God tells Moses and Aaron another one of his awesome ideas. Get a red heifer, have Eleazar slaughter it, sprinkle its blood towards the entrance to the tabernacle, and then burn it. Good times!
Of course, this whole ritual will make Eleazar unclean for a few hours. And whoever burns up the cow. And whoever sweeps up its ashes. Um, why are we doing this again?
Oh, right, to help other unclean people.
Remember, God thinks it's kind of gross for anyone to touch dead bodies. Yet, he just killed 14,000 people a couple chapters ago. It's gonna be pretty tough to avoid getting near a dead person in this camp.
No worries. God has a ritual for that.
If you touch a dead body, you're unclean for seven days. But you can purify yourself again by mixing the ashes from the heifer with some water and having someone sprinkle you with them on the third and seventh day. It's magic!
It sure is. And if you don't do this, then you'll stay unclean and that means you're kicked out of the community. Goodbye! Don't let the tent flap hit you on the way out.
Same thing if someone dies in your tent. Or if you come across a dead body in a field. Use the water and ash mixture on the third and seventh day and you'll be back to cleanliness in no time.