It is written:
Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a woman has conceived, and borne a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days; as in the days of her customary impurity she shall be unclean. 3 And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4 She shall then continue in the blood of her purification thirty-three days. She shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. 5 ‘But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her customary impurity, and she shall continue in the blood of her purification sixty-six days. (Leviticus 12:1-5)
Here, the Bible tells us that if a woman in Israel gave birth to a boy, she would be unclean for a period of thirty-three days. However, if she had a female baby, she would unclean for sixty-six days.
Is this an example of the Bible paying special treatment towards males, while at the same time devaluing women?
Some so believe.
However, the facts actually demonstrate that what is going on in this passage is God showing special love and care for the mother!
Years ago, one doctor investigated the matter thoroughly and was amazed to find how modern science actually demonstrates how this passage of Scripture safeguards the lift of the mother who has given birth:
“The writer became interested in the passage quoted above in connection with experimental researches he had his assistants have conducted on the effects of drugs and toxins on living plant protoplasm…The material examined was serum obtained from blood specimens drawn from ‘come-back’ patients of the Lying-In Department of the Women’s Clinic, John Hopkins Hospital. In this clinic, as a routine procedure, every maternity case is required to return for a complete examination six weeks after the birth of the child. The author endeavored to obtain specimens from as many of such ‘come-back’ patients in good health as possible. A total number of 223 blood specimens from as many patients were examined…What is of greater interest in the present connection is the fact that there was a distinct difference in the toxicity of puerperal blood specimens obtained from six weeks after delivery in respect to sex of the offspring. The average of all readings obtained from blood specimens procured after female births revealed that these were more toxic than those obtained after male births. These results are not altogether surprising. It is quite possible that blood obtained after childbirth may show differences dependent on the sex of the offspring. Within the last few years it has been demonstrated by the Russian investigator Manoiloff, and by others repeating and extending his work, that certain chemical differences between the blood of male and female animals and, indeed, between the extracts of male and female plants, can be detected by suitable methods. It is therefore possible that blood obtained from women who have given birth to male children may show chemical and biological differences from blood obtained from mothers bearing female offspring. The present findings certainly speak in favor of such a view and throw an interesting light on the Biblical passage which is the subject of the present paper. It seems entirely possible that observation of the relative danger involved for the male in the resumption of intercourse, danger inherent in the relative toxicity of the post-puerperal blood conditions in the female, is responsible for the distinction between the duration of a woman’s impurity after the birth of male and female children. Moreover, it is interesting to note that this scientific basis for the Biblical distinction between the two sexes after childbirth is in complete agreement with the most orthodox Hebrew commentators on the Bible.” (David I. Macho, ‘A Scientific Appreciation Of Leviticus 12:1-5,’ in The Journal Of Biblical Literature (Volume 52; Number 4-December, 1933); 2-9).
More recently, another doctor has written:
“When a woman had a male child she was excluded from the sanctuary for 33 days and for a female child 66 days. Was this an arbitrary ruling by God? Before we get into that, let’s look at childbirth in general. Back in the days the Torah was written, infant mortality rates were much higher than they are today (and they still remain high in some parts of the world). The mother’s immune system is depressed at childbirth from the stress of the birth and hormonal changes, and needs some time to recover and build up immunity. The last thing she needs is to go into an environment where they are slaughtering animals and there is a buildup of infectious organisms. The baby’s immune system is also suppressed. The reason for this is that babies are born with more or less sterile intestinal tracts. Growing the correct intestinal flora is critical for proper digestion, immune function, etc. A short list of what the gut flora accomplishes is as follows: Help kill harmful microbes that get into you intestine through eating contaminated food. Stimulate lymphoid tissue to make antibodies to pathogens. Decrease allergies by increasing oral tolerance to certain foods. Help in the synthesis of certain B vitamins, as well as magnesium, calcium and iron. Help regulate body weight and prevent obesity. Metabolize ingested carcinogens. Increases the body’s absorption of water. Helps proper carbohydrate digestion and fermentation. If the baby’s immune system was very active it would attack the colonizing intestinal bacteria and the baby would not colonize the right microbes that are fostered by nursing. It takes approximately 5-6 weeks for this process to occur. This discovery has only been solidified in science since 2013. God knew way before that and protected mother and baby by keeping them isolated. But why do they stay away for twice as long if they have a female child? Since 1979, scientists have been aware of a phenomena called fetomaternal microchimerism. What this term means is that after childbirth they still find some Y chromosomes (females have two X chromosomes while males have an X and a Y) still in the mother. Some theories suggest that the mother’s body treats them as a foreign invader and ramps up the immune system to try to deal with them. That being the case, a mother’s immunity will recover quicker if she has a male child, as opposed to having a female child, and she can return to normal functions sooner without putting her or her baby’s health at risk. God thus protects the mother with this commandment by giving her the correct amount of time to “recover”.” (Dr. Michael Lebowitz, God’s Preventative Medicine: New Scientific Discoveries Validate Biblical Instructions, 108-109 (Kindle Edition); MZBooks)
Is it not amazing how modern science continues to confirm the truths of the Bible?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.