Numbers 9


‘The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations.” So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover, and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses. But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the LORD’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?” Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they are still to celebrate the LORD’s Passover, but they are to do it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations. But if anyone who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, they must be cut off from their people for not presenting the LORD’s offering at the appointed time. They will bear the consequences of their sin. “‘A foreigner residing among you is also to celebrate the LORD’s Passover in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for both the foreigner and the native-born.’” Numbers 9:1-14

The Passover

It’s been a year now since Israel arrived at Mount Sinai, however, they hadn’t observed the Passover command, Exodus 12:1-27. They need to observe the Passover so that they won’t forget their experience in Egypt and God’s deliverance from Egypt.

Notice that some of them couldn’t celebrate the Passover because they had become defiled by a dead body.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These men were probably Mishael and Elizaphan, who buried their cousins, Nadab and Abihu, within a week of this Passover Leviticus 10:4-5.’

Notice also there is provisions for the foreigner, this was someone who had determined to settle with Israel and accept the religious ceremonies of the law of God.

These instructions to Israel concerning the foreigner reminded Israel that they weren’t to be a nation that excluded people from the law of God.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It is of significance that here a number of the prime requirements are enumerated again. Four of the chief regulations governing the ordinance are here specified as governing also this supplementary Passover.

1. Observe it on the fourteenth day of the month, Numbers 9:11.

2. Eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, Numbers 9:12.

3. Leave none of it until morning, Numbers 9:12.

4. Nor break a bone thereof, Numbers 9:12.

Added to this was the requirement that ‘all of the statute and all of the ordinance of the Passover’ were to be observed.

The Cloud Above The Tabernacle

‘On the day the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant law, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire. That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from above the tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped. At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out. Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out. At the LORD’s command they encamped, and at the LORD’s command they set out. They obeyed the LORD’s order, in accordance with his command through Moses.’ Numbers 9:15-23

If we cast our minds back to when God delivered His people from Egypt, Israel knew that God was with them and leading them using a cloud by day and fire by night, Exodus 13:21.

When the tabernacle was originally built, God blessed it by showing His presence in the form of the cloud by day and the fire by night, Exodus 40:34-38.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The phenomenon first appeared at the Exodus itself, Exodus 13:21-22. The cloud did not cover the whole structure, but the ‘tent of the testimony,’ i. e. the enclosure which contained the ‘ark of the testimony’, Exodus 25:16 / Exodus 25:22, and the holy place. The phenomenon is now again described in connection with the journeyings which are to be narrated in the sequel of the book.’

Here, they are reminded that God would still remain with them as they journeyed through the Promised Land. However, His presence would be manifested through the tabernacle.

Later, we read that God’s glory filled the temple, 1 Kings 8:10-11, but when Israel became idolatrous, God’s glory left the temple, Ezekiel 10:3-4 / Ezekiel 10:18-19.

Go To Numbers 10