Numbers 9
Benson Commentary
And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
Numbers 9:1. The Lord spake — Or had spoken; for he now relates what happened before the numbering of the people, the consecration of the Levites, and other matters recorded in the former chapters. In the first month — This proves that it was before the numbering of the people, which was not till the second month, Numbers 1:1-2.

Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
Numbers 9:2. Let the children of Israel keep the passover — The first order for the observation of it being, that they should keep this service when they came to the promised land, (Exodus 12:25,) they might have concluded there was no obligation upon them to keep it in the wilderness, had it not been for this special precept.

In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.
And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.
Numbers 9:5. They kept the passover — in the wilderness — Where they rested almost a whole year; but after they removed from thence, they were in so unsettled a condition that they did not even circumcise their children, (Joshua 5:5,) who consequently could not eat the passover, Exodus 12:48.

And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
Numbers 9:6. They came before Moses — For resolution of their difficulty. The law, mentioned Numbers 5:2, commanding such persons to be put out of the camp, was not yet made.

And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
Numbers 9:7. Wherefore are we kept back — They thus confidently expostulate with Moses, because in the first institution of the passover no mention is made of excluding such unclean persons from that ordinance. And although it might possibly have been inferred from the law recorded Leviticus 7:20, that persons in their condition were not to partake of that sacrifice; yet, considering that all the Israelites were expressly commanded to celebrate the passover, (Exodus 12:47,) they might well entertain doubts respecting their duty in this matter, and therefore have recourse to Moses for decision. That we may not offer an offering — Which if we neglect we must be cut off, and if we keep it in these circumstances, we must also be cut off. What shall we do?

And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
Numbers 9:8. Moses said, I will hear what the Lord will command — It appears from hence that Moses went into the sanctuary to consult the oracle of God whenever he had occasion, and was answered by an audible voice from the mercy-seat, Numbers 7:8-9.

And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.
Numbers 9:10. Unclean — or on a journey — Under these two circumstances the Hebrews think that other hinderances of like nature are comprehended; as if one be hindered by a disease, or by any other such kind of uncleanness; which may seem probable both from the nature of the thing, and the reason of the law, which is the same in other cases.

The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the LORD in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the LORD; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.
Numbers 9:14-15. A stranger — Who is a proselyte. Namely, the tent of the testimony — Or, the tabernacle above the tent of the testimony; that is, that part of the tabernacle in which was the testimony, or the ark of the testimony; for there the cloudy pillar stood. This was an evident token of God’s special presence with, and providence over them. And this cloud was easily distinguished from other clouds, both by its peculiar figure, and by its constant residence in that place. Fire — That they might better discern it, and direct themselves and their journeys or stations by it. Had it been a cloud only, it had scarce been visible by night: and had it been a fire only, it would have scarce been discernible by day. But God was pleased to give them sensible demonstrations that he kept them night and day.

And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
Numbers 9:17-19. Was taken up — Or, ascended on high, above its ordinary place, by which it became more visible to all the camp. The motion or stay of the cloud is fitly called the command of God, because it was a signification of God’s will and their duty. The charge — That is, the command of God that they should stay as long as the cloud stayed.

At the commandment of the LORD the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the LORD they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the LORD, and journeyed not.
And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the LORD they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the LORD they journeyed.
And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
Numbers 9:21. When the cloud abode — This is repeated again and again, because it was a constant miracle, and because it is a matter we should take particular notice of, as highly significant and instructive. It is mentioned long after by David, Psalm 105:39; and by the people of God after their captivity, Nehemiah 9:19. And the guidance of this cloud is spoken of, as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit, Isaiah 63:14; “The Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest, and so didst thou lead thy people.” And thus, in effect, does he guide all those who commit their ways unto the Lord. So that they may well say, Father, thy will be done! Dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. Here I am, waiting on my God, to journey and rest at the commandment of the Lord. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt: only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty.

Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
Benson Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

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