The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron
to give the Israelites the following regulations. Bring to Moses and Aaron a red cow which has no defects and which has never been worked,
and they will give it to Eleazar the priest. It is to be taken outside the camp and killed in his presence.
Then Eleazar is to take some of its blood and with his finger sprinkle it seven times in the direction of the Tent.
The whole animal, including skin, meat, blood, and intestines, is to be burned in the presence of the priest.
Then he is to take some cedar wood, a sprig of hyssop, and a red cord and throw them into the fire.
After that, he is to wash his clothes and pour water over himself, and then he may enter the camp; but he remains ritually unclean until evening.
The one who burned the cow must also wash his clothes and pour water over himself, but he also remains unclean until evening.
Then someone who is ritually clean is to collect the ashes of the cow and put them in a ritually clean place outside the camp, where they are to be kept for the Israelite community to use in preparing the water for removing ritual uncleanness. This ritual is performed to remove sin. 1
The one who collected the ashes must wash his clothes, but he remains unclean until evening. This regulation is valid for all time to come, both for the Israelites and for the foreigners living among them.
Those who touch a corpse are ritually unclean for seven days.
They must purify themselves with the water for purification on the third day and on the seventh day, and then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on both the third and the seventh day, they will not be clean.
Those who touch a corpse and do not purify themselves remain unclean, because the water for purification has not been thrown over them. They defile the Lord's Tent, and they will no longer be considered God's people.
In the case of a person who dies in a tent, anyone who is in the tent at the time of death or who enters it becomes ritually unclean for seven days.
Every jar and pot in the tent that has no lid on it also becomes unclean.
If any touch a person who has been killed or has died a natural death outdoors or if any touch a human bone or a grave, they become unclean for seven days.
To remove the uncleanness, some ashes from the red cow which was burned to remove sin shall be taken and put in a pot, and fresh water added.
In the first case, someone who is ritually clean is to take a sprig of hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle the tent, everything in it, and the people who were there. In the second case, someone who is ritually clean is to sprinkle the water on those who had touched the human bone or the dead body or the grave.
On the third day and on the seventh the person who is ritually clean is to sprinkle the water on the unclean persons. On the seventh day he is to purify those, who, after washing their clothes and pouring water over themselves, become ritually clean at sunset.
Those who have become ritually unclean and do not purify themselves remain unclean, because the water for purification has not been thrown over them. They defile the Lord's Tent and will no longer be considered God's people.
You are to observe this rule for all time to come. The person who sprinkles the water for purification must also wash his clothes; anyone who touches the water remains ritually unclean until evening.
Whatever an unclean person touches is unclean, and anyone else who touches it remains unclean until evening.