Luke 2:22
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) When the days of her purification . . .—The primary idea of the law of Leviticus 12:1-6, would seem to have been that of witnessing to the taint of imperfection and sin attaching to every child of man, just as that of circumcision (its merely physical aspects being put aside) was that of the repression or control of one chief element of that sinfulness. Here neither was necessary; but the whole mystery of the birth was not as yet revealed to Mary, and therefore her act was simply one of devout obedience to the law under which she lived. The period of purification lasted for forty days from the birth, bringing the Feast of the Purification in our Church Calendar to February 2nd.

To present him to the Lord.—This, as the next verse shows, was only done according to the law of Exodus 13:2, when the firstborn child was a son. It was obviously a witness of the idea of the priesthood of the firstborn—a survival of the idea in practice, even after the functions of that priesthood had been superseded by the priesthood of the sons of Aaron. The firstborn of every house had still a dedicated life, and was to think of himself as consecrated to special duties. Comp. Hebrews 12:23 as giving the expansion of the thought to the whole company of those who are the “firstborn,” as they are also the “firstfruits” of humanity (James 1:18). As a formal expression of the obligation thus devolving on them, they had to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels to the actual Aaronic priesthood (Numbers 18:15).

Luke 2:22-24. When the days of her purification were accomplished — “It appears, from Leviticus 12:1-6, that for the first seven days, every woman who had borne a child, was considered as unclean in so great a degree, that whoever touched or conversed with her was polluted. For thirty-three days more, she was still, though in an inferior degree, unclean, because she could not all that time partake in the solemnities of public worship. At the conclusion of this term, she was commanded to bring certain sacrifices to the temple, by the offering of which the stain laid on her by the law was wiped off, and she restored to all the purity and cleanness she had before. This was the law of the purification after bearing a son. But for a daughter, the time of separation was double; the first term being fourteen days, and the second sixty-six; in all eighty days before she could approach the sanctuary. Now as Jesus was circumcised, though perfectly free from sin, so his mother submitted to the purifications prescribed by the law, notwithstanding she was free from the pollutions common in other births. It was evident, indeed, that she was a mother, but her miraculous conception was not generally known.” They brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord — Because the law required that he should be presented in the temple at the end of forty days from his birth, and that the usual offerings should be made, his parents would find it more convenient to go up with him from Bethlehem, where he was born, at the distance of six miles only, than, after Mary’s recovery, to carry him first to Nazareth, which was a great way from Jerusalem. We may, therefore, reasonably enough suppose that they tarried in Bethlehem all the days of her purification, and that from Bethlehem they went straightway to Jerusalem. Here, entering the temple, the sacrifices prescribed for the purification of women, after child-bearing, were offered for Mary, who, according to custom, waited in the outer court till the service respecting her was performed. As it is written, Every male that openeth the womb, &c. — See this explained in the note on Exodus 12:2. And to offer a sacrifice, a pair of turtle doves, &c. — This was the offering required from the poor, Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 12:8. Those in better circumstances were commanded to bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, and a turtle-dove, or a young pigeon, for a sin-offering. It is evident, from the offering they made, that although Joseph and Mary were of the seed royal, they were in very mean circumstances. The evangelist mentions the presentation of the child to the Lord before the offering of the sacrifice for the mother’s purification; but in fact this preceded the presentation, because, till it was performed, the mother could not enter the temple; accordingly Luke himself introduces both the parents as presenting Jesus.

2:21-24 Our Lord Jesus was not born in sin, and did not need that mortification of a corrupt nature, or that renewal unto holiness, which were signified by circumcision. This ordinance was, in his case, a pledge of his future perfect obedience to the whole law, in the midst of sufferings and temptations, even unto death for us. At the end of forty days, Mary went up to the temple to offer the appointed sacrifices for her purification. Joseph also presented the holy child Jesus, because, as a first-born son, he was to be presented to the Lord, and redeemed according to the law. Let us present our children to the Lord who gave them to us, beseeching him to redeem them from sin and death, and make them holy to himself.Days of her purification - Among the Hebrews a mother was required to remain at home for about forty days after the birth of a male child and about eighty for a female, and during that time she was reckoned as impure - that is, she was not permitted to go to the temple or to engage in religious services with the congregation, Leviticus 12:3-4.

To Jerusalem - The place where the temple was, and where the ordinances of religion were celebrated.

To present him to the Lord - Every first-born male child among the Jews was regarded as "holy" to the Lord, Exodus 13:2. By their being ""holy unto the Lord" was meant that unto them belonged the office of "priests." It was theirs to be set apart to the service of God - to offer sacrifice, and to perform the duties of religion. It is probable that at first the duties of religion devolved on the "father," and that, when he became infirm or died, that duty devolved on the eldest son; and it is still manifestly proper that where the father is infirm or has deceased, the duty of conducting family worship should be performed by the eldest son. Afterward, God chose "the tribe of Levi in the place" of the eldest sons, to serve him in the sanctuary, Numbers 8:13-18. Yet still it was proper to present the child to God, and it was required that it should be done with an offering.

Lu 2:22-40. Purification of the Virgin—Presentation of the Babe in the Temple-Scene There with Simeon and Anna.

22, 24. her purification—Though the most and best copies read "their," it was the mother only who needed purifying from the legal uncleanness of childbearing. "The days" of this purification for a male child were forty in all (Le 12:2, 4), on the expiry of which the mother was required to offer a lamb for a burnt offering, and a turtle dove or a young pigeon for a sin offering. If she could not afford a lamb, the mother had to bring another turtle dove or young pigeon; and, if even this was beyond her means, then a portion of fine flour, but without the usual fragrant accompaniments of oil and frankincense, as it represented a sin offering (Le 12:6-8; 5:7-11). From the intermediate offering of "a pair of turtle doves or two young pigeons," we gather that Joseph and the Virgin were in poor circumstances (2Co 8:9), though not in abject poverty. Being a first-born male, they "bring him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord." All such had been claimed as "holy to the Lord," or set apart to sacred uses, in memory of the deliverance of the first-born of Israel from destruction in Egypt, through the sprinkling of blood (Ex 13:2). In lieu of these, however, one whole tribe, that of Levi, was accepted, and set apart to occupations exclusively sacred (Nu 3:11-38); and whereas there were two hundred seventy-three fewer Levites than first-born of all Israel on the first reckoning, each of these first-born was to be redeemed by the payment of five shekels, yet not without being "presented (or brought) unto the Lord," in token of His rightful claim to them and their service (Nu 3:44-47; 18:15, 16). It was in obedience to this "law of Moses," that the Virgin presented her babe unto the Lord, "in the east gate of the court called Nicanor's Gate, where she herself would be sprinkled by the priest with the blood of her sacrifice" [Lightfoot]. By that Babe, in due time, we were to be redeemed, "not with corruptible things as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ" (1Pe 1:18, 19), and the consuming of the mother's burnt offering, and the sprinkling of her with the blood of her sin offering, were to find their abiding realization in the "living sacrifice" of the Christian mother herself, in the fulness of a "heart sprinkled from an evil conscience," by "the blood which cleanseth from all sin."

Ver. 22-24. In these verses is a record of the virgin’s obedience to two laws, the one concerning the purification of the woman after child birth; the other concerning the presenting of the male child before the Lord. We have the law concerning purification, Leviticus 12:1-8 throughout. The sum was, That if a woman had brought forth a male child, she should be unclean seven days, and after that continue in the blood of her purifying thirty-three days. If she brought forth a female, she was to be unclean fourteen days, and afterward to continue in the blood of her purifying sixty-six days. So that the time of the woman’s purification after the birth of a female was fourscore days, for a male (which was the present case) forty. After the expiration of which time, she was to bring a lamb of a year old for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtle dove for a sin offering, to the priest to the tabernacle, who was to offer it for her, and to make an atonement. If she were poor, and not able to bring a lamb, (which seems the present case), then she was to bring only two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering. The evangelist takes no notice of any lamb, but only

a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons; which lets us know she was poor, and so obliged by the law no further. Mary, after her forty days were expired, cometh up to the temple, to yield obedience to this law. And not so only, but also to present her child before the Lord. This depended upon two laws. We find the one Exodus 13:2, where, in remembrance of God’s sparing the Israelites, when he smote the first born of the Egyptians, he gave the Israelites this law: Sanctify unto me all the first born, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine. So Exodus 22:29 34:19. Instead of these, God took the Levites, as appears by Numbers 8:16; yet were the first born to be presented before the Lord, and redeemed by the payment of five shekels apiece, for all those who were above the number of the Levites, as appeareth by Numbers 3:44-47; and five shekels was the redemption price of any male upon a singular vow, Leviticus 27:6. For these two ends, after six weeks, Joseph, and Mary, and, Jesus come up to Jerusalem.

And when the days of purification,.... Of the Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord; though most copies read, "of their purification"; and so read the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions, including both Mary and Jesus: and now, though Mary was not polluted by the conception, bearing, and bringing forth of Jesus, that holy thing born of her; yet inasmuch as she was in the account of the law clean; and though Jesus had no impurity in his nature, yet seeing he was made sin for his people, both came under this law of purification, which was for the sake of the son or daughter, as well as for the mother; though our reading, and which is according to the Complutensian edition, best agrees with the Hebrew phrase, , the days of her purifying or purification, in Leviticus 12:4.

according to the law of Moses, in Leviticus 12:1.

were accomplished; which for a son were forty days: the seven first days after she gave birth she was unclean; and then she continued three and thirty days in the blood of her purifying, which made forty; see Leviticus 12:2 but though the time of her purifying was upon the fortieth day, yet it was not till the day following that she came to the temple with her offering: for so runs the Jewish canon (w),

"a new mother does not bring her offering on the fortieth day for a male, nor on the eightieth day for a female, but after her sun is set: and she brings her offering on the morrow, which is the forty first for a male, and the eighty first for a female: and this is the day of which it is said, Leviticus 12:6 and "when the days of her purifying are fulfilled for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring", &c.

And this was the time when they, Joseph and Mary, brought him, the child Jesus, to Jerusalem, and to the temple there, to present him to the Lord, to the priest his representative; and which was done in the eastern gate, called the gate of Nicanor: (x) for here,

"they made women, suspected of adultery, to drink, and purified new mothers, and cleansed the lepers.

And here Mary appeared with her firstborn son, the true Messiah; and this was the first time of his coming into his temple, as was foretold, Malachi 3:1.

(w) Maimon. Hilch Mechosre Cappara, c. 1. sect. 5. (x) Misn. Sota, c. 1. sect. 5.

{4} And when the days of {h} her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;

(4) Christ, upon whom all our sins were laid, being offered to God according to the law purifies both Mary and us all in himself.

(h) This is meant for the fulfilling of the law: for otherwise the virgin was not defiled, nor unclean, by the birth of this child.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Luke 2:22. Women after childbirth, when the child was a boy, were unclean for seven days, and had besides to stay at home thirty-three days more (at the birth of a girl these periods were doubled). Then they were bound to present in the temple an offering of purification, namely, a lamb of a year old as a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon or turtle-dove as a sin-offering; or else, if their means were too small for this, two turtle-doves or young pigeons, the one as a burnt-offering, the other as a sin-offering. See Leviticus 12:2 ff.; Lund, Jüd. Heiligth., ed. Wolf, p. 751; Michaelis, Mos. R. § 192; Ewald, Alterth. p. 178 f.; Keil, Archäol. I. p. 296. Accordingly αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμ. αὐτῶν: the days, which (i.e. the lapse of them) were appointed for their legal cleansing (καθαρισμός, passive, comp. Luke 2:14). Mary brought the offering of the poor, Luke 2:24.

αὐτῶν] applies contextually (ἀνήγαγον αὐτόν) not to the Jews (van Hengel, Annot. p. 199), but to Mary and Joseph. Comp. Euthymius Zigabenus, also Bleek. The purification in itself indeed concerned only the mother; but in the case before us Joseph was, and that by means of the presentation of the first-born son associated therewith, also directly interested; hence the expression by way of synecdoche, which is usually referred to the mother and the child (so also by Kuinoel, Winer, de Wette).

κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μ.] applies to ἐπλήσθησαν κ.τ.λ., indicating the legal duration thereof.

ἀνήγαγον, like ἀναβαίνειν of the journeying to Jerusalem.

παραστῆσαι] All first-born sons were the property of Jehovah, destined to the temple-service originally and before the institution of the Levites (Numbers 8:14 ff.); hence they had to be presented in the temple to God as His special property, but were redeemed from Him for five shekels, Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:16; Numbers 18:15 f.; Lightfoot, p. 753; Lund, l.c. p. 753; Michaelis, Mos. R. § 227, 276; Saalschütz, Mos. R. p. 97.

Luke 2:22. κατὰ τὸν νόμον Μ. The law relating to women after confinement is contained in Leviticus 12—ἀνήγαγον: at the close of these forty days of purification His parents took Jesus up to Jerusalem from Bethlehem. The Greek form of the name for Jerusalem, Ἰερο σόλυμα, occurs here and in a few other places in Lk. Ἱερουσαλήμ is the more common form.—παραστῆσαι, a word used by Lk. and St. Paul (Romans 12:1), in the sense of dedication. This act was performed in accordance with the legal conception that the first-born belonged to God, His priestly servants before the institution of the Levitical order (Numbers 8:18-19). J. Weiss suggests that the narrative is modelled on the story of the dedication of Samuel (1 Samuel 1:21-28).

22–24. The Presentation in the Temple

22. her purification] Rather, their purification. The reading αὐτῆς, ‘her’, of the Received Text is almost unsupported. All the Uncials read αὐτῶν, ‘their,’ except D, which probably by an oversight reads αὐτοῦ, ‘His.’ Strictly speaking, the child was never purified, but only the mother. The purification took place on the fortieth day after the Nativity, and till then a mother was not permitted to leave her house. The feast of the Presentation was known in the Eastern Church as the Hypapantê.

according to the law of Moses] See this Law in Leviticus 12:2-4. Jesus was “made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem those that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Galatians 4:4-5.

Luke 2:22. Τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ) See App. Crit., Ed. ii. p. 174. Never is αὐτῶι[26] so placed, as that it should be understood of ΤῸ ΠΑΊΔΙΟΝ, and His mother, to be supplied as the antecedents. Neither Jesus Himself nor His mother needed purification. There are some who interpret αὐτῶν as the Jews; but Luke mentions purification, not as a custom of the Jews, but as a divine institution.—τὸν νόμον Μωσέως, the law of Moses) In a higher point of view, it is presently after called the law of the Lord [Luke 2:23-24].—ἀνήγαγον, they led [brought] Him up to) This is properly said of one more matured, as εἰσαγαγεῖν, [when the parents brought in] to lead in, introduce, Luke 2:27. This was a prelude to His future visits to the temple.—παραστῆσαι, to present) This is presently explained in Luke 2:23. This was additional to the purification, which was done in the case of every child-birth, not merely in the case of the first-born.

[26] AB read αὐτῶν. Iren. 187, and 2 MSS. of Memph. Vers. omit αὐτῶνΜωυσέως. D reads αὐτοῦ: abc Vulg. ejus: Rec. Text, αὐτῆς.—ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 22. - When the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were accomplished. This period lasted forty days from the birth. The forty days, according to the date of the nativity accepted universally by the Catholic Church, would bring the Feast of the Purification to February 2. Luke 2:22The days of her purification (αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῆς)

The A. V. follows the reading αὐτῆς, her: but all the best texts read αὐτῶν, their; the plural including Joseph with Mary as partaking of the ceremonial defilement. The mother of a child was levitically unclean for forty days after the birth of a son, and for eighty days after the birth of a daughter. Women on this errand commonly rode to the temple on oxen; that the body of so large a beast between them and the ground might prevent any chance of defilement from passing over a sepulchre on the road. For details, see Edersheim, "Life and Times of Jesus," i., 195; "The Temple," p. 302; Geikie, "Life and Words of Christ," i., 127.

To present him to the Lord

The first-born son of every household must be redeemed of the priest at the price of five shekels of the sanctuary; about two dollars and fifty cents. Numbers 18:15, Numbers 18:16; Exodus 13:2.

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