he doth cleanse himself for it on the third day, and on the seventh day he is clean; and if he cleanse not himself on the third day, then on the seventh day he is not clean.
Numbers 19:12 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
He shall purify himself with it - יתחטא בו yithchatta bo, literally, he shall sin himself with it. This Hebrew form of speech is common enough among us in other matters. Thus to fleece, to bark, and to skin, do not signify to add a fleece, another bark, or a skin, but to take one away; therefore, to sin himself, in the Hebrew idiom, is not to add sin, but to take it away, to purify. The verb חטא chata signifies to miss the mark, to sin, to purify from sin, and to make a sin-offering. See the note on Genesis 13:13.
The Hebrews generally sacrificed males, no matter of what color; but here a heifer, and a heifer of a red color, is ordered. The reason of these circumstances is not very well known.
"The rabbins, with all their boldness," says Calmet, "who stick at nothing when it is necessary to explain what they do not understand, declare that the cause of this law is entirely unknown; and that Solomon, with all his wisdom, could not find it out."
Several fathers, as well modern as ancient, profess to understand the whole clearly.
1. The red heifer with them signifies the flesh of our Lord, formed out of an earthly substance.
2. Being without spot, etc., the infinite holiness of Christ.
3. The sex of the animal, the infirmity of our flesh, with which he clothed himself.
4. The red color, his passion.
5. Being unyoked, his being righteous in all his conduct, and never under the yoke of sin.
6. Eleazar's sacrificing the heifer instead of Aaron, Genesis 13:3, signifies the change of the priesthood from the family of Aaron, in order that a new and more perfect priesthood might take place.
7. The red heifer being taken without the camp (Genesis 13:3) to be slain, points out the crucifixion of our Lord without the city.
8. The complete consuming of the heifer by fire, the complete offering of the whole body and soul of Christ as a sacrifice to God for the sin of man: for as the heifer was without blemish, the whole might be offered to God; and as Christ was immaculate, his whole body and soul were made a sacrifice for sin.
9. As the fire of this sacrifice ascended up to God, so it points out the resurrection and ascension of our blessed Lord.
10. And as the ashes of this victim communicated a legal purity to those who were defiled, so true repentance, signified by those ashes, is necessary for the expiation of the offenses committed after baptism.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
he shall purify. Yithchatta, literally, `he shall sin himself,' i.e. not add sin, but take it away, purify. So we say to fleece, and to skin, which do not signify to add a fleece, or a skin, but to take one away.
Numbers 19:17,18 And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin...
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Ezekiel 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
Acts 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Revelation 7:14 And I said to him, Sir, you know. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes...
Numbers 31:19 And do you abide without the camp seven days: whoever has killed any person, and whoever has touched any slain...
Exodus 19:11,15 And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people on mount Sinai...
Leviticus 7:17 But the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day shall be burnt with fire.
Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...
Numbers 19:12 Parallel CommentariesClean Cleanse Purify Seventh Therewith Third Uncleanness WaterClean Cleanse Purify Seventh Therewith Third Uncleanness WaterTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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