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The Eight Plague  -  Locusts      Exodus 10:1 - 20

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Exodus 10:1-20
(1)     And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might shew these my signs before him:
(2)    And that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the L
(3)    And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said unto him, Thus saith the L
ORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me? let my people go, that they may serve me.
(4)    Else, if thou refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into thy coast:
(5)    And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field:
(6)    And they shall fill thy houses, and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians; which neither thy fathers, nor thy fathers' fathers have seen, since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day. And he turned himself, and went out from Pharaoh.
(7)    And Pharaoh's servants said unto him, How long shall this man be a snare unto us? let the men go, that they may serve the L
ORD their God: knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed?
(8)    And Moses and Aaron were brought again unto Pharaoh: and he said unto them, Go, serve the L
ORD your God: but who are they that shall go?
(9)    And Moses said, We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the L
(10)  And he said unto them, Let the L
ORD be so with you, as I will let you go, and your little ones: look to it; for evil is before you.
(11)  Not so: go now ye that are men, and serve the L
ORD; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence.
(12)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
(13)  And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the L
ORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
(14)  And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
(15)  For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.
(16)  Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have sinned against the L
ORD your God, and against you.
(17)  Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once, and intreat the L
ORD your God, that he may take away from me this death only.
(18)  And he went out from Pharaoh, and intreated the L
(19)  And the L
ORD turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
(20)  But the L
ORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.
10:1-6 Warning given
10:7-11 Reception by Pharaoh’s servants
10:12-15 Warning carried out
10:16-20 Reception by Pharaoh

The eighth plague was directed against the god  Serapis,  who was supposed to protect the land from locusts.
They came at Moses’ bidding,  and retired only at his bidding. 
Thus the impotence of Serapis was manifest.


Wrought upon Egypt
The Hebrew verb is uncommon. It implies an action which brings shame and disgrace upon its objects,  making them,  so to speak, 

Know that I am the LORD
The object of the plagues is the education of men in the knowledge of God. 


Refuse to humble thyself
This was now the real cause of Pharaoh’s sin after all these plagues - refusal to humble himself before God
And Pharaoh would not really humble himself,  until he made God’s will his own,  and fulfilled his oft-given promise to permit the Israelites to leave Egypt.

His heart was hardened
but his will was still free
He could repent if he chose


They shall cover the face of the earth
This is literally true of locusts. Lord Bryce thus describes a swarm of locusts:

‘It is a strange sight,  beautiful if you can forget the destruction it brings with it.  The whole air,  to twelve or even eighteen feet above the ground,  is filled with the insects,  reddish-brown in body,  with bright,  gauzy wings.  When the sun’s rays catch them,  it is like the seas sparkling with light.  When you see them against a cloud,  they are like the dense flakes of a driving snowstorm.  You feel as if you had never before realized immensity in number …  They blot out the sun above,  and cover the ground beneath,  and fill the air whichever way one looks.  The breeze carries them swiftly past,  but they come on in fresh clouds,  a host of which there is no end,  each of them a harmless creature which you can catch and crush in your hand, but appalling in their power of collective devastation.’

Eat the residue
Their voracity is incredible.  Not only the leaves,  but the branches and even the wood are attacked and devoured. The residue here refers to the wheat and the spelt (9:32), which escaped the havoc wrought by the hail.

Perhaps no more terrible scourge was ever brought on a land than those voracious insects, which fly in such countless numbers as to darken the land which they infest; and on whatever place they alight, they convert it into a waste and barren desert, stripping the ground of its verdure, the trees of their leaves and bark, and producing in a few hours a degree of desolation which it requires the lapse of years to repair.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


For the first time the servants intervene before the plague is inflicted,  showing at once their belief in Moses’ threat and their dread of the affliction.  They suggest that Pharaoh should come to terms with Moses,  who demands that the entire people must go to worship God.


Evil is before your face
Or, ‘evil is what ye purpose.’ 
The evil intention which you harbor,  to leave Egypt for good with all your belongings,  is standing plainly before you face;  it is evident to all.


They were driven out
Pharaoh declared that he penetrated their secret,  and,  being convinced that their real motive was rebellion,  now broke off all negotiations with them. 
When a person of authority and rank felt annoyed by a petition which he was unwilling to grant,  he would make a signal to his attendants,  who rushed forward,  and,  seizing the obnoxious suppliant by the neck,  dragged him out of the chamber with violent haste. 
Of such a character was the impassioned scene in the court of  Egypt when the king had worked himself up into such a fit of uncontrollable fury as to treat ignominiously the two venerable representatives of the Hebrew people.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


Into the Red Sea
A swarm of locusts floats upon an easy breeze,  but is beaten down by a storm;  and if it touches water is perishes.

Red Sea -  ‘the sea of reeds’. 
The usual designation of the large body of water separating Egypt from Arabia.

It may also originally have been the name of the fresh-water lake lying immediately to the North of the Red Sea. 
The name,  Red Sea (
LXX), has been variously derived from the corals within its water,  the color of the mountains bordering its coasts,  or the glow of the sky reflected on it.

The Red Sea today:

A narrow body of water that stretches in a southeasterly direction from Suez to the Gulf of Aden for about 2,100 kilometers (1,300 miles).  It is an important section of a large volcanic split in the earth that goes southward into east Africa and continues north along the Jordan Valley to the Lebanon mountain range.

The Red Sea separates two large portions of land. On the east are Yemen and Saudi Arabia. On the west are Egypt, the Sudan, and Ethiopia. From ancient times the Red Sea has been an impressive sea covering some 169,000 square miles.  It measures about 310 kilometers (190 miles) at its widest part and almost 2,900 meters (about 9,500 feet) at its greatest depth.  The Red Sea branches at its northern end into two distinct channels, the northeasterly one being the Gulf of Aqaba and the northwesterly one named the Gulf of Suez. The Suez branch is fairly shallow and has broad plains on either side. By contrast, the Gulf of Aqaba is deep and clear, with a narrow shoreline.

The Red Sea is usually bright turquoise, but periodically algae grows in the water. When they die, the sea becomes reddish-brown, thus giving it the name, the Red Sea. This body of water has the reputation of being one of the hottest and saltiest on earth. The reason for this is the presence of volcanic slits in the ocean floor that have become filled with salt deposits and other minerals. The sea is heavily traveled because the Suez Canal links it with the Mediterranean. But navigation is difficult at the southern end because of outcroppings of coral reefs that force ships into a narrow channel of water. No large rivers flow into the Red Sea, and there is little rainfall in the area which it crosses.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
The Ninth Plague  -  Darkness      Exodus 10:21 - 29

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Exodus 10:21-29
( 21)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
( 22)  And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
( 23)  They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
( 24)  And Pharaoh called unto Moses, and said, Go ye, serve the L
ORD; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed: let your little ones also go with you.
( 25)  And Moses said, Thou must give us also sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the L
ORD our God.
( 26)  Our cattle also shall go with us; there shall not an hoof be left behind; for thereof must we take to serve the L
ORD our God; and we know not with what we must serve the LORD, until we come thither.
( 27)  But the L
ORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.28 And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more; for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
(29)  And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no more.
10:21 The Command      (no warning)
10:22,23 Infliction of Plague
10:24-26 Reception of Plague
10:27-29 The Hardening


Darkness over the land
‘Like the third and sixth plagues,  it is inflicted unannounced;  and the parleying,  the driving of a bargain and then breaking it,  by which the eighth was attended,  is quite enough to account for this’  (Chadwick).
This plague would especially affect the spirits of the Egyptians,  whose chief object of worship was Ra,  the sun-God.  Merenphtah (Pharaoh) is depicted in a sculptured effigy with the inscription,  ‘He adores the sun.’

Darkness which may be felt
Explained as an aggravation of the  khamsin,  or  ‘wind of the desert’,  which is not uncommon in Egypt,  and is accompanied by weird darkness,  beyond that of our worst fogs (Rawlinson). 

The following verses are from the wonderful description of the plague of  Darkness in Wisdom of Solomon 17 (A Jewish work).

‘No force of fire prevailed to give them light,  neither were the bright flames of the stars strong enough
to illumine that gloomy night;
‘For wickedness,  condemned by a witness within,  is a coward thing;  and being pressed hard by
conscience,  always forecasteth the worst lot;
‘Whether there were a whistling wind,  or a melodious noise of birds among the spreading branches,  or 
a measured fall of water running violently;
‘All these things paralyzed them with terror;  but for thy saints there was great light.’


Had light in their dwellings
In the land of Goshen there was light. 
Prof. Mahler identifies the ninth plague with  [the solar eclipse of  March 13, 1335 BCE]  which darkened Egypt proper but did not extend as a total eclipse to Goshen;  hence,  ‘all the children of Israel had light in their habitations.’  (Thus,  the eclipse of the sun on January 24, 1925,  was not visible in the lower half of New York City - 96th Street marking the southern limit of the path of totality.)

Tradition states that the darkness took place on the first of Nisan, which then fell on a Thursday. 
If Mahler’s identification is correct,  we would know the exact date of the Exodus - Thursday,  March 27,  1335 BCE.  Prof. Mahler,  furthermore,  takes the words  ‘three days’  at the end of v. 22,  and joins them to v. 23;  thus,  ‘Three days they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place three days.’

Herodotus tells us that a total eclipse of the sun in 585 BCE,  during a battle between the Lydians and Medes,  so terrified the combatants that they ceased fighting and concluded peace. 

Barnes has:
This infliction was specially calculated to affect the spirits of the Egyptians, whose chief object of worship was the Sun-god; and its suddenness and severity in connection with the act of Moses mark it as a preternatural withdrawal of light. Yet, it has an analogy in physical phenomena. After the vernal equinox the southwest wind from the desert blows some 50 days, not however, continuously but at intervals, lasting generally some two or three days. It fills the atmosphere with dense masses of fine sand, bringing on a darkness far deeper than that of our worst fogs in winter. The consternation of Pharaoh proves that, familiar as he may have been with the phenomenon, no previous occurrence had prepared him for its intensity and duration, and that he recognized it as a supernatural visitation.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Wycliffe suggests:
Most scholars agree that the darkness was probably caused by the (hamsin), the fierce sandstorm so dreaded in the East. The hot dry wind, like the blast of a furnace, fills the air with sand and dust, so that the sun is blotted out. The heat, the dust, and the static electricity make conditions almost unbearable physically. Added to this is the effect on mind and spirit of the thick and oppressive darkness. This plague concluded the manifestation of God's wonders and was a forbidding prelude to the final act of judgment. 
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


Not a hoof be left behind
Moses emphasizes his intention of not bringing Israel back to Egypt.

The emancipation of Israel from Egyptian bondage was to be complete.

This firmness on the part of Moses he defended by saying, "We know not with what we shall serve the Lord, till we come thither;" i.e., 
we know not yet what kind of animals or how many we shall require for the sacrifices; 
our God will not make this known to us till we arrive at the place of sacrifice
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


See my face no more
Seek no more admittance to my presence. 
When they once more met,  it was the king that changed his purpose;  and on his face,  not on that of Moses,  was the pallor of impending death.  In his negotiations with Pharaoh,  Moses was ever ready to intercede;  he never ‘reviles the ruler’,  nor transgresses the limits of courtesy towards the king;  yet he never falters nor compromises.  Throughout,  the dignified bearing is with Moses,  the meanness and shame with Pharaoh who begins by insulting him,  goes on to impose on him,  and ends by an ignominious surrender,  to be followed by treachery and abject defeat on the shores of the Red Sea.

The calm firmness of Moses provoked the tyrant.  Frantic with disappointment and rage, with offended and desperate malice,  Pharaoh ordered him from his presence,  and forbade him ever to return.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Moses answered,  "Thou hast spoken rightly."  For as God had already told him that the last blow would be followed by the immediate release of the people,  there was no further necessity for him to appear before Pharaoh.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
Warning of the Final Plague      Exodus 11:1 - 10

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Exodus 11:1-10
( 1)   And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether.
( 2)   Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
( 3)   And the L
ORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people.
( 4)   And Moses said, Thus saith the L
ORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
( 5)   And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
( 6)   And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
( 7)   But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the L
ORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.
( 8)   And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee: and after that I will go out. And he went out from Pharaoh in a great anger.
( 9)   And the L
ORD said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.
( 10) And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the L
ORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
11:1 God’s word to Moses as to the Tenth Plague
11:2,3 Direction as to actions (people)
11:4-8 Direction as to words (Pharaoh)
11:9 God’s words to Moses as to result


Thrust you out
Moses thus learns that the last plague would be followed by an immediate departure;  and thus gave him time to devise measures of preparing the Israelites for the journey.


Let them ask
They were,  however,  to leave Egypt where they had lived for so many centuries without any bitter memories of the Egyptian people.  See note on Exodus 3:21


Gave the people favor
And,  therefore,  the Egyptians were most generous and friendly in the way they parted with the Israelites 

Was very great
The people of Israel had gained a great reputation,  because of the visitations;  and,  especially,  by the care he had taken to warn them,  and,  so far as was possible,  to save them from suffering. 
This conduct elicited their kindliest feelings towards the people of Moses.


Will go out
Onkelos renders,  
" And Mosheh said,  Thus saith the Lord,  At the dividing of the night I will be revealed in the midst of Mizraim*,  and all the firstborn in the land of Mizraim shall die;  from the firstborn of Pharaoh who would sit upon the throne of his kingdom,  unto the firstborn of the woman servant who is behind  [some copies,  “who is in the house of the mills.”] the mills,  and all the firstborn of cattle"  ( 11:4,5)

* Mizraim - A son of Ham, and ancestor of various peoples.
The land of Ham. - cham, was another name for the land of Egypt. 
It occurs only in Ps 105:23,27; 106:22; 78:51
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)


That sitteth upon his throne
This phrase refers to Pharaoh,  and not to the eldest son. 

First-born of the maidservant
The meanest person in the kingdom is contrasted with the noblest. 
Grinding the corn,  the lowest drudgery, was the work of women, slaves and captives. 
The hand-mill is still in daily use in many Eastern or East European villages.

First-born of cattle
The plague of the cattle described in  9:6  was limited to the ‘cattle which are in the field’. 
The Hebrew word for cattle in 9:6 is mikneh,  whereas here the Hebrew word is behemah
The Egyptians paid Divine honors to various animals;  and the first-born of all these sacred beasts were to be doomed.


Shall come down
The courtiers will be sent in haste to Moses to grant all that he had demanded.

"The first-born represented the whole race of which it was the strength and bloom" (KD)  Not even the barking of an unfriendly dog would hinder Israel's departure (11:7).
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)


The LORD said
All that had hitherto happened to Pharaoh, as well as the effect of the miracles upon him,  is here briefly restated. This summary marks the close of one principal division of the Book of Exodus.

The Passover        Exodus 12:1 - 14

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The deliverance of Israel from the bondage of Egypt was at hand; 
also their adoption as the nation of Jehovah (Ex 6:6-7). 
But for this,  a divine consecration was necessary, that their outward severance from the land of Egypt might be accompanied by an inward severance from everything of an Egyptian or heathen nature. 
This consecration was to be imparted by the Passover - a festival which was to lay the foundation for Israel's birth (Hos 2:5) into the new life of grace and fellowship with God,  and to renew it perpetually in time to come. 

This festival was therefore instituted and commemorated before the exodus from Egypt.

12:1-28 The directions for the Passover
1-14 The keeping of the feast of the Passover before the departure from Egypt
15-20 The seven days' feast of unleavened bread
21-27 Moses communicates to the elders of the nation the leading instructions as to the former feast
28 Carrying out of those instructions

(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


12:1,2 The Month
12:3-11 The Symbol
12:12,13 The Signification and Reason
12:14-17a The Symbol
12:17b The Signification and Reason
12:18-20  The Month
Exodus 12:1-14
(1)   And the L
ORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
(2)   This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
(3)   Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
(4)   And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
(5)   Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
(6)   And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
(7)   And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
(8)   And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
(9)   Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
(10) And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
(11) And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the L
ORD's passover.
(12) For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the L
(13) And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
(14) And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the L
ORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

The deliverance from Egypt is to be not only from physical but also from spiritual slavery. 
Israel is to be freed from all heathen influences and the entire nation consecrated to the service of God

These commandments concerning the Passover open the religious legislation of the Torah. 
The occasion when they were given, and the manner in which they were enjoined, emphasizes the basic importance of that Festival in the life and history of Israel.


This Month
Hebrew name is Abib, or Nisan green-ear-month”. 
Becomes the first month.  See Neh. 2:1 and Est. 3:7 for the change to Nisan. 
This was the month in which the deliverance was about to take place. 

Israel is now given a new Calendar,  thus making the break with Egypt complete.

The ordinary Jewish year consists of twelve lunar months of a little more than 29 ½ days each,  with every new moon (Rosh Chodesh) a minor festival.  

Twelve lunar months total only a little more than 354 ½ days,  eleven days less than the solar year which consists,  roughly, of 365 ¼ days.
But  the Festivals had to be celebrated in their seasons according to the solar year-

Passover in spring
Pentecost in summer
Tabernacles in autumn

It was essential to harmonize the lunar and solar years. 
This was done by the  ‘intercalation’,  or introduction,  of an extra month Adar,  which made that year a leap year. There are seven such leap years, of thirteen months each, in every cycle of nineteen years. 
But years,  whether ordinary years or leap years,  have not a uniform duration in the Jewish reckoning.

The months of Kislev and Cheshvan have either 29 or 30 days
Ordinary years vary between 353, 354,  and 355 days
Leap years between  383, 384, and 385 days

By these means the mathematical exactness of the Jewish Calendar was secured.

The head, or chief;  the first,  not only in order,  but in estimation.

It had been formerly the seventh,  according to the reckoning of the civil year,  which began in September,  and continued unchanged;
It was thenceforth to stand first in the ecclesiastical year of the Israelites, which began in March, April. 

The establishment of this new calendar was worthy of the wisdom and goodness of God, as it was calculated to inspire sentiments of thankfulness to Him by the presentation of  first-fruits,  and consequently to withdraw the minds of the people from the worship of the Egyptian deities,  to which-especially the great luminaries-many of the Israelites had shown themselves exceedingly prone.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Unto you
In Biblical and early Talmudic times, the Sanhedrin fixed the new moons by actual observation,  and the dates were announced by messengers from Jerusalem to surrounding countries. 
Later,  the dates were determined by astronomical calculation. 
Religious considerations decided which year was to be a leap year,  and when the months of  Kislev and Chesvan were to be  ‘long’ (having 30 days)  or  ‘short’ (having 29 days). 
Furthermore,  Rosh Hashanah could never be a Sunday,  Wednesday, or Friday,  which rule secured,  among other things,  that the Day of Atonement did not either immediately precede or immediately follow the Sabbath.


All the congregation
Hitherto Moses and Aaron had been God’s ambassadors to Pharaoh;  they now become God’s ambassadors to Israel. 

The ‘congregation of Israel’,  adath Yisrael, is the term for the community as a religious entity.

Tenth day of this month
Only on this occasion was the paschal lamb to be chosen on the tenth of the month.

According to their fathers' houses
A  ‘father’s house’  is here synonymous with mishpachaha family
The Passover is to be the specific family festival of Israel.  And it is noteworthy that the first ordinance of the Jewish religion was a domestic service.  A nation is strong in as far as it cherishes the domestic sanctities.

The Israelites in Egypt were an organized people,  under leaders of their own race.

The whole body was divided into tribes
The tribes into mishpaachowt, properly  part of a tribe (Deut 29:17; Judg 18:9; 21:24),  but frequently in the restricted sense of families
The families were subdivided into smaller sections, called beeyt 'aabowt,  fathers'  houses.

(See Gesenius for the Hebrew constructions.) 
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


According to every man's eating
Small children and the very aged who cannot eat even the small obligatory quantity were not to be reckoned among the number.

In deciding whether several families had to unite, in order to consume one lamb, they were to estimate how much each person would be likely to eat. Consequently more than two families might unite for this purpose, when they consisted simply of the father and mother and little children. A later custom fixed ten as the number of persons to each paschal lamb; and Jonathan has interpolated this number into the text of his Targum.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Of the first year
This means ‘the son of a year’. 
The Rabbis take this to mean,   within the first year of its birth. (Lev. 9:3)  
‘This tender age,  the type of innocence,  made it peculiarly adapted for a sacrifice of the Covenant to be concluded between God and Israel as a nation’ (Kalisch).


Until the 14th day
It appears that the selection of the lamb was to be made on the tenth day of the first month;  so that it was to be kept four days as a destined victim.  Kurtz ('History of the Old Covenant,' vol. ii., p. 300)
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

At dusk
Better,  towards even;  in other words  ‘between the two evenings’. 
According to the Talmud:

first evening is the time in the afternoon when the heat of the sun begins to decrease, about 3 o’clock
second evening commences with sunset

Josephus relates that the Passover sacrifice ‘was offered from the ninth to the eleventh hour’, 
between 3 and 5 PM.


The beam across the top of the door-way;  or,  possibly the latticed window which was commonly placed over a doorway in an Egyptian house (Rawlinson).

The posts must be considered of tents,  in which the Israelites generally lived,  though some were also in houses. [beeyt is sometimes used in the sense of a moveable dwelling or tent (cf. Gen. 27:55; 33:17 ).] 

If we suppose that the large section of them to which Moses addressed himself were engaged in completing the fortified city of Rameses,  the supposition that multitudes of them were in tents
Though the Israelites were sinners as well as the Egyptians,  God was pleased to accept the substitution of a lamb - the blood of which being seen sprinkled on the entrance posts,  procured them mercy.  

It was to be inscribed on the side posts and upper door posts, where it might be looked to - not on the threshold, where it might be trodden under foot.  This was an emblem of the blood of sprinkling (Heb 12:24,29).
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


In that night
Following the fourteenth day of Nisan. 

The night is thus clearly distinguished from the evening when the lamb was slain. 
It was slain before sunset, on the 14 th, and eaten after sunset, the beginning of the 15 th.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Roast with fire
It was to be roasted,  in order that it might be placed upon the table undivided and essentially unchanged. 
"Through the unity and integrity of the lamb given them to eat,  the participants were to be joined into an undivided unity and fellowship with the Lord,  who had provided them with the meal"  (cf. 1 Cor 10:17).
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Unleavened Bread
‘Because they could prepare it hastily’ (Maimonides);  symbolic of the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt when there was no time for their dough to leaven.  In Deut. 16:3, the ‘unleavened bread’ (Hebrew matzoth,  plural of matzah)  is called the  ‘bread of affliction’. 

Bitter herbs
Hebrew merorim, plural of maror. To symbolize the bitterness of the Egyptian bondage; Exodus 1:14.

You will notice that the Jews are using these items as symbols of actions on the part of the Hebrews. 
In the study of the Tabernacle in the wilderness we will use those items as symbols of Jesus Christ and His Church and its future.


Nor sodden at all with water
The lamb was not to be boiled,  because this would make the dismemberment of the animal indispensable. 
It is not to be divided,  but to be roasted whole. 
This rite was probably intended to represent the perfect unity of Israel as a nation. 
One meal,  at one table,  eaten whole and eaten entirely  (noting left till the morning).


Loins girded
The long and loose robes worn by the people of the East were fastened up round the waist with a girdle when proceeding on a journey.  

These and the following instructions apply only to the Passover in Egypt,  not to any succeeding Passover celebration.

The Lord's Passover
Or, a passover unto the Lord (M. Friedlander);  in other words a paschal sacrifice in honor of the Lord (Mendelssohn). 

The Hebrew word pesach, ‘passover,’ here means the paschal lamb.
It is derived from the verb pasach,  ‘to pass over,’ to protect and deliver.


Against all the gods of Egypt
In smiting the firstborn of all living beings,  man and beast,  God smote objects of Egyptian worship. 


A token
The blood was the token for Jehovah. 
Faith in the fact that it had been sprinkled gave peace to all within. 
It was (and is) not the act of faith which secured, but the truth that was believed. 

If no blood,  belief that it was there gave no security. 
If blood was there, doubt as to the fact would destroy peace,  but could not destroy the security,  because that was grounded on Jehovah’s word, and faith consists in ‘hearing' that. 

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17 ;
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 

I will pass over you
- OR - 
‘I will spare you’  (Targum); 
‘I will protect you’  (

The Hebrew verb combines the idea of passing over and sparing

No plague be upon you
The angel of destruction will not have permission to bring the plague upon you.

“The blood of sprinkling is the saint's security in times of common calamity;  it is this that

Marks them for God
Pacifies conscience
Gives them boldness of access to the throne of grace
Becomes a wall of protection round them 
Wall of partition between them and the children of this world

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary)

“[Take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts]  This was to be done by dipping a bunch of hyssop into the blood,  and thus sprinkling it upon the posts, etc.;  (Ex. 12:22).  That this sprinkling of the blood of the paschal lamb was an emblem of the sacrifice and atonement made by the death of Jesus Christ,  is most clearly intimated in the sacred writings, (1 Pet. 1:2; Heb. 9:13-14; 8:10).  It is remarkable that no blood was to be sprinkled on the threshold,  to teach,  as Mr. Ainsworth properly observes,  a reverent regard for the blood of Christ,  that men should not tread underfoot the Son of 
GOD,  nor count the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing, (Heb 10:29)”      (from Adam Clarke Commentary)


The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our Passover, 1 Cor 5:7

(1) It was to be a lamb
Christ is the Lamb of God  (John 1:29), often in the Revelation called the Lamb,  meek and innocent as a lamb,  dumb before the shearers,  before the butchers.
(2) It was to be a male of the first year (v. 5), in its prime
Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days,  not in infancy with the babes of Bethlehem. 
It denotes the strength and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, on whom our help was laid.
(3) It was to be without blemish (v. 5)
Denoting the purity of the Lord Jesus, a Lamb without spot, 1 Peter 1:19. 
The judge that condemned him  pronounced him innocent.
(4) It was to be set apart four days before (v. 3,6)
Denoting the designation of the Lord Jesus to be a Savior,  both in the purpose and in the promise.  It is very observable that as Christ was crucified at the passover, 
so he solemnly entered into Jerusalem four days before,  the very day that the paschal lamb was set apart.
(5) It was to be slain, and roasted with fire (v. 6-9)
Denoting the exquisite 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.
(6) It was to be killed by the whole congregation
Christ suffered in the end of the world (Heb 9:26),  by the hand of the Jews,  the whole multitude of them  (Luke 23:18),  and for the good of all his spiritual Israel.
(7) Not a bone of it must be broken (v. 46)
Which is expressly said to be fulfilled in Christ  (John 19:33,36),  denoting the unbroken strength of the and perfection Lord Jesus, even in death.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our Passover, 1 Cor 5:7

(1) It was not enough that the blood of the lamb was shed, but it must be sprinkled
Denoting the application of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, Rom 5:11.
(2) It was to be sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop (v. 22) dipped in the basin
The everlasting covenant,  like the basin,  in the conservatory of this blood,  the benefits and privileges purchased by it are laid up for us there;  faith is the bunch of hyssop by which we apply the promises to ourselves and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them.
(3) It was to be sprinkled upon the door-posts
Denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ,  and obedience to him, as those that are not ashamed to own our dependence upon him. 
The mark of the beast may be received on the forehead or in the right hand,  but the seal of the Lamb is always in the forehead,  Rev 7:3. 
There is a back-way to hell, but no back-way to heaven;  no,  the only way to this is a high-way, Isa 35:8.
(4) It was to be sprinkled upon the lintel and the sideposts, but not upon the threshold (v. 7)
Which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant, Heb 10:29. 
It is precious blood, and must be precious to us.
(5) The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of the preservation of the Israelites from the destroying angel
If the blood of Christ be sprinkled upon our hearts, our minds, and our consciences,  it will be our protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law,  and the damnation of hell, Rom 8:1.

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our Passover, 1 Cor 5:7

(1) The paschal lamb was killed, not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon
So we must by faith make Christ ours,  as we do that which we eat,  
and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him,  as from our food,  
and have delight and satisfaction in him,  as we have in eating and drinking when we are hungry or thirsty: see John 6:53-55.
(2) It was to be completely eaten
Those that 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. 
(3) It was to be eaten immediately, not deferred till morning, v. 10
Today Christ is offered,  and is to be accepted while it is called today,  before we sleep the sleep of death.
(4) It was to be eaten with bitter herbs (v. 8)
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;  this will give an admirable relish to the paschal lamb. 
Christ will be sweet to us if sin be bitter.
(5) It was to be eaten in a departing posture (v. 11)
When we feed upon Christ by faith we must absolutely forsake the rule and dominion of sin, shake off Pharaoh's yoke; and we must sit loose to the world, and every thing in it,  forsake all for Christ,  and reckon it no bad bargain, Heb 13:13-14..

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover Feast)        Exodus 12:15 - 28

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Exodus 12:15-28
(15)  Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
(16)  And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
(17)  And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
(18)  In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
(19)  Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
(20)  Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.


Howbeit the first day…leaven out of your houses

Or - Of a surety on the first day ye shall have removed the leaven from your houses (Mendelssohn). 
The leaven is therefore removed and symbolically destroyed by fire on the forenoon of the day before Passover.  The Rabbis have also instituted a search for leaven on the preceding evening.

Leaven is the symbol of 


At even
The Jewish day begins with the preceding evening, and terminates at evening.

"Observe the Mazzoth" (i.e., the directions given in vv. 15 and 16 respecting the feast of Mazzoth),  "for on this very day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt." 
This was effected in the night of the 14th - 15th,  or rather at midnight,  and therefore in the early morning of the 15th Abib.  Because Jehovah had brought Israel out of Egypt on the 15 th Abib,  therefore Israel was to keep Mazzoth for seven days.  Of course it was not merely a commemoration of this event,  but the exodus formed the groundwork of the seven days' feast,  because it was by this that Israel had been introduced into a new vital element.  For this reason the Israelites were to put away all the leaven of their Egyptian nature,  the leaven of malice and wickedness (1 Cor 5:8),  and by eating pure and holy bread,  and meeting for the worship of God,  to show that they were walking in newness of life.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Hebrews appear to have reckoned two evenings in each day;  as in the phrase,  between the two evenings  (Ex 16:12; 30:8),  by which they designated that part of the day in which the paschal lamb was to be killed (Ex 12:6; Lev 23:5; Num 9:3,5); and,  at the same time,  the evening sacrifice was offered,  the lamps lighted,  and the incense burned (Ex 29:39,41; Num 28:4).  But the ancients themselves disagreed concerning this usage:

The Samaritans and Caraites
(comp. Reland, De Samarit. § 22, in his Diss. Miscell volume 2; Trigland, De Karaeis, chap. iv) understood the time to be that between sunset and twilight,  and so Aben Esra at Ex 12:6,  who writes that it was about the third hour (9 o'clock P.M.); 
The Pharisees and Rabbis
As early as the time of Josephus (War, 6:9, 3),  and the Rabbins (Pesach, 5:3),  thought that  "the first evening"  was that period of the afternoon when the sun is verging towards setting,  "the second evening"  the precise moment of sunset itself, according to which opinion the paschal lamb would bed slaughtered from the ninth to the eleventh hour (3 to 5 o'clock P.M.).

(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 2000 by Biblesoft)


That which is leavened
The Hebrew word machmetzeth;  means anything which leavens.
Not merely chametz which means leavened food.


Exodus 12:21-28
(21)  Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
(22)  And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
(23)  For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
(24)  And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
(25)  And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
(26)  And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
(27)  That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
(28)  And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
12:21,22 The Symbol
12:23 The Signification
12:24 The Symbol
12:25-28 The Signification


The Hebrew word is ezob.  A few bunches of this plant could be used as a sponge to take up a liquid.
Translated in the Septuagint as hyssopos.
It became a symbol for spiritual purification from sin 

A species of  marjoram  and a member of the mint family.

Hyssop was an aromatic shrub under one meter (three feet) tall with clusters of yellow flowers. 
It grew in rocky crevices and was cultivated on terraced walls  (1 Kings 4:33).
Bunches of hyssop were used to sprinkle blood on the doorposts in Egypt (Ex 12:22),  and in purification ceremonies (Lev 14:4,6,51-52). 
David mentioned it as an instrument of inner cleansing (Ps 51:7).
It was used at the crucifixion to relieve Jesus' thirst (John 19:29).

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


Your children shall say
The children of successive generations are to be instructed at Passover as to the origin and significance of the Festival.  In the Seder service (Passover) on the first two nights of Passover,  this command has found its solemn realization.  In it we have history raised to religion.  The youngest child present asks the Questions, which are answered by a recitation of the events that culminated in the original institution of Passover.


The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1 Cor 5:7-8. 

Having received Christ Jesus the Lord:

(1) We must keep a feast in holy joy,  continually delighting ourselves in Christ Jesus
No manner of work must be done (v. 16) (Not by Works)
No care admitted or indulged,  inconsistent with, or prejudicial to, this holy joy
(2) It must be a feast of unleavened bread
Kept in charity, without the leaven of malice
Kept in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy
The law was very strict as to the passover, and the Jews were so in their usages, that no leaven should be found in their houses, v. 19. 
All the old leaven of sin must be put far from us, with the utmost caution and abhorrence, if we would keep the   feast of a holy life  to the honor of Christ.
(3) It was by an ordinance for ever (v. 17)
As long as we live, we must continue feeding upon Christ
We must continue rejoicing in Him
Always making thankful mention
of the great things he has done for us

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

The Tenth Plague  -  Death          Exodus 12:29 - 36

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Exodus 12:29-36
( 29)  And it came to pass, that at midnight the L
ORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the  firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon;  and all the firstborn of cattle.
( 30)  And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great  cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
( 31)  And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my  people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the L
ORD, as ye have said.
( 32)  Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
( 33)  And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for  they said, We be all dead men.
( 34)  And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their  clothes upon their shoulders.
( 35)  And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians  jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
( 36)  And the L
ORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such  things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

Ex 12:29

The L
This plague is distinctly attributed here and in Ex 12:23 to the personal intervention of 
THE LORD;  but it is to be observed that although the Lord Himself passed through to smite the Egyptians,  He employed the agency of  "the destroyer"  (Ex 12:23),  in whom,  in accordance with Heb 11:28,  all the ancient versions,  and most critics, recognize an Angel  (compare 2 Kings 19:35; 2 Sam 24:16).
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

The previous plagues were nearly all brought upon Egypt by Moses' staff,  and with most of them the natural sources are distinctly mentioned;  but the last plague came direct from Jehovah without the intervention of Moses,  certainly for no other reason than to make it apparent that it was a purely supernatural punishment inflicted by His own omnipotence.  The words,  "There was not a house where there was not one dead,"  are to be taken literally,  and not merely  "as a general expression;"  though, of course,  they are to be limited,  according to the context,  to all the houses in which there were first-born of man or beast.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


There was a great cry
What an outcry was made upon it:  There was a great cry in Egypt,  universal lamentation for their only son  (with many),  and with all for their first-born.  If any be suddenly taken ill in the night,  we are wont to call up neighbors;  but the Egyptians could have no help,  no comfort,  from their neighbors,  all being involved in the same calamity.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

No people were more remarkable for their mournings than the Egyptians,  especially in matters of religion;  they whipped,  beat,  tore themselves,  and howled in all the excess of grief.  When a relative died,  the people left the house,  ran into the streets,  and howled in the most lamentable and frantic manner  ( See Diod. Sicul., lib. i., and Herod., lib. ii, c. 85, 86).  How dreadful then must the scene of horror and distress appear when there was not one house or family in Egypt where there was not one dead;  and according to their custom,  all the family running out into the streets bewailing this calamity!
(from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)


And bless me also
Pray on my behalf that no further plague come upon me.

All the terms the king had formerly insisted on were now departed from,  his pride having been effectually humbled. Appalling judgments in such rapid succession showed plainly that the hand of God was against him.  His own family bereavement had so crushed him to the earth,  that he not only showed impatience to rid his kingdom of such formidable neighbors,  but even begged an interest in their prayers.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


The Egyptians were urgent upon the people
Urged the people strongly (`al chaazaq )
To press hard  ( katebia'zonto - LXX
To make haste,  to send them out of the land
The Egyptians urged the Israelites to accelerate their departure, "for they said, "We are all dead," i.e.,  exposed to death.  So great was their alarm at the death of the first-born.
(from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)


Kneading troughs
Having lived so long in Egypt,  they must have been in the habit of using the utensils common in that country. 
The Egyptian kneading trough was a bowl of wicker or rush work,  and it admitted of being hastily wrapped up with the dough in it and slung over the shoulder in their hykes or loose upper garments.  'These hykes,' says Dr. Shaw, 'are of various dimensions:  the usual size of them is six yards long  (large enough to hold a great many wooden bowls):  they serve for dress in the day,  and for a covering at night' 
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


And they despoiled the Egyptians
Or  ‘and they saved the Egyptians,’ from hatred and revengeful feelings.
Departure From Rameses     Exodus 12:37 - 51

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Exodus 12:37-42
(37)  And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth,  about six hundred thousand on foot that were men,  beside children.
(38)  And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks,  and herds,  even very much cattle.
(39)  And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt,  for it was not leavened;  because they were thrust out of Egypt,  and could not tarry,  neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
(40)  Now the sojourning of the children of Israel,  who dwelt in Egypt,  was four hundred and thirty years.
(41)  And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years,  even the selfsame day it came to pass,  that all the hosts of the L
ORD went out from the land of Egypt.
(42)  It is a night to be much observed unto the L
ORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt:  this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.


Rameses to Succoth
Succoth - The place has been identified with Thuku,  either another name for Pithom or in its immediate neighborhood.


A mixed multitude
Probably remains of the old Semitic population, whether first brought into the district by the Hyksos or not is uncertain. As natural objects of suspicion and dislike to the Egyptians who had lately become masters of the country, they would be anxious to escape, the more especially after the calamities which preceded the Exodus
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


Four hundred and thirty years
In Genesis 15:13,  the period of affliction is foretold,  and was to be four hundred years:

Beginning - according to Rabbinic tradition - with the birth of Isaac.
The thirty years not accounted for, are supposed to refer to the years that elapsed between the vision when the affliction was foretold and the birth of Isaac (Luzzatto).
Others refer these thirty years to the exploit of the Ephraimites who, according to the Book of Chronicles, made a raid out of Egypt a generation before the Exodus. 

Of these four hundred and thirty years, the Rabbis state, the Israelites were in Egypt for a period of 210 years. This accords with the narrative of Exodus, and with the genealogies given in chapter 6

The following outline shows how the 430 years are accounted for:

  How Years Were Reckoned Years  
1. From the 75th year of Abraham to the birth of Isaac
(Genesis 12:4; Genesis 21:5)
2. From Isaac's birth to that of Jacob
(Genesis 25:26)
3. From Jacob's birth to his death
(Genesis 47:28)
4. From Jacob's death to that of Joseph
(Genesis 37:2; Genesis 41:46; Genesis 47:28; Genesis 50:22)
5. From Joseph's death to the exodus from Egypt
(Exodus 12:40; Galatians 3:14-17)




Of watching
In other words  ‘of keeping in mind.’  The Hebrew word  shimmurim;  ‘of celebration,’  and,  ‘of vigilance’ - are alternative translations.

"Because God shielded them,  and did not suffer destruction to approach their houses,  He ordered that the night be observed by all Israelites as a night of watching,  a memorial of the night of redemption".
(Ibn Ezra)

It was the birthright of the Israelite nation, and the whole history of Israel is stamped with its memory. 


Exodus 12:43 -51
(43)  And the L
ORD said unto Moses and Aaron,  This is the ordinance of the passover:  There shall no stranger eat thereof:
(44)  But every man's servant that is bought for money,  when thou hast circumcised him,  then shall he eat thereof.
(45)  A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
(46)  In one house shall it be eaten;  thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house;  neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
(47)  All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
(48)  And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee,  and will keep the passover to the L
ORD,  let all his males be circumcised,  and then let him come near and keep it;  and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
(49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn,  and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
(50)  Thus did all the children of Israel;  as the L
ORD commanded Moses and Aaron,  so did they.
(51)  And it came to pass the selfsame day,  that the L
ORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

In verse 38 of this chapter we find a mixed multitude.  The mass of  non-Israelite strangers,  including slaves and prisoners of war,  who took advantage of the panic to escape from Egypt.  They were not a desirable class of associates,  as appears from Numbers 11:4,5. 


No stranger eat thereof
The non-Israelite,  who has not chosen to enter the Covenant of Abraham,  as well as the man whose deeds have alienated him from his Father in Heaven (Rashi),  was not to partake of the paschal meal. 
It is to be a distinctly Israelitish observance.


Hast circumcised him
With his consent’ (Ibn Ezra). 
He cannot be forced to embrace the faith of Israel.  Circumcision and Passover belong together:

Circumcision The sign of Israel’s election,  and of God’s covenant with His people
Passover  A sign of the fulfillment of the covenant on God’s part 


The circumcision of the slave,  thus enjoined formally on the first day that Israel became a nation,  in accordance with the law given to Abraham,  made him a true member of the family,  equally entitled to all religious privileges.
In the household of a priest the slave was even permitted to eat the consecrated food:  Lev 22:11.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


The stranger that sojourneth among you
According to Ibn Ezra,  the stranger referred to here is the  ger tzedek,  the  ‘righteous proselyte’.
The principle of this injunction - one law shall be to him that is homeborn,  and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you - has an application in Jewry beyond the sphere of ritual practice. (See Lev. 24:22). 
Jewish law recognizes no distinction in civil rights between native and alien

This was designed to repel not the foreigner but the unbeliever. 
Should the alien desire to identify himself in faith with Israel,  he was as welcome as one  "born in the land" (v. 48). 
(from The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press)

One law for both.  This was a mortification to the Jews,  and taught them that

It was their dedication to God
not their descent from Abraham
that entitled them to their privileges

(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Ordinance of Phylacteries     Exodus 13:1 - 16

Previous Section

13:3-5 “And it shall be”
13:6,7 Separation of Days
13:8 Thy son’s instruction
13:9a The Sign
13:9b,10 Reason “For by a strong hand”
13:11 “And it shall be”
13:12,13 Separation of First-born
13:14,15 Thy son’s instruction
13:16a The Token
13:-16b Reason “For by strength of hand”
Exodus 13:1-16
(1)    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
(2)    Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
(3)    And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the L
ORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
(4)    This day came ye out in the month Abib.
(5)    And it shall be when the L
ORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
(6)    Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the L
(7)    Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
(8)    And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the L
ORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
(9)    And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the L
ORD's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
(10)  Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.
(11)  And it shall be when the L
ORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,
(12)  That thou shalt set apart unto the L
ORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD's.
(13)  And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
(14)  And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the L
ORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
(15)  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the L
ORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
(16)  And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the L
ORD brought us forth out of Egypt.


All the first-born
Just as the annual celebration of the Passover served to remind the Israelites of the great Redemption,  so the sanctification of every male first-born would keep the memory fresh in every home blessed with a first-born son. 
The rite is still remembered in Israel in the ceremony of  ‘Redeeming the son’ (Hebrew pidyon habben)  which is solemnized on the thirty-first day of the child’s birth. 
First-born Israelites keep the fourteenth day of Nisan as a fast,  in commemoration of the miracle wrought for their ancestors.

To  sanctify  means to consecrate,  to set apart from a common to a sacred use
The foundation of this duty rested on the fact that the Israelites having had their first-born preserved by a distinguishing act of grace from the general destruction that overtook the families of the Egyptians,  were bound,  in token of gratitude,  to consider them as the Lord's special property  (cf. Heb 12:23).  
The duty was specified to the leader on the earliest possible occasion; and from the place which it occupies in the record, the enactment seems to have been made at Succoth.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)


For a sign unto thee
The Exodus is to be more than a mere annual celebration. It's eternal lessons are to be ever before the mind of the Israelite,  by means of a  ‘sign’  upon the hand,  and of a  ‘memento’  between the eyes. The reminders on arm and forehead are called in the Hebrew tephillin,  which is a late Hebrew plural of the word prayer.  Within these Tephillin  are placed four sections of the Law,  that declare the absolute unity of God.  The miracles and wonders which He wrought for us when He brought us forth from Egypt.  God has power over the highest and lowest to deal with them according to His will.
He hath commanded Israel to lay the  Tephillin  on the hand as a memorial of his outstretched arm;  opposite the heart,  to indicate the duty of subjecting the longings and designs of our heart to his service,  and upon the head over against the brain,  thereby teaching that the mind,  whose seat is in the brain,  together with all senses and faculties,  is to be subjected to his services.


A token
Greek:  Phylactery
Hebrew:  Frontlets  

A receptacle for safekeeping, a small square box,  made either of parchment or black calf-skin, in which are enclosed slips of parchment or vellum with 4 scripture verses written on them:

Exodus 13:2-20
Exodus 11-17
Deuteronomy 6:4-9
Deuteronomy 13-22

There were two pairs of Phylacteries:

(1) yodh (y)
One to be bound to the inner side of the left arm,  and near the elbow,  so that with the bending of the arm it would rest over the heart.
The knot fastening it to the arm being in the form of the Hebrew letter  yodh  (y).
The end of the string,  or band,  finally wound around the middle finger of the hand,  "a sign upon thy hand"  (Deut 6:8). 
(2) daleth (d)
Another was to be bound in the center of the forehead, "between thine eyes" (Deut 6:8).
The knot of the band being in the form of the Hebrew letter  daleth (d).
The Hebrew letter shin (sh)  upon each end of the box,  which was divided into four compartments with one of the four passages in each. 

These Hebrew letters formed the divine name shadday,  "Almighty."  
Quite elaborate ceremonial accompanied the  "laying"  on of the phylacteries,  that of the arm being bound on first,  and that of the head next,  quotations from Scripture or Talmud being repeated at each stage of the binding.  They were to be worn by every male over 13 years old at the time of morning prayer,  except on Sabbaths and festal days,  such days being in themselves sufficient reminders of  "the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances" of Yahweh (Deut 6:1).
(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

The discovery of portions of phylacteries in the Dead Sea caves reveals they were not standardized before the time of Christ.  Certainly not all the people wore them,  but the Pharisees possibly wore them constantly during the time of Jesus.
(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)


End of Lesson Three

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