Leviticus 12:6 MEANING

Leviticus 12:6
(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.)

Verses 6, 7. - The previous verses having stated the conditions and the term of continuance of the uncleanness arising from childbirth, the three final verses describe the offerings to be made by the woman for her purification. She shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering. Two things are noticeable here: first, that the burnt offering, symbolizing self-devotion, is far more costly and important than the sin offering, which had not to be offered for any individual personal sin, but only for human sin, "which had been indirectly manifested in her bodily condition" (Keil); and secondly, that in this one case the sin offering appears to succeed the burnt offering instead of preceding it. No doubt the changed order is owing to the cause just mentioned; the idea of sin, though it may not be altogether put aside (Genesis 3:16), is not to be prominent, as though it were peculiar to the special woman who was purified.

12:1-8 Ceremonial purification. - After the laws concerning clean and unclean food, come the laws concerning clean and unclean persons. Man imparts his depraved nature to his offspring, so that, excepting as the atonement of Christ and the sanctification of the Spirit prevent, the original blessing, Increase and multiply, Ge 1:28, is become to the fallen race a direful curse, and communicates sin and misery. Let those women who have received mercy from God in child-bearing, with all thankfulness own God's goodness to them; and this shall please the Lord better than sacrifices.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 thus (t),"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" (u); 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 Persians (w), 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 doctors (x), 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 purified (y).

(t) Maimon. Mechosre Capparah, c. 1. sect. 5. (u) "filium sui anni", Montanus, Piscator, Drusius. (w) Lib. Shad-der, port. 73. apud Hyde, ut supra, (Hist. Relig. Vet. Pers.) p. 473. (x) Misn. Ceritot. c. 6. sect. 9. (y) Misn. Sotah, c. 1. sect. 5.

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