The Special Water That Makes People “Clean”
19 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 2“Here is what the law I have commanded requires. Tell the people of Israel to bring you a young red cow. It must not have any flaws at all. It must never have pulled a load.
3“Give it to the priest Eleazar. It must be taken outside the camp and killed in front of him. 4Then the priest Eleazar must put some of its blood on his finger. He must sprinkle the blood toward the front of the Tent of Meeting. He must do it seven times.
5“While he watches, the young cow must be burned. Its hide, meat, blood and guts must be burned. 6The priest must get some cedar wood, branches of a hyssop plant, and bright red wool. He must throw them on the young cow as it burns.
7“After that, the priest must wash his clothes. He must also take a bath. Then he can come into the camp. But he will be ‘unclean’ until evening.
8“The man who burns the young cow must wash his clothes. He must also take a bath. He too will be ‘unclean’ until evening.
9“A man who is ‘clean’ will gather up the ashes of the young cow. He must put them in a place that is ‘clean.’ The place must be outside the camp. The ashes will be kept by the community of Israel. They will be added to the special water. The water will be used to make people pure from their sin.
10“The man who gathers up the ashes of the young cow must wash his clothes. He too will be ‘unclean’ until evening. That law is for the people of Israel. It is also for the outsiders who are living among them. The law will last for all time to come.
11“Anyone who touches a dead person’s body will be ‘unclean’ for seven days. 12He must make himself pure and clean with the special water. He must do it on the third day. He must also do it on the seventh day. Then he will be ‘clean.’
“But suppose he does not make himself pure and clean on the third and seventh days. Then he will not be ‘clean.’ 13Anyone who touches a dead person’s body and does not make himself pure and clean makes my holy tent ‘unclean.’ He must be cut off from Israel. The special water has not been sprinkled on him. So he is ‘unclean.’ And he remains ‘unclean.’
14“Here is the law that applies when a person dies in a tent. Anyone who enters the tent will be ‘unclean’ for seven days. Anyone who is in the tent will also be ‘unclean’ for seven days. 15And anything in it that is open and has no lid will be ‘unclean.’
16“Suppose someone is out in the country. And suppose he touches someone who has been killed with a sword. Or he touches someone who has died a natural death. Or he touches a human bone or a grave. Then anyone who touches any of those things will be ‘unclean’ for seven days.
17“Here is what I want you to do for someone who is not ‘clean.’ Put some ashes from the burned young cow into a jar. Pour fresh water on the ashes. 18Then a man who is ‘clean’ must dip branches of a hyssop plant in the water. He must sprinkle the tent with it. Everything that belongs to the tent must be sprinkled with it. The people who were in the tent must also be sprinkled. Anyone who has touched a human bone or a grave must be sprinkled. So must anyone who has touched someone who has been killed. So must anyone who has touched someone who has died a natural death.
19“The man who is ‘clean’ must sprinkle the person who is not. That must be done on the third and seventh days. On the seventh day the person who is not ‘clean’ must be made pure and clean. The one who is being made ‘clean’ must wash his clothes. He must take a bath. Then that evening he will be ‘clean.’
20“But what if a person who is ‘unclean’ does not make himself pure and clean? Then he must be cut off from the community. He has made my holy tent ‘unclean.’ The special water has not been sprinkled on him. He is not ‘clean.’ 21That law will apply to all of those people for all time to come.
“The man who sprinkles the special water must also wash his clothes. Anyone who touches the water will be ‘unclean’ until evening. 22Anything that an ‘unclean’ person touches becomes ‘unclean.’ And anyone who touches it becomes ‘unclean’ until evening.”
About New International Reader’s Version (1998)
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