December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- In the first month of the year following their departure from the land of Egypt, the Lord said to Moses in the desert of Sinai,
- "Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover at the prescribed time.
- The evening twilight of the fourteenth day of this month is the prescribed time when you shall celebrate it, observing all its rules and regulations."
- Moses, therefore, told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover.
- And they did so, celebrating the Passover in the desert of Sinai during the evening twilight of the fourteenth day of the first month, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
- There were some, however, who were unclean because of a human corpse and so could not keep the Passover that day. These men came up to Moses and Aaron that same day
- and said, "Although we are unclean because of a corpse, why should we be deprived of presenting the LORD'S offering at its proper time along with the other Israelites?"
- Moses answered them, "Wait until I learn what the LORD will command in your regard."
- The LORD then said to Moses:
- "Speak to the Israelites and say: If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean because of a corpse, or if he is absent on a journey, he may still keep the LORD'S Passover.
- But he shall keep it in the second month, during the evening twilight of the fourteenth day of that month, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs,
- and not leaving any of it over till morning, nor breaking any of its bones, but observing all the rules of the Passover.
- However, anyone who is clean and not away on a journey, who yet fails to keep the Passover, shall be cut off from his people, because he did not present the LORD'S offering at the prescribed time. That man shall bear the consequences of his sin.
- 1 "If an alien who lives among you wishes to keep the LORD'S Passover, he too shall observe the rules and regulations for the Passover. You shall have the same law for the resident alien as for the native of the land."
- 2 On the day when the Dwelling was erected, the cloud covered the Dwelling, the tent of the commandments; but from evening until morning it took on the appearance of fire over the Dwelling.
- It was always so: during the day the Dwelling was covered by the cloud, which at night had the appearance of fire.
- Whenever the cloud rose from the tent, the Israelites would break camp; wherever the cloud came to rest, they would pitch camp.
- At the bidding of the LORD the Israelites moved on, and at his bidding they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the Dwelling, they remained in camp.
- Even when the cloud tarried many days over the Dwelling, the Israelites obeyed the LORD and would not move on;
- yet sometimes the cloud was over the Dwelling only for a few days. It was at the bidding of the LORD that they stayed in camp, and it was at his bidding that they departed.
- Sometimes the cloud remained there only from evening until morning; and when it rose in the morning, they would depart. Or if the cloud lifted during the day, or even at night, they would then set out.
- Whether the cloud tarried over the Dwelling for two days or for a month or longer, the Israelites remained in camp and did not depart; but when it lifted, they moved on.
- Thus, it was always at the bidding of the LORD that they encamped, and at his bidding that they set out; ever heeding the charge of the LORD, as he had bidden them through Moses.
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1  An alien: this passage presupposes that he is already circumcised as prescribed in Exodus 12:48.
2  The cloud: already mentioned at the departure from Egypt; cf Exodus 13:21-22.
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