Numbers 9

Listen to Numbers 9

The Passover Celebrated

1 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, 1in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 "Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time.
3 2On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it."
4 So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover.
5 And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.
6 And there were certain men who were 3unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and 4they came before Moses and Aaron on that day.
7 And those men said to him, "We are unclean through touching a dead body. Why are we kept from bringing the LORD's 5offering at its appointed time among the people of Israel?"
8 And Moses said to them, "Wait, that 6I may hear what the LORD will command concerning you."
9 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 "Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the LORD.
11 7In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it. 8They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 9They shall leave none of it until the morning, 10nor break any of its bones; 11according to all the statute for the Passover they shall keep it.
13 But if anyone who is clean and is not on a journey fails to keep the Passover, 12that person shall be cut off from his people because he did not bring the LORD's 13offering at its appointed time; that man shall bear his sin.
14 And if a stranger sojourns among you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its rule, so shall he do. 14You shall have one statute, both for the sojourner and for the native."

The Cloud Covering the Tabernacle

15 15On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And 16at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
16 So it was always: the cloud covered it by day[a] and the appearance of fire by night.
17 And whenever the cloud 17lifted from over the tent, after that the people of Israel set out, and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the people of Israel camped.
18 At the command of the LORD the people of Israel set out, and at the command of the LORD they camped. 18As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.
19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the people of Israel 19kept the charge of the LORD and did not set out.
20 Sometimes the cloud was a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the LORD they remained in camp; then according to the command of the LORD they set out.
21 And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.
22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, abiding there, the people of Israel 20remained in camp and did not set out, but when it lifted they set out.
23 At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out. 21They kept the charge of the LORD, at the command of the LORD by Moses.

Numbers 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

Of the Passover. (1-14) The removals of the Israelites. (15-23)

Verses 1-14 God gave particular orders for the keeping of this passover, and, for aught that appears, after this, they kept no passover till they came to Canaan, ( Joshua 5:10 ) . It early showed that the ceremonial institutions were not to continue always, as so soon after they were appointed, some were suffered to sleep for many years. But the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was not thus set aside in the first days of the Christian church, although those were days of greater difficulty and distress than Israel knew in the wilderness; nay, in the times of persecution, the Lord's Supper was celebrated more frequently than afterward. Israelites in the wilderness could not forget the deliverance out of Egypt. There was danger of this when they came to Canaan. Instructions were given concerning those who were ceremonially unclean, when they were to eat the passover. Those whose minds and consciences are defiled by sin, are unfit for communion with God, and cannot partake with comfort of the gospel passover, till they are cleansed by true repentance and faith. Observe with what trouble and concern these men complained that they were kept back from offering to the Lord. It should be a trouble to us, when by any occasion we are kept back from the solemnities of a sabbath or a sacrament. Observe the deliberation of Moses in resolving this case. Ministers must ask counsel of God's mouth, not determine according to their own fancy or affection, but according to the word of God to the best of their knowledge. And if, in difficult cases, time is taken to spread the matter before God by humble, believing prayer, the Holy Spirit assuredly will direct in the good and right way. God gave directions in this case, and in other similar cases, explanatory of the law of the passover. As those who, against their minds, are forced to absent themselves from God's ordinances, may expect the favours of God's grace under their affliction, so those who, of choice, absent themselves, may expect God's wrath for their sin. Be not deceived: God is not mocked.

Verses 15-23 This cloud was appointed to be the visible sign and symbol of God's presence with Israel. Thus we are taught to see God always near us, both night and day. As long as the cloud rested on the tabernacle, so long they continued in the same place. There is no time lost, while we are waiting God's time. When the cloud was taken up, they removed, however comfortably they were encamped. We are kept at uncertainty concerning the time of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle, that we may be always ready to remove at the command of the Lord. It is very safe and pleasant going when we see God before us, and resting where he appoints us to rest. The leading of this cloud is spoken of as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit. We are not now to expect such tokens of the Divine presence and guidance; but the promise is sure to all God's spiritual Israel, that he will guide them by his counsel. #Ps. 73:24 |, even unto death, ( Psalms 48:14 ) . All the children of God shall be led by the Spirit of God, ( Romans 8:14 ) . He will direct the paths of those who in all their ways acknowledge him, ( Proverbs 3:6 ) . At the commandment of the Lord, our hearts should always move and rest, saying, Father, thy will be done; dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt; only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty. In applying general precepts to particular circumstances, there should be good counsel and fervent prayer. When any undertaking is evidently wrong, or doubtfully right, and yet the mind leans that way, in such a case "the moving of the cloud," as men sometimes miscall it, is generally no more than a temptation Satan is permitted to propose; and men fancy they are following the Lord, when they are following their own wayward inclinations. The record of his mercy will conduct us with unerring truth, through Christ, to everlasting peace. Follow the pillar of the cloud and of fire. Lay the BIBLE to heart, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

Cross References 21

  • 1. [Numbers 1:1]
  • 2. See Leviticus 23:5
  • 3. Numbers 5:2; Numbers 19:11, 16; [John 18:28]
  • 4. Numbers 27:2; Ex. 18:15, 19, 26
  • 5. ver. 13
  • 6. Numbers 27:5
  • 7. See Exodus 12:6; 2 Chronicles 30:2-15
  • 8. Exodus 12:8; [Deuteronomy 16:3]
  • 9. Exodus 12:10
  • 10. Exodus 12:46; Cited John 19:36
  • 11. Exodus 12:43, 49
  • 12. Exodus 12:15; [Genesis 17:14]
  • 13. ver. 7
  • 14. Exodus 12:48, 49
  • 15. Exodus 40:17, 34
  • 16. See Exodus 13:21
  • 17. Numbers 10:11, 33, 34; Exodus 40:36
  • 18. [1 Corinthians 10:1]
  • 19. See Numbers 1:53
  • 20. Exodus 40:36, 37
  • 21. [See ver. 19 above]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint, Syriac, Vulgate; Hebrew lacks by day

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 9

In this chapter the command for keeping the passover is repeated, and it was accordingly kept, Nu 9:1-5; but some persons being defiled and disqualified for observing it, Moses inquires of the Lord, on their solicitation, what should be done in such a case, Nu 9:6-8; when it was ordered to be kept by such, and those on journeys, on the fourteenth day of the second month, but not by others, who were to observe it according to its first appointment, Nu 9:9-14; and an account is given of the appearance of the cloud by day, and fire by night, upon the tabernacle, which directed the children of Israel when to journey, and when to pitch their tents, Nu 9:15-23.

Numbers 9 Commentaries