Leviticus 13:47–50 --What was bad about mold? Regulations About Defiling Molds 47 “As for any fabric that is spoiled with a defiling mold—any woolen or linen clothing, 48 any woven or knitted material of linen or wool, any leather or anything made of leather— 49 if the affected area in the fabric, the leather, the woven or knitted material, or any leather article, is greenish or reddish, it is a defiling mold and must be shown to the priest. 50 The priest is to examine the affected area and isolate the article for seven days.
ESV - 2 And the Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
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As I interpret the passages in question, the "mold" being referred to is not just any fungus or organic growth (that might by itself be a source of disease, as it can still be today), but is an indication of the possible presence of specific bacilli or other organisms that (at least according to the Biblical account) could transmit various infectious skin diseases (commonly grouped together under the term "leprosy"), and that could (at a minimum) make the infected individual ceremonially unclean, and (at worst) result in permanent disfigurement or even death. I would say that the great deal of detail contained in the Mosaic Law regarding this subject was based on multiple factors: 1) concern about contagion, especially given the limited state of scientific knowledge; 2) concern about infection or defilement of objects directly associated with Israel's religious life (particularly consecrated items emblematic of God's holiness); 3) the effect of the disease or condition on the ability of a person to participate in daily life, including worship; and 4) a desire to emphasize the involvement and role of God (directly and through the priesthood) in the detection, control, and eradication of the disease, to keep the people ever mindful of and obedient to God and His laws.
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