Exodus 12

The Passover Lamb

1 Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
2 "1This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.
3 "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household.
4 'Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.
5 'Your lamb shall be 2an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
6 'You shall keep * it until the 3fourteenth * day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it 4at twilight.
7 '5Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
8 'They shall eat the flesh 6that same night, 7roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with 8unleavened bread 9and bitter herbs.
9 'Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather * 10roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with 11its entrails.
10 '12And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.
11 'Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste -it is 13the LORD'S Passover.
12 'For 14I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and 15against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments -16I am the LORD.
13 '17The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where * you live; 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.

Feast of Unleavened Bread

14 'Now 18this day will be 19a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as 20a permanent ordinance.
15 '21Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, 22that person shall be cut off from Israel.
16 '23On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.
17 'You shall also observe 24the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this 25very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as 26a permanent ordinance.
18 '27In the first month, on the fourteenth * day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first * day of the month at evening.
19 '28Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that 29person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.
20 'You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.' "
21 Then 30Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and 31take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay 32the Passover lamb.
22 "33You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none * of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

A Memorial of Redemption

23 "For 34the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will 35not allow the 36destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.
24 "And 37you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever *.
25 "When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.
26 "38And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?'
27 you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to 39the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.' " 40And the people bowed low and worshiped.
28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
29 Now it came about at 41midnight * that 42the LORD struck all 43the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from 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 44cattle.
30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was 45a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where * there was not someone dead.
31 Then 46he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, "Rise up, 47get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.
32 "Take 48both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also."

Exodus of Israel

33 49The Egyptians urged * the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, "We will all be dead."
34 So the people took 50their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.
35 51Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;
36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they 52plundered the Egyptians.
37 Now the 53sons of Israel journeyed from 54Rameses to Succoth, about 55six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.
38 A 56mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a 57very large number of livestock.
39 They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were 58driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor * had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was 59four hundred and thirty years.
41 And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to 60the very day, 61all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

Ordinance of the Passover

42 62It is a night to be observed for the LORD for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.
43 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of 63the Passover: no * 64foreigner * is to eat of it;
44 but every man's 65slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it.
45 "66A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it.
46 "It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, 67nor are you to break any bone of it.
47 "68All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.
48 "But 69if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no * uncircumcised person may eat of it.
49 "70The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you."
50 Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.
51 And on that same day 71the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt 72by their hosts.

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 72

  • 1. Exodus 13:4; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1
  • 2. Leviticus 22:18-21; Leviticus 23:12; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19
  • 3. Exodus 12:14, 17; Leviticus 23:5; Num 9:1-3, 11; Numbers 28:16
  • 4. Exodus 16:12; Deuteronomy 16:4, 6
  • 5. Exodus 12:22
  • 6. Exodus 34:25; Numbers 9:12
  • 7. Deuteronomy 16:7
  • 8. Deuteronomy 16:3, 4; 1 Corinthians 5:8
  • 9. Numbers 9:11
  • 10. Exodus 12:8
  • 11. Ex 29:13, 17, 22
  • 12. Exodus 16:19; Exodus 23:18; Exodus 34:25
  • 13. Ex 12:13, 21, 27, 43
  • 14. Exodus 11:4, 5
  • 15. Numbers 33:4; Psalms 82:1
  • 16. Exodus 6:2
  • 17. Hebrews 11:28
  • 18. Exodus 12:6; Leviticus 23:4, 5; 2 Kings 23:21
  • 19. Exodus 13:9
  • 20. Exodus 12:17, 24; Exodus 13:10
  • 21. Exodus 13:6, 7; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18; Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17; Deuteronomy 16:3, 8
  • 22. Genesis 17:14; Exodus 12:19; Numbers 9:13
  • 23. Leviticus 23:7, 8; Numbers 28:18, 25
  • 24. Deuteronomy 16:3-8
  • 25. Exodus 12:41
  • 26. Exodus 12:14; Exodus 13:3, 10
  • 27. Exodus 12:2; Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:16-25
  • 28. Exodus 12:15; Exodus 23:15; Exodus 34:18
  • 29. Numbers 9:13
  • 30. Numbers 9:4; Hebrews 11:28
  • 31. Exodus 12:3
  • 32. Exodus 12:11
  • 33. Exodus 12:7
  • 34. Exodus 11:4; Exodus 12:12, 13
  • 35. Revelation 7:3; Revelation 9:4
  • 36. 1 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 11:28
  • 37. Exodus 12:14, 17; Exodus 13:5, 10
  • 38. Exodus 10:2; Exodus 13:8, 14, 15; Deuteronomy 32:7; Joshua 4:6; Psalms 78:6
  • 39. Exodus 12:11
  • 40. Exodus 4:31
  • 41. Exodus 11:4, 5
  • 42. Numbers 8:17; Numbers 33:4; Psalms 135:8; Psalms 136:10
  • 43. Exodus 4:23; Psalms 78:51; Psalms 105:36
  • 44. Exodus 9:6
  • 45. Exodus 11:6
  • 46. Exodus 8:8
  • 47. Exodus 8:25
  • 48. Exodus 10:9, 26
  • 49. Exodus 10:7; Exodus 11:1; Exodus 12:39; Psalms 105:38
  • 50. Exodus 12:39
  • 51. Exodus 3:21, 22; Exodus 11:2, 3; Psalms 105:37
  • 52. Exodus 3:22
  • 53. Numbers 33:3, 5
  • 54. Genesis 47:11
  • 55. Exodus 38:26; Numbers 1:46; Numbers 2:32; Numbers 11:21; Numbers 26:51
  • 56. Numbers 11:4
  • 57. Exodus 17:3; Numbers 20:19; Numbers 32:1; Deuteronomy 3:19
  • 58. Exodus 6:1; Exodus 11:1; Exodus 12:31-33
  • 59. Genesis 15:13, 16; Acts 7:6; Galatians 3:17
  • 60. Exodus 12:17
  • 61. Exodus 3:8, 10; Exodus 6:6
  • 62. Exodus 13:10; Exodus 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1
  • 63. Exodus 12:11; Numbers 9:14
  • 64. Exodus 12:48
  • 65. Genesis 17:12, 13; Leviticus 22:11
  • 66. Leviticus 22:10
  • 67. Numbers 9:12; Psalms 34:20; John 19:33, 36
  • 68. Exodus 12:6; Numbers 9:13, 14
  • 69. Numbers 9:14
  • 70. Leviticus 24:22; Num 15:15, 16, 29
  • 71. Exodus 12:41
  • 72. Exodus 6:26

Footnotes 47

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

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