Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 19

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Unbelief (c 1-27)
Theme: Wandering in The Wilderness (c 15-21)
Message: Purification After Defilement (v 1-22)

Numbers 19 Commentary

(19:1-10) Purification After Touching the Dead - What is the significance of the red heifer's ashes? When a person touched a dead body, he or she was considered unclean (i.e., unable to approach God in worship). The ritual described in this passage purified people who had become unclean so that once again they could offer sacrifices and worship God. Death was the strongest of defilements because it was the final result of sin. Thus a special sacrifice- the red heifer- was required and had to be offered by someone who was not unclean. When it had been burned on the altar, its ashes were used to purify water for ceremonial cleansing (not so much physically as symbolically). The unclean people then washed themselves, and often their clothes and belongings, with this purified water as an act of becoming clean again.

Dave Burnette's Life Application


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 19 and in today's text we see the steps for purification after defilement. We see death is a result of our sin and the lifeless body is unclean. In making application we see the results of sin that reign in our mortal bodies. This uncleanliness show us our need for a Savior. Although our bodies perish our souls live for eternity and can only be cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ of which these ashes of the heifer symbolize in today's text. How about you? Do you see your need for a Savior as death will come your way someday? Let us learn from our text today and see our need for a Savior and our need to respond to the Gospel.  


Numbers 19

Numbers 19

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

 2This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:

 3And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:

 4And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:

 5And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:

 6And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

 7Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.

 8And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

 9And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

 10And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

 11He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.

 12He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.

 13Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.

 14This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.

 15And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.

 16And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

 17And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:

 18And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

 19And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

 20But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.

 21And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.

 22And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.