Leprosy in the Ancient World

During ancient biblical times there was a loathsome disease called leprosy (Heb. tzarah meaning smitten and Gr. lepra meaning scaly) of which there was no known cure. It was an uncontrollable, slowly growing disease that would cause swollen lumps on the skin and ulcerous scabs all over the body. There was a numbness sensation that caused the leper to scratch himself, and damage his body unknowingly. A leprous person would look scaly and very deformed, their hair and body was noticeably white and therefore they were easy to identify. Their bodies would rot, body parts would deform, and fingers and toes and sometimes feet would fall off. The leper would drag himself along and his voice would often sound like a dog growling or howling in pain. The only hope and rest for the leper was death.

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