The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Exodus 12

Exo 12:1

  1. Deu 33:1-3: Manifestation of divine power from Sinai (cp Hab 3:3).
  2. 2Sa 22:7-20 (Psa 18): Individual deliverance from slavery to sin, death.
  3. Psa 68:17,18: Future glory from Sinai.
  4. Psa 77:11-20: Deliverance in time of affliction.
  5. Eph 4:8: Christ's victory over death. Deliverance from mortality.
Deliverance from "Egypt": a fixed principle: Hos 11:1; Mat 2:15; Joh 3; Rom 6; Gal 5. Redemption of earth: Num 14:21; Isa 11:9; Hab 2:14. Redemption of man: 1Co 15:55.

Exo 12:2

FIRST: "Rosh", head.

FIRST MONTH: Abib, "green ear (of corn)", springtime. Commencement of religious life of probation. A new beginning, for Israel, as for the "heavens and earth" (Gen 1:1,5).

Exo 12:3

THE WHOLE COMMUNITY OF ISRAEL: None were exempt; all must be identified with the passover lamb (Gal 3:26-29).

ON THE TENTH DAY: Five days before Passover, Christ entered the city (cp Joh 12:1,12). During the last 4 days, the lamb (Christ) was inspected for any blemish (v 6; cp Joh 8:46).

Exo 12:4

IF ANY HOUSEHOLD IS TOO SMALL: When we are few, we must draw more closely together in fellowship.


Exo 12:5

YEAR-OLD: "First year" suggests "firstborn": cp Rom 8:29; Col 1:18; Psa 89:27. "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth" (Ecc 12:1).

MALES: Reason: man is image and glory of God (1Co 11:1-3). Law always stresses male (Exo 13:12; 23:17; Deu 16:16; Num 1:21...).

WITHOUT DEFECT: "Entire", "perfect", "complete" in Lev 23:15. Antitype = Christ: 1Pe 1:19. Cp Rev 21:9; Eph 5:27; Col 2:10.

Exo 12:6

TAKE CARE OF: Impl watch, inspect.

AT TWILIGHT: "Between the 2 evenings" (AV mg). (1) Perhaps between decline of sun (after noon) and sunset. Or (2) one span of 24 hrs. At the earlier evening, Christ kept the Passover, then was himself slain to fulfill the type before the second evening (JT; RR in Ber 51:135). Christ died "9th hr" (Mat 27:46; 14:15,23; Gen 15:12,17).

Exo 12:8

THAT SAME NIGHT: Christ was sacrificed in "evening" of Jewish times (Heb 9:26), "the same night in which he was betrayed" (1Co 11:2,3).

ROASTED OVER THE FIRE: Fiery trials: 1Co 3:13-15; 1Pe 1:7; 4:12; Heb 2:10.

BITTER HERBS: Their former condition of slavery: Joh 8:34; Rom 6:16-18; 1Co 6:9-11.

Exo 12:9

NOT... COOKED IN WATER: Nothing extraneous allowed to enter in.

ROAST IT OVER THE FIRE: On a spit, or stick. Cp cross!

HEAD... LEGS... INNER PARTS: 3-fold dedication: intelligence, walk, inward purity.

INNER PARTS: "The entrails were taken out, carefully cleansed, then replaced" (Ellicott). "I suppose this included the heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys, and not the intestinal canal" (Clarke). "According to Rashi and other rabbis the bowels were taken out, washed, and then replaced" (Spk).

Exo 12:10

DO NOT LEAVE ANY OF IT: The whole life must be dedicated, consumed. Cp Mary's anointing of Christ: feet (Joh 12:3) and head (Mat 26:7).

Exo 12:11

WITH YOUR CLOAK TUCKED INTO YOUR BELT: "With your loins girded" (AV). For readiness, mobility: Luk 12:35; Eph 6:14; 1Pe 1:13. Sym girdle of gold (faith) on Christ: Dan 10:5; Rev 1:13.

YOUR SANDALS ON YOUR FEET: Ready to march: Eph 6:15; Isa 52:7; Rom 10:15. Ready to depart, separate themselves from "Egypt" (cp 2Co 6:17). "Come out."

YOUR STAFF: Sym grace and unity (Zec 11:10-14), beauty (Jer 48:17), guidance and protection (Psa 23:4; 1Sa 17:40). Suggests a wandering (cp Gen 47:31).

Exo 12:12

ON THAT SAME NIGHT: "Weeping for a night, but joy in the morning" (Psa 30:5).

AND I WILL BRING JUDGMENT ON ALL THE GODS OF EGYPT. I AM THE LORD: Thus God gives the rationale for the particular plagues He has chosen to bring upon the land of Egypt: in each instance, the plague has been directed at one of the "gods" worshiped by the Egyptians -- to demonstrate to them the "nothingness" of their "gods" and the utter futility of serving them. Thus Yahweh causes the whole polytheistic superstructure of Egyptian life to totter and then to fall in ruins.

Exo 12:13

SIGN: Flag, signal, ensign. Rom 3:25: Christ "set forth", "placed in front".

PASS OVER: Cp the "remission"/passing over of sins: Rom 3:25. Lit "hover over", to protect: cp sw in Isa 31:5; general idea in Psa 34:7; Heb 1:14. "The term 'pesach' denotes the Passover offering and more generally the feast centering on that sacrifice, which was eaten at night... The word has been connected with a Heb verb meaning 'protect' (Isa 31:5) or 'limp' or 'skip' (2Sa 4:4; 1Ki 18:21,26)" (ABD).

The Hebrew verb is a rare and tricky word, and "authorities" come up with several different possibilities... but the idea of "hovering over, or protecting" is supported by Isa 31:5, where the same verb occurs, and where the context explains its meaning: "As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over (same verb!) he will preserve it." (This is Jerusalem being defended from Sennacherib's army.) The "birds flying" connects with the Passover angel (or angels)... but the LORD is not "passing by" Jerusalem -- He is "defending" and "delivering" and "preserving" it. It may be, in fact, that there were two very different "Angels of the LORD" at work on Passover night in Egypt -- or better yet, two "legions" of Angels! One Angel (and his "merry band"!) was the "Destroying Angel". The other Angel (and his company) was the "Passover or Hovering-Over Angel", if you will. While Angel No. 1's company went about killing all the firstborn, Angel No. 2's company stood guard at the homes sprinkled with the blood of the Passover lambs, and said, "No, not here! we don't want your business. Keep on going!" It's a little like the Persian laws in Esther: that is, the first law decrees death for all Jews, which cannot be undone... but the second decree gives them a way out! Here, in Exodus, the decree is: "Kill the firstborn... everywhere"... but God's second law gives the way out: "... except those who are sprinkled with the blood". In the broader sense, this is really what mortality is all about: "Death passes upon all men", BUT "... those who trust in the blood of Christ are delivered from the otherwise-universal death!" The Passover picture suggests the cherubim wings of God, as the One (through His angels?) who hovers over His children... like a mother bird flutters over and protects and nurtures her young.

The Psalms have some great passages along these lines: "under the shadow of God's wings" -- a half dozen or so -- all employing the same figure of speech (Psa 17:8; 36:7; 57:1; 61:4; 63:7; 91:1). And Jesus employs the same figure of speech also when he says to Jerusalem: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Mat 23:37). Words spoken by our Savior on the very eve of Passover, and in the shadow of the cross!

Exo 12:14

A LASTING ORDINANCE: "An ordinance forever" (AV). This passover (with lamb) is no longer kept by Jews, because the means of sacrificing lambs has been taken away from them. But it is still being kept by the new Israel, and will be kept in kingdom (Luk 22:16).

ORDINANCE: Enactment, engraving, as of a law-giver.

Exo 12:15

FOR SEVEN DAYS: Preliminary instructions for 7-day feast, stressing purity (removal of "leaven").

Exo 12:19

NO YEAST: The personal application: 1Co 11:28. Application to Israel: Christ cleansing the Temple (Joh 2:13; Mar 11:15).

Exo 12:22

HYSSOP: Sym cleansing (Psa 51:7). Used in red heifer (Lev 14) and water of purification (Num 19). Appears in last passover -- vinegar on hyssop (Joh 19:29).

NO ONE OF YOU SHALL GO OUT THE DOOR: Do not forsake the assemby: Heb 10:25; 1Jo 2:18,19. Only inside the "blood-sprinkled door" is safety: cp Heb 3:6; Isa 26:20.

Exo 12:23

PASS OVER: Lit "hover over", to protect: cp sw in Isa 31:5; general idea in Psa 34:7; Heb 1:14. "The term 'pesach' denotes the Passover offering and more generally the feast centering on that sacrifice, which was eaten at night... The word has been connected with a Heb verb meaning 'protect' (Isa 31:5) or 'limp' or 'skip' (2Sa 4:4; 1Ki 18:21,26)" (ABD).

THE DESTROYER: Cp "angels of evil" in Psa 78:49. See Lesson, Angels of evil?

Exo 12:26

WHAT DOES THIS CEREMONY MEAN TO YOU?: It is a service of: (1) commemoration (Luk 22:19), (2) communion (1Co 10:16,17), (3) confession (1Co 11:26), (4) consecration (1Co 6:20; 1Pe 1:19), (5) confident hope (1Co 11:26). "You show forth" (1Co 11:26).

Exo 12:27

PASSED OVER: Sw Exo 12:13,23n.

Exo 12:29

AT MIDNIGHT: The hour of God's judgment upon the world -- ie Job 34:20. Hour of sleep: Luk 11:5. When the bridegroom comes: Mat 25:6.

THE LORD STRUCK DOWN ALL THE FIRSTBORN IN EGYPT: In retribution for Pharaoh's treatment of his firstborn, ie Israel (Exo 4:22).

Exo 12:30

LOUD WAILING: Either a "shriek of grief" or a "proclamation".

Exo 12:31

Ct with previous attitude: Pharaoh is now insistent that they leave immediately.

Exo 12:34

BEFORE THE YEAST WAS ADDED: Cp v 8. Time was short: Gen 18:6; 19:3; Jdg 6:19. A sign of affliction: Deu 16:3.

Exo 12:35

ASKED: Cp Exo 11:2n.

ARTICLES OF SILVER AND GOLD AND FOR CLOTHING: The "great substance" that Abraham's seed would come forth with (Gen 15:14).

Exo 12:37

RAMESES: Sig "temple of sun". Rallying place for Jews. The scene of their servitude: their slave labor had built a temple there. The firstborn of Pharaoh was called son of the sun. Note 9th plague (darkness/sun) and 10th plague (death of firstborn). In Heb, "Rameses" sig "wash away evil" = washed in blood of passover lamb (Eph 5:28; Col 1:13,14; 1Co 5:7) to begin journey.

SUCCOTH: "Tabernacles" -- temporary habitations, of pilgrims (Heb 11). Separation, unleavened bread (1Co 5:7).

Exo 12:38

OTHER: Heb "ereb" = mixed, with particular ref to Arab peoples: cp sw Neh 13:3; Jer 50:37; Eze 30:5; Jer 25:20,24 (see Lesson, Arab/"mixed").

Exo 12:40

430 YEARS: "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years" (AV). The 430 years refs to sojourning anywhere, not to sojourning in Egypt. See Act 7:6; Gal 3:16,17. This time included sojourning of Abr (Heb 11:9). Gal 3:17: "the covenant... the law 430 years after" (see esp Gen 15:13). Abr also sojourned in Egypt (Gen 12:10-12), approx age 75, afflicted by Pharaoh. The children of Israel (including Levi) were in the loins of Abraham, after example of Heb 7:10.

Exo 12:41

DIVISIONS: "Hosts" (AV). Heb "sabaoth".

Exo 12:42

ALL THE ISRAELITES ARE TO KEEP VIGIL: "A night to be much observed" (AV). A night of watching and prayer (Mat 26:38).

Exo 12:43

NO FOREIGNER IS TO EAT OF IT: Unity based on knowledge, and "family" connection.

Exo 12:44

Those with Abr (318 trained men: Gen 14:14) and Jacob (the "companies" of Gen 33:8,13) were the ancestors of a large number of people, prob incorporated into the great nation of Israel. Ct here to foreigners in vv 43,45: these servants, circumcised: Gen 17:12,13), were part of the nation of Israel -- the 600,000!

Exo 12:46

INSIDE ONE HOUSE... TAKE NONE... OUTSIDE THE HOUSE: Warning against instituting a "second fellowship" (1Jo 2:18,19).

DO NOT BREAK ANY OF THE BONES: 'Do not break any of its tender bones to get out the marrow; and so the Targum of Jonathan adds, 'that ye may eat that which is in the midst of it' " (Gill).

This seems to be emphasizing that the lamb itself was to be kept intact; it would have spoiled the symbolism -- of the one Lamb, and the one family -- to carry part of the flesh, or a bone, like a leg of lamb, out of the house, to share with others outside, or to eat later. All the flesh was to be consumed that night, and at that place.

But would it have violated the Passover law to break even one small bone of the lamb? I think the intention of the Law (and this would apply to Christ, the passover lamb) was that, insofar as possible, the whole body be kept intact. This would preserve the symbolism of the One Body and the One Hope, and the One Sacrifice -- all of which are quite meaningful as regards Jesus.

And this would explain why his legs should not be broken. His corpse would surely be bloody and bruised, and seriously violated... but it would remain One Body... not separated, not cut up, not divided or parceled out or scattered. (Cp how the special robe of Jesus was treated: "Do not divide it!")

And, as a practical matter, the body of Jesus would be buried... one body, in one place... its resting place well-attested, and even sealed and guarded.... so that when Jesus was raised from the dead, and glorified, there would and could be no question about its not being HIS OWN body! [The silly fabrication -- that his body was stolen away whilst all (!?) the soldiers slumbered -- probably didn't fool anyone.]

Exo 12:48

Gentiles may be blessed alike with Jews, but first they must become Jews!

Possibly the first partakers of the Passover were not circumcised until a week or so later, at Marah (see Exo 15:25,26n): if so, a special dispensation must have been allowed, because of exigent circumstances: ie, when would Pharaoh have allowed such a medical procedure -- with the attendant need to rest and recuperate for several days -- until the Israelites were out from under his bondage? (see Tes 71:451-455).

Exo 12:51

DIVISIONS: Heb "sabaoth"; "armies" (AV).

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