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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 12:6-8


12:6 “‘When 4  the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she must bring a one year old lamb 5  for a burnt offering 6  and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering 7  to the entrance of the Meeting Tent, to the priest. 12:7 The priest 8  is to present it before the Lord and make atonement 9  on her behalf, and she will be clean 10  from her flow of blood. 11  This is the law of the one who bears a child, for the male or the female child. 12:8 If she cannot afford a sheep, 12  then she must take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 13  one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest is to make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.’” 14 

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 “And when” (so KJV, NASB). Many recent English versions leave the conjunction untranslated.

5 tn Heb “a lamb the son of his year”; KJV “a lamb of the first year” (NRSV “in its first year”); NAB “a yearling lamb.”

6 sn See the note on Lev 1:3 regarding the “burnt offering.”

7 sn See the note on Lev 4:3 regarding the term “sin offering.”

8 tn Heb “and he” (i.e., the priest mentioned at the end of v. 6). The referent has been specified in the translation for clarity.

9 sn See the note on Lev 1:4 “make atonement.” The purpose of sin offering “atonement,” in particular, was to purge impurities from the tabernacle (see Lev 15:31 and 16:5-19, 29-34), whether they were caused by physical uncleannesses or by sins and iniquities. In this case, the woman has not “sinned” morally by having a child. Even Mary brought such offerings for giving birth to Jesus (Luke 2:22-24), though she certainly did not “sin” in giving birth to him. Note that the result of bringing this “sin offering” was “she will be clean,” not “she will be forgiven” (cf. Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13). The impurity of the blood flow has caused the need for this “sin offering,” not some moral or relational infringement of the law (contrast Lev 4:2, “When a person sins by straying unintentionally from any of the commandments of the Lord”).

10 tn Or “she will be[come] pure.”

11 tn Heb “from her source [i.e., spring] of blood,” possibly referring to the female genital area, not just the “flow of blood” itself (as suggested by J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:761). Cf. ASV “from the fountain of her blood.”

12 tn Heb “If her hand cannot find the sufficiency of a sheep.” Many English versions render this as “lamb.”

13 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).

14 tn Or “she will be[come] pure.”

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