Numbers 19:18
And 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:
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Numbers 19:18. A clean person shall take hyssop — In allusion to this David prays, Purge me with hyssop. Faith is the bunch of hyssop, wherewith the conscience is sprinkled and the heart purified. And the blood of Christ, being applied by faith, is termed, (Hebrews 12:24,) the blood of sprinkling, and with it we are said to be sprinkled from an evil conscience, (Hebrews 10:22,) that is, we are freed from the burden of distress, which arises from a sense of our guilt. And it is foretold that Christ should sprinkle many nations, Isaiah 52:15.

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. 14. when a man dieth in a tent, &c.—The instances adduced appear very minute and trivial; but important ends, both of a religious and of a sanitary nature, were promoted by carrying the idea of pollution from contact with dead bodies to so great an extent. While it would effectually prevent that Egyptianized race of Israelites imitating the superstitious custom of the Egyptians, who kept in their houses the mummied remains of their ancestors, it ensured a speedy interment to all, thus not only keeping burial places at a distance, but removing from the habitations of the living the corpses of persons who died from infectious disorders, and from the open field the unburied remains of strangers and foreigners who fell in battle. A clean person, to wit, a priest; for to such the work of cleansing was appropriated. See Le 13.

Upon all the vessels; even those which were in part purified by the fire. See Numbers 31:23.

And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water,.... Three stalks of hyssop bound together, as the Targum of Jonathan, and this man was to be a clean priest, according to the same; but it does not seem necessary that he should be a priest, but that anyone free from ceremonial pollution might do it:

and sprinkle it upon the tent; where there was a dead body: but this, we are told, is to be understood not of a tent made of wood, or stone, or clay, but made of anything woven, as linen: or of skins (u):

and upon all the vessels; in such a tent, that is, open ones, as before observed:

and upon the persons that were there: when the man died in it, or came into it since, and while the dead body was in it:

and upon him that touched a bone; of a dead man, or, as the Targum of Jonathan, the bone of a living man that is separated from him:

or one slain, or one dead; slain with a sword, or dead of the pestilence, as the same Targum, or of any other disease, or in any other way:

or a grave; or the covering or side of one, as the same Targum adds.

(u) Maimon. in Misn. Sabbat, c. 2. sect. 3.

And a {k} 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:

(k) One of the priests who is clean.

18. The ’çzôbh (‘hyssop’) is not mentioned in this section as being burnt; it is here used as an instrument for sprinkling: see Numbers 19:6.

Verse 18. - Shall take hyssop. See Exodus 12:22, and cf. Psalm 51:7. Numbers 19:18Ceremony of purification. They were to take for the unclean person some of the dust of the burning of the cow, i.e., some of the ashes obtained by burning the cow, and put living, i.e., fresh water (see Leviticus 14:5), upon it in a vessel. A clean man was then to take a bunch of hyssop (see Exodus 12:22), on account of its inherent purifying power, and dip it in the water, on the third and seventh day after the defilement had taken place, and to sprinkle the tent, with the vessels and persons in it, as well as every one who had touched a corpse, whether a person slain, or one who had died a natural death, or a grave; after which the persons were to wash their clothes and bathe, that they might be clean in the evening. As the uncleanness in question is held up as the highest grade of uncleanness, by its duration being fixed at seven days, i.e., an entire week, so the appointment of a double purification with the sprinkling water shows the force of the uncleanness to be removed; whilst the selection of the third and seventh days was simply determined by the significance of the numbers themselves. In Numbers 19:20, the threat of punishment for the neglect of purification is repeated from Numbers 19:13, for the purpose of making it most emphatic.
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