Numbers 19:17 MEANING

Numbers 19:17
(17) of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin.--Better, of the ashes of the burnt sin-offering; literally, of the burning of the sin-offering.

Verse 17. - Running water. Septuagint, ὕδωρ ζῶν (cf. Leviticus 14:5; John 4:10).

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 for an unclean person,.... Defiled by any of the above means:

they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin; from the place where they were laid up for this use; See Gill on Numbers 19:9 and some have thought that they were laid up in various cities and places in the country, as well as at Jerusalem, that they might be come at easily upon occasion; otherwise they could not be had without great trouble and expense, and in some places not so soon as the law required for their purification, namely, on the third day after their defilement:

and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel; the Targum Jonathan is,"fountain water in the midst of earthen vessel;''for no water but fountain, spring, or river water, was made use of; and it should seem by what is said that ashes were first put into the vessel, and then the running water was put to them; and yet the Jewish writers say (s), that if the ashes were put in first, and then the water, it was not right; and the meaning of what is said here is, that the water and ashes should be mixed together; for it is urged from the words: "running water in a vessel", that it is plain, that the water is put in the vessel and not to the ashes; and therefore that which is said, "shall be put thereto", is to caution the person, that after he has put the ashes upon the water, that he mixes them well with his finger, and cause the water below to rise above (t).

(s) Maimon. Milchot, Parah Adumah, c. 9. sect. 1.((t) Bartenora in Misn. Temurah, c. 1. sect. 5.

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