19 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, 2 “This is the legal statute that the Lord has commanded: Instruct the Israelites to bring you an unblemished red cow that has no defect and has never been yoked. 3 Give it to the priest Eleazar, and he will have it brought outside the camp and slaughtered in his presence. 4 The priest Eleazar is to take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the tent of meeting. 5 The cow is to be burned in his sight. Its hide, flesh, and blood, are to be burned along with its waste. 6 The priest is to take cedar wood, hyssop, and crimson yarn, and throw them onto the fire where the cow is burning. 7 Then the priest must wash his clothes and bathe his body in water; after that he may enter the camp, but he will remain ceremonially unclean until evening. 8 The one who burned the cow must also wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and he will remain unclean until evening.
9 “A man who is clean is to gather up the cow’s ashes and deposit them outside the camp in a ceremonially clean place. The ashes will be kept by the Israelite community for preparing the water to remove impurity; it is a sin offering. 10 Then the one who gathers up the cow’s ashes must wash his clothes, and he will remain unclean until evening. This is a permanent statute for the Israelites and for the alien who resides among them.
11 “The person who touches any human corpse will be unclean for seven days. 12 He is to purify himself with the water on the third day and the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean. 13 Anyone who touches a body of a person who has died, and does not purify himself, defiles the tabernacle of the Lord. That person will be cut off from Israel. He remains unclean because the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, and his uncleanness is still on him.
14 “This is the law when a person dies in a tent: everyone who enters the tent and everyone who is already in the tent will be unclean for seven days, 15 and any open container without a lid tied on it is unclean. 16 Anyone in the open field who touches a person who has been killed by the sword or has died, or who even touches a human bone, or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 For the purification of the unclean person, they are to take some of the ashes of the burnt sin offering, put them in a jar, and add fresh water to them. 18 A person who is clean is to take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle the tent, all the furnishings, and the people who were there. He is also to sprinkle the one who touched a bone, a grave, a corpse, or a person who had been killed.
19 “The one who is clean is to sprinkle the unclean person on the third day and the seventh day. After he purifies the unclean person on the seventh day, the one being purified must wash his clothes and bathe in water, and he will be clean by evening. 20 But a person who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person will be cut off from the assembly because he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. The water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. 21 This is a permanent statute for them. The person who sprinkles the water for impurity is to wash his clothes, and whoever touches the water for impurity will be unclean until evening. 22 Anything the unclean person touches will become unclean, and anyone who touches it will be unclean until evening.”
Water from the Rock
20 The entire Israelite community entered the Wilderness of Zin in the first month, and they settled in Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there.
2 There was no water for the community, so they assembled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The people quarreled with Moses and said, “If only we had perished when our brothers perished before the Lord. 4 Why have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this wilderness for us and our livestock to die here? 5 Why have you led us up from Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It’s not a place of grain, figs, vines, and pomegranates, and there is no water to drink!”
6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the doorway of the tent of meeting. They fell facedown, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 7 The Lord spoke to Moses, 8 “Take the staff and assemble the community. You and your brother Aaron are to speak to the rock while they watch, and it will yield its water. You will bring out water for them from the rock and provide drink for the community and their livestock.”
9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence just as he had commanded him. 10 Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock, and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Must we bring water out of this rock for you?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff, so that abundant water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me to demonstrate my holiness in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land I have given them.” 13 These are the Waters of Meribah, where the Israelites quarreled with the Lord, and he demonstrated his holiness to them.
Edom Denies Passage
14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom, “This is what your brother Israel says, ‘You know all the hardships that have overtaken us. 15 Our fathers went down to Egypt, and we lived in Egypt many years, but the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. 16 When we cried out to the Lord, he heard our plea, and sent an angel, and brought us out of Egypt. Now look, we are in Kadesh, a city on the border of your territory. 17 Please let us travel through your land. We won’t travel through any field or vineyard, or drink any well water. We will travel the King’s Highway; we won’t turn to the right or the left until we have traveled through your territory.’”
18 But Edom answered him, “You will not travel through our land, or we will come out and confront you with the sword.”
19 “We will go on the main road,” the Israelites replied to them, “and if we or our herds drink your water, we will pay its price. There will be no problem; only let us travel through on foot.”
20 Yet Edom insisted, “You may not travel through.” And they came out to confront them with a large force of heavily-armed people. 21 Edom refused to allow Israel to travel through their territory, and Israel turned away from them.
22 After they set out from Kadesh, the entire Israelite community came to Mount Hor. 23 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor on the border of the land of Edom, 24 “Aaron will be gathered to his people; he will not enter the land I have given the Israelites, because you both rebelled against my command at the Waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar and bring them up Mount Hor. 26 Remove Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will be gathered to his people and die there.”
27 So Moses did as the Lord commanded, and they climbed Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community. 28 After Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar, Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When the whole community saw that Aaron had passed away, the entire house of Israel mourned for him thirty days.