וַיְדַבֵּ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה וְאֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֖ן לֵאמֹֽר׃
זֹ֚את חֻקַּ֣ת הַתּוֹרָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה לֵאמֹ֑ר דַּבֵּ֣ר׀ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְיִקְח֣וּ אֵלֶיךָ֩ פָרָ֨ה אֲדֻמָּ֜ה תְּמִימָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר אֵֽין־בָּהּ֙ מ֔וּם אֲשֶׁ֛ר לֹא־עָלָ֥ה עָלֶ֖יהָ עֹֽל׃
וּנְתַתֶּ֣ם אֹתָ֔הּ אֶל־אֶלְעָזָ֖ר הַכֹּהֵ֑ן וְהוֹצִ֤יא אֹתָהּ֙ אֶל־מִח֣וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֔ה וְשָׁחַ֥ט אֹתָ֖הּ לְפָנָֽיו׃
וְלָקַ֞ח אֶלְעָזָ֧ר הַכֹּהֵ֛ן מִדָּמָ֖הּ בְּאֶצְבָּע֑וֹ וְהִזָּ֞ה אֶל־נֹ֨כַח פְּנֵ֧י אֹֽהֶל־מוֹעֵ֛ד מִדָּמָ֖הּ שֶׁ֥בַע פְּעָמִֽים׃
וְשָׂרַ֥ף אֶת־הַפָּרָ֖ה לְעֵינָ֑יו אֶת־עֹרָ֤הּ וְאֶת־בְּשָׂרָהּ֙ וְאֶת־דָּמָ֔הּ עַל־פִּרְשָׁ֖הּ יִשְׂרֹֽף׃
וְלָקַ֣ח הַכֹּהֵ֗ן עֵ֥ץ אֶ֛רֶז וְאֵז֖וֹב וּשְׁנִ֣י תוֹלָ֑עַת וְהִשְׁלִ֕יךְ אֶל־תּ֖וֹךְ שְׂרֵפַ֥ת הַפָּרָֽה׃
וְכִבֶּ֨ס בְּגָדָ֜יו הַכֹּהֵ֗ן וְרָחַ֤ץ בְּשָׂרוֹ֙ בַּמַּ֔יִם וְאַחַ֖ר יָב֣וֹא אֶל־הַֽמַּחֲנֶ֑ה וְטָמֵ֥א הַכֹּהֵ֖ן עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃
וְהַשֹּׂרֵ֣ף אֹתָ֔הּ יְכַבֵּ֤ס בְּגָדָיו֙ בַּמַּ֔יִם וְרָחַ֥ץ בְּשָׂר֖וֹ בַּמָּ֑יִם וְטָמֵ֖א עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃
וְאָסַ֣ף׀ אִ֣ישׁ טָה֗וֹר אֵ֚ת אֵ֣פֶר הַפָּרָ֔ה וְהִנִּ֛יחַ מִח֥וּץ לַֽמַּחֲנֶ֖ה בְּמָק֣וֹם טָה֑וֹר וְ֠הָיְתָה לַעֲדַ֨ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל לְמִשְׁמֶ֛רֶת לְמֵ֥י נִדָּ֖ה חַטָּ֥את הִֽוא׃
וְ֠כִבֶּס הָאֹסֵ֨ף אֶת־אֵ֤פֶר הַפָּרָה֙ אֶת־בְּגָדָ֔יו וְטָמֵ֖א עַד־הָעָ֑רֶב וְֽהָיְתָ֞ה לִבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְלַגֵּ֛ר הַגָּ֥ר בְּתוֹכָ֖ם לְחֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָֽם׃
הַנֹּגֵ֥עַ בְּמֵ֖ת לְכָל־נֶ֣פֶשׁ אָדָ֑ם וְטָמֵ֖א שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃
The one touching on a dead body to all the life of a man will be unclean seven days.
Paraphrase: Now these are the times when you will use this water of separation. The first case is anyone who touches a corpse. Such a person will be ceremonially unclean for seven days.
Being ceremonially unclean was not necessarily the result of a sinful action such as here and in v14. It was, however, a sign or symbol of sin and failure to deal with it, disqualified a person from coming into God’s presence and participating in the worship of the Tabernacle.
ה֣וּא יִתְחַטָּא־ב֞וֹ בַּיּ֧וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֛י וּבַיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י יִטְהָ֑ר וְאִם־לֹ֨א יִתְחַטָּ֜א בַּיּ֧וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֛י וּבַיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י לֹ֥א יִטְהָֽר׃
He will purify himself with it on the third day; and on the seventh day, he will be clean; and if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.
Paraphrase: For this person to be restored to his former privileges, he must be purified with this water. The process will take one week. First, the unclean person shall take the water of separation and sprinkle it on himself. He will do this on day three of his one week of uncleanness. Then on day seven, he will repeat this. If he fails to do either of these sprinklings, he will not be cleansed and thus will continue in a state of being unclean.
The verb is the Hitpael of חָטָא, a verb that normally means “to sin.” But the Piel idea in many places is “to cleanse; to purify.” This may be explained as a privative use (“to un-sin” someone, meaning cleanse) or denominative (“make a sin offering for someone”). It is surely connected to the purification offering, and so a sense of purify is what is wanted here.
כָּֽל־הַנֹּגֵ֡עַ בְּמֵ֣ת בְּנֶפֶשׁ֩ הָאָדָ֨ם אֲשֶׁר־יָמ֜וּת וְלֹ֣א יִתְחַטָּ֗א אֶת־מִשְׁכַּ֤ן יְהוָה֙ טִמֵּ֔א וְנִכְרְתָ֛ה הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַהִ֖וא מִיִּשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּי֩ מֵ֨י נִדָּ֜ה לֹא־זֹרַ֤ק עָלָיו֙ טָמֵ֣א יִהְיֶ֔ה ע֖וֹד טֻמְאָת֥וֹ בֽוֹ׃
Everyone who touches on the dead, against a life of the man who died, and he does not purify himself, the tent of YHWH, he defiles, and her life will be cut off from Israel because the waters of impurity were not sprinkled on him; he will be unclean; his uncleanness will be still on him.
Paraphrase: Anyone who comes in contact with a corpse and fails to perform this purification is guilty of defiling the tent of YHWH. He or she is to be excommunicated from the community and loses all the rights and privileges of being an Israelite. The reason for this is because only this special water, which I have told you how to prepare, will remove the impurity which such a person has brought upon him or herself. Apart from this water sprinkled on the third and seventh day, there is no possibility of cleansing; and therefore, such a person remains in a state of uncleanness and cannot enter My presence.
טָמֵא at the end of the verse takes its tense from וְנִכְרְתָה.
“The being ‘cut off from the congregation of Israel,’ and the being forbidden to enter it (Numbers 19:20; Deuteronomy 23:1), seem to have implied severance from the privileges, religious and social, which the nation as such enjoyed. In some places, however, it was synonymous with death. In Proverbs 21:16 we read of ‘the congregation (συναγωγή) of the dead,’ a striking picture of that vast gathering which is being daily enlarged as men are ‘gathered to their fathers,’ and which remains an integral portion of the family of man.” source
זֹ֚את הַתּוֹרָ֔ה אָדָ֖ם כִּֽי־יָמ֣וּת בְּאֹ֑הֶל כָּל־הַבָּ֤א אֶל־הָאֹ֙הֶל֙ וְכָל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּאֹ֔הֶל יִטְמָ֖א שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃
This is the law. A man when he dies in a tent, all who enter to the tent and all who are in the tent are unclean seven days.
Paraphrase: This is the law for those who come into contact with a corpse. The same law applies to those who are in a tent or who enter into a tent where someone has died and the body is still in that tent. All these will be unclean for one week.
וְכֹל֙ כְּלִ֣י פָת֔וּחַ אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֵין־צָמִ֥יד פָּתִ֖יל עָלָ֑יו טָמֵ֖א הֽוּא׃
and any open container, which has no covering fastened on it, is unclean.
Paraphrase: The same goes for any containers which do not have lids or coverings fastened to them. They are all rendered unclean and need to be cleansed.
וְכֹ֨ל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּ֜ע עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה בַּֽחֲלַל־חֶ֙רֶב֙ א֣וֹ בְמֵ֔ת אֽוֹ־בְעֶ֥צֶם אָדָ֖ם א֣וֹ בְקָ֑בֶר יִטְמָ֖א שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃
and all who touch in open fields on the slain of sword or on a corpse or on a bone of a man or on a grave will be unclean seven days.
Paraphrase: Anyone who comes into contact with a person’s body who was struck dead with a sword or a corpse of any kind or even a human bone or a grave, such persons are unclean for one week and in need of cleansing.
וְלָֽקְחוּ֙ לַטָּמֵ֔א מֵעֲפַ֖ר שְׂרֵפַ֣ת הַֽחַטָּ֑את וְנָתַ֥ן עָלָ֛יו מַ֥יִם חַיִּ֖ים אֶל־כֶּֽלִי׃
and they will take for an unclean [person] from the ashes of the burnt of the purification and place on it living water in a container.
Paraphrase: To cleanse those persons who are in a state of uncleanness do the following. First, take some of the ashes from the red heifer and place it in a container. Then add some water to these ashes. Be sure it is running water, not water from a pond or cistern.
וְלָקַ֨ח אֵז֜וֹב וְטָבַ֣ל בַּמַּיִם֮ אִ֣ישׁ טָהוֹר֒ וְהִזָּ֤ה עַל־הָאֹ֙הֶל֙ וְעַל־כָּל־הַכֵּלִ֔ים וְעַל־הַנְּפָשׁ֖וֹת אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָֽיוּ־שָׁ֑ם וְעַל־הַנֹּגֵ֗עַ בַּעֶ֙צֶם֙ א֣וֹ בֶֽחָלָ֔ל א֥וֹ בַמֵּ֖ת א֥וֹ בַקָּֽבֶר׃
and a clean man will take hyssop and dip into water and this on the tent and on all the containers and on the persons who live there and on those who touched a bone or who was killed or on a corpse or on a grave.
Paraphrase: Then, a person who is clean should take a branch of hyssop, dip this branch into this watery mixture and sprinkle it on the tent, on any containers which were open in this tent, and on all the people who live in this tent. The same is to be done to cleanse those who touched a bone or any part of a corpse or a grave.
וְהִזָּ֤ה הַטָּהֹר֙ עַל־הַטָּמֵ֔א בַּיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֖י וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֑י וְחִטְּאוֹ֙ בַּיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וְכִבֶּ֧ס בְּגָדָ֛יו וְרָחַ֥ץ בַּמַּ֖יִם וְטָהֵ֥ר בָּעָֽרֶב׃
and the clean [person] will sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day, and they will cleanse themselves on the seventh day, and he will wash his clothes and bathe in water and he will be clean at evening.
Paraphrase: This sprinkling will take place on the third day and on the seventh day as noted above. On the seventh day, this person will have performed the necessary ritual to return to a state of ceremonial cleanness. He should wash all his clothes and take a bath; then he will be pronounced clean that evening.
וְאִ֤ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִטְמָא֙ וְלֹ֣א יִתְחַטָּ֔א וְנִכְרְתָ֛ה הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַהִ֖וא מִתּ֣וֹךְ הַקָּהָ֑ל כִּי֩ אֶת־מִקְדַּ֨שׁ יְהוָ֜ה טִמֵּ֗א מֵ֥י נִדָּ֛ה לֹא־זֹרַ֥ק עָלָ֖יו טָמֵ֥א הֽוּא׃
and a man who is unclean and does not purify himself and her person will be cut off from the midst of the congregation because he defiled the holy place of YHWH waters of impurity were not sprinkled on him; he is unclean.
Paraphrase: Any person who is in a state of uncleanness must follow this procedure to be restored to ceremonial cleanness again. Refusal to follow this procedure means that such a person will be cut off from the people of God and will no longer participate in her privileges. Such a person defiles the holy dwelling place of YHWH by refusing to come under the sprinkling of the waters which remove impurity. His uncleanness now becomes his sin, and he must pay the price.
וְהָיְתָ֥ה לָּהֶ֖ם לְחֻקַּ֣ת עוֹלָ֑ם וּמַזֵּ֤ה מֵֽי־הַנִּדָּה֙ יְכַבֵּ֣ס בְּגָדָ֔יו וְהַנֹּגֵ֙עַ֙ בְּמֵ֣י הַנִּדָּ֔ה יִטְמָ֖א עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃
and it will be for them for a statute forever and the one splattering the waters of impurity will wash his clothes and the one touching the water of impurity will be unclean until evening.
Paraphrase: Now what I have laid out here will be a standing law in Israelite society forever. Both the person who sprinkles this water and anyone else who might come into contact with it must wash his clothes and will be unclean until evening.
וְכֹ֛ל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּע־בּ֥וֹ הַטָּמֵ֖א יִטְמָ֑א וְהַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַנֹּגַ֖עַת תִּטְמָ֥א עַד־הָעָֽרֶב׃פ
and all what the unclean touches on it, it will be unclean, and the person who touches, she will be unclean until evening.
Paraphrase: Anything that these unclean persons touch is also rendered unclean, and anyone who touches one of these unclean objects is also rendered unclean. They must wash their clothes (Numbers 19:21) and that evening, they are to be considered clean once again.