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Leviticus 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 1  blood purity. 2 


Ge 3:13; Le 12:2,4; 1Ti 2:14,15

NET © Notes

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.

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).

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