Purification of Diseased Skin Infections
1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 “This is the law of the diseased person on the day of his purification, when#tn Heb “and.” Here KJV, ASV use a semicolon; NASB begins a new sentence with “Now.” he is brought to the priest.#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 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine the infection.#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. If the infection of the diseased person has been healed,#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. 4 then the priest will command that two live clean birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric,#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. and some twigs of hyssop#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. be taken up#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. for the one being cleansed.#tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר, taher, “to be clean”). 5 The priest will then command that one bird be slaughtered#tn Heb “And the priest shall command and he shall slaughter.” See the note on “be taken up” (v. 4). into a clay vessel over fresh water.#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. 6 Then#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 mss and Smr have one and the LXX, Syriac, and Vulgate translate as if it is there. The “but” in the present translation reflects this text critical background, the object-first word order in the clause with the resumptive pronoun at the end, and the obvious contrast between the slaughtered bird in v. 5 and the live bird in v. 6. 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, 7 and sprinkle it seven times on the one being cleansed#tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר [taher, “to be clean”]). from the disease, pronounce him clean,#tn Heb “and he shall make him clean.” The verb is the Piel of טָהֵר (taher, “to be clean”), here used as a so-called “declarative” Piel (i.e., “to declare clean”; cf. 13:6, etc.). and send the live bird away over the open countryside.#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.
The Seven Days of Purification
8 “The one being cleansed#tn Heb “the one cleansing himself” (i.e., Hitpael participle of טָהֵר [taher, “to be clean”]). must then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and bathe in water, and so be clean.#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. Then afterward he may enter the camp, but he must live outside his tent seven days. 9 When the seventh day comes#tn Heb “And it shall be on the seventh day.” 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.#tn Heb “and he shall be clean” (see the note on v. 8).
The Eighth Day Atonement Rituals
10 “On the eighth day he#tn The subject “he” probably refers to the formerly diseased person in this case (see the notes on Lev 1:5a, 6a, and 9a). 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,#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. and one log of olive oil,#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. 11 and the priest who pronounces him clean will have the man who is being cleansed stand along with these offerings#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). before the Lord at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.
12 “The priest is to take one male lamb#tn Heb “And the priest shall take the one lamb.” and present it for a guilt offering#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 Lord’s “holy things,” whether sacred objects or sacred people. It is, therefore, closely associated with the reconsecration of the Lord’s holy people as, for example, here and in the case of the corpse contaminated Nazirite (Num 6:11b-12). Since the nation of Israel was “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” to the Lord (Exod 19:6; cf. the blood splashed on all the people in Exod 24:8), the skin diseased person was essentially a member of the “holy nation” who had been expelled from the community. Therefore, he or she had been desecrated and the guilt offering was essential to restoring him or her to the community. In fact, the manipulation of blood and oil in the guilt offering ritual procedure for the healed person (see vv. 14-18 below) is reminiscent of that employed for the ordination offering in the consecration of the holy Aaronic priests of the nation (Exod 29:19-21; Lev 8:22-30). along with the log of olive oil and present them as a wave offering before the Lord.#tn Heb “wave them [as] a wave offering before the Lord” (NAB similar). See the note on Lev 7:30 and the literature cited there. Other possible translations include “elevate them [as] an elevation offering before the Lord” (cf. NRSV) or “present them [as] a presentation offering before the Lord.” To be sure, the actual physical “waving” of a male lamb seems unlikely, but some waving gesture may have been performed in the presentation of the offering (cf. also the “waving” of the Levites as a “wave offering” in Num 8:11, etc.). 13 He must then slaughter#tn Heb “And he shall slaughter.” the male lamb in the place where#tn Heb “in the place which.” the sin offering#sn See the note on Lev 4:3 regarding the term “sin offering.” and the burnt offering#sn See the note on Lev 1:3 regarding the “burnt offering.” are slaughtered,#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). in the sanctuary, because, like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest;#tn Heb “the guilt offering, it [is] to the Lord.” Regarding the “guilt offering,” see the note on Lev 5:15. it is most holy. 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,#tn Heb “and the priest shall put [literally ‘give’] on the lobe of the ear of the one being cleansed, the right one.” on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe#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. of his right foot. 15 The priest will then take some of the log of olive oil and pour it into his own left hand.#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). 16 Then the priest is to dip his right forefinger into the olive oil#tn Heb “his right finger from the oil.” that is in his left hand, and sprinkle some of the olive oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 17 The priest will then put some of the rest of the olive oil that is in his hand#tn Heb “on his hand.” 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, 18 and the remainder of the olive oil#tn Heb “and the remainder in the oil.” 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.
19 “The priest must then perform the sin offering#tn Heb “do [or “make”] the sin offering.” and make atonement for the one being cleansed from his impurity. After that he#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). is to slaughter the burnt offering, 20 and the priest is to offer#tn Heb “cause to go up.” the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar. So the priest is to make atonement for him and he will be clean.
The Eighth Day Atonement Rituals for the Poor Person
21 “If the person is poor and does not have sufficient means,#tn Heb “and his hand does not reach”; NAB, NRSV “and cannot afford so much (afford these NIV).” 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,#tn See the notes on v. 10 above. 22 and two turtledoves or two young pigeons,#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). which are within his means.#tn Heb “which his hand reaches”; NRSV “such as (which NIV) he can afford.” One will be a sin offering and the other a burnt offering.#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.
23 “On the eighth day he must bring them for his purification to the priest at the entrance#tn Heb “to the doorway of”; KJV, ASV “unto the door of.” of the Meeting Tent before the Lord, 24 and the priest is to take the male lamb of the guilt offering and the log of olive oil and wave them#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. as a wave offering before the Lord. 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,#tn Heb “and the priest shall put [literally ‘give’] on the lobe of the ear of the one being cleansed, the right one.” on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe#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. of his right foot. 26 The priest will then pour some of the olive oil into his own left hand,#tn Heb “And from the oil the priest shall pour out on the left hand of the priest.” Regarding the repetition of “priest” in this verse see the note on v. 15 above. 27 and sprinkle some of the olive oil that is in his left hand with his right forefinger#tn Heb “and the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger from the oil which is on his left hand.” seven times before the Lord. 28 Then the priest is to put some of the olive oil that is in his hand#tn Heb “on his hand.” 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, 29 and the remainder of the olive oil that is in the hand#tn Heb “on the hand.” of the priest he is to put#tn Heb “give.” on the head of the one being cleansed to make atonement for him before the Lord.
30 “He will then make one of the turtledoves#tn Heb “the one from the turtledoves.” or young pigeons, which are within his means,#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). 31 a sin offering and the other a burnt offering along with the grain offering.#tn Heb “and the one a burnt offering on the grain offering.” So the priest is to make atonement for the one being cleansed before the Lord. 32 This is the law of the one in whom there is a diseased infection,#tn Heb “This is the law of who in him [is] a diseased infection.” who does not have sufficient means for his purification.”#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.”
Purification of Disease-Infected Houses
33 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 34 “When you enter the land of Canaan which I am about to give#tn Heb “which I am giving” (so NAB, NIV). to you for a possession, and I put#tn Heb “give.” a diseased infection in a house in the land you are to possess,#tn Heb “in the house of the land of your possession” (KJV and ASV both similar). 35 then whoever owns the house#tn Heb “who to him the house.” must come and declare to the priest, ‘Something like an infection is visible to me in the house.’ 36 Then the priest will command that the house be cleared#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. before the priest enters to examine the infection#tn Heb “to see the infection”; KJV “to see the plague”; NASB “to look at the mark (mildew NCV).” so that everything in the house#tn Heb “all which [is] in the house.” does not become unclean,#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. and afterward#tn Heb “and after thus.” the priest will enter to examine the house. 37 He is to examine the infection, and if#tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV). the infection in the walls of the house consists of yellowish green or reddish eruptions,#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. and it appears to be deeper than the surface of the wall,#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). 38 then the priest is to go out of the house to the doorway of the house and quarantine the house for seven days.#tn Heb “and he shall shut up the house seven days.” 39 The priest must return on the seventh day and examine it, and if#tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “If the mark has indeed spread.” the infection has spread in the walls of the house, 40 then the priest is to command that the stones that had the infection in them be pulled and thrown#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. outside the city#tn Heb “into from outside to the city.” into an unclean place. 41 Then he is to have the house scraped#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). all around on the inside,#tn Heb “from house all around.” and the plaster#tn Heb “dust” (so KJV) or “rubble”; NIV “the material”; NLT “the scrapings.” which is scraped off#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 (hiqtsi’u, 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”). must be dumped outside the city#tn Heb “into from outside to the city.” into an unclean place. 42 They are then to take other stones and replace those stones,#tn Heb “and bring into under the stones.” and he is to take other plaster and replaster the house.
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,#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).” 44 the priest is to come and examine it, and if#tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “If he sees that the mark has indeed spread.” the infection has spread in the house, it is a malignant disease in the house. It is unclean. 45 He must tear down the house,#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). its stones, its wood, and all the plaster of the house, and bring all of it#tn Once again, Smr, LXX, and Syriac have the plural verb, perhaps to be rendered passive, “shall be brought.” outside the city to an unclean place. 46 Anyone who enters#tn Heb “the one who comes into.” the house all the days the priest#tn Heb “he,” referring to the priest (see v. 38). The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity. has quarantined it will be unclean until evening. 47 Anyone who lies down in the house must wash his clothes. Anyone who eats in the house must wash his clothes.
48 “If, however, the priest enters#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. and examines it, and the#tn Heb “and behold” (so KJV, ASV); NASB “and the mark has not indeed spread.” 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. 49 Then he#tn The pronoun “he” refers to the priest mentioned in the previous verse. is to take two birds, a piece of cedar wood, a scrap of crimson fabric, and some twigs of hyssop#tn Regarding these ritual materials, see the note on v. 4 above. to decontaminate#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. the house, 50 and he is to slaughter one bird into a clay vessel over fresh water.#tn See the note on v. 5 above. 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. 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, 53 and he is to send the live bird away outside the city#tn Heb “to from outside to the city.” into the open countryside. So he is to make atonement for the house and it will be clean.
Summary of Purification Regulations for Infections
54 “This is the law for all diseased infections, for scall,#tn Heb “and for the scall”; NASB “a scale”; NIV “any infectious skin disease.” Cf. Lev 13:29-37. 55 for the diseased garment,#sn Cf. Lev 13:47-59. for the house,#sn Cf. Lev 14:33-53. 56 for the swelling,#sn Cf. Lev 13:9-28, 43. for the scab,#sn Cf. Lev 13:2. and for the bright spot,#sn Cf. Lev 13:4, 18-28, 38-39. For explanations of all these terms for disease in Lev 14:56 see 13:2. 57 to teach when something is unclean and when it is clean.#tn Heb “to teach in the day of the unclean and in the day of the clean.” This is the law for dealing with infectious disease.”#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.