This action-packed portion begins with the laws of the red heifer, an unusual ritual which causes the participant to become pure, but those involved in the preparation to become impure. From there, the narrative picks up again with the death of Moses’s sister, Miriam, and a lack of water for the people. Moses and Aaron are told by God that they have failed to sanctify His name before the people and as a result are destined to die in the desert. In fact, Aaron’s death is also recorded in this portion.
Other escapades include encounters with Canaanites, with Edom, with Amorites and with fiery serpents.