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[78] Then it was that Miriam, the sister of Moses, came to her end, having completed her fortieth year 1 since she left Egypt, on the first 2 day of the lunar month Xanthicus. They then made a public funeral for her, at a great expense. She was buried upon a certain mountain, which they call Sin: and when they had mourned for her thirty days, Moses purified the people after this manner: He brought a heifer that had never been used to the plough or to husbandry, that was complete in all its parts, and entirely of a red color, at a little distance from the camp, into a place perfectly clean. This heifer was slain by the high priest, and her blood sprinkled with his finger seven times before the tabernacle of God; after this, the entire heifer was burnt in that state, together with its skin and entrails; and they threw cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet wool, into the midst of the fire; then a clean man gathered all her ashes together, and laid them in a place perfectly clean. When therefore any persons were defiled by a dead body, they put a little of these ashes into spring water, with hyssop, and, dipping part of these ashes in it, they sprinkled them with it, both on the third day, and on the seventh, and after that they were clean. This he enjoined them to do also when the tribes should come into their own land.

1 Josephus here uses this phrase, "when the fortieth year was completed," for when it was begun; as does St. Luke when the day of Pentecost was completed," Acts 2:1.

2 Whether Miriam died, as Josephus's. Greek copies imply, on the first day of the month, may be doubted, because the Latin copies say it was on the tenth, and so say the Jewish calendars also, as Dr. Bernard assures us. It is said her sepulcher is still extant near Petra, the old capital city of Arabia Petraea, at this day; as also that of Aaron, not far off.

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