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Leviticus 12:2

12:2 “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a woman produces offspring 1  and bears a male child, 2  she will be unclean seven days, as she is unclean during the days of her menstruation. 3 

Leviticus 12:5

12:5 If she bears a female child, she will be impure fourteen days as during her menstrual flow, and she will remain sixty-six days in 4  blood purity. 5 

Leviticus 15:19-33

Female Bodily Discharges

15:19 “‘When a woman has a discharge 6  and her discharge is blood from her body, 7  she is to be in her menstruation 8  seven days, and anyone who touches her will be unclean until evening. 15:20 Anything she lies on during her menstruation will be unclean, and anything she sits on will be unclean. 15:21 Anyone who touches her bed must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 15:22 Anyone who touches any furniture she sits on must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 15:23 If there is something on the bed or on the furniture she sits on, 9  when he touches it 10  he will be unclean until evening, 15:24 and if a man actually has sexual intercourse with her so that her menstrual impurity touches him, 11  then he will be unclean seven days and any bed he lies on will be unclean.

15:25 “‘When a woman’s discharge of blood flows 12  many days not at the time of her menstruation, or if it flows beyond the time of her menstruation, 13  all the days of her discharge of impurity will be like the days of her menstruation – she is unclean. 15:26 Any bed she lies on all the days of her discharge will be to her like the bed of her menstruation, any furniture she sits on will be unclean like the impurity of her menstruation, 15:27 and anyone who touches them will be unclean, and he must wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 14 

Purity Regulations from Female Bodily Discharges

15:28 “‘If 15  she becomes clean from her discharge, then she is to count off for herself seven days, and afterward she will be clean. 15:29 Then on the eighth day she must take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons 16  and she must bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Meeting Tent, 15:30 and the priest is to make one a sin offering and the other a burnt offering. 17  So the priest 18  is to make atonement for her before the Lord from her discharge of impurity.

Summary of Purification Regulations for Bodily Discharges

15:31 “‘Thus you 19  are to set the Israelites apart from their impurity so that they 20  do not die in their impurity by defiling my tabernacle which is in their midst. 15:32 This is the law of the one with a discharge: the one who has a seminal emission 21  and becomes unclean by it, 22  15:33 the one who is sick in her menstruation, the one with a discharge, whether male or female, 23  and a man 24  who has sexual intercourse with an unclean woman.’”

1 tn Heb “produces seed” (Hiphil of זָרַע, zara’; used only elsewhere in Gen 1:11-12 for plants “producing” their own “seed”), referring to the process of childbearing as a whole, from conception to the time of birth (H. D. Preuss, TDOT 4:144; cf. J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 164-65; and J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:742-43). Smr and LXX have Niphal “be impregnated” (see, e.g., Num 5:28); note KJV “If a woman have conceived seed” (cf. ASV, NAB, NRSV; also NIV, NLT “becomes pregnant”).

2 sn The regulations for the “male child” in vv. 2-4 contrast with those for the “female child” in v. 5 (see the note there).

3 tn Heb “as the days of the menstrual flow [nom.] of her menstruating [q. inf.] she shall be unclean” (R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:925-26; the verb appears only in this verse in the OT). Cf. NASB “as in the days of her menstruation”; NLT “during her menstrual period”; NIV “during her monthly period.”

sn See Lev 15:19-24 for the standard purity regulations for a woman’s menstrual period.

4 tn Heb “on purity blood.” The preposition here is עַל (’al) rather than בְּ (bÿ, as it is in the middle of v. 4), but no doubt the same meaning is intended.

5 tn For clarification of the translation here, see the notes on vv. 2-4 above.

sn The doubling of the time after the birth of a female child is puzzling (see the remarks in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:750-51; and G. J. Wenham, Leviticus [NICOT], 188). Some have argued, for example, that it derives from the relative status of the sexes, or a supposed longer blood flow for the birth of a woman, or even to compensate for the future menstrual periods of the female just born. Perhaps there is a better explanation. First, a male child must be circumcised on the eighth day, so the impurity of the mother could not last beyond the first seven days lest it interfere with the circumcision rite. A female child, of course, was not circumcised, so the impurity of the mother would not interfere and the length of the impure time could be extended further. Second, it would be natural to expect that the increased severity of the blood flow after childbirth, as compared to that of a woman’s menstrual period, would call for a longer period of impurity than the normal seven days of the menstrual period impurity (compare Lev 15:19 with 15:25-30). Third, this suggests that the fourteen day impurity period for the female child would have been more appropriate, and the impurity period for the birth of a male child had to be shortened. Fourth, not only the principle of multiples of seven but also multiples of forty applies to this reckoning. Since the woman’s blood discharge after bearing a child continues for more than seven days, her discharge keeps her from contact with sacred things for a longer period of time in order to avoid contaminating the tabernacle (note Lev 15:31). This ended up totaling forty days for the birth of a male child (seven plus thirty-three) and a corresponding doubling of the second set of days for the woman (fourteen plus sixty-six). See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:368-70. The fact that the offerings were the same for either a male or a female infant (vv. 6-8) suggests that the other differences in the regulations are not due to the notion that a male child had greater intrinsic value than a female child (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 169).

6 tn See the note on Lev 15:2 above.

7 tn Heb “blood shall be her discharge in her flesh.” The term “flesh” here refers euphemistically to the female sexual area (cf. the note on v. 2 above).

8 tn See the note on Lev 12:2 and R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:925-27.

9 tn Heb “and if on the bed it (הוּא, hu’) is or on the vessel which she sits on it, when he touches it….” The translation and meaning of this verse is a subject of much debate in the commentaries (see the summary in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:938-40). It is difficult to determine what הוּא refers to, whether it means “he” referring to the one who does the touching, “it” for the furniture or the seat in v. 22, “she” referring to the woman herself (see Smr היא rather than הוא), or perhaps anything that was lying on the furniture or the bed of vv. 21-22. The latter view is taken here (cf. J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 202).

10 tn The MT accent suggest that “when he touches it” goes with the preceding line, but it seems to be better to take it as an introduction to what follows (see J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 202).

11 tn Heb “and if a man indeed lies with her and her menstrual impurity is on him.”

12 tn Heb “And a woman when the flow of her blood flows.”

13 tn Heb “in not the time of her menstruation or when it flows on her menstruation.”

14 tn See the note on v. 5 above.

15 tn Heb “And if…” Although this clause is parallel to v. 13 above, it begins with וְאִם (vÿim, “and if”) here rather than וְכִי (vÿkhi, “and when/if”) there.

16 tn Heb “from the sons of the pigeon,” referring either to “young pigeons” or “various species of pigeon” (contrast J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:168 with J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 14; cf. Lev 1:14 and esp. 5:7-10).

17 tn Heb “And the priest shall make the one a sin offering and the one a burnt offering.”

18 tn Heb “And the priest.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here.

19 tn Heb “And you shall.” The Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) can be considered to have resultative force here (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV, NRSV).

20 tn Heb “and they.” Here the Hebrew conjunction ו (vav, “and”) indicates a negative purpose (“lest,” so NAB, NASB).

21 tn Heb “and who a lying of seed goes out from him.”

22 tn Heb “to become unclean in it.”

23 tn Heb “and the one with a discharge, his discharge to the male and the female.”

24 tn Heb “and for a man.”

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