Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Leviticus 12:6

‘When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Atonement;   Defilement;   Dove, Turtle;   Offerings;   Purification;   The Topic Concordance - Atonement;   Blood;   Uncleanness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Birds;   Burnt Offering, the;   Trespass Offering;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Doves;   Sacrifice;   Turtle-Dove;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lamb;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Jesus Christ;   Lamb, Lamb of God;   Offerings and Sacrifices;   Priest, Priesthood;   Worship;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Birth;   Dove;   Pigeon;   Sin-Offering;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Bird;   Lamb;   Priest;   Purification;   Turtle (Dove);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Birds;   Birth;   Clean, Cleanness;   Leprosy;   Leviticus;   Purity-Purification;   Sacrifice and Offering;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Clean and Unclean;   Dove;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Animals;   Burnt-Offering ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Pigeon;   Turtle, Turtle Dove;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Firstborn;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Dove;   Sheep;   Shepherd;   Turtle-dove;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Children;   Sheep;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Christ;   Dove (turtle);   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Offerings;   Turtle;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Law of Moses, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Calf, Golden;   Cleanse;   Day;   Dove;   Joseph, Husband of Mary;   Law in the New Testament;   Leviticus;   Pigeon;   Sanctuary;   Uncleanness;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Birth;   Burnt-offerings;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Burnt Offering;   Commandments, the 613;   Dove;   Meal-Offering;   Pharisees;   Sacrifice;   Sin-Offering;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

When the days of her purifying - It is not easy to account for the difference in the times of purification, after the birth of a male and female child. After the birth of a boy the mother was considered unclean for forty days; after the birth of a girl, four-score days. There is probably no physical reason for this difference, and it is difficult to assign a political one. Some of the ancient physicians assert that a woman is in the order of nature much longer in completely recovering after the birth of a female than after the birth of a male child. This assertion is not justified either by observation or matter of fact. Others think that the difference in the time of purification after the birth of a male and female is intended to mark the inferiority of the female sex. This is a miserable reason, and pitifully supported.

She shall bring - a burnt-offering, and - a sin-offering - It is likely that all these ordinances were intended to show man's natural impurity and original defilement by sin, and the necessity of an atonement to cleanse the soul from unrighteousness.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/leviticus-12.html. 1832.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

"And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb a year old for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtle-dove, for a sin-offering, unto the door of the tent of meeting, unto the priest: and he shall offer it before Jehovah, and make atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the fountain of her blood. This is the law for her that beareth, whether a male or a female. And if her means suffice not for a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons; the one for a burnt-offering, and the other for a sin-offering: and the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean."

The fulfillment of the Mosaic requirements here listed were meticulously observed by Mary the blessed Mother of Jesus. Luke gives the account thus:

"And when the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord), and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons." (Luke 2:22-24)

The very fact that the exact words of this chapter are quoted in the Lukan version of the Nativity proves that the ceremonies here were in some way prophetic of the eventual revelation of Jesus Christ to mankind. For countless generations, women, in case of the birth of a male child, were granted a bonus, so to speak, in the shorter period of purification, suggesting the ultimate time when the True Deliverer would be born, and that he would be a man. And then, in the case of Mary and her son Jesus Christ, there suddenly appeared the One who would abolish all of those rules forever! Sure enough, Simeon, under the power of the Holy Spirit, was on hand to shout, "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation!" (Luke 2:30).

THE RICHES OF CHRIST

You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). The chapter before us, along with the N.T. account of Mary and Joseph's careful observance of it puts a mighty emphasis upon the poverty of Jesus Christ who was born into a family so POOR that they could not even afford a lamb to redeem their firstborn. Our Lord never, during his whole life, moved outside that circle of poverty. He grew up in an ancient carpenter shop. He was familiar with patching old clothes, attempting to use old wineskins, and with many other devices of the poor (as proved by his parables). There is no proof that Jesus ever even possessed such a thing as a coin. He once said, plaintively, "The Son of Man hath nowhere to lay his head." And when he died upon Calvary, only a single item of his clothes was worth a throw of the dice to see who would have it.

In this light, therefore, what could Paul have meant in the bold declaration, "Though he was rich?" The riches of Christ consist of only one thing - HIS STATUS "in the beginning, with God" (John 1:1). The command of an innumerable host of angels, the splendors of heaven, "The glory," as Jesus put it, "that I had with thee (God), before the world was!" That was the riches of Christ, all of which Jesus forsook to bring mankind "through his poverty" the eternal riches of life everlasting! Therefore, Paul's statement in 2 Corinthians 8:9 takes its place along with Ephesians 4:9 and Philippians 2:6-9 as a member of that matchless triad of Great Parabolas reaching from infinity in the past to the brief earthly ministry of Christ, and then again reaching all the way to infinity in the future!

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/leviticus-12.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter,.... For a son forty days, and for a daughter eighty; but the ancient Jews formerly, that they might not break it, ordered, that the offering enjoined as follows should not be brought until the next day after the time was up: their canon runs thusF20Maimon. Mechosre Capparah, c. 1. sect. 5. ,"a new mother does not bring her offering on the fortieth day for a male, nor on the eightieth day for a female, but after her sun is set; and she brings her offering on the morrow, which is the forty first for a male, and the eighty first for a female; and this is the day of which it is said, "when the days", &c. Leviticus 12:6."

She shall bring a lamb of the first year; the Septuagint adds, without blemish, as all sacrifices should be, if not expressed; "or the son of his year"F21בן שנתו "filium sui anni", Montanus, Piscator, Drusius. ; some distinguish between "the son of a year", as the phrase sometimes is, and "the son of his year", as here; the latter denoting a lamb in its first year, though something wanting of it, the former a full year old, neither more nor less:

for a burnt offering; in gratitude, and by way of thanksgiving for the mercies she had received in childbearing:

and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering; either the one or the other. With the PersiansF23Lib. Shad-der, port. 73. apud Hyde, ut supra, (Hist. Relig. Vet. Pers.) p. 473. , it is incumbent on a new mother, in Abam (the twelfth month), to bring twelve oblations for the sin which proceedeth from childbirth, that so she might be purified from her sins. It is an observation of the Misnic doctorsF24Misn. Ceritot. c. 6. sect. 9. , that turtles precede pigeons in all places; upon which they ask this question, is it because they are choicer or more excellent than they? observe what is said, Leviticus 12:6 from whence may be learned, that they are both alike, or of equal value. But why a sin offering for childbearing? is it sinful to bear and bring forth children in lawful marriage, where the bed is undefiled? The Jews commonly refer this to some sin or another, that the childbearing woman has been guilty of in relation to childbirth, or while in her labour; and it is not unlikely that she may sometimes be guilty of sin in some way or other, either through an immoderate desire after children, or through impatience and breaking out into rash expressions in the midst of her pains; so Aben Ezra suggests, perhaps some thought rose up in her mind in the hour of childbirth because of pain, or perhaps spoke with her mouth; meaning what was unbecoming, rash, and sinful. Some take the sin to be a rash and false oath: but there seems to be something more than all this, because though one or other of these might be the case of some women, yet not all; whereas this law is general, and reached every new mother, and has respect not so much to any particular sin of her's, as of her first parent Eve, who was first in the transgression; and on account of which transgression pains are endured by every childbearing woman; and who also conceives in sin, and is the instrument of propagating the corruption of nature to her offspring; and therefore was to bring a sin offering typical of the sin offering Christ is made to take away that, and all other sin; whereby she shall be saved, even in childbearing, and that by the birth of a child, the child Jesus, if she continues in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety, 1 Timothy 2:15 these offerings were to be brought

unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest; to offer them up for her. When the temple was built, these were brought to the eastern gate, the gate Nicanor, where the lepers were cleansed, and new mothers purifiedF25Misn. Sotah, c. 1. sect. 5. .

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/leviticus-12.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the f tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:

(f) Where the burnt offerings were wont to be offered.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/leviticus-12.html. 1599-1645.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Observe, both a burnt offering and a sin offering were enjoined, the one to denote GOD'S mercy, the other man's demerit. Psalms 51:5.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/leviticus-12.html. 1828.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb 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:

For a son or a daughter — For the birth of a son, or of a daughter: but the purification was for herself, as appears from the following verses.

A sin-offering — Because of her ceremonial uncleanness, which required a ceremonial expiation.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/leviticus-12.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Leviticus 12:6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb 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:

Ver. 6. And when the days of her purifying.] The Virgin Mary also observed this law, [Luke 2:21] not in conscience of any particular sin, which in the conception of our Saviour she was free from; nor in show, to satisfy the law, much less upon hypocrisy; but in conscience of her natural corruption, which by this oblation, according to the law, she did confess holily and religiously before God and his congregation, as one well observeth.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/leviticus-12.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Leviticus 12:6. For a burnt-offering—for a sin-offering The burnt-offering was by way of gratitude to God for her safe deliverance; the sin-offering to complete her purification, and to gain her perfect re-admission to the tabernacle-service. See ch. Leviticus 15:30. While the Israelites remained in the wilderness, it is probable the women brought these offerings immediately after the days of their separation were over. When they were settled in the land of Canaan, and lived at a distance from the temple, convenience, no doubt, was consulted. See 1 Samuel 1:21; 1 Samuel 1:28 and Allix on the Pentateuch.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/leviticus-12.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

For a son, or for a daughter; for the birth of a son, or of a daughter; but the purification was for herself, as appears from the following verses.

For a sin-offering; either because of her ceremonial uncleanness, which required a ceremonial expiation; or for those particular sins relating to the time and state of child-bearing, of which she is justly presumed to be guilty, which might be many ways.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/leviticus-12.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

6.Burnt offering — Although the self-dedicatory offering is mentioned first, the real order is after the sin offering, see Introduction, (5.) We are not to suppose that a sense of guilt was in the mind of the offerer, but only the fact of ceremonial impurity, which required purgation before the woman could be an accepted worshipper. Hence the smallest of the sin offerings was required. Yet this requirement of both mother and child teaches the doctrine of original, or birth sin. On the fortieth day after his birth Jesus, in his sinless humanity, was presented at the earthly temple; on the fortieth day after his resurrection he was presented in his glorified body in the heavenly sanctuary.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/leviticus-12.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Leviticus 12:6. For a son or a daughter — For the birth of either; but the purification was for herself, as appears from the following verses. A sin- offering — Because of her ceremonial uncleanness, which required a ceremonial expiation.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/leviticus-12.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Lamb, to thank God for her happy delivery. --- Sin, or uncleanness, which was esteemed a legal offence. Perhaps this sacrifice was also designed to expiate the sins she might have fallen into, (Menochius) since she was last able to offer one; and likewise the original sin of her female offspring. That of males was effaced by circumcision. (Haydock)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/leviticus-12.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

she shall bring. As Mary did. Luke 2:22-24.

door = entrance.

tabernacle = tent. Hebrew. "ohel. App-40.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/leviticus-12.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(6) And when the days . . . —Having described in the previous verses the conditions of defilement arising from childbirth, the legislator now prescribes the offerings to be brought for the purification of the woman. The offerings were brought at the expiration of the fortieth day in the case of a boy, and at the end of the eightieth day in the case of a girl, that is, on the forty-first and on the eighty-first respectively.

For a son, or for a daughter.—That is, with regard to a son or a daughter, to either of which she had given birth. The purification was for herself, and was owing to the defiling discharges connected with childbirth, and not for the child to which she gave birth, since the baby was not unclean.

She shall bring a lamb of the first year.—Or, as the Margin has it, a son of his year, that is, a lamb which was within the year of its birth. This burnt offering was an expression of gratitude for the Divine mercy vouchsafed to her in the hours of sorrow and danger, or, as some ancients suggest, it was designed as a confession of impatient and reproachful thoughts harboured by the mother during her pregnancy and the time of parturition (comp. Genesis 25:22); whilst the sin offering was to atone for sinful and violent expressions which she may have heedlessly uttered in the hours of labour and agony. Though when the two sacrifices are mentioned together, the sin offering generally precedes the burnt offering (see Leviticus 5:7; Leviticus 14:31; Leviticus 15:15; Leviticus 15:30; Leviticus 16:3; Leviticus 16:5, &c.), here the burnt offering takes precedence, because it is the more costly of the two. Besides the mother after child-birth (Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 12:8), there were three other unclean persons who had to bring a sin offering for their uncleanness: the leper (Leviticus 14:19; Leviticus 14:31), the woman that had an issue (Leviticus 15:15), and the man that had an issue (Leviticus 15:30).

Unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.—Better, to the entrance of the tent of meeting. (See Leviticus 1:3.) During the time of the second Temple these sacrifices were brought to the eastern gate, called the Gate of Nicanor. Here the lying-in women were purified and the lepers cleansed. (See Leviticus 14:13.)

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/leviticus-12.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb 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:
a lamb
1:10-13; 5:6-10; 14:22; 15:14,29; Numbers 6:10; Luke 2:22; John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 7:26; 1 Peter 1:18,19
of the first year
Heb. a son of his year.
Reciprocal: Leviticus 9:3 - both;  Leviticus 14:19 - GeneralLeviticus 16:7 - GeneralEzekiel 46:13 - of the first year;  Matthew 21:12 - doves;  Luke 2:24 - A pair

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Leviticus 12:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/leviticus-12.html.