When you think about the leprosy spoken of in Leviticus 13, do you immediately think of gossipers, complainers and crude jokers? Well, until I studied this week’s parasha neither did I. However, according to the ancient teachers, evil speech resulted in tzara’at. Read More »
I’ve been studying lashon hara or evil speech since I found out how Israel was afflicted in their infancy as a nation. My initial understanding included unkind words spoken about someone in the form of gossip, but I’m learning it’s so much more. Let’s discuss it a moment. First of all, it must be true, not a lie or exaggeration. It also is a fact that isn’t commonly known. It can be spoken to the person, not just behind their back, as in gossip; and you are considered as having committed lashon hara if you listened to someone else sharing information about another. In the Jewish culture, it is consider a grievous sin. Other forms of negative speech falls into categories which are considered worse, but it is argued that if lashon hara is so bad, how much worse to speak with lies or exaggerations. My son Josh and I even discussed the evil speech was use about ourselves to others (or to be ourselves up with), which I hadn’t considered as sinful before. Read More »
When you think about the leprosy spoken of in Leviticus 13, do you immediately think of gossipers, complainers and crude jokers? Well, until I studied this week’s parasha neither did I. However, according to the ancient teachers, evil speech resulted in tzara’at. Let me back up a moment because this is not the condition we usually think of when we picture leprosy. Tzara’at was a condition that affected skin, clothing and a person’s dwelling place. The leprosy we think of is a nerve disease that affects the body, but nothing else. When you consider the times in which this command was initiated, the people didn’t have volumes of teaching telling them what made them ritually clean so they could draw near to YHVH, so they learned through a physical manifestation when they said or did things that made them ritually unclean. During the outbreak, they were set apart outside the camp for 7 days. When I consider the reason for the isolation, I don’t think they got lonely.
This lesson really convicted me about my speech. I imagined what it would be like if there was a physical manifestation every time I complained, gossiped, whined or said things in anger…I’d frequently be in “timeout.” I may not break out every time I say something ungodly, but the impact it has on me and others is very obvious. James 3:8-10, 13 says –
“But no man is able to tame the tongue…With it we bless our Elohim and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of Elohim. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brothers, this should not be so… Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good behavior his works in meekness of wisdom.” (Scriptures 1998)
This lesson reminds me I need to repent as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts me and ask for forgiveness just a quickly.
Leviticus 13:1-3 (English Standard Version) 1The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, 2“When a person has on the skin of his body a(A)swelling or an eruption or a spot, and it turns into a case of leprous[a] disease on the skin of his body,(B) then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests, 3and the priest shall examine the diseased area on the skin of his body. And if the hair in the diseased area has turned white and the disease appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is a case of leprous disease. When the priest has examined him, he shall pronounce him unclean.
Leviticus 13:11 (English Standard Version) 11it is a chronic leprous disease in the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean.(A) He shall not shut him up, for he is unclean.
I. Why do the sages teach that this skin disorder was a result of evil speech?
a. It was temporary disorder diagnosed by the priest.
b. It affected the hair as well as the skin.
c. It was also found in clothing and the dwelling.
d. We also see this idea confirmed in the healing of the ten leprous men.
II. What is evil speech?
a. Comes out of a self centered and ungrateful heart
Luke 17:11-18 (English Standard Version) 1(A) On the way to Jerusalem(B) he was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. 12And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers,[a](C) who stood at a distance 13and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14When he saw them he said to them, “Go and(D) show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back,(E) praising God with a loud voice; 16and(F) he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was(G) a Samaritan. 17Then Jesus answered, “Were not(H) ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18Was no one found to return and(I) give praise to God except this(J) foreigner?”
b. It is gossip and tale bearing (speaking death).
c. It is speaking in such a way as to damage or embarrass another person… even if it is truth.
Proverbs 18:21 (English Standard Version) 21(A) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
III. How does one deal with evil speech?
a. Look for the signs.
b. Confirm it by going to our High Priest Yeshua.
c. Repent and shut yourself up.
d. Seven ways to make sure you do not speak evil.
- Make sure that which you speak is something you have witnessed
- You know what you saw and understood it truthfully
- Try to rebuke it with the person you have observed the offense
- When telling the information, you do not exaggerate
- You must have pure intentions to help the listener
- Speaking about someone else could not be avoided. It must be a life or death matter or to protect someone
- Examine the potential damage to the person of whom you are speaking
Conclusion: James 3:2-12 (English Standard Version) 2For(A) we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says,(B) he is a perfect man,(C) able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put(D) bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet(E) it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6And(F) the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members,(G) staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life,[a] and set on fire by hell.[b] 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil,(H) full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people(I) who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers,[c] these things ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.