NIV 1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.
This appears to be an allusion to Psalm 105:39:
NIV Psalm 105:39 He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night.
However the Exodus account speaks of the cloud preceding the Israelites as a cloudy pillar:
NIV Exodus 13:21 The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
The cloud "settling over the tabernacle" indicated that LORD would have them remained camped and when it preceded them they would move:
NIV Numbers 9:18 At the command of the LORD the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped.
Paul seems to associating all of the ancestors being "under the cloud" as a kind of baptism:
NIV 1 Corinthians 11:2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.
So was the cloud that preceded the advancing people and settled over the tabernacle also a "cover" over the people at an unspecified time?
It seems that Paul has the "passing through the sea" as an effective picture of water baptism. What was the "covering of all the ancestors with a cloud" and what does it add to the imagery of water baptism?
And by pointing out that the Israelites were "baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea" is he pointing out that being baptized into Moses did not shield them from God punishing their fornication or that, by extension that being baptized into Christ will not shield the believer from being punished for their fornication?
And if the latter, is he only undercutting the value of water baptism or of participation in Christ?