November 30th, 2009
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean.
3 And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.
4 And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled.
5 But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days.
6 And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest:
7 Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female.
8 And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.
This is Leviticus 12 in its entirety. It’s very clear that a woman who gives birth is made unclean by doing so. She must wait a certain number of days, then have a priest perform both a burnt and sin offering. When she gives birth to a male, she is unclean for one week. When she gives birth to a female, she is unclean for two weeks. Even after she is clean from the birth, she is still unclean from her bleeding and must wait thirty-three days if she gave birth to a male and sixty-six days if she gave birth to a female.
Such a prescription of uncleanliness would prevent a husband from having intercourse with his wife for the specified amount of time. While four to six weeks aligns well with what is stated here, there is no difference between having a male and a female that would warrant such vaginal discrimination. The only thing that seems important is that her bleeding stop so that it’s certain that she has healed before resuming intercourse.
The prescription for her not to enter a temple or touch anything hallowed is basically forcing her to rest, but this does not prevent the woman from working around the house, nor does it treat her with the respect and reverence she deserves for bearing a child. Instead, it suggests that her bearing a child is a sin that she must be purified from.
Would such a passage be written by an all-loving god? Is this this kind of god you want to worship?