Three days of non-stop marching through the desert with children and elderly, carrying their houses on their backs? Yeah, that’s believable. The bible doesn’t say, or even imply, that cloud god gave the Israelites breaks throughout the day or remained stationary each night while they slept, but I think we’re meant to infer such things.
The language use in Numbers 10:33-36 paints an even more elaborate picture of the priest’s con. While the reader may presume that the cloud god, being all-powerful, knew precisely where to stop each night, the KJV says that the Lord went forward “to search out a resting place for them.” The all-knowing Lord needs to search? Well, if by “Lord” you mean, “Moses’ hired guide, Hobab,” then yes.
Also, it seems that Moses and Aaron had to perform a bit of a ritual to get “God” to start moving. Each time they began to move the ark, Moses would say, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee,” and every time the cloud stopped moving, Moses would say, “Return O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel!”
Did anyone else catch the whiff of a cheap magician’s trick? Much like the staff-to-snake and leprous hand in the robe gag that came before it, this sounds like nothing more than something that’s best seen at a child’s birthday party from a guy with a red nose and a rainbow wig. Moses is essentially saying “abracadabra” to get the cloud moving and “hocus pocus” to make it stop again. Why even have this little spoken ritual anyway? Is this to ensure your accomplice behind the curtain hits his mark?
And really, of all the things to say! Moses could have said, “Loving father in Heaven! Keep us safe, and shine your light upon our path!” but no, his sentiment is more along the lines of, “Give us the power to disembowel our enemies right before their children’s eyes!” For a God who is supposed to be Jesus, he’s not very Jesusy, is it?