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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



NUMBERS 9

 

CHAPTER IX.

 

Ver. 1.  The Lord.  The 15 first verses might be placed at the head of this book.  God gave orders to celebrate the first passover in the desert, about the 14th of the first month, in the second year of liberty, soon after the consecration of the tabernacle.  C. --- This is the only passover which the Jews are recorded to have celebrated during the 40 years' sojournment; as they were not allowed to celebrate it, without having circumcised all the males of their family, (Ex. xii. 43,) which they could not do in the wilderness (His cuni, &c.) being uncertain how soon they would have to remove by the direction of God.  H. --- First month.  Hence, Moses does not always observe the order of time, as he spoke (C. i.) of what happened in the second month.  D.

 

Ver. 3.  In the.  Heb. "between the two evenings."  Ex. xii. 6.  Sept. "towards the evening, in its season, according to its law, and determination," sugkrisin, (v. 14,) suntaxin, "arrangement;" in both places we have justifications.  H. --- God's law is so called, because nothing can be done right without it.  M. --- The merit of human actions depends on their conformity with the will of God; (D.) and when he gives directions, we must comply exactly.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  In Mount.  Heb. "desert (or mountainous country) of Sinai"  Ex. xiv. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Some.  Heb. "and there was men," a solecism, rejected by the Sam. and Arab. copies.  Houbigant. ---  Man.  That is, by having touched, or come near, a dead body, out of which the soul was departed.  Ch. --- Such were forbidden to offer any sacrifice.  Lev. xxii. 4.  Yet they could not refrain from burying the dead.  Philo. de vita Mos. 3.  As, therefore, the action was far from being criminal, and they had partaken of the paschal lamb without restriction in Egypt, and heard that God required all to offer this sacrifice, under pain of excision, (v. 13,) they reasonably wished to know how they were to act, particularly as the 14th of Nisan alone was appointed for this sacrifice, and they could not be purified in less than seven days.  If the law, by which they were excluded from the camp, (C. v. 2,) were already published, they consulted Moses by some friend.  The Rabbins suppose, that those who buried Nadab and Abiu, are meant.  C. --- The common people did not properly offer a sacrifice, though they might kill the victim.  D.

 

Ver. 10.  Unclean, in what manner soever.  Philo. --- Nation; or at a great distance, whether in the country or out of it.  The Rabbins say 15 miles, or leagues, (C.) which make 45 miles.  H. --- Sept. all such were bound to observe the passover in the second month, as the whole people did under Ezechias; (2 Par. xxx.) though the Rabbins falsely pretend, that when the greater part of the people were under this predicament, the law did not oblige, and they might eat the paschal lamb in the month of Nisan.  Women were not bound to make the second Phase.  Ex. xii. 19.  C. --- This festival was never transferred beyond the second month.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Stranger.  Both the Jews who lived at a distance from the promised land, and those of other nations who had embraced their religion, were obliged to observe this law; while the uncircumcised were absolutely excluded.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  A cloud, and fire, alternately covered the tabernacle of the covenant, which was 30 cubits long and 15 broad.  The pagans, perhaps, hence took occasion to accuse the Jews of adoring the clouds.  Nil præter nubis & cœli Numen adorant.  Juv. Sat. xiv.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  By day.  These words are omitted in the Heb.; but the context shews that they must necessarily be supplied; as they are in the Sept.  The same cloud assumed different appearances.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  For, &c.  Heb. "and so it was when the cloud was days of number upon the tabernacle; by the mouth of the Lord they staid in their tents," &c.  Days of number, yamim mispar, most probably means a few days; (see Deut. iv. 27,) though Louis de Dieu would translate "a full year;" as yamim, according to him, signifies, v. 22.  It is understood, however, by others, to denote a week, a month, a year, or an indeterminate number of days.  Gen. xxiv. 55.

 

Ver. 23.  Watches, like sentinels, observing the signal of the cloud; and regulating the time and course of their marches by its direction.  H.

 

 








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