And those men said unto him
To Moses, who was the chief magistrate, though Aaron was the high priest. Jarchi says, they were both sitting together when the men came, and put the question to them, but it was not proper to speak to one after another; for if Moses knew not, how should Aaron know? says he; the more difficult matters were brought to Moses, and he gave answers to them:
we [are] defiled by the dead body of a man;
they had touched it, or had been where it was, or at the funeral of it, and so were defiled: this they knew was their case by a law before mentioned, and which they speak of, not as a sin purposely committed by them, but as what had unhappily befallen them, and they could not avoid; and express their concern, that upon this account they should be deprived of the ordinance of the passover and as this confession shows an ingenuous disposition, so what follows, a pious, religious, and devotional frame of mind:
wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the
Lord in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
they speak very honourably of the ordinance of the passover, they call it "an offering of the Lord", the passover lamb being a slain sacrifice; and this offered to the Lord, by way of thanksgiving, for, and in commemoration of, their wonderful deliverance out of Egypt, and done in faith of Christ the passover, to be sacrificed for them; and it gave them much uneasiness that they were debarred by this occasional and unavoidable uncleanness, that was upon them, from keeping it; and what added to it was, that they could not observe it on the day which the Lord had appointed, and when the whole body of the children of Israel were employed in it; for it is no small pleasure to a good man to observe every ordinance of God in the manner and at the time he directs to, and his people in general are attending to the same; and the rather they were urgent in their expostulations, because it is said F1, this was the seventh and last day of their pollution, when they should be clean at evening, and the passover was not to be eaten until the evening, and therefore so earnestly expostulate why they should be kept back from it.
F1 Maimon. in Misn. Pesachim, c. 7. sect. 6.