The Offering for Cleansing
19 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “These are the ·teachings [statutes; ordinances; requirements] that the Lord commanded. Tell the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] to get a young red ·cow [T heifer] that does not have ·anything wrong with it [L a defect and is without a blemish] and that has never ·been worked [L worn a yoke]. 3 Give the ·cow [T heifer] to Eleazar the priest; he will take it outside the camp and ·kill [slaughter] it in his presence. 4 Then Eleazar the priest must put some of its blood on his finger and sprinkle it seven times toward the front of the Meeting Tent. 5 The whole ·cow [T heifer] must be burned while he watches; the skin, the meat, the blood, and ·the intestines [L its dung] must all be burned. 6 Then the priest must take a cedar stick, a hyssop branch, and a red string [C the redness of the heifer and these objects probably represent blood] and throw them onto the burning ·cow [T heifer]. 7 After the priest has washed himself and his clothes with water, he may come back into the camp, but he will be unclean [C in a ritual sense] until evening. 8 The man who burns the ·cow [T heifer] must wash himself and his clothes in water; he will be unclean until evening.
9 “Then someone who is clean [C in a ritual sense] will collect the ashes from the ·cow [T heifer] and put them in a clean place outside the camp. The ·Israelites [L community/congregation/assembly of the sons/T children of Israel] will keep these ashes to use in the cleansing water, in a ·special ceremony to cleanse away sin [L sin offering; or purification offering; Lev. 4:3]. 10 The man who collected the ·cow’s [T heifer’s] ashes must wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. This is a lasting ·rule [statute; ordinance; requirement] ·for the Israelites [L in their midst] and for the ·foreigners [resident aliens] among them.
11 “Those who touch a dead person’s body will be unclean [C in a ritual sense] for seven days. 12 They must ·wash themselves with the cleansing [purify themselves with the] water on the third day and on the seventh day; then they will be clean. But if they do not ·wash themselves [purify themselves] on the third day and the seventh day, they cannot be clean. 13 If those who touch a dead person’s body ·stay unclean [do not purify themselves] and go to the Lord’s ·Holy Tent [Tabernacle], it becomes unclean; they must be cut off from Israel. If the cleansing water is not sprinkled on them, they are unclean and will stay unclean.
14 “This is the ·teaching [instruction; law] about someone who dies in a tent: Anyone in the tent or anyone who enters it will be unclean [C in a ritual sense] for seven days. 15 And every open jar or pot without a cover becomes unclean. 16 If anyone is ·outside [L in the open field] and touches someone who was killed by a sword or who died [C a natural death], or if anyone touches a human bone or a grave, that person will be unclean for seven days.
17 “So you must use the ashes from the burnt sin [or purification; Lev. 4:3] offering to make that person clean [C in a ritual sense] again. Pour ·fresh [running; L living] water over the ashes into a jar. 18 A clean person must take a hyssop branch and dip it into the water, and then he must sprinkle it over the tent and all its objects. He must also sprinkle the people who were there, as well as anyone who touched a bone, or the body of someone who was killed, or a dead person, or a grave. 19 The person who is clean must sprinkle this water on the unclean people on the third day and on the seventh day. On the seventh day they will ·become clean [be purified]. They must wash their clothes and take a bath, and they will be clean that evening. 20 If any who are unclean do not become ·clean [purified], they must be cut off from the ·community [assembly; crowd]. Since they were not sprinkled with the cleansing water, they stay unclean, and they could make the Lord’s ·Holy Tent [Tabernacle] unclean. 21 This is a lasting ·rule [statute; ordinance; requirement]. Those who sprinkle the cleansing water must also wash their clothes, and anyone who touches the water will be unclean until evening. 22 Anything an unclean person touches becomes unclean, and whoever touches it will be unclean until evening.”
Moses Disobeys God
20 In the first month all the ·people [L sons; T children] of Israel, the community [congregation; assembly] arrived at the ·Desert [Wilderness] of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam [C Moses’ sister; Ex. 15:20–21; Num. 12:1–13] died and was buried. 2 There was no water for the ·people [community; congregation; assembly], so they ·came together [assembled] against Moses and Aaron. 3 They ·argued with [contended with; brought a case against] Moses and said, “We should have died in front of the Lord as our brothers did. 4 Why did you bring the Lord’s ·people [community; congregation; assembly] into this ·desert [wilderness]? Are we and our animals to die here? 5 Why did you bring us from Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain, figs, grapevines, or pomegranates, and there’s no water to drink!”
6 So Moses and Aaron left the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and went to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. There they ·bowed facedown [L fell on their faces], and the glory of the Lord [C his manifest presence] appeared to them. 7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take your ·walking stick [staff], and you and your brother Aaron should gather the ·people [community; congregation; assembly]. Speak to that rock in front of them so that its water will flow from it. When you bring the water out from that rock, give it to the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and their animals.”
9 So Moses took the ·stick [staff] from in front of the Lord, as he had said. 10 Moses and Aaron ·gathered [assembled] the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] in front of the rock, and Moses said, “Now listen to me, you ·who turn against God [L rebels]! Do you want us [C rather than God] to bring water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and hit the rock twice with his ·stick [staff; C he was supposed to speak to it, 20:8]. Water began pouring out, and the ·people [community; congregation; assembly] and their animals drank it.
12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not ·believe [trust] me, and because you did not ·honor me as holy [show my holiness] before the ·people [L sons/T children of Israel], you will not lead ·them [L this community; congregation; assembly] into the land I will give them [20:22–29; Deut. 34:1–12].”
13 These are the waters of Meribah [C “Argument”], where the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] ·argued with [contended with; brought a case against] the Lord and where he showed them he was holy.
Edom Will Not Let Israel Pass
14 From Kadesh, Moses sent messengers to the king of Edom. He said, “Your brothers, the Israelites, say to you: You know about all the ·troubles [hardship] we have had, 15 how our ·ancestors [fathers] went down into Egypt and we lived there for many years. The people of Egypt ·were cruel to [oppressed] us and our ·ancestors [fathers], 16 but when we cried out to the Lord, he heard ·us [L our voice] and sent us an ·angel [messenger] to bring us out of Egypt.
“Now we are here at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your ·land [boundaries]. 17 Please let us pass through your country. We will not ·touch [pass through] any fields of grain or vineyards, and will not drink water from the wells. We will travel only along the ·king’s road [King’s Highway; C a north-south international highway], not turning right or left until we have passed through your ·country [boundaries].”
18 But the king of Edom answered: “You may not pass through here. If you try, I will come and meet you with swords.”
19 The ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] answered: “We will go along the ·main road [highway], and if we or our animals drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We only want to walk through. That’s all.”
20 But he answered: “You may not pass through here.”
Then the Edomites went out to meet the Israelites with a large and powerful army. 21 The Edomites refused to let them pass through their ·country [boundaries], so the Israelites turned back.
22 ·All the Israelites [L The sons/T children of Israel, all the community/assembly/congregation] moved from Kadesh to Mount Hor, 23 near the border of Edom. There the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 24 “Aaron will ·die [L be gathered to his people]. He will not enter the land that I’m giving to the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel], because you both ·acted [rebelled] against my command at the waters of Meribah [20:1–13]. 25 Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up on Mount Hor, 26 and take off Aaron’s special clothes and put them on his son Eleazar. Aaron will die there; he will ·join his people [L be gathered].”
27 Moses obeyed the Lord’s command. They climbed up Mount Hor, and all the ·people [community; assembly; congregation] saw them go. 28 Moses took off Aaron’s clothes and put them on Aaron’s son Eleazar. Then Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Moses and Eleazar came back down the mountain, 29 and when all the ·people [community; assembly; congregation] learned that Aaron was dead, ·everyone in [L all the house of] Israel cried for him for thirty days.
Luke Writes About Jesus’ Life
1 Many have ·tried to report on [set out to compile an account/narrative of] the things that ·happened [have been fulfilled/accomplished] among us [John 20:31; Acts 1:1–3; 2 Pet. 1:16–19]. 2 They have written the same things that ·we learned from [L were handed down by] others—the ·people who saw those things [L eyewitnesses] from the beginning and ·served God by telling people his message [L were servants of the word; Acts 10:39–41; 1 John 1:1–3]. 3 Since I myself have ·studied [investigated; followed closely] everything carefully from the beginning, most excellent [C a designation for someone with high social or political status] Theophilus, it seemed ·good [fitting] for me to write it out for you. I arranged it ·in order [or in an orderly manner], 4 to help you know that what you have been taught is ·true [certain; reliable; John 20:31].
Zechariah and Elizabeth
5 During the time ·Herod ruled Judea [L of Herod, king of Judea], there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to ·Abijah’s group [the priestly division/order of Abijah; C priests were divided into twenty-four divisions; 2 Chr. 31:2]. Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the ·family [L daughters; C female descendants] of Aaron [C brother of Moses and first high priest of Israel; for a priest like Zechariah to marry a woman of priestly ancestry was a special blessing]. 6 [L Both] Zechariah and Elizabeth ·truly did what God said was good [L were righteous before God]. They ·did [followed; walked in] everything the Lord commanded and were ·without fault [blameless] in keeping his ·law [regulations; requirements]. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth ·could not have a baby [could not conceive; T was barren], and both of them were very old [Gen. 17:17; 18:11].
8 One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God, because his ·group [order; division] was on duty. 9 According to the custom of the ·priests [L priesthood], he was chosen by lot [C similar to dice; used to determine God’s will] to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense [1 Chr. 6:49; Heb. 9:6]. 10 ·There were a great many people [L The whole multitude of the people were] outside praying at the ·time [L hour] the incense was offered. 11 Then an angel ·of [sent by] the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense ·table [altar]. 12 When he saw the angel, Zechariah was ·startled [shaken] and frightened. 13 But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your ·prayer [petition]. Your wife, Elizabeth, will ·give birth to [bear for you] a son, and you will name him John. 14 He will bring you joy and ·gladness [delight], and many people will ·be happy [rejoice] because of his birth. 15 [L For; Because] John will be a great man ·for [in the eyes of; L before] the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer [C indicating he will be set apart to God for special service; Num. 6:3], and even ·from birth [or in his mother’s womb; 1:41, 44], he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16 He will help many ·people [L of the children] of Israel return to the Lord their God [1 Kin. 18:37]. 17 He will go before ·the Lord [L him] in [the] spirit and power ·like [of] Elijah. He will ·make peace between parents and [L turn the hearts of parents/fathers back to] their children and will bring those who are not obeying God back to the ·right way of thinking [or wisdom of the righteous], ·to make a people ready [L to prepare a people who are fit/ready] for the ·coming of the Lord [L Lord; Mal. 4:5–6].”
18 Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know ·that what you say is true [L this]? [L For] I am an old man, and my wife is old, too [Gen. 17:17].”
19 The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel [C one of two named angels in Scripture (the other is Michael); Dan. 8:16; 9:21; 10:10–14]. I stand before God, who sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. 20 Now, ·listen [L look; T behold]! You will [L be silent and] not be able to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe ·what I told you [L my words]. ·But they will really happen [L …which will be fulfilled at their appointed time].”
21 Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah and were ·surprised that [wondering why] he was ·staying so long [delayed] in the Temple. 22 When Zechariah came outside, he could not speak to them, and they knew he had seen a vision in the Temple. He could only ·make signs [motion; gesture] to them and remained unable to speak. 23 When his ·time [period; L days] of service at the Temple was finished, he went home.
24 ·Later [L After these days], Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and ·did not go out of her house [went into seclusion; L hid herself; C the reason is unknown, perhaps for quiet worship or to avoid gawking neighbors] for five months. Elizabeth said, 25 “·Look what [This is what; L Thus] the Lord has done for me! He has [L watched over me and] taken away my disgrace among the people [C the Jewish people thought it was a disgrace for a woman not to have children; Gen. 30:23].”
Trusting God for Help
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Dove in the Distant Oak.” A miktam [C perhaps “inscription”] of David when the Philistines ·captured [seized] him in Gath [C referring to the episode in 1 Sam. 21:10–15 or to an unrecorded event].
56 God, be ·merciful [gracious] to me because people are ·chasing [trampling; hounding; snapping at] me;
the battle has ·pressed [harrassed] me all day long.
2 My enemies have ·chased [trampled on; hounded; snapped at] me all day;
there are many proud people fighting me.
3 When I am afraid,
I will ·trust [have confidence in] you.
4 I praise God for his word.
I ·trust [have confidence in] God, so I am not afraid.
What can ·human beings [L flesh] do to me?
5 All day long they ·twist [find fault with] my words;
all their evil ·plans [or thoughts] are against me.
6 They ·wait [or attack; or strive]. They hide.
They watch my ·steps [L heels],
hoping to kill me.
7 God, do not let them escape;
·punish [L bring down] the ·foreign nations [peoples] in your anger.
8 You have ·recorded [recounted] my ·troubles [wanderings].
You have ·kept a list of my tears [L put my tears in your bottle].
Aren’t they in your records?
9 On the day I call for help, my enemies will ·be defeated [L turn back].
I know that God is on my side.
10 I praise God for his word to me;
I praise the Lord for his word.
11 I ·trust [have confidence] in God. I will not be afraid.
What can people do to me?
12 God, I must keep my ·promises [vows] to you.
I will give you my ·offerings to thank you [thank offerings],
13 because you have ·saved [protected] me from death.
You have kept ·me from being defeated [L my feet from falling].
So I will walk ·with [L in the presence of] God
in light ·among [of] the living.
8 The ·good [righteous] person is saved from ·trouble [distress];
it comes to the wicked instead.