Leviticus 11 is a list of animals that the children of Israel could and could not eat. It was actually a fairly extensive list. No camels, rabbits, shellfish, eels, snakes, insects, shrimp, ravens, owls, and many others. The one that hits home for me is no swine, because I am a filthy sausage and bacon eater. Thankfully, the Christian is told “For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (I Tim. 4:4-5).
Christians can eat bacon!
Leviticus 12 is one of the “controversial” chapters, because it deals with childbirth. After a woman gives birth to a male child, she is unclean for 40 days (7 days unclean, 33 more to be purified). After a female child, she is unclean for 80 days (14 unclean, 66 more to be purified). Therefore, God is sexist.
First of all, the issue here is with the blood. These are the days before penicillin, so blood diseases were life threatening. It was for safety reasons that someone who was bleeding (in this case, a mother) would be deemed unclean. It was literally a life or death solution, not a sexist one.
Second, anyone who has had a dealing with childbirth knows that a mother takes 4-5 weeks to heal. A 40-day minimum would be a valid timeframe for keeping someone who just lost a lot of blood away from others.
Finally, there arise some interesting issues with regard to the length of being unclean between boy and girl babies. Why would girls lead to periods of uncleanliness and purification be doubled?
I do not have a definitive answer. I have researched this, and there is a ton of speculation. However, the numerology depicted by the male child is interesting.
The number 40 should be familiar, and is typically associated with a test or trial. Noah was in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights, Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights getting the ten commandments (both times), Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness where he was tempted by Satan, the Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before coming to the Promised Land, and there are dozens more examples
The mother is unclean for 7 days. 7 is the number of perfection.
The male child is circumcised on the 8th day. This is not only a fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, but 8 is the number of rebirth; a representation of Christ.
The number 33 is typically associated with a promise. The 33rd time Noah’s name was used was when God promised not to destroy the Earth by a flood. The 33rd time Abraham’s name was used was when Isaac, the promised child, was born. Abraham was 99 (33 X 3) when this happened.
David reigned over Judah for 7 years, and 33 years over a united Israel.
33 was the age of Jesus Christ when he was crucified for our sins. Is it possible that the 33 day period of purification was a prophetic statement that represents the 33 years ending with purification by Christ’s death? Maybe I am reading too much into this. Maybe God put this here for us to find.
So why were these periods doubled for a female child? It could just be a way to differentiate between the two so the association with Christ would stand out. It could be a 40 day purification for the mother and 40 days for the daughter. Perhaps it represents two 40 day trials (see above), possibly because of an additional punishment against Eve. I honestly do not have a good answer.
Chapter 13 deals with leprosy. This, once again, is an interesting study. Leprosy represents the spots of sin on all mankind. The leopard, a spotted animal, was one of the Biblical symbols representing Nimrod. Jeremiah 13:23 says “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
Nimrod’s father, Cush, was Ethiopia. Nimrod, the Leopard. Fascinating stuff tucked neatly away in our King James Bibles, right?
Back to leprosy. Verse 46 says “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be.”
The sinner, regardless of social network, is inevitably alone. This is why so many of us always seem to be searching for something more. There is an absence in all people; a hole. Jesus Christ is the answer, and any of us who are saved understand the joy that comes from having a relationship with Christ. We no longer search. We are no longer alone.
The leper is separated from the Israelites just as the unsaved man is separated from Christ, “that at that time ye were without Christ. . .having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12).
Jesus Christ is the one who can cleanse us of our spots, thus allowing entry into the camp. We are washed white as snow (Isaiah 1:18).
Recall the lyrics of the song:
Lord, now indeed I find thy power and thine alone
Can change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone
‘Cause Jesus paid it all
All to him I owe
My sin had left this crimson stain, he washed it white as snow