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The manner of preparing the water of purification, ver. 1 - 10.
Of using it, ver. 11 - 22.
2: Red - A fit colour to shadow forth the bloody nature of sin, and
the blood of Christ, from which this water and all other rites had their
purifying virtue. No blemish - A fit type of Christ. Upon which
never came yoke - Whereby may be signified, either that Christ in himself
was free from all the yoke or obligation of God's command, till for our
sakes he put himself under the law; or that Christ was not forced to
undertake our burden and cross, but did voluntarily chuse it. He was bound
and held with no other cords but those of his own love.
3: Eleazar - Who was the second priest, and in some cases, the deputy
of the high - priest. To him, not to Aaron, because this service made him
unclean for a season, and consequently unfit for holy ministrations, whereas
the high - priest was, as far as possibly he could, to be preserved from all
sorts of defilement, fit for his high and holy work. Without the camp
- Partly because it was reputed an unclean and accursed thing, being laden
with the sins of all the people; and partly to signify that Christ should
suffer without the camp, in the place where malefactors suffered.
4: Before the tabernacle - Or, towards the tabernacle, standing
at a good distance from it, even without the camp, yet turning and looking
towards it. For here is no intimation that he went into the camp before
this work was done, but rather the contrary is implied, (Nu 19:7). And
because being defiled by this work he could not come near the tabernacle, it
was sufficient for him to turn and look towards it. This signified his
presenting this blood before the Lord by way of atonement for his and the
people's sins, and his expectation of acceptance and pardon only from
God, and from his mercy - seat in the tabernacle. And this typified the
satisfaction that was made to God, by the death of Christ, who by the
eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, and did as it were
sprinkle his own blood before the sanctuary, when he said,
Into thy hands I commend my spirit!
5: Burn the heifer - To signify the sharp and grievous sufferings
of Christ for our sins. Her blood - All of it, but what was spent in
6: Cedar - wood, hyssop, scarlet - All which are here burnt, and as it
were offered to God, that they might be sanctified to this holy use for the
future; for of these kinds of things was the sprinkle made wherewith the
unclean were sprinkled, (Le 14:4).
7: Shall be unclean - Partly to teach us the imperfection of the
Levitical priesthood, in which the priest himself was defiled by some parts
of his work, and partly to shew that Christ himself, though he had no sin
of his own, yet was reputed by men, and judged by God, as a sinful person,
by reason of our sins which were laid upon him.
9: For a water - Or, to the water, that is, to be put to the
water, or mixed with it. Of separation - Appointed for the cleansing of
them that are in a state of separation, who for their uncleanness are
separated from the congregation. It is a purification for sin - Heb.
a sin, that is, an offering for sin, or rather a mean for expiation or
cleansing of sin. And this was a type of that purification for sin,
which our Lord Jesus made by his death.
10: The stranger - A proselyte.
12: With it - With the water of separation. On the third day - To
typify Christ's resurrection on that day by which we are cleansed or
13: Whosoever toucheth - If this transgression be done presumptuously;
for if it was done ignorantly, he was only to offer sacrifice. Defiled
- By approaching to it in his uncleanness: for holy things or places were
ceremonially defiled with the touch of any unclean person or thing. Is
upon him - He continues in his guilt, not now to be washed away by this
water, but to be punished by cutting off.
16: With a sword - Or by any other violent way.
17: Running water - Waters flowing from a spring or river, which are
the purest. These manifestly signify God's spirit, which is oft compared
to water, and by which alone true purification is obtained. Those who
promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit
not to the influence of his spirit, do but deceive themselves; for they
cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water.
20: That shall not purify himself - Shall contemptuously refuse to
submit to this way of purification.
21: Shall wash his clothes - Because he is unclean. It is strange,
that the same water should cleanse one person, and defile another. But God
would have it so, to teach us that it did not cleanse by any virtue in
itself, or in the work done, but only by virtue of God's appointment: to
mind the laws of the imperfection of their priesthood, and their ritual
purifications and expiations, and consequently of the necessity of a better
priest and sacrifice and way of purifying; and to shew that the efficacy
of God's ordinances doth not depend upon the person or quality of his
ministers, because the same person who, was polluted himself could and did
cleanse others. He that toucheth the water - Either by sprinkling of it,
or by being sprinkled with it; for even he that was cleansed by it, was not
fully cleansed as soon as he was sprinkled, but only at the even of that day.
22: The unclean person - Not he who is so only by touching the water
of separation, (Nu 19:21), but he who is so by the greater sort of
uncleanness, which lasted seven days, and which was not removed without
the use of this water of purification.