a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

Purification of Women after Childbirth


The L ord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel, saying:

If a woman conceives and bears a male child, she shall be ceremonially unclean seven days; as at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. 3On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4Her time of blood purification shall be thirty-three days; she shall not touch any holy thing, or come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. 5If she bears a female child, she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation; her time of blood purification shall be sixty-six days.

6 When the days of her purification are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb in its first year for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. 7He shall offer it before the L ord, and make atonement on her behalf; then she shall be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, male or female. 8If she cannot afford a sheep, she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement on her behalf, and she shall be clean.

43 Ye shall not make yourselves abominable. He does not invite them to take care of their health, nor warn them of the danger of contracting’ diseases, but bids them beware of defiling themselves. And a clearer explanation is subjoined, “For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves; for I am holy.” Lest they should imagine that the main part of religion was contained in external ceremonies, they were to consider the nature of God; for, inasmuch as He is a Spirit, He would be worshipped only spiritually. Thus holiness is only connected instrumentally with the distinction of meats; since their abstinence had no other object than that they should consecrate themselves to God. Therefore the superstition of the Jews was inexcusable, when they satisfied themselves with trifling observances; 4747     “Quand ils se sont arrestez a l’observation une et simple de choses frivoles; comme si quelqu’un apprenoit 1’ a, b, c, et qu’il ne luy chalust puis apres d’accoupler les lettres pour lire;” when they stopped at the bare and simple observation of frivolous things; as if one should learn the a, b, c, and cared not afterwards to join the letters together so as to read.—Fr. as if one should learn the letters of the alphabet without applying them to their use, and reading what is written. From their example we perceive how eagerly men lay hold of everything they can to sustain them in their hypocrisy, for they not only wrested to their earthly notions the things which were profitable in the pursuit of true integrity of heart; but, not content, with this, they heaped to themselves many supererogatory rites; 4848     Addition in Fr., “Comme si la religion eust este enclose en choses de neant;” as if religion had been comprised in things of nought. hence the water of expiation, or lustration always in use, even when they were unconscious of any pollution: hence their anxious labor in washing cups and platters, that it might readily appear how constantly the perversity of man abuses what God has appointed for the best of reasons.

VIEWNAME is study