Pearls of the Word

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Like a leper

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"Truly he suffered our sicknesses, and he carried our sorrows; but we reckoned him like a leper [naga], and struck by God, and abased, or made low" (Isaiah 53:4 Wycliffe Bible).

The Hebrew word naga means 'to hit or touch with a wound'. It is the origin of the Hebrew word 'nega' with the meaning of 'plague' – that is like plagues that struck Egypt (Exodus 11:1) – and 'leprous sore' (Leviticus 13:2). These 'wounds' were considered as a punishment that God inflicted because of sin.

When a man was suffering from leprosy, he was considered unclean and kept apart from the Jewish people for a time (Leviticus 13 and 14). When Jesus was hung on the cross, He was struck by the plague of leprosy because our sins were upon Him. That is why we esteemed Him punished and smitten by God, and separated from Him at the time of His death on the cross.