Numbers 9

1The Lord spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert. This was during the first month of the second year after the people of Israel came out of Egypt. The Lord said to Moses, 2“Tell the people of Israel to celebrate Passover at the chosen time— 3they must eat the Passover meal at twilight on the 14th day of this month. They must do this at the chosen time, and they must follow all the rules about Passover.” 4So Moses told the people of Israel to celebrate Passover. 5The people did this in the Sinai desert at twilight on the 14th day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just like the Lord commanded Moses. 6But some of the people could not celebrate Passover that day. They were unclean because they had touched a dead body. So they went to Moses and Aaron that day. 7Those people said to Moses, “We touched a person’s dead body and became unclean. The priests stopped us from giving gifts to the Lord at the chosen time. So we can’t ˻celebrate Passover˼ with the other people of Israel! ˻What should we do?˼” 8Moses said to them, “I will ask the Lord what he says about this.” 9Then the Lord said to Moses, 10“Tell these things to the people of Israel: This rule will be for you and your descendants. Maybe a person is not able to celebrate Passover at the right time. Maybe that person is unclean because he touched a dead body. Or maybe that person was away on a trip. 11That person will still be able to celebrate Passover ˻at another time˼. That person must celebrate Passover at twilight on the 14th day of the second month. At that time, he must eat the lamb, the bread made without yeast, and the bitter herbs. 12That person must not leave any of that food until the next morning. And that person must not break any of the bones of the lamb. That person must follow all the rules about Passover. 13But any person who is able must celebrate Passover at the right time. If he is clean and he is not away on a trip, then he has no excuse. If that person does not celebrate Passover at the right time, then he must be separated from his people. He is guilty and must be punished! Why? Because he did not give the Lord his gift at the right time. 14“A foreigner living among you might want to share in the Lord’s Passover with you. This is allowed, but that person must follow all the rules about Passover. The same rules are for everyone.” 15On the day the Holy Tent, the Tent of the Agreement, was set up, the Lord’s cloud covered it. At night, the cloud over the Holy Tent looked like fire. 16The cloud stayed over the Holy Tent all the time. And at night the cloud looked like fire. 17When the cloud moved from its place over the Holy Tent, the Israelites followed it. When the cloud stopped, that is the place where the people of Israel camped. 18This was the way the Lord showed the people of Israel when to move and when to stop and set up camp. While the cloud stayed over the Holy Tent, the people continued to camp in that same place. 19Sometimes the cloud would stay over the Holy Tent for a long time. The Israelites obeyed the Lord and did not move. 20Sometimes the cloud was over the Holy Tent for only a few days. So the people obeyed the Lord’s command—they followed the cloud when it moved. 21Sometimes the cloud stayed only during the night—the next morning the cloud moved. So the people gathered their things and followed it. If the cloud moved, during the day or during the night, then the people followed it. 22If the cloud stayed over the Holy Tent for two days, or a month, or a year, the people continued to obey the Lord. They stayed at that place and did not leave until the cloud moved. Then when the cloud rose from its place and moved, the people also moved. 23So the people obeyed the Lord’s commands. They camped when the Lord told them to. And they moved when the Lord told them to. The people watched carefully and obeyed the Lord’s commands to Moses.

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