The quarantine laws of Leviticus had more to do with quarantining the people from the presence of God than they did with quarantining sick people from healthy people. For example, a blemished priest had to be kept away from God's presence in the temple (Lev. 21:17-21). The laws of leprosy were related to the temple's laws of purity far more than they were to modern public health laws. This is why any conclusions that we attempt to draw from these laws must be done by analogy, not directly.
We can conclude that the civil government did possess lawful authority to remove urban residents from their homes in order to protect others in the community from the judgment of God. This judgment came in the form of plague. The contagion was judicial, but the threat did exist. Second, the priest possessed the civil authority to remove houses and people from a city. His judicial declaration as an ecclesiastical agent had to be enforced by the civil magistrate. Third, the victim of the plague had to bear the expenses associated with the results of the quarantine. Because there was no command in the Old Testament that the State support quarantined individuals, it is not possible to derive from this law any biblical injunction for State welfare programs. The only legitimate economic conclusion to draw from this law by analogy is that there is no State welfare function. The job of the civil government is to protect people from violence, not support people who have been afflicted, either naturally or judicially.
If the State in the Mosaic Covenant was not told by God to support those who fell victim to diseases that mandated quarantine, then there is no biblical case for the State as an agency of tax-financed healing today. If the victim of leprosy in the Mosaic Covenant was forced out of his home by the State, and made to wander outside the city (Lev. 13:45-46), and still the State was not responsible for his financial support, then the case for modern socialized medicine cannot be based on any biblical text. It must be based on the conclusion that there has been a fundamental change in the function of civil government in the New Testament: from protector (Old Covenant) to healer.
- Gary North, Leviticus (1994), 174-75 at http://www.garynorth.com/freebooks/docs/pdf/leviticus.pdf.