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9. The Passover

1Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2“Moreover let the children of Israel keep the Passover in its appointed season. 3On the fourteenth day of this month, at evening, you shall keep it in its appointed season„according to all its statutes, and according to all its ordinances, you shall keep it.”

4Moses spoke to the children of Israel, that they should keep the Passover. 5They kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at evening, in the wilderness of Sinai. According to all that Yahweh commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did. 6There were certain men, who were unclean because of the dead body of a man, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day, and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 7Those men said to him, “We are unclean because of the dead body of a man. Why are we kept back, that we may not offer the offering of Yahweh in its appointed season among the children of Israel?”

8Moses answered them, “Wait, that I may hear what Yahweh will command concerning you.”

9Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 10“Say to the children of Israel, ‘If any man of you or of your generations is unclean by reason of a dead body, or is on a journey far away, he shall still keep the Passover to Yahweh. 11In the second month, on the fourteenth day at evening they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone of it. According to all the statute of the Passover they shall keep it. 13But the man who is clean, and is not on a journey, and fails to keep the Passover, that soul shall be cut off from his people. Because he didn’t offer the offering of Yahweh in its appointed season, that man shall bear his sin. 14If a foreigner lives among you, and desires to keep the Passover to Yahweh; according to the statute of the Passover, and according to its ordinance, so shall he do. You shall have one statute, both for the foreigner, and for him who is born in the land.’”

15On the day that the tabernacle was raised up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, even the Tent of the Testimony: and at evening it was over the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until morning. 16So it was continually. The cloud covered it, and the appearance of fire by night. 17Whenever the cloud was taken up from over the Tent, then after that the children of Israel traveled; and in the place where the cloud remained, there the children of Israel encamped. 18At the commandment of Yahweh, the children of Israel traveled, and at the commandment of Yahweh they encamped. As long as the cloud remained on the tabernacle they remained encamped. 19When the cloud stayed on the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of Yahweh, and didn’t travel. 20Sometimes the cloud was a few days on the tabernacle; then according to the commandment of Yahweh they remained encamped, and according to the commandment of Yahweh they traveled. 21Sometimes the cloud was from evening until morning; and when the cloud was taken up in the morning, they traveled: or by day and by night, when the cloud was taken up, they traveled. 22Whether it was two days, or a month, or a year that the cloud stayed on the tabernacle, remaining on it, the children of Israel remained encamped, and didn’t travel; but when it was taken up, they traveled. 23At the commandment of Yahweh they encamped, and at the commandment of Yahweh they traveled. They kept the charge of Yahweh, at the commandment of Yahweh by Moses.

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Verses 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.

Verses 15–23

This cloud was appointed to be the visible sign and symbol of God's presence with Israel. Thus we are taught to see God always near us, both night and day. As long as the cloud rested on the tabernacle, so long they continued in the same place. There is no time lost, while we are waiting God's time. When the cloud was taken up, they removed, however comfortably they were encamped. We are kept at uncertainty concerning the time of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle, that we may be always ready to remove at the command of the Lord. It is very safe and pleasant going when we see God before us, and resting where he appoints us to rest. The leading of this cloud is spoken of as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit. We are not now to expect such tokens of the Divine presence and guidance; but the promise is sure to all God's spiritual Israel, that he will guide them by his counsel. Ps 73:24, even unto death, Ps 48:14. All the children of God shall be led by the Spirit of God, Ro 8:14. He will direct the paths of those who in all their ways acknowledge him, Pr 3:6. At the commandment of the Lord, our hearts should always move and rest, saying, Father, thy will be done; dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt; only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty. In applying general precepts to particular circumstances, there should be good counsel and fervent prayer. When any undertaking is evidently wrong, or doubtfully right, and yet the mind leans that way, in such a case “the moving of the cloud,” as men sometimes miscall it, is generally no more than a temptation Satan is permitted to propose; and men fancy they are following the Lord, when they are following their own wayward inclinations. The record of his mercy will conduct us with unerring truth, through Christ, to everlasting peace. Follow the pillar of the cloud and of fire. Lay the BIBLE to heart, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.




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