Numbers 9:3
In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, you shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall you keep it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) At even.—Hebrew, between the two evenings. (See Note on Exodus 12:6.)

According to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof.—Better, according to all the statutes and ordinances thereof. It is obvious that some of the directions concerning the Egyptian Passover could not be observed in the wilderness. The reference must, therefore, be to those statutes and ordinances respecting the Passover which were of permanent obligation. (Comp. Numbers 9:12, where the ordinance respecting the time of observance is necessarily excluded.) Some of these are found in Exodus 12, whilst others of a later date are recorded in Leviticus 17 and Deuteronomy 16. It has been objected that three priests (for Nadab and Abihu were dead) could not sprinkle the blood of the large number of lambs which must have been slain. It must be remembered, however, (1) that there is no express injunction respecting the sprinkling of the blood on this occasion; and (2) that the priests were probably assisted at this time in the performance of some of their duties—as we are expressly informed that they were at the Passovers celebrated by Hezekiah and by Josiah (2Chronicles 30:16; 2Chronicles 35:11)—by the Levites.

9:1-14 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, Jos 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.Passover at Sinai. This, as being kept in the first month, was prior in time to the numbering of Numbers 1:1 ff, and to the other events narrated in this book. It is, however, recorded here as introductory to the ordinance of Numbers 9:6-14 in this chapter respecting the supplementary Passover; the observance of which was one of the last occurrences during the halt at Sinai.2-5. Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season, &c.—The date of this command to keep the passover in the wilderness was given shortly after the erection and consecration of the tabernacle and preceded the numbering of the people by a month. (Compare Nu 9:1 with Nu 1:1, 2). But it is narrated after that transaction in order to introduce the notice of a particular case, for which a law was provided to meet the occasion. This was the first observance of the passover since the exodus; and without a positive injunction, the Israelites were under no obligation to keep it till their settlement in the land of Canaan (Ex 12:25). The anniversary was kept on the exact day of the year on which they, twelve months before, had departed from Egypt; and it was marked by all the peculiar rites—the he lamb and the unleavened bread. The materials would be easily procured—the lambs from their numerous flocks and the meal for the unleavened bread, by the aid of Jethro, from the land of Midian, which was adjoining their camp (Ex 3:1). But their girded loins, their sandaled feet, and their staff in their hand, being mere circumstances attending a hurried departure and not essential to the rite, were not repeated. It is supposed to have been the only observance of the feast during their forty years' wandering; and Jewish writers say that, as none could eat the passover except they were circumcised (Ex 12:43, 44, 48), and circumcision was not practised in the wilderness [Jos 5:4-7], there could be no renewal of the paschal solemnity. So far as concerned the lamb and the unleavened bread, &c., for there were some things peculiar to the first passover in Egypt, as that they were to eat it in haste, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staff in their hand, which were not properly rites or ceremonies of the passover, but circumstances of their present condition being the travellers and ready to depart, &c.

Quest. Whence had they meal to make unleavened bread

Answ. They were not now in haste, and so had time enough to procure it out of the land of Midian by the help of Moses’s father-in-law, who lived there, which land was not far from Horeb or Sinai, as appears from Exodus 3:1. In the fourteenth day of this month,.... The first month, the month Nisan or Abib, answering to part of our March:

at even ye shall keep it, in his appointed season: between the two evenings, Exodus 12:6; and even if it fall on the sabbath day, as Jarchi; and this was a sabbath day, according to the Jewish writers (y):

according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof shall ye keep it; the former of these, according to Jarchi, respects the lamb, and the requisites of it, that it should be without blemish, a male, and of the first year; and the latter, according to him and others, the removal of the leaven, and the seven days of unleavened bread, and the eating of the lamb with bitter herbs: they take in no doubt all that were prescribed by the original law, except the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts, and also eating the passover in haste, with their loins girt, and shoes on their feet, and staves in their hands; though some think these latter might be observed at this time, when they were unsettled.

(y) Seder Olam Rabba. c. 7.

In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to {a} all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.

(a) Even in all points as the Lord has instituted it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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).Verse 3. - At even. See on Exodus 12:6. According to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof. This must be understood only of the essential rites and ceremonies of the passover, as mentioned below (verses 11, 12). It is singular that no mention is made of the considerable departure which circumstances necessitated from the original institution. It was not possible, e.g., to strike the blood of the lamb upon the lintel and the side-posts of the doors, because in the wilderness they had no doors. In after ages this rite (which was of the essence of the institution) was represented by the sprinkling of the blood of the lambs on the altar (2 Chronicles 30:16), but no command is on record which expressly authorized the change. In Leviticus 17:8-16 there is indeed a general direction, applying apparently to all domestic animals slain for food, that they be brought to the tabernacle to be slain, and that the priest sprinkle the blood upon the altar; and in Deuteronomy 16:5-7 there is an order that in future times the passover was only to be slain at the place which the Lord should choose. The actual practice in later ages seems to have been founded partly upon the command in Deuteronomy, which restricted the killing of the passover to Jerusalem (not, however, to the temple), and partly on the command in Leviticus, which really applied (at any rate in the letter) to the time of wandering only. As the celebration of the paschal feast had apparently been neglected from the time of Joshua until that of the later kings (Joshua 5:10; 2 Kings 23:21-22.), they were no doubt guided in the observance of it by the analogy of other sacrifices in the absence of express commands. It would, however, be an obvious source of error to assume that the practice of the age of Josiah or Hezekiah was the practice of the earliest passovers; so far as these necessarily differed from the original institution, it is absolutely uncertain how the difficulty was solved. Nothing perhaps better illustrates the mingled rigidity and elasticity of the Divine ordinances than the observance of the passover, in which so much of changed detail was united with so real and so unvarying a uniformity. The Levitical period of service is fixed here at twenty-five years of age and upwards to the fiftieth year. "This is what concerns the Levites," i.e., what follows applies to the Levites. "From the age of twenty-five years shall he (the Levite) come to do service at the work of the tabernacle; and at fifty years of age shall he return from the service of the work, and not work any further, but only serve his brethren at the tabernacle in keeping charge," i.e., help them to look after the furniture of the tabernacle. "Charge" (mishmereth), as distinguished from "work," signified the oversight of all the furniture of the tabernacle (see Numbers 3:8); "work" (service) applied to laborious service, e.g., the taking down and setting up of the tabernacle and cleaning it, carrying wood and water for the sacrificial worship, slaying the animals for the daily and festal sacrifices of the congregation, etc.
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