Reading 5.4: Leviticus 14:1-32

May 04, 2010

READ:  Leviticus 14:1-32

Leper Cleansing

The number seven occurrs some 43 times throughout the book of Leviticus (second in frequency only to Genesis).  The Jews believed that these numbers had significance and meaning in what they pictured.  Certainly, as you read through the instructions of Leviticus – especially the instructions relating to the treatment of skin diseases – seven days is a popular time to wait until purification.  It has been said that the number 7 is God’s perfect number.  Maybe so (my brother used to love the fact that he was born on the 7th and he was over the moon when he turned seven).  In Seven days God completely created the world and rested (Genesis 1); it took seven days of being shut up in the temple for the priests to complete their ordination (8:33); seven days completed an unclean period (12:2; ch. 13, 14, 15); seven days a calf had to remain with its mother before it could be sacrificed; and there are so many multiples of seven thoruhgout the structure, length and dates of the feasts (Lev 23).  For the leper, whether he was being diagnosed (ch. 13) or cleansed (ch. 14) seven days held his future in balance – would he be considered complete and clean?  Or would he be cast out of the camp?  Seven carries the significance of completion – so many things are completed in seven days or with seven sprinkles.

So maybe these seven days of waiting outside the camp + another seven days of waiting outside one’s tent, then finally, an offering made to begin a new stage of life on day eight are all significant in the picture of God expecting the people to be ‘complete’, to be ‘holy’.

How’s your service; how’s your worship?  Is it ‘complete’?  Does your dedication last for a completed time each week or is it only a fractional committment of your life?

 

See also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_symbolism#The_symbolic_values_of_numbers

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=366&letter=N