This is the third step in the restoration process for a leper. The first two steps involve inspection outside the camp followed by a special offering that is similar to the offering of the consecration of priests. [Leviticus 8] It is an offering of utter consecration and cleansing. The emphasis is on hearing (the right Ear), doing (the Thumb of the right hand) and walking (the Great Toe of the right foot). In effect, we are to live intentional, godly lives.
The second step following that ritual is the shaving off of all of his body hair followed by a ritual baptism in water by which he becomes pure. The shaving is similar to the procedure for the concluding of a Nazarite’s vow when he shaves off all the hair of his consecration and burns it as an offering unto the LORD by mingling it on the altar with the fire of the Peace Offering. [Numbers 6:18] It sets apart the period of time during which the Nazarite was devoted to God in a special way. [John the Baptist and Samson were life-long Nazarites.]
At the end of the third step the Torah says also that “he becomes pure.” Why say it twice? Once after the shaving and baptism and again after the third ritual offering? Is it not because there are two dimensions to his purification: an outward dimension in the world of men and an inward dimension of exposure before the spiritual realm? The underlying Sin implicit in the Leper’s horrible condition is a picture of the putrid condition of humanity that has defiled itself, not only in the world but also in the realm of the spirit, in the sight of men and in the sight of God and of all the Holy Angels.
The Jewish people believe that Leprosy was a judgment upon the evil tongue. This is one reason that James exhorts us to guard our tongues from allowing bitter water and sweet water to mix from the fountain of our hearts and come forth in contaminated speech. [James 3:11; see also these scriptures on bitterness of spirit: Acts 8:23; Romans 3:14; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:19; Hebrews 12:15; James 3:14; Revelation 8:11 (a spiritual application of “Wormwood”—a poison, a numbing agent)]
The purification of the leper is in terms of Atonement. [Leviticus 14:20] Let us remember that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” for sin. [Hebrews 9:22] In doing so, let us consider how precious is the blood of Messiah by which we have been redeemed unto God from our sinful state. [Isaiah 53; 1 Peter 1:19] Let us therefore live hallowed and pure lives before God and before humankind so that the intake of our hearing and the output of our work and walk may be acceptable before the LORD and blessed in the world. Amen. Amen.