19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear, “God will surely attend to you, and you will carry my bones up from this place with you.” 20 They journeyed from Sukkoth and camped in Etham, on the edge of the desert. 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, so that they could travel day or night. 22 He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
Sirach 24:1Ben Sira, Ecclesiasticus
1 Wisdom praises herself, and tells of her glory in the midst of her people. 2 In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, and in the presence of his hosts she tells of her glory: 3 "I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist. 4 I dwelt in the highest heavens, and my throne was in a pillar of cloud. 5 Alone I compassed the vault of heaven and traversed the depths of the abyss. 6 Over waves of the sea, over all the earth, and over every people and nation I have held sway.
Notes and References
"... Most of these writings, clearly, reflect the time after the geographical return of some Judean captives from their Babylonian exile. That return, when it came about under Cyrus and his successors, was not accompanied by any manifestations such as those in Exodus 40, Leviticus 9, 1 Kings 8, or even Isaiah 6. Never do we hear that the pillar of cloud and fire that accompanied the Israelites in the wilderness has gloriously led the people back from their exile. At no point do we hear that YHWH has now returned in splendour to Zion. The closest we get is the idea, in Ben-Sirach chapter 24, where ‘wisdom’ comes, in the form of Torah, to dwell in the Temple. But that optimistic vision, written about 200 BC, had itself been shattered by the events of the subsequent two centuries ..."
Wright, N.T. & Bird, Michael F. The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians (p. 452) Zondervan Academic, 2019
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