A time when the priests were the physicians


Leviticus 13

Friends, these times we live in are not the best of times but I can tell you there are those who lived in worse times. There is a time in the history of men, not so long ago, when the priest was the physician, the teacher, the prosecutor, the judge and the executioner. These times are far behind us except if you are living in a Muslim majority country where every law is based on the Koran, hadith or pronouncements by Imams. In Leviticus 13 we have the priest as the physician, the disease in question is leprosy and the one person giving medical advice, the scientist per excellence, is one YHWH. Why I find the scenario in this whole chapter wrong is the priests, Moses and Aaron, instead of just telling YHWH or whoever is issuing instructions to just deal with the disease once and for all for the benefit of us all, they are just there listening.

This chapter is 59 verses long on just the diagnosis of leprosy which I don’t think I will want to bore you with but that notwithstanding we will look at a few verses, just so that you know some of these things. They say knowledge is power and it is my intention to empower you ūüėÄ and I hope you shall allow me to do so.

First, leprosy

¬†also known as¬†Hansen’s disease¬†(HD), is a¬†chronic¬†disease caused by the¬†bacteriaMycobacterium leprae¬†and¬†Mycobacterium lepromatosis.¬†Leprosy is primarily a¬†granulomatous¬†disease of the¬†peripheral nerves¬†and¬†mucosa¬†of the¬†upper respiratory tract; skin lesions are the primary external sign

Now that you know what leprosy is, let us see what god instructs his priests to do and you will be grateful that we have physicians in our times.

3 The priest shall look at the mark on the skin of the body, and if the hair in the infection has turned white and the infection appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is an infection of leprosy; when the priest has looked at him, he shall pronounce him unclean. 4 But if the bright spot is white on the skin of his body, and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair on it has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate him who has the infection for seven days. 5 The priest shall look at him on the seventh day, and if in his eyes the infection has not changed and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days. 6 The priest shall look at him again on the seventh day, and if the infection has faded and the mark has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is only a scab. And he shall wash his clothes and be clean.

You had to pray for the gods to smile on you so that you are not put under observation. It seems to me, nothing was done to you once the priest decided you are to be under observation. How change was expected after 7/14 days I don’t see how the upside of it though was if you were pronounced clean all you needed to do was wash your clothes!

9 “When the infection of leprosy is on a man, then he shall be brought to the priest. 10 The priest shall then look, and if there is a white swelling in the skin, and it has turned the hair white, and there is quick raw flesh in the swelling, 11 it is a chronic leprosy on the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; he shall not isolate him, for he is unclean. 12 If the leprosy breaks out farther on the skin, and the leprosy covers all the skin of him who has the infection from his head even to his feet, as far as the priest can see, 13 then the priest shall look, and behold, if the leprosy has covered all his body, he shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; it has all turned white and he is clean.

This verse left me confused. Is it that if your body is covered in leprosy you are no longer unclean?

17 and the priest shall look at him, and behold, if the infection has turned to white, then the priest shall pronounce clean him who has the infection; he is clean.

Am still confused. If a person has the infection how is he clean? Maybe someone understands this for I honestly do not!

24 “Or if the body sustains in its skin a burn by fire, and the raw flesh of the burn becomes a bright spot, reddish-white, or white, 25 then the priest shall look at it. And if the hair in the bright spot has turned white and it appears to be deeper than the skin, it is leprosy; it has broken out in the burn. Therefore, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is an infection of leprosy.

Now here is where it gets a little complex. You have suffered and the priest has ruled it out to be leprosy. You know when things are thick if all the physician does is to look and diagnose!

45¬†‚ÄúAs for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and¬†the hair of his head shall be¬†uncovered, and he shall¬†cover his mustache and cry, ‚ÄėUnclean! Unclean!‚Äô¬†46¬†He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

If you really want to know the meaning of stigmatization, here it is proceeding from the mouth of YHWH, the all-powerful. How a person who is sick i expected to take care of themselves alone is beyond me unless YHWH had ideas of reaching them while the village is asleep or else what I see here is a community turning a blind eye to its problem. It’s like having a brother you all know exists but no one likes him so you purposefully ignore his existence. Maybe we can forgive the priests, it is god who commands and god must be right!

47 “When a garment has a mark of leprosy in it, whether it is a wool garment or a linen garment,48 whether in warp or woof, of linen or of wool, whether in leather or in any article made of leather,49 if the mark is greenish or reddish in the garment or in the leather, or in the warp or in the woof, or in any article of leather, it is a leprous mark and shall be shown to the priest. 50 Then the priest shall look at the mark and shall quarantine the article with the mark for seven days. 51 He shall then look at the mark on the seventh day; if the mark has spread in the garment, whether in the warp or in the woof, or in the leather, whatever the purpose for which the leather is used, the mark is a leprous malignancy, it is unclean. 52 So he shall burn the garment, whether the warp or the woof, in wool or in linen, or any article of leather in which the mark occurs, for it is a leprous malignancy; it shall be burned in the fire.

What I like with the good book is there is always the ridiculous in almost every page. You don’t have to look hard for it, they are always looking at you waiting to be discovered. And here we have a taste of the ridiculous! Why for the life of me would you quarantine a piece of cloth for 7 days and then take it to a priest to look? If the garment was worn by a person with leprosy or any ailment of the skin, for that matter, that causes oozing, it will be definitely on the cloth. Depending on how bad the infection was, a decision ought to be made whether cleaning would be sufficient or complete destruction and for this I truly see no need to see a priest unless the intention of god was to make priests so powerful as to control even the thinking of men!

 

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

31 thoughts on “A time when the priests were the physicians

  1. Mordanicus says:

    According to David Benatar, a South-African philosopher, the best of times will be the time when humanity has become extinct. This because then all human suffering has ceased to exist.

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  2. When the story says Jesus ‘healed’ the sick you have divine intervention. This story is just god ignoring human suffering. If a god existed, this would have been the time that you see the priest who prays for you and then god makes you better. The one thing this story illustrates is that even when YHWH was supposed to be talking to men in person he was powerless to heal the sick or lessen suffering. Not even in the bible does it tell of YHWH pronouncing healing on anyone or actually lessening suffering. All of YHWH’s power is in causing suffering.

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    • makagutu says:

      Indeed, YHWH is shown to be powerless in healing. All he does is cause suffering, curse people and land and once in a while genocide by drowning or by earthquakes. In all fairness, he is a killer god!

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      • Absolutely! Thank you for working to put this out there. I look forward to the day that it is common knowledge and talk that YHWH is a killer god… nothing more than a myth.

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        • Mordanicus says:

          On that day, there will be another stupid religion which will have replaced current abrahamic faiths. Greco-Roman religion was/is as BS as christianity (although it might have been less pathetic).

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          • I am hopeful it can all be replaced…

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            • Mordanicus says:

              That would be great.

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              • john zande says:

                I’m a fan of the UFO religions…. they make me giggle, although Heavens Gate turn out pretty badly.

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                • Mordanicus says:

                  The Raelians are a funny, mostly harmless, UFO religion. Their beliefs are quite silly, but they are possibly among the most tolerant cults.

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                  • john zande says:

                    They’re great. I hope Claude get to build his spaceport embassy in Jerusalem.

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                    • Mordanicus says:

                      This one of the few falsifiable claims by a “prophet”: if the embassy has been built the elohim will show up.

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                    • john zande says:

                      Precisely… so we should let him build it. After all, if a 20,000 year old alien called Yahweh told him to build it we should at least erect the damn thing. 20,000 year old aliens can’t be wrong, can they? ūüôā

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                    • Mordanicus says:

                      According to Claude, the embassy could be anywhere on Earth (although Jerusalem is their first choice). They have been collecting money for the embassy for decades, so why didn’t build that embassy? I think you can easily buy some piece of land somewhere in Arizona or so. In the US you can build with very few restrictions. My suspicion is and was that the embassy is just a way of getting money from the fools and the whole “problem” about getting permission to place the embassy. (It seems that France would allow the embassy, if the elohim would allow a french embassy on their planet.)

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                • makagutu says:

                  I think many things pass me by! There’s a cult for UFOs? Or should we just call it a church since the difference really is in real estate and age nothing more!

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                  • john zande says:

                    There’s heaps! Here’s a few of the bigger ones:

                    Ra√ęlism, the Cosmic Circle of Fellowship, Ground Crew Project, Armageddon Time Ark Base Operation, Planetary Activation Organisation, Ashtar Galactic Command, Chen Tao, Scientology, Star Light Fellowship, Unarius, Universe People, Guardian Activation International, and the Aetherius Society

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          • makagutu says:

            whatever religion lets hope it will not be superstition based. It is because of superstition that men have enslaved fellow men, have burnt them at the stake and it is for the same superstition that some idiots are killing each in the middle east.

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  3. Since this was the supposed divine truth on how to treat leperosy, etc, one would expect that true believers to still accept the treatment. But they don’t. Alas, their god is always just as ignorant as the people worshipping it.

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    • makagutu says:

      you wonder whence the apologists get their idea of an omniscient god!
      It’s both a powerless and ignorant god just as goat herders are.

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  4. themodernidiot says:

    True, it’s silly, but…think like they did, without science or current understandings of bacteria and contagious diseases. This might have been all they could piece together given visual evidence and limited knowledge. When they saw something green that smelled bad, given no scientific knowledge of biology, much like a child would, they must have thought, “Oh, that’s foul. This must be dangerous, and so removed.” It’s a faulty logic, but perhaps only the logic they had at the time. At least they were half right.

    It seems ridiculous now, sure, but at the time it made sense; like leeching did later, or the incredible oversights of the plagues, the 19th c. duh of cholera (thank you Robert Koch), or any of the bullsh*t with psychology and pharmaceuticals now. A hundred, maybe even (I cross my fingers) fifty years from now, science will figure out that they are creating mental illness, not curing it.

    The bible, all texts really are just guide, not manuals, and metaphorical ones at that. So should we really take them so seriously in the literal?

    You can’t really disprove god using the uninformed logic of ages anymore that you can prove god’s existence using it now.

    And get out of Leviticus-it’s making you crazy ūüėČ

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    • makagutu says:

      my dear, I don’t criticize the goat herders for their limited knowledge. No, it is their god whom we have been told is all knowing and all powerful that I intend to critique. It is god we are told is addressing moses and Aaron, the god who a few hundred years before created the earth and all in it and is now the physician in chief. We would except one of two things; that who would advice on the correct diagnosis and provide a cure or promise to annihilate the disease once and for all. I don’t think that would be asking too much of an all powerful and loving deity who is at the same time all knowing!
      I will consider that advice and read Leviticus once every two weeks ūüėÄ

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      • themodernidiot says:

        oh i know my good sir, but what i’m thinking is that just because god would be all loving and protective, i don’t think god would have been all controlling. the word father is repeated ad nauseum in the text, and it seems odd to me that people get tripped up by the omni thing. they think god is there pulling their strings (when it’s convenient, and they need a scapegoat anyway)

        i would think a god for humans would be parental rather than managerial. humans gotta learn by doing.

        If there is no god, then the text makes even more sense because humans are ridiculous

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        • makagutu says:

          is telling them about the cure all controlling? I don’t think so. On the other hand I think that is being responsible for his mess.

          Am all for humans learning by doing. They have been doing that since time immemorial. Why they need god is the next question.

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          • themodernidiot says:

            maybe long long ago we needed that control device to make societies.

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            • makagutu says:

              It is interesting the Aztecs didn’t need it, the Greeks and early Romans didn’t need it. It must have been a requirement for the Hebrews alone as I see it.

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              • themodernidiot says:

                Good morning my friend.
                You just named three societies that were masters at using religion to control. I am confused by your comment. Can you clarify for me?

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                • makagutu says:

                  Hey friend.
                  I think I could have shot myself in the foot here but let’s see, my point really was regard to gods writing or other inspiring men to write such injunctions.

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  5. fabryhistory says:

    I used to read Leviticus to put myself to sleep, this portion in particular was is a favorite – it still cracks me up.

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