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PART THIRD THE LAWS OF PURITY
“The Preliminary Conditions of Sacrifice: the Typical Cleanness and Purifying”—Lange.
PRELIMINARY NOTE ON CLEAN AND UNCLEAN ANIMALS—AND ON DEFILEMENT BY CONTACT
There has been no little debate as to the origin and ground of the distinction between clean and unclean animals. Such a question can only be settled historically. In Genesis 7:2 Noah is directed to take into the ark “of every clean beast by sevens, the male and his female,” while “of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.” There was then already a recognized distinction, and this distinction had nothing to do with the use of animal food, since this had not yet been allowed to man. After the flood, when animal food was given to man (Genesis 9:3), it was given without limitation. “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.” It may therefore be confidently affirmed that this distinction did not have its origin and ground in the suitableness or unsuitableness of different kinds of animal food, as has been contended by many. Neither could it possibly have been founded in any considerations peculiar to the chosen people, since it is here found existing so many ages before the call of Abraham. Immediately after the flood, however, we have a practical application of the distinction which seems to mark its object with sufficient plainness: “Noah builded an altar unto the Lord; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar” (Genesis 8:20). The original distinction must therefore be held to have been between animals fit and unfit for sacrifice (comp. Calvin in Leviticus 11:1). On what ground the selection was originally made for sacrifice is wholly unknown; but it is altogether probable that the same kind of animals which were “clean” in the time of Noah were included in the list of the clean under the Levitical law. Many of the latter, however, were not allowable for sacrifice under the same law, nor is it likely that, they ever were; on the other hand, all were admissible for food in Noah’s time, while under the Levitical law many are forbidden. While, therefore, the original distinction must be sought in sacrificial use, it is plain that the details of this distinction are largely modified under the Levitical law prescribing the animals that may be allowed for food.
When inquiry is now made as to the grounds of this modification, the only reason given in the law itself is comprehensive (Leviticus 11:43-47; Leviticus 20:24-26; Deuteronomy 14:21): “For I am the Lord your God; ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy.” “I am the Lord your God, which have separated you from other people.” This points plainly to the separation of the Israelites by their prescribed laws of food from other nations; and it is indisputable that the effect of these laws was to place almost insurmountable impediments in the way of familiar social intercourse between the Israelites and the surrounding heathen. When this separation was to be broken down in the Christian Church, an intimation to that effect could not be more effectively conveyed than by the vision of St. Peter of a sheet let down “wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air,” with the command, “Rise, Peter, kill and eat” (Acts 10:13). The effectiveness of the separation, however, is to be sought in the details, not in the general character of the distinction, as it is now well known that the ordinary diet of the Egyptians and other nations of antiquity was substantially the same with that of the Israelites. Various reasons given by the fathers and others, with replies showing their fallacy, may be found in Spencer, de leg. Hebr. I. c. vii., § 1, what he considers the true reasons (seven in number) being given in the following section. Comp. also Calvin in Leviticus 11:1.
It is to be observed that the distinction of clean and unclean animals has place only at their death. All living animals were alike clean, and the Hebrew had no scruple in handling the living ass or even the dog. The lion and the eagle, too, as has been well observed by Clark, were used in the most exalted symbolism of prophetic imagery. But as soon as the animals were dead, a question as to their cleanness arose; this depended on two points: a) the manner of the animal’s death; and b) the nature of the animal itself. All animals whatever which died of themselves were unclean to the Israelites, although they might be given or sold to “strangers” (Deuteronomy 14:21), and the touch of their carcasses communicated defilement (Leviticus 11:39-40). This then was one broad distinction of the law, and was evidently based upon the fact that from such animals the blood had not been withdrawn.
But a difference is further made between animals, even when properly slaughtered. In a very general way, the animals allowed are such as have been generally recognized among all nations and in all ages as most suitably forming the staple of animal food; yet the law cannot be considered as founded upon hygienic or any other principles of universal application, since no such distinction was recognized, in the grant to Noah. Moreover, the obligation of its observance was expressly declared to have been abrogated by the council at Jerusalem, Acts 15:0. The distinction was therefore temporary, and peculiar to the chosen people. Its main object, as already shown, was to keep them a separate people, and it is invested with the solemnity of a religious observance. In providing regulations for this purpose, other objects were doubtless incidentally regarded, such as laws of health, etc., some of which are apparent upon the surface, while others lie hidden in our ignorance of local customs and circumstances.
Before closing this note it is worthy of remark that the dualistic notions which formed the basis of the distinction between clean and unclean animals among the Persians were absolutely contradicted by the theology of the Israelites. Those animals were clean among the Parsees which were believed to have been created by Ormuzd, while those which proceeded from the evil principle, Ahriman, were unclean. The Hebrews, on the contrary, were most emphatically taught to refer the origin of all things to Jehovah, and however absolute might be the distinction among animals, it was yet a distinction between the various works of the one Creator.
The general principles of determination of clean animals were the same among the Israelites as among other ancient nations; in quadrupeds, the formation of the foot and the method of mastication and digestion; among birds, the rejection as unclean of birds of prey; and among fish, the obvious possession of fins and scales. All these marks of distinction in the Levitical law are wisely and even necessarily made on the basis of popular observation and belief, not on that of anatomical exactness. Otherwise the people would have been continually liable to error. Scientifically, the camel would be said to divide the hoof, and the hare does not chew the cud. But laws for popular use must necessarily employ terms as they are popularly understood. These matters are often referred to as scientific errors; whereas they were simply descriptions, necessarily popular, for the understanding and enforcement of the law.
Defilement by contact comes forward very prominently in this chapter, as it is also frequently mentioned elsewhere. It is not strange that in a law whose educational purpose is everywhere so plain, this most effective symbolism should hold a place, and the contaminating effect of converse with evil be thus impressed upon this people in their spiritual infancy. It thus has its part with all other precepts of ceremonial cleanness in working out the great spiritual purposes of the law. But beyond this, there is here involved the great truth, but imperfectly revealed under the old dispensation, that the body, as well as the soul, has its part in the relations between God and man. The body, as well as the soul, was a sufferer by the primeval sentence upon sin, and the body, as well as the soul, has part in the redemption of Christ, and awaits the resurrection of the just. The ascetic notions of the mediæval ages regarded the body as evil in a sense entirely incompatible with the representations of Scripture. For not merely is the body the handmaid of the soul, and the necessary instrument of the soul’s action, but the service of the body as well as the soul is recognized in the New Testament (e.g., Romans 12:1) as a Christian duty. On its negative side, at least, this truth was taught under the old dispensation by the many laws of bodily purity, the series of which begins in this chapter. The laws of impurity from physical contact stand as an appendix to the laws of food and as an introduction to the other laws of purity, and form the connecting link between them.
“The purification and cleanness of the human conditions of the offerers. The lying-in women. The leprosy in men, in garments, in houses. Sexual impurities and purifications. Leviticus 12-15”—Lange
Laws of Purification after Childbirth
1And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived1 seed, and born a man child, then she shall be unclean seven days; according to [as2] the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4And she shall then continue in3 the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. 6And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb [sheep4] of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7who shall offer it before the Lord, and5 make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. 8And if she be not able to bring a lamb [one of the flock6], then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL
Leviticus 12:2. תַּזְרִיעַ. The Sam. here has the Niphal. Comp. Genesis 1:11 for similar use of Hiphil.
Leviticus 12:2. כִּימֵי. The text institutes a comparison, saying that the one is the same as the other, rather than makes one the law for the other.
Leviticus 12:4. עַל. There is no distinction in the A. V. between this and the preposition of the preceding verse. Two MSS. read here also בִּדְמֵי as in Leviticus 12:4.
Leviticus 12:6. כֶּבֶשׂ. See Textual Note5 on Leviticus 3:7.
Leviticus 12:7. One MS., the Sam., LXX., and Syr., here supply the word priest, which is necessarily understood from the connection.
Leviticus 12:8. שֶׂה a different word from that in Leviticus 12:6, and used either of sheep or goats, but according to Fürst, only of the young of either.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Here begins a new Parashah of the law extending to Leviticus 13:59; the parallel section of the prophets is 2 Kings 4:42 to 2 Kings 5:19, a prominent subject of which is the cleansing of Naaman from his leprosy.
The previous chapter was addressed to Moses and Aaron conjointly, and so is the following, the latter part of Leviticus 14:0 (beginning at Lev 12:33), and Leviticus 15:0; the present chapter and the earlier part of Leviticus 14:0 are addressed to Moses alone. The reason of this difference seems to lie in the fact that the parts addressed to Moses alone are simple commands given to him as the legislator, requiring no exercise of judgment in their application; while those addressed to both called for more or less of a discrimination which was entrusted by the law to the priests.
The previous chapter treated of uncleanness of men arising from the lower animals which, if attended to promptly, in no case required more for its purification than ablutions, and continued only until evening. This and the three following chapters treat of uncleanness arising from the human body, in most cases requiring expiatory sacrifices with various, and often prolonged, periods before the purification became complete. The various sources of this defilement are: child-bearing (12); leprosy (13, 14); and certain secretions (15); to these is added in Numbers 19:11-16 the most intense of all defilements, that arising from contact with a human corpse. The omission of a vast mass of other sources of impurity, and restriction of rites of purification to these few, certainly indicates (as Keil has shown) that these are not simply regulations for the promotion of cleanliness, or of good morals and decency, but had a higher symbolical and educational meaning. The defilement of child-bearing, which occupies the present chapter, is placed first not only because birth is the natural starting point for the treatment of all that concerns the human body, but also plainly to prevent any possible confusion between this defilement and those mentioned in Leviticus 15:19-30. There is indeed a certain degree of connection between the two, and this made it all the more necessary that this should be treated by itself, as being a different thing and resting upon different grounds.
In regard to purifications in general, Kalisch says: “Next to sacrifices, purifications were the most important part of Hebrew rituals. Whenever both were prescribed together, the latter appeared indeed as merely preparatory to the former, since sacrifices were deemed the main agency of restored peace or holiness; but purifications, like offerings, were frequently ordained as separate and independent acts of worship: closely entwined with the thoughts and habits of the Hebrews, they formed an essential part of their religious system.…. The Hebrews ‘purified,’ or, as they understood the term, sanctified themselves, whenever they desired to rise to the Deity, that is, before solemn ceremonies and seasons, as sacrifices and festivals (Genesis 35:2-4; 1 Samuel 16:5; comp. 2 Chronicles 30:17); or whenever they expected the Deity to descend to them by some supernatural manifestation, as a disclosure of heavenly wisdom, or a deed of miraculous power and help (Exodus 19:10; Exodus 19:14-15; Joshua 3:5; Joshua 7:13). Therefore, when in a state of impurity, they were forbidden to enter the sanctuary, to keep the Passover, and to partake of holy food, whether of sacrificial meat, of sacred offerings and gifts, or of shew bread, because the clean only were fit to approach the holy God and all that appertains to Him (Leviticus 7:19-21; Leviticus 22:3; Numbers 9:6; Numbers 18:11; Numbers 18:13; 1 Samuel 21:5).” Later he adds: “If compared with the purificatory laws of other nations, those of the Pentateuch appear in a favorable light..... They exhibit no vestige of a dualism; in every detail they are stamped by the monotheistic creed; God alone, the merciful, wise and omnipotent Ruler, sends trials and diseases; and no evil genius has the power of causing uncleanness. They are singular in the noble principles on which they are framed—the perfection and holiness of God; and they are thereby raised above frivolity and unmeaning formalism. Moreover, it would be unjust to deny that they were understood as symbols, or as means of sanctification; to defile oneself and to sin, and also to cleanse and to hallow, are frequently used as equivalents. They must be pronounced simple if considered side by side with those of the Parsees, the Hindoos, the Egyptians, or the Talmud.”
The connection here hinted at between uncleanness and sin, between purity and holiness, is a very important one. It rests partly on a symbolism which finds place in all languages, and is abundantly recognized in the diction of the New Testament; and partly upon that actual connection existing between the soul and the body (spoken of in the last chapter), whereby the one is deeply affected by the state and condition of the other. In both respects the educational value of the Levitical laws of purity to a people in their spiritual infancy were of the utmost value. The importance of the symbolism was further enhanced by the broad distinction made between defilements arising from human and those from other sources, and connecting the sin offering only with the former.
This chapter consists of two parts: Leviticus 12:1-5 relate to the time of seclusion, Leviticus 12:6-8 to the means of purification. The following are Lange’s Exegetical Notes on the chapter in full:
“The origin of life makes man unclean in regard to his theocratic right of communion; just as death, or the touch of the dead, and no less that which impairs life—sickness, especially as it is represented by the leprosy, and so also every disturbance of the springs of life. But this surely does not mean that finite life itself was thought of as unclean, and that it must therefore be reconciled to the universal life (Bæhr II., p. 461, opposed to which Sommer and Keil); and it also does not mean that original sin alone has produced all this darkening of life, although the natural condition appears here throughout laden with sinfulness; since we find directions for the purification of lying-in women among the most different nations (see Knobel, p. 466).” [The following brief summary of some of these is given by Clark: “The Hindoo law pronounced the mother of a newborn child to be impure for forty days, required the father to bathe as soon as the birth had taken place, and debarred the whole family for a period from religious rites, while they were to ‘confine themselves to an inward remembrance of the Deity:’ in a Brahmin family this rule extended to all relations within the fourth degree, for ten days, at the end of which they had to bathe. According to the Parsee law, the mother and child were bathed, and the mother had to live in seclusion for forty days, after which she had to undergo other purifying rites. The Arabs are said by Burckhardt to regard the mother as unclean for forty days. The ancient Greeks suffered neither child-birth nor death to take place within consecrated places: both mother and child were bathed, and the mother was not allowed to approach an altar for forty days. The term of forty days, it is evident, was generally regarded as a critical one for both the mother and the child.—The day on which the Romans gave the name to the child, the eighth day for a girl, and the ninth for a boy, was called lustricus dies, ‘the day of purification,’ because certain lustral rites in behalf of the child were performed on the occasion, and some sort of offering was made. The Amphidromia of the Greeks was a similar lustration for the child, when the name was given, probably between the seventh and tenth days (Menu v. 62; Ayeen Akbery, Vol. II., p. 556; Zend Avesta, ap. Bähr; Thucid. III. 104; Eurip. Iph. Taur. 382; Callim. Hym. ad Jov. 16, Hym. ad Del. 123; Censorin. De Die Nat. c. xi., p. 51; Celsus, II. 1; Festus, s. Lustrici Dies with the note in Lindemann, II. 480; Smith, Dict. of Antiq. s. Amphidromia).”—F. G.]—“But, in general, by this establishment of the uncleanness of the natural processes of birth and death, the truth was expressed, that the ideal life of man was already a kind of immortal life, which had to raise itself above the natural conditions of human life—the natural side of his being—and set itself in opposition thereto.”
“If now any one says that all these regulations are not to be considered under the aspect of sanitary or dietetic, but only of typical or religious precepts, we must hold this antithesis to be thoroughly false; there are plain indications that always, from the tree of knowledge down, especially from the circumcision, the one particular was joined with the other.”
“Leviticus 12:2 ss. In regard to the uncleanness of lying-in women, in the first place there are two conditions to be distinguished: first, the time of their especial sickness; secondly, the time of their recovery through the blood (the issue of blood) of their purification. These times differ according as she has borne a son or a daughter. If the child be a boy, the time of her especial sickness is fixed at seven days, exactly like the regulation in regard to the monthly courses. Then on the eighth day the circumcision of the boy was to follow, and from that time for thirty-three days—the eighth day reckoned in—she was to remain at home with the boy, engaged in a constant process of recovery and purification. But why are the seven days of her especial uncleanness doubled to two weeks by the birth of a girl? It is said that this has its foundation in the belief of antiquity that “the bloody and watery issues last longer after the birth of a female than of a male” (see the citations from Hippocrates [op. ed. Kühn. i. p. 393], Aristotle [Hist. anim. vi. 22; vii. 3], and Burdach [Physiologie III., p. 34] in Keil). Whether this view formed a natural reason for the above regulation or not, there was certainly also a theocratic reason of importance: the boy was circumcised—the girl was not; for this the twice seven days might form an equivalent. The girl was so far a Jewess, but not yet an Israelitess” [i.e. a descendant of Abraham after the flesh, but not yet incorporated with the chosen people.—F. G.]. “It was now moreover the proper consequence that the thirty-three days of recovery were doubled to sixty-six days, wherein, indeed, the law of circumcision is still more strongly reflected. The totality of the forty days of purification at the birth of a boy corresponds to the former explanation of the forty days in the life of Moses and Elijah: it is the symbolical time of purification, of exclusion from the world, as it was extended for the whole people to forty years. And the doubling of the forty days in the case of the new-born girl explains itself, if forty days are reckoned for the girl and forty for the mother; a doubling which could not be applied to the circumcised boy. Moreover, the coöperation of the physical view, already noticed, may be also taken into consideration.” [It is particularly to be noticed that the uncleanness continued only seven or fourteen days. During this time it appears from the analogy of Leviticus 15:19-24, the woman was unclean in the sense that every person and thing touched by her became itself unclean and capable of communicating defilement. After this period, the woman was no longer unclean, but might perform at home all the ordinary duties of domestic life; only she was forbidden to approach the sanctuary (i.e., the court of the tabernacle) until the time of her purification. The suggestion of Lange (which was also the opinion of Calvin) that the difference in the length of time for the uncleanness and the purification at the birth of a boy or a girl was due to the fact of the boy’s being formally received into the visible Church of God by circumcision, is a complete and satisfactory solution of a long-vexed question; but this solution necessarily carries with it the determination that the law had respect to the child as well as to the mother. To this two objections are proposed: first, the case of still-born children; but this was so exceptional that there was no occasion to provide for it in the law. When it did occur—if the principle above given is correct—there being no child for whom purification was required, the time would probably have been reduced to that which was considered necessary for the mother alone. The other objection arises from the necessity of including the infant Jesus in the purification of the Virgin Mary, Luke 2:22 (where it is very observable that the Evangelist does not hesitate to say τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὑτῶν7), but this is easily disposed of on the principle announced by Himself in regard to His baptism that “thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). This is the view taken by S. Augustine (Quæst. in Hept. L. III. 40).—F. G.].
“Leviticus 12:6. The equalization of girls with boys appears again in the appointed completing sacrifice.” [That is, in the time at which it was offered; there was no distinction in the sacrifice itself.—F. G.]. “And in this there is not first a sin offering brought, and then a burnt offering, as in the trespass offerings; but first a costly burnt offering, as the expression of the consecration of the new life;—namely, a year old lamb, and then a sin offering small in proportion, a young pigeon, or a turtle-dove.” [This order of the offerings is a remarkable deviation from the general principle that when the two offerings came together, the sin offering always preceded. The reason of this exception appears to lie in the fact that at the birth of a child feelings of joy and gratitude are naturally uppermost; the thought of the child’s heritage of sinfulness comes afterward.—F. G.]. “Only in case of necessity was the burnt offering reduced and made the same as in the sin offering.” [This necessity seems to have been liberally interpreted by custom, and the smaller offering to have been allowed generally to the humbler classes of society. Comp. Luke 2:22-24. The time of the offering also could not be before the fortieth or the eightieth day, but only a very strict construction of the law could forbid its being deferred to a later period for those living at a distance from the sanctuary, as appears to have been done at the birth of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:22-25.—F. G.]. “That bearing and being born, as well as being unclean through sickness and touching the dead, could not be thought of without human complicity in sin, or at least in guilt, was set forth by this law; but how gently was this judgment expressed! If it is now said of this sacrifice from one point of view: for a son, for a daughter [Leviticus 12:6], and then again so she shall be clean [Leviticus 12:8], so again is the time, just as much as the sacrifice of purification, designated as common for mother and child. Keil is thus incorrect when he supposes that the woman did not require purification for the child, but only for herself. According to the fundamental principles of the Levitical law, it could not be conceived that a clean child lay on the breast of an unclean mother. In this very community of the Levitical uncleanness, this inner fellowship between mother and child is raised above the supposed separation in their condition. It is evident that the thing here treated of is indefinite sinfulness, but not “sins becoming known indirectly in the corporeal manifestation of them.”
“Upon the laws of purity among other nations in regard to women in childbed, see Knobel, p. 466, and so too on the circumcision, p. 467.”
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
I. “The theocratic law is joined throughout with the sanitary law, without giving up its pre-dominating and symbolical Levitical signification. In the law of lying-in women there comes especially into notice the connection or unity between mother and child, and the difference between the man-child and the woman-child. See the Exegetical.” Lange.
II. “The doctrine, echoed in a hundred creeds, that ‘Purity is, next to life, the highest boon of man,’ was among them also [the Israelites] a truth and a reality.” Kalisch.
III. “The fall casts a shade of impenetrable darkness over the birth of a child of man. All that reason can say is, that this is another child of sin and heir of death.… The mother in Israel is here taught that while there is impurity and guilt connected with the bearer and the born of the fallen race, yet there is a propitiation on which she may rely for herself and for her off-spring, and a purification which she has for herself, and may confidently expect for her child, while she trains him up in the way he should go.” Murphy.
IV. This chapter shows clearly in the difference between the times of uncleanness and of purification at the birth of a boy and of a girl, the difference in relation to the ancient church brought about by circumcision. The Christian church has taken the place of the Jewish, and baptism has taken the place of circumcision; the same relation therefore may be expected to hold between these.
V. Inasmuch as a sin offering was to be presented conjointly for the mother and the new-born child, the doctrine of original sin is plainly taught in this law. Origen (Hom. viii. in Lev., § 3) draws the same conclusion from the fact that baptism is appointed “for the remission of sins,” and yet is administered to infants.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
As the primeval curse on sin fell, for the woman, on child-bearing, so in child-bearing she becomes by the law unclean, and must present for her purification a sin offering. That curse remains and still clings to every child of sin coming into the world; for purification resort must be had to that true Propitiation for sin of which the sin offering was a type.
“As the mother and her child emerge out of the impurity, she learns to hope for the day when both will emerge out of the bondage and corruption of sin; as the child is circumcised on the eighth day, the confiding parents pray and wait and watch and work for the circumcision of the heart, which is hopefully foreshadowed by the outward rite; as the mother offers her burnt sacrifice and sin sacrifice she rejoices in the knowledge that there is a propitiation that is sufficient for her, and for her children, and for her children’s children to all generations.” Murphy.
“The priestly people of God have always a war to wage with the defilements of the natural life. Even the uncleanness which belongs to the natural vigor of a lying-in woman, and to a newborn child, must be taken away and atoned for.” Lange.
In accordance with this law, “on the fortieth I day after His birth from the Blessed Virgin’s womb, Christ, the second Adam, our Emmanuel, was presented in the substance of our flesh; and on the fortieth day after His resurrection, or birth from the grave (Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5), He was presented in our flesh in the heavenly sanctuary, and we were presented in Him in the dress of a cleansed and glorified humanity.” Wordsworth.
Leviticus 12:2; Leviticus 12:2. תַּזְרִיעַ. The Sam. here has the Niphal. Comp. Genesis 1:11 for similar use of Hiphil.
Leviticus 12:2; Leviticus 12:2. כִּימֵי. The text institutes a comparison, saying that the one is the same as the other, rather than makes one the law for the other.
Leviticus 12:4; Leviticus 12:4. עַל. There is no distinction in the A. V. between this and the preposition of the preceding verse. Two MSS. read here also בִּדְמֵי as in Leviticus 12:4.
Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 12:6. כֶּבֶשׂ. See Textual Note5 on Leviticus 3:7.
Leviticus 12:7; Leviticus 12:7. One MS., the Sam., LXX., and Syr., here supply the word priest, which is necessarily understood from the connection.
Leviticus 12:8; Leviticus 12:8. שֶׂה a different word from that in Leviticus 12:6, and used either of sheep or goats, but according to Fürst, only of the young of either.
In note on Luke 2:22 the view taken by Oosterzee is that the plural refers to Mary and Joseph.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Leviticus 12". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/