SOAP Journal – 14 February 2017 (Leviticus 12)

This is the law for her who bears a male or a female.

Leviticus 12:7b

This chapter is brief — 8 verses total — and gives instruction as to how long a woman is ceremonially unclean after giving birth. There are some things that give me pause and some things that make sense and at least one thing that I had not noticed before this morning.

I pause when I note the difference in time between how long the new mother is unclean for a son versus a daughter. The time for a daughter is about twice as long. There may be excellent reasons for this, such a physiological differences in how a woman’s body recovers from birthing a male as opposed to birthing a female. I am not a woman and so have no first-hand knowledge. According to an answer given this very question on one site, the uncleanness spoken of is more a mental condition of feeling that one has no free will or is less than one really is. The assertion continues that the boy is circumcised, which is a symbol of him being submitted to God’s plan for him, but the daughter has no such thing and the mother, therefore, goes through a second stretch on behalf of her daughter who does not receive any such symbol of submission to God. Not being a speaker of Hebrew, I cannot really comment on the validity of that interpretation. I trust that God does things for reasons that make sense and that, whether I know the reason or not, there is a rhyme and a reason to the double-length period of uncleanness for a daughter.

The thing that makes sense to me is that the offering is the same for either. Neither a son or daughter requires a greater or lesser sacrifice for the mother’s purification. The time is different, but the reentry to fellowship is identical.

The thing I had not noticed is the specificity. God tells Moses and Aaron to speak of a woman giving birth to a male or a female. There is debate in the modern Westernized World about whether or not there are other genders or sexes. God’s ruling is that a woman gives birth to a male or a female; a son or a daughter. He provides no other options.

How does this apply to me? At first blush, it seems not to. But there is that element of trusting that God commands things for reasons that make sense. Perhaps the whole of the reason is to give me a chance to willingly obey as in the Garden of Eden and the fruit that was forbidden. Perhaps the reason is beyond my ability to fully comprehend. No matter the case, God does not do things without reason and I can rest in that. If I derive no other lesson from this passage than the reaffirmation that I can trust God to do things for reasons and not on a whim, then that is quite enough for me.

Thank You, Father, for being a reasonable God. There are far too many examples of the gods of our own making (who are not gods at all) that are anything but reasonable or rational. I may not understand Your reasons or even be able to see them, but I trust that You have them. Please increase this trust when it is more difficult to trust and the reasons even less visible to me.


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