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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 19



Verse 2

Numbers 19:2 This [is] the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein [is] no blemish, [and] upon which never came yoke:

Ver. 2. This is the ordinance of the law, which.] An ordinance, a law, a commanded law: all this to show the peremptoriness of the Lord in this point, that unless we lay hold upon the blood of Christ, prefigured by this red heifer, we cannot escape the damnation of hell.

That they bring thee.] At a common charge, because for a common good. All the congregation must get them a bloody Saviour.

A red heifer.] Typing out Christum cruentatum, Christ covered with his own blood: {see Isaiah 63:1-2} white and ruddy, as the Church says of him: [Song of Solomon 5:10] Tam recens mihi Christus crucifixus, ac si iam fudisset sanguinem. (a) The pressure of his sufferings made him sweat great drops, or rather clods of blood, in a cold night, besides what afterwards issued from his many wounds in his head and body.

Never came yoke.] Christ never bore the yoke either of sin or servitude. He laid down his life of himself. [John 10:17-18] See Hebrews 9:13-14. He was not subject to any command of man. [Luke 2:44 John 2:4]

Verse 3

Numbers 19:3 And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and [one] shall slay her before his face:

Ver. 3. To Eleazar the priest.] To assure him of the succession of the priesthood. Besides, it was fitter he should be defiled than his father. [Numbers 19:7] Hereby also might haply be foretold, that the priests should kill Christ; but they were but our workmen, we should "look upon him whom we have pierced, and mourn over him," [Zechariah 12:10] that the fountain opened for sin, and for separation from uncleanness, {see Numbers 19:9} may be free to us, the king’s bath of Christ’s blood. [Zechariah 13:1]

Without the camp.] Signifying, that Christ should be taken from all earthly comforts, and crucified "without the gate." [Hebrews 13:12]

Before his face.] So was Christ before God’s face; yea, his Father laid upon him with his own hand, and let loose all the powers of darkness at him.

Verse 4

Numbers 19:4 And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:

Ver. 4. Shall take of the blood with his finger.] Not with his whole hand. Christ’s blood must be touched or applied with great discretion and reverence; our practice also must be dyed in Christ’s blood.

Verse 5

Numbers 19:5 And [one] shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:

Ver. 5. Shall he burn.] To set forth Christ’s ardent love and bitter sufferings. Love itself is a passion, and delights to express itself by suffering for the party beloved.

Verse 6

Numbers 19:6 And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast [it] into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

Ver. 6. Cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet.] Hereby was signified, that Christ, howsoever in respect of our sins he was burnt up with the fire of his Father’s wrath; yet by the everlasting Spirit, whereby he offered up himself without spot to God, and by the gifts and graces of it, he was a full sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour to God to purge offences. [Hebrews 9:14 Psalms 51:9 Ephesians 5:2]

Verse 7

Numbers 19:7 Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.

Ver. 7. The priest shall wash his clothes.] To show the contagion and pollution of sin, [2 Corinthians 7:1] and imperfection of the legal priesthood.

Unclean until the evening.] So Numbers 19:8; Numbers 19:10. We had need take time till the evening, to humble our souls, and bewail our unworthiness of the blood of Christ.

Verse 8

Numbers 19:8 And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

Ver. 8. {See Trapp on "Numbers 19:7"}

Verse 9

Numbers 19:9 And a man [that is] clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay [them] up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it [is] a purification for sin.

Ver. 9. And a man that is clean.] Hereby is meant the Gentile purified by faith, as one well observeth. The gathering of the ashes, is the applying of the merits of Christ, and laying hold of the mystery of his kingdom. The laying up of the ashes imports that the Christian accounts Christ’s merits his chief treasure. The clean place is the clean heart. Without the camp, notes, that the Gentiles were strangers from the commonwealth of Israel, &c. These ashes kept for the congregation, show the fulness of Christ’s merits for all his people. When he saith, it is to make a water of separation, it notes that our sins separate betwixt us and our God. But "now in Christ Jesus, we who sometimes were far off, are made nigh by his blood." [Ephesians 2:13]

Verse 10

Numbers 19:10 And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

Ver. 10. Shall wash his clothes.] To note, that even the nearer a Christian comes to the merits of Christ, the more he is affected with the sense of his own uncleanness; yea, he retains it till even, that is, till death.

Verse 11

Numbers 19:11 He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.

Ver. 11. He that toucheth.] To teach them to observe God’s curse in death, and to avoid the society of sinful men.

Verse 16

Numbers 19:16 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.

Ver. 16. Shall be unclean seven days.] {See Trapp on "Leviticus 11:31"}

Verse 17

Numbers 19:17 And for an unclean [person] they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:

Ver. 17. And running water.] Signifying the ashes of Christ’s merit, and the water of his Spirit. See 1 Corinthians 6:11, John 7:38-39.

Verse 18

Numbers 19:18 And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip [it] in the water, and sprinkle [it] upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

Ver. 18. Shall take hyssop.] No benefit by Christ, without mortification of sin.


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Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 19:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

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