Exodus 13:21
New International Version
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.

New Living Translation
The LORD went ahead of them. He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire. This allowed them to travel by day or by night.

English Standard Version
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Berean Study Bible
And the LORD went before them in a pillar of cloud to guide their way by day, and in a pillar of fire to give them light by night, so that they could travel by day or night.

King James Bible
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

New King James Version
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.

New American Standard Bible
And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.

NASB 1995
The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

NASB 1977
And the LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

Amplified Bible
The [presence of the] LORD was going before them by day in a pillar (column) of cloud to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they could travel by day and by night.

Christian Standard Bible
The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
The LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to lead them on their way during the day and in a pillar of fire to give them light at night, so that they could travel day or night.

American Standard Version
And Jehovah went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night:

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And LORD JEHOVAH went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to encamp them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give light to them to go by day and by night:

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And God led them, in the day by a pillar of cloud, to show them the way, and in the night by a pillar of fire.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And the Lord went before them to shew the way by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire: that he might be the guide of their journey at both times.

English Revised Version
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:

Good News Translation
During the day the LORD went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
By day the LORD went ahead of them in a column of smoke to lead them on their way. By night he went ahead of them in a column of fire to give them light so that they could travel by day or by night.

International Standard Version
The LORD went in front of them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel both day and night.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; that they might go by day and by night:

Literal Standard Version
and YHWH is going before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give light to them, to go by day and by night;

NET Bible
Now the LORD was going before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel day or night.

New Heart English Bible
God went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night:

World English Bible
Yahweh went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night:

Young's Literal Translation
and Jehovah is going before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give light to them, to go by day and by night;

Additional Translations ...
Context
The Pillars of Cloud and Fire
20They set out from Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21And the LORD went before them in a pillar of cloud to guide their way by day, and in a pillar of fire to give them light by night, so that they could travel by day or night. 22Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place before the people.…

Cross References
1 Corinthians 10:1
I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud, and that they all passed through the sea.

Exodus 14:19
And the angel of God, who had gone before the camp of Israel, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from before them and stood behind them,

Exodus 14:24
At morning watch, however, the LORD looked down on the army of the Egyptians from the pillar of fire and cloud, and He threw their camp into confusion.

Exodus 16:10
And as Aaron was speaking to the whole congregation of Israel, they looked toward the desert, and there in a cloud the glory of the LORD appeared.

Exodus 33:9
As Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and remain at the entrance, and the LORD would speak with Moses.

Exodus 33:10
When all the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they would stand up and worship, each one at the entrance to his own tent.

Exodus 40:38
For the cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel through all their journeys.

Numbers 9:15
On the day that the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it and appeared like fire above the tabernacle from evening until morning.

Numbers 14:14
And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land. They have already heard that You, O LORD, are in the midst of this people, that You, O LORD, have been seen face to face, that Your cloud stands over them, and that You go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

Deuteronomy 1:33
who went before you on the journey, in the fire by night and in the cloud by day, to seek out a place for you to camp and to show you the road to travel.

Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD Himself goes before you; He will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged."

Nehemiah 9:12
You led them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they should travel.

Psalm 68:7
O God, when You went out before Your people, when You marched through the wasteland, Selah

Psalm 77:20
You led Your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 78:14
He led them with a cloud by day and with a light of fire all night.

Psalm 99:7
He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud; they kept His decrees and the statutes He gave them.

Psalm 105:39
He spread a cloud as a covering and a fire to light up the night.

Song of Solomon 3:6
Who is this coming up from the wilderness like a column of smoke, scented with myrrh and frankincense from all the spices of the merchant?

Isaiah 4:5
Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing flame of fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a canopy,


Treasury of Scripture

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

Exodus 14:19-24
And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them: …

Exodus 40:34-38
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle…

Numbers 9:15-23
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…









(21) The Lord went before them.--In Exodus 13:17-18, the writer has declared that "God led the people;" he now explains how. from Succoth certainly, probably from Rameses, He moved in front of the host in the form of a pillar, which had the appearance of smoke by day and of fire by night. The Israelites marched, it is implied, some part of each day and some part of each night, which would be in accordance with modern practice, and is an arrangement introduced to get the march accomplished before the sun attains his full power. The pillar was at once a signal and a guide. When it moved, the people moved; when it stopped, they encamped (Exodus 40:36-38); where it went, they followed. It bore some resemblance to the fire and smoke signals which generals used when at the head of their armies (Lepsius, Denkmaler, vol. ii., pl. 150, 2; Papyr. Anastas, 1; Q. Curt, Vit. Alex. v. 2, &c), and indicated that God had constituted Himself the generalissimo of the host; but it was altogether of a miraculous and abnormal character.

To go by day and night.--The night journeys of the people are mentioned again in Numbers 9:21.

Verses 21, 22. - THE PILLAR OF THE CLOUD AND OF FIRE. Having stated, in verse 17, that "God led the Israelites," and determined their route for them, the writer here proceeds to explain how this leading was accomplished. With extreme simplicity and directness he states, that the conduct was effected by means of an appearance, which in the daytime was like a column or pillar of smoke ascending from earth to heaven, and in the night was like a pillar of fire. He considers the presence of God to have been in the pillar, which moved in front of the host, and showed them the way that they were to go. When it halted, they halted when it advanced, they advanced. Their journeys being made as much in the night-time as in the day, on account of the intense heat, the pillar took in the night the appearance of a column of fire, so as to be equally visible as by day. All attempts to give a rational explanation of the phenomenon are misplaced, since the writer, from whom alone we derive our information on the subject, clearly regarded it as miraculous; and both here and elsewhere (Exodus 14:19, 20, 24; Exodus 33:9; Numbers 12:5; Numbers 14:11) speaks of it as a form under which God was pleased to show himself. There is little doubt that fire and smoke signals were already used by commanders of armies for much the same purpose as that which God now accomplished in this way. The Egyptian documents of the period contain indications of the usage; and it is found among the Arabians, the Greeks, and the Persians. (See especially Q. Curt. Vit. Alex. 5:2; "Perticam, quae undique conspici posset, supra praetorium statuit, ex qua signum eminebat pariter omnibus conspicuum: observabatur ignis noctu, fiunus interdin.") The miracle was thus, in a certain sense, founded upon an existing custom, with the difference that God here gave the signals miraculously, which were wont to be given in a natural way by the human leaders of armies. He thus constituted himself the general of the host. Verse 21. - The Lord went before them. From Succoth at any rate; perhaps even on the journey from Rameses to Succoth. In a pillar of cloud. The pillar was seen - the presence of Jehovah, though unseen, was believed to be in it, and to move it. To go by day and night. Or, "so that they might march both by day and by night." Night marches are generally preferred by Orientals on account of the great heat of the days. The night-marches of the Israelites are again mentioned in Numbers 9:21.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
And the LORD
וַֽיהוָ֡ה (Yah·weh)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

went
הֹלֵךְ֩ (hō·lêḵ)
Verb - Qal - Participle - masculine singular
Strong's 1980: To go, come, walk

before them
לִפְנֵיהֶ֨ם (lip̄·nê·hem)
Preposition-l | Noun - masculine plural construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 6440: The face

in a pillar
בְּעַמּ֤וּד (bə·‘am·mūḏ)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 5982: A column, a stand, platform

of cloud
עָנָן֙ (‘ā·nān)
Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 6051: A cloud, the nimbus, thunder-cloud

to guide
לַנְחֹתָ֣ם (lan·ḥō·ṯām)
Preposition-l | Verb - Hifil - Infinitive construct | third person masculine plural
Strong's 5148: To guide, to transport

their way
הַדֶּ֔רֶךְ (had·de·reḵ)
Article | Noun - common singular
Strong's 1870: A road, a course of life, mode of action

by day,
יוֹמָ֜ם (yō·w·mām)
Adverb
Strong's 3119: Daytime, by day

and in a pillar
בְּעַמּ֥וּד (bə·‘am·mūḏ)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 5982: A column, a stand, platform

of fire
אֵ֖שׁ (’êš)
Noun - common singular
Strong's 784: A fire

to give them light
לְהָאִ֣יר (lə·hā·’îr)
Preposition-l | Verb - Hifil - Infinitive construct
Strong's 215: To be or become light

at night,
וְלַ֛יְלָה (wə·lay·lāh)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3915: A twist, night, adversity

so that they could travel
לָלֶ֖כֶת (lā·le·ḵeṯ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 1980: To go, come, walk

by day
יוֹמָ֥ם (yō·w·mām)
Adverb
Strong's 3119: Daytime, by day

or night.
וָלָֽיְלָה׃ (wā·lā·yə·lāh)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 3915: A twist, night, adversity


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