Chapter 10. About the Passover of the Second Month
1. The Passover of the second month in Numbers chapter 9
【Num. 9:1-11】 The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said, “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time …… But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day and said to Moses, “We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the LORD’s offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?” …… They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight.
God has allowed for the Israelites to celebrate the Passove twice, one on the first month and the other on the second month. For the people who couldn’t keep the Passover inevitably on the first month, God allowed them to be able to keep the Passover on the second month.
“Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at ‘the appointed time'”. The reason that God emphasized ‘the appointed time’ as possible was with the second Passover in mind. If there was no separate Passover, it was enough to say “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover.”
Some say, “Moses didn’t know the Passover of the second month”. And they argue that the Passover of the second month wasn’t included in the Law of God from Mount Sinai. Their claim is based on the action Moses made a question how to do for those who wouldn’t keep the Passover regularly. Was Moses asking questions without knowing that there was the Passover of the second month?
【Num. 9:8-11】 Moses answered them, “Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you.” Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the LORD’s Passover. They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight.
It is true that Moses asked a question to God, when the people asked Moses whether it would eb okay to observe the Passover on a regular basis without any considering of their becoming unclean because of a dead body. However, the grounds for claiming that they asked without knowing that there was the Passover of the second month was not found in the Scriptures.
The time the people asked was not after the regular Passover. It was before the Passover ceremony. Because Moses knew that there were two Passover, he surely had to ask God how to do for the people who were unclean. And God told them to keep the Passover of the second month only when there was an inevitable reason not to keep the Passover.
Some people say that there is no saying “This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” for the Passover of the second month. However, there is no reason to say so specifically for the Passover of the second month. Because God’s word about Passover applies equally to the regular Passover or the second Passover.
【Exod. 12:13-14】 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover. …… “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD -a lasting ordinance.
2. The Passover celebrated by King Hezekiah was the Passover of the second month
【2Chr. 29:1-17】 Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king …… He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them. He brought in the priests and the Levites, assembled them in the square on the east side and said: “Listen to me, Levites! …… They began the consecration on the first day of the first month, and by the eighth day of the month they reached the portico of the LORD. For eight more days they consecrated the temple of the LORD itself, finishing on the sixteenth day of the first month. ……
【2Chr. 30:1】 Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, inviting them to come to the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem and celebrate the Passover to the LORD, the God of Israel.
The time when King Hezekiah sent word to all Israel and Judah to celebrate the Passover was already after the regular Passover. Hezekiah sent letters saying, “Celebrate the Passover” about keeping the Passover of the second month. He didn’t specifically say “the Passover of the second month”, because the Passover of the second month is also the Passover.
Some say that Josiah, who celebrated the regular Passover, was called “the king who fully followed all the Law of Moses with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength”, but that Hezekiah, who celebrated the Passover of the second month, was not called like Josiah. And they claim that it is because the Passover of the second month is not the Law of Moses which was proclaimed on Mount Sinai.
【2Kings 23:23-25】 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem. Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
Here we must look at what happened after Hezekiah celebrated the Passover. Bible said that God heard the priests and the Levites through the Passover, and their prayer reached the holy dwelling place. And the Lord heard Hezekiah’s prayers after the Passover so that he forgave even the many people who ate the Passover as a wrong rule.
【2Chr. 30:26-27】 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem. The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place.
【2Chr. 30:18-20】 Although most of the many people who came from Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover, contrary to what was written. But Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, “May the LORD, who is good, pardon everyone who sets his heart on seeking God–the LORD, the God of his fathers–even if he is not clean according to the rules of the sanctuary.” And the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.
The history of King Hezekiah’s Passover led to a major religious reform. At the time of King Hezekiah, it was the power of the Passover that made an amazing history in which all idols were removed.
【2Chr. 31:1】 When all this had ended, the Israelites who were there went out to the towns of Judah, smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles. They destroyed the high places and the altars throughout Judah and Benjamin and in Ephraim and Manasseh. After they had destroyed all of them, the Israelites returned to their own towns and to their own property.
In addition, the Bible gave great significance to the history of the Reformation of King Hezekiah after his keeping the Passover. It is praised that there has been no time like King Hezekiah since the temple was built in Jerusalem.
【2Chr. 30:26】 There was great joy in Jerusalem, for since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.
3. The Passover of the second month was the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai
The prophet Malachi said, “”Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb(Mount Sinai) for all Israel.” (Malachi 4:4). The meaning of the above verse was that all the regulations and ordinances that the Israelites must remember were commanded through Moses from Mount Sinai.
None of the commandments of the Israelites to remember and obey was given to Moses in addition to those from Mount Sinai. Therefore, both the Passover that King Hezekiah kept and the Passover that King Josiah kept were given to the Israelites through Moses from Mount Sinai. It is written as belows;
【2Kings 23:25】 Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did–with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses (from Mount Sinai).
【2Kings 18:5-6】 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses (on the Mount Sinai).
It was written that the king Josiah who kept the Passover of the first month was said to have obeyed the Mosaic Law given from Mount Sinai, and King Hezekiah, who kept the Passover of the second month, was also said to have obeyed the Mosaic Law given from Mount Sinai.
In Numbers 9, The LORD spoke to Moses, “Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month.” The above verse is not the new one, but the same which was given to Moses on the Mount Sinai. The Lord said, “at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month”. Do you think God taught Moses the date because Mose couldn’t remenber the date? You must not think like that.
Numbers 9:10 should be seen as well. It must be understood like this; “Tell the Israelites: ‘When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the LORD’s Passover (according to the Law of Moses from mount Sinai). They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight.'”
Moses was not asking God because he did not know that there was a Passover. Moses wanted to know God’s decision and obey it just because the people asked before the regular Passover. Moses had led the Israelites to check God’s will, even if it had already been set in the law.
God said; “I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt”, therefore, Moses simply followed the order of the Lord, who commanded the Israelites as a commander of the army.(Exod. 12:17) And the LORD said to the Israelites, “You must observe my Sabbaths …… Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people“. but Moses did not kill him when such a case occurred, rather he asked God how to do.(Exod. 31:12-14)
【Num. 15:32-35】 While the Israelites were in the desert, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.”
It is foolish to presume that Moses did not know, based on the fact that Moses had asked Jehovah something.
When Hezekiah celebrated the Passover of the second month, the Bible says, “Hezekiah kept the commands the LORD had given Moses on Mount Sinai.” (2 Kings 18:7). We must believe the Bible as it is.