Laws for Purification
19 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 “This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, mand on which a yoke has never come. 3 And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and nit shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. 4 And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and osprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. 5 And the heifer shall be burned in his sight. pIts skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, shall be burned. 6 And the priest shall take qcedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and throw them into the fire burning the heifer. 7 Then the priest rshall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest shall be unclean until evening. 8 sThe one who burns the heifer rshall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening. 9 And a man who is clean shall gather up tthe ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a uclean place. And they shall be kept for the water for vimpurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a sin offering. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer rshall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. And this shall be a perpetual statute for the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them.
11 w“Whoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. 12 He xshall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, ydefiles the tabernacle of the Lord, zand that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.
14 “This is the law when someone dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every aopen vessel that has no cover fastened on it is unclean. 16 bWhoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a cgrave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 For the unclean they shall take dsome ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh1 water shall be added in a vessel. 18 Then a clean person shall take ehyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean fon the third day and on the seventh day. gThus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall hwash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.
20 “If the man who is unclean does not cleanse himself, ithat person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Because the water for impurity has not been thrown on him, he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a statute forever for them. The one who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 And jwhatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean, and anyone who touches it shall be unclean until evening.”
The Death of Miriam
The Waters of Meribah
2 mNow there was no water for the congregation. nAnd they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3 And the people oquarreled with Moses and said, “Would that we had perished pwhen our brothers perished before the Lord! 4 Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? 5 And qwhy have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink.” 6 Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and rfell on their faces. sAnd the glory of the Lord appeared to them, 7 and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 8 t“Take the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So uyou shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle.” 9 And Moses took the staff vfrom before the Lord, as he commanded him.
Moses Strikes the Rock
10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, w“Hear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, uand water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because xyou did not believe in me, yto uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.” 13 zThese are the waters of Meribah,1 where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.
Edom Refuses Passage
14 aMoses sent messengers from Kadesh to bthe king of Edom: “Thus says cyour brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: 15 dhow our fathers went down to Egypt, eand we lived in Egypt a long time. fAnd the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. 16 And gwhen we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and hsent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 iPlease let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, jor drink water from a well. We will go along the King’s Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory.” 18 But Edom said to him, “You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you.” 19 And the people of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the highway, kand if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, lthen I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more.” 20 But he said, m“You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force. 21 Thus Edom nrefused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel oturned away from him.
The Death of Aaron
22 And they journeyed from pKadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to qMount Hor. 23 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 r“Let Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because syou rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron rshall be gathered to his people and shall die there.” 27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 tAnd Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there uon the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, vall the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.
21 When wthe Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in xthe Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. 2 yAnd Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.”1 3 And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called zHormah.2
The Bronze Serpent
4 From Mount Hor athey set out by the way to the Red Sea, bto go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people cspoke against God and against Moses, d“Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and ewe loathe this worthless food.” 6 fThen the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and gthey bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 hAnd the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. iPray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So jMoses made a bronze3 serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
The Song of the Well
10 And the people of Israel set out and kcamped in Oboth. 11 kAnd they set out from Oboth and kcamped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out and camped in lthe Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the mArnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,
“Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,
15 and the slope of the valleys
that extends to the seat of nAr,
and leans to the border of Moab.”
“Spring up, O well!—Sing to it!—
18 the well that the princes made,
that the nobles of the people dug,
with qthe scepter and with their staffs.”
And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah rthat looks down on the desert.5
King Sihon Defeated
21 Then sIsrael sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 t“Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.” 23 uBut Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and vcame to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 wAnd Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the xJabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled 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, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the yballad singers say,
“Come to zHeshbon, let it be built;
let the city of Sihon be established.
flame from the city of Sihon.
It devoured nAr of Moab,
and swallowed6 the heights of the Arnon.
29 aWoe to you, O Moab!
You are undone, O people of bChemosh!
He has made his sons fugitives,
and his daughters captives,
to an Amorite king, Sihon.
30 So we overthrew them;
Heshbon, as far as cDibon, perished;
and we laid waste as far as Nophah;
King Og Defeated
31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out eJazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle fat Edrei. 34 gBut the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And hyou shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.
Balak Summons Balaam
22 Then ithe people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. 2 And jBalak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And kMoab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. 4 And Moab said to lthe elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5 msent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor nat Pethor, which is near the River1 in the land of the people of Amaw,2 to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. 6 oCome now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
7 So the elders of Moab and lthe elders of Midian departed with pthe fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak’s message. 8 And he said to them, “Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me.” So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. 9 qAnd God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?” 10 And Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out.’” 12 God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for rthey are blessed.” 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you.” 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”
15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 sfor I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. tCome, curse this people for me.’” 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, u“Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, vI could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, wplease stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.” 20 qAnd God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; xbut only do what I tell you.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.
Balaam’s Donkey and the Angel
22 But God’s anger was kindled because he went, yand the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way zas his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam’s foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord aopened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?” 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you.” 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
31 Then the Lord bopened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out cto oppose you because your way is perverse3 before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live.” 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, d“I have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back.” 35 And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, ebut speak only the word that I tell you.” So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.
36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, fon the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, “Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to ghonor you?” 38 Balaam said to Balak, “Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? hThe word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak.” 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.
41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.
Balaam’s First Oracle
23 And Balaam said to Balak, i“Build for me here seven altars, and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 2 Balak did as Balaam had said. And Balak and Balaam joffered on each altar a bull and a ram. 3 And Balaam said to Balak, k“Stand beside your burnt offering, and I will go. Perhaps the Lord will come lto meet me, and whatever he shows me I will tell you.” And he went to a bare height, 4 mand God met Balaam. And Balaam said to him, “I have arranged the seven altars and I have offered on each altar a bull and a ram.” 5 And the Lord nput a word in Balaam’s mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus you shall speak.” 6 And he returned to him, and behold, he and all the princes of Moab were standing beside his burnt offering. 7 And Balaam otook up his discourse and said,
“From pAram Balak has brought me,
the king of Moab qfrom the eastern mountains:
‘Come, rcurse Jacob for me,
and come, denounce Israel!’
8 How can I curse whom God has not cursed?
How can I denounce whom the Lord has not denounced?
9 For from the top of the crags sI see him,
from the hills I behold him;
behold, ta people dwelling alone,
and unot counting itself among the nations!
10 vWho can count the dust of Jacob
or number the fourth part1 of Israel?
Let me die wthe death of the upright,
and let my end be like his!”
11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? xI took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.” 12 And he answered and said, y“Must I not take care to speak what the Lord puts in my mouth?”
Balaam’s Second Oracle
13 And Balak said to him, “Please come with me to another place, from which you may see them. You shall see only a fraction of them and shall not see them all. Then curse them for me from there.” 14 And he took him to the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, zand built seven altars and offered a bull and a ram on each altar. 15 Balaam said to Balak, a“Stand here beside your burnt offering, while I meet the Lord over there.” 16 And the Lord met Balaam and bput a word in his mouth and said, “Return to Balak, and thus shall you speak.” 17 And he came to him, and behold, he was standing beside his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said to him, “What has the Lord spoken?” 18 And Balaam took up his discourse and said,
“Rise, Balak, and hear;
give ear to me, O son of Zippor:
19 cGod is not man, that he should lie,
or a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Has he said, and will he not do it?
Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
20 Behold, I received a command to bless:
21 fHe has not beheld misfortune in Jacob,
nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them,
and the shout of a king is among them.
22 gGod brings them out of Egypt
and is for them like hthe horns of the wild ox.
23 For there is no enchantment against Jacob,
no idivination against Israel;
now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel,
j‘What has God wrought!’
24 Behold, a people! kAs a lioness it rises up
and as a lion it lifts itself;
lit does not lie down until it has devoured the prey
and drunk the blood of the slain.”
25 And Balak said to Balaam, “Do not curse them at all, and do not bless them at all.” 26 But Balaam answered Balak, “Did I not tell you, m‘All that the Lord says, that I must do’?” 27 And Balak said to Balaam, n“Come now, I will take you to another place. Perhaps it will please God that you may curse them for me from there.” 28 So Balak took Balaam to the top of oPeor, which overlooks pthe desert.2 29 And Balaam said to Balak, q“Build for me here seven altars and prepare for me here seven bulls and seven rams.” 30 rAnd Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bull and a ram on each altar.