Numbers 9: The First Passover in the Wilderness

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 64


Numbers 9 marks the beginning of the second year of the Israelites’ journey from Egypt to the promised land. Chapter 9 tells what the children of Israel should do to stay committed to the Lord and how they could know He was with them. How do we show the Lord today that we are committed to Him, and how does He let us know He is with us?

Understanding the Scriptures

Numbers 9

His appointed season (vv. 2–3, 7, 13)The Lord’s chosen time 
Even (vv. 3, 11, 15)Sundown 
Forbeareth (v. 13)Decides against 
Bear (v. 13)Be responsible for 
Sojourn (v. 14)Live 
One ordinance (v. 14)The same rules and practices 
Reared up (v. 15)Set up 
Abode (vv. 17–18, 21)Stood still 
Tarried (vv. 19, 22)Stayed 
Charge (vv. 19, 23)Commandments 

Numbers 9:6–14—Who Should Participate in the Passover?

It is interesting to note that, in Numbers 9, some men who had come in contact with a dead body, perhaps by simply being the ones who may have buried a dead relative, were not allowed to participate in the Passover. According to the law of Moses, they were “unclean.” The Lord revealed to Moses, however, that the Passover was so important that even those who were unclean because they touched a dead body should participate. Furthermore, the Lord said that it was a very serious sin to be fully clean and qualified and to refuse to participate in the Passover meal.

Since the Savior instituted the sacrament to replace the Passover, we might consider some personal applications. For example, we should take every available opportunity to worthily participate in the ordinance of the sacrament. To have the opportunity and then refuse to attend our sacrament meetings is a sin. Partaking of the sacrament is so important that the Lord wants us to participate even though we may have some personal blemishes in our life. Our priesthood leaders can counsel us about when we should or should not partake of the sacrament, which is the principle behind what happened in chapter 9.

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Numbers 9.

Activity A iconAlways Remember

The first half of Numbers 9 tells about the first anniversary of the Passover in Egypt. Consider the following key words and phrases and describe how they relate to the Passover (you may want to look back to your study of Exodus 12):

  1. 1.

    Fourteenth day of the first month

  2. 2.

    Unleavened bread and bitter herbs

  3. 3.

    No broken bones

Activity B iconHow Did the Lord Lead Them?

  1. 1.

    Describe how Numbers 9:15–23 says the Lord led the children of Israel.

  2. 2.

    What do you think the children of Israel learned by being led through the wilderness in this way?

  3. 3.

    How does the Lord lead His people today?