(from One New Man Bible translated by William Morford)


Red Heifer

19.1. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and to Aaron saying,

Red heifer

Red heifer

19:2. “This is the ordinance of the teaching which the LORD* has commanded saying, Speak to the children of Israel, so they will bring you a red heifer without spot, in which there is no blemish, upon which a yoke has never come, 3. and you will give it to Eleazar the priest so he can bring it outside the camp, and one will slay her before his face 4. And Elazar the priest will take of its blood with his finger and sprinkle of its blood directly in front of the Tent of Meeting seven times, 5. and one will burn the heifer in his sight, its skin, its flesh, and its blood, he will burn with its dung. 6. And the priest will take cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer. 7. Then the priest will wash his clothes and he will immerse his flesh in water, and afterward he will come into the camp and the priest will be unclean until the evening. 8. And the one who burns it will wash his clothes in water and immerse his flesh in water, and will be unclean until the evening. 9. And a man who is clean will gather up the ashes of the heifer and lay them up outside the camp in a clean place, and it will be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of sprinkling: it is an offering of purification. 10. And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer will wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening, and it will be for the children of Israel and for the stranger that lives among them, for a statute forever.

19:11. “Anyone who touches the dead body of any person will be unclean seven days. 12. He will purify himself with it on the third day and on the seventh day he will be clean, but if he does not purify himself the third day, then the seventh day he will not be clean. 13. Whoever touches the dead body of any person that is dead and does not purify himself, defiles the Tabernacle of the LORD*, and that person will be cut off from Israel because the water of sprinkling was not sprinkled upon him, he will be unclean; his uncleanness is still upon him.

19:14. “This is the teaching, when a man dies in a tent, all who come into the tent and all that is in the tent will be unclean seven days. 15. And every open vessel that has no covering bound upon it is unclean. 16. And whoever touches one that is slain with a sword in the open field, or a dead body, or a bone of a person, or a grave, will be unclean seven days. 17. And for an unclean person they will take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water will be put there in a vessel, 18. and a clean person will take hyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons that were there, and on him that touched the bone or the slain or the dead or the grave: 19. and the clean person will sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day, and on the seventh day he will purify him and he will wash his clothes and immerse himself in water, and will be clean at evening. 20. But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that one will be cut off from among the congregation because he has defiled the Sanctuary of the LORD*. The water of sprinkling has not been sprinkled upon him: he is unclean. 21. And it will be a perpetual statute for them, that he who sprinkles the water of sprinkling will wash his clothes, and he that touches the water of sprinkling will be unclean until evening. 22. And whatever the unclean person touches will be unclean, and the person who touches it will be unclean until evening.”

Miriam Dies

20.1. Then the children of Israel came, the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh and Miriam died there and was buried there.

Complaint, Lack of Water

20:2. And there was no water for the congregation, and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3. And the people strove with Moses and spoke saying, “Would that we had died when our brothers died before the LORD*! 4. And why have you brought up the congregation of the LORD* into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5. And why have you made us come up out of Egypt, to bring us in to this evil place? It is a place of no seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates: nor is there any water to drink.”

Water from the Rock

20:6. Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the door of the Tent of Meeting, and they fell upon their faces and the glory of the LORD* appeared to them. 7. And the LORD* spoke to Moses saying, 8. “Take the staff and gather the assembly together, you and Aaron your brother, and speak to the rock before their eyes and it will give forth its water and you will bring water out of the rock to them: so you will give the congregation and their beasts drink.”

Moses Disobeys

20:9. Then Moses took the staff from before the LORD*, as He commanded him. 10. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock and he said to them, “Listen now, you rebels! Must we fetch you water out of this rock?” 11. And Moses lifted up his hand and with his staff he struck the rock twice, and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation and also their beasts drank.

20:12. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to sanctify Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you will not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.” 13. This is the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with the LORD*, and He was sanctified among them.

Edom Denies Entry

20:14. And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, Thus says your brother Israel, “You know all the trouble that has befallen us, 15. how our fathers went down into Egypt and we lived in Egypt a long time and the Egyptians mistreated us and our fathers. 16. And when we cried to the LORD*, He heard our voice and sent an angel, and has brought us forth out of Egypt and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the outermost of your border. 17. Let us pass, I pray you, through your country. We will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king’s highway, we will not turn to the right hand or to the left until we have passed your borders.”

20:18. And Edom said to him, “You will not pass by me, or I shall come out against you with the sword.”

20:19. And the children of Israel said to him, “We will go by the highway, and if I and my cattle drink of your water, then I shall pay for it: I shall only go through on my feet without doing anything else.”

20:20. And he said, “You will not go through.” And Edom came out against him with many people and with a strong hand. 21. Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border, so Israel turned away from him.

Aaron Dies

20:22. And the children of Israel, the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor.

20:23. And the LORD* spoke to Moses and Aaron on Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom saying, 24. “Aaron will be gathered to his people for he will not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah. 25. Take Aaron and Elazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor, 26. strip Aaron of his garments, put them upon Elazar his son, and Aaron will be gathered to his people, and will die there.”

The LORD* Rescues from Arad

21.1.And when the Canaanite, the king of Arad who dwelled in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the Atarim, then he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoners. 2. And Israel vowed a vow to the LORD* and said, “If You will indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.” 3. And the LORD* hearkened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. And he called the name of the place Hormah. 

People Murmur

21:4. And they journeyed from Mount Hor by the way of the Reed Sea to bypass the land of Edom, and the hearts of the people were very discouraged because of the way. 5. And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water and our very beings loathe this light bread.” 6. And the LORD* sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, and many people of Israel died. 7. Therefore the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD* and against you. Pray to the LORD*, so He will take the serpents away from us.” And Moses prayed for the people.

Bronze Serpent

21:8. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Make for yourself a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole, and it will be that everyone that is bitten, when he looks upon it, will live.” 9. And Moses made a serpent of bronze and put it upon a pole,and it was that if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the serpent of bronze, he lived.

21:10. And the children of Israel set forward and pitched in Obot. 11. And they journeyed from Obot and pitched at Ije Abarim in the wilderness, which is before Moab, toward the sunrising. 12. From there they left and pitched in the valley of Zered. 13. They left from there and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is the wilderness that comes out of the border of the Amorites for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14. Therefore it is said in the book of the Wars of the LORD*, “Vaheb in Suphah and the brooks of Arnon 15. and the course of the brooks that incline toward the dwelling of Ar, and lean upon the border of Moab.”  16. And from there they went to Be’er, that is the well of which the LORD* spoke to Moses, “Gather the people together and I shall give them water.”

21:17. Then Israel sang this song, “Spring up, O well! Sing to it! 18. The princes dug the well, the nobles of the people sanctified it with the scepter, with their staffs.” And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah 19. and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamot, 20. and from Bamot in the valley that is in the country of Moab to the top of Pisgah, which looks toward Jeshimon.

Sihon Denies Access

21:21. And Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites saying, 22. “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn into the fields or into the vineyards. We will not drink of the waters of the well, but we will go along by the king’s highway until we are past your borders. 23. And Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and he came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24. And Israel struck him with the edge of the sword and possessed his land from Arnon to Jabbok, even to the children of Ammon, for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.

25. And Israel took all these cities, and Israel dwelled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and in all its villages. 26. For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, even to Arnon. 27. Therefore those who speak in proverbs say, “Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and established. 28. For a fire has gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon. It has consumed Ar of Moab and the lords of the high places of Arnon. 29. Woe to you, Moab! You are undone, O people of Chemosh. He has rendered his sons fugitives and his daughters captives to Sihon king of the Amorites. 30. We have shot at them. Heshbon has perished even to Divon and we have laid them waste even to Nophah, which reaches to Medeba.”

21:31. And Israel stayed in the land of the Amorites. 32. And Moses sent men to spy out Jazer and they took its villages and drove out the Amorites that were there. 33. And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to the battle at Edrei. 34. And the LORD* said to Moses, “Do not in any way be awed by him! For I have delivered him, all his people, and his land into your hand; and you will do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who dwelled at Heshbon.” 35. So they struck him and his sons and all his people, until no one was left alive and they possessed his land. 22.1. And the children of Israel set forward and pitched in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan by Jericho.

Next week’s Torah readings: Balak

(from One New Man Bible translated by William Morford)