Exodus 12

Listen to Exodus 12

The Passover

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
2 1"This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.
3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb 2according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household.
4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be 3without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats,
6 and you shall keep it until the 4fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.[a]
7 "Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the 5two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with 6unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but 7roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.
10 And 8you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
11 In this manner you shall eat it: with 9your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. 10It is the LORD's Passover.
12 For 11I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on 12all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: 13I am the LORD.
13 14The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 "This day shall be 15for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a 16statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.
15 17Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, 18that person shall be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day you shall hold a 19holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you.
17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for 20on this very day I brought your 21hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever.
18 22In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
19 23For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, 24that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, 25whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.
20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread."
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and select lambs for yourselves 26according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of 27hyssop and 28dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch 29the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. 30None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
23 31For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on 32the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and 33will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever.
25 And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, 34as he has promised, you shall keep this service.
26 And 35when your children say to you, 'What do you mean by this service?'
27 you shall say, 36'It is the sacrifice of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" And the people 37bowed their heads and worshiped.
28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

29 38At midnight the 39LORD struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, 40from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was 41a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.
31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, "Up, go out from among my people, 42both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said.
32 43Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!"

The Exodus

33 44The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead."
34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders.
35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had 45asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.
36 46And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that 47they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
37 And the 48people of Israel journeyed from 49Rameses to Succoth, 50about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.
38 A 51mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds.
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because 52they were thrust out of Egypt and 53could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years.
41 At the end of years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
42 It was a night of watching by the LORD, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a 54night of watching kept to the LORD by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.

Institution of the Passover

43 And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,
44 but every slave that is 55bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him.
45 56No foreigner or hired servant may eat of it.
46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and 57you shall not break any of its bones.
47 58All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 59If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he 60shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
49 There shall be 61one law for the native and for the 62stranger who sojourns among you."
50 All the people of Israel did just as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.
51 And on that very day the 63LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their 64hosts.

Exodus 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

The beginning of the year changed, The passover instituted. (1-20) The people instructed how to observe the passover. (21-28) The death of the first-born of the Egyptians The Israelites urged to leave the land of Egypt. (29-36) The Israelites' first journey to Succoth. (37-42) Ordinance respecting the passover. (43-51)

Verses 1-20 The Lord makes all things new to those whom he delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to himself to be his people. The time when he does this is to them the beginning of a new life. God appointed that, on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt, each family should kill a lamb, or that two or three families, if small, should kill one lamb. This lamb was to be eaten in the manner here directed, and the blood to be sprinkled on the door-posts, to mark the houses of the Israelites from those of the Egyptians. The angel of the Lord, when destroying the first-born of the Egyptians, would pass over the houses marked by the blood of the lamb: hence the name of this holy feast or ordinance. The passover was to be kept every year, both as a remembrance of Israel's preservation and deliverance out of Egypt, and as a remarkable type of Christ. Their safety and deliverance were not a reward of their own righteousness, but the gift of mercy. Of this they were reminded, and by this ordinance they were taught, that all blessings came to them through the shedding and sprinkling of blood. Observe, 1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, #1Co. 5:7 |. Christ is the Lamb of God, ( John 1:29 ) ; often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb. It was to be in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not when a babe at Bethlehem. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot: the judge who condemned Christ declared him innocent. It was to be set apart four days before, denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise. It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ, Joh. 19:33 , denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus. 2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, ( Romans 5:11 ) . Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer's protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell, ( Romans 8:1 ) . 3. The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, see ( john 6:53 john 6:55 ) . It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter. It was to be eaten standing, with their staves in their hands, as being ready to depart. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain, ( hebrews 13:13 hebrews 13:14 ) . 4. The feast of unleavened bread was ( 1 Corinthians. 5:7 ) Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Christ Jesus. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy. The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.

Verses 21-28 That night, when the first-born were to be destroyed, no Israelite must stir out of doors till called to march out of Egypt. Their safety was owing to the blood of sprinkling. If they put themselves from under the protection of that, it was at their peril. They must stay within, to wait for the salvation of the Lord; it is good to do so. In after-times they should carefully teach their children the meaning of this service. It is good for children to ask about the things of God; they that ask for the way will find it. The keeping of this solemnity every year was, 1. To look backward, that they might remember what great things God had done for them and their fathers. Old mercies, to ourselves, or to our fathers, must not be forgotten, that God may be praised, and our faith in him encouraged. 2. It was designed to look forward, as an earnest of the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the fulness of time. Christ our passover was sacrificed for us; his death was our life.

Verses 29-36 The Egyptians had been for three days and nights kept in anxiety and horror by the darkness; now their rest is broken by a far more terrible calamity. The plague struck their first-born, the joy and hope of their families. They had slain the Hebrews' children, now God slew theirs. It reached from the throne to the dungeon: prince and peasant stand upon the same level before God's judgments. The destroying angel entered every dwelling unmarked with blood, as the messenger of woe. He did his dreadful errand, leaving not a house in which there was not one dead. Imagine then the cry that rang through the land of Egypt, the long, loud shriek of agony that burst from every dwelling. It will be thus in that dreadful hour when the Son of man shall visit sinners with the last judgment. God's sons, his first-born, were now released. Men had better come to God's terms at first, for he will never come to theirs. Now Pharaoh's pride is abased, and he yields. God's word will stand; we get nothing by disputing, or delaying to submit. In this terror the Egyptians would purchase the favour and the speedy departure of Israel. Thus the Lord took care that their hard-earned wages should be paid, and the people provided for their journey.

Verses 37-42 The children of Israel set forward without delay. A mixed multitude went with them. Some, perhaps, willing to leave their country, laid waste by plagues; others, out of curiosity; perhaps a few out of love to them and their religion. But there were always those among the Israelites who were not Israelites. Thus there are still hypocrites in the church. This great event was 430 years from the promise made to Abraham: see ( Galatians 3:17 ) . So long the promise of a settlement was unfulfilled. But though God's promises are not performed quickly, they will be, in their season. This is that night of the Lord, that remarkable night, to be celebrated in all generations. The great things God does for his people, are to be not only a few days' wonder, but to be remembered throughout all ages; especially the work of our redemption by Christ. This first passover-night was a night of the Lord, much to be observed; but the last passover-night, in which Christ was betrayed and in which the first passover, with the rest of the Jewish ceremonies, was done away, was a night of the Lord, much more to be observed. Then a yoke, heavier than that of Egypt, was broken from off our necks, and a land, better than that of Canaan, set before us. It was a redemption to be celebrated in heaven, for ever and ever.

Verses 43-51 In times to come, all the congregation of Israel must keep the passover. All that share in God's mercies should join in thankful praises for them. The New Testament passover, the Lord's supper, ought not to be neglected by any. Strangers, if circumcised, might eat of the passover. Here is an early indication of favour to the gentiles. This taught the Jews that their being a nation favoured by God, entitled them to their privileges, not their descent from Abraham. Christ our passover ( 1 Corinthians. 5:7 1 Corinthians. 5:8 ) for our souls; without the shedding of it there is no remission; without the sprinkling of it there can be no salvation. Have we, by faith in him, sheltered our souls from deserved vengeance under the protection of his atoning blood? Do we keep close to him, constantly depending upon him? Do we so profess our faith in the Redeemer, and our obligations to him, that all who pass by may know to whom we belong? Do we stand prepared for his service, ready to walk in his ways, and to separate ourselves from his enemies? These are questions of vast importance to the soul; may the Lord direct our consciences honestly to answer them.

Cross References 65

  • 1. Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1
  • 2. ver. 21
  • 3. Leviticus 22:19-21; Deuteronomy 17:1; Malachi 1:8, 14; Hebrews 9:14
  • 4. ver. 18; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:3; Numbers 28:16; Joshua 5:10; Ezra 6:19
  • 5. ver. 22
  • 6. Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25; Numbers 9:11; Deuteronomy 16:3; 1 Corinthians 5:8
  • 7. Deuteronomy 16:7; 2 Chronicles 35:13
  • 8. Exodus 23:18; Exodus 29:34; Exodus 34:25; Deuteronomy 16:4; [Leviticus 7:15]
  • 9. [Luke 12:35; Ephesians 6:14; 1 Peter 1:13]
  • 10. ver. 27; Leviticus 23:5; Deuteronomy 16:5; [1 Corinthians 5:7]
  • 11. ver. 23; Exodus 11:4, 5
  • 12. Numbers 33:4
  • 13. Exodus 6:2; Isaiah 43:11
  • 14. [Hebrews 11:28]
  • 15. Exodus 13:9
  • 16. ver. 17, 24, 43; Exodus 13:10; 2 Kings 23:21
  • 17. Exodus 13:6, 7; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18, 25; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17; Deuteronomy 16:3, 8; [1 Corinthians 5:7, 8]
  • 18. [Genesis 17:14; Numbers 9:13]
  • 19. Leviticus 23:7, 8; Numbers 28:18, 25
  • 20. Exodus 13:3
  • 21. ver. 51; Exodus 7:4
  • 22. Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 28:16
  • 23. ver. 15
  • 24. ver. 15
  • 25. ver. 48, 49
  • 26. ver. 3
  • 27. Leviticus 14:6; Numbers 19:18; Psalms 51:7; Hebrews 9:19
  • 28. Hebrews 11:28
  • 29. ver. 7
  • 30. [Isaiah 26:20]
  • 31. ver. 12, 13
  • 32. [See ver. 22 above]
  • 33. Hebrews 11:28; [Ezekiel 9:6; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 9:4]
  • 34. Exodus 3:8, 17
  • 35. Exodus 13:8, 14; Deuteronomy 6:20; Deuteronomy 32:7; Joshua 4:6, 21; Psalms 78:3-6
  • 36. ver. 11, 21
  • 37. Exodus 4:31
  • 38. Exodus 11:4
  • 39. Numbers 8:17; Numbers 33:4; Psalms 78:51; Psalms 105:36; Psalms 135:8; Psalms 136:10
  • 40. Exodus 4:23; Exodus 11:5
  • 41. Exodus 11:6; [Amos 5:16, 17]
  • 42. [Exodus 10:9-11]
  • 43. [Exodus 10:24-26]
  • 44. Exodus 6:1; Exodus 11:1, 8; Psalms 105:38
  • 45. Exodus 3:22; Exodus 11:2
  • 46. Exodus 3:21; Exodus 11:3
  • 47. Genesis 15:14; Psalms 105:37
  • 48. Numbers 33:3, 5
  • 49. Genesis 47:11; [Exodus 1:11]
  • 50. [Exodus 38:26; Numbers 1:46; Numbers 2:32; Numbers 11:21; Numbers 26:51]
  • 51. Leviticus 24:10, 11; Numbers 11:4; [Nehemiah 13:3]
  • 52. [See ver. 33 above]
  • 53. [Deuteronomy 16:3]
  • 54. Galatians 3:17; [Genesis 15:13; Acts 7:6]
  • 55. See Deuteronomy 16:1-6
  • 56. [Genesis 17:12, 13]
  • 57. Leviticus 22:10
  • 58. Numbers 9:12; Cited John 19:36
  • 59. ver. 6
  • 60. Numbers 9:14
  • 61. ver. 19
  • 62. Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:15, 16
  • 63. [See ver. 48 above]
  • 64. ver. 41; Acts 13:17
  • 65. ver. 17

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Hebrew between the two evenings

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with observing, that the month in which the above wonders were wrought in Egypt, and the following ordinance appointed to the Israelites, should hereafter be reckoned the first month in the year, Ex 12:1,2 on the tenth day of which a lamb here described was to be taken and kept till the fourteenth, and then slain, and its blood sprinkled on the posts of the houses of the Israelites, Ex 12:3-7, the manner of dressing and eating it is shown, Ex 12:8-11 and the reason of the institution of this ordinance being given, Ex 12:12-14, and an order to eat unleavened bread during seven days, in which the feast was to be kept, Ex 12:15-20, directions are also given for the immediate observance of it, and particularly about the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb, and the use of it, Ex 12:21-23, and this ordinance, which they were to instruct their children in, was to be kept by them in succeeding ages for ever, Ex 12:24-27 about the middle of the night it was first observed, all the firstborn in Egypt were slain, which made the Egyptians urgent upon the Israelites to depart in haste, Ex 12:28-33 and which they did with their unleavened dough, and with great riches they had borrowed of the Egyptians, Ex 12:34-36, the number of the children of Israel at the time of their departure, the mixed multitude and cattle that went with them, their baking their unleavened cakes, the time of their sojourning in Egypt, and of their coming out of it that night, which made it a remarkable one, are all particularly taken notice of, Ex 12:37-42, laws and rules are given concerning the persons that should partake of the passover, Ex 12:43-49 and the chapter is concluded with observing, that it was kept according to the command of God, and that it was on the same day it was first instituted and kept that Israel were brought out of Egypt, Ex 12:50,51.

Exodus 12 Commentaries