Leviticus 12: Clean and Unclean

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 59


In Leviticus 12–15, the Lord gave instruction on what was “clean” and “unclean” under the law of Moses regarding bodily functions and diseases. Leviticus 12 explains the laws that applied to women after they gave birth. For a period of time they were considered “unclean,” but the Lord also outlined specific ordinances that could make them ceremonially “clean” again after a certain period of time. Mary, the mother of Jesus, followed these ordinances after Jesus was born (see Luke 2:21–24, 39).Some people are puzzled by the idea that natural bodily functions make someone unclean. We must understand, however, that under the law of Moses, “unclean” did not mean dirty or disgusting but simply not acceptable to participate in sacred ordinances. Remember also that the law of Moses was designed to provide outward physical reminders found in daily life to remind the Israelites of deeper spiritual truths.