The ashes of a red heifer burned entire (Num. 19:5) when
sprinkled on the unclean made them ceremonially clean (Heb.

To cover the head with ashes was a token of self-abhorrence
and humiliation (2 Sam. 13:19; Esther 4:3; Jer. 6:26, etc.).

To feed on ashes (Isa. 44:20), means to seek that which will
prove to be vain and unsatisfactory, and hence it denotes the
unsatisfactory nature of idol-worship. (Compare Hos. 12:1).