Posted by: edhensley | February 8, 2010

Women Defiled by Childbirth; Baby Girls Twice as Dirty as Baby Boys


Leviticus 12
Purification After Childbirth

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. 3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. 4 Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. 5 If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. 6 ” ‘When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting a year-old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or a dove for a sin offering. 7 He shall offer them before the LORD to make atonement for her, and then she will be ceremonially clean from her flow of blood.
” ‘These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. 8 If she cannot afford a lamb, she is to bring two doves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’ “

Accodrding to the Bible, a woman is defiled by giving birth. Furthermore, giving birth to a girl defiles her twice as much as giving birth to a boy (since she remains unclean twice as long). A woman is ceremonial unclean for 7 days and must wait 33 days to be purified after giving birth to a son. If she gives birth to a daughter, she is ceremonial unclean for 14 days and must wait 66 days to be purified.

This is just another example of bizarre laws in the bible. It also provides another example of how the Bible values women as much less worthy as men. There is no logic or reason behind either of these laws. There is especially no reason why giving birth to a girl makes a woman twice as unclean as giving birth to a boy.

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Responses

  1. You’ll disagree, i know, but many of these laws require cultural context not given in the Bible. The context makes these laws practical rather than ‘bizarre’ and actually, again, shows the value of women (the law is going against the cultural grain of the period).

    I was in a group and a feminist brought up this law as ‘sickening’. I had no response, but a woman who was an obstetrician who worked in Afghanistan noted that in Afghanistan (a culture similar to the O.T. Jews by today’s standards) if a woman has a girl the man will want to get her pregnant again immediately, which isn’t good for the woman. If she has a boy, there is no felt need to have another child right away.

    Similar views of women were prevalent in that time too. If a girl was born the husband would want a son right away, which isn’t good for the woman. The obstetrician said the extra days unclean would mean that the man could not touch her for that entire time, giving her time to rest before trying to have another baby.

  2. Once again, Adam, you are applying your assumptions and presuppositions to the Bible.

    Where in this passage (or anywhere else in the Bible) is there any indication that the purpose of these rules is to prevent the birth of children? Nowhere.

    What does “She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary” have to do with a man having sex with her? Nothing.

    Where does this passage state that these rules are “good for the woman?” Nowhere.

    You are applying modern humanistic thought in order to justify ancient illogical laws. Your thoughts, however, are found nowhere in the scriptures.

    • Ed Hensley, you’ve posted many Bible quotes from passages hard to understand from a modern context. I’d like to find a collection of these I can refer people to and perhaps you can point me to a coherent collection. My reason is because people are pointing to similar passages from the Quran and I’d like to say we Jews and Christians have our own difficult to relate to quotes in our holy books. I find your scrutiny helpful.

      • Carl,

        You may find a comprehensive collection at http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/. I

        Notice that it also includes sections on the Quran and The Book of Mormon. I must admit, I have not read these sections that much.

        Thanks!

        Ed

    • To me when it comes to understanding certain aspects of the bible,you must also consider customs of those persons,their ways. Wouldnt it be wiser to take to properly study their ways as to why they do such things .
      I am skeptical of the bible at times,but instead of stayin ignorant i do as much research i can to quench it.

      In modern day society,there are still certain civilizations with adhere to the tradition,no matter how old it is.

      And look at India where child marriages are legal.But do we know why parents give their ‘babies’ to much elder men who could be considered their grandparents,or do we criticize on a by stander’s P.O.V with out conducting sufficient research.Or why they take the cow to be sacred,whereas many countries prefer cows barbecued.

  3. assumptions are required, I have them, you have them.

    you assume that because the meaning isn’t stated in the text there is no meaning in the law at all. It’s reasonable that meaning is implied because laws do not (typically) express meaning.

    Examples? These are pulled at random, and, believe it or not, i didn’t even read them until they were pasted below! ha ha!

    Here’s from an ancient law (The Code of Hammurabi)
    If any one bring an accusation of any crime before the elders, and does not prove what he has charged, he shall, if it be a capital offense charged, be put to death.

    And here’s a modern law
    § 1232a. Prohibition against Federal control of education
    No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system, or to require the assignment or transportation of students or teachers in order to overcome racial imbalance.

    (although at first glance it may look like meaning is given, that last sentence is not the reason for the law, it is the law itself. Why they can’t do those things to over come racial imbalance is the meaning of the law, and it’s not stated)

    and here is something in the middle (Magna Carta)

    (8) No widow shall be compelled to marry, so long as she wishes to remain without a husband. But she must give security that she will not marry without royal consent, if she holds her lands of the Crown, or without the consent of whatever other lord she may hold them of.

    none explicitly express meaning in their laws, and yet you demand meaning expressed in the Biblical laws. Why?

    • Adam,

      I did a search on the word “mean” in this blog. I never wrote it prior to this comment! You, on the other hand, have written the word “mean” or “meaning” 9 times! How can you accuse me of trying to say there is no meaning in this law when I never even used that word?

      You claimed the reason for this biblical law was to protect women who just had children. You have no supporting evidence from the bible for that claim. If you are permitted to dream up this reason, why can’t anyone else dream up any other reason?

      Furthermore, if your reason were the one true reason for this law, why couldn’t God just say “Men should not have sex with their wives for 66 days after child birth.” This would be much more clear and much more effective.

      Your reason for “protection” of women does not really protect them. What is to stop a man from having sex with his wife 33 days after giving birth to a son? NOTHING! Your claim that men are more likely to instantly impregnate women after giving birth to a daughter may be true, but this law does not prohibit men from having sex with their wives 66 days after birth – it only does so for daughters. Therefore, this law does not protect the health of women.

  4. This example of a bizarre law, and other examples elsewhere on the site (and in the OT), perhaps substantiate what Ezekiel wrote as attributed to God in Ezekiel 20:25 — “I also gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live…” (NAS).

  5. I was puzzled by this when I read it but Adams logic makes a lot of sense.

    • Adam’s “logic”, unfortunately for you, is not stated in the verses. It would be more logical for the bible to state “It is a sin for man to have sex with his wife until 66 days after giving birth. The reason for this law is to allow the woman’s body to heal.” This is Adam’s logic. Once again, these words do not appear in the verses.

      Adam’s “logic” assumes that a man will not have sex with his wife on the 34th day after the birth of a son. His logic assumes that men only want to have sex in order to cause a pregnancy. These assumptions go against human nature.

  6. Just when the Octomom (Nadya Suleman) thought things could not get any worse, Now she finds out she’s “unclean” for 330 days (6 males, 2 females) has to locate 8 one year old lambs and I cant even count that many birds.

  7. Something I’ve heard… The Caananite tribes living near the Israelites during the time in which God set this law had a nasty habit of sacrificing baby girls to their gods. If the mother was considered ‘unclean’ and couldn’t go near anything sacred, the baby wouldn’t be going there either. This law was designed to protect the women and girls in question.

    • AJ,

      Adam posted that the law was put in place to protect the health of the mothers, since fathers of girls would want to have sex with the mothers immediately to sire boys. Now you claim this was done to protect the girls from sacrifice.

      You both have the same problem: there is no statement anywhere in the verses to support either one of your claims.

      Anybody can make up a “reason” for a verse. This does not make absurd verses valid. Do you accept all Muslim “reasons” for absurd verses in the Koran?

  8. My dad has been writing a book exactly on point with this blog, I have emailed him the web address so perhaps he could pick up a couple pointers. Wonderful Job.

  9. Ed hensley,
    There is something to be said about the context in which the laws were given. Adam and AJ are both correct about the ancient culture the Jews were in at the time of the exodus.
    You’re scoffing at 8 verses of 1400’s BC Scripture from a 21st century perspective, while neglecting the background of the culture into which it was given.
    I would offer a response further than Adam & AJ, but your whole basis is equivalent to reading Tsunetomo or some other ancient Japanese writer..and laughing when he mentions taking their shoes off when entering the home. Dont understand the culture, not worth the time.

    • Thanks for agreeing that modern humanism is morally superior to verses written in 1400 BCE.

  10. Perhaps the context of the Jews should in fact be taken into consideration. Further reading in Leviticus, specifically Leviticus chapter 27, gives much insight into the great value that Jewish culture at the time placed upon women. The chapter goes as far as to specify exactly how much less than a man a woman was worth: depending on the circumstances, 40-50%.

  11. After reading some of the comments, I have to say –
    So then, why was a woman also considered unclean during her period?

    What possible health benefit or rescue from human sacrifice or any other benefit could this have had? None. There was absolutely no benefit for the woman or for anyone else.

    She could not visit a temple during her period. No one could even sit in a seat in which she had sat in – or they would become contaminated too. Her husband could not have sex with her. Yet there is no harm to either the woman or the man in having sex during this time.

    Blood from periods or after a birth simply wasn’t understood in those days. It’s just ignorance.

    It can’t be explained away in any other way.

    • See my response below, it is you who are ignorant.

      • Jose,

        I will not let you call people ignorant. Further abuse of your fellow commentors will not be tolerated.

        Ed

    • Husbands in that time had many wives, and each wife would have her ‘turn’ with the husband. Although it may be possible to become pregnant on your period the chances are nowhere near as high as they would be a week or two later on in the month.
      If a husband took his turn with one wife whilst she was on her period, he would be depriving her of the oppurtunity to have children. This is why women were considered ‘unclean’- to protect their chances of pregnancy. The unclean issue is that women did not have pads or tampons but sat on bales of hay in the ‘red tent’. Since they could hardly carry hay under their skirt, going into the temple would result in splashing blood on the floor and any seat they sat on, causing great embarrassment. Husbands might force wives to do these things without these protective laws.

      • The bible supports polygamy, has many examples of biblical patriarchs who were polygamous, and has laws that presuppose polygamy is not wrong. Thank you for admitting that the bible is a reflection of “that time” and should not be used as a guide for modern times.

  12. The author of this article is a very ignorant man. The dates of purification (40 days total for man and 80 for women) has nothing to do with male superiority. It is hard to believe how that would be the case. The real reason has to do with tradition passed from the creation story. Adam was caused to sleep for 6 days and entered Eden on the 40th day, Eve entered on the 80th day (Jubilees Ch.3). This passage and others (like the shellfish and four legs quote) show the ignorance of the “progressive” mindset. Interesting how Islamist, fundementalist Christians, and Atheist have the same view points of the Bible.

    • Jose,

      Are you Catholic?

      Ed

    • I have quoted Jubilees 3 below. It only supports my observations that (1) women were unclean after the birth of girls twice as long as after the birth of boys and (2) women are not valued as much in the bible as men and provides a second source, even if the source is apocryphal.

      Jubilees 3 from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/jub/jub15.htm

      4. And the Lord said unto us: “It is not good that the man should be alone: let us make a helpmeet for him.” 5. And the Lord our God caused a deep sleep to fall upon him, and he slept, and He took for the woman one rib from amongst his ribs, and this rib was the origin of the woman from amongst his ribs, and He built up the flesh in its stead, and built the woman. 6. And He awaked Adam out of his sleep and on awaking he rose on the sixth day, and He brought her to him, and he knew her, and said unto her: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she will be called [my] wife; because she was taken from her husband.” 7. Therefore shall man and wife be one, and therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. 8. In the first week was Adam created, and the rib–his wife: in the second week He showed her unto him: and for this reason the commandment was given to keep in their defilement, for a male seven days, and for a female twice seven days. 9. And after Adam had completed forty days in the land where he had been created, we brought him into the Garden of Eden to till and keep it, but his wife they brought in on the eightieth day, and after this she entered into the Garden of Eden. 10. And for this reason the commandment is written on the heavenly tables in regard to her that giveth birth: “if she beareth a male, she shall remain in her uncleanness seven days according to the first week of days, and thirty and three days shall she remain in the blood of her purifying, and she shall not touch any hallowed thing, nor enter into the sanctuary, until she accomplisheth these days which (are enjoined) in the case of a male child. 11. But in the case of a female child she shall remain in her uncleanness two weeks of days, according to the first two weeks, and sixty-six days in the blood of her purification, and they will be in all eighty days.” 12. And when she had completed these eighty days we brought her into the Garden of Eden, for it is holier than all the earth besides, and every tree that is planted in it is holy. 13. Therefore, there was ordained regarding her who beareth a male or a female child the statute of those days that she should touch no hallowed thing, nor enter into the sanctuary until these days for the male or female child are accomplished. 14. This is the law and testimony which was written down for Israel, in order that they should observe (it) all the days.

  13. they did not have sanitary towels and tampax. maybe monthlies got quite messy and it would have been quite embarrassing to leak in the tabernacle.
    optimum time for blood clotting well after a circumcision is on the 8th day. boys are more at risk of early death than girls. the unclean times gave mother and baby time to bond and prevent spread of infections especially from males who would have done most of the cattle tending as they were a nomadic shepherdic tribe.

    • So these little baby boys were tending cattle at the age of 8 days old?

  14. No, little 8 day old baby Hebrew boys would not be tending catttle. They most probably would be lying in their mother’s arms recovering from their operation.
    Gods wisdom is far more advanced than man’s attempts at gaining knowledge. Often our scientists discover years later that the laws and prohibitions God gave to the original Israelites are beneficial for physical and mental health of the community.

    • Your replies have no logical reason why the length of time women were unclean after the birth of a girl was twice as long as that of the birth of a boy.

  15. Being a small fish with lots of larger enemies surrounding it, males were very important. GIrls dont make very good soldiers – its as simple as that.

  16. Thank you Ed for posting this, it amuses me to see the lengths the “faithful” will go to twist immorality in the bible to make black appear white, obviously the reason for this is they start with the presuppositions that 1. the bible is the word of god and 2. their morality comes from god therefore how can anything god said be immoral. If you believe your morality comes from god then the logical inference is that if these “immoral” bible passages are in fact indicative of gods morality then the “faithful” would have to takes these atrocities as the new moral standard. The fact that you believe certain things to be moral or immoral based on supposed standards set by a god is as far as im concerned completely immoral.

  17. Hi future bug I like your answer about males being important to become soldiers, though I don’t see what that has to do with the times of uncleanliness during childbirth.

    And Hi to dontactthe maggot it’s amusing the lengths the ‘unfaithful’ will go to, to twist the interpretation of the bible to suit their own immorality. In this case ignorance is not bliss. No offence intended. I guess we are all entitled to be a little bit biased depending on which side of the fence we are sitting on.
    So I will give you the female bias to the bible as we are so often inclined to look at things from the male perspective only; always seeing the female as victim with many women unfortunately adopting the same stance.

    Hi Ed, the answer to your query is that during the birth of a girl there are two females involved in the birthing process but, only one when the mother has a boy. Therefore both females are respected by receiving 33 days each totalling as 66 days in all.

    During her ‘unclean’ stage the mother has time to recover and is free of all religious obligations. Being considered ‘unclean’ gains her seclusion and helps her mate to understand that God ‘insists’ she has time to herself, as some men may have become belligerent and not be sympathetic to their wives being sore and needing rest.
    Remember everything God says or does is for the good of humankind, even though it may take many years of scientific investigations to find out the reasons why.

    • Nowhere does this passage say that there are 66 days in order to show “respect” to two women. The word “respect” is not found in this passage at all. You simply made this up or parroted an apology someone else made up.

      There is no scientific evidence to show that women giving birth to little girls need twice as much recovery time as those giving birth to boys, much less 33 days or 66 days. Your appeal to science in your last statement is absurd.

      There is no logical reason provided in the passage for little baby girls making mothers require twice as much purification time as little baby boys. Apologists believe they can make up an answer, apply it and then someone call it logical of even scientific. In doing so, apologists are altering the word of God! The word of God is no longer the bible but the bible plus the word of the apologist. In this case, your response would imply that the word of God is the bible plus the words of Rachel. You are equivocating your words with with bible, and therefore making yourself a God!

    • @Rachael

      The simple fact is those societies in the past always valued males over women. Men are stronger and they fight. Poor Israel, was always being invaded by larger stronger neighbours like Egypt, Babylon, Assyria and Rome.

      While many have stated above that this extra unpure days afford protection it ignores the fact, what happened after to the baby girls. Whats to stop someone who believes to sacrifice their daughter to keep the Gods happy after the time has passed. Its fairly evident that for such a law to be made and emphasised so often that the Jewish werent that different from their immediately neighbours who they were sharing the land. This also brings another question, why would they need protection and to be told not to copy their neighbours if Joshua says they were all wiped out from the land during his conquest.

      The simple fact is of course these sorts of excuses get very complicated and require lots and lots of additional amendments. I have often heard that one lie requires another and another, while the truth is often simple. Is this not a case of that logic ?

  18. Hi Ed
    Correct! I am a god!
    As our loving Rabboni Yahsuah said in John 10:34

    “Is it not written in your Law; ‘I have said you are gods’?

    He was referring to Psalm 82: 6 which says;
    ‘You are “gods”
    You are all sons of The Most High
    But you will die like mere men….’

    For there is only one Eternal Ed, and that is Our Father which art in heaven.
    Also 1 Corinthians 3:16 says;
    “Don’t you know that you yourselves are Gods Temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”

    So thank you, you spoke appropriately. Ra Chi El is a god.
    But let’s not digress. It is true the word ‘respect’ is not found in the passage at all, but then nor does the word ‘defiled’ or ‘dirty’.

    There is no need for an ‘apology’ here. You do no except my explanation – so wait for your scientists to discover why.
    Also bear in mind that the passage says the mother is only CEREMONIOUSLY unclean, during the days allocated she is relieved of any religious duties. Not that she is defiled.

    As for an appeal to science being absurd, what is more absurd than ignoring the washing and purification laws that God set aside for dealing with bodily fluids, dead animals and bodies. Scientists did not ‘discover’ that they could prevent deaths in hospitals by washing their hands between patients and studying cadavers, until Louis Pasteur discovered microbiology and told you germs and bacteria could be transported by dirty hands and clothing, and this was not too long after a doctor called Dr Semmelweis was ridiculed for insisting that his medical team wash their hands to prevent the alarming numbers of women dying in childbirth from bacterial contamination. This was only discovered 100 years ago.
    So as a woman I know who I’d rather place my bets with!

    • My comments that you (and other apologists) made yourself a god is that you made up (or repeated a made up) explanation that is nowhere in the bible. Your reply failed to show the source of your explanation. Thus, the word of god is the bible plus your words.

      So let’s review: you have not provided any evidence to show why women who give birth to girls need twice as much time to recover as women who gave birth to boys. You reference Semmelweis, who actually HAD EVIDENCE to support his claims. He studied a nursing ward for poor women with two clinics, one clinic run by medical students and the other run by midwives. After getting the medical students to wash their hands in water with chlorine after working with cadevars, the death rates of babies in their clinic dropped. The bottom line is he had evidence. You have none. Your speculation is worthless.

      Women and children all over the world today benefit from the advances of science. The death rates of mothers and newborn babies when following modern medical practices are much lower than when only following the nonsense in the bible.

      If you truly believe remaining “unclean” (exact word used in the bible to describe these women – not respect) for 7 days after boys and 14 days after girls and that waiting for purification 33 days after girls and 66 days after boys is superior to modern medical practices, then do some research or experiments and get some data. Let me know when your data is published.

      The bible says fruit-bearing trees existed before the sun, it says bats are birds, and it makes many other obviously scientific errors. I think Neil Degrasse Tyson describes the use of the bible to obtain scientific knowledge accurately.

      I simply go with what works. And what works is the healthy skepticism embodied in the scientific method. Believe me, if the Bible had ever been shown to be a rich source of scientific answers and enlightenment, we would be mining it daily for cosmic discovery.

      Neil Degrasse Tyson, The Sky Is Not the Limit, p. 188

      • ed arent most poetry ambiguous,and the interpretion of it left to the reader,who would have knowledge of the poet and pick sense on what he/she may have written based on who that poet was.

        arent there persons who clarify those ambiguous poems,such as spark notes,since it would not make sense for the poet to have to explain every single prose or certain elements in the poem ,but the reader who is being trained in arts literature

        same way there are persons who study the bible for persons to understands God’s words ,and based on who He is ,come up with interpretions on what has been written

        if you have everything easy for you,what would you learn then?and wouldnt it make sense to trace back to their time,esp since culture etc were way different then?

      • Which people correctly interpret the bible for you: Catholic priests, protestant ministers, unitarian ministers, scientists, Mormon leaders?

  19. Does that mean nobody died of cholera, AIDS or any of the number of communicable diseases until science could provide the EVIDENCE that these diseases existed? That no one ever died of cancer until a scientist came along and provided visual evidence of tumorous growths through the lens of his microscope?
    It’s surprising how the human race has managed to survive for so long without the aid of scientific discovery.
    And do not scientist come up with a theory first and then work towards finding evidence to prove that the theory could be a truth?
    I have no need to provide data, God has given us science to discover through our own investigations The Truth revealed in His Laws which He provided for us to achieve a fulfilling and healthy life.

    A good Rabboni (teacher) preacher or any person blessed by the spirit of Truth has the ability to help others less knowledgeable to understand The Word of God. So yes because God’s Temple resides in His children. His words become their words and vice versa, sometimes creating prophet-hood.

    A believer’s ultimate aim is to become one with The Father as Yahsuah prayed in John 17:21;

    “That they all shall be one, just as you, my Father, are in me, and I am in you, so that they also shall be one in us”

    Also remember that night and day were operating fully before the sun may have burned brightly through a cloudless sky on the fourth day. The earth’s atmosphere may have been humid but the heat of the sun would have been suffice to provide vegetation such as ‘exotic’ fruits and vegetation that may no longer exist.

    Like I said, you have rejected my explanation, which is how things should be, because without the Spirit of Truth alight within you, your heart will be hardened and you cannot ‘see’.

    It is good to be a seeker of Truth.

    Peace be with you Ed.

    • Does that mean nobody died of cholera, AIDS or any of the number of communicable diseases until science could provide the EVIDENCE that these diseases existed?

      No. I never said anything like that. I simply said that the scientists YOU listed in your example, Semmelweiss and Pasteur, had evidence prior to making claims of cause and effect.

      And do not scientist come up with a theory first and then work towards finding evidence to prove that the theory could be a truth?

      No. Most of the time scientists have data before proposing a theory. They then try to perform experiments of find new evidence that confirms or falsifies the theory. Semmelweis had evidence with hard numbers to back it up before he concluded and published that some “cadaverous material” transmitted from medical students to newborns was killing the babies. Pasteur also had much data to work with, and the research of other scientists who had also proposed germ theory. Watson and Crick determined the sctructure of DNA in 1952 using the x-ray diffraction images and models of Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Chargaff’s discovery that bases of DNA had a 1 to 1 ratio, Linus Paulings discovery of proteins with an alpha helix shape, and many other such discoveries dating back to Friedric Miescher’s discovery of nucleic acid’s in 1869. The patterns described here have happened in almost all scientific discoveries. Data comes before the theory.

      So I have no need to provide data, God has given us science to discover through our own investigations The Truth…

      I noted earlier that the bible claims that fruit trees existed before their was a sun and that bats are birds. Science has revealed that the bible is wrong in these and a multitude of other matters. You ignored these errors, simply making assertions such as the one above, showing your blind devotion to dogma.

      First of all, that which can be asserted with no evidence can be dismissed with no evidence. Positive assertions require positive evidence.
      Secondly, your statement is a contradiction. You “do not need to provide data” and yet your god gave us science to discover things through “our own investigations”. You can not have investigations without data.
      Lastly, god did not give us science. It developed through centuries of work first from philosophers, and then from natural philosophers, and finally to methods used by Galileo, Newton and modern scientists. You do not find the scientific method in the bible.

      As a seeker of the truth, I hope you have been enlightened.

    • @Rachael,

      Take a look at your very name which includes homage to El a pagan god. Why are the Jews addressing YHWH using a title taken from the name of a pagan God called El. The same is also true of “Amen” the magic words which are said after closing a prayer. Why do Jews and Christians use a chant that is the name of an Egyptian God. Amen/Amun are the same the problem is we do not know the exact way to say his name because the Egyptians did not write vowels which repeats the problem we have with correctly saying Yahweh’s name. Notice Tutankhamun and another pharoahs use the name of their god to pay homage.

  20. Deborah was a ruler or a judge in the old testament. You can find more about it here in Judges 4-5. Even today we do not have a woman president yet, look how the media treats Hilary Clinton, asking her what brand of clothing she is wearing.

    The male children need to be circumcised after 8 days, the reason for this is that the coagulation factor or vitamin k is at the highest point 8 days after birth and drops off considerably after 8 days. A woman would need a rabbi to do the circumcision, so I am guessing that may be why there is a period of ceremonial uncleanness for 7 days for males. So that on the 8th day the woman could take the baby to the rabbi or to the temple. There may be a longer time of 14 days where there are no temple obligations because there is no need to be circumcised.

    • A doctor would be better for circumcising than a rabbi. And there is no logical reason for a woman to have to go to a temple for circumcision, since it could be done in a home or medical center.

      The bible was used to keep women from voting in the USA and for other inequaties. Atheist Elizabeth Cady Stanton was the founder of the women’s suffrage movement, and all Christian women owe their right to vote to her. An atheist woman is currently the president of Australia.

  21. It seems edhensley will go to whatever extent to make his claims seem “reasonable”. Yes the bible was written by men inspired by the Holy Spirit. If you continue reading it with such a RIGID mind you won’t understand a thing. Trust me. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you when u read God’s word. That’s the only away, otherwise NOBODY here is able to convince you. am out of here. The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING OF WISDOM….Try to think what that means. ..ask for His wisdom, Cheers!

    • Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you when u read God’s word. That’s the only away, otherwise NOBODY here is able to convince you.

      I did this as a teenager when I did not understnad the bible or when I found it to be morally repulsive, which was often. It did not work, even when I belived in a Holy Spirit. I tried it again just now (even though I no longer believe in a Holy Spirit), and this passage is still morally repulsive. No matter how many times I ask the Holy Spirit to justify this (and other) passages, it never happens.

      Another problem is that you are asking me to believe a conclusion about about the bible first, then blindly accept its contents. If a Muslim asked you to accept the Koran as true and pray to Allah for proper interpretation, you would be the first to point out the faults of the Koran as evidence that it is not inspired by a perfect god. You must examine the claims of the Koran, the Bible and any other book before you accept the claims as truth. The correctness of the claims should dictate the acceptance of the book, not the other way around as you insist for the Bible but not for any other book.

      The fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING OF WISDOM

      I pity you and all others whose lives are based on a foundation of fear.

      • @edhensley……LOL Not that kind of fear! LOL. Told u no one is able to teach u.. u r not open minded that’s why u r unteachable. If a muslim came to teach me abt Quran a good student is always willing to learn BUT use your God given wisdom to discern what is true. You know what, I wud never force anyone to believe anything,God gave us a free will. That’s why we say God is love. You know why? He gave u a free will! True love does not force u into reciprocating His love coz His love is unconditional unlike human’s imperfect love.LOL I don’t need pity.haha.am okay, I know my identity is in Christ n God’s love for me

      • Your reply shows that you blindly accept your holy book but apply reason to other holy books. When you apply reason to the ridiculous passages in the bible, you will then know that it is merely a book written by men.

  22. I don’t know why this is written the way it is. And you obviously don’t want anyone to try to offer any educated guesses, but I do know that there are many scriptures that show God honors women. So I don’t see it as an example of God thinking I’m unworthy. So it must be something else.

    I noticed in the comments below there was a lot of back and forth. I’m not trying to tell you to change your view of this scripture, but I would like to suggest that there are probably many things we don’t know, and as you said, there isn’t a lot more written here to explain why. You keep, rightly, telling people that their ideas aren’t reflected in the scriptures, but neither is yours. The scripture says “ceremonially unclean” and you use the word defiled. That’s your interpretation of the scripture, but it’s not actually written there.

    I had a girl, and I decided that I would take advantage of this scripture, and stay home from church services. It’s not something my Church follows, but it seemed like a good idea to me. I was still bleeding a bit for weeks, had a vaginal tear and some painful hemorrhoids (and I had a non invasive, home birth, so I had far less issues than others). If I did too much activity, I would bleed more. I’ve never had a boy so I don’t know if it’s different — and I’m pretty sure no scientist has ever tried to look into it, that I know of. But, I found it freeing to not have to worry about my new baby being around a lot of people or having to prepare myself or my daughter to venture out to church services. Was that the intention? Why would a girl be different? It doesn’t say and I don’t know. But I do know that I found it helpful and loved my time at home with my baby and no obligations to do anything…

    Which Ieads me to something else, I had the advantage of choosing to stay home. I think the maternity laws here in the US show no logic. Why would the government not give more time for moms to be able to stay with their babies? Since I’m under these laws today, and have yet to see many laws in my country that show respect for women, I find it a bit sad that people would spend time complaining about their views on women in the Bible and not put their efforts into something useful, like working to change the terrible laws that affect women on a daily basis all around the world today?

    Just some thoughts. Thank you for writing the opportunity to comment.

    • *and (the opportunity to comment) :)

  23. Adam’s argument is faulty for the simple fact that if a family already had a son and this was the second child, for example that happened to be a girl, why would the husband want to impregnate his wife so quickly? What if the man had 5 sons already? I don’t believe the assumption that the law was designed to protect the woman and daughter. The law is peculiar, doesn’t make sense and seems to oppress women. It is like women were being punished for having a daughter just like Sarah felt worthless for not having children until she was in her 80s or 90s. Women not only had to have children but they had to have as many male children as possible because women were considered property or a liability and a male child was an asset. A woman’s testimony, for example was seldom heard in courts during that time because her testimony was in the same category as a lunatic’s. Additionally, If a man raped a virgin, he would not only have to pay the father 30 or 50 shekels of silver (never mind gold) but she would have to marry him. Interesting. Some say this protects the woman also but does it really? Would you want to be forced to marry someone that sexually assaulted you? Of course, the father had to be compensated because his property was damaged too but the heck with the woman…..let the worthless woman marry the perverted bleep because the father has to unload his tainted goods!

    Additionally, Adam mentioned that man made laws are full of peculiarities BUT the Bible is said to have been written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirt so if this is the case, why would God tell men that women were unclean twice as long for having a daughter? I don’t believe God or His laws are peculiar. Men’s laws are peculiar and this whole law sounds like it came from a man. Christians always say that if you read the Bible, you will understand yet it seems that the more I read, the more confused I become. Later, I’m accused of having an evil spirt guiding me. It sincerely ticks me off. I’m a Christian but I have questions about the Bible because Christians don’t seem to have the answers but they will accuse me of being led by an evil spirit simply because I have questions. No one on this blog has said that but I’m just making a point.

    @AJ…..I can’t accept your argument about the Caananite tribes wanting to sacrifice their baby daughters to “the gods” because these laws were supposed to have been written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirt for a group of people that wanted to honor God’s laws. If these people were true followers of God’s laws, why would they deviate to a pagan law and sacrifice their daughters to “other gods”?

    @ Ron…why were women worth less than men? Good question.

    @ Anna…..why was it ok for men to have more than one wife yet a woman couldn’t have more than one husband? That whole issue sounds like it came from a man and not from God.

    @ Ed….there are two creations stories in the book of Genesis…..One gives the example that you pointed out that is also illustrated in Jubilees but the other one says that man and woman were created (it makes no mention of the rib story) so I wonder what really happened. Furthermore, why would God make the distinction that a woman was unclean twice as long for having a daughter simply because women came second? Doesn’t the book of Genesis also say that God created man and woman equally? If that is the case, why is there a distinction with this uncleanliness ritual if we are all equal?

    @ Futurebug…..if women weren’t around to bear children, no one on earth at the time would cease to exist so your argument is weak. Maybe men are better warriors but no one would cease to exist if women didn’t bear children.

    @ Rachel….your comments are embarrassing to our gender. I’m sorry. They are weak, illogical and full of assumptions on your part.

    @ Nes…….Do you really believe God wants all of us to be this confused? Even when we have biblical experts that interpret the Bible for us, they all don’t come to the same conclusions so your argument isn’t very acceptable.

    @ Ash….you are guessing and it doesn’t explain why females were unclean twice as long as males. Good point about females being presidents, though.

    @ Ana….your comments are an embarrassment to Christians, particularly ones like me because I have the same types of questions but am told that I only need to read the Bible with an open mind. If a book doesn’t make sense to you, what do you do about it? Do you continue reading it and not make any attempts to get the answers to your questions or do you find the answers to your questions? I personally want to find the answers and when people like you give me those responses, it ticks me off. I do fear the Lord so does that mean that I have to just accept some of these things that don’t make sense? Do you really believe that God said that women were unclean twice as long for having daughters and if so, why? I would like to know your answer.

    @ Kelly…..your comments are biased. How do you know what my personal intentions are for viewing this blog or the personal intentions of anyone else? How do we define ceremonially unclean and why is there a distinction for male children as opposed to female children? This is the whole point of the article. I personally believe that a reason why women are so oppressed in our society is these religious ideologies infiltrated its way into our overall societal mindset. Therefore, do women get enough time to stay at home with their children after childbirth? Probably not. Christian men will then argue that women shouldn’t be working to begin with because that wasn’t God’s design. Interesting thought because if stayed at home during WWII, we may have lost the war! If women stayed at home when their husbands were out drinking all night and poured the money into a Scotch bottle, then how was the woman supposed to properly take care of the children and do her “wifely duties”? How many churches today are currently upholding NT Scriptures that states that orphans and widows should be supported? I personally know of a widow that is 64 years old and will most likely have to work until she is at least 70, maybe longer. She has medical issues and shouldn’t be working at all yet she is. Bear in mind that women still make 72 cents for every man’s dollar. I’m on this blog to understand these sexist Biblical laws so that I can uplift myself as a Christian and hopefully uplift other Christian women. When Christian women blindly accept everything in the Bible, including this distinction about women being unclean twice as long for having daughters as opposed to sons, then we become prisoner’s in our own minds. Do you really believe God made that distinction or man made that distinction?

    • I appreciate your enthusiasm. However, try to keep your next comment shorter. Perhaps this one should have been divided. Do not worry about dividing it up now.

      • I apologize. Being succinct isn’t a skill I have mastered yet.

  24. It’s quite simple…GOD is a man…JESUS is a man…THE HOLY SPIRIT is a man…THE BIBLE was written by men…Adam (man) was created first…Men are the leaders and head of the household. That’s how GOD intended things to be. Men should love their wives and protect them, and never hurt them… Women should love their husbands and respect the authority that GOD gave their husbands. Husbands should respect GOD’s authority over them.

  25. […] “There is no logic or reason behind either of these laws.”  http://rarebible.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/women-defiled-by-childbirth-baby-girls-twice-as-dirty-as-b… […]


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