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When Jesus was "presented" in Jerusalem by Mary and Joseph, the sacrifice made was "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons":

Luke 2: 22 When the days of their purification according to the law of Moses were fulfilled, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

But in Matthew when the Magi found Jesus:

Matthew 2: 11 They came into the house and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening their treasures, they offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Why such an offering when they were given such gifts?

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Perhaps the gifts of the Magi served to "tide them over" while Joseph looked for work in an unfamiliar city. In other words, they may have sold the gifts on the open market. Perhaps eBay! (a joke) –  rhetorician Mar 1 '14 at 22:01
Here are "Two Turtle Doves." wjpbr.com/twelve.html –  Bagpipes Mar 2 '14 at 10:40

2 Answers 2

The wise men came after baby Jesus was presented in the temple.

If you see a harmony of the Gospels, like Study Resources :: Harmony of the Gospels, you will find that the wise men came long after Jesus was presented in the temple.

Presentation in the temple

A woman who bore a son was ceremonially unclean for forty days (twice that if she bore a daughter Leviticus 12:2-5), that is, she was not permitted to go to the temple or to engage in religious services with the congregation.

Luke 2:22-24 (NASB)
22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "EVERY firstborn MALE THAT OPENS THE WOMB SHALL BE CALLED HOLY TO THE LORD"), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, "A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS."

The wise men from the East

The wise men saw the star in the east, then went to Jerusalem, they asked, were sent, and finally arrived. So, that took time, possibly up to two years.

Matthew 2:16 (NASB)
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

On the other hand, the Mary's offering indicates that she and Joseph were poor. Joseph and Mary were very pious Jews so as not lied in his offering.

Matthew 1:19 (NASB)
And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.

Luke 2:38 (NASB)
And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

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Excellent answer - to me, this provides a very clear link between the text and cultural history +1 –  user3376 Mar 1 '14 at 11:10

The question was asked: "Why would Mary and Joseph offer “ "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons" in Luke 2:24?"

For clarification in Lev 12:2-4 "Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled."

So she was unclean for seven days and on the eight day the male child is to get circumcised! Provision was made by our Heavenly Father for Mary to participate on the eight day to circumcise her Son. That is how she was able to meet Simeon and Prophetess Anna in the temple. After the circumcision Mary was unclean an additional 33 days.

Our Father in Heaven purposed/planned this in His Torah; that allows for a new mother who is not able to bring a lamb to bring "two turtles, or two young pigeons"

In Lev 12:8 "And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean."

Mary and Joseph was very rich in faith. Mary and Joseph had a LAMB, but she was not able to bring him for an offering at that time of her purification. Mary and Joseph will raise Jesus, and our heavenly Father will offer him later for the world. Praise God!

Things happen for our edification - there are many jewels in the scriptures. It is good to study the Old Testament to find reveal the whole truth. God is Blessed Forever and Ever. Amen

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