Numbers 9

The Passover feast

1 The Lord spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert. The Israelites had left Egypt. It was the second year after the Israelites had left that country. It was the first month during that year. The Lord said, 2 ‘The Israelites must eat the Passover meal at the proper time. They must eat it as the rules about it say. 3 The proper time is during the evening of the 14th day of this month. It is when it starts to become dark. That is when you must eat it. You must obey all its rules and its laws.’

4 So Moses told the Israelites that they should eat the Passover. 5 So they ate the Passover in the first month, on the 14th day when it started to become dark. That was in the Sinai desert. The Israelites did everything that the Lord had said to Moses about it.

6 But there were some people who were not clean. That was because they had touched a dead body. So they could not eat the Passover on that day. So they came to Moses and Aaron on that day. 7 And those people said to Moses, ‘We are not clean because of the dead body that we touched. But we would like to bring our gift to the Lord at the proper time with the other Israelites.’

8 So Moses said to them, ‘Wait here. Then I will ask the Lord about this.’

9 Then the Lord said to Moses, 10 ‘Say to the Israelites, “Anyone among you or your descendants may become not clean because of a dead body. Or they may be away because they are travelling. They can still eat the Passover meal to thank the Lord. 11 They must eat it during the evening of the 14th day of the second month. They must eat it when it starts to become dark. They must eat it with bread and with bitter herbs. The bread must not have yeast in it. 12 They must not keep any of the food until the next morning. And they must not break any of the bones of the lamb. And they must obey all the rules about the Passover. 13 But perhaps a clean person who is at home chooses not to eat the Passover meal. You must make that person separate from his people. That is because he did not offer the proper sacrifices to the Lord at the proper time. So that person must receive the punishment for his sin.

14 People from foreign countries may also eat the Lord's Passover meal, if they are living among you. But they must obey all the rules about the Passover festival. The rules are the same for a foreign person and for an Israelite.” ’

The cloud above the Tent of Meeting

15 On the day that Moses put up the Tent of Meeting, a cloud covered it. In the evening it became something like a fire over the Tent, until morning. 16 It was like that all the time. The cloud covered it during the day. But at night, the cloud seemed to have fire in it. 17 When the cloud went up from God's Tent, the Israelites started to travel. And when the cloud came down, the Israelites made their camp in that place. 18 The Lord decided when the Israelites should start to travel. And the Lord decided where they should stop and make their camp. During all the time that the cloud was over the tabernacle, they stayed in their camp. 19 Even when the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for many days, the Israelites obeyed the Lord. They did not start to travel. 20 Sometimes the cloud stayed over God's Tent for a few days. Then they remained in their camp. When the Lord showed them that they should travel, they started to travel. 21 Sometimes the cloud stayed there from evening until morning. But, when the cloud went up in the morning, they started to travel. But sometimes it stayed for one day and one night. Then when the cloud went up, they started to travel again. 22 Sometimes the cloud continued to be over God's Tent for two days or for a month or for a year. It stayed above it. Then, the Israelites stayed in their camp. They did not start to travel. But when it went up, they did start to travel. 23 The Lord decided when they should make their camp. And the Lord decided when they should start to travel. So they obeyed the Lord about everything that the Lord said to Moses.