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Saturday, July 13th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 12

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

Among many ancient peoples, childbirth was considered to make both mother and child ceremonially "unclean" for a period of time. Scripture gives no reason for including in the Law the provisions regarding the ceremonial uncleanness of childbirth. It is suggested that God did not originate nor condone this concept, but that He gave laws regulating it among His people.

Following the birth of a male child, the mother was considered ceremonially unclean for seven days. It is suggested that the reason for this was the blood passed in giving birth. This was a time of strict separation, from husband and friends, all except those who attended her.

The time of this ceremonial uncleanness and separation was fourteen days, in the birth of a female child.

The circumcision of the male child took place on the eighth day. This was in keeping with God’s instruction to Abraham, Ge 17:12. This was practiced in the time of Christ, see Lu 1:59; 2:21.

When the period of separation was completed, an additional period of purification must be observed. In the case of a male child, this period was thirty-three days following the initial week. In the case of the female child, the period was double that, sixty-six days following the initial two weeks. During this period, the mother was forbidden to enter the sanctuary, and to partake of any holy food (as in the case of the Levites) as well as the Passover. This was also a time of isolation, during which she was not allowed to have sexual relations with her husband.

One benefit of this period of separation would be a time of bonding between mother and child. All fellowship and personal contact with others was forbidden during this time of ceremonial uncleanness.

Another benefit would be to allow her to recover from the physical and psychological trauma of childbirth. She would not be subject to another pregnancy before she was physically recovered.

Still another benefit would accrue to the husband: he would learn

self-control, in subduing his sexual desires during the time of his

wife’s separation. This would enable him to demonstrate his love in

ways other than sexual relations. -These regulations do not imply that there is something "unclean" or sinful about the birth of a child. The biological act which results in conception, the pregnancy, and the birth process are ordained of God, and are holy and right see Ps 127:3-5; 139:13-17; Pr 5:15-21. Sin has degraded this holy and wonderful process by offering fulfillment outside the realm of marriage. God provides a way in which the purity and holiness of marriage and human birth can be restored and enjoyed, by those who trust in Him.

Verses 6-8

Verses 6-8:

The test describes the offerings the mother must make at the conclusion of her period of separation. They were: (1) the Burnt Offering; and (2) the Sin Offering. The Burnt Offering was for the sin-principle, which the new baby inherited from his father. The Sin Offering was for the individual sins which one commits by choice.

The Burnt Offering was to be a lamb, the Sin Offering was a pigeon or turtledove. Provision for poverty was made. In the event the offerer were poor and unable to afford a lamb, she might bring "two turtles," or two turtledoves, one for the Burnt Offering and the other for the Sin Offering.

The provisions for this sacrifice point out the poverty to which Jesus was subject in His incarnation, 2Co 8:9. Jesus’ mother Mary brought, as her purification offerings, two turtledoves, Lu 2:22-24.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 12". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-12.html. 1985.
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