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PILLAR OF FIRE:

The Israelites during their wanderings through the desert were guided in the night-time by a pillar of fire to give them light (Ex. xiii. 21; Num. xiv. 14; Neh. ix. 12, 19). The pillar of fire never departed from them during the night (Ex. xiii. 22); according to Shab. 33b, it appeared in the evening before the pillar of cloud had disappeared, so that the Israelites were never without a guide. God troubled the Egyptian hosts through a pillar of fire and of cloud (Ex. xiv. 24). There is a legend that Onḳelos, by narrating to the messengers sent by the emperor to seize him that God Himself was the torch-bearer of the Israelites, converted them to Judaism ('Ab. Zarah 11a).

E. G. H. M. Sel.
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