Quarantine

“Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.
– Leviticus 13: 43 – 46

quarantine

√ Image Source: http://www.hablamosjuntos.org/signage/symbols/default.using_symbols.asp

 

1.  This passage is remarkable in its insight

2.  There are a couple of ideas as to which exact disease was represented in the Bible by the term “leprosy”

  • It is clear however, that it was/is a contagious disease of some sort

√ Source: http://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/Leviticus/Laws-concerning-leprosy/default.aspx

3.  The Bible is communicating here that a number of steps should be taken:

  • His clothes are to be torn – and in essence, disposed of
  • He is to cover his mustache – which is amazing in that he is being told to cover his mouth and his nose
  • Lastly, he is to be quarantined / segregated from others until he is clean again

4.  Regarding this passage, S.E. Massengill wrote in his book A Sketch of Medicine and Pharmacy:
“In the prevention of disease, however, the ancient Hebrews made real progress. The teachings of Moses, as embodied in the Priestly Code of the Old Testament, contain two clear conceptions of modern sanitation—the importance of cleanliness and the possibility of controlling epidemic disease by isolation and quarantine.”

  • Massengill founded a giant pharmaceutical company that was his namesake

√ Source: http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=2024

5.  Roderick E. McGrew’s Encyclopedia of Medical History (1985) says:
“The idea of contagion was foreign to the classic medical tradition and found no place in the voluminous Hippocratic writings. The Old Testament, however, is a rich source for contagionist sentiment, especially in regard to leprosy and venereal disease.”
√ Source: http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=2024

6.  History shows that it was monks in Vienna that ultimately reversed the course of the Bubonic Plague (Black Death) in the Middle Ages by studying and applying the quarantine laws of Leviticus

  • The quarantine system they employed would become the basis for the hospital system we see employed in the world today

√ Source: http://bible.ucg.org/bible-commentary/Leviticus/Laws-concerning-leprosy/default.aspx
√ Source: Arturo Castiglione, History of Medicine (1941)