Exodus 12

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
2 This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you.
3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.
4 If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
6 You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight.
7 They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
8 They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs.
10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.
13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance.
15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you.
17 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance.
18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread.
19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether an alien or a native of the land.
20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down.
24 You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children.
25 When you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance.
26 And when your children ask you, "What do you mean by this observance?'
27 you shall say, "It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " And the people bowed down and worshiped.
28 The Israelites went and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of the livestock.
30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, "Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said.
32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!"
33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, "We shall all be dead."
34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders.
35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing,
36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.
37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children.
38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds.
39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years.
41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
42 That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,
44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised;
45 no bound or hired servant may eat of it.
46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the animal outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
47 The whole congregation of Israel shall celebrate it.
48 If an alien who resides with you wants to celebrate the passover to the Lord, all his males shall be circumcised; then he may draw near to celebrate it; he shall be regarded as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it;
49 there shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.
50 All the Israelites did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
51 That very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company.

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.

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries