19:2. This is the observance of the victim, which the Lord hath ordained. Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee a red cow of full age, in which there is no blemish, and which hath not carried the yoke:
A red cow, etc... This red cow, offered in sacrifice for sin, and consumed with fire without the camp, with the ashes of which, mingled with water, the unclean were to be expiated and purified; was a figure of the passion of Christ, by whose precious blood applied to our souls in the holy sacraments, we are cleansed from our sins.
19:3. And you shall deliver her to Eleazar the priest, who shall bring her forth without the camp, and shall immolate her in the sight of all:
19:4. And dipping his finger in her blood, shall sprinkle it over against the door of the tabernacle seven times,
19:5. And shall burn her in the sight of all delivering up to the fire her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, and her dung.
19:6. The priest shall also take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet twice dyed, and cast it into the flame, with which the cow is consumed.
19:7. And then after washing his garments, and body, he shall enter into the camp, and shall be unclean until the evening.
19:8. He also that hath burned her, shall wash his garments, and his body, and shall be unclean until the evening.
19:9. And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the cow, and shall pour them forth without the camp in a most clean place, that they may be reserved for the multitude of the children of Israel, and for a water of aspersion: because the cow was burnt for sin.
19:10. And when he that carried the ashes of the cow, hath washed his garments, he shall be unclean until the evening. The children of Israel, and the strangers that dwell among them, shall observe this for a holy thing by a perpetual ordinance.
19:11. He that toucheth the corpse of a man, and is therefore unclean seven days,
19:12. Shall be sprinkled with this water on the third day, and on the seventh, and so shall be cleansed. If he were not sprinkled on the third day, he cannot be cleansed on the seventh.
19:13. Every one that toucheth the corpse of a man, and is not sprinkled with this mixture, shall profane the tabernacle of the Lord, and shall perish out of Israel: because he was not sprinkled with the water of expiation, he shall be unclean, and his uncleanness shall remain upon him.
19:14. This is the law of a man that dieth in a tent: All that go into his tent and all the vessels that are there, shall be unclean seven days.
19:15. The vessel that hath no cover, nor binding over it, shall be unclean.
19:16. If any man in the field touch the corpse of a man that was slain, or that died of himself, or his bone, or his grave, he shall be unclean seven days.
19:17. And they shall take of the ashes of the burning and of the sin offering, and shall pour living waters upon them into a vessel.
19:18. And a man that is clean shall dip hyssop in them, and shall sprinkle therewith all the tent, and all the furniture, and the men that are defiled with touching any such thing:
19:19. And in this manner he that is clean shall purify the unclean on the third and on the seventh day. And being expiated the seventh day, he shall wash both himself and his garments, and be unclean until the evening.
19:20. If any man be not expiated after this rite, his soul shall perish out of the midst of the church: because he hath profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, and was not sprinkled with the water of purification.
19:21. This precept shall be an ordinance for ever. He also that sprinkled the water, shall wash his garments. Every one that shall touch the waters of expiation, shall be unclean until the evening.
19:22. Whatsoever a person toucheth who is unclean, he shall make it unclean: and the person that toucheth any of these things, shall be unclean until the evening.
Numbers Chapter 20
The death of Mary the sister of Moses. The people murmur for want of water: God giveth it them from the rock. The death of Aaron.
20:1. And the children of Israel, and all the multitude came into the desert of Sin, in the first month: and the people abode in Cades. And Mary died there, and was buried in the same place.
20:2. And the people wanting water, came together against Moses and Aaron:
20:3. And making a sedition, they said: Would God we had perished among our brethren before the Lord.
20:4. Why have you brought out the church of the Lord into the wilderness, that both we and our cattle should die?
20:5. Why have you made us come up out of Egypt, and have brought us into this wretched place which cannot be sowed, nor bringeth forth figs, nor vines, nor pomegranates, neither is there any water to drink?
20:6. And Moses and Aaron leaving the multitude, went into the tabernacle of the covenant, and fell flat upon the ground, and cried to the Lord, and said. O Lord God, hear the cry of this people, and open to them thy treasure, a fountain of living water, that being satisfied, they may cease to murmur. And the glory of the Lord appeared over them.
20:7. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
20:8. Take the rod, and assemble the people together, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak to the rock before them, and it shall yield waters.
And when thou hast brought forth water out of the rock, all the multitude and their cattle shall drink.
20:9. Moses therefore took the rod, which was before the Lord, as he had commanded him,
20:10. And having gathered together the multitude before the rock, he said to them: Hear, ye rebellious and incredulous: Can we bring you forth water out of this rock?
20:11. And when Moses bad lifted up his hand, and struck the rock twice with the rod, there came forth water in great abundance, so that the people and their cattle drank,
The rock... This rock was a figure of Christ, and the water that issued out from the rock, of his precious blood, the source of all our good.
20:12. And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: Because you have not believed me, to sanctify me before the children of Israel, you shall not bring these people into the land, which I will give them.
You have not believed, etc... The fault of Moses and Aaron, on this occasion, was a certain diffidence and weakness of faith; not doubting of God's power or veracity; but apprehending the unworthiness of that rebellious and incredulous people, and therefore speaking with some ambiguity.
20:13. This is the Water of contradiction, where the children of Israel strove with words against the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.
The Water of contradiction... Or strife. Hebrew, Meribah.
20:14. In the mean time Moses sent messengers from Cades to the king of Edom, to say: Thus saith thy brother Israel: Thou knowest all the labour that hath come upon us:
20:15. In what manner our fathers went down into Egypt, and there we dwelt a long time, and the Egyptians afflicted us and our fathers.
20:16. And how we cried to the Lord, and he heard us, and sent an angel, who hath brought us out of Egypt. Lo, we are now in the city of Cades, which is in the uttermost of thy borders,
20:17. And we beseech thee that we may have leave to pass through thy country. We will not go through the fields, nor through the vineyards, we will not drink the waters of thy wells, but we will go by the common highway, neither turning aside to the right hand, nor to the left, till we are past thy borders.
20:18. And Edom answered them: Thou shalt not pass by me: if thou dost I will come out armed against thee.
20:19. And the children of Israel said: We will go by the beaten way: and if we and our cattle drink of thy waters, we will give thee what is just: there shall be no difficulty in the price, only let us pass speedily.
20:20. But he answered: Thou shalt not pass. And immediately he came forth to meet them with an infinite multitude, and a strong hand,
20:21. Neither would he condescend to their desire to grant them passage through his borders. Wherefore Israel turned another way from him.
20:22. And when they had removed the camp from Cades, they came to mount Hor, which is in the borders of the land of Edom: