Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | May 24, 2017

Science in the Bible – Quarantine

(2 Minute Read)

The Black Death (including the form known as Bubonic Plague) peaked in Europe 1346-1353. Estimates of deaths in Eurasia range from 75 million to 200 million. Historians estimate the epidemic wiped out 45-60% of the population.

Quarantines could have helped limit the spread of this deadly disease, but except for the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, they were not used. Dubrovnik required a 40-day isolation before allowing people entry to the city. This 40-day period is the origin of the word quarantine, from the Italian meaning “forty days.”

Until the 1700s, many in science and medicine thought diseases like the Black Death were caused by poisonous air. Eventually scientists discovered that microbes spread disease from one person to another, and they realized it would be possible to contain disease with quarantines.

Centuries earlier, however, around 1500 BC, the Israelites under Moses practiced medical quarantine at Yahweh’s direction. Those with contagious diseases had to live alone outside the camp until they recovered their health.

As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection; he is unclean. He shall live alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp. (Leviticus 13:45-46 NASB)

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper and everyone having a discharge and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person. You shall send away both male and female; you shall send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst.” The sons of Israel did so and sent them outside the camp; just as the Lord had spoken to Moses, thus the sons of Israel did. (Numbers 5:1-4 NASB)

Sound health principles have been in the Bible for thousands of years. Likewise, the good news of eternal health is also given in the Bible in John 3:16.

Science Catches Up to the Bible

Three thousand years before man understood the reasons for quarantines, Yahweh instructed Israel under Moses to quarantine infectious diseases in order to preserve the health of the nation.

How was Moses able to write about this so long before other men understood it?

Although the Bible is not primarily a science textbook, it does hint at many scientific truths like this one and like those mentioned in this Science in the Bible series, truths that long pre-date their discovery by today’s scientists. This is strong evidence of divine authorship of the Bible.

Questions to Ponder

1. Would quarantine be a good idea today for sexually transmitted diseases?
2. How would you answer someone who protests that Old Testament quarantine regulations were hurtful to a person’s self-esteem?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the 12th in the Science in the Bible series of blog posts. While there is much science connected with Creation and Noah’s Flood, this series will focus on lesser known scientific truths that were alluded to in the Bible long before they were known to scientists.
Read the prequels:
1. Science in the Bible – Blood
2. Science in the Bible – Ocean Currents
3. Science in the Bible – Undersea Mountains
4. Science in the Bible – Ocean Reservoirs
5. Science in the Bible – Good Medicine
6. Science in the Bible – Round Earth
7. Science in the Bible – Don’t Marry Kin
8. Science in the Bible – Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
9. Science in the Bible – Hanging Earth
10. Science in the Bible – Thermodynamics
11. Science in the Bible – Water Cycle

Read the sequel:
13. Science in the Bible – Starry Host

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday May 24, 2017 A.D.

Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)

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Responses

  1. The quarantine regulations might hurt a person’s self esteem but I don’t believe that is a bad thing. The Bible warns against pride, which is just another name for self esteem. We are encouraged to practice humility and regard others as more important than we are.

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  2. As a Registered Nurse of more than 30 years, I highly recommend sentistive and proper teaching for ALL Communicable Diseases. When someone has to be quarantined, it needs to be taught that not only is it best for the patient, but for the community as a whole. Teaching in love is making certain the persons knows that they are loved, cared for, and will be respected-not shunned, (as a person) that the period of time will likely be much briefer and healing much faster if the rules are understood and complied with to the fullest. Proper teaching is essential for all involved-not only the one quarentined, but the rest of those who may be involved. Teaching does not end with the patient.
    The Old Testament laws and rules were placed there by a LOVING GOD, Who knows what is best for us-lack of teaching is the source of the low self-esteem. Science has proven over and over that the laws regarding food, cleanliness, etc. were given for a reason-we just need to trust God that what He said is for our own well-being! (“My people perish for lack of knowledge” could be applied here!)

    As for STD’s: I also highly recommend “Abstinence”
    Unfortunately, due to our fallen nature-we can’t legislate abstinence, but we CAN teach our young at an early age-as soon as they are old enough to begin questions and show curiosity. This teaching should come from the parents and/or grandparents-or someone close to them. As soon as it is feasible, teens and pre-teens should be taught to communicate-and to do that, parents MUST listen, not half-heartedly, but with open lines.

    We have to teach them that sex is a sacred gift from God, that should only be within the marriage-that IF you do make a mistake, it doesn’t mean that you have to continue in that life-style!

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