Numbers 19

Numbers 19


The LordI spokeII to MosesIII and Aaron,IV saying, 

Notes on verse 1

I “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
II “spoke” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
III “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
IV “Aaron” = Aharon. Derivation uncertain. May mean “bearer of martyrs” OR be related to Ancient Egyptian ꜥḥꜣ rw (warrior lion) OR elevated, exalted, high mountain. This is Aaron. See

“This is a statuteV of the lawVI that the Lord has commanded:VII

Notes on verse 2a

V “statute” = chuqqah. From choq (statute, boundary, condition, custom, limit, ordinance; something that is prescribed or something that is owed); from chaqaq (to inscribe, carve, or decree; a lawmaker; literally, this is engraving, but it implies enacting a law because laws were carved into stone or metal). This is something prescribed such as a statue, custom, or ordinance.
VI “law” = torah. From yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach). This is law, instruction, teaching, or statute. It can also refer to the first five books of the Bible – the Torah.
VII “commanded” = tsavah. This is to charge, command, order, appoint, or enjoin. This is the root that the Hebrew word for “commandment” comes from (mitsvah).

TellVIII the IsraelitesIX to bringX you

Notes on verse 2b

VIII “tell” = dabar. Same as “spoke” in v1. See note II above.
IX “Israelites” = ben + Yisrael. Literally, “children of Israel.” Ben is from banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense. Yisrael is from sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + El (God or god). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
X “bring” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.

a redXI heiferXII without defect,XIII

Notes on verse 2c

XI “red” = adom. 9x in OT. From the same as adom (to be red, dyed red, or flushed). This is red or rosy.
XII “heifer” = parah. From the same as par (a young bull or ox); from parar (to break, defeat, frustrate, caste off, clean, cease). This is a heifer or cow.
XIII “without defect” = tamim. From tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense). This is entire in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be complete, full, intact, or without defect. Alternately, it could refer to being sound, having integrity, being sincere or perfect.

in which there is no blemishXIV and on which no yokeXV has been laid.XVI You shall giveXVII it to the priestXVIII Eleazar,XIX

Notes on verses 2d-3a

XIV “blemish” = mum. This is a blemish or defect, whether in a literal sense or a moral one.
XV “yoke” = ol. From alal (to insert). This is a yoke that is borne on the neck, whether a literal yoke or used of a figurative one.
XVI “laid” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
XVII “give” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
XVIII “priest” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
XIX “Eleazar” = Elazar. Related to “Israelites” in v2. From El (see note IX above) + azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is Elezar or Elazar, meaning “God has helped” or “God is helper.”

and it shall be takenXX outsideXXI the campXXII and slaughteredXXIII in his presence.XXIV 

Notes on verse 3b

XX “taken” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XXI “outside” = chuts. Root may mean to sever. So, this is something that is separated by a wall – the outside, the street, a field, highway, or abroad.
XXII “camp” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.
XXIII “slaughtered” = shachat. This is to slaughter, slay, or beat. It can be slaying for a sacrifice or in a massacre.
XXIV “presence” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.

The priest Eleazar shall takeXXV some of its bloodXXVI with his fingerXXVII and sprinkleXXVIII itXXIX

Notes on verse 4a

XXV “take” = laqach. Same as “bring” in v2. See note X above.
XXVI “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
XXVII “finger” = etsba. Perhaps from the same as tseba (dye, something dipped). This is finger or toe – something used to seize.
XXVIII “sprinkle” = nazah. This is to sprinkle, spurt, or leap. Sprinkling especially refers to rituals of expiation.
XXIX {untranslated} = dam. Same as “blood” in v4. See note XXVI above.

sevenXXX timesXXXI toward the frontXXXII of the tentXXXIII of meeting.XXXIV 

Notes on verse 4b

XXX “seven” = sheba. This is seven or by sevenfold. It can also be used to imply a week or an indefinite number. Symbolically, this is the number of fullness, sacredness, perfection.
XXXI “times” = paam. From paam (to move, trouble; to tap in a regular rhythm; to agitate). This is a beat, stroke, footstep, or occurrence.
XXXII “front” = nokach + paneh. Nokach is perhaps from the same as nekach (root may mean being straightforward; before, the front). This is in front of, before, on behalf, opposite. Paneh is the same as “presence” in v3. See note XXIV above.
XXXIII “tent” = ohel. Perhaps from ahal (to shine, be clear). This is a tent, covering, home, or side pillar.
XXXIV “meeting” = moed. From yaad (to appoint, assemble or gather selves, agree). This is a meeting, assembly, fixed time. It can be used for a festival or feast. It can also refer to a meeting place.

Then the heifer shall be burnedXXXV in his sight;XXXVI its skin,XXXVII its flesh,XXXVIII and its blood, with its entrails,XXXIX shall be burned. 

Notes on verse 5

XXXV “burned” = saraph. is to burn or kindle. This is the root that “seraphim” comes from.
XXXVI “sight” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
XXXVII “skin” = or. Perhaps from ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare). This is skin, hide, or leather. It can also refer to a body.
XXXVIII “flesh” = basar. From basar (being a messenger, publish, carry preach; properly, this is being fresh, rosy or cheerful as one bearing news). This is flesh, the body, fat, skin, self, nakedness, humankind, or kin. It can also refer to private parts.
XXXIX “entrails” = peresh. 7x in OT. Perhaps from parash (to make distinct, separate, scatter; can also imply to wound). This is refuse or dung.

The priest shall takeXL cedarwood,XLI hyssop,XLII

Notes on verse 6a

XL “take” = laqach. Same as “bring” in v2. See note X above.
XLI “cedar wood” = ets + erez. Ets is perhaps from atsah (to shut, fasten, firm up, to close one’s eyes). This is tree or other things related to trees like wood, sticks, or stalks. It can also refer to wood products like a plank or staff or gallows. Additionally, this can refer to a carpenter. Erez is perhaps from araz (made from cedar; to be firm, strong). This is cedar or a cedar tree as strong.
XLII “hyssop” = ezob. 10x in OT. From some Semitic source. This is hyssop.

and crimson materialXLIII and throwXLIV them intoXLV the fire in which the heifer is burning.XLVI 

Notes on verse 6b

XLIII “crimson material” = shani + tola. Shani is crimson or scarlet. It can also refer to the insect that the red dye is made from (coccus ilicis), the color of that dye, or things dyed with it (like thread). Tola is a worm or maggot, perhaps a crimson-grub of species coccus ilicis. It is used in the manufacture of red dye. So, this word could be crimson, purple, or something dyed in those colors. It could also refer to an oppressor.
XLIV “throw” = shalak. This is to throw, fling, or hurl. It can also be to throw away in a literal or figurative sense.
XLV {untranslated} = tavek. This is among, middle, in the midst, the center. Perhaps, properly, to sever.
XLVI “fire in which…is burning” = serephah. Related to “burned” in v5. 13x in OT. From saraph (see note XXXV above). This is burning, fire, or cremation.

Then the priest shall washXLVII his clothesXLVIII and batheXLIX his bodyL in water,LI

Notes on verse 7a

XLVII “wash” = kabas. This is to trample – washing by stomping feet. It can be fulling in a literal or figurative sense.
XLVIII “clothes” = beged. From bagad (to cover or conceal; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage). This is clothing, garment, robe, or some other kind of clothing. Figuratively, it can be treachery or pillaging.
XLIX “bathe” = rachats. This is to wash, wash away – it can be complete or partial.
L “body” = basar. Same as “flesh” in v5. See note XXXVIII above.
LI “water” = mayim. This is water, waters, or waterway in a general sense. Figuratively, it can also mean juice, urine, or semen.

and afterwardLII he may comeLIII into the camp, but the priest shall remain uncleanLIV until evening.LV The one who burns the heifer shall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water; he shall remain unclean until evening. 

Notes on verses 7b-8

LII “afterward” = achar. From achar (to remain behind, linger, continue, be behind, or delay; can also imply procrastination). This is after or the last part, following.
LIII “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
LIV “remain unclean” = tame. This is to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense.
LV “evening” = ereb. This is evening, night, dusk.

Then someoneLVI who is cleanLVII shall gather upLVIII

Notes on verse 9a

LVI “someone” = ish. Perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is man, husband, another, or humankind.
LVII “clean” = tahor. From taher (bright, which implies being pure or clean; to purge, cleanse, or purify; clean in a ritual sense or a moral one (i.e. moral or holy)). This is clean or pure in a literal, ritual, or ethical sense.
LVIII “gather up” = asaph. This is to gather, assemble, or bring. It can also mean to take away, destroy, or remove.

the ashesLIX of the heifer and depositLX them outside the camp in a clean place,LXI

Notes on verse 9b

LIX “ashes” = epher. Root may mean to strew. This is ashes or dust.
LX “deposit” = yanach. Perhaps from the same as nuach (to rest, calm, camp, free, place, remain, satisfy, settle, station, or wait; implies settling down in a literal or figurative sense). This is to lay down, let alone, pacify, cast down, or deposit. It can also mean to allow something or someone to stay.
LXI “place” = maqom. From qum(to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.

and they shall beLXII keptLXIII for the congregationLXIV of the Israelites for the water for cleansing.LXV It is a purification offering.LXVI 10 The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening.

Notes on verses 9c-10a

LXII “be” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v1. See note I above.
LXIII “kept” = mishmeret. From mishmar (jail, guard, watch, guard post); from shamar (to keep, watch, or preserve; to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something). This is a guard or watch or guard post. It is used figuratively for obligation, duty, or observance, including religious observance.
LXIV “congregation” = edah. Related to “meeting” in v4. From yaad (see note XXXIV above) OR from ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a congregation, assembly, or company. It could be a family, crowd, or fixture.
LXV “cleansing” = niddah. From nadad (to wave back and forth; figuratively, to flee, stray, flutter chase away, shake, or shrink; to be a fugitive). This is rejection, filthiness, impurity, menstruation, idolatry, incest.
LXVI “purification offering” = chatta’ah. From chata’ (to miss or go wrong and so to sin, bear the blame; it can also include the sense of forfeiting or lacking). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.

“This shall be a perpetualLXVII statute for the Israelites and for the alienLXVIII residingLXIX amongLXX them. 

Notes on verse 10b

LXVII “perpetual” = olam. This is a long scope of time whether in the past (antiquity, ancient time) or in the future (eternal, everlasting).
LXVIII “alien” = ger. From gur (to abide or sojourn; to leave the road to lodge or for any other reason). This is sojourner, guest, stranger, foreigner.
LXIX “residing” = gur. Related to “alien” in v10. See note LXVIII above.
LXX “among” = tavek. Same as {untranslated} in v6. See note XLV above.

11 Those who touchLXXI the dead bodyLXXII of anyLXXIII human beingLXXIV shall be unclean seven days.LXXV 

Notes on verse 11

LXXI “touch” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
LXXII “dead body” = mut. This is to die in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to being a dead body.
LXXIII “any” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
LXXIV “human being” = adam. Related to “red” in v2. Perhaps from adom (see note XI above). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
LXXV “days” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.

12 They shall purifyLXXVI themselves with the water on the thirdLXXVII day and on the seventhLXXVIII day and so be clean,LXXIX but if they do not purify themselves on the third day and on the seventh day, they will not become clean.LXXX 

Notes on verse 12

LXXVI “purify” = chata. This is properly to miss, and so figuratively it is used for sinning, bearing the blame. It implies a forfeiture or loss of something.
LXXVII “third” = shelishi. From shalosh (three, fork, triad). This is third or one-third of something.
LXXVIII “seventh” = shebii. Related to “seven” in v4. From sheba (see note XXX above). This is seventh.
LXXIX “be clean” = taher. Related to “clean” in v9. See note LVIII above.
LXXX “become clean” = taher. Same as “be clean” in v12. See note LXXIX above.

13 AllLXXXI who touch a corpse,LXXXII the bodyLXXXIII of a human being who has died,LXXXIV

Notes on verse 13a

LXXXI “all” = kol. Same as “any” in v11. See note LXXIII above.
LXXXII “corpse” = mut. Same as “dead body” in v11. See note LXXII above.
LXXXIII “body” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
LXXXIV “died” = mut. Same as “dead body” in v11. See note LXXII above.

and do not purify themselves defileLXXXV the tabernacleLXXXVI of the Lord;LXXXVII such personsLXXXVIII shall be cut offLXXXIX from Israel.

Notes on verse 13b

LXXXV “defile” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.
LXXXVI “tabernacle” = mishkan. From shakan (to settle down in the sense of residing somewhere or staying there permanently; to abide or continue). This is a place where one lives – a tabernacle, tent, or other kind of dwelling. It can also be a lair where animals live, the grave, the Temple, or the Tabernacle.
LXXXVII “Lord” = YHVH. Related to “Lord” in v1 & “be” in v9. From YHVH (see note I above). It has a different vowel pointing, but the same meaning as “Lord.”
LXXXVIII “persons” = nephesh. Same as “’body” in v13. See note LXXXIII above.
LXXXIX “cut off” = karat. This is to cut down, cut off, or make a covenant (idiom for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant”). It can also mean to destroy, fail, or consume.

Since water for cleansing was not dashedXC on them, they remain unclean;XCI their uncleannessXCII is stillXCIII on them.

Notes on verse 13c

XC “dashed” = zaraq. This is to scatter or sprinkle, whether a liquid or a solid.
XCI “unclean” = tame. Related to “remain unclean” in v7. From tame (see note LIV above). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
XCII “uncleanness” = tum’ah. Related to “remain unclean” in v7 & “unclean” in v13. From tame (see note LIV above). This is filthiness or uncleanness. It can refer to ritual or moral impurity.
XCIII “still” = od. Related to “congregation” in v9. From ud (see note LXIV above). This is still, yet, again, more.

14 “This is the law when someoneXCIV dies in a tent: everyoneXCV who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be uncleanXCVI seven days. 15 And everyXCVII openXCVIII vesselXCIX

Notes on verses 14-15a

XCIV “someone” = adam. Same as “human being” in v11. See note LXXIV above.
XCV “everyone” = kol. Same as “any” in v11. See note LXXIII above.
XCVI “be unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.
XCVII “every” = kol. Same as “any” in v11. See note LXXIII above.
XCVIII “open” = pathach. This is to open wide in a literal or figurative sense. So, it is open, draw out, let something go free, break forth. It can also mean to plow, engrave, or carve.
XCIX “vessel” = keli. From kalah (to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed). This is something that was prepared – any implement, utensil, article, vessel, weapon, or instrument. Also includes jewels, weapons, bags, carriages, and furniture.

with no coverC fastenedCI on it is unclean.CII 16 WhoeverCIII in the openCIV fieldCV touches

Notes on verses 15b-16a

C “cover” = tsamiyd. 7x in OT. From tsamad (to join, link, fasten; figuratively to serve or contrive). This is some kind of covering or lid such as a bracelet or arm clasp.
CI “fastened” = pathil. 11x in OT. From pathal (to twist, twine, wrestle, struggle, behave in an unsavory way). This is a cord, string, twine, lace, thread.
CII “unclean” = tame. Same as “unclean” in v13. See note XCI above.
CIII “whoever” = kol + asher. Kol is the same as “any” in v11. See note LXXIII above.
CIV “open” = paneh. Same as “presence” in v3. See note XXIV above.
CV “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.

one who has been killedCVI by a swordCVII or who has died naturally, or a human bone,CVIII or a graveCIX shall be uncleanCX seven days. 

Notes on verse 16b

CVI “killed” = chalal. From chalal (to pierce, to wound; figuratively, making someone or something profane or breaking your word; to begin as though one opened a wedge; to eat something as a common thing). This is to pierce, profane or pollute. It can also refer to slain or deadly.
CVII “sword” = chereb. From charab (to attack, slay). This is any sharp instrument like a sword, dagger, axe, or mattock.
CVIII “bone” = etsem. From atsam (vast, numerous, strong; to close one’s eyes, to make powerful; to break bones). This is self, life, strength, bone, or substance.
CIX “grave” = qeber. From qabar (to bury). This is a place where one is buried such as a grave or tomb.
CX “be unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.

17 For the uncleanCXI they shall takeCXII some ashesCXIII of the burntCXIV purification offering, and runningCXV water shall be addedCXVI in a vessel; 

Notes on verse 17

CXI “unclean” = tame. Same as “unclean” in v13. See note XCI above.
CXII “take” = laqach. Same as “bring” in v2. See note X above.
CXIII “ashes” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
CXIV “burnt” = serephah. Same as “fire in which…is burning” in v6. See note XLVI above.
CXV “running” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
CXVI “added” = natan. Same as “give” in v3. See note XVII above.

18 then a clean personCXVII shall takeCXVIII hyssop, dipCXIX it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the furnishings,CXX on the personsCXXI who were there, and on whoever touched the bone, the slain,CXXII the corpse, or the grave. 

Notes on verse 18

CXVII “person” = ish. Same as “someone” in v9. See note LVI above.
CXVIII “take” = laqach. Same as “bring” in v2. See note X above.
CXIX “dip” = tabal. 16x in OT. This is to dip or immerse. It is used to describe religious rites, as part of murderous schemes (e.g. Joseph’s brothers dipping his coat in goat’s blood), for everyday purposes, and also of miracles (e.g. Naaman immersing himself in the Jordan).
CXX “furnishings” = keli. Same as “vessel” in v15. See note XCIX above.
CXXI “persons” = nephesh. Same as “’body” in v13. See note LXXXIII above.
CXXII “slain” = chalal. Same as “killed” in v16. See note CVI above.

19 The clean person shall sprinkle the uncleanCXXIII ones on the third day and on the seventh day, thus purifying them on the seventh day. Then they shall wash their clothes and bathe themselves in water, and at evening they shall be clean. 20 AnyCXXIV who are uncleanCXXV but do not purify themselves,

Notes on verses 19-20a

CXXIII “unclean” = tame. Same as “unclean” in v13. See note XCI above.
CXXIV “any” = ish. Same as “someone” in v9. See note LVI above.
CXXV “are unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.

those personsCXXVI shall be cut off fromCXXVII the assembly,CXXVIII for they have defiled the sanctuaryCXXIX of the Lord. Since the water for cleansing has not been dashed on them, they are unclean.

Notes on verse 20b

CXXVI “persons” = nephesh. Same as “’body” in v13. See note LXXXIII above.
CXXVII {untranslated} = tavek. Same as {untranslated} in v6. See note XLV above.
CXXVIII “assembly” = qahal. This is an assembly, congregation, or multitude.
CXXIX “sanctuary” = miqdash. From the same as qodesh (set apart and so sacred; God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart; things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy); related to qadash (set apart, consecrated, hallowed, sanctified; something or someone set apart for a holy purpose or use – ceremonially or morally clean). This is a sacred place, sanctuary, holy place. It is something or somewhere that is consecrated, whether to God or to another.

21 “It shall be a perpetual statute for them. The one who sprinkles the water for cleansing shall wash his clothes, and whoever touches the water for cleansing shall be uncleanCXXX until evening. 22 Whatever the uncleanCXXXI person touches shall be unclean,CXXXII and anyoneCXXXIII who touches it shall be uncleanCXXXIV until evening.”

Notes on verses 21-22

CXXX “be unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.
CXXXI “unclean” = tame. Same as “unclean” in v13. See note XCI above.
CXXXII “be unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.
CXXXIII “anyone” = nephesh. Same as “’body” in v13. See note LXXXIII above.
CXXXIV “be unclean” = tame. Same as “remain unclean” in v7. See note LIV above.

Image credit: “Red Heifer” by Rennett Stowe, 2015.

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