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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus

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FRAMEWORKS: Leviticus 12: Purification After Childbirth


[Notes: In this short chapter we have taken the notes from a study found elsewhere on this site, ]


v.1,2 After Birth

v.3 Circumcision of male babies

v.4 Period of Waiting

v.5 Daughters

v.6-8 Required Offerings



v.1,2 After Birth


v.1 The Lord said to Moses,

v.2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period.


[Note: The word ‘unclean' refers less to any moral or sanitary state but simply means ‘not in a fit state' to go through the various rites of the Tabernacle worship.]



v.3 Circumcision of male babies


v.3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.


[Note: Modern science tells us that the eighth day is the very best time to carry out such an operation with as little pain or risk as is possible.]


v.4 Period of Waiting


v.4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over.


[ Note: Again ‘purification' simply means ‘is completely finished with, and her body is starting to return to normal'. The  ‘not touch anything sacred'  simply is an embargo on her going anywhere near the Tabernacle and the required rites. She is excused all this while she gets over her childbirth. (For which she would no doubt be very grateful).]



v.5 Daughters


v.5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.


[Note: It is may be possible that the Lord knows that female babies were weaker and more vulnerable than male babies and therefore He allows a longer time of recovery and caring. Someone suggested that perhaps baby girls need a longer period to bond properly to their mothers. The answer is uncertain because we aren't told. We see here rules that provide God's care and concern for women.]



v.6-8 Required offerings


v.6 “‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin [or purification] offering.

v.7 He shall offer them before the Lord to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.

“‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl.

v.8 But if she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.'”


[Note: It is simply a recognition that for the times prescribed she has been out of contact with the available access to God (the Tabernacle) and these offerings bring her back into complete communion with the Lord. The very act of going and making these offerings, brings her right back into the life of Israel with God. It is to reassure her and re-establish her in the covenant community so she can have no doubts. Every new mother did it so there was no stigma attached to it. It was just part of God's process for making sure she would come to meet Him after having been through childbirth.]