Exodus 13

1 And the Lord spake to Moses, and said,
2 Hallow thou to me each first begotten thing that openeth the womb among the sons of Israel, as well of men as of beasts (of men as well as of beasts), for why (they) all be mine.
3 And Moses said to the people, Have ye mind of this day, in which ye went out of Egypt, and of the house of servage, for in [a] strong hand the Lord led you out of this place, that ye eat no bread dighted with sourdough. (And Moses said to the people, Remember ye this day, in which ye went out of Egypt, and out of the house of servitude, or of slavery, for by his strong hand the Lord led you out of this place, and remember to not eat any bread made with yeast on this day.)
4 Today ye go out, in the month of new fruits; (Go ye out today, in the month of Abib;)
5 and when the Lord hath led thee into the land of Canaanites, and of Hittites, and of Amorites, and of Hivites, and of Jebusites, which land he swore to thy fathers, that he should give to thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, thou shalt hallow this custom of holy things in this month (thou shalt keep this rite in this month).
6 Seven days thou shalt eat therf loaves, and the solemnity of the Lord shall be in the seventh day; (For seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and a Feast unto the Lord shall be held on the seventh day;)
7 ye shall eat therf loaves seven days, nothing dighted with sourdough shall appear at thee, neither in all thy coasts. (ye shall eat unleavened bread for seven days, and nothing made with yeast shall be seen among thee, not in all thy land.)
8 And thou shalt tell to thy son in that day, and shalt say, This it is that the Lord did to me, when I went out of Egypt. (And thou shalt say to thy son on that day, This is done because of what the Lord did for me, when I went out of Egypt.)
9 And it shall be as a sign in thine hand, and as a memorial before thine eyes, and that the law of the Lord be ever[more] in thy mouth; for in a strong hand the Lord led thee out of Egypt, and of the house of servage. (And it shall be like a sign on thy hand, and as a reminder before thine eyes, so that the Lord's law is always in thy mouth; for by a strong hand the Lord led thee out of Egypt, and out of the house of servitude, or of slavery.)
10 Thou shalt keep such a worshipping in time ordained, from days into days, that is, from year into year. (Thou shalt keep this rite in the time ordained, that is, from year to year.)
11 And when the Lord hath brought thee into the land of Canaanites, as he swore to thee, and to thy fathers, and hath given it to thee,
12 thou shalt separate to the Lord all thing (of male kind) that (first) openeth the womb, and that that is first in thy beasts (thou shalt set aside for the Lord all the males who first openeth the womb, and all the males that be first in thy beasts); whatever thing thou hast of male kind, thou shalt hallow it to the Lord.
13 Thou shalt (ex)change the first engendered of an ass for a sheep, that if thou again-buyest it not, thou shalt slay it; forsooth thou shalt again-buy with price all the first begotten of a man of thy sons. (Thou shalt exchange the first-born of a donkey for a sheep, and if thou buyest it not back, then thou shalt kill it; but thou must buy back all thy first-born sons.)
14 And when thy son shall ask thee tomorrow, and say, What is this? thou shalt answer to him, In a strong hand the Lord led us out of the land of Egypt, of the house of servage (By a strong hand the Lord led us out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude, or of slavery);
15 for when Pharaoh was made hard in heart, and would not deliver us, the Lord slew all the first begotten thing in the land of Egypt, from the first begotten of man, till to the first engendered of beasts; therefore I offer to the Lord all thing of male kind that (first) openeth the womb, and I (shall) again-buy all the first begotten things of my sons. (for when Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not let us go, the Lord killed all the first-born things in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of man, unto the first-born of beasts; and so I offer to the Lord all the things of male kind that first openeth the womb, and I shall buy back all the first-born of my sons.)
16 Therefore it shall be as a sign in thine hand, and as a thing hanged for mind before thine eyes, for in a strong hand the Lord led us out of Egypt. (And so it shall be like a sign on thy hand, and like a thing hung up as a reminder before thine eyes, for by a strong hand the Lord led us out of Egypt.)
17 Therefore when Pharaoh had sent out the people, God led not them out by the way of the land of Philistines, which is nigh; and areckoning lest peradventure it would repent the people, if he had seen battles rise against him, and the people would turn again into Egypt; (Now when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them out by the way of the land of the Philistines, which was near; reckoning that when they had seen battles rise up against them, perhaps they would repent, or would change their minds, and then the people would return to Egypt;)
18 but God led the people about by the way of desert, which way is beside the Red Sea. And the sons of Israel were armed, and went up from the land of Egypt. (but God led the people out by the way of the wilderness, which was towards the Red Sea. And so the Israelites were armed, and went up from the land of Egypt.)
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had charged the sons of Israel, and had said, God shall visit you, and bear ye out from hence my bones with you (and at that time carry ye away my bones from here with you).
20 And they went forth from Succoth, and setted tents in Etham (and pitched their tents at Etham), in the last ends of the wilderness.
21 Forsooth the Lord went before them to show them the way, by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, that he should be leader of the way in ever either time (so that he would be their leader on the way at all times);
22 the pillar of cloud failed never by day, neither the pillar of fire by night, before the people. (and the pillar of cloud never ceased from being in front of the people during the day, nor the pillar of fire during the night.)

Exodus 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The first-born sanctified to God The remembrance of the passover commanded. (1-10) The firstlings of beasts set apart. (11-16) Joseph's bones carried with the Israelites, They come to Etham. (17-20) God guideth the Israelites by a pillar of cloud fire. (21,22)

Verses 1-10 In remembrance of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, both of man and of beast, and the deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage, the first-born males of the Israelites were set apart to the Lord. By this was set before them, that their lives were preserved through the ransom of the atonement, which in due time was to be made for sin. They were also to consider their lives, thus ransomed from death, as now to be consecrated to the service of God. The parents were not to look upon themselves as having any right in their first-born, till they solemnly presented them to God, and allowed his title to them. That which is, by special mercy, spared to us, should be applied to God's honour; at least, some grateful acknowledgment, in works of piety and charity, should be made. The remembrance of their coming out of Egypt must be kept up every year. The day of Christ's resurrection is to be remembered, for in it we were raised up with Christ out of death's house of bondage. The Scripture tells us not expressly what day of the year Christ rose, but it states particularly what day of the week it was; as the more valuable deliverance, it should be remembered weekly. The Israelites must keep the feast of unleavened bread. Under the gospel, we must not only remember Christ, but observe his holy supper. Do this in remembrance of him. Also care must be taken to teach children the knowledge of God. Here is an old law for catechising. It is of great use to acquaint children betimes with the histories of the Bible. And those who have God's law in their heart should have it in their mouth, and often speak of it, to affect themselves, and to teach others.

Verses 11-16 The firstlings of beast not used in sacrifice, were to be changed for others so used, or they were to be destroyed. Our souls are forfeited to God's justice, and unless ransomed by the sacrifice of Christ, will certainly perish. These institutions would continually remind them of their duty, to love and serve the Lord. In like manner, baptism and the Lord's supper, if explained and attended to, would remind us, and give us occasion to remind one another of our profession and duty.

Verses 17-20 There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few days' journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. God's way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journey's end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his people's trials to their strength, 1Co. 10:13 . They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.

Verses 21-22 The Lord went before them in a pillar, or appearance of the Divine Majesty. Christ was with the church in the ( 1 Corinthians. 10:13 ) he will not leave nor lose there, but will take care to lead them through it. It was great satisfaction to Moses and the pious Israelites, to be sure that they were under Divine guidance. Those who make the glory of God their end, and the word of God their rule, the Spirit of God the guide of their affections, and the providence of God the guide of their affairs, may be sure that the Lord goes before them, though they cannot see it with their eyes: we must now live by faith. When Israel marched, this pillar went before, and pointed out the place of encampment, as Divine Wisdom saw fit. It sheltered by day from the heat, and gave light by night. The Bible is a light to our feet, a lantern to our paths, with which the Saviour's love has provided us. It testifies of Christ. It is to us like the pillar to the Israelites. Listen to that voice which cries, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life, ( John 8:12 ) . Jesus Christ alone, as shown in the Bible, and as the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, recommends him to the soul, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, ( John 14:6 ) .

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with an order to sanctify or set apart the firstborn of man and beast to the Lord, Ex 13:1,2 and the people of Israel are charged to keep the feast of unleavened bread in its season, from year to year, when they came into the land of Canaan, the reason of which they were to acquaint their children with, Ex 13:3-10 and they are also directed, when come into the land of Canaan, to set apart every firstling of a beast unto the Lord, and particularly the firstling of an ass was to be redeemed with a lamb, or its neck to be broke, and all the firstborn of men were to be redeemed also, Ex 13:11-13, and when their children inquired the reason of it, they were to be told it was on account of the Lord's slaying the firstborn of men and beast among the Egyptians, when Pharaoh would not let Israel go, and of saving the firstborn of his people, Ex 13:14-16, and it is observed, that when the children of Israel went out of Egypt, they were not led by the nearest way, the way of the land of the Philistines, but a round about way, the way of the wilderness of the Red sea, when they took the bones of Joseph with them, as he had adjured them to do, Ex 13:17-19, and the chapter is concluded with an account of their journeying from Succoth to Etham, the Lord going before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, Ex 13:20-22.

Exodus 13 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.