Leviticus 12

Purification after Childbirth

1 The Lord spoke to Moses:
2 "Tell the Israelites: When a woman becomes pregnant and gives birth to a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is during the days of her menstrual impurity.[a]
3 The flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised on the eighth day.[b]
4 She will continue in purification from her bleeding for 33 days. She must not touch any holy thing or go into the sanctuary until completing her days of purification.[c]
5 But if she gives birth to a female child, she will be unclean for two weeks as [she is] during her [menstrual] impurity. She will continue in purification from her bleeding for 66 days.
6 "When her days of purification are complete, whether for a son or daughter, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent of meeting a year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin[d] offering.
7 He will present them before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf; she will be clean from her discharge of blood. This is the law for a woman giving birth, whether to a male or female.
8 But if she doesn't have sufficient means[e] for a sheep, she may take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin[f] offering.[g] Then the priest will make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean."

Leviticus 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

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.

Footnotes 7

  • [a]. Lv 15:19-24
  • [b]. Gn 17:12-13; 21:4; Lk 2:21; Gl 5:6
  • [c]. Lv 15:31; Nm 9:6; 1 Sm 21:5-6
  • [d]. Or purification
  • [e]. Lit if her hand cannot obtain what is sufficient
  • [f]. Or purification
  • [g]. Lv 5:7,11; 14:21-22; Lk 2:21-24

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the purification of a new mother, the time of whose purification for a man child was forty days, and for a maid child eighty, Le 12:1-5 at the close of which she was to bring her offerings to the priests, to make atonement for her, Le 12:6-8.

Leviticus 12 Commentaries

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