Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Supplementary Passover
Provision is here made for the celebration of the Passover a month later for persons who were unavoidably prevented from observing it on the right day. It is the first Passover after the Exodus.
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,1. in the first month] The month preceding the census (Numbers 1:1).
Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.2. And let the children of Israel &c.] If the text is correct some previous command or portion of the sentence has been lost. This may have been due to the transposition of the section from its original position. LXX. reads εἰπὸν καὶ κ.τ.λ., ‘speak and let the children of Israel keep.’
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.3. all the statutes of it] These were laid down in Exodus 12:1-20; Exodus 12:43-49 (P ), Exo 12:21–23 (J ). The feast is referred to as a type in 1 Corinthians 5:7 f.; cf. Colossians 1:14, Ephesians 1:7 (with Armitage Robinson’s note).
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.
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:6. Uncleanness prevented any share in a sacrificial feast on pain of death (Leviticus 7:20), and contact with a dead body was a source of uncleanness (Numbers 19:11).
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?
And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
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.10. Provision is made both for accidental uncleanness, and also for absence on a journey. This is evidently intended to be exhaustive, and was understood in later days to include all good reasons which might prevent anyone from keeping the festival. Cf. 2 Chronicles 30:2; 2 Chronicles 30:15.
of your generations] i.e. of future generations.
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.12. nor break a bone thereof] Cf. John 19:36.
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.13. shall be cut off] He shall suffer death by divine agency, not by punishment inflicted at the hands of the community.
shall bear his sin] Shall suffer the consequences of his sin; cf. Numbers 18:22; Numbers 18:32 (P ), Leviticus 19:17; Leviticus 20:20; Leviticus 22:9; Leviticus 24:15 (H), Ezekiel 23:49.
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.14. a stranger] a sojourner. The Heb. gêr has no exact equivalent in English. He was one who was not an Israelite but who, permanently or for a considerable period, put himself under Israelite protection and became a member of the community. He was sharply distinguished from a foreigner, who was making only a temporary stay in the country (tôshâbh, see Numbers 35:15). The latter was forbidden to eat the Passover (Exodus 12:45).
him that is born in the land] Heb. ’ezrâḥ, a native of the land, i.e. a full-blooded Israelite. R.V. sometimes ‘home-born,’ e.g. Numbers 15:13; Numbers 15:30.
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.15. it used to be upon the Dwelling] The verbs throughout the rest of the chapter are frequentative, with the exception of ‘they kept’ in Numbers 9:23.
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.
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.18. at the commandment] lit. ‘mouth.’ Not only was a sign given by the cloud, but Jehovah used to give an oral command to Moses when the march was to begin and end.
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.21. Sometimes the cloud remained only from the evening till the next morning; sometimes it remained for a whole day and the following night; sometimes (Numbers 9:22) much longer. It is not necessary to press the question whether the writer thought that, when the encampment was for a single night’s rest, the whole elaborate structure was erected. He wishes to state exhaustively that the signal of the cloud was invariably obeyed.
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.22. a year] Heb. ‘days.’ This sometimes means ‘a year’ (e.g. 1 Samuel 27:7); but here it perhaps denotes only an indefinite period longer than a month.
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.Numbers 9:15-23The fiery cloud upon the Tabernacle
After a reference (Numbers 9:15 a) to the event related in Exodus 40:34 f., the section describes the invariable custom throughout the journeys of starting on the march when the cloud rose from the Tabernacle, and halting as long as it rested. It is an expansion of Exodus 40:36-38. The characteristic redundancy of the priestly style is noticeable.
The different writers of the Pentateuch describe different features in the appearance of the cloud. In J Jehovah is represented as leading the people by moving in front of them in a column of cloud by day and of fire by night (see on Numbers 14:14), and this began at the departure from Egypt (Exodus 13:21). In E the cloud is pictured similarly as a column, but its appearance is not mentioned until the sacred ‘tent of meeting’ had been erected, when it came down from time to time and stood at the door of the tent which was pitched outside the camp (Exodus 33:7-11, Numbers 11:25; Numbers 12:5; Numbers 12:10, Deuteronomy 31:15). In P it is not described as a column, but (as in J ) it was fiery at night, and (as in E ) it did not appear till the Tabernacle was erected, except that it formed part of the theophany on Mt Sinai (Exodus 24:15-18). It is not spoken of as a guide moving in front of the people, but it covered the Tabernacle which stood in the centre of the camp. It was the visible counterpart outside the sanctuary of the ‘Glory,’ the manifestation of the divine presence within.