Numbers 9:10
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.
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(10) In a journey afar off.—Or, on a distant journey. This is one of the ten passages in the Pentateuch in which one or more words are marked with certain dots, known as puncta extraordinaria. In this case these dots stand over the word rehokah, distant. The Rabbinical explanation is that the word is either spurious, as not being found in Numbers 9:13, or is not to be interpreted in its literal signification, but in a qualified sense.

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.

9:1-14 God gave particular orders for the keeping of this passover, and, for aught that appears, after this, they kept no passover till they came to Canaan, Jos 5:10. It early showed that the ceremonial institutions were not to continue always, as so soon after they were appointed, some were suffered to sleep for many years. But the ordinance of the Lord's Supper was not thus set aside in the first days of the Christian church, although those were days of greater difficulty and distress than Israel knew in the wilderness; nay, in the times of persecution, the Lord's Supper was celebrated more frequently than afterward. Israelites in the wilderness could not forget the deliverance out of Egypt. There was danger of this when they came to Canaan. Instructions were given concerning those who were ceremonially unclean, when they were to eat the passover. Those whose minds and consciences are defiled by sin, are unfit for communion with God, and cannot partake with comfort of the gospel passover, till they are cleansed by true repentance and faith. Observe with what trouble and concern these men complained that they were kept back from offering to the Lord. It should be a trouble to us, when by any occasion we are kept back from the solemnities of a sabbath or a sacrament. Observe the deliberation of Moses in resolving this case. Ministers must ask counsel of God's mouth, not determine according to their own fancy or affection, but according to the word of God to the best of their knowledge. And if, in difficult cases, time is taken to spread the matter before God by humble, believing prayer, the Holy Spirit assuredly will direct in the good and right way. God gave directions in this case, and in other similar cases, explanatory of the law of the passover. As those who, against their minds, are forced to absent themselves from God's ordinances, may expect the favours of God's grace under their affliction, so those who, of choice, absent themselves, may expect God's wrath for their sin. Be not deceived: God is not mocked.Certain men - Probably Mishael and Elizaphan, who buried their cousins, Nadab and Abihu, within a week of this Passover Leviticus 10:4-5. 8-14. Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you—A solution of the difficulty was soon obtained, it being enacted, by divine authority, that to those who might be disqualified by the occurrence of a death in their family circle or unable by distance to keep the passover on the anniversary day, a special license was granted of observing it by themselves on the same day and hour of the following month, under a due attendance to all the solemn formalities. (See on [67]2Ch 30:2). But the observance was imperative on all who did not labor under these impediments. Under these two instances 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, and from the application of this rule to other cases, 2Ch 30.

Afar off; in some remote country, whence he can not return sooner.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying,.... Not to the men only that came to Moses for advice, but to the body of the people; for the answer of the Lord concerned them all, and carried in it a rule to be observed in the like case, and others mentioned, in all succeeding ages, as long as the passover was an ordinance of God:

if any man of you; or "a man, a man", or any private man; for, according to the Jewish writers, this law only respects private persons, as those were who were the occasion of its being made:

or of your posterity; or "in your generations" (b), or "ages"; which shows that this law respected future times, and not the present case only:

shall be unclean by reason of a dead body; see Numbers 9:6; Maimonides (c) says, this only respects uncleanness by a dead body, and not uncleanness by any creeping thing; for such as were unclean by them might sacrifice, though a private person, and eat the passover at evening with purity, when he had been cleansed: yet he says elsewhere (d), that such that had issues, and menstruous women, and those that lay with them, and women in childbed, were unclean, and were put off to the second passover; and so the Targum of Jonathan here adds,"or that has an issue, or a leprous person:"

or be in a journey afar off; which, according to Ben Gersom, was fifteen miles; so in the Misnah (e), and the commentators on it:

yet he shall keep the passover of the Lord; not the first, but second, according to the directions given in Numbers 9:11.

(b) "generationibus vestris", Pagninus, Montanus; "in aetatibus vestris", Drusius. (c) In Misn. ut supra, (c. 7. sect. 6.) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 93. 2.((d) Hilchot Corban Pesach, c. 6. sect. 1.((e) Pesachim, c. 9. sect. 2. Maimon. & Bartenora in ib.

Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet {d} he shall keep the passover unto the LORD.

(d) And cannot come where the tabernacle is, when others keep it.

10. Provision is made both for accidental uncleanness, and also for absence on a journey. This is evidently intended to be exhaustive, and was understood in later days to include all good reasons which might prevent anyone from keeping the festival. Cf. 2 Chronicles 30:2; 2 Chronicles 30:15.

of your generations] i.e. of future generations.

Verse 10. - If any man of you or of your posterity. The particular case of these men is made the occasion for a general provision for all succeeding times. Shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey. It is somewhat strange that these two cases only were provided for: a man otherwise unclean (as, e.g., in the case described Leviticus 15:13), even if actually recovered, was unable to take advantage of the little passover. Probably the real reason of it is to be found in this, that both the far journey and' the burial of the dead would presumably be works of charity. Afar off. This word, רְחֹקָה, is one of ten in the Pentateuch distinguished in the Hebrew Bibles with puncta extraordinaria, for some unknown and probably trifling reasons. The Rabbins ruled that it meant a distance of fifteen miles or more from the temple at sunrise of the fourteenth of Abib. Numbers 9:10Jehovah gave these general instructions: "Every one who is defiled by a corpse or upon a distant

(Note: The רחקה is marked as suspicious by puncta extraordinaria, probably first of all simply on the ground that the more exact definition is not found in Numbers 9:13. The Rabbins suppose the marks to indicate that rechokah is not to be taken here in its literal sense, but denotes merely distance from Jerusalem, or from the threshold of the outer court of the temple. See Mishnah Pesach ix. 2, with the commentaries of Bartenora and Maimonides, and the conjectures of the Pesikta on the ten passages in the Pentateuch with punctis extraordinariis, in Drusii notae uberiores ad h. v.)

journey, of you and your future families, shall keep the Passover in the second month on the fourteenth, between the two evenings," and that in all respects according to the statute of this feast, the three leading points of which - viz., eating the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, leaving nothing till the next day, and not breaking a bone (Exodus 12:8, Exodus 12:10, Exodus 12:46), - are repeated here. But lest any one should pervert this permission, to celebrate the Passover a month later in case of insuperable difficulties, which had only been given for the purpose of enforcing the obligation to keep the covenant meal upon every member of the nation, into an excuse for postponing it without any necessity and merely from indifference, on the ground that he could make it up afterwards, the threat is held out in Numbers 9:13, that whoever should omit to keep the feast at the legal time, if he was neither unclean nor upon a journey, should be cut off; and in Numbers 9:14 the command is repeated with reference to foreigners, that they were also to keep the law and ordinance with the greatest minuteness when they observed the Passover: cf. Exodus 12:48-49, according to which the stranger was required first of all to let himself be circumcised. In Numbers 9:14, יהיה stands for תּהיה, as in Exodus 12:49; cf. Ewald, 295, d. ו...ו, both...and.

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