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Numbers 8:7

Context
8:7 And do this 1  to them to purify them: Sprinkle water of purification 2  on them; then have them shave 3  all their body 4  and wash 5  their clothes, and so purify themselves. 6 

Numbers 31:23

Context
31:23 everything that may stand the fire, you are to pass through the fire, 7  and it will be ceremonially clean, but it must still be purified with the water of purification. Anything that cannot withstand the fire you must pass through the water.

1 tn Or, more literally, “and thus you shall do.” The verb is the imperfect tense of instruction or legislation. Here it introduces the procedures to be followed.

2 tn The genitive in this expression indicates the purpose of the water – it is for their purification. The expression is literally “the waters of sin.” The word “purification” is the same as for the “sin/purification offering” – חַטָּאת (khattaat). This water seems to have been taken from the main laver and is contrasted with the complete washing of the priests in Lev 8:6.

3 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) of sequence. This verb, and those to follow, has the force of a jussive since it comes after the imperative. Here the instruction is for them to remove the hair from their bodies (“flesh”). There is no indication that this was repeated (as the Egyptian priests did every few days). It seems to have been for this special occasion only. A similar requirement was for the leper (Lev 14:7-9).

4 tn Heb “flesh.”

5 tn Or “let/have them wash”; the priests were given new clothes (Lev 8:13), but the Levites simply washed their own.

6 tn The verb is a reflexive (or possibly passive) in this verse, indicating the summary of the process. The ritual steps that have been prescribed will lead to this conclusion. The verb could be treated as a final imperfect (being a perfect with vav [ו] consecutive), and so translated “that they may….” The major difference here is that the ritual made the Levites “clean,” whereas the ritual for the priests made them “holy” or “sanctified” (Lev 8:12).

7 sn Purification by fire is unique to this event. Making these metallic objects “pass through the fire” was not only a way of purifying (burning off impurities), but it seems to be a dedicatory rite as well to the Lord and his people. The aspect of passing through the fire is one used by these pagans for child sacrifice.



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