The cloud was continually on the dwelling - remember how it was constructed 'early' (narrative time) in the journey (Exodus 25). Note there is no 'by day' in verse 16. The cloud is there day and night - continually. Even in the most difficult of times. Keep watch (שׁמרו את משׁמרת) you can see that keep and watch are the same root: shin-mem-resh. That's why I did not use 'keep' for the verb related to Passover. Passover is a 'do' thing. But watching, a 'keep on' thing, and then moving at the right time, whenever, is also critical.
My use of mandate is odd. I need a word that suggests mouth but isn't. I don't think it is a homonym but a real variation in thought among the early Hebrews that פה has many uses, mouth, edge (of a sword), collar (of clothing), and mandate, a word from the mouth, and some more too. I even used pucker for the 'P' for an acrostic (Psalm 10). These two letters peh-heh also have a homonym that is a particle, for which the usual gloss is here.
Perhaps it is of this passage (Yahweh's 'memory' - narrative memory) that the prophet speaks when he says:
I remember you, the loving-kindness of your youth, the love of your consummations,
when you went after me in the wilderness in an uncultivated land. (Jeremiah 2:2).
|וּבְיוֹם֙ הָקִ֣ים אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן כִּסָּ֤ה הֶֽעָנָן֙ אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֔ן לְאֹ֖הֶל הָעֵדֻ֑ת |
וּבָעֶ֜רֶב יִהְיֶ֧ה עַֽל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֛ן כְּמַרְאֵה־אֵ֖שׁ עַד־בֹּֽקֶר
|15||And on the day of the raising of the dwelling the cloud covered the dwelling (of the tent of the testimony). |
And in the evening there was on the dwelling as the appearance of fire until morning.
|כֵּ֚ן יִהְיֶ֣ה תָמִ֔יד הֶעָנָ֖ן יְכַסֶּ֑נּוּ |
|16||So it was continually the cloud covered it |
and the appearance of fire at night.
|וּלְפִ֞י הֵעָלֹ֤ת הֶֽעָנָן֙ מֵעַ֣ל הָאֹ֔הֶל וְאַ֣חֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן יִסְע֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וּבִמְק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁ֤ר יִשְׁכָּן־שָׁם֙ הֶֽעָנָ֔ן שָׁ֥ם יַחֲנ֖וּ בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|17||And as the ascent of the cloud on the tent was mandated, then after such the children of Israel pulled out, |
and in the place where the cloud would dwell, there the children of Israel encamped.
|עַל־פִּ֣י יְהוָ֗ה יִסְעוּ֙ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יַחֲנ֑וּ |
כָּל־יְמֵ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִשְׁכֹּ֧ן הֶעָנָ֛ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן יַחֲנֽוּ
|18||At the mandate of Yahweh the children of Israel pulled out and at the mandate of Yahweh they encamped. |
All the days that the cloud dwelt on the dwelling, they encamped.
|וּבְהַאֲרִ֧יךְ הֶֽעָנָ֛ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן יָמִ֣ים רַבִּ֑ים |
וְשָׁמְר֧וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֥רֶת יְהוָ֖ה וְלֹ֥א יִסָּֽעוּ
|19||And when the cloud was prolonged on the dwelling many days, |
the children of Israel kept the watch of Yahweh and did not pull out.
|וְיֵ֞שׁ אֲשֶׁ֨ר יִהְיֶ֧ה הֶֽעָנָ֛ן יָמִ֥ים מִסְפָּ֖ר עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּ֑ן |
עַל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ יַחֲנ֔וּ וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יִסָּֽעוּ
|20||So there is what it was: the cloud, days to count, on the dwelling. |
At the mandate of Yahweh they encamped and at the mandate of Yahweh pulled out.
|וְיֵ֞שׁ אֲשֶׁר־יִהְיֶ֤ה הֶֽעָנָן֙ מֵעֶ֣רֶב עַד־בֹּ֔קֶר וְנַעֲלָ֧ה הֶֽעָנָ֛ן בַּבֹּ֖קֶר וְנָסָ֑עוּ |
א֚וֹ יוֹמָ֣ם וָלַ֔יְלָה וְנַעֲלָ֥ה הֶעָנָ֖ן וְנָסָֽעוּ
|21||So there is what it was: the cloud from evening until morning, if the cloud ascended in the morning, then they pulled out. |
Whether day or night, if the cloud ascended, then they pulled out.
|אֽוֹ־יֹמַ֜יִם אוֹ־חֹ֣דֶשׁ אוֹ־יָמִ֗ים בְּהַאֲרִ֨יךְ הֶעָנָ֤ן עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן֙ לִשְׁכֹּ֣ן עָלָ֔יו יַחֲנ֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וְלֹ֣א יִסָּ֑עוּ |
|22||Or two days or a month or days prolonged of the cloud on the dwelling to dwell on it, the children of Israel encamped and did not pull out. |
And when it ascended they pulled out.
|עַל־פִּ֤י יְהוָה֙ יַחֲנ֔וּ וְעַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה יִסָּ֑עוּ |
אֶת־מִשְׁמֶ֤רֶת יְהוָה֙ שָׁמָ֔רוּ עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה
|23||At the mandate of Yahweh they encamped and at the mandate of Yahweh pulled out. |
The watch of Yahweh they kept at the mandate of Yahweh by the hand of Moses.