[b-hebrew] red heifer

Heard, Christopher Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Wed Dec 22 03:02:43 EST 2004

On 12/21/04 11:17 PM, "Yigal Levin" <leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il> wrote:

> Most English translations of "Parah Adumah" (Num 19:2) give "red heifer". My
> Webster's defines "heifer" as either a "full-grown young ox" or "a young cow
> that has not born a calf". Presumably, it is the second that is meant.
> As far as I know, a Parah is just a cow, with no special reference to its age
> or having had a calf. Does anyone know where the more specific definition of
> "heifer" came from?

I don't know the historical roots of the translation, but the parah's youth
_might_ be suggested by v. 2 "on which no yoke has been laid." Would having
given birth disqualify the parah from being "unblemished" (tamiymah), v. 2?
I can't really see why it would, but perhaps someone else knows of such a


R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Armstrong Fellow in Religion
Pepperdine University

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