A Pillar by Day
The later interpretative tradition treats the pillar of cloud with extreme caution.
Encyclopedia Judaica: Pillar of Cloud and Pillar of Fire
It invests it with a mystical dimension, describing it as a cloud of kavod, or glory. Glory is an inadequate word that represents the aspect of God which can be sensed.
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By treating it as a cloud of glory the tradition is able to downgrade the pillar from a seemingly conscious, potentially divine being, to a much more functional object that is evidently subject to heavenly control. One of way it does this is to make it just one of several clouds of glory.
- Bible Study: Cloud by Day, Pillar of Fire by Night (Numbers 8-12).
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The Jerusalem Targum describes how the Israelites were whisked out of Egypt on seven of these clouds — one on each side and one in front. They were flown to the future site of the Jerusalem Temple, where they offered their Passover sacrifice, before being transported back to Egypt to begin their long trudge through the wilderness. In this telling, the pillar of cloud is transformed into little more than a very powerful magic carpet. According to the Torah the festival of Sukkot commemorates the fact that the Israelites dwelt in huts, or booths, in the wilderness.
Since there is no mention of these huts anywhere in the narrative Rabbi Eliezer explains that they were not physical huts.
STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud by Day and The Pillar of Smoke by Night
The Israelites in the wilderness, he says, dwelt in clouds of glory Sukkah 11b. Harry Freedman. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them ,  coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel.
Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side ; so neither went near the other all night long. And so Moses finished the work.
The Pillar of Fire
As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.
There's More! Type a few keywords into the search box to find more of our sermons on topics of interest to you. Exodus Exodus Context 18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
Other Translations Click here to view. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to giue them light to goe by day and night. Bible commentary Click here to view. Wesley's Notes for Exodus And the Lord went before them in a pillar - In the two first stages, it was enough that God directed Moses whither to march; he knew the country, and the road; but now they are come to the edge of the wilderness, they would have occasion for a guide, and a very good guide they had, infinitely wise, kind, and faithful, the Lord went up before them; The Shechinah or appearance of the divine Majesty, which was a precious manifestation of the eternal Word, who in the fulness of time was to be made flesh, and dwell among us.