 tn Heb “to from outside to the city.”

54 tn Heb “and for the scall”; NASB “a scale”; NIV “any infectious skin disease.” Cf. Lev 13:29-37.

55 sn Cf. Lev 13:47-59.

56 sn Cf. Lev 14:33-53.

57 sn Cf. Lev 13:9-28, 43.

58 sn Cf. Lev 13:2.

59 sn Cf. Lev 13:4, 18-28, 38-39. For explanations of all these terms for disease in Lev 14:56 see 13:2.

60 tn Heb “to teach in the day of the unclean and in the day of the clean.”

61 tn Heb “This is the law of the disease.” Some English versions specify this as “skin disease” (e.g., NIV, NLT), but then have to add “and (+ infectious NLT) mildew” (so NIV) because a house would not be infected with a skin disease.

sn For an explanation of the term “disease” see Lev 13:2.

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