1 On 2 the day that the tabernacle was set up, 3 the cloud 4 covered the tabernacle – the tent of the testimony 5 – and from evening until morning there was 6 a fiery appearance 7 over the tabernacle.
|NET © Notes||
1 sn This section (Num 9:15-23) recapitulates the account in Exod 40:34 but also contains some additional detail about the cloud that signaled Israel’s journeys. Here again material from the book of Exodus is used to explain more of the laws for the camp in motion.
2 tn Heb “and/now on the day.”
3 tn The construction uses the temporal expression with the Hiphil infinitive construct followed by the object, the tabernacle. “On the day of the setting up of the tabernacle” leaves the subject unstated, and so the entire clause may be expressed in the passive voice.
4 sn The explanation and identification of this cloud has been a subject of much debate. Some commentators have concluded that it was identical with the cloud that led the Israelites away from Egypt and through the sea, but others have made a more compelling case that this is a different phenomenon (see ZPEB 4:796). A number of modern scholars see the description as a retrojection from later, perhaps Solomonic times (see G. H. Davies, IDB 3:817). Others have tried to connect it with Ugaritic terminology, but unconvincingly (see T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea Narrative,” JBL 90 : 15-30; G. E. Mendenhall, The Tenth Generation, 32-66, 209-13; and R. Good, “Cloud Messengers?” UF 10 : 436-37).
5 sn The cloud apparently was centered over the tent, over the spot of the ark of the covenant in the most holy place. It thereafter spread over the whole tabernacle.
6 tn The imperfect tense in this and the next line should be classified as a customary imperfect, stressing incomplete action but in the past time – something that used to happen, or would happen.
7 tn Heb “like the appearance of fire.”