The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
"This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer1 without defect or blemish2 and that has never been under a yoke.33
Give it to Eleazar4 the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp5 and slaughtered in his presence.
Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle6 it seven times toward the front of the Tent of Meeting.
While he watches, the heifer is to be burned--its hide, flesh, blood and offal.76
The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop8 and scarlet wool9 and throw them onto the burning heifer.
After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water.10 He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening.
The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.
"A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer11 and put them in a ceremonially clean place12 outside the camp. They shall be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing;13 it is for purification from sin.1410
The man who gathers up15 the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening.16 This will be a lasting ordinance17 both for the Israelites and for the aliens living among them.1811
"Whoever touches the dead body19 of anyone will be unclean for seven days.2012
He must purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day;21 then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean.2213
Whoever touches the dead body23 of anyone and fails to purify himself defiles the LORD's tabernacle.24 That person must be cut off from Israel.25 Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean;26 his uncleanness remains on him.
"This is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent: Anyone who enters the tent and anyone who is in it will be unclean for seven days,
and every open container27 without a lid fastened on it will be unclean.
"Anyone out in the open who touches someone who has been killed with a sword or someone who has died a natural death,28 or anyone who touches a human bone29 or a grave,30 will be unclean for seven days.3117
"For the unclean person, put some ashes32 from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water33 over them.
Then a man who is ceremonially clean is to take some hyssop,34 dip it in the water and sprinkle35 the tent and all the furnishings and the people who were there. He must also sprinkle anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave36 or someone who has been killed or someone who has died a natural death.
The man who is clean is to sprinkle37 the unclean person on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify him.38 The person being cleansed must wash his clothes39 and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean.
But if a person who is unclean does not purify himself, he must be cut off from the community, because he has defiled40 the sanctuary of the LORD.41 The water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on him, and he is unclean.4221
This is a lasting ordinance43 for them. "The man who sprinkles the water of cleansing must also wash his clothes, and anyone who touches the water of cleansing will be unclean till evening.
Anything that an unclean44 person touches becomes unclean, and anyone who touches it becomes unclean till evening."