Numbers 19:13 MEANING

Numbers 19:13
Verse 13. - Defileth the tabernacle of the Lord. On the bearing of this remarkable announcement see Leviticus 15:31. The uncleanness of death was not simply a personal matter, it involved, if not duly purged, the whole congregation, and reached even to God himself, for its defilement spread to the sanctuary. Cut off from Israel, i.e., excommunicate on earth, and liable to the direct visitation of Heaven (cf. Genesis 17:14).

19:11-22 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.Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself,.... With the ashes of the heifer, or water of purification, and so neglects the means which God has appointed for his cleansing:

defileth the tabernacle of the Lord; that is, if he goes into it in his uncleanness, which it was not lawful for him to do: from the Jews the Assyrians seem to have borrowed some customs of theirs, as related by Lucian (r), who upon burying a dead cock reckoned seven days, see Numbers 19:11; and then went into the temple, for before they might not go in, nor perform holy service; such laws they use, that if anyone sees a dead carcass, he may not go that day into the temple; but he goes in the day following, after he has purified himself:

and that soul shall be cut off from Israel; either be excommunicated from the church, or die by the hand of the civil magistrate, or by the immediate hand of God; that is, if he knew he had touched a dead body, and wilfully neglected the means of his purification, and so sinned presumptuously; otherwise, if all this was done ignorantly, an atonement was made for it, Leviticus 5:3.

because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; as all are who are not sprinkled with the blood of Christ:

his uncleanness is yet upon him; and will remain, nothing can remove it; as nothing can remove the stain and blot of sin but the blood of Christ; and where that is not applied it will remain marked before God, and will lie upon the sinner to his utter condemnation and ruin; see Jeremiah 2:22.

(r) De Dea Syria.

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