For 33 Days after child birth a woman is ceremonially unclean

In Leviticus chapter 12 God says to Moses that he must give the Israelites the following instructions concerning childbirth, that: “if a woman gives birth to a child, she will be ceremonially unclean. If it is a son, she will be unclean for a period of seven days just as she is during menstruation. On the eighth day the boy must be circumcised. Then the woman must wait for a further period of 33 days to complete her purification from child birth. During this period, she must not touch anything that is holy. or go to the sanctuary until she completes her period of purification.”


If she gives birth to a daughter, then the period of seven days is doubled to 14 days and the period of 33 days is doubled to 66 days. Upon completion of these periods, she must bring a year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtle dove for a purification offering. She must take her offerings to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle, who will then present them to the Lord to make atonement for her.Thereupon, she will be ceremonially clean again after bleeding at child birth.

If she cannot afford to bring a lamb, she must bring two turtle doves or two young pigeons.One will be for the burnt offering and the second will be for purification. The priest will sacrifice them and the woman will be ceremonially clean.

In Matthew 21:12-13 we see Jesus clearing the Temple in Jerusalem, of those who were selling doves and sheep on temple premises. He says that they have turned the Temple into a den of thieves. This act by Jesus signaled the beginning of the end of animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins.

What is interesting however is to see that people today are still observing most of these traditions regarding child birth unaware that we are carrying out the instructions that God gave to Moses, while the Israelites were in the Sinai desert, some 3 400 years ago. Is it not interesting to see the similarities between what we do today and what the Israelites did then. What these scriptures can teach us is that after all, we are originally from one parent no matter how different we may be today. Knowing that, do we still have any reason to fight amongst ourselves, or are there more reasons for us to maintain peace? This may precisely be the reason why the United Nations exists. To show us that we have more in common than what differentiates us.

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