New Defender's Study Bible Notes
13:2 plague of leprosy. The dread disease of leprosy in ancient times was not only loathsome, but contagious and incurable. Therefore, the seemingly cruel isolation of the leper was necessary for the survival of the tribe. Because of the malady’s character, the Scriptures make it also to be a type of the dread disease of sin, which also is humanly contagious and incurable, eventually becoming loathsome and lethal (compare Psalm 38:3-11; Isaiah 1:6; James 1:15).
13:30 scall. A scaly skin disease, especially of the scalp.
13:44 he is unclean. Leprosy was not only a type of sin; it was occasionally a divine judgment because of some specific sin, as in the case of Miriam (Numbers 12:10), King Uzziah (II Chronicles 26:19-21), and Elisha’s servant (II Kings 5:27), among others.
13:45 covering upon his upper lip. This seems to be a lip covering, similar to the covering used now by surgeons in operating, and visitors in certain wards in hospitals, to minimize the spreading of germs.
13:46 shall dwell alone. The practice of quarantining those with dangerous infectious diseases probably originated in Israel. While seemingly cruel to the individual, it was medically necessary for the continued viability of the nation as a whole. Note also Numbers 19:20.
13:47 garment also. The Hebrew term for leprosy (tsaraath) covers a broader range of afflictions than does the modern term, which is usually called Hansen’s disease. The latter is certainly included, as in the case of Naaman (II Kings 5), but so were other spreading, disfiguring and contagious skin diseases. The Hebrew word was also used, as in this verse, to mean any type of fungus or mold that would attack a fabric in somewhat similar fashion. Analogously the same word was used, as in Leviticus 14:33-57, to refer to any type of fungus or mold that would spread on the wall of a house.