The Bible in Its Traditions

Numbers 19:1–10

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And YHWH spoke unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,

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This is the statute of the law which YHWH hath commanded, saying: Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer, faultless, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke.

This is the constitution of the law, as the Lord has commanded, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, and let them take for thee a red heifer without spot, which has no spot on her, and on which no yoke has been put.

“This is the ritual that the Lord has appointed for a victim. Instruct the sons of Israel, so that they may bring to you a red cow of full maturity, in which there is no blemish, and which has not carried a yoke.

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And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, and she shall be brought forth without the camp, and she shall be slain before his face.

And you shall deliver it to Eleazar the priest, who, having led it out beyond the camp, shall immolate it in the sight of all.

And you shall give her to Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth outside the camp, and one shall slaughter her in his sight;

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And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times.

And Eleazar shall take of her blood, and sprinkle of her blood seven times in front of the tabernacle of witness.

And dipping his finger in its blood, he shall sprinkle it seven times, opposite the door of the tabernacle.

And the heifer shall be burnt in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall be burnt.

And they shall burn her to ashes before him; and her skin and her flesh and her blood, with her dung, shall be consumed.

And he shall burn it, while all are watching, delivering into the flame, not only its skin and flesh, but also the blood and dung.

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

Likewise, cedar wood, and hyssop, and twice-dyed scarlet he shall cast into the flame, by which the cow is consumed.

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

And the priest shall wash his garments, and bathe his body in water, and afterwards he shall go into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean till evening.

And then finally, having washed his garments and his body, he shall enter into the camp, and he shall be deeply stained until evening.

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

Then he also who had burned it shall wash his garments and his body, and he shall be unclean until evening.

And 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 sprinkling; it is a purification from sin.

Then a clean man shall gather the ashes of the cow, and he shall pour them out beyond the camp, in a very pure place, so that they may be preserved for the multitude of the sons of Israel, and for the water of aspersion, because the cow was burned for sin.

10  And 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.

10  And when he who had carried the ashes of the cow will have washed his garments, he shall be unclean until evening. The sons of Israel, and the newcomers who live among them, shall have this as a holy and perpetual right.