When Beth was visiting her Uncle Joseph, she realized that her cousin Simon* was nowhere to be found. While the grownups were talking, she wandered around the house and looked for Simon.
Eventually, Beth wandered into Simon's room. She saw that there was a lock on the closet door and she could hear something moving inside.
Beth called through the door, "Simon, are you in there?"
"Hello, Beth," Simon answered. "Don't open the door or you might get sick."
Beth didn't want to get sick, so she left Simon's room. Besides, she couldn't have opened the locked door even if she had wanted to.
Later that afternoon, Beth had a moment alone with her mother and told her about finding Simon in the closet. "Why does Simon have to be locked up?" Beth asked her mother.
"Because the Bible says that he should be," answered her mother. "Here, let me tell you a story that will explain everything."
And this is the story she told:
One day, God was talking to Moses and Aaron and he said, "When a man has a bump, a scab, or a bright spot on his skin, he might have leprosy. He should go to a priest and the priest should look at man's skin and see if there is a white hair growing out of it and if it looks dark. If he sees these things, then the man has leprosy. The priest should then tell the man that he is icky.
"If the skin problem is white and not darker than the skin and there are no white hairs growing out of it, then the priest should lock the man up for a week. At the end of the week, the priest should look at the skin problem again, and if it hasn't gone away but it hasn't gotten any better, then the priest should lock the man up for another week. After that, if the skin problem is a little dark but still hasn't spread, then the man isn't icky. It was probably just a scab. The man should wash his clothes just to be safe, but he isn't icky."
Beth thought about this for a moment. "So Simon is locked up because he is sick?" Beth asked her mother.
"Well," her mother said, "it's probably nothing worse than acne, but God says that we should take certain precautions anyway."
Beth smiled and hugged her mother. "I can't wait for the end of the week to see if Simon has leprosy!" Beth said, and ran off to play. All her questions had been answered.
* Matthew 26:6
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