And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)A pair of turtle doves.—The law of Leviticus 12:8 allowed these to be substituted for the normal sacrifice of a lamb as a burnt-offering, and a pigeon or dove as a sin-offering, when the mother was “not able” to offer the former. We may see, therefore, in this fact, another indication of the poverty of Joseph and his espoused wife. The offering had, like all other sacrifices, to be made in the Temple. It seems all but certain that this visit to Jerusalem must have preceded the visit of the Magi. After that, it would have been perilous in the extreme, and the narrative of Matthew 2 implies an immediate departure for Egypt after they had left.Leviticus 12:6, Leviticus 12:8.
Turtle-doves - Doves distinguished for having a plaintive and tender voice. By Mary's making this offering she showed her poverty; and our Saviour, by coming in a state of poverty, has shown that it is not dishonorable to be poor. No station is dishonorable where "God" places us. He knows what is best for us, and he often makes a state of poverty an occasion of the highest blessings. If "with" poverty he grants us, as is often the case, peace, contentment, and religion, it is worth far more than all the jewels of Golconda or the gold of Mexico. If it be asked why, since the Saviour was pure from any moral defilement in his conception and birth, it was necessary to offer such a sacrifice: why was it necessary that he should be circumcised, since he had no sin, it may be answered:
1. That it was proper to fulfil all righteousness, and to show obedience to the law, Matthew 3:15.
2. It was necessary for the future usefulness of Christ. Unless he had been circumcised, he could not have been admitted to any synagogue or to the temple. He would have had no access to the people, and could not have been regarded as the Messiah.
Both he and Mary, therefore, yielded obedience to the laws of the land, and thus set us an example that we should walk in their steps. Compare the notes at Matthew 3:15.
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."See Poole on "Luke 2:22"
according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, Leviticus 12:8.
a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons: if the person was able, she was to bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering; and a young pigeon, or a turtle dove, for a sin offering; but in case of poverty, then the above sufficed, and one of them was for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering; which shows not only that the virgin offered for herself a sin offering, being ceremonially unclean, but also her mean estate and poverty, in that she offered the offering of the poorer sort; see Leviticus 12:6.And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 2:24. Καὶ τοῦ δοῦναι] continues the narrative after the interposed sentence Luke 2:23 : and in order to give an offering.
κατὰ τὸ εἰρημ. κ.τ.λ.] Leviticus 12:8.
νεοσσούς] On the later form rejected by the Atticists, νοσσούς (so Tischendorf), see Sturz, Dial. Mac. p. 185; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 206 f.Luke 2:24. τοῦ δοῦναι: parallel to παραστῆσαι, indicating another of the purposes connected with the visit to Jerusalem. The mother went to offer her gift of thanksgiving after the days of purification were ended.—τὸ εἰρημένον, in Leviticus 12, where alternative offerings are specified: a lamb, and a turtle dove or a young pigeon; and in case of the poor two turtle doves, or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering, the other for a sin offering. Mary brought the poor woman’s offering. The question has been asked, why any purification in this case? and the fact has been adduced in proof that the original document used by Lk. knew nothing of the virgin birth.—γονεῖς, Luke 2:27, has been used for the same purpose (vide Hillmann, Jahrb. f. pr. Theol., 1891).24. A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons] The offering appointed was a yearling lamb for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin-offering, which were to be brought to the door of the tabernacle and with which “the priest made an atonement for her and she shall be clean.” But the Law of Moses, with that thoughtful tenderness which characterises many of its provisions, allowed a poor mother to bring two turtledoves instead; and since turtledoves (being migratory) are not always procurable, and old pigeons are not easily caught, offered the alternative of “two young pigeons.” Leviticus 12:6-8. (Tristram.)Luke 2:24. Θυσίαν, a sacrifice) viz. that of the poor, Leviticus 12:8.—ζεῦγος τρυγόνων ἢ δύο νεοσσοὺς περιστερῶν) LXX. Leviticus 12:8, δύο τρυγόνας ἢ δύο νεοσσοὺς περιστερῶν. The same Translators however have ζεῦγος τρυγόνων, κ.τ.λ., Leviticus 5:11.Verse 24. - A pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons. The proper offering was a lamb for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or dove for a sin offering; but for the poor an alternative was allowed - instead of the more costly present of a lamb, a second pigeon or dove might be brought. The deep poverty of Mary and Joseph is shown in this offering. They would never have put the sanctuary off with the humbler had the richer gift been in their power.
The offering of the poor. While the lamb would probably cost about one dollar and seventy-five cents, the doves would cost about sixteen cents. She would not bring the creatures themselves, but would drop the price into one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped chests in the Court of the Women. Young pigeons: lit., young ones of pigeons (νοσσοὺς περιστερῶν). Wyc. has culver-birds; culver being an old English term for dove. So Spenser:
"More light than culver in the falcon's fist."
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