Here is my question, which has 1 dowvote and no answers:

Some Jews seemed to think that lepersy was a punishment for sin, rather than a sin itself.

This is most probably going to sound like a stupid question either because there is a specific verse or because there really seems to be no other explanation, but where in the Bible is such indicated? That is what my teachers and priests have told me, but I can't seem to find it in the Bible.

I found this webpage, but it gives me only one verse which doesn't really answer my question:

Incurable by man, many believed God inflicted the curse of leprosy upon people for the sins they committed. In fact, those with leprosy were so despised and loathed that they were not allowed to live in any community with their own people (Numbers 5:2). Among the sixty-one defilements of ancient Jewish laws, leprosy was second only to a dead body in seriousness. A leper wasn’t allowed to come within six feet of any other human, including his own family. The disease was considered so revolting that the leper wasn’t permitted to come within 150 feet of anyone when the wind was blowing. Lepers lived in a community with other lepers until they either got better or died. This was the only way the people knew to contain the spread of the contagious forms of leprosy.

Num 5:2 says "2 “Command the people of Israel that they put out of the camp everyone who is leprous or has a discharge and everyone who is unclean through contact with the dead."

There's a comment in the question that points out 2 Ki 15:5 and another verse Num 12:10 (whose relevance I don't understand).

Num 12:9-11 says "The Murmuring of Miriam and Aaron …9So the anger of the LORD burned against them and He departed. 10But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. 11Then Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned.…"

2 Ki 15:4-6 says "Azariah's Good Reign in Judah …4Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 5The LORD struck the king, so that he was a leper to the day of his death. And he lived in a separate house, while Jotham the king's son was over the household, judging the people of the land. 6Now the rest of the acts of Azariah and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?…"

Some context:

I am trying to clarify the claim I make in this Cognitive Sciences stackexchange question about mental illness:

In ancient times (or Jesus's time), uninformed people believed people who had leprosy had leprosy because they committed a grave sin or sins

Question ended.

I was told:

You should probably ask the person who wrote that post for evidence there as a comment. – curiousdannii Aug 20 at 12:45

I did. There was no reply.

Part of post:

Some Jews seemed to think that lepersy was a punishment for sin, rather than a sin itself.

My question:

About the first sentence, how do you know? – Red Rackham Aug 28 at 5:19

2 Answers 2


Red, I think the question is fine. It identifies a problem, shows that you made an attempt to research it, and is clear. I really have no idea why someone gave it a downvote. The only thing I can think of is they thought it was more a question of Judaism than Christianity. Based on my own questions, I've found question DVs to be somewhat random - my two most UV'ed questions both have a downvote. Either someone doesn't like me very much and also doesn't want to "waste" reputation downvoting my answers, or, more likely, some people DV a question if it doesn't interest them personally.

Incidentally, the question does have a possible good answer (not from the Bible per se, but actually from the Talmud - the Jewish commentary on the Scriptures). It's on my list of questions I want to answer, but I haven't had a chance to get around to it.

  • Thanks ThaddeusB. I'll try Judaism stackexchange Sep 8, 2015 at 2:26

You asked "How do we know Jews or ancient people thought leprosy was due to sin?"

But when I read that I think "I don't know that. I wasn't even hypothesising that."

The way questions are phrased matters. Perhaps you could rephrase it along the lines of "What evidence is there that the Jews thought leprosy was caused by sin?"

  • 2
    This is a pretty common modern understanding of the culture of those times. Asking what the common assumption is based on seems fair enough to me.
    – Caleb
    Sep 4, 2015 at 19:07
  • 1
    @Caleb Sure, and I can and do read questions charitably. But this Meta post is asking for how it can be improved, and this is definitely a way it can be improved.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 4, 2015 at 21:46
  • curiousdannii, what is "that" in "when I read that" ? Sep 8, 2015 at 2:24
  • @Red your original question title.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 8, 2015 at 2:29
  • @curiousdannii The assumption is false?? Sep 8, 2015 at 2:31
  • @Red It might be a common assumption, but my point is that your question title makes it sound universal. You might think that way, but don't say I do. Which means questions shouldn't say we without qualification.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 8, 2015 at 2:38
  • @curiousdannii Your thinking applies to the first sentence here? Sep 14, 2015 at 13:59
  • @Red I don't understand what you're asking.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 14, 2015 at 14:01
  • @curiousdannii You said "You might think that way, but don't say I do." We can apply that to the first sentence there right? The first sentence there seems to state it like it is widely known or accepted. That is precisely what I am asking. Sep 14, 2015 at 14:02
  • @Red Sure. But they phrased it differently than how you phrased your question. They wrote a statement of fact, whereas you wrote a statement of universal knowledge.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Sep 14, 2015 at 14:04

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