Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
1. Et loquuntus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
2. This shall be the law of the leper in the day of his cleansing: He shall be brought unto the priest:
2. Hace erit lex leprosi die pugationis suae, nempe adducetur ad sacerdtem.
3. And the priest shall go forth out of the camp: and the priest shall look, and, behold, if the plague of leprosy be healed in the leper;
3. Et egredietur sacerdos foras extra castra, dg inspiciet sacerdos: et su sanata fuerit lepra a leproso;
4. Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
4. Tunc praecipiet scerdos ut tollantur ei qui mundatur dae aves vivae, mundae, et lignum cedrinum, et coccus vermiculi, et hyssopus.
5. And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water:
5. Et praecipiet sacerdos ut mactetur avis una super vas fictile super aquas vivas.
6. As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar-wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
6. Avem vivam tollet, et lignum cedrinum, et cuccum vermiculi, et hyssopum: et tinget illa, et avem vivam in sanguine avis mactatae super aquas vivas.
7. And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
7. Et sparget super eum qui mundatur a lepra septem vicibus, mundabitque emu: et emitet avem vivam in superficiem agri.
8. And he that is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, and shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean: and after that he shall come into the camp, and shall tarry abroad out of his tent seven days.
8. Et lavabit qui emundatur vestimenta sua, et radet omnem ilum suum, lavabitque se aqua, et mundus erit: postea ingredietur castra, habitabitque extra tabernaculum suum septem diebus.
9. But it shall be on the seventh day, that he shall shave all his hair off his head, and his beard and his eyebrows, even all his hair he shall shave off: and he shall wash his cloathes, also he shall wash his flesh in water, and he shall be clean.
9. Die autem septimo radet omnem pilum suum, caput suum, et barbam suam, et supercilia oculorum suorum, atque omnem reliquum pilum summ radet: lavbit quoque vestimenta sua, postquam laverit carnem suam aqua, et purificabit se.
10. And on the eighth day he shall take two he-lambs without blemish, and one ewe-lamb of the first year without blemish, and three tenth-deals of fine flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and one log of oil.
10. Die autem octavo tallet duos agnos immaculatos, et agnam unam anniculam immaculatam, et tres decimas mixturae minha mixta oleao, et sextarium unum olei.
11. And the priest that maketh him clean shall present the man that is to be made clean, and those things, before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:
11. Statuetque sacerdos qui mundat virum mundandum, et illa coram Jehova ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis.
12. And the priest shall take one he-lamb, and offer him for a trespass-offering, and the log of oil, and wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
12. Tolletque sacerdos agnum unum quem offert in sacrificium pro delicto, et sextarium olei, et agitabit ea agitatione coram Jehova.
13. And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin-offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin-offering is the priest’s, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy:
13. Mactabitque agmnu in loco in quo mactare solet oblationem pro peccato, et holocaustum nempe in loco sanctitatis: quia sicut hostia pro peccato, ita oblatio pro delicto, est sacerdotis, sanctitas sanctitatum est.
14. And the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and the priest shall put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
14. Accipietque sacerdos de sanguine oblationis pro delicto, et ponet super tenerum auris mundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri.
15. And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and pour it into the palm of his own left hand:
15. Accipiet praeterea sacerdos de sextario olei, et fundet in manum suam sinistram.
16. And the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is in his left hand, and shall sprinkle of the oil with his finger seven times before the Lord:
16. Tingetque ipse digitum suum dextrum in oleum quod est in manu sua sinistra, spargetque de oleo digito suo septem vicibus coram Jehova.
17. And of the rest of the oil that is in his hand shall the priest put upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the blood of the trespass offering:
17. De residuo vero olei quod in manu sua ponet sacerdos super tenerum auris mundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri, ultra sanguinem oblationis pro delicto.
18. And the remnant of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall pour upon the head of him that is to be cleansed: and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord.
18. Quod autem superest de oleo quod est in manu ejus, ponet super caput mundandi: expiabitque eum sacerdos coram Jehova.
19. And the priest shall offer the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed from his uncleanness; and afterward he shall kill the burnt offering:
19. Faciet item sacerdos oblationem pro peccato, emundabitque mundandum ab immunditia sua, et postea mactabit holocaustum.
20. And the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the meat offering upon the altar: and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and he shall be clean.
20. Et ascendere faciet sacerdos holocaustum et minham super altare expiabitque eum sacerdos, et mundus erit.
21. And if he be poor, and cannot get so much; then he shall take one lamb for a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him, and one tenth-deal of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering, and a log of oil;
21. Si autem pauper fuerit, et manus ejus non possit assequi, tum accipiet agnum unum in hostiam pro delicto in elevationem ad expiandum illum, et decimam partem similae unam permistam oleo pro minha, sextariumque olei.
22. And two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, such as he is able to get; and the one shall be a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering.
22. Duos praeterea turtures, aut duos filios columbae, quodcunque apprehendere poterit manus ejus: eritque unus in hostiam pro pecccato, et alter pro holocausto.
23. And he shall bring them on the eighth day for his cleansing unto the priest, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, before the Lord.
23. Afferetque ea octavo die purificationis suae ad sacerdotem, ad ostium tabernaculi conventionis coram Jehova.
24. And the priest shall take the lamb of the trespass offering, and the log of oil, and the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord:
24. Suscipietque sacerdos agnum oblationis pro delicto, et sextarium olei, atque agitabit ea sacerdos elevationem coram Jehova.
25. And he shall kill the lamb of the trespass offering, and the priest shall take some of the blood of the trespass offering, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot:
25. Mactabitque agnum oblationis pro delicto, ac tollet sacerdos de sanguine oblationis pro delicto, ponetque super tenerum auris mundandi dextrin, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri.
26. And the priest shall pour of the oil into the palm of his own left hand:
26. De oleo quoque fundet sacerdos in manum suam sinistram.
27. And the priest shall sprinkle with his right finger some of the oil that is in his left hand seven times before the Lord:
27. Spargetque sacerdos digito suo dextro de oleo quod est in manu sua sinistra septem vicibus coram Jehova.
28. And the priest shall put of the oil that is in his hand upon the tip of the right ear of him that is to be cleansed, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot, upon the place of the blood of the trespass offering:
28. Ponet quoque sacerdos de oleo quod est in manu sua super tenerum auris emundandi dextrae, et super pollicem manus ejus dextrae, et super pollicem pedis ejus dextri, in loco sanguinis oblationis pro delicto.
29. And the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s hand he shall put upon the head of him that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him before the Lord.
29. Quod autem superest de oleo quod est in manu sacerdotis, ponet super caput emundandi ad emun-dandum illum coram Jehova.
30. And he shall offer the one of the turtledoves, or of the young pigeons, such as he can get;
30. Faciet item unum de turturibus, vel ex pullis columbarum, ex iis quae apprehenderit manus ejus.
31. Even such as he is able to get, the one for a sin offering, and the other. for a burnt offering, with the meat offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed before the Lord.
31. Quod inquam apprehenderit manus ejus, faciet unum pro peccato, et alterum in holocaustum cum minha, emundabitque sacerdos mundaudum coram Jehova.
32. This is the law of him in whom is the plague of leprosy, whose hand is not able to get that which pertaineth to his cleansing.
32. Ita est lex ejus in quo fuerat plaga leprae, cujus manus non poterat apprehendere mundationem sui.
33. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
33. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo:
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;
34. Quum ingressi fueritis terram Chanaan, quam ego do vobis in possessionem, et posuero plagam leprae in domo terrae possessionis vestrae:
35. And he that owneth the house shall come and tell the priest, saying, It seemeth to me there is as it were a plague in the house:
35. Veniet ille cujus erit domus, renuuntiabitque sacerdoti, dicendo,. Tanquam plaga leprae visa est mihi in domo.
36. Then the priest shall command that they empty the house, before the priest go into it to see the plague, that all that is in the house be not made unclean: and afterward the priest shall go in to see the house:
36. Tunc praecipiet sacerdos, et expurgabunt domum antequam ingrediatur sacerdos, ut dispiciat plagam, ne polluatur quicquam quod sit in ea domo: et postea ingredietur sacerdos ad contemplandam domum
37. And he shall look on the plague, and, behold, if the plague be in the walls of the house with hollow strakes, greenish or reddish, which in sight are lower than the wall;
37. Tunc considerabit plagam ipsam: et siquidem in plaga quae est in parietibus domus, fuerint nigredines, flavedines, vel rubedines: et aspectus eorum fuerit depressior reliquo pariete:
38. Then the priest shall go out of the house to the door of the house, and shut up the house seven days:
38. Egredietur sacerdos e domo ad ostium domus, et claudet domum septem diebus.
39. And the priest shall come again the seventh day, and shall look: and, behold, if the plague be spread in the walls of the house;
39. Postea revertetur sacerdos die septimo, et contemplabitur: et siquidem creverit plaga in parietibus domus,
40. Then the priest shall command that they take away the stones in which the plague is, and they shall cast them into an unclean place without the city:
40. Tunc praecipiet sacerdos, et eruent lapides in quibus fuerit plaga illa, projicientque illos extra civitatem in locum immundum:
41. And he shall cause the house to be scraped within round about, and they shall pour out the dust that they scrape off without the city into an unclean place:
41. Domum autem radere jubebit intrinsecus per circuitum, et effundent pulveremquem abraserint extra civitatem in locum immundum.
42. And they shall take other stones, and put them in the place of those stones; and he shall take other morter, and shall plaister the house.
42. Et accipient lapides altos quos reponent loco lapidum illorum, et latum aliud capient, et complanabunt domum.
43. And if the plague come again, and break out in the house, after that he hath taken away the stones, and after he hath scraped the house, and after it is plaistered;
43. Quod si reversa fuerit plaga, et effloreat in illa domo postquam erui fecit lapides, et abradi domum, et posteaquam obducta fuit:
44. Then the priest shall come and look, and, behold, if the plague be spread in the house, it is a fretting leprosy in the house: it is unclean.
44. Tunc ingredietur sacerdos, et considerabit: et siquidem creverit plaga in domo, lepra corrodens est ipsa in domo, immunda est.
45. And he shall break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the morter of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place.
45. Destruetque domum, et lapides ejus, et ligna ejus, atque universum lutum domus, educetque extra civitatem in locum immundum.
46. Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even.
46. Qui autem ingressus fuerit domum illam omnibus diebus quibus jusserit earn claudi, immundus erit usque ad vesperam.
47. And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.
47. Et qui dormierit in ea domo, lavabit vestimenta sua: quique comederit in domo, lavabit vestimenta sua.
48. And if the priest shall come in, and look upon it, and, behold, the plague hath not spread in the house, after the house was plaistered: then the priest shall pronounce the house clean, because the plague is healed.
48. Si autem ingrediendo ingressus fuerit sacerdos: contemplatusque viderit non crevisse plagam in ipsa domo, postquam ipsa obducta fuit: mundam judicabit sacerdos domum, quia sanata sit plaga illa.
49. And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop:
49. Tollet itaque ad purificandam domum duos passeres, et lignum cedrinum, et coccum vermiculi, ct hyssopum.
50. And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water:
50. Mactabitque passerera unum super vas fictile, super aquas vivas.
51. And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times:
51. Capietque lignum cedrinum, et hyssopum, et coccum vermiculi, et passerem vivum, et tinget illa in sanguine passeris mactati, et in aqua vivente: aspergetque domum septem vicibus.
52. And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet:
52. Purificabitque domum illam sanguine passeris, et aqua viva, et passere vivo, lignoque cedrino, et hyssopo, et cocco vermiculi.
53. But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean.
53. Postea dimittet passerem vivum extra civitatem super faciem agri, purgabitque domum, et munda erit.
54. This is the law for all manner of plague of leprosy, and scall,
54. Ista est lex omnis plagae leprae, et maculae nigrae,
55. And for the leprosy of a garment, and of a house,
55. Et leprae vestis, et domus,
56. And for a rising, and for a scab, and for a bright spot:
56. Et tumoris, et scabiei, et candentis maculae:
57. To teach when it is unclean, and when it is clean: this is the law of leprosy.
57. Ad docendum quid agendum, quo die immundus et quo die mundus declarandus est.
2 This shall be the law of the leper. Moses now treats of the manner in which those who were cured of leprosy were to be cleansed and restored. Thus far he had shewn whom the priest was to admit into the holy congregation, and account to be clean; he now prescribes the rite of expiation, whereby the people might learn how greatly God abominates the uncleanness, which He commands to be purified by a solemn propitiation; and also that he who is healed may acknowledge that he is rescued from death by God’s special blessing, and may in future be more diligent in seeking to be pure. For there were two parts in the sacrifice here demanded-purification and thanksgiving. But we must ever keep in view the object which I have stated in the last chapter, that the Israelites were instructed by this ceremony to serve God in chastity and purity, and to keep far away from those defilements, whereby religion would be profaned. Since, then, leprosy was a kind of pollution, God was unwilling that those who were cured of it should be received into the holy congregation, 13 except after the offering of a sacrifice; as if the priest reconciled them after excommunication. It will now be well to discuss the points which are worthy of consideration. The office of cleansing is imposed on the priest; yet he is at the same time forbidden to cleanse any except those who were already pure and clean. In this, on the one hand, God claims for Himself the honor of the cure, lest men should assume it; and also establishes the discipline which He would have to reign in His Church. To make the matter clearer, it belongs to God only to forgive sins; what, then, remains to man, except to be the witness and herald of the grace which He confers? God’s minister can, therefore, absolve none whom God has not before absolved. In sum, absolution is not in the power or will of man: the minister only sustains an inferior part, to endorse God’s judgment, or rather to proclaim God’s sentence. Hence that remarkable expression of Isaiah, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions, O Israel, and none but me.” 14 (Isa 43:25.) In which sense, too, God everywhere promises by the prophets that the people shall be clean, when He shall have cleansed them. Meanwhile, however, this does not prevent those who are called to the office of teaching from purging the uncleanness of the people in a certain peculiar way. For, since faith alone purifies the heart, in so far as it receives the testimony which God proffers by the mouth of man, the minister who testifies that we are reconciled to God, is justly reckoned to take away our pollution. This expiation is still in force, though the ceremony has long ceased to be in use. But, since the spiritual healing, which we receive by faith, proceeds from the mere grace of God, the ministry of man does not at all detract from His glory. Let us, then, remember that these two things are perfectly consistent with each other, that God is the sole author of our purity; and yet that the method, which He uses for our justification, must not on that account be neglected. And this is properly referred to discipline, that whosoever has been once cast out of the holy congregation by public authority, must not be received again except upon professing penitence and a new life. We must observe, too, that this jurisdiction was given to the priests not only on the ground that they represented Christ, but also in respect to the ministry, which we have in common with them.
3 And the priest shall go forth. This is the examination, which was more fully treated of in the last chapter, without which it was not lawful to receive him who had been once rejected. The priest’s command, which is mentioned immediately afterwards, I refer to the Levites, some one of whom probably accompanied the priest to prepare the sacrifice, that thus the priests might only discharge the principal duty. The sum of the rite respecting the two birds tends to this, that the cleansing from leprosy was a kind of resurrection Two birds were placed before their eyes; the liberty of one was purchased by the blood of the other; because the former was not let go until it had been first dipped in the blood and the water; and thus the matter of sprinkling was prepared for the man’s purification. The sevenfold repetition was intended to impress more deeply on men’s memories a continual meditation on God’s grace; for we know that by this number perfection is often expressed in Scripture. With the same object, he who had been cured shaved his hair, and washed in water. Yet he did not return home on the first day, but on the eighth. Meantime, on the seventh day he shaved his beard, and his eyebrows, and all the hair of his head; he washed himself and his garments, and then proceeded to the sacrifice. So difficult is it to accustom men to a serious acknowledgment of the two points, to hold their vice in detestation, and worthily to estimate the grace of God whereby they are delivered.
10. And on the eighth. As infants on the eighth day after they were cleansed from the uncleanness which they had brought from the womb, were grafted into the Church, and made members of it; so now the eighth day is prescribed for the restoration of those who, in the cure that they have received, are as it were born again; for they are accounted dead whom the leprosy had banished from the holy congregation. A sacrifice is therefore appointed which may renew the circumcision that had been in some measure effaced. Now, the meaning of all the things here mentioned is not clear to myself, and I would not have my readers too curious respecting them. Some may be probably accounted for; the right ear, the thumb of the right hand, and the great toe of the right foot, were sprinkled with the blood of the offering, because the leper was restored to the ordinary habits and customs of life, so as to have freedom of walk and action, and free conversational intercourse; for in the ear there is a mutual correspondence between speaking and hearing. The head is anointed, or cleansed with the oil, that nothing impure should remain in his whole body 15 God spare the poor and lowly, and does not compel them to offer the two lambs, lest they should be burdened beyond their means; whence it appears, that sacrifices are not estimated according to their intrinsic value, but according to the pious feeling which disposes each on liberally to offer in proportion to what is given him.
34. When ye be come into the land. Another sort of leprosy is here treated of, as to which we may not unreasonably rejoice that it is now unknown to us. But, as God had honored that people with extraordinary privileges, so it was consistent that their ingratitude should be punished by more severe penalties, if they defiled the gifts in which they excelled. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that punishments were inflicted upon them, which it fills us with surprise and horror to hear of. It was a sad sight to behold the leprosy invading the human body; but there was something portentous to perceive it affecting their houses also, and driving out the owners and their families; for if they wittingly and voluntarily remained there, the contagion spread to themselves and all their furniture. But, since God marked with public ignominy those whose houses were struck with leprosy, He commands them to confess their guilt, and not only when the evil had made much advance, but when any suspicion of it had begun to exist. It appears, too, from the Law, that some were but lightly chastised: for, if after the priest’s inspection, in seven days the plague did not increase on the scraped walls, the possessor returned to his house. God punished others more severely, and it was necessary that the building should be utterly destroyed, because the pollution was incurable. But, although these were tokens of God’s wrath, yet, inexpiating the uncleanness, He exercised His people in the study of purity; for it was just as if He drove away from approaching His sanctuary those who came from an unclean house. The sense, then, was that. they should each of them diligently endeavor to keep their houses pure, and chaste, and free from every stain. But if, through God’s mercy, the plague ceased, a sacrifice of thanksgiving was to be offered, as for the human beings (who had been healed.) The next chapter, in which general pollutions and their purifications are not treated of, but only one kind of pollution is glanced at, which has reference to fleshly lust, would perhaps be suitably introduced under the Seventh Commandment; but it will presently appear from the context that it must be brought under this head.
“Rentrassent au rang de ses enfans;” should be restored to the rank of His children. — Fr.
The words in italics seem to be added paraphrastically by C.
Addition in French, “mais d’esplucher tout par le menu, je ne l’oserois entrependre, et ne voundrois;” but I dare not, and would not undertake to explain the whole in detail.