N U M B E R S
This chapter is only concerning the preparing and
using of the ashes which were to impregnate the water of
purification. The people had complained of the strictness of the
law, which forbade their near approach to the tabernacle, ch. xvii. 13. In answer to
this complaint, they are here directed to purify themselves, so as
that they might come as far as they had occasion without fear. Here
is, I. The method of preparing these ashes, by the burning of a red
heifer, with a great deal of ceremony, ver. 1-10. II. The way of using them. 1.
They were designed to purify persons from the pollution contracted
by a dead body, ver.
11-16. 2. They were to be put into running water (a
small quantity of them), with which the person to be cleansed must
be purified, ver. 17-22.
And that this ceremonial purification was a type and figure of the
cleansing of the consciences of believers from the pollutions of
sin appears by the apostle's discourse, Heb. ix. 13, 14, where he compares the
efficacy of the blood of Christ with the sanctifying virtue that
was in "the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean."