I find the chapters in our reading some of the most difficult in all of Leviticus. It’s easy for me to get lost in the descriptions of the skin diseases, particularly since I am not a doctor. In fact, even physicians find these descriptions puzzling. But it seems to me that all these diseases have something in common: they all have to do with dead or dying skin that results in scaling.
Without laws such as these, and with the absence of informed medical care in the ancient world, people would likely have left the symptoms described untreated. The fact that such symptoms were to be brought to the priest indicates that care of the physical body is a matter of concern to God (a point we should all remember when we are tempted to let changes in health go untreated).
The seriousness of these matters of hygiene is underscored by the fact that they render the sufferer “unclean,,” – that is, unable to serve before the Lord, and liable to cause others to also become unable. Our bodies are creations of God, and we are obligated to take care of them. We also have an obligation to think of the health of others. Both are concerns to God and inattentiveness affects our relationship with Him.