Old Testament Treatment of Lepers

In the Old Testament, when lepers were (for lack of a better word) “quarantined”, what were the religious perceptions of them?

What I mean is, were they quarantined for health reasons alone, although still possibly held as good people? Or were they marginalized as sinners? Or were they perhaps even seen as altogether condemned somehow?

I remember reading in Biblical footnotes somewhere that leprosy was a sign of spiritual uncleanliness and they weren’t worthy to participate in worship ceremonies.

That’s helpful, so I very much appreciate your response, but it doesn’t completely answer the question.

Based upon what you are saying, the way they were treated would go way beyond merely quarantining them for health reasons.

To be unable to attend a worship ceremony seems something like what I would at least call “marginalization”; but, now, if they couldn’t gain access to the spiritual necessities for their salvation - would their marginalized disposition predispose them to going to hell?

BTW, I’m not really saying it would happen that way. In fact, I don’t even know if there was a hell or a sheol or something… It may even be possible to say people could have still prayed for them in the temple… but it’s unclear to me what was actually the case back then…

I know from when Jesus healed a leper he told him to go to a priest. The priests would purify the lepers after they were healed. (I’m not even sure if lepers could be healed back then so maybe the healed ones suffered from a different skin disease that was thought to leprosy). If the healed ones went to a priest to be purified it seems it follows that lepers were somehow thought to be spiritually impure. I’m not sure how they were treated beyond being quarantined and am not sure how people viewed them beyond their physical illnesses.

Unless they were a doctor, people probably were just repulsed by them… like they probably thought they were gross or something…

Prior to his conversion, St Francis of Assisi was repulsed by lepers, but afterward he cared for them - even to the point of physically embracing them and treating them… And, of course, he did this in Imitation of Christ himself…

It seems to be just an interesting question because social perceptions often dictate outcomes… perhaps some of them could have been cared for, made better and saved to become productive members of society… I think that is what Jesus proved to be true…

But to convince people of how it could be possible - would be nothing short of a miracle…

The answer will be found in Leviticus.

They are declared unclean. But so were women who had just borne children and apparently, anyone who had touched the Scriptures.

So, I’m quite confused about the term, “unclean.”

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In the Bible, leprosy is a broad term which probably referred to many kinds of skin diseases. People with such diseases were separated from the rest, and monitored.

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