The Ceremony To Wash Away Sin
1-2 The Lord gave Moses and Aaron the following law:
The people of Israel must bring Moses a reddish-brown cow that has nothing wrong with it and that has never been used for plowing. 3 Moses will give it to Eleazar the priest, then it will be led outside the camp and killed while Eleazar watches. 4 He will dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times in the direction of the sacred tent. 5 Then the whole cow, including its skin, meat, blood, and insides must be burned. 6 A priest is to throw a stick of cedar wood, a hyssop branch, and a piece of red yarn into the fire.
7 After the ceremony, the priest is to take a bath and wash his clothes. Only then can he go back into the camp, but he remains unclean and unfit for worship until evening. 8 The man who burned the cow must also wash his clothes and take a bath, but he is also unclean until evening.
9 A man who isn't unclean must collect the ashes of the burnt cow and store them outside the camp in a clean place. The people of Israel can mix these ashes with the water used in the ceremony to wash away sin. 10 The man who collects the ashes must wash his clothes, but will remain unclean until evening. This law must always be obeyed by the people of Israel and the foreigners living among them.
What Must Be Done after Touching a Dead Body
The Lord said:
11 If you touch a dead body, you will be unclean for seven days. 12 But if you wash with the water mixed with the cow's ashes on the third day and again on the seventh day, you will be clean and acceptable for worship. You must wash yourself on those days; if you don't, you will remain unclean. 13 Suppose you touch a dead body, but refuse to be made clean by washing with the water mixed with ashes. You will be guilty of making my sacred tent unclean and will no longer belong to the people of Israel.
14 If someone dies in a tent while you are there, you will be unclean for seven days. And anyone who later enters the tent will also be unclean. 15 Any open jar in the tent is unclean.
16 If you touch the body of someone who died or was killed, or if you touch a human bone or a grave, you will be unclean for seven days.
17-18 Before you can be made clean, someone who is clean must take some of the ashes from the burnt cow and stir them into a pot of spring water. That same person must dip a hyssop branch in the water and ashes, then sprinkle it on the tent and everything in it, including everyone who was inside. If you have touched a human bone, a grave, or a dead body, you must be sprinkled with that water. 19 If this is done on the third day and on the seventh day, you will be clean. Then after you take a bath and wash your clothes, you can worship that evening.
20 If you are unclean and refuse to be made clean by washing with the water mixed with ashes, you will be guilty of making my sacred tent unclean, and you will no longer belong to the people of Israel. 21 These laws will never change.
The man who sprinkled the water and the ashes on you when you were unclean must also wash his clothes. And whoever touches this water is unclean until evening. 22 When you are unclean, everything you touch becomes unclean, and anyone who touches you will be unclean until evening.
© Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®) © 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.