And all the elders of that city, that are next to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
Treasury of Scripture
wash their hands Washing the hands was anciently a symbolical action, denoting that the person was innocent of the crime in question.
Job 9:30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;
Psalm 19:12 Who can understand his errors? cleanse you me from secret faults.
Psalm 26:6 I will wash my hands in innocence: so will I compass your altar, O LORD:
Psalm 51:2,7,14 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin...
Psalm 73:13 Truly I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.
Jeremiah 2:22 For though you wash you with nitre, and take you much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, said the Lord GOD.
Matthew 27:24,25 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water...
Hebrews 9:10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
ContextThe Atonement for An Unsolved Murder
1If one be found slain in the land which the LORD your God gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it be not known who has slain him: 2Then your elders and your judges shall come forth, and they shall measure to the cities which are round about him that is slain: 3And it shall be, that the city which is next to the slain man, even the elders of that city shall take an heifer, which has not been worked with, and which has not drawn in the yoke; 4And the elders of that city shall bring down the heifer to a rough valley, which is neither eared nor sown, and shall strike off the heifer's neck there in the valley: 5And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the LORD your God has chosen to minister to him, and to bless in the name of the LORD; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried: 6And all the elders of that city, that are next to the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley: 7And they shall answer and say, Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. 8Be merciful, O LORD, to your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, and lay not innocent blood to your people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them. 9So shall you put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when you shall do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.
Parallel VersesAmerican Standard Version
And all the elders of that city, who are nearest unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck was broken in the valley;
And the ancients of that city shall come to the person slain, and shall wash their hands over the heifer that was killed in the valley,
Darby Bible Translation
And all the elders of that city, that are nearest unto him that is slain, shall wash their hands over the heifer whose neck is broken in the watercourse,
King James Bible
And all the elders of that city, that are next unto the slain man, shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:
Young's Literal Translation
and all the elders of that city, who are near unto the slain one, do wash their hands over the heifer which is beheaded in the valley,