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Numbers 19:9

Context

19:9 “‘Then a man who is ceremonially clean must gather up the ashes of the red heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They must be kept 1  for the community of the Israelites for use in the water of purification 2  – it is a purification for sin. 3 

Numbers 19:17

Context

19:17 “‘For a ceremonially unclean person you must take 4  some of the ashes of the heifer 5  burnt for purification from sin and pour 6  fresh running 7  water over them in a vessel.

1 tn Heb “it will be.”

2 tn The expression לְמֵי נִדָּה (lÿme niddah) is “for waters of impurity.” The genitive must designate the purpose of the waters – they are for cases of impurity, and so serve for cleansing or purifying, thus “water of purification.” The word “impurity” can also mean “abhorrent” because it refers to so many kinds of impurities. It is also called a purification offering; Milgrom notes that this is fitting because the sacrificial ritual involved transfers impurity from the purified to the purifier (pp. 62-72).

3 sn The ashes were to be stored somewhere outside the camp to be used in a water portion for cleansing someone who was defiled. This is a ritual that was enacted in the wilderness; it is something of a restoring rite for people alienated from community.

4 tn The verb is the perfect tense, third masculine plural, with a vav (ו) consecutive. The verb may be worded as a passive, “ashes must be taken,” but that may be too awkward for this sentence. It may be best to render it with a generic “you” to fit the instruction of the text.

5 tn The word “heifer” is not in the Hebrew text, but it is implied.

6 tn Here too the verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; rather than make this passive, it is here left as a direct instruction to follow the preceding one. For the use of the verb נָתַן (natan) in the sense of “pour,” see S. C. Reif, “A Note on a Neglected Connotation of ntn,” VT 20 (1970): 114-16.

7 tn The expression is literally “living water.” Living water is the fresh, flowing spring water that is clear, life-giving, and not the collected pools of stagnant or dirty water.



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