Leviticus 12

Talks for Growing Christians

The Laws of Purification After Childbirth

Leviticus 12

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Lesson Number 11

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The circumcision of the baby at the time of birth conveys a spiritual lesson concerning the sinful nature.
  2. The offerings of the mother at the time of birth may convey a spiritual lesson concerning the sinful nature.

Practical Application

  1. Obey and stay open for further enlightenment!


  1. What topic is addressed in Leviticus 11-15?
  2. What does it mean that a woman was “unclean” after childbirth?
  3. On what day was a male baby to be circumcised? Why is the timing significant?
  4. What spiritual lesson associated with circumcision do we learn from the New Testament?
  5. Why was more time required for the purification of the mother in the case of female babies than in the case of male babies?


  1. Leviticus 11-15 form a special section of Leviticus concerning ritual cleanliness.
  2. To be unclean did not necessarily mean to be sinful. Ceremonial defilement or ritual uncleanness was not the same as spiritual defilement or moral uncleanness. Childbearing was a case in point. To have children was certainly not sinful, but a new mother was still considered unclean due to the bodily discharge of blood associated with the birth.
  3. The male baby was circumcised on the eighth day. We know today from medical science that this was the ideal time to circumcise because the clotting capacity of the baby’s blood peeks on that day. This was important for healing after circumcision and shows how our omniscient and caring God had this in mind when He gave this law.
  4. When Christ died for our sins, our bodies of flesh, that is our sinful natures, were cut off (Colossians 2:9-14). We are new creatures or new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).
  5. In Dr. Dave’s opinion the basic reason for the time period for both male and female babies was for the protection of the woman. Under the law she could recover her strength and care for the baby without having to worry about social obligations or just being used for sex by an uncaring husband. The reason for the longer time in the case of female babies was because of the stigma attached to having a female baby in that culture.


  1. In our position and standing before a holy and righteous God we are new creations. Until we get our resurrection bodies we are to practice spiritual circumcision. We are to cut off the flesh, that is we are not to carry out the desires of the flesh, but rather we are to walk by the Spirit. Refer to Colossians 3:5 and Galatians 5:16-26. Can you give an example of a choice you made to “cut off the flesh” this week?


  1. The Jews in Old Testament times would not have understood why God commanded that male babies be circumcised on the eighth day. What about commands in the Bible for the believer today that we don’t fully understand. Do we question God, or do we obey and stay open for further enlightenment?

Key Verses

  • “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.” Leviticus 12:3
  • “‘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, and a young pigeon or a turtledove as a sin offering, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting.” Leviticus 12:6

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