Numbers 9:23
At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
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9:15-23 This cloud was appointed to be the visible sign and symbol of God's presence with Israel. Thus we are taught to see God always near us, both night and day. As long as the cloud rested on the tabernacle, so long they continued in the same place. There is no time lost, while we are waiting God's time. When the cloud was taken up, they removed, however comfortably they were encamped. We are kept at uncertainty concerning the time of our putting off the earthly house of this tabernacle, that we may be always ready to remove at the command of the Lord. It is very safe and pleasant going when we see God before us, and resting where he appoints us to rest. The leading of this cloud is spoken of as signifying the guidance of the blessed Spirit. We are not now to expect such tokens of the Divine presence and guidance; but the promise is sure to all God's spiritual Israel, that he will guide them by his counsel. Ps 73:24, even unto death, Ps 48:14. All the children of God shall be led by the Spirit of God, Ro 8:14. He will direct the paths of those who in all their ways acknowledge him, Pr 3:6. At the commandment of the Lord, our hearts should always move and rest, saying, Father, thy will be done; dispose of me and mine as thou pleasest. What thou wilt, and where thou wilt; only let me be thine, and always in the way of my duty. In applying general precepts to particular circumstances, there should be good counsel and fervent prayer. When any undertaking is evidently wrong, or doubtfully right, and yet the mind leans that way, in such a case the moving of the cloud, as men sometimes miscall it, is generally no more than a temptation Satan is permitted to propose; and men fancy they are following the Lord, when they are following their own wayward inclinations. The record of his mercy will conduct us with unerring truth, through Christ, to everlasting peace. Follow the pillar of the cloud and of fire. Lay the BIBLE to heart, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word, which is able to save your souls.A year - literally, "days," idiomatically a year Leviticus 25:29, an expression equivalent to "a full period," though not necessarily the period of a year. 19. when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle, … then Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not—A desert life has its attractions, and constant movements create a passionate love of change. Many incidents show that the Israelites had strongly imbibed this nomad habit and were desirous of hastening to Canaan. But still the phases of the cloud indicated the command of God: and whatsoever irksomeness they might have felt in remaining long stationary in camp, "when the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle many days, they kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not." Happy for them had they always exhibited this spirit of obedience! and happy for all if, through the wilderness of this world, we implicitly follow the leadings of God's Providence and the directions of God's Word! No text from Poole on this verse. At the commandment of the Lord they rested in their tents,.... Though ever so disagreeable:

and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed; though the circumstances might be such, that they could have liked a continuance; but whether agreeable or disagreeable, they were obedient to the divine will: this, or what is equivalent to it, is frequently observed in this paragraph, to show that the Israelites, though they were an obstinate and perverse people, and must in general be desirous of getting as soon as they could into the land of promise, yet in this case, in all their stations and journeys, were submissive and obedient to the divine will, as all good men should be with respect to happiness; and happy are they who have God to be their guide through it, even unto death:

they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses; observed the rest or motion of the cloud, the order and command of God signified thereby, as it was made known unto them by the ministry and means of Moses.

At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the {k} hand of Moses.

(k) Under the charge and government of Moses.

Numbers 9:15-23The fiery cloud upon the Tabernacle

After a reference (Numbers 9:15 a) to the event related in Exodus 40:34 f., the section describes the invariable custom throughout the journeys of starting on the march when the cloud rose from the Tabernacle, and halting as long as it rested. It is an expansion of Exodus 40:36-38. The characteristic redundancy of the priestly style is noticeable.

The different writers of the Pentateuch describe different features in the appearance of the cloud. In J Jehovah is represented as leading the people by moving in front of them in a column of cloud by day and of fire by night (see on Numbers 14:14), and this began at the departure from Egypt (Exodus 13:21). In E the cloud is pictured similarly as a column, but its appearance is not mentioned until the sacred ‘tent of meeting’ had been erected, when it came down from time to time and stood at the door of the tent which was pitched outside the camp (Exodus 33:7-11, Numbers 11:25; Numbers 12:5; Numbers 12:10, Deuteronomy 31:15). In P it is not described as a column, but (as in J ) it was fiery at night, and (as in E ) it did not appear till the Tabernacle was erected, except that it formed part of the theophany on Mt Sinai (Exodus 24:15-18). It is not spoken of as a guide moving in front of the people, but it covered the Tabernacle which stood in the centre of the camp. It was the visible counterpart outside the sanctuary of the ‘Glory,’ the manifestation of the divine presence within."In accordance with the rising of the cloud from the tent, then afterwards the children of Israel broke up," i.e., whenever the cloud ascended up from the tent, they always broke up immediately afterwards; "and at the place where the cloud came down, there they encamped." The שׁכן, or settling down of the cloud, sc., upon the tabernacle, we can only understand in the following manner, as the tabernacle was all taken to pieces during the march: viz., that the cloud visibly descended from the height at which it ordinarily soared above the ark of the covenant, as it was carried in front of the army, for a signal that the tabernacle was to be set up there; and then this had been done, it settled down upon it.
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