King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Numbers 9

Of the Passover. (1-14) The removals of the Israelites. (15-23)

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Of the Passover

1 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,

2 Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.

3 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.

4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.

5 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.

6 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:

7 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?

8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.

9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

10 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.

11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

The removals of the Israelites

15 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.

16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.

17 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.

18 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.

19 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.

20 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.

21 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.

22 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.

23 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.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The Lord. The 15 first verses might be placed at the head of this book. God gave orders to celebrate the first passover in the desert, about the 14th of the first month, in the second year of liberty, soon after the consecration of the tabernacle. C. — This is the only passover which the Jews are recorded to have celebrated during the 40 years’ sojournment; as they were not allowed to celebrate it, without having circumcised all the males of their family, (Ex. xii. 43,) which they could not do in the wilderness (His cuni, &c.) being uncertain how soon they would have to remove by the direction of God. H. — First month. Hence, Moses does not always observe the order of time, as he spoke (C. i.) of what happened in the second month. D.

Ver. 3. In the. Heb. “between the two evenings.” Ex. xii. 6. Sept. “towards the evening, in its season, according to its law, and determination,” sugkrisin, (v. 14,) suntaxin, “arrangement;” in both places we have justifications. H. — God’s law is so called, because nothing can be done right without it. M. — The merit of human actions depends on their conformity with the will of God; (D.) and when he gives directions, we must comply exactly. H.

Ver. 5. In Mount. Heb. “desert (or mountainous country) of Sinai” Ex. xiv. 3. C.

Ver. 6. Some. Heb. “and there was men,” a solecism, rejected by the Sam. and Arab. copies. Houbigant. — Man. That is, by having touched, or come near, a dead body, out of which the soul was departed. Ch. — Such were forbidden to offer any sacrifice. Lev. xxii. 4. Yet they could not refrain from burying the dead. Philo. de vita Mos. 3. As, therefore, the action was far from being criminal, and they had partaken of the paschal lamb without restriction in Egypt, and heard that God required all to offer this sacrifice, under pain of excision, (v. 13,) they reasonably wished to know how they were to act, particularly as the 14th of Nisan alone was appointed for this sacrifice, and they could not be purified in less than seven days. If the law, by which they were excluded from the camp, (C. v. 2,) were already published, they consulted Moses by some friend. The Rabbins suppose, that those who buried Nadab and Abiu, are meant. C. — The common people did not properly offer a sacrifice, though they might kill the victim. D.

Ver. 10. Unclean, in what manner soever. Philo. — Nation; or at a great distance, whether in the country or out of it. The Rabbins say 15 miles, or leagues, (C.) which make 45 miles. H. — Sept. all such were bound to observe the passover in the second month, as the whole people did under Ezechias; (2 Par. xxx.) though the Rabbins falsely pretend, that when the greater part of the people were under this predicament, the law did not oblige, and they might eat the paschal lamb in the month of Nisan. Women were not bound to make the second Phase. Ex. xii. 19. C. — This festival was never transferred beyond the second month. M.

Ver. 14. Stranger. Both the Jews who lived at a distance from the promised land, and those of other nations who had embraced their religion, were obliged to observe this law; while the uncircumcised were absolutely excluded. C.

Ver. 15. A cloud, and fire, alternately covered the tabernacle of the covenant, which was 30 cubits long and 15 broad. The pagans, perhaps, hence took occasion to accuse the Jews of adoring the clouds. Nil præter nubis & cœli Numen adorant. Juv. Sat. xiv. C.

Ver. 16. By day. These words are omitted in the Heb.; but the context shews that they must necessarily be supplied; as they are in the Sept. The same cloud assumed different appearances. C.

Ver. 20. For, &c. Heb. “and so it was when the cloud was days of number upon the tabernacle; by the mouth of the Lord they staid in their tents,” &c. Days of number, yamim mispar, most probably means a few days; (see Deut. iv. 27,) though Louis de Dieu would translate “a full year;” as yamim, according to him, signifies, v. 22. It is understood, however, by others, to denote a week, a month, a year, or an indeterminate number of days. Gen. xxiv. 55.

Ver. 23. Watches, like sentinels, observing the signal of the cloud; and regulating the time and course of their marches by its direction. H.