Monday, February 22, 2010

Leviticus Chapters 13 & 14

The diagnosis, care and treatment of lepers. Well, until the development of multi-drug treatment.

Chapter 13

Various disgusting descriptions of skin disease, each of which is to be taken to Aaron for diagnosis. What an awesome job he must have had, killing animals, sprinkling blood everywhere, including on his appendages, then oil, and now looking at everyone's skin ailments and deciding, 'No, that's just a pimple, no that's athlete's foot, okay, that there is leprosy.' If it is leprosy, he has to isolate the victim for a week. If he isn't better, he gets locked up for another week. If he's better then, he can do laundry and be declared clean. If it's a really bad case, he gets exiled. There are a lot of finer shades of diagnosis, but hey, if you or someone you love develops leprosy, you're not going to follow the bible's advice even if you think it's inerrant, right?

We do find out that god is cool with baldness and male pattern baldness, as long as it isn't as a result of leprosy.

Apparently you can also tell if someone has leprosy by looking at the stains in his clothing. Of course he then has to burn it, because that is nasty.

For Jerry, of course, the worst part of leprosy is that it cuts the worshipper off from god. Not the deformation, loss of sensation or nerve damage.

Chapter 14

Should you be cured of your leprosy, you can rejoin the fold in the following way: take two birds. Kill one, then dip the other in its blood. Sprinkle the rest of the blood on the leper. Then release the bird. Next, wash your clothes, shave your entire body, take a bath, and sit in your tent for 7 days. Repeat. Then take three lambs, some bread and some oil to the priest. The priest waves the lamb and oil around, then kill the lamb. Then smear the blood on the victim's right ear, thumb and toe. Then the priest sprinkles him with oil, and smears it over the blood, as well as smearing some on his head. Then repeat with the other two lambs. If you can't afford three lambs, one lamb and two turtledoves or pigeons will also do.

Then god says he's going to plague the Canaanites with leprosy.

In addition to people and clothes being infectable with plague, it turns out houses can also be disease carriers. Infected houses are to be isolated for seven days, then seven more if the disease spreads, and if that doesn't work, to remove the diseased stones, then replace them and re-mortar and re-plaster. If that doesn't work the house has to be demolished. Anyone who goes inside is unclean for the rest of the day. If the house does recover, then you have to take two birds, kill one, dip the other in its blood, then let it go.

Or you know, you could just go down to the pub and buy everyone a round of drinks.

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