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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Numbers 9

Verses 1-5

NUMBERS-CHAPTER NINE

Verses 1-5:

The events of this text are not in chronological sequence with the preceding material. The previous chapters record the census of Israel, and the cleansing of the Levites. Instructions for the Passover observance were given before these events.

The text instructs Israel to observe the Passover during their wilderness journey. This was to be a perpetual ordinance in Israel. It was one of the three obligatory festivals which Israel was to observe annually, Le 23:4-44, particularly verses 4, 5. Ex 12:1-28; 13:5-16 records the institution of the Passover.

The ritual was first to be observed as a family exercise. Later, it was amended to be observed at the Tabernacle and Temple. There were periods of time in which the observance was neglected, but there were periodic revivals which called the people to resume it.

The Passover is a type of Christ, 1Co 5:7, 8. Its counterpart in the Lord’s churches today is seen in the Lord’s Supper observance.

Verses 6-8

Verses 6-8:

Some suggest that these "certain men" were Elizaphan and Mishael, who buried their cousins Nadab and Abihu, Ex 40:17; Le 9:1; 10:4. However, this is but speculation. The number of men involved in this defilement is not given, neither is their identity revealed.

"Body," nephesh, "soul," implies the connection of soul and body in Hebrew belief.

Those coming in contact with a corpse were ceremonially unclean, Nu 5:1-4; Le 21:1. The period of uncleanness was seven days, and the unclean ones must follow the purification ritual the third day, then they would be clean on the seventh day, Nu 19:11-13.

The men of this text desired to observe the Passover, but their defilement prevented this. They asked direction from Moses and Aaron, and Moses consulted Jehovah for the answer.

Verses 9-14

Verses 9-14:

The case of these "certain men" became a precedent for future occasions. If one were ceremonially defiled by contact with a corpse, or if he were on a journey which took him out of the country on the appointed day, he would be allowed to observe the Passover on the fourteenth day of the second month.

The Passover was not an option. One who was ceremonially clean must observe it as the Law required. To fail to do so resulted in excommunication.

A foreigner might choose to observe the Passover along with the people of Israel. He must observe the ritual requirements, the same as the Israelis.

Although God allowed flexibility for certain circumstances, He required strict observance of the spirit of His laws. This is true today.

Verses 15-23

Verses 15-23:

God expressed His approval and acceptance of the Tabernacle at its completion, by means of the cloud of glory which overshadowed it, Ex 40:34. This was not the same as the Shekinah Glory within the Tabernacle, Ex 40:35. The cloud covering of the Tabernacle was luminous by night. God directed Israel’s journey by means of this cloud. When the time came for them to move, the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle, and went before them to lead the way. But so long as the cloud rested over the Tabernacle, Israel remained encamped, Ex 40:36-38. This continued throughout their Wilderness Journey.

The cloud is a type of the leadership of the Holy Spirit for the Lord’s people today, 1Co 10:1, 11.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Numbers 9". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/numbers-9.html. 1985.