Was Leprosy Ever Curable By Ordinary Means?

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KMK

Administrator
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When Naaman was sent to the king of Israel, the king said, "Am I a god, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy?" (2 Kings 5:7)

Does this imply that leprosy was rarely cured and then only by miraculous means? Lev 13 and 14 seem to be silent about the method or frequency of the cure.

I think the answer to this question would be helpful in deciphering Jesus words to the leper in Matt 8:4, "And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
 

TheocraticMonarchist

Puritan Board Junior
Isn't the hebrew for for leprosy a generic for any number of skin diseases? I don't know if it's exactly precise as modern medical terminology.

Any Hebrew scholars in the house???
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
It helps to remember that what is being referred to in the Law is a "religious diagnosis," and not a medical matter. (For some reason, it is often assumed that because one set of symptoms was assessed by the Levitical priests, that they were resorted to like "medicine-men" for all kinds of illness). A theological judgment was passed upon the afflicted, not strictly speaking a clinical evaluation. If the situation changed, other judgments obtained.

Recovery from the symptoms is hardly mentioned in the Bible, aside from Naaman in the OT, and Jesus' cures. Of course, neither is there a great deal of discussion of leprosy outside a few passages only. But it is doubtful that there were many recoveries, for the simple reason that if this ailment was a judgment from God for sin, then a real recovery demanded a sincere repentance. It required intervention from God, and a healing would indeed be understood as a divine witness.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
But it is doubtful that there were many recoveries, for the simple reason that if this ailment was a judgment from God for sin, then a real recovery demanded a sincere repentance.

This gets to the heart of the matter. We conclude that leprosy was a judgment from God (which, according to John Gill, is what the Jews believed) and therefore could not be cured except in the presence of true repentance. Is that correct?

If so, Rev Buchanan, what is your interpretation of Jesus charging the leper to "shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them?" Is the testimony that Jesus is God because He has the power to make a leper clean? (There are various opinions in the commentaries)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
There's no doubt in my mind.

Anyone else in the world touched a leper, it made the touching-one unclean. Mk.1:41 "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him [the leper], and saith unto him, 'I will; be thou clean'... and he was cleansed."
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Anyone else in the world touched a leper, it made the touching-one unclean. Mk.1:41 "And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him [the leper], and saith unto him, 'I will; be thou clean'... and he was cleansed."

Wow.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Leprosy is hard to catch, you could be married to a leper and never get it. Before the age of antibiotics there were people whose immune system did eventually fight it off and they were released from the leper sanitoriums in the USA, but they were not common.
 
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