Numbers 19:12
He 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.
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(12) He shall purify himself . . . —The verse may be rendered thus: He shall purify himself with it on the third day and on the seventh day; so shall he be clean; but if he purify not himself on the third day and on the seventh day, then he shall not be clean: so the LXX. and Vulg. (See Numbers 19:19.)

Numbers 19:12. He shall purify himself with it — With the water of separation. On the third day — To typify Christ’s resurrection on that day, by which we are cleansed or sanctified.19:11-22 Why did the law make a corpse a defiling thing? Because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death, nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the ashes of the heifer signified the merit of Christ, so the running water signified the power and grace of the blessed Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by his work that the righteousness of Christ is applied to us for our cleansing. Those who promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the grace and influence of the Holy Spirit, do but deceive themselves; we cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water. What use could there be in these appointments, if they do not refer to the doctrines concerning the sacrifice of Christ? But comparing them with the New Testament, the knowledge to be got from them is evident. The true state of fallen man is shown in these institutions. Here we learn the defiling nature of sin, and are warned to avoid evil communications.One practical effect of attaching defilement to a dead body, and to all that touched it, etc., would be to insure early burial, and to correct a practice not uncommon in the East, of leaving the deal to be devoured by the wild beasts. 12. He shall purify himself … the third day—The necessity of applying the water on the third day is inexplicable on any natural or moral ground; and, therefore, the regulation has been generally supposed to have had a typical reference to the resurrection, on that day, of Christ, by whom His people are sanctified; while the process of ceremonial purification being extended over seven days, was intended to show that sanctification is progressive and incomplete till the arrival of the eternal Sabbath. Every one knowingly and presumptuously neglecting to have himself sprinkled with this water was guilty of an offense which was punished by excommunication. With it, i.e. with the water of separation.

On the third day, to typify Christ’s resurrection on that day, by which we are cleansed or sanctified.

On the seventh day he shall be clean, to teach us that our purification in this life is gradual, and not perfect till we come to that eternal sabbath, which the seventh day respected.

He shall not be clean; but was first to purify himself, and four days after that to be clean. He shall purify himself with it,.... That is, with the ashes of the water of purification made of them: and this was to be done first

on the third day; from the time of his touching the dead body. Aben Ezra intimates, that there is a secret or mystery in this and the following number seven; it may respect the third day of Christ's resurrection, who, as he shed his blood for the expiation and purification of sinners, so he rose again the third day for the justification of them:

and on the seventh day he shall be clean; which may denote the perfect state, or sabbath of rest, which remains for the people of God, when all Christ's purified and justified ones shall be clear of all sin, and be the spirits of just men made perfect:

but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean; whoever is not cleansed from his sins by the blood of Christ, shed for the remission of them, and is not justified from them by him that rose from the dead the third day, will never be cleansed in the world to come, or in the eternal sabbath; but it will then be said, "let him that is filthy be filthy still", Revelation 22:11.

He shall purify himself {f} 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.

(f) With the sprinkling of water.

12. therewith] with the ‘water of impurity.’

It is clear that the writer of Numbers 19:19 understood the sprinkling to have been performed twice. But in this verse, according to R.V. , it is performed only on the third day. R.V. marg. is probably, therefore, to be preferred in both its renderings; and the verse means that the polluted man must purify himself on the third day and the seventh day; he shall be clean in that case, but not otherwise.Verse 12. - With it. בּו i.e., as the sense clearly demands, with the water of separation. After this (Numbers 19:5, Numbers 19:6), they were to burn the cow, with the skin, flesh, blood, and dung, before his (Eleazar's) eyes, and he was to throw cedar-wood, hyssop, and scarlet wool into the fire. The burning of the sacrificial animal outside the camp took place in the case of every sin-offering for the whole congregation, for the reasons expounded on Leviticus 4:11-12. But in the case before us, the whole of the sacrificial act had to be performed outside the camp, i.e., outside the sphere of the theocracy; because the design of this sin-offering was not that the congregation might thereby be received through the expiation of its sin into the fellowship of the God and Lord who was present at the altar and in the sanctuary, but simply that an antidote to the infection of death might be provided for the congregation, which had become infected through fellowship with death; and consequently, the victim was to represent, not the living congregation as still associated with the God who was present in His earthly kingdom, but those members of the congregation who had fallen victims to temporal death as the wages of sin, and, as such, were separated from the earthly theocracy (see my Archaeology, i. p. 283). In this sacrifice, the blood, which was generally poured out at the foot of the altar, was burned along with the rest, and the ashes to be obtained were impregnated with the substance thereof. But in order still further to increase the strength of these ashes, which were already well fitted to serve as a powerful antidote to the corruption of death, as being the incorruptible residuum of the sin-offering which had not been destroyed by the fire, cedar-wood was thrown into the fire, as the symbol of the incorruptible continuance of life; and hyssop, as the symbol of purification from the corruption of death; and scarlet wool, the deep red of which shadowed forth the strongest vital energy (see at Leviticus 14:6), - so that the ashes might be regarded "as the quintessence of all that purified and strengthened life, refined and sublimated by the fire" (Leyrer).
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