Leviticus 12

Purification After Childbirth

1 The LORD said to Moses,
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.
3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.
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.
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.
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 offering.[a]
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.
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.’ ”

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.

Cross References 9

  • 1. Leviticus 15:19; Leviticus 18:19; Isaiah 64:6; Ezekiel 18:6; Ezekiel 22:10; Ezekiel 36:17
  • 2. S Exodus 22:30
  • 3. S Genesis 17:10; Genesis 17:12; S Luke 1:59; Luke 2:21
  • 4. Luke 2:22
  • 5. Exodus 29:38; Leviticus 23:12; Numbers 6:12,14; Numbers 7:15
  • 6. Leviticus 5:7
  • 7. S Genesis 15:9; Leviticus 14:22
  • 8. Leviticus 5:7; Luke 2:22-24*
  • 9. S Leviticus 4:26

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Or "purification offering" ; also in verse 8

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