Leviticus 12:6 Commentary - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
(6) And when the days . . . —Having described in the previous verses the conditions of defilement arising from childbirth, the legislator now prescribes the offerings to be brought for the purification of the woman. The offerings were brought at the expiration of the fortieth day in the case of a boy, and at the end of the eightieth day in the case of a girl, that is, on the forty-first and on the eighty-first respectively.
For a son, or for a daughter.—That is, with regard to a son or a daughter, to either of which she had given birth. The purification was for herself, and was owing to the defiling discharges connected with childbirth, and not for the child to which she gave birth, since the baby was not unclean.
She shall bring a lamb of the first year.—Or, as the Margin has it, a son of his year, that is, a lamb which was within the year of its birth. This burnt offering was an expression of gratitude for the Divine mercy vouchsafed to her in the hours of sorrow and danger, or, as some ancients suggest, it was designed as a confession of impatient and reproachful thoughts harboured by the mother during her pregnancy and the time of parturition (comp. Gen. 25:22); whilst the sin offering was to atone for sinful and violent expressions which she may have heedlessly uttered in the hours of labour and agony. Though when the two sacrifices are mentioned together, the sin offering generally precedes the burnt offering (see Lev. 5:7; Lev. 14:31; Lev. 15:15; Lev. 15:30; Lev. 16:3; Lev. 16:5, &c.), here the burnt offering takes precedence, because it is the more costly of the two. Besides the mother after child-birth (Lev. 12:6; Lev. 12:8), there were three other unclean persons who had to bring a sin offering for their uncleanness: the leper (Lev. 14:19; Lev. 14:31), the woman that had an issue (Lev. 15:15), and the man that had an issue (Lev. 15:30).
Unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.—Better, to the entrance of the tent of meeting. (See Lev. 1:3.) During the time of the second Temple these sacrifices were brought to the eastern gate, called the Gate of Nicanor. Here the lying-in women were purified and the lepers cleansed. (See Lev. 14:13.)
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Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)
Charles John Ellicott (1819 - 1905) was a distinguished English Christian theologian, academic and churchman. He briefly served as Dean of Exeter, then Bishop of the united see of Gloucester and Bristol.
His works include:
- An Old Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1897. (Editor)
- A New Testament Commentary for English Readers, 1878.