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Rashi in 17:5 says that one who disputes the status of the Kohanim deserves to be stricken with Tzara'as, just as Moshe Rabbeinu's hand was covered with Tzara'as when he doubted the faith of Klal Yisrael in Mitzrayim.
The Gemara says that Achitophel, among others, saw a vision, and the vision had truth to it, but he misunderstood what he saw. He saw, in a dream, that his male organ developed Tzara'as, and he understood this to mean that he would become king. He was wrong, though. Although it did certainly mean that royalty would come from him, it was actually only through his granddaughter, Bas Sheva, (Bas Sheva's father, Eliam, was Achitophel's son,) and his great-grandson, Shlomo, that he was connected to royalty.
This Gemara is very strange. A normal man that dreamed that his genital organ became diseased with Tzara'as would not wake up convinced that he would be king. He would wake up
If, however, the mark appears on a person who is truly a good and great man, a man who is not a baal lashon hara or stinginess, then on the contrary, it might be a symbol of royalty.
Let's put it slightly differently: There are two dinim in Tzara'as. There's the symptom and the disease, the siman and the siba. The underlying disease is horrible, but the symptom of the disease, the bright white mark, is not. It's like fever. Fever itself, unless its above 105 F/40.5 C when it cooks your brains, is not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is only when the fever indicates that some internal process, an infection or a reaction, is ravaging the body. While Tzara'as is a disease, that's only in the actual experience of Tzara'as. But in a dream, the primary symbolism of Tzara'as is a mark of superiority, not an ironic mockery. If you only see the siman, the symptom, it means something very different.
Achitophel, as we know, was a very great man. He was among our greatest Talmidei Chachamim, and the Navi says that asking Achitophel for for advice was like asking Hashem Himself. He believed, and he was correct in his belief, that the Tzaraas that he saw in his dream was a sign that he was destined for royalty.
Chaim B. points out that this approach helps us to understand Chazal's statement in Yevamos 47b "kashim geirim le'Yisrael ke'sapachas," converts are as hard for Klal Yisrael as Sapachas, a form of Tzara'as. The rishonim interpret this statement in diametrically different ways. On the basis of the Gemara in Sanhedrin 102b, and according to our approach, a sapachas indeed is something that can be interpreted in diametrically different ways; either that some geirim bring cultural traits from before their Geirus, which is bad, or that they outshine us in their brave dedication to the Torah, and shame us by comparison. This is a perfect analogy to our interpretation of the mark of Tzara'as.