Leprosy is a disease in which the flesh is corrupted and wastes away. In the bible it is used as a symbol of sin, which also corrupts the flesh. There is a clue that leprosy means more than just an illness in this passage from Matthew.
Mt 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Notice that Jesus here instructs his men to heal the sick and cleanse the lepers. You would think that healing the sick would include cleansing lepers, but it is listed separately showing there is something special about it.
Leprosy is dealt with very extensively in Leviticus 13 and 14, which we won't go into now. But here are two passages that clearly associate the sudden onset of leprosy with sin.
9. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against them; and he departed.
10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous
11. And Aaron said unto Moses, Alas, my lord, I beseech thee, lay not the sin upon us, wherein we have done foolishly, and wherein we have sinned. (Numbers 12:9-11 KJV)
18. And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God.
19. Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. 2 Chronicles 26:18-19
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