Purge out therefore the old leaven
] Meaning either the incestuous person, whose crime might well be compared to sour "leaven", and be called old because of his long continuance in it; whom the apostle would have removed from them; this is properly the act of excommunication, which that church was to perform, as a quite distinct thing from what the apostle himself determined to do. The allusion is to the strict search the Jews made F7, just before their passover after leaven, to purge their houses of it, that none of it might remain when their feast began; which they made by the light of a lamp, on the night of the fourteenth of the month Nisan, in every secret place, hole, and corner of the house: or this may be an exhortation to the church in general with respect to themselves, as well as this man, to relinquish their old course of sinning, to "put off concerning the former conversation the old man", ( Ephesians 4:22 ) the same with the old leaven here; it being usual with the Jews F8 to call the vitiosity and corruption of nature (hoyebv rwav) , "leaven in the lump"; of which say F9,
``the evil imagination of a man, as leaven the lump, enters into his bowels little, little, (very little at first,) but afterwards it increases in him, until his whole body is mixed with it.''That ye may be a new lump;
that they might appear to be what they professed to be, new men, new creatures in Christ, by their walking in newness of life; and by removing that wicked person, they would be as the apostles were, when Judas was gone from them, all clean through the word of Christ:
as ye are unleavened;
at least professed to be. They were without the leaven of sin; not without the being of sin in their hearts, nor without the commission of it, more or less, in their lives; but were justified from it by the righteousness of Christ, and had the new creature formed in their souls, or that which was born of God in them, that sinned not. The apostle compares the true believers of this church to the unleavened bread eaten at the passover, for the grace of their hearts, and the simplicity of their lives; as he does the incestuous man to the old leaven, that was to be searched for, and cast out at the feast:
for even Christ our passover is sacrificed for
This is observed, to show the pertinency of the similes of leaven and unleavened, the apostle had made use of; and to make some further improvement of them, for the use, comfort, and instruction of this church; saying, that Christ is "our passover", the Christians' passover; the Jewish passover was a type of Christ; wherefore Moses kept it by faith, in the faith of the Messiah that was to come; see ( Hebrews 11:28 ) as it was instituted in commemoration of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, so likewise to prefigure Christ, and the redemption of his people by him. The Jews have a saying F11,
``that in the month Nisan they were redeemed, and in the month Nisan they will be redeemed;''which was the month in which the passover was kept; and for the confirmation of which, they mention the following texts, ( Micah 7:15 ) ( Isaiah 54:8 ) ( Exodus 12:40 ) . There is an agreement between the passover, and Christ, in the sacrifice itself, and the qualities of it; it was a "lamb", as Christ is the "Lamb" of God, of his appointing and providing, and fitly so called, for his innocence and harmlessness, his meekness, humility, and patience; it was a lamb "without blemish", as Christ is, without spot and blemish, without the spot of original sin, or blemish of any actual transgression: it was a male, as Christ is the son or man, the head of the body, and the "firstborn" among many brethren; it was a male of the first year; in which it might prefigure Christ in the flower of his age, arrived at man's estate, and having had experience of a variety of sorrows and afflictions. There is also some likeness between them in the separation and slaying of it. The passover lamb was to be "taken out from the sheep, or from the goats"; as Christ's human nature was chosen out from among the people, and, in God's eternal counsel and covenant, separated from the rest of the individuals of human nature, and taken into a federal union with the Son of God, and preordained before the foundation of the world, to be the Lamb slain; it was also wonderfully formed by the Holy Ghost in the virgin's womb, and separated and preserved from the infection of sin; and in his life and conversation here on earth, he was separated from sinners, from being like them, and is now made higher than the heavens. This lamb was kept up from the "tenth" of the month, to the "fourteenth", before it was killed; which might typify preservation of Christ, in his infancy, from the malice of Herod, and, in his riper years, from the designs of the Jews upon him, until his time was come; and it is to be observed, that there was much such a space of time between his entrance into Jerusalem, and his sufferings and death; see ( John 12:11 John 12:12 ) . The lamb was "slain", so the Prince of life was killed; and "between the two evenings", as Christ was in the end of the world, in the last days, in the decline of time, of the age of the world, and even of the time of the day, about the "ninth" hour, or three o'clock in the afternoon, the time between the two evenings; the first evening beginning at noon as soon as the sun began to decline, the other upon the setting of it. There is likewise a comparison of these together to be observed, in the dressing and eating of it. The passover lamb was not to be eaten "raw nor sodden"; so Christ is to be eaten not in a carnal, but in a spiritual way, by faith; it was to be "roast with fire", denoting the painful sufferings of Christ on the cross, and the fire of divine wrath that fell upon him; it was to be eaten "whole", as a whole Christ is to be received by faith, in his person, and in all his offices, grace, and righteousness; not a "bone" of it was to be "broken", which was fulfilled in Christ, ( John 19:36 ) it was to be eaten "with unleavened bread", which is spiritualized by the apostle in the next verse; and also with "bitter herbs", expressive of the hard bondage and severe afflictions, with which the lives of the Israelites were made bitter in Egypt; and significative of the persecutions and trials that such must expect, who live godly and by faith in Christ Jesus: it was eaten only by Israelites, and such as became proselytes, as Christ, only by true believers; and if the household was too little, they were to join with their "neighbours"; which might typify the calling and bringing in of the Gentiles, when the middle wall of partition was broken down, Christ, his flesh and blood being common to both. The first passover was eaten in haste, with their loins girt, their shoes on, and staves in their hands, ready to depart from Egypt to Canaan's land; denoting the readiness of believers to every good work; having their feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace; their loins girt about with truth, their lights burning, and they like men waiting for their Lord's coming; hasting unto the day of the Lord, being earnestly, desirous of being absent from the body, that they might be present with him: in a word, the receiving of the blood of the passover lamb into a bason, sprinkling it on the lintel, and two side posts of the doors of the houses, in which they ate it, which the Lord seeing passed over those houses, when he passed through Egypt to destroy the firstborn, whence it has its name of the passover, were very significative of the blood of sprinkling, even the blood of Christ upon the hearts and consciences of believers; whereby they are secured from avenging justice, from the curse and condemnation of the law, and from wrath to come, and shall never be hurt of the second death. Thus Christ is our antitypical passover, who was sacrificed, whose body and soul were offered as an offering and sacrifice unto God for us, that he might be proper food for our faith; and also in our room and stead, to make satisfaction to divine justice for all our sins and transgressions.
F7 Misn Pesachim, c. 1. sect. 1. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Chametz Umetzah, c. 2. sect. 3, 4.
F8 T. Hieros. Beracot, fol. 7. 4. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 17. 1. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 29. 4. Caphtor, fol. 38. 2. & 41. 1. Tzeror Hammor, fol. 73. 2. 84. 4. 86. 1. 87. 3. 95. 3, 4. & 119. 4. Baal Hattarim in Lev. ii. 11.
F9 Zohar in Exod. fol. 71. 3.
F11 T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 11. 1, 2. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 49. 3.