Numbers 19:1 - 22:1  Lesson 35
Torah Portion Chukat

Numbers 19   (Torah Portion Chukat)

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: This is the regulation in the Instruction that the Lord commanded. Tell the Israelites that they must bring you a red cow without defect, which is flawless and on which no yoke has been laid. You will give it to Eleazar the priest, and he will take it outside the camp and slaughter it in front of him. Eleazar the priest will take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle it seven times in front of the meeting tent. Then he will burn the cow in front of him, its skin, flesh, and blood, with its dung. The priest will take cedarwood, hyssop, and crimson cloth and throw them into the fire where the cow is burning. Then the priest will wash his clothes and bathe his body in water. Afterward the priest will enter the camp, but he will be unclean until evening. The one who burned the cow will wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water, but he will be unclean until evening. A person who is clean will gather the ashes of the cow and place them outside the camp in a clean place. They will be kept for the water of purification for the Israelite community as a purification offering. 10 The one who gathers the ashes of the cow will wash his clothes but will be unclean until evening. This will be a permanent regulation for the Israelites and for the immigrant who lives among them.

11 The person who touches the dead body of any human will be unclean for seven days.12 That person must be cleansed with water on the third and seventh days to be clean. If he fails to be cleansed with water on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean.13 Anyone who touches the body of a human who has died and doesn’t cleanse himself defiles the Lord’s dwelling. Such persons must be cut off from Israel because the water of purification wasn’t sprinkled on them. They remain unclean.

14 This is the instruction: When anyone dies in a tent, all who go into the tent and all who are in the tent are unclean for seven days. 15 Any open jar without a sealed cover on it is unclean. 16 Anyone in the open field who touches a person slain by the sword, or who died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 For the unclean person, they will take some of the ashes of the purification offering and place fresh water with it in a jar. 18 Then a clean person will take hyssop, dip it into the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the jars, on the people who were there, and on anyone who touched bone, the slain, the dead, or the grave. 19 On the third day and the seventh day the clean person will sprinkle it on the unclean, so that he will have purified him on the seventh day. He will then wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be clean at evening. 20 Any person who is unclean and didn’t cleanse himself will be cut off from the assembly, because he has defiled the Lord’s sanctuary. He didn’t have the water of purification sprinkled on him. He is unclean. 21 This will be a permanent regulation for them. The one who sprinkles the water of purification will wash his own clothes. Anyone who touches the water of purification will be unclean until evening. 22 Whoever the unclean person touches will be unclean, and the one who touches the unclean will be unclean until evening.

14 This is the instruction: When anyone dies in a tent, all who go into the tent and all who are in the tent are unclean for seven days. 15 Any open jar without a sealed cover on it is unclean. 16 Anyone in the open field who touches a person slain by the sword, or who died naturally, or a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 For the unclean person, they will take some of the ashes of the purification offering and place fresh water with it in a jar. 18 Then a clean person will take hyssop, dip it into the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the jars, on the people who were there, and on anyone who touched bone, the slain, the dead, or the grave. 19 On the third day and the seventh day the clean person will sprinkle it on the unclean, so that he will have purified him on the seventh day. He will then wash his clothes, bathe in water, and be clean at evening. 20 Any person who is unclean and didn’t cleanse himself will be cut off from the assembly, because he has defiled the Lord’s sanctuary. He didn’t have the water of purification sprinkled on him. He is unclean. 21 This will be a permanent regulation for them. The one who sprinkles the water of purification will wash his own clothes. Anyone who touches the water of purification will be unclean until evening. 22 Whoever the unclean person touches will be unclean, and the one who touches the unclean will be unclean until evening.

Numbers 20   (Torah Portion Chukat)

In the first month, the entire Israelite community entered the Zin desert and the people stayed at Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there. Now there was no water for the community, and they assembled against Moses and Aaron. Then the people confronted Moses and said to him, “If only we too had died when our brothers perished in the Lord’s presence! Why have you brought the Lord’s assembly into this desert to kill us and our animals here? Why have you led us up from Egypt to bring us to this evil place without grain, figs, vines, or pomegranates? And there’s no water to drink!”

Moses and Aaron went away from the assembly to the entrance of the meeting tent and they fell on their faces. Then the Lord’s glory appeared to them. The Lord spoke to Moses: “You and Aaron your brother, take the staff and assemble the community. In their presence, tell the rock to provide water. You will produce water from the rock for them and allow the community and their animals to drink.”

Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, as the Lord had commanded him.10 Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly before the rock. He said to them, “Listen, you rebels! Should we produce water from the rock for you?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice. Out flooded water so that the community and their animals could drink.

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you didn’t trust me to show my holiness before the Israelites, you will not bring this assembly into the land that I am giving them.”13 These were the waters of Meribah, where the Israelites confronted the Lord with controversy and he showed his holiness to them.

14 Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “This is what your brother Israel says: ‘You know all the adversity that has happened to us. 15 How our ancestors went down to Egypt and lived in Egypt for a long time. The Egyptians oppressed us as they had our ancestors, 16 and we cried out to the Lord. He heard our voice, sent a messenger, and brought us out of Egypt. Now here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your border. 17 Please let us cross through your land. We won’t pass through any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will walk on the King’s Highway and not turn to the right or to the left until we have crossed your border.’”

18 Edom said to him, “You won’t cross through, or I will come out against you with a sword.”

19 The Israelites said to him, “We’ll go up by the road. If we drink from your water, either we or our livestock, we’ll pay for it. It’s a small matter. We would only ask to cross on foot.”

20 But he said, “You won’t cross.” Then Edom came out against them with a powerful army and a strong hand. 21 Edom refused to allow Israel to cross his border. And Israel turned away from him. 22 They marched 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 join his ancestors, for he may not enter the land that I’ve given to the Israelites, because you rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar, and bring them up Mount Hor. 26 Strip Aaron of his clothes and put them on Eleazar his son. Then Aaron will die there.

27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the entire community. 28 Moses stripped Aaron of his clothes and put them on Eleazar his son. Aaron died there at the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar descended from the mountain. 29 When the entire community saw that Aaron had died, the entire household of Israel wept thirty days for Aaron.

Numbers 21   (Torah Portion Chukat)

When the Canaanite king of Arad, who ruled in the arid southern plain, heard that the Israelites were coming on the Atharim road, he fought against Israel and took some of them captive. Then Israel made a solemn promise to the Lord and said, “If you give this people into our hands, we will completely destroy their city.” The Lord heard the voice of Israel and handed the Canaanites over. They completely destroyed them and their cities, so the name of the place is called Hormah.

They marched from Mount Hor on the Reed Sea road around the land of Edom. The people became impatient on the road. The people spoke against God and Moses: “Why did you bring us up from Egypt to kill us in the desert, where there is no food or water. And we detest this miserable bread!” So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people and they bit the people. Many of the Israelites died.

The people went to Moses and said, “We’ve sinned, for we spoke against the Lord and you. Pray to the Lord so that he will send the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and place it on a pole. Whoever is bitten can look at it and live.” Moses made a bronze snake and placed it on a pole. If a snake bit someone, that person could look at the bronze snake and live.

10 Then the Israelites marched and they camped at Oboth. 11 They marched from Oboth and camped at Iye-abarim in the desert on the border of Moab toward the east. 12 From there they marched and camped in the Zered ravine. 13 From there they marched and camped across the Arnon in the desert that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the Arnon was the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 For this reason the scroll of the Lord’s wars says:

Waheb in Suphah and the ravines.
The Arnon 15 and the ravines
that extend to the settlement of Ar
and lie along the border of Moab.

16 From there they marched to Beer, the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people, and I’ll give them water.” 17 Then the Israelites sang this song:

“Well, flow up!
Sing about it!
18 The well that the officials dug,
        that the officials of the people hollowed out
        with the ruler’s scepter and their staffs.”

They marched from the desert to Mattanah; 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel; from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 20 from Bamoth to the valley in the Moabite countryside, to the top of Pisgah overlooking Jeshimon.

21 Then the Israelites sent messengers to Sihon the Amorite king: 22 “Let us pass through your land. We won’t turn aside into a field or vineyard. We won’t drink water from a well. We will walk on the King’s Highway until we cross your border.”

23 But Sihon wouldn’t allow the Israelites to cross his border. Sihon gathered all his people and went out to meet the Israelites in the desert. When he came to Jahaz, he attacked the Israelites. 24 The Israelites struck him down with their swords and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was fortified. 25 The Israelites took all these cities. Then the Israelites settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon and all its villages.

26 Now Heshbon was the city of Sihon the Amorite king who had fought against the former king of Moab. He had taken all his land from him as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore, the poets say:

“Come to Heshbon, let it be built.
    Let the city of Sihon be established.
28 Fire went out from Heshbon,
    flame from Sihon’s city.
It consumed Ar of Moab
    and swallowed up the shrines of the Arnon.
29 You are doomed, Moab!
    You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!
He gave his sons as fugitives,
        and his daughters as captives
    to the Amorite king Sihon.
30 Yet we have thrown them down,
    destroying them
    from Heshbon to Dibon.
We brought ruin until Nophah,
    which is by Medeba.”

31 Israel settled in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent spies to Jazer. They captured its villages and took possession of the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and ascended the road of Bashan. Og, Bashan’s king, came out at Edrei to meet them in battle, he and all his people. 34 The Lord said to Moses: Don’t be afraid of him, for I have handed over all his people and his land. Do to him as you did to Sihon the Amorite king who ruled in Heshbon.

35 They slaughtered Og, his sons, and all his people until there were no survivors. Then they took possession of his land.

Numbers 22   (Torah Portion Chukat)

The Israelites marched and camped in the plains of Moab across the Jordan from Jericho.

Torah Portion Chukat              Numbers 19:1 - 22:1  

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