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Numbers 9:6-12

Context

9:6 It happened that some men 1  who were ceremonially defiled 2  by the dead body of a man 3  could not keep 4  the Passover on that day, so they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 9:7 And those men said to him, “We are ceremonially defiled by the dead body of a man; why are we kept back from offering the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the Israelites?” 9:8 So Moses said to them, “Remain 5  here and I will hear 6  what the Lord will command concerning you.”

9:9 The Lord spoke to Moses: 9:10 “Tell the Israelites, ‘If any 7  of you or of your posterity become ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, or are on a journey far away, then he may 8  observe the Passover to the Lord. 9:11 They may observe it on the fourteenth day of the second month 9  at twilight; they are to eat it with bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs. 9:12 They must not leave any of it until morning, nor break any of its bones; they must observe it in accordance with every statute of the Passover.

1 tn In the Hebrew text the noun has no definite article, and so it signifies “some” or “certain” men.

2 tn The meaning, of course, is to be ceremonially unclean, and therefore disqualified from entering the sanctuary.

3 tn Or “a human corpse” (so NAB, NKJV). So also in v.7; cf. v. 10.

4 tn This clause begins with the vav (ו) conjunction and negative before the perfect tense. Here is the main verb of the sentence: They were not able to observe the Passover. The first part of the verse provides the explanation for their problem.

5 tn The verb is simply “stand,” but in the more general sense of waiting to hear the answer.

6 tn The cohortative may be subordinated to the imperative: “stand…[that I] may hear.”

7 tn This sense is conveyed by the repetition of “man” – “if a man, a man becomes unclean.”

8 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive functions as the equivalent of an imperfect tense. In the apodosis of this conditional sentence, the permission nuance fits well.

9 sn The delay of four weeks for such people would have permitted enough time for them to return from their journey, or to recover from any short termed defilement such as is mentioned here. Apart from this provision, the Passover was to be kept precisely at the proper time.



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