Ordinance of the Red Heifer
11 ‘The one who touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean for seven days. 12 That one shall purify himself from uncleanness with the water [made with the ashes of the burned heifer] on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13 Whoever touches a corpse, the body of anyone who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel [that is, excluded from the atonement made for them]. Because the water for impurity was not sprinkled on him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.
14 ‘This is the law when a man dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be [ceremonially] unclean for seven days. 15 Every open container [in the tent], which has no covering tied down on it, is unclean. 16 Also, anyone in the open field who touches one who has been killed with a sword or who has died [of natural causes], or a human bone or a grave, shall be unclean for seven days. 17 Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the ashes of the heifer burnt for the purification from sin, and running water shall be added to them in a container. 18 A clean person shall take [c]hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the people who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one who was killed or the one who died [naturally] or the grave. 19 Then the clean person shall sprinkle [the water for purification] on the unclean person on the third day and on the seventh day, and on the seventh day the unclean man shall purify himself, and wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and shall be [ceremonially] clean at evening.
20 ‘But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from among the assembly, because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water for purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. 21 So it shall be a perpetual statute to them. He who sprinkles the water for impurity [on another] shall wash his clothes, and he who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 Furthermore, anything the unclean person touches shall be unclean, and anyone who touches it shall be [ceremonially] unclean until evening.’”
- Numbers 19:6 I.e. an aromatic plant.
- Numbers 19:9 The purpose of the ash mixed with water was to remove the contamination from those defiled because of contact with a dead body.
- Numbers 19:18 I.e. an aromatic plant used in bunches for sprinkling rites.