And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed,
&c.] That is, shall command another priest to kill one of them, or an Israelite, as Aben Ezra; and who also observes, that some say the leper, or the butcher, as the Targum of Jonathan; the killing of this bird, not being a sacrifice, might be done without the camp, as it was, and not at the altar, near to which sacrifices were slain, and where they were offered: and this was to be done in an earthen vessel over running water:
this vessel, according to the Jewish traditions F1, was to be a new one, and a fourth part of a log of running water was to be put into it, and then the bird was to be killed over it, and its blood squeezed into it, and then a hole was dug, and it was buried before the leprous person; and so it should be rendered, "over an earthen vessel", as it is in the Tigurine version, and by Noldius F2; for how could it be killed in it, especially when water was in it? the killing of this bird may have respect to the sufferings, death, and bloodshed of Christ, which were necessary for the purging and cleansing of leprous sinners, and which were endured in his human nature, comparable to an earthen vessel, as an human body sometimes is; see ( 2 Corinthians 4:7 ) ; for he was crucified through weakness, and was put to death in the flesh, ( 2 Corinthians 13:4 ) ( 1 Peter 3:18 ) ; and the running or living water mixed with blood may denote both the sanctification and justification of Christ's people by the water and blood which sprung from his pierced side, and the continual virtue thereof to take away sin, and free from it; or the active and passive obedience of Christ, which both together are the matter of a sinner's justification before God.
F1 Negaim, c. 14. sect. 1.
F2 Ebr. Concord. part. p. 64. No. 318.