Leviticus 12: Laws for childbirth and Cleanliness


If a woman has a boy child, she is unclean for 40 days. The boy is to be circumcised on the 8th day. If a woman has a girl child, she is unclean for 70 days. After this period of infirmity, she is to bring a sacrifice of a lamb or two turtledoves so that atonement can be made for her bleeding and then she shall be considered clean.

In other words:

The bleeding of a woman during and after childbirth was considered a health issue and she was to be considered unclean until she recovered.

Unanswered question:

Why the period of recovery is longer for a girl than a boy.

What’s interesting about this:

It makes sense that blood is recognized as a carrier of disease so you have to be careful to not be contaminated. Yeah, it’s discriminatory against women, but only in our context of modern medicine. If you don’t have access to modern knowledge about health care and disease transmission, this makes sense as a basic health precaution. Though again, I don’t know why the period of uncleanliness is twice as long for a girl child as for a boy.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Women giving birth need proper medical care (Leviticus 12)