The first Passover was celebrated on the “fourteenth day” (Exodus 12:6) of the first month. God reset the Hebrew calendar saying, “This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year” (Exodus 12:2). Three months later, they arrived at Mount Sinai. “In the third month from the very day the Israelites left the land of Egypt, they came to the Sinai Wilderness. They traveled from Rephidim, came to the Sinai Wilderness, and camped in the wilderness. Israel camped there in front of the mountain” (Exodus 19:1–2). During the next nine months, Israel received God’s Law and constructed the Tabernacle according to the directions that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai. “The tabernacle was set up in the first month of the second year, on the first day of the month” (Exodus 40:17).
Twelve months after the exodus from Egypt, the “cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34). Whenever the glorious presence of God lifted away from the Tabernacle, the Israelites knew it was time to pull up stakes and move to their next campsite (Exodus 40:36-38). “During the second year, in the second month on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud was lifted up above the tabernacle of the testimony. The Israelites traveled on from the Wilderness of Sinai, moving from one place to the next until the cloud stopped in the Wilderness of Paran. They set out for the first time according to the Lord’s command through Moses” (Numbers 10:11–13).
While camped in Kadesh-Barnea in the northeast corner of the Sinai Peninsula and on the southwest edge of Canaan, God instructed Moses to commission twelve men, one from each of the ancestral tribes, to explore the Promised Land and bring back a report (Numbers 13:1-25). Their report was unanimous. It was a great land! “Indeed it is flowing with milk and honey” (Numbers 13:27). However, ten of the spies reported that the land was unattainable. Only two trusted God, believing that God would keep His promise and give them the land. The Nation followed the faithless ten, rebelling against God’s direction, and refusing to enter Canaan. As judgement for their faithless rebellion, those that miraculously crossed the Red Sea, spent the next thirty-eight-plus years dying in the Wilderness. That entire generation perished in the Wilderness.
Forty years after leaving Egypt, a young nation, was ready to obey God! To enter Canaan from the east by crossing the Jordan River, required the nation to traverse Amorite territory in the Transjordan. Two ruthless kings stood in their way. “Sihon would not let Israel travel through his territory. Instead, he gathered his whole army and went out to confront Israel in the wilderness. When he came to Jahaz, he fought against Israel. Israel struck him with the sword and took possession of his land... Then they turned and went up the road to Bashan, and King Og of Bashan came out against them with his whole army ... So they struck him, his sons, and his whole army until no one was left, and they took possession of his land” (Numbers 21:21–35).
Generations later, their offspring sang the Great Hallel concerning their Deliverer. “He struck down great kings ... and slaughtered famous kings ... Sihon king of the Amorites ... and Og king of Bashan ... and gave their land as an inheritance ... an inheritance to Israel his servant ... He remembered us in our humiliation ... and rescued us from our foes ... He gives food to every creature ... Give thanks to the God of heaven! His faithful love endures forever” (Psalm 136:17-26).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.