Numbers 9:22
Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried on the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel stayed in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Or a year.—Literally, days (comp. Genesis 4:3; Genesis 40:4, and Notes). If the rendering of the Authorised Version, “a year,” is correct, as it probably is, it will follow that these words could not have been written until after the first arrival at Kadesh (Numbers 13:26), and probably not until after the end of the wanderings in the wilderness. The elaborate manner in which the statement is made and repeated in almost identical terms shows the great importance which the writer ascribed to the Divine guardianship which was exercised over the Israelites, and to their submission to the miraculous guidance which was given to them.

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. Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle,.... Sometimes it tarried but half a day, sometimes a whole day, sometimes two days, at other times a whole month, and even a year; a full year, as the Targum of Jonathan and Aben Ezra; or a longer time, as the Vulgate Latin version, for in one place it tarried eighteen years, as Maimonides says (g); some say (h) nineteen years, as in Kadeshbarnea:

remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not; so that, as the same writer observes, it was not because the children of Israel lost their way in the wilderness and wandered about, not knowing where they were, or which way they should go; hence the Arabians call the wilderness, the wilderness of wandering, nor that they were so long wandering in it as forty years, but because it was the will of God that should stay so long at one place, and so long at another, whereby their stay in it was protracted to such a length of time, according to his sovereign will:

but when it was taken up they journeyed; though they had continued ever so long, and their situation ever so agreeable.

(g) Moreh Nevoch. par. 2. c. 50. p. 512. (h) Seder Olam Rabba, c. 8. p. 24.

Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. a year] Heb. ‘days.’ This sometimes means ‘a year’ (e.g. 1 Samuel 27:7); but here it perhaps denotes only an indefinite period longer than a month.Verse 22. - Or a year. Rather, "days" (yamin): an undefined period (Genesis 4:3; Genesis 40:4), often equivalent to a year (Leviticus 25:29). It is not known whether or on what occasion the Israelites actually remained in camp for a year. But it is evident that this passage must have been written after the wanderings were over, because it is a kind of retrospect of the whole period as regards one important feature of it. It may of course have been added here by the hand of Moses on the eve of entry upon the promised land: or it may have been added by a later hand, perhaps that of Ezra when he revised these books (see the Introduction).



The covering of the dwelling, with the cloud which shone by night as a fiery look, was constant, and not merely a phenomenon which appeared when the tabernacle was first erected, and then vanished away again.
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