They said, Call on your Lord for us, to show us what colour she should be. He answered, God says she should be a bright yellow heifer, pleasing to the eye.
Numbers 19:2 King James Version (KJV)
2 This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
Tafsir Ibn Kathir says the following regarding the ayah:
This is also the opinion of Abu Al-`Aliyah, Qatadah and Ar-Rabi` bin Anas. Furthermore, Wahb bin Munabbih said, “If you look at the cow’s skin, you will think that the sun’s rays radiate through its skin.” The modern version of the Tawrah mentions that the cow in the Ayah was red, but this is an error. Or, it might be that the cow was so yellow that it appeared blackish or reddish in color. Allah’s knows best.
Now let us see what Rabbi Sa’adiah Gaon (prominent and influential Rabbi , whose commentaries are still used today) has to say:
Tafsir Rasag, Numbers 19:2הד֗א רסם אלשריעה אלתי אמר אללה בהא מר בני אסריאל באן יאתוך בבקרה צ֗פרא צחיחה מא ליס פיהא עיב ממא לם יקע עליהא ניר
ذا رسم الشريعة التي امر الله بها مر بني اسريال بان ياتوك ببقرة صفرا صحيحة ما ليس فيها عيب مما لم يقع عليها نيرThis is the sharia that Allah has ordered to the children of Israel: Order them to bring an appropriate yellow heifer without any defects and no yoke has been put on it.
Why does this matter? Keeping aside the obvious correction the Qur’an makes, the Jews must also wait for their end-time prophecy of a YELLOW heifer and not a RED one. 🙂