Study Guide

Book of Numbers Chapter 9

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Chapter 9

A Few Simple Rules For Celebrating Passover

  • Okay, we're still in this crazy long flashback from Exodus 40. Just double checking that you knew.
  • Anyway, when the tabernacle finally comes together, God goes ahead and explains to Moses when and how everyone is supposed to celebrate Passover. Easy, right? Not quite.
  • Some of the people are "unclean." Seems they have been touching some dead bodies. Seriously, there are, apparently, tons of dead bodies laying around in Sinai for the touching.
  • These people come to Moses wondering if they can celebrate Passover, too. All they did was poke a few corpses—is that so wrong?
  • Moses checks with God and finds out that they can celebrate Passover—they just have to do it one month later than everyone else.
  • Sounds great, but one quick warning. Unless you're unclean or away on some long journey—you need to be celebrating Passover with everyone else at the correct time. Obviously, anyone who tries to delay Passover will be kicked out of the community. Or killed. Seems fair, right?
  • Also, if non-Israelites who are living in the community want to celebrate Passover too, go ahead and invite them over. The more the merrier! Bitter herbs for all!

Partly Cloudy Travel Plans

  • Anyway, back to the tabernacle. See, on the day it was set up, a cloud covered the opening to the tabernacle. At night, the cloud would look like fire. Oh, nice special effects, God.
  • This cloud is pretty important though. Whenever the Israelites would move the tabernacle in the future (they're about to set out on the journey in the next chapter), the cloud would tell them where to go. Clever cloud.
  • When the cloud would leave the tabernacle, they would know it was time to pack up and go. When the cloud would come to rest somewhere, they would know that this was the place they needed to make camp. It's kind of like GPS, except with 100% more clouds.
  • Basically, by following the cloud they were following God. And following the Big Guy is always a good idea in this story.

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