Chapter 9

NUMBERS CHAPTER 9

The Second Passover

    • A year after Israel had departed from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai and said, “The Israelites must observe the Passover at its appointed time and exactly according to the decrees and regulations regarding its proper observance. It is to be observed at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month (the first month of the year).”

      • HCSB commentary notes, “The Passover sheep and goats were to be slaughtered as the evening approached beginning the fourteenth of Abib (Nisan in the Babylonia calendar)…” NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “The first month of the ancient Hebrew calendar usually occurs within the months of March and April.”

      • Guzik writes, “Israel celebrated Passover as they were leaving Egypt (Exodus 12). The Passover here marked the one-year point of their journey out of slavery and into the Promised Land…Passover was meant to be a reminder of God’s “passing over” Israel in the judgment of the firstborn at the Exodus from Egypt…The blood of the lamb, applied to the door posts of the home, would be seen by the angel of God’s judgment – and seeing the blood, the angel would “pass over” and spare the home covered by the blood. Passover was meant to be a continual reminder of this occasion of being spared judgment, and of the deliverance that followed in the Exodus.”

      • What is the modern day application for Christians? Guzik continues, “Jesus fulfilled the Passover sacrifice by His death on the cross (1 Corinthians 5:7); the covering of His blood causes the judgment of God to “pass over” us. We are commanded to continually remember our occasion of being spared judgment and the deliverance that followed, by remembering Jesus’ work on the cross through the Lord’s Supper.”

    • The Israelites obeyed, but an issue arose. There were some men who had become ceremonially unclean because they had come in contact with a dead body, so they were not able to observe Passover on that day. They came to Moses and Aaron, explained that they were ceremonially unclean due to a corpse, and asked, “Why can’t we present the Lord’s offering at the appropriate time with the rest of the Israelites?” Moses told them to wait while he learned what the Lord commanded them to do.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “When it was time to celebrate the Passover, some men were prevented by the restrictions of Leviticus 7:20-21. Their objection arose from a desire to keep the regulation in a case where there seemed to be no good way for them to do so.”

      • HCSB commentary explains the situation a little differently, “If they chose not to celebrate Passover, they were subject to banishment from the community. They approached Moses for a judgment regarding their case.”

    • The Lord told Moses to give the Israelites the following instructions:

      • Anytime someone has become ceremonially unclean at Passover time because of a dead body or because they are traveling far away and can’t be present for the ceremony, they can still observe Passover. They can observe the Passover one month later- on the fourteenth day of the second month- in exactly the same manner as it is observed at its appropriate time, following all the normal regulations. However anyone who is able to observe Passover at the appropriate time and does not, will be cut off from the community. He will suffer the consequences of his sin. If any foreigners living among you wants to celebrate Passover, they must follow these same instructions- the same rules apply to both native Israelites and foreigners.”

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “God’s response to the quandry as to allow a makeup ceremony one month later for two special cases, but with this provision he warned that the Israelites must not neglect Passover and must celebrate it according to the regulations.”

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible continues, “Foreigners who lived among the Hebrews and wanted to celebrate the Passover could do so by following the same laws, but circumcision was required for males who decided to eat the Passover meal (see Exodus 12:48-49).”

Guidance by the Cloud

  • Note* HCSB commentary notes that here “the chronological sequence returns to that of 7:1 and Exodus 40:17, the day when the Tabernacle construction was completed.”

    • The day the Tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered it. Every night, from evening until morning, the cloud looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted from the tent, the Israelites would pack up camp and follow it. Wherever the cloud stopped, the Israelites made camp. This is how they traveled. No matter what period of time the cloud stayed in one place- long or short- the Israelites obeyed. Sometimes the cloud only stayed in one place one night, sometimes a few days, sometimes a matter of months, and sometimes up to a year.

      • HCSB commentary notes that verses 17-23 was originally a song, “This section was originally a song that was sung during the wilderness journey, as the people followed the Lord in the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. The song’s refrain occurs in verse 18, perhaps to be translated, ‘At the word of the Lord they set out, the children of Israel, and at the word of the Lord they camped; all the days that it dwelt, the cloud upon the Tabernacle, then they camped.’ This ‘Song of the Journey’ sets the stage for the departure from Mount Sinai in 10:11-36.”

        • Guzik writes, “This cloud of God’s Shekinah glory was evident at different times in Israel’s history; when Solomon built the temple, the cloud of glory filled the temple (1 Kings 8:10-11); but when Israel apostatized, and before the temple was destroyed by conquering Babylonians, the cloud of glory departed (Ezekiel 10:3-4, 18-19).”

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