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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
a young cow, used in sacrifice at the temple, Numbers 19:1-10 . Moses and Aaron were instructed to deliver the divine command to the children of Israel that they should procure "a red heifer, without spot," that is, one that was entirely red, without one spot of any other colour; "free from blemish, and on which the yoke had never yet come," that is, which had never yet been employed in ploughing the ground or in any other work; for according to the common sense of all mankind, those animals which had been made to serve other uses, became unfit to be offered to God,—a sentiment which we find in Homer and other Heathen writers.
The animal was to be delivered to the priest, who was to lead her forth out of the camp, and there to slay her; the priest was then to take of the blood with his finger, and sprinkle it seven times before the tabernacle, and afterward to burn the carcass: then to take cedar wood and hyssop, and scarlet wood, and cast them into the flames. The ashes were to be gathered up, and preserved in a secure and clean place, for the use of the congregation, by the sprinkling of which ashes in water, it became a water of separation, by means of which a typical or ceremonial purification for sin was effected, Hebrews 9:13 .
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Heifer'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/h/heifer.html. 1831-2.