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Numbers 19:2

Context
19:2 “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded: ‘Instruct 1  the Israelites to bring 2  you a red 3  heifer 4  without blemish, which has no defect 5  and has never carried a yoke.

1 tn Heb “speak to.”

2 tn The line literally reads, “speak to the Israelites that [and] they bring [will bring].” The imperfect [or jussive] is subordinated to the imperative either as a purpose clause, or as the object of the instruction – speak to them that they bring, or tell them to bring.

3 tn The color is designated as red, although the actual color would be a tanned red-brown color for the animal (see the usage in Isa 1:18 and Song 5:10). The reddish color suggested the blood of ritual purification; see J. Milgrom, “The Paradox of the Red Cow (Num 19),” VT 31 (1981): 62-72.

4 sn Some modern commentators prefer “cow” to “heifer,” thinking that the latter came from the influence of the Greek. Young animals were usually prescribed for the ritual, especially here, and so “heifer” is the better translation. A bull could not be given for this purification ritual because that is what was given for the high priests or the community according to Lev 4.

5 tn Heb “wherein there is no defect.”



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