Why are guilt and sin offerings connected with cleansing from leprosy in Leviticus 14:12-20?

Salvete, omnes!

Why did God require the person cleansed from leprosy always also to offer a guilt and a sin offering upon his cleansing? This would seem automatically to connect the contraction of leprosy always with some sin he had committed, but, surely, when a person got leprosy (or even today gets any disease), it is not always connected withs ome sin he has committed!

I have read one commentary on these verses that states that the guilt and sin offerings connected with the leprosy are to represent the fact that with sin came physical consequences such as diseas. However, the atonement made with these offerings seems in the text very specific to the individual involved.

Another commentary suggested that the atonement for sin was because the person likely sinned in some ways a s result ofcontracting his illness. However, this would seem inconsistent with all other sacrifices made by individuals as a direct result of some particular sin they had definitely committed.

Perhaps the guilt and sin offerings were to cover any sins (he may have even forgotten?) he had committed during his absence from collective worship?

I must say that, so far, I have found no good reasons or interpretations of why guilt and sin offerings are connected with acquiring leprosy.

Could soemone please help me to understand this? Or, at least provide some more cogent commentary with interpretations of this issue?

Vobis gratias.

The first things that come to mind:

Avoiding scandalizing those who did think this way, even though it is not necessarily the case that the leprosy is the result of sin

To make sure that if it was the result of sin, that was covered

To call to mind the sad reality that all disease is the result of the sin of Adam, which we all must do penance for on account of our own sins which he occasioned

Then there is the immediate connection with the treatment of lepers in the NT by Jesus. The 10 lepers are especially relevant, as He commands them to go show themselves to the priest.

Excellent response, I think. I especially think there’s a strong argument to be made for the practice going back to original sin.

However, one thought against this argument might be that, in virtually all other cases, at least as I understand it, sacrifice for sin is connected always with a specific sin and/or a specific person who committed that sin. It seems in no other case to be connected with the general sin nature. Is it then logical to argue that, only in the case of illness (and even mere menstruation as is later state in the Law), this is the only time that the general sin nature is taken into account? Though, I suppose that one could also argue that, when sacrifice for other sins is called for, they both include the specific sin and the general sacrifice for the sin nature, though one might expect two separate sacrifices to be had for these two situations. I suppose, however, that the idea of making attonement for inanimate objects might also speak to how the Fall of Man generally affected even these…

Perhaps the special character of leprosy is enough to differentiate it, along the lines I offered.

It is so graphic, public, contagious, etc., unlike the vast majority of illness.

Quote fail, but the 10 lepers…
The story behind that is of the 10 cured, only one leper bothered coming back to Jesus to say thanks. And he was not a Jew, but a Samaritin. ( remember the story of the woman asking a cure, and the scraps from the masters table ). It was protocol for those cured to present offerings and very significantly, take up their place in the community again, given back by their Rabbi.

Leprosy was common in those days and made its sufferers untouchable, invisible, and on the lowest rung of that society, outcast. Jesus touched, cured and welcomed and accepted those people.

(This discussion and the significance was the subject of a post Gospel reading talk by our priest).

Another thread on this forum discusses the act of shaking hands in the Peace Be With You part of Mass. And the unsavoury aspect of touching others during flu season. The modern leper?

It could also prefigure the atonement… Leprosy got you thrown out of the camp, but what happens when Jesus cures the one leper (see Mark 1:40-45)… Now the leper goes back into town, while Jesus is driven out.

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