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Childbirth. Emblem of acute and sudden suffering, such as shall overtake those unprepared for the Lord's second coming (1 Thessalonians 5:3). The special suffering laid on woman as part of the curse from the fall is overruled to a blessing, if she shall faithfully do and suffer the part assigned by God to her, namely, childbearing and home duties, her sphere as distinguished from public teaching, which is man's (1 Timothy 2:11-15), "she shall be saved (though) with childbearing"; i.e., though suffering her part of the primeval curse, in childbearing, just as man shall be saved, though having to bear his part, the sweat of the brow. The passage may further imply: her childbearing, though in sorrow, being the function of her sex whereby the Savior was born, shall be the mean of her salvation. Ellicott translates, "through THE childbearing," namely, that of Jesus (Genesis 3:15-16).
        A special interposition mitigated the penalty to the Hebrew women, under the cruel edict of Pharaoh for the destruction of all Hebrew males born (Exodus 1:15-19). A woman was unclean under the Mosaic law for 40 days after giving birth to a male, and 80 days in the ease of a female. Then she offered a burnt offering and a sin offering for her cleansing; less costly victims were required for the poor, as the Virgin Mary (See BIRD.) A child when born was washed, rubbed with salt, and wrapped in swaddling bands, as appears in the Lord's touching picture of His adopting and ultimately marrying Israel (Ezekiel 16:4), where for "to supple thee" (i.e. to make the skin soft), translate, "to the (or my) sight," i.e. in order to be sightly for me to look upon front. The salting was to make the skin dense and firm.
        Natural birth unto life is the constant image in Scripture for spiritual quickening, the new birth of the soul by the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin and also points the eye of faith to the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world (John 3:3-8; John 1:13; Galatians 6:15; Titus 3:5; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17; compare Job 33:24-26). Birthdays were generally observed with rejoicing. So Pharaoh's (Genesis 40:20); Job's (Job 1:4, etc.); Herod's (Matthew 14:6), though his day was perhaps rather that of his accession to the throne, compare Hosea 7:5, "the day of our king."
        The Jews latterly viewed birthday celebrations unfavorably, on account of the idolatrous rites and revelry associated with them. Josephus (Ant. 19:7, section 1) mentions that Herod, the brother of Herodias, who succeeded the Herod of Matthew 14:6, "made a feast on his birthday, when all under his command partook of his mirth." This is in coincidence with Matthew and Mark (Mark 6:21), for it proves that birthday feasts were observed in Herod's family, and that officers of the government customarily shared in them.

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., "Definition for 'birth' Fausset's Bible Dictionary". - Fausset's; 1878.

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