Leviticus 13:13 then the priest shall look, and if the leprous disease has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease;

Was he healed? If not, then why pronounce him clean?

  • That was the point - he would only be pronounced "clean" if he had been healed.
    – Dottard
    Mar 5 at 20:53

Let's see the context:

Lev 13:12 “If the disease breaks out all over their skin and, so far as the priest can see, it covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot, 13the priest is to examine them, and if the disease has covered their whole body, he shall pronounce them clean. Since it has all turned white, they are clean.

When the disease covered all the skin, the person is pronounced ceremonially clean. The priest was not a doctor. He was not making a medical judgment.

Was the person healed?

The priest didn't say.

14 But whenever raw flesh appears on them, they will be unclean. 15When the priest sees the raw flesh, he shall pronounce them unclean.

Whenever there was raw flesh, the priest pronounced ceremonially unclean.

The raw flesh is unclean; they have a defiling disease. 16 If the raw flesh changes and turns white, they must go to the priest. 17The priest is to examine them, and if the sores have turned white, the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; then they will be clean.

The priest did only the visual inspection of the person to pronounce the person ceremonially clean or unclean. It is conceivable that a person could repeat this cycle of being clean and unclean over his lifetime on leprosy.


There is no record in the Bible of any Jew ever being healed of leprosy until Jesus did so. In fact, this was prophesied to be a Messianic sign, that is, that [only] the Messiah would be able to heal leper’s. (Isaiah 35:5-6) (Edit - see comments).

Leprosy was a ‘shadow’ of ‘sin’ (unclean), so this in some ways forecasts that the levitical priests would not ever actually pronounce someone ‘clean’ (of leprosy - as they couldn’t forgive sin). So although it was outlined in Leviticus that a priest could pronounce a Leper ‘clean’, no Leper was ever ‘healed’ so as to be able to present themselves to the priest have the priest declare them ‘as clean’.

The only record of leprosy being ‘healed’ in the Old Testament was when Elijah was involved in healing Nahman -** a non-Jew**.

  • "There is no record in the Bible of any Jew ever being healed of leprosy" - Don't forget about Miriam (Num. 12:9-15).
    – agarza
    Mar 5 at 21:29
  • @agarza Mmmm, Well spotted! I admit to missing this. My only [albeit ‘weak] defence is that the root word behind ‘ṣāra’ doesn’t always mean specifically leprosy, but can also mean other skin ailments. And, neither did she need to present herself to the priests in order to be declared ‘clean’. But, bottom line, I did miss this
    – Dave
    Mar 6 at 1:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.