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Quarantines, Social Distancing, and the Bible

Updated: Jul 25, 2022

Social distancing and quarantines… strange concepts to most of us. Trying to stop the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, our healthcare and government leaders have had to take some drastic measures. But what does the Bible say about quarantines for public health?

During the time of Moses, the serious skin disease leprosy was considered the plague (pandemic) of that era. It was a defiling skin disease. In Leviticus 13 (NIV):

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When anyone has a swelling or a rash or a shiny spot on their skin that may be a defiling skin disease, they must be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons who is a priest. The priest is to examine the sore on the skin, and if the hair in the sore has turned white and the sore appears to be more than skin deep, it is a defiling skin disease. When the priest examines that person, he shall pronounce them ceremonially unclean. If the shiny spot on the skin is white but does not appear to be more than skin deep and the hair in it has not turned white, the priest is to isolate the affected person for seven days. On the seventh day the priest is to examine them, and if he sees that the sore is unchanged and has not spread in the skin, he is to isolate them for another seven days. (vv. 1-5).

The Lord designated the priestly line of Aaron to serve as both the spiritual authorities and the public health monitors for the nation of Israel. The Bible sanctioned social quarantines as needed to isolate the affected individuals for their care and to prevent the defiling skin disease from spreading throughout the community. Leviticus 13 goes on to outline protocols for rechecking the infected individuals and pronouncing them clean (cured) or not clean with further ramifications:

As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp (v. 46).

S.I. McMillen, M.D., a medical missionary to Africa who had special training in tropical medicine, described this further in his book None of These Diseases: “Had not the Egyptians and Israelites been afflicted with these diseases for ages?...The laws against leprosy in Leviticus 13 may be regarded as the first model of sanitary legislation….the dawning of a new era in the effective control of disease.”

The Lord‘s promise for Israel’s good health included obeying his public health commandments. In Exodus 15:26 (NIV), the Lord made this promise:

If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.

I’m Dr. Jon Clark and have been in practice for 24 years. When I was 16, Jesus Christ changed my life. Everything good in my life has come from giving my life to Jesus. If you need a fresh start and would like to know Jesus, the Bible says that if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. If you make this life-changing decision, give our office a call and let us know.

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