Israel Celebrates the Passover Feast
1The Lord spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai. It was the first month of the second year after the people came out of Egypt. He said, 2“Tell the Israelites to celebrate the Passover Feast. Have them do it at the appointed time. 3Celebrate it when the sun goes down on the 14th day of this month. Obey all its rules and laws.”
4So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover Feast. 5They did it in the Desert of Sinai. They celebrated it when the sun went down on the 14th day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
6But some of them couldn’t celebrate the Passover Feast on that day. That’s because they weren’t “clean.” They had gone near a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day. 7They said to Moses, “We went near a dead body. So we aren’t ‘clean.’ But why should we be kept from bringing the Lord’s offering at the appointed time? Why shouldn’t we bring it along with the other Israelites?”
8Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the Lord wants you to do.”
9Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said, 10“Tell the Israelites, ‘Suppose any of you or your children are “unclean” because they have gone near a dead body. Or suppose they are away on a journey. They must still celebrate the Lord’s Passover. 11They must celebrate it on the 14th day of the second month. They must do so when the sun goes down. They must eat the lamb together with bread made without yeast. They must eat it with bitter plants. 12They must not leave any of it until morning. They must not break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover Feast, they must follow all the rules. 13But suppose someone is “clean” and not on a journey. And they fail to celebrate the Passover Feast. Then they must be separated from the community of Israel. They did not bring the Lord’s offering at the appointed time. They will be punished for their sin.
14“ ‘What if there is an outsider living among you? And what if they want to celebrate the Lord’s Passover? Then they must obey its rules and laws. You must have the same laws for outsiders as you do for the Israelites.’ ”
The Cloud Covers the Holy Tent
15The holy tent was set up. It was the tent where the tablets of the covenant law were kept. On the day it was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening until morning the cloud above the tent looked like fire. 16That’s what continued to happen. The cloud covered the tent. At night the cloud looked like fire. 17When the cloud lifted from its place above the tent, the Israelites started out. Where the cloud settled, the Israelites camped. 18When the Lord gave the command, the Israelites started out. And when he gave the command, they camped. As long as the cloud stayed above the holy tent, they remained in camp. 19Sometimes the cloud remained above the tent for a long time. Then the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order. They didn’t start out. 20Sometimes the cloud was above the tent for only a few days. When the Lord would give the command, they would camp. And when he would give the command, they would start out. 21Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening until morning. When it lifted in the morning, they started out. It didn’t matter whether it was day or night. When the cloud lifted, the people started out. 22It didn’t matter whether the cloud stayed above the holy tent for two days or a month or a year. The Israelites would remain in camp. They wouldn’t start out. But when the cloud lifted, they would start out. 23When the Lord gave the command, they camped. And when he gave the command, they started out. They obeyed the Lord’s order. They obeyed him, just as he had commanded them through Moses.