Numbers 19:1-10

The Water of Cleansing

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
2 “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke.
3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.
4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting.
5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines.
6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening.
8 The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.
9 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.
10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them.

Numbers 19:1-10 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 19

This chapter contains a law for making a water for purification for sin, the ingredients of which are the ashes of a red heifer burnt, about which many things are observed, Nu 19:1-10; the use of the water made of them, to purify such as were unclean by the touch of a dead body, Nu 19:11-13; some rules are given, by which it might be known who were unclean on account of a dead body, Nu 19:14-16; the manner of purifying such persons, Nu 19:17-19; and the punishment of those that should neglect purification, Nu 19:20-22.

Numbers 19:1-10 In-Context

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
2 “This is a requirement of the law that the LORD has commanded: Tell the Israelites to bring you a red heifer without defect or blemish and that has never been under a yoke.
3 Give it to Eleazar the priest; it is to be taken outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence.
4 Then Eleazar the priest is to take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting.
5 While he watches, the heifer is to be burned—its hide, flesh, blood and intestines.
6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.
7 After that, the priest must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. He may then come into the camp, but he will be ceremonially unclean till evening.
8 The man who burns it must also wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he too will be unclean till evening.
9 “A man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They are to be kept by the Israelite community for use in the water of cleansing; it is for purification from sin.
10 The man who gathers up the ashes of the heifer must also wash his clothes, and he too will be unclean till evening. This will be a lasting ordinance both for the Israelites and for the foreigners residing among them.
11 “Whoever touches a human corpse will be unclean for seven days.
12 They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean.
13 If they fail to purify themselves after touching a human corpse, they defile the LORD’s tabernacle. They must be cut off from Israel. Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on them, they are unclean; their uncleanness remains on them.
14 “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,

Cross References 18

  • 1. S Genesis 15:9; Hebrews 9:13
  • 2. S Leviticus 22:19-25
  • 3. Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 6:7
  • 4. Numbers 3:4
  • 5. S Exodus 29:14; Leviticus 4:12,21; Hebrews 13:11
  • 6. S Leviticus 4:17
  • 7. S Exodus 29:14
  • 8. ver 18; Psalms 51:7
  • 9. S Leviticus 14:4
  • 10. S Leviticus 11:25; S Leviticus 14:8; Leviticus 16:26,28; Leviticus 22:6
  • 11. Hebrews 9:13
  • 12. S Exodus 29:31; S Leviticus 4:12
  • 13. ver 13; Numbers 8:7
  • 14. S Genesis 35:2
  • 15. Leviticus 15:10
  • 16. Leviticus 14:46
  • 17. Leviticus 3:17
  • 18. S Leviticus 22:18
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