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Leviticus 12-15 - Birth, lumps and bodily emissions
In Leviticus 11 the focus had moved from the tabernacle to the priests to the all people. How were the people to remain ritually clean in what they ate and if they had contact with a dead body? We will now see the regulations for childbirth, lumps and bodily emissions. Ritual cleanness is required to approach sacred space.
Purification after childbirth [12:1-12]
1 Then YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘When a woman becomes pregnant and she gives birth to a male, then she shall be unclean seven days—as in the time of her menstrual bleeding, she shall become unclean. 3 And on the eight day his foreskin’s flesh shall be circumcised. 4 And for thirty-three days she shall stay in the blood of her cleansing; she must not touch any holy object, and she may not come to the sanctuary until the fulfilling of the days of her cleansing. 5 But if she gives birth to a female, then she shall be unclean for two weeks as in her menstruation, and for sixty-six days she shall stay through the blood of her cleansing. 6 And at the fulfilling of the days of her cleansing, whether for a son or for a daughter, she must bring to the priest at the tent of assembly’s entrance a yearling male lamb as a burnt offering and young dove or a turtledove as a sin offering. 7 And the priest shall present it to the faces of YHWH, and he shall make atonement for her, so that she shall be clean from the flow of her blood. This is the regulation of childbearing for the male or for the female…”
Remember that atonement here is more like “decontamination” so the woman can again approach sacred space. She has NOT sinned. Childbearing is the blessing of YHWH [Genesis 24:60; Psalm 128:3].
What has come out of the woman other than the child? Why does this make her ritually unclean [Leviticus 17:11]? Was an Israelite unclean if they cut their finger?1
Why the differences in times for the male child and female child?2
Regulations about defiling skin diseases [13:1-46]
1 Then YHWH spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “When a person has on his body’s skin a swelling or an epidermal eruption or a spot and it becomes an infectious skin disease on his body’s skin, then he shall be brought to Aaron the priest or to one of his sons the priests. 3 And the priest shall examine the infection on his body’s skin, and if the hair in the infection turns white and the appearance of the infection is deeper than his body’s skin, it is an infectious skin disease, and the priest shall examine it, and he shall declare him unclean. 4 But if a spot is white on his body’s skin and its appearance is not deeper than the skin and its hair does not turn white, then the priest shall confine the afflicted person for seven days. 5 And the priest shall examine it on the seventh day, and if, in his eyes, the infection has stayed unchanged, the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall confine him for seven days a second time. 6 And the priest shall examine him on the seventh day for a second time, and if the infection has faded and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall declare him clean—it is an epidermal eruption; and he shall wash his garments, and so he shall be clean. 7 But if the epidermal eruption spreads further on the skin after showing himself to the priest for his cleansing, then he shall appear a second time to the priest. 8 And the priest shall examine it, and if the epidermal eruption has spread on the skin, then the priest shall declare him unclean—it is an infectious skin disease…
There is no Hansen’s disease [leprosy] here. That was a bad translation carried over from the LXX.
Why is the person unclean? Hint: 7-day ordination of the priests, tabernacle imagery etc.
Regulations about contaminated fabrics [13:47-59]
…59 This is the regulation of the infectious skin disease in the wool garment or the linen or the woven material or the fabric or any leather object to declare it clean or to declare it unclean.
Instructions for cleansing infectious skin diseases [14:1-32]
1 Then YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “This is the regulation of the person afflicted with a skin disease at the time of his cleansing. And he shall be brought to the priest, 3 and the priest shall go outside the camp, and the priest shall examine him, and if the skin disease’s infection is healed on the afflicted person, 4 then the priest shall command, and he shall take two living, clean birds and cedar wood and a crimson thread and hyssop for the one who presents himself for cleansing. 5 Then the priest shall command someone to slaughter one bird over fresh water in a clay vessel. 6 He must take the living bird and the cedar wood and the crimson thread and the hyssop, and he shall dip them and the living bird in the bird’s blood slaughtered over the fresh water. 7 And he shall spatter the blood seven times on the one who presents himself for cleansing from the infectious skin disease, and he shall declare him clean, and he shall send the living bird into the open field. 8 Then the one who presents himself for cleansing shall wash his garments, and he shall shave off all his hair, and he shall wash himself in the water; thus he shall be clean, and afterward he shall enter the camp, but he shall stay outside his tent for seven days. 9 And then on the seventh day he must shave off all his hair—he must shave his head and his beard and his eyebrows and all the rest of his hair—and he shall wash his garments, and he shall wash his body in the water; thus he shall be clean.
How many days does it take to be ritually clean again? What’s the significance? What is being hyperlinked or flagged up?
10 “And on the eighth day he must take two male lambs without defect and one ewe-lamb ⌊in its first year without defect and three-tenths of an ephah of finely milled flour mixed with oil as a grain offering and one log of oil. 11 And the priest who cleanses him shall present the man who presents himself for cleansing and these things before YHWH at the entrance of the tent of assembly. 12 Then the priest shall take the one male lamb, and he shall present it as a guilt offering, and the log of oil, and he shall wave them as a wave offering before YHWH. 13 And he shall slaughter the male lamb in the place where he slaughters the sin offering and the burnt offering in the sanctuary’s space, because as the sin offering belongs to the priest, so also the guilt offering—it is a most holy thing. 14 And the priest shall take some of the guilt offering’s blood, and the priest shall put it on the right ear’s lobe of the one who presents himself for cleansing and on his right hand’s thumb and on his right foot’s big toe. 15 And the priest shall take some of the log of oil, and he shall pour it on his left palm; 16 and the priest shall dip his right finger in the oil that is on his left palm, and he shall spatter some of the oil with his finger seven times before YHWH. 17 Then the priest shall put some of the remaining oil, which is on his palm, on the right ear’s lobe of the one to be cleansed and on his right hand’s thumb and on his right foot’s big toe, on top of the guilt offering’s blood. 18 And the remaining oil that is on the priest’s palm he shall put on the head of the one who presents himself for cleansing, and the priest shall make atonement for him before YHWH. 19 Thus the priest shall sacrifice the sin offering, and he shall make atonement for the one who presents himself for cleansing from his uncleanness, and afterward he shall slaughter the burnt offering. 20 Then the priest shall offer the burnt offering and the grain offering on the altar, and the priest shall make atonement for him, and so he shall be clean…
On what day is the offering made? What day is Yom Kippor ? On what day did Jesus die?
Why is blood put on the person who was unclean? Where else have we seen this [Leviticus 8:22-24]? What might we conclude [Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9]?
Instructions for cleansing houses [14:33-57]
Instructions about bodily discharges 
…31 “And you shall keep the Israelites separate from their uncleanness so that they might not die because of their uncleanness by their making my tabernacle, which is in their midst, unclean.
32 “This is the regulation of the one with the body fluid discharge and the one from whom an emission of semen goes out so that he becomes unclean by it and concerning the menstruating woman in her bleeding and the person who discharges his body fluid, for the male and for the female and for a man who lies with an unclean woman.”
Why were the Israelites to be ritually pure? What are the applications for us?
"In ancient times, concern for the welfare of the mother and child was most often expressed as the fear of destructive demonic or antilife forces. This fear is evident in other Ancient Near Eastern texts contemporaneous with the biblical period. They are replete with incantations and spells against demons and witches who were thought to kill newborn children and afflict their mothers. It is reasonable to assume that similar anxieties were current among the ancient Israelites as well. And although biblical religion certainly did not permit magical spells and the like as the proper means for overcoming these perceived threats to life, it did provide ritual means as well as practical methods to accomplish for the Israelite mother and her community what magic was supposed to accomplish for the pagan mother. (Levine, Leviticus, 249)." S. Heiser, Michael. Notes on Leviticus: from the Naked Bible Podcast (p. 177). BlindSpot Press. Kindle Edition.
"It was thought by the rabbis the male embryo was thought to be completely formed in 41 days and the female in 81 days [then he has a citation of some rabbinic commentary for the Talmud]. That this view was current in the Ancient Near East is supported by ancient sources, specifically Aristotle, who’s a Greek source. But making the comment that would apply more widely than just himself as a Greek but he's just reflecting on the way people thought in the ancient world. Aristotle held that the male was formed in 40 days and the female in three months, which is very close to the 80 day mark here in the Leviticus. Hippocrates thought that the male was formed in 30 days and 42 for the female. (Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 1–16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Vol. 3. Anchor Yale Bible. New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008, 743)." S. Heiser, Michael. Notes on Leviticus: from the Naked Bible Podcast (pp. 178-179). BlindSpot Press. Kindle Edition.