Post 7 about Christmas
Jewish Birth Rituals (Good News 3:1-3)
Luke mentions some things that Joseph and Mary did after Jesus’ birth that were requirements in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 12). A woman was to be ceremonially purified 33 days after the birth of a son, and if the son were her firstborn child, that son was to be considered God’s property, because God destroyed the firstborn sons of Egypt and saved alive the firstborn sons of the Israelites. God demanded that every Israelite firstborn son be redeemed by a sacrifice. (If a woman’s firstborn were a daughter, this didn’t apply to her firstborn and apparently it didn’t to any son born after that.) The sacrifice was specified as a lamb and either a turtledove or a young pigeon, but this was followed by a provision for those who couldn’t afford a lamb to bring either two turtledoves or two young pigeons.
From this we learn that Joseph and Mary weren’t wealthy enough to afford a lamb at this time. The fact that they couldn’t afford a lamb a month after Jesus’ birth makes it clear that the scholars from the east hadn’t yet arrived in Bethlehem.
From Birth and Childhood of Jesus – Events in the Glossary of Good News: The Life and Teachings of Jesus, a new translation of the Gospels blended into a single account, available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GULW042. If you find this interesting, please pass it along.