Notes: April 20, 2008 – Numbers 19-20

I. Since the sin of Adam and Eve, death is a normal part of life. The events of the previous chapter prove the point. In Numbers 19 God decrees a water of separation to cleanse those who have been defiled by the dead (chapter 19).

  • A red heifer is to be slain by Eleazar outside the camp and its blood sprinkled before the Tabernacle (1-4).
  • The remains are to be burned, with cedar, scarlet and hyssop added to the fire (5-6).
  • The priest and the one who burns the animal both become unclean (7-8).
  • The ashes are saved for the water of purification (9-13).
  • Concerning the dead and the immediate environment of their death (14-19).
  • Failure to apply these rules results in mandatory cutting off from the congregation (20)
  • This to be a perpetual obligation (21-22).


II. When good people do bad things (chapter 20).

  • Miriam dies
  • The people complain of thirst
  • Moses and Aaron intercede
  • God announces His intention to provide
  • Moses and Aaron complain to the people and fail to follow God’s instructions
  • Water flows for the people in spite of the sin of Moses and Aaron
  • God announces that neither of them will enter the promised land
  • Aaron dies


Meditation Points:

  1. Although death is normal, and in our fallen state even natural, this was not the case before Adam’s sin. The water of separation/purification was to be a perpetual reminder of the effects of sin.
  2. God’s work must be done in God’s way.
  3. The leaders of God’s people are not exempt from God’s rules.
  4. If the people were forbidden from entering the promised land because they did not trust God, then their leaders must be kept out also for the same reason.