Exodus 12:1-20

The Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,
2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb[a] for his family, one for each household.
4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.
6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs.
10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.
15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.
19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel.
20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

Exodus 12:1-20 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 12

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 12:1-20 In-Context

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,
2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.
6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs.
10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it.
11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD’s Passover.
12 “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD.
13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
14 “This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD—a lasting ordinance.
15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
17 “Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.
19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel.
20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”
21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning.
23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
24 “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.

Cross References 35

  • 1. ver 18; Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Exodus 40:2; Deuteronomy 16:1
  • 2. Mark 14:12; 1 Corinthians 5:7
  • 3. ver 21
  • 4. Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 3:1; Leviticus 4:3; Leviticus 22:18-21; 2Leviticus 3:12; Numbers 6:14; Numbers 15:8; Numbers 28:3; Deuteronomy 15:21; Deuteronomy 17:1; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19
  • 5. ver 19; Leviticus 23:5; Nu 9:1-3,5,11; Joshua 5:10; 2 Chronicles 30:2
  • 6. Exodus 16:12; Deuteronomy 16:4,6
  • 7. ver 13,23; Ezekiel 9:6
  • 8. ver 10; Exodus 16:19; Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25; Leviticus 7:15; Numbers 9:12
  • 9. Deuteronomy 16:7; 2 Chronicles 35:13
  • 10. Numbers 9:11
  • 11. ver 19-20; Exodus 13:3; Deuteronomy 16:3-4; 1 Corinthians 5:8
  • 12. Ex 29:13,17,22; Leviticus 3:3
  • 13. S ver 8; Exodus 13:7; Exodus 29:34; Leviticus 22:30; Deuteronomy 16:4; Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25
  • 14. ver 33; Deuteronomy 16:3; Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:12
  • 15. ver 13,21,27,43; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:2,4; Numbers 28:16; Deuteronomy 16:1; Joshua 5:10; 2 Kings 23:21,23; 2 Chronicles 30:1; Ezra 6:19; Isaiah 31:5; Ezekiel 45:21
  • 16. Exodus 11:4; Amos 5:17
  • 17. Isaiah 10:33; Isaiah 31:8; Isaiah 37:36
  • 18. ver 29; S Exodus 4:23; Exodus 13:15
  • 19. Exodus 15:11; Exodus 18:11; Numbers 33:4; 2 Chronicles 2:5; Psalms 95:3; Psalms 97:9; Psalms 135:5; Isaiah 19:1; Jeremiah 43:12; Jeremiah 44:8
  • 20. S Exodus 6:2
  • 21. S ver 11,23; Hebrews 11:28
  • 22. S Exodus 8:23
  • 23. Exodus 13:9; Exodus 23:14; Exodus 32:5
  • 24. ver 17,24; Exodus 13:5,10; Exodus 27:21; Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 10:9; Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 17:7; Leviticus 23:14; Leviticus 24:3; Numbers 18:23; 2 Kings 23:21
  • 25. Exodus 13:6-7; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17; Deuteronomy 16:3; 1 Corinthians 5:7
  • 26. S Genesis 17:14; Numbers 9:13
  • 27. Numbers 29:35
  • 28. Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:16; 2 Chronicles 8:13; 2 Chronicles 30:21; Ezra 6:22; Matthew 26:17; Luke 22:1; Acts 12:3
  • 29. ver 41; S Exodus 6:6,26; Exodus 13:3; Leviticus 19:36
  • 30. Leviticus 3:17
  • 31. S ver 2; Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:16-25
  • 32. S Genesis 17:14
  • 33. Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:14; Numbers 35:15; Deuteronomy 1:16; Joshua 8:33
  • 34. Leviticus 3:17; Numbers 35:29; Ezekiel 6:6
  • 35. Exodus 13:6

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. The Hebrew word can mean "lamb" or "kid" ; also in verse 4.