It's peculiar that it's God who puts leprosy in a house to begin with.

Leviticus 14
33 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
34 When ye be come into the land of Canaan, which I give to you for a possession, and I put the plague of leprosy in a house of the land of your possession;

In the extreme case of an attack of that leprosy on a house, the cost of cleansing, or of any associated measure, is entirely upon the affected party, which case would pose enormous disposal issues, as well as contagion.
Is Leviticus 14:46 practical in any case, let alone when it's a poor man's only home now gone leprous? Because its written God's laws weren't burdensome, and all were to be observed to the very least of them. This however seems be no where near being practical.

Leviticus 14:45 “He shall therefore tear down the house, its stones, and its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall take them outside the city to an unclean place

Or this section on the disposal of the leprous debris an allegory afterall?

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    I have voted to close this question as primarily opinion based, since "how practical is it to tear down a poor man's house?" is just a survey of opinions. According to the texts referenced (Leviticus 14:33-53), it doesn't matter if it is practical or not. Rich or poor, if the "leprous plague" (which is in actuality some kind of mold or mildew) comes back to the house it must be torn down.
    – user6503
    Sep 3, 2016 at 20:58
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    @Bʀɪᴀɴ It doesn't matter if it is practical or not. Rich or poor, if the "leprous plague" comes back to the house it must be torn down is true. But as you may have noted, I have since rephrased it. Unless there is another issue with the latter that makes it deserving of closure, then by all means close it.
    – Witness
    Sep 3, 2016 at 21:15
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    I'm afraid your edit has not made this question much better. It is still essentially the same question of why a poor man should be required to tear down his house.
    – user6503
    Sep 4, 2016 at 5:39
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    @Bʀɪᴀɴ Ignore that phrase if it offends you and simply answer the question as stated above, or close it down if you must. I must do as I am commanded.
    – Witness
    Sep 4, 2016 at 8:52
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    You have not demonstrated why verse 46 should be taken as allegorical other than you think it is impractical to tear down a poor mans house, of which I have already stated that practicality doesn't matter.
    – user6503
    Sep 4, 2016 at 14:05

3 Answers 3


Can't possibly be allegorical. If we consider the time, culture, context in history then it doesn't appear impractical and unfair to the diseased. The society in this time we are dealing with can be compared to the apocalypse movies where the small societies have to drive out or kill such a sick person for the survival and benefit of all. Such strict laws were given or made by Moses to nurture discipline, culture, survival and the survival of religion for our sake.

Daniel Whedon commentary on Lev 14:

v45. He shall break down… carry… out — The priest, according to the literalism of Colenso, would have a vast work to do single-handed. But common sense assures us that he may be said to perform labour which he directs. The damage done by such a house to the ceremonial purity and health of its occupants was of far more consequence in the estimation of the lawgiver than the building itself. “Those to whom this appears strange, and who lament the fate of a house pulled down by legal authority, probably think of large and magnificent houses like ours, of many stories high, which cost a great deal of money,” whereas the houses of those days were usually rude, low, and cheap.

Charles Ellicott- Commentary for English Readers:

(43, 45) And if the plague come again.—If after these alterations and precautions the symptoms reappear, the house must be pulled down, just as the garment was destroyed under similar circumstances (see Lev. 13:51), and the materials deposited in the unclean receptacle outside the city, since its re-appearance shows that it is an incurable leprosy. From the fact that the materials of the house here spoken of are stones, earth, and wood, the ancient canons enacted that no dwelling is exposed to the laws of leprosy unless it has four walls, and is built of stone, earth, and wood. Houses of brick and marble, therefore, do not come within these laws.

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    Please edit this to give more details on your quotes, such as the full title and author, and definitely page numbers!
    – curiousdannii
    Sep 17, 2016 at 13:02

None of the bible is literal or allegorical, but spiritual with intent to inspire.Its literally spiritual because although we use it to renew our mind, the mind itself is in opposition to scriptural truth so the Holy Spirit must search, examine or convict the heart that actually houses the mind in order for it to be renewed.etc... etc..... So its always spiritual and when Jesus speaks in parables it is figuratively, in order that we not attempt to use the logical to interpret that which is spiritual.I guess it would be easy to assume it is a story that reveals a hidden meaning concerning morale, however, it is inspiration and an instruction manual for believers who have been given the keys to the mysteries of the kingdom to live holy more so then moral uprightness is inevitable. Jesus was sent by God into the world as Gods glory just as the souls God gave Jesus to send out into the world to bring Jesus glory. He gave us the Word to follow, but His Spirit/anointing to teach(born again)to interpret and understand it. I believe the Word is always spiritual because the Word was with and is God.It is a testimony of Him to lead a believers soul to His Spirit where life actually is. Even when Jesus speaks in parables it is figuratively,in hopes that we not attempt to use the logical to interpret that which is spiritual. That is why the spirit of delusion has been unleashed in the church.Many have no love for the truth, but just logic so they look for knowledge, but not His Spirit, heart, salvation or righteousness..... Romans 2:14, KJV: "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:". Isaiah 55:8-9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts higher than your thoughts........

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    Could you explain how at the beginning you say "None of the bible is literal" then later you say "Jesus was sent by God into the world"? If the Bible is not literal then Jesus couldn't have been sent into the world. This seems like a contradiction.
    – agarza
    May 17, 2021 at 3:50
  • (Genesis 1:1-2) 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. The Word of God is spirit and life (John 6:63); it is living and active (Hebrews 4:12) and, when quickened by the Holy Spirit, has dynamic power to impart spiritual life to us. The literal Word was talking about a spiritual being .Jesus was never born again because He was born of the Holy Spirit. John 6:63, KJV: "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." .
    – shelondria
    May 17, 2021 at 4:27
  • It depends on if u use the logical or the spiritual approach. Literal had very little to do with spiritual when referencing scripture. Although,literal words are the actual/factual, not figurative or metaphorically I am speaking in terms of the deity and life of Jesus as a spiritual being who was testified about with literal words,yet spiritual implications.Yes we know he came in the flesh, but he existed before he was born in the flesh. The bible unfolds in the natural from a spiritual premise. Therefore the scriptures are literal, but the Word Himself is spiritual
    – shelondria
    May 17, 2021 at 4:37
  • When you are born again, your heart can be regenerated and you'll see the spiritual implications clearly.
    – shelondria
    May 17, 2021 at 4:50

God used leprosy on a few occasions.

Exodus 4:6

Then the LORD said, "Put your hand inside your cloak." So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous --it had become as white as snow.

Numbers 12:10

When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam's skin was leprous --it became as white as snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had a defiling skin disease,

2 Kings 5:27

Naaman's leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever." Then Gehazi went from Elisha's presence and his skin was leprous--it had become as white as snow.

Jesus affirmed that leprosy was a real and existential threat in ancient times in Luke 4:

27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed--only Naaman the Syrian."

OP: It's peculiar that it's God who puts leprosy in a house to begin with.

If God put leprosy on people, I'm not surprised that a house would be similarly affected.

Leviticus 14:

45 “He shall therefore tear down the house, its stones, and its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and he shall take them outside the city to an unclean place

Is Leviticus 14:46 practical in any case?

Not only it was practical, but it was also a wise way to prevent the spread.

Is Leviticus 14 on leprosy literal or allegorical?

It was literal. It was a practical way to prevent the spread of leprosy.

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