Leviticus 12:1-5 reads, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. And on the eight day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days” (NKJV).

This passage has to do with “CEREMONIAL uncleanness” after giving birth to a child. This simply means that during this period the woman was not allowed to come into the Jewish sanctuary until the days of her purification ended. It does NOT mean that having sex and bearing a child is in anyway DIRTY. The fact is God commanded Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28) and in Psalm 127:3 we read, “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” So, the woman’s “uncleanness” is not due to “immorality,” but to the “postnatal discharge of blood” that naturally occurs after childbirth. This is why God ordained certain days “in the blood of her purification” (40 days if she gave birth to a boy and 80 if she had a baby girl). Some commentators have noted that God’s restricting the woman from contact with others at this time also showed God’s loving care for her health, for she would be most vulnerable to infection during those days. I would encourage you to also read Leviticus chapter 15 where the subject of uncleanness imparted by bodily secretions is discussed in greater detail.

While we firmly believe that these verses deal with “ceremonial uncleanness” it also reminds us of some very weighty spiritual lessons. You may recall that due to the woman sinning in the Garden of Eden she was told, by the Lord, “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and conception; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). As we have seen, even after the pain of giving birth, she would experience a very unpleasant period of discharging blood. These are all consequences of the woman’s sin in disobeying God by partaking of the forbidden fruit, and thus she has been rendered UNCLEAN by her part in the fall of man. Another consequence of Eve’s sin is found in David’s words in Psalm 51:5, “Behold I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Again, this does not mean that the act of conceiving a child is sinful, but rather that the baby is BORN A SINNER because his/her mother is a sinner. This means both the “mother and the child” are UNCLEAN in God’s sight! In this Psalm David is repenting before the Lord for his sin with Bathsheba and he is tracing his sin back to its root cause: that he was BORN A SINNER and that’s why HE SINS!

Let’s close by reading Leviticus 12:6-7, “When the days of her purification are fulfilled, whether for a son or a daughter, she shall bring to the priest a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering…he shall offer it before the LORD, and make atonement for her. And she shall be clean from the flow of her blood.” Once the offering was made, she was looked upon as “CEREMONIALLY CLEAN” and thus she could once again enter the sanctuary to worship God and to have fellowship with her fellow-Israelites. This OFFERING speaks clearly of the Lord Jesus Christ and how He offered Himself on the cross for sinners so we could be made “spiritually clean” in God’s sight. “By this will we have been SANCTIFIED through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God….for by one offering He has PERFECTED for all time THOSE WHO ARE SANCTIFIED” (Hebrews 10:10, 12, 14). (306.6) (DO)