Numbers 9

The Passover

1 Thus the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in 1the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 "Now, let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at 2its appointed time.
3 "On the fourteenth * day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances."
4 So Moses told the sons of Israel to observe the Passover.
5 3They observed the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth * day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; 4according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses, so the sons of Israel did.
6 But there were some men who were 5unclean because of the dead person, so that they could not observe Passover on that day; so 6they came before Moses and Aaron on that day.
7 Those men said to him, "Though we are unclean because of the dead person, why are we restrained from presenting the offering of the LORD at its appointed time among the sons of Israel?"
8 Moses therefore said to them, "7Wait, and I will listen to what the LORD will command concerning you."
9 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
10 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If any one of you or of your generations becomes unclean because of a dead person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the LORD.
11 'In the second month on the 8fourteenth * day at twilight, they shall observe it; they 9shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 'They 10shall leave none of it until morning, 11nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute of the Passover they shall observe it.
13 '12But the man who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet neglects to observe the Passover, that person shall then be cut off from his people, for he did not present the offering of the LORD at its appointed time. That man 13will bear his sin.
14 '14If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have 15one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.' "

The Cloud on the Tabernacle

15 Now on 16the day that the tabernacle was erected 17the cloud covered the tabernacle, the 18tent of the testimony, and 19in the evening it was like the appearance of fire over the tabernacle, until morning.
16 So it was continuously; 20the cloud would cover it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
17 21Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward * the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where * the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp.
18 At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; 22as long * as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped.
19 Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep the LORD'S charge and not set out.
20 If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, 23according to the command of the LORD they remained camped. Then according to the command of the LORD they set out.
21 If sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out.
22 Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but 24when it was lifted, they did set out.
23 25At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD'S charge, according to the command of the LORD through 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 25

  • 1. Exodus 40:2, 17; Numbers 1:1
  • 2. Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 23:5; Deuteronomy 16:1, 2
  • 3. Joshua 5:10
  • 4. Exodus 12:1-13
  • 5. Numbers 5:2; Numbers 19:11-22
  • 6. Exodus 18:15; Numbers 27:2
  • 7. Exodus 18:15; Psalms 85:8
  • 8. 2 Chronicles 30:2, 15
  • 9. Exodus 12:8
  • 10. Exodus 12:10
  • 11. Exodus 12:46; John 19:36
  • 12. Genesis 17:14; Exodus 12:15, 47
  • 13. Numbers 5:31
  • 14. Exodus 12:48
  • 15. Exodus 12:49; Leviticus 24:22; Num 15:15, 16, 29
  • 16. Exodus 40:2, 17
  • 17. Exodus 40:34
  • 18. Numbers 17:7
  • 19. Exodus 13:21, 22
  • 20. Exodus 40:34; Nehemiah 9:12
  • 21. Exodus 40:36-38; Numbers 10:11, 12
  • 22. 1 Corinthians 10:1
  • 23. Psalms 48:14; Proverbs 3:5, 6
  • 24. Exodus 40:36, 37
  • 25. Psalms 73:24; Psalms 107:7; Isaiah 63:14

Footnotes 20

Chapter Summary


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

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