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21 Now the Lord was going before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them in the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light,[a] so that they could[b] travel day or night.[c]

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  1. Exodus 13:21 sn God chose to guide the people with a pillar of cloud in the day and one of fire at night, or, as a pillar of cloud and fire, since they represented his presence. God had already appeared to Moses in the fire of the bush, and so here again is revelation with fire. Whatever the exact nature of these things, they formed direct, visible revelations from God, who was guiding the people in a clear and unambiguous way. Both clouds and fire would again and again represent the presence of God in his power and majesty, guiding and protecting his people, by judging their enemies.
  2. Exodus 13:21 tn The infinitive construct here indicates the result of these manifestations—“so that they went” or “could go.”
  3. Exodus 13:21 tn These are adverbial accusatives of time.