Numbers 19


וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶל־אַהֲרֹן לֵאמֹר   19:1

Numb. 19:1   And the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying,

זֹאת חֻקַּת הַתֹּורָה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּה יְהוָה לֵאמֹר דַּבֵּר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְיִקְחוּ אֵלֶיךָ פָרָה אֲדֻמָּה תְּמִימָה   19:2

אֲשֶׁר אֵין־בָּהּ מוּם אֲשֶׁר לֹא־עָלָה עָלֶיהָ עֹל

Numb. 19:2   “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel that they bring to you a complete red heifer in which there is no blemish and no yoke has come on it.’”

Although this verse and the next eight are specifically meant for Eleazar, Aaron’s oldest surviving son, these verses constitute a commandment.  The water of cleansing is mentioned as the result of the ritual described here; therefore, the ritual must be perpetual.  Does this mean that only the oldest son of the High Priest is responsible for carrying it out?  A good question!  But it would seem that such is the proper interpretation.  Otherwise, why would Eleazar be called out by name?  But then, what if a future priest were to have no male children?  What then?  It would seem expedient that the High Priest would then name another priest to fulfill this commandment.

וּנְתַתֶּם אֹתָהּ אֶל־אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן וְהֹוצִיא אֹתָהּ אֶל־מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה וְשָׁחַט אֹתָהּ לְפָנָיו   19:3

Numb. 19:3   “And you shall give it to Eleazar, the priest, and someone shall take it out to the outskirts of the camp and slaughter it before him.”

וְלָקַח אֶלְעָזָר הַכֹּהֵן מִדָּמָהּ בְּאֶצְבָּעֹו וְהִזָּה אֶל־נֹכַח פְּנֵי אֹהֶל־מֹועֵד מִדָּמָהּ שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים   19:4

Numb. 19:4   “And Eleazar, the priest, shall take some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle directly toward the front of the tent of meeting from its blood seven times.”

וְשָׂרַף אֶת־הַפָּרָה לְעֵינָיו אֶת־עֹרָהּ וְאֶת־בְּשָׂרָהּ וְאֶת־דָּמָהּ עַל־פִּרְשָׁהּ יִשְׂרֹף   19:5

Numb. 19:5   ‘And someone shall burn the heifer before his eyes.  He shall burn its skin and its flesh and its blood, with its dung.’

וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן עֵץ אֶרֶז וְאֵזֹוב וּשְׁנִי תֹולָעַת וְהִשְׁלִיךְ אֶל־תֹּוךְ שְׂרֵפַת הַפָּרָה   19:6

Numb. 19:6   ‘And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet cloth and cast into the midst of the burning heifer.’

וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו הַכֹּהֵן וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרֹו בַּמַּיִם וְאַחַר יָבֹוא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה וְטָמֵא הַכֹּהֵן עַד־הָעָרֶב   19:7

Numb. 19:7   ‘Then the priest shall wash his garments and bathe his flesh in water, and afterwards he may come in to the camp, but the priest shall be unclean until the evening.’

וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָהּ יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו בַּמַּיִם וְרָחַץ בְּשָׂרֹו בַּמָּיִם וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב   19:8

Numb. 19:8   ‘And the one who burned it shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his flesh with water, and he shall be unclean until the evening.’

וְאָסַף אִישׁ טָהֹור אֵת אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה וְהִנִּיחַ מִחוּץ לַמַּחֲנֶה בְּמָקֹום טָהֹור וְהָיְתָה לַעֲדַת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל   19:9

לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת לְמֵי נִדָּה חַטָּאת הִוא

Numb. 19:9   ‘And a clean man shall take away the ashes of the heifer and put down outside of the camp in a clean place, and it shall be for the congregation of the children of Israel to be kept for a water of cleansing; it is a purification of sin.’

This water of cleansing mentioned here is apparently the same as the water of purification mentioned in Numb. 8:7.  The Hebrew for the word purification there is different from the word for cleansing here, but they are basically synonymous.  Oddly, both words are translated as unclean or something similar in many other places in the Torah.

וְכִבֶּס הָאֹסֵף אֶת־אֵפֶר הַפָּרָה אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְטָמֵא עַד־הָעָרֶב וְהָיְתָה לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֹוכָם   19:10

לְחֻקַּת עֹולָם

Numb. 19:10  ‘And the one gathering the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening.  And it shall be for an everlasting statute for the children of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among you.’

Because the stranger is mentioned in this verse, the statute mentioned would not be the forgoing (as only the priest and Israelites are to perform the ritual), but what follows.

הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵת לְכָל־נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם וְטָמֵא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים   19:11

Numb. 19:11  ‘He who is coming in contact with a corpse of any death of a person, then he shall be unclean seven days.’

Note that the instructions in vss. 19:11 to 19:13, and v. 19:16, pertain to anyone, including men of war who have survived a battle.

הוּא יִתְחַטָּא־בֹו בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁבִיעִי יִטְהָר וְאִם־לֹא יִתְחַטָּא בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיֹּום   19:12

הַשְּׁבִיעִי לֹא יִטְהָר

Numb. 19:12  ‘He shall be purified with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean.  But were he not purified on the third day, then he would not be clean on the seventh day.’

                                                                                                                         [Return to Ezek. 44:26]

The pronoun it in the word translated as with it (third word, consisting of two letters, in the top line) refers back to the water of cleansing in v. 19:9.

כָּל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵת בְּנֶפֶשׁ הָאָדָם אֲשֶׁר־יָמוּת וְלֹא יִתְחַטָּא אֶת־מִשְׁכַּן יְהוָה טִמֵּא וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ   19:13

 הַהִוא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כִּי מֵי נִדָּה לֹא־זֹרַק עָלָיו טָמֵא יִהְיֶה עֹוד טֻמְאָתֹו בֹו

Numb. 19:13  ‘Anyone coming in contact with a corpse, with the body of a person who will have died, and is not purified, he defiles the Tabernacle of the Lord; then that soul shall be cut off from Israel.  Because the water of cleansing is not sprinkled on him, he shall still be unclean; his uncleanness is his.’

זֹאת הַתֹּורָה אָדָם כִּי־יָמוּת בְּאֹהֶל כָּל־הַבָּא אֶל־הָאֹהֶל וְכָל־אֲשֶׁר בָּאֹהֶל יִטְמָא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים   19:14

Numb. 19:14  ‘This is the law:  When a person will die in a tent, any one who comes in to the tent and any one who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days.’

וְכֹל כְּלִי פָתוּחַ אֲשֶׁר אֵין־צָמִיד פָּתִיל עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא   19:15

Numb. 19:15  ‘And any open vessel on which there is no bound cover, the same shall be unclean.’

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע עַל־פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה בַּחֲלַל־חֶרֶב אֹו בְמֵת אֹו־בְעֶצֶם אָדָם אֹו בְקָבֶר יִטְמָא שִׁבְעַת יָמִים   19:16

Numb. 19:16  ‘And anyone who shall come in contact with one fatally wounded of sword, or with one dead, or with a bone of a person on the surface of a field, or with a grave, shall be unclean seven days.’

וְלָקְחוּ לַטָּמֵא מֵעֲפַר שְׂרֵפַת הַחַטָּאת וְנָתַן עָלָיו מַיִם חַיִּים אֶל־כֶּלִי   19:17

Numb. 19:17  ‘And they shall take from the ashes of the burning of the purification of sin for the unclean, and he shall put running water on it into a vessel.’

Here we learn, finally, how the water of cleansing is prepared.

וְלָקַח אֵזֹוב וְטָבַל בַּמַּיִם אִישׁ טָהֹור וְהִזָּה עַל־הָאֹהֶל וְעַל־כָּל־הַכֵּלִים וְעַל־הַנְּפָשֹׁות אֲשֶׁר הָיוּ־שָׁם   19:18

וְעַל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בַּעֶצֶם אֹו בֶחָלָל אֹו בַמֵּת אֹו בַקָּבֶר

Numb. 19:18  ‘And a clean man shall take hyssop and dip in the water and sprinkle on the tent and on all the vessels and on all the persons who were there and on whoever came in contact with the bones or with the slain or with the dead or with the grave.’

וְהִזָּה הַטָּהֹר עַל־הַטָּמֵא בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁלִישִׁי וּבַיֹּום הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְחִטְּאֹו בַּיֹּום הַשְּׁבִיעִי וְכִבֶּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ   19:19

בַּמַּיִם וְטָהֵר בָּעָרֶב

Numb. 19:19  ‘And the clean one shall sprinkle on the unclean one on the third day and on the seventh day, and his purification shall be on the seventh day, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and shall be clean in the evening.’

וְאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִטְמָא וְלֹא יִתְחַטָּא וְנִכְרְתָה הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִוא מִתֹּוךְ הַקָּהָל כִּי אֶת־מִקְדַּשׁ יְהוָה טִמֵּא מֵי   19:20

נִדָּה לֹא־זֹרַק עָלָיו טָמֵא הוּא

Numb. 19:20  ‘But the man who would remain unclean and not purified, then that soul is cut off from the midst of the assembly; because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord -- the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on him -- he is unclean.’

וְהָיְתָה לָּהֶם לְחֻקַּת עֹולָם וּמַזֵּה מֵי־הַנִּדָּה יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְהַנֹּגֵעַ בְּמֵי הַנִּדָּה יִטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב   19:21

Numb. 19:21  ‘And it shall be for an everlasting statute for them.  And whoever will sprinkle the water of cleansing shall wash his clothes, and whoever will come in contact with the water of cleansing shall be unclean until the evening.’

וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע־בֹּו הַטָּמֵא יִטְמָא וְהַנֶּפֶשׁ הַנֹּגַעַת תִּטְמָא עַד־הָעָרֶב   19:22

Numb. 19:22  ‘And anything that the unclean one will come in contact with shall be unclean, and the soul touching shall be unclean, until the evening.’”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

379. The priest shall perform the procedure of the red heifer.    V. 19:2 - 19:10

380. The laws of impurity pertaining to the dead shall be observed.    V. 19:11 - 19:22


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