New Defender's Study Bible Notes
19:2 red heifer. This unique offering, and its “red heifer,” are mentioned nowhere else in Scripture. Normally male cows were used in sacrifice. Furthermore, red heifers are now very rare. The birth of such an animal in modern Israel has even been hailed by orthodox Jews as signifying the imminent coming of their anticipated Messiah, the call to rebuild their temple and reinstitute the ancient sacrifices. The description of the heifer (“without spot,” never under yoke) suggests special typological significance.
19:5 burn the heifer. The flesh of this animal was not to be eaten, but completely burned (perhaps symbolizing the fires reserved for lost sinners). The ashes, mixed with water, produced a ritualistic “water of separation” used to purify people or objects associated with death.
19:17 burnt heifer. This offering of the “red heifer” (Numbers 19:2) and the sprinkling of the ashes is understood as a type of the sacrifice of Christ in Hebrews 9:13,14.