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1 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, and vnto Aaron, saying,

2 This is the ordinance of the Law, which the Lord hath commaunded, saying, Speake vnto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and vpon which neuer came yoke.

3 And ye shall giue her vnto Eleazar the Priest, that hee may bring her forth without the campe, and one shall slay her before his face.

4 And Eleazar the Priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinckle of her blood directly before the Tabernacle of the Congregation seuen times.

5 And one shall burne the heifer in his sight: her skinne, and her flesh, and her blood, with her doung, shall he burne.

6 And the Priest shall take Cedarwood, and hysope, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

7 Then the Priest shall wash his clothes, and hee shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the campe, and the Priest shalbe vncleane vntill the euen.

8 And he that burneth her, shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be vncleane vntill the Euen.

9 And a man that is cleane, shall gather vp the ashes of the heifer, and lay them vp without the campe in a cleane place, and it shall bee kept for the Congregation of the children of Israel, for a water of separation: it is a purification for sinne.

10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer, shall wash his clothes, and be vncleane vntil the Euen: and it shall be vnto the children of Israel, and vnto the stranger that soiourneth among them, for a statute for euer.

11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man, shall bee vncleane seuen dayes.

12 He shall purifie himselfe with it on the third day, and on the seuenth day he shall be cleane: but if he purifie not himselfe the third day, then the seuenth day he shall not be cleane.

13 Whosoeuer toucheth the dead bodie of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himselfe, defileth the Tabernacle of the Lord, and that soule shall be cut off from Israel, because the water of separation was not sprinckled vpon him: he shall be vncleane, his vncleannesse is yet vpon him.

14 This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent; all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shalbe vnclean seuen dayes.

15 And euery open vessel which hath no couering bound vpon it, is vncleane.

16 And whosoeuer toucheth one that is slaine with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a graue, shall be vncleane seuen dayes.

17 And for an vncleane person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sinne, and running water shall bee put thereto in a vessell:

18 And a cleane person shall take hysope, and dippe it in the water, and sprinckle it vpon the tent, and vpon all the vessels, and vpon the persons that were there, and vpon him that touched a bone, or one slaine, or one dead, or a graue.

19 And the cleane person shal sprinkle vpon the vncleane on the third day, and on the seuenth day: and on the seuenth day he shall purifie himselfe, and wash his clothes, and bathe himselfe in water, and shall be cleane at Euen.

20 But the man that shall bee vncleane, and shall not purifie himselfe, that soule shall bee cut off from among the Congregation: because he hath defiled the Sanctuary of the Lord, the water of separation hath not beene sprinkled vpon him, he is vncleane.

21 And it shall be a perpetuall statute vnto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation, shall wash his clothes: and he that toucheth the water of separation, shall be vncleane vntill Euen.

22 And whatsoeuer the vncleane person toucheth, shall be vncleane: and the soule that toucheth it, shall bee vncleane vntill Euen.

Viewing the original 1611 KJV with archaic English spelling
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Commentary for Numbers 19

The ashes of a heifer. (1-10) Used to purify the unclean. (11-22)1-10 The heifer was to be wholly burned. This typified the painful sufferings of our Lord Jesus, both in soul and body, as a sacrifice made by fire, to satisfy God's justice for man's sin. These ashes are said to be laid up as a purification for sin, because, though they were only to purify from ceremonial uncleanness, yet they were a type of that purification for sin which our Lord Jesus made by his death. The blood of Christ is laid up for us in the word and sacraments, as a fountain of merit, to which by faith we may have constant recourse, for cleansing our consciences.

11-22 Why did the law make a corpse a defiling thing? Because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death, nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the ashes of the heifer signified the merit of Christ, so the running water signified the power and grace of the blessed Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by his work that the righteousness of Christ is applied to us for our cleansing. Those who promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the grace and influence of the Holy Spirit, do but deceive themselves; we cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water. What use could there be in these appointments, if they do not refer to the doctrines concerning the sacrifice of Christ? But comparing them with the New Testament, the knowledge to be got from them is evident. The true state of fallen man is shown in these institutions. Here we learn the defiling nature of sin, and are warned to avoid evil communications.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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