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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 9

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2514. B.C. 1490.

Orders concerning eating the passover on the 14th day of the first month, Numbers 9:1-5 . On the 14th day of the second month, by those who had been hindered, Numbers 9:8-12 . Concerning the negligent and the stranger, Numbers 9:13 , Numbers 9:14 . Concerning the pillar of cloud and fire, Numbers 9:15-23 .

Verse 1

Numbers 9:1. The Lord spake Or had spoken; for he now relates what happened before the numbering of the people, the consecration of the Levites, and other matters recorded in the former chapters. In the first month This proves that it was before the numbering of the people, which was not till the second month, Numbers 1:1-2.

Verse 2

Numbers 9:2. Let the children of Israel keep the passover The first order for the observation of it being, that they should keep this service when they came to the promised land, (Exodus 12:25,) they might have concluded there was no obligation upon them to keep it in the wilderness, had it not been for this special precept.

Verse 5

Numbers 9:5. They kept the passover in the wilderness Where they rested almost a whole year; but after they removed from thence, they were in so unsettled a condition that they did not even circumcise their children, (Joshua 5:5,) who consequently could not eat the passover, Exodus 12:48.

Verse 6

Numbers 9:6. They came before Moses For resolution of their difficulty. The law, mentioned Numbers 5:2, commanding such persons to be put out of the camp, was not yet made.

Verse 7

Numbers 9:7. Wherefore are we kept back They thus confidently expostulate with Moses, because in the first institution of the passover no mention is made of excluding such unclean persons from that ordinance. And although it might possibly have been inferred from the law recorded Leviticus 7:20, that persons in their condition were not to partake of that sacrifice; yet, considering that all the Israelites were expressly commanded to celebrate the passover, (Exodus 12:47,) they might well entertain doubts respecting their duty in this matter, and therefore have recourse to Moses for decision. That we may not offer an offering Which if we neglect we must be cut off, and if we keep it in these circumstances, we must also be cut off. What shall we do?

Verse 8

Numbers 9:8. Moses said, I will hear what the Lord will command It appears from hence that Moses went into the sanctuary to consult the oracle of God whenever he had occasion, and was answered by an audible voice from the mercy-seat, Numbers 7:8-9.

Verse 10

Numbers 9:10. Unclean or on a journey Under these two circumstances the Hebrews think that other hinderances of like nature are comprehended; as if one be hindered by a disease, or by any other such kind of uncleanness; which may seem probable both from the nature of the thing, and the reason of the law, which is the same in other cases.

Verses 14-15

Numbers 9:14-15. A stranger Who is a proselyte. Namely, the tent of the testimony Or, the tabernacle above the tent of the testimony; that is, that part of the tabernacle in which was the testimony, or the ark of the testimony; for there the cloudy pillar stood. This was an evident token of God’s special presence with, and providence over them. And this cloud was easily distinguished from other clouds, both by its peculiar figure, and by its constant residence in that place. Fire That they might better discern it, and direct themselves and their journeys or stations by it. Had it been a cloud only, it had scarce been visible by night: and had it been a fire only, it would have scarce been discernible by day. But God was pleased to give them sensible demonstrations that he kept them night and day.

Verses 17-19

Numbers 9:17-19. Was taken up Or, ascended on high, above its ordinary place, by which it became more visible to all the camp. The motion or stay of the cloud is fitly called the command of God, because it was a signification of God’s will and their duty. The charge That is, the command of God that they should stay as long as the cloud stayed.

Verse 21

Numbers 9:21. When the cloud abode This is repeated again and again, because it was a constant miracle, and because it is a matter we should take particular notice of, as highly significant and instructive. It is mentioned long after by David, Psalms 105:39; and by the people of God after their captivity, Nehemiah 9:19. And the guidance of this cloud is spoken of, as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit, Isaiah 63:14; “The Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest, and so didst thou lead thy people.” And thus, in effect, does he guide all those who commit their ways unto the Lord. So that they may well say, Father, thy will be done! Dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. Here I am, waiting on my God, to journey and rest at the commandment of the Lord. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt: only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 9". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/numbers-9.html. 1857.
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