Leviticus 12:2
Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) If a woman have conceived seed.—Rather, if a woman bringeth forth seed, that is, is delivered of a child. (See Genesis 1:11-12; Genesis 1:29.) This general statement is afterwards specified by the phrases “and born a man child,” and “bear a maid child,” in the verse before us, and in Leviticus 12:5. Thus the regulations about impurity naturally begin with the beginning of life. According to the administrators of the law during the second Temple, the regulations here set forth with regard to the deliverance are in force even when it is an untimely birth, or when the child is born dead, provided it has a perfect shape, which it assumes after forty days of its conception. Amongst the Hindoos, too, the mother in case of a miscarriage remains in a state of defilement as many nights as months have elapsed since her conception.

And born a man child.—Better, and giveth birth to a male child. The expression rendered here in the Authorised Version by “a man child” is translated in Leviticus 12:7 simply “male.” In so short a paragraph discussing the same enactment it is important that words identical in the original should be translated uniformly in English.

She shall be unclean seven days.—Though the issue of blood which succeeds child-birth generally only lasts three or four days, yet the period of uncleanness is extended to seven days to include exceptional cases.

According to the days . . . . —Better, as in the days of the uncleanness of her monthly courses, that is, her uncleanness is to be of the same duration, and she is to observe the same rules, and be subjected to the same restraints as during the period of her menstruation. (See Leviticus 15:19.) The fact that reference is here made to the regulations about the periodical impurity of women which have not as yet been laid down shows that, like other laws, this law was already known to and generally practised by the Jews before it was finally fixed in the Levitical code.

Leviticus 12:2. Seven days — Not for any filthiness which was either in the conception, or in bringing forth, but to signify the universal and deep pollution of man’s nature, even from the birth, and from the conception. Seven days, or thereabouts, nature is employed in the purgation of most women. Her infirmity — Her monthly infirmity. And it may note an agreement therewith not only in the time, (Leviticus 15:19,) but in the degree of uncleanness.12:1-8 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.This chapter would more naturally follow the 15th chapter of Leviticus. See the note to Leviticus 15:1. 2. If a woman, &c.—The mother of a boy was ceremonially unclean for a week, at the end of which the child was circumcised (Ge 17:12; Ro 4:11-13); the mother of a girl for two weeks (Le 12:5)—a stigma on the sex (1Ti 2:14, 15) for sin, which was removed by Christ; everyone who came near her during that time contracted a similar defilement. After these periods, visitors might approach her though she was still excluded from the public ordinances of religion [Le 12:4]. From uncleanness contracted by the touching or eating of external things, he now comes to that uncleanness which ariseth from ourselves.

She shall be unclean; not for any filthiness which was either in the conception or in bringing forth, but to signify the universal and deep pollution of man’s nature even from the birth, and from the conception. For

seven days, or thereabouts, nature is employed in the purgation of most women.

For her infirmity, i.e. for her monthly infirmity. And it may note an agreement therewith not only in the time, Leviticus 15:19, but in the degree of uncleanness, which was such that she defiled every thing she touched, &c. Speak unto the children of Israel,.... For this law only concerned them, and not other nations of the world:

if a woman have conceived seed; by lying with a man, and so becomes pregnant, and goes on with her pregnancy until she brings forth a child. The Jews from hence gather, that this law respects abortions; that if a woman has conceived and miscarries, eighty one days after the birth of a female, and forty one after a male, she must bring her offering (m); but the law seems only to regard such as are with child, and proceed to the due time of childbirth, whether then the child is born alive or dead:

and born a man child; which is, generally speaking, not only matter of joy to the mother, but to the whole family, see John 16:21 then she shall be unclean seven days; be separate from all company, except those whose presence is necessary to take care of her in her circumstances, and do what is proper for her, and even these became ceremonially unclean thereby; yea, her husband was not permitted to sit near her, nor to eat and drink with her:

according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean; the same number of days, even seven, she was unclean on account of childbirth, as she was for her monthly courses, called here an infirmity or sickness, incident to all females when grown up, at which time they were separate from all persons; and the case was the same with a new mother; see Leviticus 15:14.

(m) Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 6. Maimon. & Bartenora, in ib.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean {a} seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.

(a) So that her husband for that time could not have relations with her.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Compare Genesis 17:12; Exodus 22:29-30; Luke 1:59; Php 3:5. Reference is here made to the regulation of Leviticus 15:19.Verses 2-4. - She shall be unclean seven days. The mother is to be unclean seven days, and after that to be in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days (verse 4). The difference between these two states maybe seen by looking on to Leviticus 15:19-28, and comparing that passage with verse 4 of this chapter. In the first stage, during the seven days, she made all that she touched unclean; in the second stage, during the thirty-three days, she was only required to touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, as she was progressing towards cleanness. The number of days during which she is to be altogether unclean is to be according to the days of the separation for her infirmity, that is, seven days, as in the case of her monthly courses (see Leviticus 15:19). In the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. The Levitical legislation recognizes the regulation as to the day of the circumcision made at the time of the covenant with Abraham. "And he that is eight days old (or a son of eight days) shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations" (Genesis 17:12). Until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. "When in a state of impurity, the Hebrews were forbidden to enter the sanctuary, to keep the Passover, and to partake of holy food, whether of sacrificial meat, of sacred offerings and gifts, or of shew-bread, because the clean only were fit to approach the holy God and all that appertains to him (Leviticus 7:19-21; Leviticus 22:3; Numbers 9:6; Numbers 18:11; 1 Samuel 21:5)' (Kalisch). Lastly, contact with edible animals, if they had not been slaughtered, but had died a natural death, and had become carrion in consequence, is also said to defile (cf. Leviticus 11:39, Leviticus 11:40 with Leviticus 11:24-28). This was the case, too, with the eating of the swarming land animals, whether they went upon the belly,

(Note: The large ו in גּחון (Leviticus 11:42) shows that this vav is the middle letter of the Pentateuch.)

as snakes and worms, or upon four feet, as rats, mice, weasels, etc., or upon many feet, like the insects (Leviticus 11:41-43). Lastly (Leviticus 11:44, Leviticus 11:45), the whole law is enforced by an appeal to the calling of the Israelites, as a holy nation, to be holy as Jehovah their God, who had brought them out of Egypt to be a God to them, was holy (Exodus 6:7; Exodus 29:45-46).

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