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Who Had Leprosy In The Bible

Famous Lepers Of The Bible The Compas

What Was Biblical Leprosy?
  • In the Bible, leprosy was a physical ailment, but it also had a spiritual dimension. This is explained in an article by five Jewish authors at the Jewishencyclopedia.com website, including Rabbi Emil Hirsch, professor of rabbinical literature and philosophy at the University of Chicago
  • The phrase leprosy and semantic variants are mentioned 68 times in the Bible. In the Old Testament, the cases of leprosy likely involved a kind of infectious skin disease. In biblical times, leprosy was viewed as a curse from God, often connected with sin. It was not a lethal disease, but neither did it seem to cease
  • Of direct relevance to the problem of so-called leprosy in the Bible is the still confused history of Hansen’s disease in ancient Egypt. References in the Ebers medical papyrus to sicknesses named aat and uchedu have been mistranslated as leprosy
  • 8 Lepers in the Bible Tzaraat, commonly translated as leprosy, is the main topic of the portion of Metzora. Leprosy is a bit of a misnomer, because although tzaraat was a skin illness, it had a spiritual element to it. In the Tanach, we find quite a few individuals who were plagued by tzaraat
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  • In the New Testament, leprosy is frequently the object of Jesus’ healing miracles. Numerous people who are afflicted with leprosy are cured by Jesus, who at times may also forgive their sins. According to Matthew and Luke, Jesus also authorizes his disciples to heal leprosy in his name. Leprosy as a Medical Conditio
  • Practical Applications Of This Understanding:

    • For leprosy in the Old and New Testaments, read defilement, or ceremonial defilement.
    • Do not use the term leper to describe a person suffering from the modern disease of leprosy. The accepted term is a person affected by leprosy.
    • Do not use leprosy as a type or picture of sin.
    • We should not say that all disease is a punishment from God. Christ did not do so, and this would be a misinterpretation of suffering.
    • Remember that Biblical leprosy is NOT modern leprosy / Hansens disease.
    • The word leprosy should probably have been translated differently by Jerome when producing the Vulgate version of the Bible.

    Read the article by Dr Jeanie Cochrane Oldman;biblical leprosy

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    Nepal Leprosy Trust is a UK-based Christian agency that provides services to people affected by leprosy in the country of Nepal.

    The Gospel Of Matthew

    Chapter 8

    2. And behold a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” 3. And he stretched out his hand clean and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4. And Jesus said unto him, “See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift ythat Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.”

    Chapter 10

    8. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.

    Chapter 11

    5. The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

    Chapter 26

    6. Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper.

    The Gospel of Mark

    Chapter 17Chapter 4

    27. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

    Chapter 7

    22. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.

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    The Little Maid In A Foreign Land

    2 Now the Arameans had gone out in bands, and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naamans wife. 3 And she said to her mistress, I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.

    Here we see how the Lord always has His messengers of the Word. When there is a person whose heart has been prepared, God always has his messengers. Here, Gods messengers begin with a little captive slave girl. In fact, by His matchless grace, God worked through the unrighteous deeds of Naamans own army to bring this little slave girl into his own home to be the instrument of Gods Love.

    But what kind of messenger does God use? He uses those who are available–those who know and love the Lord. Here was a small girl, humble, obedient, insignificant to men, living under dire conditions, but with a Romans 8:28 mental attitude; she was a girl using the problems of life as opportunities or as open doors to witness for God.

    Though small, weak, and insignificant, this little girl knew the omnipotent and sovereign Lord of the universe with whom there was healing. She was willing to point others to the most significant Being of the universe, YAHWEH OF ISRAEL, who alone could cure Naamans disease.

    Make Sure Your Thankfulness Leads To Action

    I Told Christ I Had Leprosy. Here

    One healed leper came back. One caught himself in the midst of the celebration, and returned to Jesus. He reversed his steps, put his family on hold, put the priest on hold, and came back to the cause of his celebration. His response and life situation were unique, but in the simplest sense of what he did his thankfulness led to action. And boy, did that turn out to be important!

    “Where are the other nine?” Jesus asked.

    Do you realize what this says? Jesus said, “Go, and show yourselves to the priests. Jesus never commanded that any of them express thankfulness to God, or return to him, the healer. Nevertheless, that is what Jesus expected.

    What kind of action is Jesus looking for from you? Has God’s Holy Spirit been urging you toward some action step? Had the Lord been tugging at you for some step of faith? Is there a family, a friend, or even a stranger in need of help this Thanksgiving season? Is there something you feel compelled to do?

    My best advice, based on what Jesus was looking for 2,000 years ago, is to take that step of action. Assume God is pulling you toward that area, or that action, and get it done. Otherwise, a prayer over the Thanksgiving meal will last about as long as that sensation of fullness after the meal. I don’t know about you, but no matter how full I get on Thanksgiving Thursday, I always manage to eat well on Friday.

    Shouldn’t our spirit of thankfulness last longer than that? Get it done!

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    The Description Of Naaman

    Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper.

    In this we have a picture of the sinner before he comes to God.

    Naaman comes from the Hebrew verb naem,be delightful, pleasant, beautiful. It has the idea of gracious or well formed. Because of the significance of names in Scripture, this tells us something about the man. His name suggests he had undoubtedly been a handsome man, at least before the leprosy. Further, the implication is that he was also a gracious and delightful man. But his name became a reproach and a striking contrast to his appearance and probably also to his disposition because of the disease which had attacked his body. It provides a striking picture of mankind created physically and spiritually beautiful in Gods image before sin began to take its toll on both the disposition and physical body of man.

    The way Naaman is first described gives us a picture of him as he was seen by people who tend to look mostly on the outward appearance.

    His position. He was captain of the army of the King of Aram. This means he was the General of the Syrian or the Aramean Army, second in command to the King. He was a man of great authority and position.

    What Does The Bible Say About Leprosy

    The first mention of leprosy is found in Exodus 4:6 when God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. God used leprosy as one of three signs He demonstrated to Moses that he would use before the elders of Israel to convince them that God would bring them out of Egypt . Given the terror that leprosy caused because of its incurable reputation, the ability to heal someone from leprosy was a miracle that would make people believe what Moses had to say.

    Later, we see the chapters of Leviticus 13 and 14 devoted to handling leprosy according to the Old Testament Law. This brings leprosy into the realm of having not only a cultural fallout, but Spiritual implications as well. In Leviticus 13, instruction was given on recognizing and diagnosing leprosy. However, God also instructed 21 times that the person with leprosy shall be declared unclean. This declaration came with the instruction for the person to be publicly identified, isolated, his garments washed or burned if necessary, and sent to live alone outside the camp if he is not healed.

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    St John Of Capistrano

    St. John of Capistrano was born in Italy in 1386. He studied law and married a woman from an important family in Perugia, Italy, and in 1412 became the citys governor.

    He was imprisoned during a civil war and during that time, he had a vision of St. Francis. He experienced a spiritual conversion, was dispensed from his marriage vows, joined the Friars Minor in 1416 and was ordained in 1420.

    John became a great preacher. He also worked to reform his order and served as the friars vicar general. In 1456, he led a wing of the Christian army in a successful battle against the Turks, who had besieged Belgrade.

    He died in 1456, and we remember him Oct. 23.

    Signs And Symptoms Of Leprosy

    Leprosy in the Bible

    The great Jewish culture scholar, Edersheim, says the disease which we today call leprosy generally begins with pain in certain areas of the body. Numbness follows. Soon the skin in such spots loses its original color. It gets to be thick, glossy, and scaly. … As the sickness progresses, the thickened spots become dirty sores and ulcers due to poor blood supply. The skin, especially around the eyes and ears, begins to bunch, with deep furrows between the swellings, so that the face of the afflicted individual begins to resemble that of a lion. Fingers drop off or are absorbed; toes are affected similarly. His throat becomes hoarse, and you can now not only see, feel, and smell the leper, but you can hear his rasping voice. And if you stay with him for some time, you can even imagine a peculiar taste in your mouth, probably due to the odor.

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    What Is Leprosy And Why Does The Bible Refer To It So Much

    One of the things that most westerners have never experienced is the disease of leprosy. In recent times, leprosy has begun to show up in new locations and in some cases, it does not respond to antibiotics, which has led to some concern among health care professionals. Despite the low incidence worldwide of leprosy today, we see numerous mentions of it in the Bible. For this reason, a study on what is leprosy and why does the Bible refer to it so much is needed.

    According to the National Institutes of Health, leprosy is a disease that has been known since Biblical times that causes skin sores, nerve damage, and muscle weakness that gets worse over time. It is caused by a bacteria that is not very contagious and more common in children than adults. It is common in many countries worldwide and can be treated with antibiotics, which makes isolating people in leper colonies no longer needed .

    Since antibiotics are historically a recent invention, leprosy has a history of causing wide spread devastation and panic with no hope of recovery. This is especially true in areas that had extreme poverty and unsanitary living conditions. In fact, this was one reason that a woman known as Mother Teresa left a convent in Calcutta, India and started a ministry to the poor that were living in the streets there in 1948. Her work with the lepers, along with unwed mothers, abandoned babies, mentally ill, and others resulted her being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 .

    Biblical Leprosy And Hansens Disease

    View larger image

    Cleaning the deformed foot of a person suffering from leprosy with an antiseptic.Leprosy is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae.

    In addition to pain and disfiguration, biblical leprosy and Hansenâs disease are both dreaded, and people were shunnedbecause of them. The noun tsaraâath appears about two dozen times in the Hebrew text.

    As previously mentioned, biblical leprosy is a broader term than the leprosy that we know today. TheHebrew tsaraâath included a variety of ailments and is most frequently seen in Leviticus, where it referred primarily to uncleannessor imperfections according to biblical standards. A person with any scaly skin blemish was tsaraâath. The symbolism extended torot or blemish on leather, the walls of a house, and woven cloth. Other Old Testament references to leprosy are associated withpunishment or the consequences of sin.

    In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, tsaraâath was translated as aphe lepras. These words in Greekimplied a skin condition that spread over the body.

    Leprosy has terrified humanity since ancient times. It is a powerful symbol reminding us of sinâs spread and horrible consequences.

    Let us not be too quick to remove pain in our lives . It may be Godâsmegaphone to get our attention that something is seriously wrong and that we should flee to the One who created us.

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    What Can We Learn From The Story Of Elisha And Naaman

    promise that his son would live. The nobleman returned home and his son had been healed . 2. Gratitude to God is more rare than faith. Nine ungrateful lepers had faith in Jesus’ words . People with leprosy were quarantined and required to stay a distance away from others. If a leper were healed, he was required to presen In that context, leprosy is described as a disease of uncleanliness, a curse from God, as the Nepal Leprosy Trust explains. The word leprosy shows up more in the Bible than in a modern pathology textbook, clocking in at a whopping 55 times in the Old Testament and 13 times in the New, relates Answers in Genesis

    Later, we learn about another type of leprosy – the kind that attacks houses. Then there is a general summary: This is the torah for all manner of plague of leprosy, and for a scall ; and for the leprosy of a garment, and for a house; and for a rising, and for a rash, and for a bright spot; to teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean; this is the torah of leprosy 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine them. If they have been healed of their defiling skin disease Leprosy is an infectious disease caused by a bacillus, Mycobacterium leprae, which multiplies slowly. On average, the disease incubation period is 5 years but symptoms may occur within 1 year. It can also take as long as 20 years or even more to occur. Leprosy mainly affects the skin, the peripheral nerves, mucosa of the upper respiratory tract.

    The Significance Of Leprosy In The Bible

    Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy

    The leper was considered unclean and had to be isolated from society to a certain degree. Wherever he went he was to cry out, unclean, unclean, and he had to wear black with a hood covering his face and live outside the city walls.

    Whenever the Lord Jesus healed a leper he always pronounced the person, not healed, but cleansed.

    True leprosy was incurable by man in Bible times just as sin is incurable for man . There is nothing man himself can do to deal with his sin problem. Further, his sin separates him from God and even from intimate fellowship with people . When the Lord healed a leper, therefore, the picture should have been obvious. His power to cleanse a leper demonstrated He was the solution to mans sin and defilement; He alone was and is the means of reconciliation, peace with God and man.

    The rite of purification in the Old Testament did not cure, it only recognized the fact a leper was cured, he was clean of the disease, or that he never really had the incurable type of leprosy. He could then be reconciled to society.

    The priest was to examine the skin and pronounce the person clean or unclean depending upon his observation of the facts. So today, since Christ has provided cleansing from sin, every believer as a believer priest is to detect sin in their own life and pronounce it sin when it first appears .49

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    Naamans Journey To Israel

    4 And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel. 5 Then the king of Aram said, Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel. And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes. 6 And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy. 7 And it came about when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.

    In verses 4-7, we have an excellent illustration of how salvation cannot be obtained. Oh, how these verses reveal the natural tendencies and perspective of the carnal mind. Here is a typical man who recognized his need to some extent, but he wanted to have a part in his healing. He was trusting first in power, position, and riches. Instead of thinking in terms of Gods grace, he naturally thought in terms of favoritism, the leverage of power, wealth, and what one can earn or buy.

    Like the king of Israel, how quick we are to read things into situations and expect the worst rather than take lifes situations as opportunities to serve the Lord and to see Him work. Why? Because we are blinded and paralyzed by our self love.


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