Luke 2:22-24. When the days of her purification were accomplished “It appears, from Leviticus 12:1-6, that for the first seven days, every woman who had borne a child, was considered as unclean in so great a degree, that whoever touched or conversed with her was polluted. For thirty-three days more, she was still, though in an inferior degree, unclean, because she could not all that time partake in the solemnities of public worship. At the conclusion of this term, she was commanded to bring certain sacrifices to the temple, by the offering of which the stain laid on her by the law was wiped off, and she restored to all the purity and cleanness she had before. This was the law of the purification after bearing a son. But for a daughter, the time of separation was double; the first term being fourteen days, and the second sixty-six; in all eighty days before she could approach the sanctuary. Now as Jesus was circumcised, though perfectly free from sin, so his mother submitted to the purifications prescribed by the law, notwithstanding she was free from the pollutions common in other births. It was evident, indeed, that she was a mother, but her miraculous conception was not generally known.” They brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord Because the law required that he should be presented in the temple at the end of forty days from his birth, and that the usual offerings should be made, his parents would find it more convenient to go up with him from Bethlehem, where he was born, at the distance of six miles only, than, after Mary’s recovery, to carry him first to Nazareth, which was a great way from Jerusalem. We may, therefore, reasonably enough suppose that they tarried in Bethlehem all the days of her purification, and that from Bethlehem they went straightway to Jerusalem. Here, entering the temple, the sacrifices prescribed for the purification of women, after child-bearing, were offered for Mary, who, according to custom, waited in the outer court till the service respecting her was performed. As it is written, Every male that openeth the womb, &c. See this explained in the note on Exodus 12:2. And to offer a sacrifice, a pair of turtle doves, &c. This was the offering required from the poor, Leviticus 12:6; Leviticus 12:8. Those in better circumstances were commanded to bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt-offering, and a turtle-dove, or a young pigeon, for a sin-offering. It is evident, from the offering they made, that although Joseph and Mary were of the seed royal, they were in very mean circumstances. The evangelist mentions the presentation of the child to the Lord before the offering of the sacrifice for the mother’s purification; but in fact this preceded the presentation, because, till it was performed, the mother could not enter the temple; accordingly Luke himself introduces both the parents as presenting Jesus.
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