And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter,.... For a son forty days, and for a daughter eighty; but the ancient Jews formerly, that they might not break it, ordered, that the offering enjoined as follows should not be brought until the next day after the time was up: their canon runs thusF20Maimon. Mechosre Capparah, c. 1. sect. 5. ,"a new mother does not bring her offering on the fortieth day for a male, nor on the eightieth day for a female, but after her sun is set; and she brings her offering on the morrow, which is the forty first for a male, and the eighty first for a female; and this is the day of which it is said, "when the days", &c. Leviticus 12:6."
She shall bring a lamb of the first year; the Septuagint adds, without blemish, as all sacrifices should be, if not expressed; "or the son of his year"F21בן שנתו "filium sui anni", Montanus, Piscator, Drusius. ; some distinguish between "the son of a year", as the phrase sometimes is, and "the son of his year", as here; the latter denoting a lamb in its first year, though something wanting of it, the former a full year old, neither more nor less:
for a burnt offering; in gratitude, and by way of thanksgiving for the mercies she had received in childbearing:
and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering; either the one or the other. With the PersiansF23Lib. Shad-der, port. 73. apud Hyde, ut supra, (Hist. Relig. Vet. Pers.) p. 473. , it is incumbent on a new mother, in Abam (the twelfth month), to bring twelve oblations for the sin which proceedeth from childbirth, that so she might be purified from her sins. It is an observation of the Misnic doctorsF24Misn. Ceritot. c. 6. sect. 9. , that turtles precede pigeons in all places; upon which they ask this question, is it because they are choicer or more excellent than they? observe what is said, Leviticus 12:6 from whence may be learned, that they are both alike, or of equal value. But why a sin offering for childbearing? is it sinful to bear and bring forth children in lawful marriage, where the bed is undefiled? The Jews commonly refer this to some sin or another, that the childbearing woman has been guilty of in relation to childbirth, or while in her labour; and it is not unlikely that she may sometimes be guilty of sin in some way or other, either through an immoderate desire after children, or through impatience and breaking out into rash expressions in the midst of her pains; so Aben Ezra suggests, perhaps some thought rose up in her mind in the hour of childbirth because of pain, or perhaps spoke with her mouth; meaning what was unbecoming, rash, and sinful. Some take the sin to be a rash and false oath: but there seems to be something more than all this, because though one or other of these might be the case of some women, yet not all; whereas this law is general, and reached every new mother, and has respect not so much to any particular sin of her's, as of her first parent Eve, who was first in the transgression; and on account of which transgression pains are endured by every childbearing woman; and who also conceives in sin, and is the instrument of propagating the corruption of nature to her offspring; and therefore was to bring a sin offering typical of the sin offering Christ is made to take away that, and all other sin; whereby she shall be saved, even in childbearing, and that by the birth of a child, the child Jesus, if she continues in faith, and charity, and holiness, with sobriety, 1 Timothy 2:15 these offerings were to be brought
unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest; to offer them up for her. When the temple was built, these were brought to the eastern gate, the gate Nicanor, where the lepers were cleansed, and new mothers purifiedF25Misn. Sotah, c. 1. sect. 5. .