Numbers 19:16 MEANING

Numbers 19:16
Verse 16. - One that is slain with a sword. This would apply especially, it would seem, to the field of battle; but the law must certainly have been relaxed in the case of soldiers. Or a bone of a man, or a grave. Thus the defilement was extended to the mouldering remains of humanity, and even to the tombs (μνήματα. Cf. Luke 11:44) which held them.

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.And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields,.... That is killed by another, that dies a violent death, either by the sword or other means; one that touched such an one was unclean, or that touched the sword with which he was slain, as the Targum of Jonathan adds: "or a dead body": that dies a natural death, or suddenly, or in any way:

or a bone off a man; dug out of a grave, and lying by itself:

or a grave; the Targum adds, either the covering or side of a grave:

shall be unclean seven days; all which has respect to the defiling nature of sin, which is the cause of death and the grave.

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