“If she can’t afford a lamb, she can bring two doves or two pigeons, one for the Whole-Burnt-Offering and one for the Absolution-Offering. The priest will make atonement for her and she will be clean.” Leviticus 12:8 (MSG)
One of the reasons I’ve always encouraged fellow followers to read through the Old Testament is that it provides layers of new understanding to familiar passages in the New Testament. Take the verse above, for example. Now compare that with Luke 2:22-24:
When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took [Jesus] to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now we get a deeper picture of Mary and Joseph, who were dedicated followers of the Law and held to the rituals prescribed in Leviticus chapter 12. We also learn that Jesus’ family was of limited means because they sacrificed the doves or pigeons rather than the lamb. This, in turn, is fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophetic word picture (Isaiah 53:2) that the messiah would be of humble beginnings “like a tender shoot and a root out of dry ground.”
God’s Message provides wholistic understanding. While individual verses or passages provide inspiration or instruction, they are intended to be interpreted in the context of the whole. I am always wary of those who pull one or two verses out of God’s Message and interpret them to mean all sorts of things that do not fit in context with the whole. These early books of law are certainly dry in terms of simple devotional reading, but they are thick with providing a broader historical picture of God’s plan.