New International Version
They must purify themselves with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not purify themselves on the third and seventh days, they will not be clean.
King James Bible
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.
Darby Bible Translation
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.
World English Bible
the same shall purify himself with water on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he doesn't purify himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.
Young's Literal Translation
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 Parallel
CommentaryClarke'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.
LibraryNor, in that the Law Orders a Man to be Purified Even after Intercourse...
23. Nor, in that the Law orders a man to be purified even after intercourse with a wife, doth it show it to be sin: unless it be that which is allowed by way of pardon, which also, being in excess, hinders prayers. But, as the Law sets  many things in sacraments and shadows of things to come; a certain as it were material formless state of the seed, which having received form will hereafter produce the body of man, is set to signify a life formless, and untaught: from which formless state, …
St. Augustine—On the Good of Marriage
Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.
The man who is clean is to sprinkle those who are unclean on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify them. Those who are being cleansed must wash their clothes and bathe with water, and that evening they will be clean.
"Anyone who has killed someone or touched someone who was killed must stay outside the camp seven days. On the third and seventh days you must purify yourselves and your captives.
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