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Leviticus 12

Ceremonial purification.

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Ceremonial purification

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

4 And she shall then continue in 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.

5 But 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.

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:

7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and 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.

8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Child. By this manner of expressing himself, Moses excludes the blessed Virgin, as the ancient fathers and the moderns generally remark. She conceived without concupiscence, and was subject to none of the usual inconveniences of child-birth. Suarez. — So that whether this law was instituted to expiate the former, or to purify the latter, she was not included. All other mothers were separated, at least seven days, and longer if their state required it; (C.) during which time, they were treated like those mentioned, C. xv. 19. After that period they were allowed to manage their affairs, as usual, but not to touch any thing sacred, nor suffer their husbands to approach them, till the expiration of 33 days more, v. 4. M. — Euripides blames Diana for keeping such women at a distance from her altar, while she delighted in human sacrifices. Iphigen. v. 380. Censorinus says, “Prægnan ante diem quadragesimum non prodit in Fanum; & post partum pleræque graviores sunt, nec sanguinem interdum continent.” Grotius.

Ver. 3. Eighth. Nothing but the child’s health could retard the day, (C.) unless the parents were under the necessity of taking a journey, as they were in the desert, &c. H.

Ver. 4. Sanctuary, or court of the tabernacle, where the women had probably a place apart. C.

Ver. 5. Days. In all 80, double the time required for a male child, as they infirmities of women continue so much longer when they bear a female. Vales. sac. Philos. c. xviii. Hippocrates allows forty-two days for the one, and thirty for the other. — Purification. Some copies of the Sept. read, in her pure, others, in her impure blood; which Origen attempts to reconcile by observing, that she is deemed less impure during the last thirty-three or sixty-six days, than in the preceding ones. C. — During these, she was treated almost like those who were under the greatest legal uncleanness, C. xv. Numbers v. Those who were under the less, might enter the court of the Gentiles, and did not infect others by their touch. Josep. c. Apion 2. T.

Ver. 6. 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, (M.) since she was last able to offer one; and likewise the original sin of her female offspring. That of males was effaced by circumcision. H.

Ver. 7. Blood, which has caused her legal uncleanness.

Ver. 8. Lamb. This was the case of the blessed Virgin: (Luc. ii. 24,); so poor was she! M. — It seems difficult to conceive, how all the women of Palestine could present themselves before the tabernacle, 40 or 80 days after the childbirth. Perhaps the law regarded those only who lived in the neighbourhood. The priests explained to the rest what they had to do, whether they might defer bringing their offering till the next great festival, or they might send it by another hand. We read that Anna came to the temple after she had weaned Samuel, 1 K. i. 21. C.