Did Old Testament women offer sacrifices for menstruation?

Women in Leviticus 15 

Leviticus 15 deals with the different types of defilement for men and women and the cleansing sacrifices. These defilements were not moral offenses, though they defiled both the person involved and also others who came in touch with him. Some of these defilements take place naturally, such as that of a woman in “the time of her separation” (v. 25) or in an “issue” of “blood” (v. 19), or of a man during sleep (v. 16). The other defilements recorded do not result from sin but from usual body functions or from abnormal states. 

Kinds of Defilements

There are six different kinds of defilements that are recorded in Leviticus 15:  

  • First – Abnormal male conditions (Leviticus 15:2–15; Leviticus 22:4; Numbers 5:2).  
  • Second – Normal male conditions (Leviticus 15:16, 17; Leviticus 22:4; Deuteronomy 23:10, 11).  
  • Third – Normal conjugal relations (Leviticus 15:18; Exodus 19:15; 1 Samuel 21:5; 1 Corinthians 7:5).  
  • Fourth – Normal female conditions (Leviticus 15:19–23; Leviticus 12:2; 20:18).  
  • Firth – Inopportune conjugal relations (Leviticus 15:24; Leviticus 18:19; 20:18).  
  • Sixth – Abnormal female conditions (Leviticus 15:25–30; Matthew 9:20; Mark 5:25; Luke 8:43). 

Cleansing Sacrifices

OT women were not required to offer cleansing sacrifices after their regular menstruation.  The Lord only required cleansing sacrifices for the first and sixth cases of defilement for the abnormal physical conditions. In the others cases, no cleansing sacrifices were required.

Whoever should come to the sanctuary when defiled would defile it, even though the defilement was in most cases involuntary and did not require cleaning sacrifices. The sacrifice was the least of all bloody offerings—a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering, and the same for a burnt offering (Leviticus 15: 29, 30). 

God Cares

God’s health rules show His interest in our personal health and cleanliness, and at the same time stressed the sacredness of holy things. Ceremonial defilement was figurative of moral defilement although the Levitical laws clearly differentiated between actual sin and uncleanness. These laws illustrate God’s hate for sin and also for uncleanness of all types, even though it may not be precisely named sin. The Lord demands holiness as He demands cleanliness. He says, “Be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team  

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