Ordinance of the Red Heifer
Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an unblemished red heifer in which is no defect and on which a yoke has never [a]been placed. You shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and it shall be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. Next Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; its hide and its flesh and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned. The priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet material and cast it into the midst of the [b]burning heifer. The priest shall then wash his clothes and bathe his [c]body in water, and afterward come into the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until evening. The one who burns it shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his [d]body in water, and shall be unclean until evening. Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a clean place, and [e]the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep it as water to remove impurity; it is [f]purification from sin. The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening; and it shall be a perpetual statute to the sons of Israel and to the alien who sojourns among them.
‘The one who touches the corpse of any [g]person shall be unclean for seven days. That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with [h]the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. Anyone who touches a corpse, the [i]body of a man who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the [j]tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Because the water for impurity was not [k]sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.
‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean for seven days. Every open vessel, which has no covering [l]tied down on it, shall be unclean. Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been slain with a sword or who has died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the [m]ashes of the [n]burnt [o]purification from sin and [p]flowing water shall be [q]added to them in a vessel. A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one slain or the one dying naturally or the grave. Then the clean person shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him from uncleanness, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and shall be clean by evening.
‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself from uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean. So it shall be a perpetual statute for them. And he who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. Furthermore, anything that the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.’”
- Numbers 19:2 Lit come up
- Numbers 19:6 Lit burning of the heifer
- Numbers 19:7 Lit flesh
- Numbers 19:8 Lit flesh
- Numbers 19:9 Lit it shall be to the congregation...Israel, for a guarding as water of impurity
- Numbers 19:9 Or a sin offering
- Numbers 19:11 Lit soul of man
- Numbers 19:12 Lit it
- Numbers 19:13 Lit soul
- Numbers 19:13 Lit dwelling place
- Numbers 19:13 Or thrown
- Numbers 19:15 Lit cord
- Numbers 19:17 Lit dust
- Numbers 19:17 Lit burning of the
- Numbers 19:17 Or sin offering
- Numbers 19:17 Lit living
- Numbers 19:17 Lit put
Death of Miriam
Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.
There was no water for the congregation, and they assembled themselves against Moses and Aaron. The people thus contended with Moses and spoke, saying, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord! Why then have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness, for us and our beasts to die [a]here? Why have you made us come up from Egypt, to bring us in to this wretched place? It is not a place of [b]grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink.” Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces. Then the glory of the Lord appeared to them; and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
The Water of Meribah
“Take the rod; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it may yield its water. You shall thus bring forth water for them out of the rock and let the congregation and their beasts drink.”
So Moses took the rod from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; and Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. And he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring forth water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came forth abundantly, and the congregation and their beasts drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Those were the waters of [c]Meribah, [d]because the sons of Israel contended with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.
From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to the king of Edom: “Thus your brother Israel has said, ‘You know all the hardship that has befallen us; that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. But when we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. Please let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or through vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s highway, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.’”
Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through [e]us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, and if I and my livestock do drink any of your water, then I will [f]pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, [g]nothing else.” But he said, “You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy [h]force and with a strong hand. Thus Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; so Israel turned away from him.
Now when they set out from Kadesh, the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor.
Death of Aaron
Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying, “Aaron will be gathered to his people; for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because you rebelled against My [i]command at the waters of Meribah. Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them up to Mount Hor; and strip Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron will be gathered to his people, and will die there.” So Moses did just as the Lord had commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. After Moses had stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar, Aaron died there on the mountain top. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, all the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.
- Numbers 20:4 Lit there
- Numbers 20:5 Lit seed
- Numbers 20:13 I.e. contention
- Numbers 20:13 Or where
- Numbers 20:18 Lit me
- Numbers 20:19 Lit give
- Numbers 20:19 Or no great thing
- Numbers 20:20 Lit people
- Numbers 20:24 Lit mouth
When the Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in the [a]Negev, heard that Israel was coming by the way of [b]Atharim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. So Israel made a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will [c]utterly destroy their cities.” The Lord heard the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites; then they [d]utterly destroyed them and their cities. Thus the name of the place was called [e]Hormah.
- Numbers 21:1 I.e. South country
- Numbers 21:1 Or the spies
- Numbers 21:2 Lit devote to destruction
- Numbers 21:3 Lit devoted to destruction
- Numbers 21:3 I.e. a devoted thing; or Destruction