Numbers 19:16
And whoever touches one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 19:16-17. With a sword — Or by any other violent way. Running water — Waters flowing from a spring or river, which are the purest. These manifestly signify God’s Spirit, which is oft compared to water, and by which alone, through the sacrifice of Christ, true purification is obtained. Those who promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the influence of his Spirit, do but deceive themselves, for they cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water.19:11-22 Why did the law make a corpse a defiling thing? Because death is the wages of sin, which entered into the world by it, and reigns by the power of it. The law could not conquer death, nor abolish it, as the gospel does, by bringing life and immortality to light, and so introducing a better hope. As the ashes of the heifer signified the merit of Christ, so the running water signified the power and grace of the blessed Spirit, who is compared to rivers of living water; and it is by his work that the righteousness of Christ is applied to us for our cleansing. Those who promise themselves benefit by the righteousness of Christ, while they submit not to the grace and influence of the Holy Spirit, do but deceive themselves; we cannot be purified by the ashes, otherwise than in the running water. What use could there be in these appointments, if they do not refer to the doctrines concerning the sacrifice of Christ? But comparing them with the New Testament, the knowledge to be got from them is evident. The true state of fallen man is shown in these institutions. Here we learn the defiling nature of sin, and are warned to avoid evil communications.One practical effect of attaching defilement to a dead body, and to all that touched it, etc., would be to insure early burial, and to correct a practice not uncommon in the East, of leaving the deal to be devoured by the wild beasts. 14. when a man dieth in a tent, &c.—The instances adduced appear very minute and trivial; but important ends, both of a religious and of a sanitary nature, were promoted by carrying the idea of pollution from contact with dead bodies to so great an extent. While it would effectually prevent that Egyptianized race of Israelites imitating the superstitious custom of the Egyptians, who kept in their houses the mummied remains of their ancestors, it ensured a speedy interment to all, thus not only keeping burial places at a distance, but removing from the habitations of the living the corpses of persons who died from infectious disorders, and from the open field the unburied remains of strangers and foreigners who fell in battle. With a sword, or by any other violent way. And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields,.... That is killed by another, that dies a violent death, either by the sword or other means; one that touched such an one was unclean, or that touched the sword with which he was slain, as the Targum of Jonathan adds: "or a dead body": that dies a natural death, or suddenly, or in any way:

or a bone off a man; dug out of a grave, and lying by itself:

or a grave; the Targum adds, either the covering or side of a grave:

shall be unclean seven days; all which has respect to the defiling nature of sin, which is the cause of death and the grave.

And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. or a grave] The thought of defilement from unwitting contact with a grave underlies our Lord’s denunciation of the Pharisees in Luke 11:44.Verse 16. - One that is slain with a sword. This would apply especially, it would seem, to the field of battle; but the law must certainly have been relaxed in the case of soldiers. Or a bone of a man, or a grave. Thus the defilement was extended to the mouldering remains of humanity, and even to the tombs (μνήματα. Cf. Luke 11:44) which held them. Use of the Water of Purification. - The words in Numbers 19:10, "And it shall be to the children of Israel, and to the stranger in the midst of them, for an everlasting statute," relate to the preparation and application of the sprinkling water, and connect the foregoing instructions with those which follow. - Numbers 19:1-13 contain the general rules for the use of the water; Numbers 19:14-22 a more detailed description of the execution of those rules.
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