THE INSTITUTION OF THE PASSOVER
In the interval allowed by God, according to the precedent of former announced
plagues, between the warning concerning the first-born and the execution, Moses
received instructions for the institution of a new religious rite, founded possibly upon
some previous national usage, but so reshaped, recast, and remodeled as to have an
entirely new and fresh character. In all Eastern nations, the coming in of spring was
observed as a merry and festive time, with offerings, processions, and songs of
rejoicings. When the date of the vernal equinox was known, it was naturally made
the starting-point for these festivities. Early flowers and fruits, the fresh ears of the
most forward kinds of grain, or the grain itself extracted from the ears, were presented
as thank-offerings in the temples; hymns were sung, and acknowledgments made of
goodness. Such a festival was celebrated each year in
consonant to man’s natural feelings, that, if the family of Jacob did not bring the
with them from
became to some extent agriculturists (Deuteronomy 11:10) under the Pharaohs.
God, being about to smite with death the first-born in each Egyptian house,
required the Israelites to save themselves by means of a sacrifice. Each Israelite
householder was to select a lamb (or a kid) on the tenth day of the current month
(v. 3), and to keep it separate from the flock until the fourteenth day at even, when
he was to kill it, to dip some hyssop in the blood (v. 22) and to strike with the hyssop
on the two posts and lintel of his doorway (v. 7), so leaving the mark of the blood
on it. He was then the same night to roast the lamb whole, and eat it with unleavened
bread and bitter herbs (vs. 8-10). He was to have his dress close girt about him, his
sandals on his feet, and his staff in his hand; to be prepared, that is, for a journey.
If he did all this, God, when He went through the land to smite and destroy, would
“pass over” the house upon which there was the blood, and spare all that dwelt in it.
Otherwise the plague would be upon them to destroy them (vs. 11, 13). Such were
the directions given for immediate observance, and such was the Passover proper.
The lamb itself was primarily the Pesach (v. 11), the “pass,” which secured safety.
From this the name spread to the entire festival. Having, by the directions recorded
in vs. 3-13 instituted the festival, God proceeded, in vs. 14-20, to require its
continued celebration year after year, and to give additional rules as to the mode
of its annual observance.
Ø The festival was to last seven days.
Ø No leavened bread was to be eaten during that space, and leaven was
even to be put away altogether out of all houses.
On the first day of the seven and on the last, there was to be “a holy
convocation” or gathering for worship.
Ø No work not strictly necessary was to be done on these days.
Other directions were given at a later date.
Ø Besides the Paschal lamb, with which the festival commenced, and which
was to be a domestic rite, public sacrifices were appointed for each day of
the seven — to consist of two young bullocks, one ram, seven lambs, and
one goat, with appropriate “meat-offerings” (Numbers 28:19-24).
Ø On the second day of the feast, “the morrow after the sabbath,” the first-
fruits of the harvest were to be presented in the shape of a ripe sheaf (of
barley) which was to be a wave-offering, and to be accompanied by the
sacrifice of a lamb with meat and drink offerings (Leviticus 23:10-14). By
this regulation the festival was made to embody the old spring feast, and to
have thus a double aspect.
the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the
saying,” And the LORD spake - According to the Biblical record, neither Moses
nor Aaron introduced any legislation of their own, either at this time or later. The
whole system, religious, political, and ecclesiastical, was received by Divine Revelation,
commanded by God, and merely established by the agency of the two brothers.
we have here a separate document on the subject of the Passover, written
independently of what has preceded, some time after the exodus, and placed here
without alteration, when Moses gathered together his various writings into a single
2 “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be
the first month of the year to you.” This month shall be unto you the
beginning of months. The Israelite year would seem to have hitherto commenced
with the autumnal equinox (Exodus 23:16), or at any rate with the month Tisri
(or Ethanim), which corresponded to our October. Henceforth two reckonings
were employed, one for sacred, the other for civil purposes, the first month of
each year, sacred or civil, being the seventh month of the other. Abib, “the
month of ears” — our April, nearly — became now the first month of the
ecclesiastical year, while Tisri became its seventh or sabbatical month. It is
remarkable that neither the Egyptians nor the Babylonians agreed with the
original Israelite practice, the Egyptians commencing their year with Thoth,
or July; and the Babylonians and Assyrians theirs with Nisannu, or April.
The Advantages of an Ecclesiastical Calendar (vs. 1-2)
With their new position as an independent nation, and their new privileges
as God’s redeemed people (ch. 6:6), the Israelites received the gift
of a new ecclesiastical calendar. Their civil calendar remaining as before,
their civil year commencing with Tisri, about the time of the autumnal
equinox, and consisting of twelve months of alternately twenty-nine and
thirty days, they were now commanded to adopt a new departure for their
sacred year, and to reckon its commencement from Abib or Nisan, which
began about the time of the vernal equinox, or March 21. This was
advantageous to them in several ways.
CONTEMPLATION, NOT ALREADY OCCUPIED BY WORLDLY
CARES. The commencement of a civil year naturally brings with it various
civil and worldly cares, which occupy the mind, demand the attention, and
distract the thoughts. The worldly position has to be reviewed, accounts
made up, stock taken, debts claimed and paid, subscriptions renewed or
discontinued, agents communicated with, orders given, arrangements made
in some instances for the whole of the coming twelvemonth; and the result
is, that the mind of most men is then so occupied, not to say harassed, that
it cannot turn itself with any vigor or freshness to the contemplation of
things heavenly and spiritual. Of great value then, and importance, is it that
religion should have a separate time to itself for a review of the spiritual
position, for the taking of stock in a religious sense, the balancing of the
account with heaven, the forming of plans for the spiritual life beforehand,
since that life has as much need to be carefully provided for as the worldly
life. The opening of a year being the natural time for such a review, the
new arrangement made naturally suggested it, and provided a quiet time
BE INSTITUTED A GREATER
THOUGHTS THAN MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN THE CASE.
Everyone recognizes the importance of a new beginning. A religion
naturally strikes its key-note at the commencement of its round of services.
As the coming of Christ into the world is the very essence of Christianity,
the ecclesiastical year of Christendom commences with Advent. Thus
Christians are taught that the foundation-stone of their religion, the root
out of which it all springs, is the Incarnation. For Judaism the key-note
was deliverance from
people by means of sacrifice. Deliverance from
servitude, and the commencement of a free national life. Sacrifice was the
appointed means of keeping up and renewing the covenant relationship
begun in circumcision. In the Passover these two thoughts were blended
necessary to call forth that loving trust in the favor and goodness of God,
which lies at the root of all acceptable service; the other was needed to
give ease to the conscience, to reassure the trembling sinner, and remove
his sense of a guilt that separated him from God, and made his circumcision
unavailing. The prominence given to these ideas by the position of the
Paschal Festival, impressed them upon the minds of the Israelites as
fundamental and vital truths.
RESPECT FOR IT. In all times and countries the suspicion occurs to
some, that religion is but a form of statecraft, a politic invention of
governors to render government more easy. Anything that marks the
coordinate authority of Church and State in their separate spheres, and
especially the independence of the Church, is valuable, as an obstacle to
matters) and an indication of the Church’s inherent right to regulate
Church affairs. An ecclesiastical calendar distinct from the civil calendar is
no doubt a little matter; but it implies an important principle, and is perhaps
not without some influence over the general tone of thought and feeling in
The Beginning of a New Era (vs. 1-2)
IN THE HISTORY OF GOD’S PEOPLE (vs. 1, 2).
ü It was then only that the history of the nation as the people of God
began. Before they had been told of God’s favor towards them;
they now knew it. “Now we believe, not because of thy saying, for
we have heard Him ourselves” (John 4:42).
ü God’s final deliverance begins a new era for His people.
“Behold! I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
ü This has its correlative type in Christian experience now. The true life of
the servant of God dates from the hour of his deliverance from the
bondage of sin. “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature:
old things are passed away: behold all things are become new.”
(II Corinthians 5:17)
and love, Sinai, the giving of the law, etc.
Ø Before us lies the deepening knowledge of His love,
Ø and of His will, the priestly service, etc.
ü The remembrance of God’s grace makes the soul the dwelling-place
of humbleness and trust.
ü It is joy and strength for service.
ü It is consecration; in the brightness of that unmerited grace the life is
claimed for God; the ear is opened, the heart is touched and changed;
we forget things that are behind, and reach forth to things that are
before. (Philippians 3:13-14)
The Beginning of Months (v. 2)
commemoration of this great event, the day from which the (religious) year
began was changed. The month Abib was thenceforth to be “the beginning
of months.” The civil year continued to begin with Tisri (ch. 23:16).
EXISTENCE. The day when salvation comes to a man’s house (Luke
19:9; Acts 16:34) is the true “beginning of days” to him. (To me it
was July 18, 1955 – I remember because it was my father’s birthday –
CY – 2017)
ü It is the commencement of a new life. “Born again” (John 3:3);
“passed from death into life’ (John 5:24); “a new creature”
(II Corinthians 5:17). “The years we spent before we turned to the Lord
are not worth counting; the best that can happen to them is to be buried
out of sight” (Dr. J. M. Gibson).
ü It is the day of separation from the world. Some think that up to this
time the Israelites had used the Egyptian calendar, which began about the
time of the summer solstice. “From this time, however, all connection with
to commemorate the time when Jehovah led them forth to liberty and
ü It is the day which begins the journey to heaven. Redemption is the
beginning of the new life: it is, however, but the beginning. The wilderness
journey follows it. Conversion is not a resting-place, but a starting-point. It
begins, but does not complete, salvation.
so immaterial a thing as time, God has inscribed a memorial of His three
ü Creation. He has built into the structure of the week an imperishable
record of the six days’ work.
ü The Exodus. The order
of the year in
ü The Christian redemption. The advent of Christ has founded an era. The
bitterest enemy of the Gospel is compelled to do it, at least, the involuntary
homage of dating his years from the Lord’s advent. By his use of the
Christian calendar, the infidel testifies unwittingly to the power of the
religion which he seeks to overthrow.
One indication of this, even in the polity of
the fact that the sacred year began in one month, and the civil in another.
3 “Speak ye unto all the congregation of
month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their
fathers, a lamb for an house:” Speak ye unto all the congregation. Under the
existing circumstances Moses could only venture to summon
the elders of
a meeting. He necessarily left it to them to signify his wishes to the people.
(See v. 21.) A lamb. The Hebrew word is one of much wider meaning
than our “lamb.” It is applicable to both sheep and goats, and to either
animal without limit of age, In the present case the age was fixed at a year
by subsequent enactment (v. 5); but the offerer was left free with respect
to the species. It is curious that, such being the case, the lamb alone
should, so far as appears, ever have been offered. According to the house
of their fathers. Literally, “for a father’s house,” i.e. for a family.
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.”
If the household be too little for the lamb — i.e., “too few to
consume it at a sitting.” Usage in course of time fixed the minimum number
at ten. (Josephus Bell. Jud. 6:9, § 3.) The whole family, men, women and
children participated. The lamb was generally slain between the ninth hour
(3 p.m.) and the eleventh (5 p.m.). Let him and his neighbour take it
according to the number of the souls. If there were a household of only
five, which could not possibly consume the lamb, any large neighboring
family was to send five or six of its number, to make up the deficiency.
Every man according to his eating, etc. It is difficult to see what sense
our translators intended. The real direction is that, in providing a proper
number of guests, consideration should be had of the amount which they
would be likely to eat. Children and the very aged were not to be reckoned
as if they were men in the vigor of life. Translate — “Each man according
to his eating shall ye count towards 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:” Your lamb shall be without blemish.
Natural piety would teach that “the blind, the lame, and the sick” should not be
selected for sacrifice (Malachi 1:8). The Law afterwards expressly forbade any
blemished animals — “blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or
scurvy, or scabbed” — to be offered for any of the stated sacrifices, though they might
be given as free-will offerings (Leviticus 22:20-25). The absence of blemish was
especially important in a victim which was to typify One “holy, harmless, undefiled,
separate from sinners.” (Hebrews 7:26) – “a male” - As standing in place of and
redeeming the first-born of the males in each family - “of the first year:” - Perhaps
as then more approaching to the ideal of perfect innocence. The requirement was not
a usual one. ye shall take it out from the sheep or from the goats” - Theodoret says
the proviso was made for the relief of the poorer class of persons; but practically it
seems not to have taken effect. When people were poor, their richer neighbors
supplied them with lambs (Kalisch).
6 “And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month:
and the whole assembly of the congregation
the evening.” Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day. The interval of
four days (see v. 3) was probably intended to give ample time for the
thorough inspection of the lamb, and for obtaining another, if any defect
was discovered. The precept is not observed by the modern Jews; and the
later Targum (which belongs to the sixth century after Christ) teaches that
it was only intended to apply to the first institution; but the text of Exodus
is wholly against this. The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel
shall kill it. One of the main peculiarities of the Paschal sacrifice was this
— that the head of each family was entitled — in the early times was
required to offer the sacrifice for himself. In it no one intervened between
the individual and God. Thus it was recognized that the whole nation was a
nation of priests, as are Christians also, according to John (Revelation 1:6) and
Peter (I Peter 2:5). The intervention of Levites at a late date (II Chronicles 30:17;
35:5-6) was contrary to the original institution. In the evening. Literally,
“between the two evenings.” This phrase has been explained in two ways. Some
regard the first evening as commencing when the sun begins visibly to decline
from the zenith, i.e. about two or three o’clock; and the second as following the
sunset. Others say, that the sunset introduces the first evening, and that the
second begins when the twilight ends, which they consider to have been
“an hour and twenty minutes later” (Ebn Ezra, quoted by Kalisch). The use
of the phrase in ch. 16:12, and the command in Deuteronomy 16:6 —
“Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun,”
seem to be decisive in favor of the second explanation. The first arose out
of the later practice. When the lambs were sacrificed in the temple by a
continual succession of offerers, it became impossible to complete the
sacrifices in the short time originally allowed. Of necessity the work of
killing the victims was commenced pretty early in the afternoon, and
continued till after sunset. The interpretation of the direction was then
altered, to bring it into accord with the altered practice.
The Passover Lamb a Prophetic Picture of Christ and His Salvation (vs. 3-6
against the visitation of the angel of death, and it shields these only.
ü Those who feed upon Him. Saving faith must be a real, appropriating
faith. Mere assent to a form of words avails nothing, neither can a mere
intellectual conviction of the truth of Christianity or apprehension of the
plan of salvation; it must be the soul’s food.
gentleness and blamelessness. He who dies for us is accepted, because He is
faultless. The sin-bearer must be sinless. This is redemption’s great central
mystery. But though the eternal reason of it may not be understood, THE
WISDOM OF IT IS SHOWN IN OUR EXPERIENCE. The power which
changes us lies in this, that Christ died not for sins of His own, but solely
for ours. “He bore our sins, in His own body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24)
ü The lamb kept for four days within the house foretold that God’s
accepted sacrifice should come forth from the homes of
days may symbolize the nearly four years of our Lord’s ministry.
ü The day and hour of the Saviour’s death (v. 6).
ü His death
was to be
Ø Our sins nailed Him to the tree. He was slain by our iniquities.
of the sin which is in us all. None are free from this awful blood
guiltiness, save the repentant and pardoned.
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.”
And they shall take of the blood - The blood, which, according to Hebrew ideas,
“is the life,” – (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:11,14) and so the very essence of the
sacrifice, was always regarded as the special symbol of that expiation and atonement,
with a view to which sacrifice was instituted. As by the Paschal sacrifice atonement
was made for the house, which was therefore to escape unscathed, the sign of
atonement was to be conspicuously placed upon it - and strike it on the two side
posts and on the upper door post of the houses - The “striking” was to be by
means of a bunch of hyssop dipped in the blood (v. 22) – The selection of the doorway
as the part of the house to receive the stains of blood is probably to be connected with
the idea that the secondary agency producing death, whatever it was, would enter by
the door — and if the door showed the house to have been atoned for, would not enter.
The upper door-post. The word used is elsewhere translated “lintel” (ch. 12:22-23);
but it seems properly to mean the latticed window which was commonly placed over
a doorway in Egyptian houses, and which is often represented in the facades of tombs.
It is derived from a root signifying “to look out.”
8 “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and
unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.”
Roast with fire. The meat of sacrificial meals was commonly
boiled by the Hebrews (I Samuel 2:14-15). The command to roast the
Paschal lamb is accounted for:
1. By its being a simpler and quicker process than boiling;
2. By a special sanctity being regarded as attaching to fire;
3. By the difficulty of cooking the animal whole unless it were roasted.
Justin Martyr’s statement that for roasting two wooden spits were
required, placed at right angles the one to the other, and thus extending the
victim on a cross, will seem to many a better ground for the direction than
any of these. And unleavened bread. See below, v. 18. With bitter
herbs. Literally, “with bitternesses.” That herbs, or vegetables of some
kind, are intended, there is no reasonable doubt. The Mishna enumerates
endive, chicory, wild lettuce, and nettles among the herbs that might be
eaten. Undoubtedly they were a disagreeable accompaniment, and represented
at once the bitterness of the Egyptian bondage (ch. 1:14) and the need of
self-denial, if we would feed on Christ.
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.” The injunction
appears to moderns superfluous; but an ὠμοφαγία – omophagia - or eating
of the raw flesh of victims sacrificed, seems to have been practiced by several
heathen nations in ancient times, more especially in the worship of Dionysus
or Bacchus. Its head with its legs. The lamb was to be roasted whole — according
as a symbol of the unity of
were to become so soon as they quitted
from John (John 19:36), still more to prefigure the unbroken body of Him whom
the lamb especially represented, the true propitiation and atonement and deliverer
of His people from the destroyer, our Lord Jesus Christ. “and with the
purtenance thereof” - Rather, “the intestines thereof.” The Jewish commentators
say that the intestines were first taken out, washed, and cleansed, after which they
were replaced, and the lamb roasted in a sort of oven
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” Ye shall let nothing
of it remain till the morning. The whole of the flesh was to be consumed by the
guests, and at one sitting, lest there should be any even accidental profanation of
the food by man or animal, if part were put away.. The
on the same principle of careful reverence, declines to allow any reservation of the
Eucharistic elements, requiring the whole of the consecrated bread and
wine to be consumed by the Priest and communicants in the Church
immediately after the service. That which remaineth — i.e., the bones,
and any small fragments of the flesh necessarily adhering to them. Ye shall
burn with fire. Thus only could its complete disappearance, and seeming
annihilation be secured. It does not appear that this burning was viewed as
a sacrificial act.
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 LORD’s Passover”.
With your loins girded, etc. Completely prepared, i.e., to start on your journey —
with the loose wrapper (beged), ordinarily worn, collected together and fastened by
a girdle about the waist; with sandals on the feet, which were not commonly worn
in houses; and with walking sticks in the hand. There were some Jews who regarded
these directions as of perpetual obligation; but the general view was that they applied
to the first occasion only, when alone they would have answered any useful
purpose. You shall eat it in haste. As not knowing at what moment you
may be summoned to start on your journey, and as having to see to the
burning of the bones after the flesh was eaten, which would take some
time. It is the Lord’s Passover. Very emphatic words! “This is no common meal,”
they seem to say, “it is not even an ordinary sacrificial repast. The lamb is Jehovah’s!.
It is His pass-sign — the mark of His protection, the precious means of your
preservation from death. As such view it; and though ye eat it in haste, EAT IT
If One Died for All then All Died (vs. 3-11)
Pharaoh’s heart was still hardened. The crowning judgment needs no
intermediary; Jehovah will reveal His own right arm. (ch. 11:4).
“Who shall live when God doeth this?” (Numbers 24:23) He who obeying
His word shelters himself beneath His shadow. See:
ü A carefully selected victim. V. 5, deliberately set apart four days
Ø Pure within;
Ø innocence typified by inexperience,
Ø “the first year.”
Ø Pure without,
Ø “no blemish.”
ü A carefully conducted purification. The partaker of the sacrificial feast
must endeavour after a purity resembling that of the victim. Leaven, evil,
must be purged out that he may offer and receive worthily.
ü A sarifice to save from death, 5:6-7. Notice
Ø Obedience ensured safety. The judgment was to go forth against the
first-born; but the lamb slain — his blood duly sprinkled — would be
accepted as a substitute. Obedience was all that was demanded.
Ø The meaning of the command. Few types are arbitrary; almost always
some ground of relation is between them and the thing typified, even though
we may not see it. Here the pure lamb represents the offerer as he ought to
be; it says in his name “I would be pure; I would dedicate myself wholly to
thy service; accept me, not for what I am but for what Thou canst make
me. Take this lamb for me; make me as this lamb!” Obedience saves, but
that which is commanded shadows forth the final result to be achieved by
ü Sustenance to nerve for duty. The Lamb not merely to be killed but
Ø The people saved from the destroyer are to be released also from the
oppressor; to commence at once the life of liberty. Strength needed for the
march. That which saves is that which supports, if the lamb represents the
offerer as he ought to be, feeding upon the lamb will represent feeding by
faith upon the ideal thus figured. To become righteous we must hunger and
thirst after righteousness, Matthew 5:6. Dedication is the starting-point,
but the road is persistent obedience, and they only can walk that road who
feed upon the ideal first set before them (Philippians 3:12-14).
ü Our sacrific
Ø Pure, perfect. Slain for us. By faith accepting his work, peace with
God; shelter from the avenging angel. This is what we mean by
substitution — Christ died for me. Notice however:
Ø Accepting this sacrifice we must still regard it as representative.
Pleading its efficacy, we not merely mean “Forgive me for Christ’s
sake,” but also, “I would be like Christ, I would give myself up wholly
to Thy will even as He has done — Accept me in Him, make me like
Him!” The doctrine of substitution is only explained by this underlying doctrine of identity, it could not otherwise be a doctrine of salvation.
ü Our sustenance. We too, saved in Christ, have to march on along the
road which leads from slavery to freedom. To do this we must feed upon
our ideal, “inwardly digest” it. ("Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you." - John 6:53) What we ought to be; what we hope to be;
WHAT CHRIST IS! Our great advantage over the Jew is that our ideal
is realized in a person. To feed upon it is to feed upon Christ. To attain it is to be like Christ, to be one with Him.
we also die with Him. Dedication of a substitute is not enough unless self is
dedicated in the substitute. Very well wishing to be happy, and the hope of
many is little more than this. God, however, means us to be holy, and there
is no easy road to holiness. Accept the ideal, accept Christ out and out, we
shall find Him more than an ideal: He will strengthen and sustain us till we
attain it. Forget what the ideal is; forget what dedication means; we may
yet find that it is possible for those who are saved from bondage to perish
in the wilderness.
12 “For I will pass through the
all the firstborn in the land of
all the gods of
“For I will pass through the
give the reason for the institution of the new ceremony, and to explain the new
term pesach. “I have commanded this rite,” He says, “because I am about to
go through the whole
about to smite and kill every one of the firstborn both of man and beast. I shall
enter into every house, and slay the first-born in it, unless I see upon the house
the token of THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB! In that case I shall pass over the
house, and you will escape the plague.” It would clear the sense if the opening
words of v. 12 were translated — “For I shall go through,” instead of
“pass through.” The word translated “pass through” has no connection at all
over. Against all the gods of
These words are exegetical of the word “beast,” which immediately precedes. Animal
worship was an important part of the religion of the Egyptians. At four great cities,
the Western Delta, animals were maintained, which were viewed as actual
of deity — the Apis Bull at
White Cow. If any of these were at the time animals that had “opened the
womb,” death must have fallen upon them. Thus would judgment have
been executed, literally, upon Egyptian “gods.” But, besides these, the
whole country was filled with sacred animals, regarded as emblematic of
certain particular deities, and as belonging to them. Sheep were sacred to
Kneph, goats to Khem, cows to Athor, cats to Pasht, dogs and jackals to
Anubis, lions to Horus, crocodiles to Set and Sabak, hippopotami to
Taouris, cynocephalous apes to Thoth, frogs to Heka. A sudden mortality
among the sacred animals would be felt by the Egyptians as a blow struck
against the gods to whom they belonged, and as a judgment upon them. It
is scarcely necessary to understand literally the expression “all the gods,”
defend it by the assertion that “not a single deity of
represented by some beast.” Such an assertion cannot be proved; and is
probably not correct. It has often been remarked, and is generally allowed,
that Scripture uses universal expressions, where most, or even many, of a
class are meant. I am the Lord. Rather as in ch. 6:8, “Against all
the gods of
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
to be a token to the Israelites, but to God for them. Translate— “and the blood
shall be as a token for you upon the houses that you are there.” It shall distinguish
the houses in which you dwell from the others. “I will pass over you” - This is the
emphatic clause. God would pass by, or over the house on which the blood was, spare
it, slay none of its inmates; and from this action of His, the lamb itself, and the feast
whereof it was the principal part, were to be termed “the Passover.”
Christ is His People’s Salvation and Strength (vs. 7-13)
ü They took the blood and struck it on the door posts and the lintel. We
must appropriate Christ’s atonement. We must say by faith, “He died for
me.” (Galatians 2:20)
ü They passed within the blood-stained portals. Christ’s blood must stand
between us and condemnation, between us and sin. Our safety lies in
setting that between our soul and them. The realizing of Christ’s death
for our sins is, salvation.
upon Christ. (John
While the world is busy with its dreams we must feast upon the joy of eternity, and, comprehending with all saints the infinite love of Christ, be filled with all
the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:18-19) “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son
of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” (John 6:53)
ü With unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The old leaven of malice and
wickedness must be put away, and the feasting on Christ’s love must be
accompanied with repentance and self denial. There may be now and again a momentary glimpse of Christ’s love where sin is not parted
with, but there can be no communion, no enduring vision WITH SIN!
ü Christ must be taken as God has set Him before us, in the simplicity of
the Gospel, with nothing of man’s invention, addition, or diminution.
The Gospel remedy avails only when taken in the Gospel way (vs. 9-10).
ü He must be partaken of in the union of love. The Passover is a social, a
family feast. Those who refuse to seek church-fellowship are despising
God’s arrangements for their own salvation, and proving themselves
DEVOID OF the spirit which, loving Him that begat, loveth Him also that is begotten of him.
ü He must be partaken of with the pilgrim spirit and preparedness (v.11). They who will be saved by Jesus must take up their cross and follow
vs. 14-20. — Hitherto the directions given have had reference, primarily
and mainly, if not wholly, to the first celebration of the Passover on the
night preceding the Exodus. Now, it is announced,
(1) That the observance is to be an annual one; and
(2) That it is to he accompanied with certain additional features in the
future. These are
(a) the eating of unleavened bread for seven days after the killing of
(b) the putting away of leaven out of the houses;
(c)the holding of meetings for worship on the first day and the last; and
(d) the observance on these days of a sabbatical rest.
14 “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it
a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a
feast by an ordinance for ever.” This day shall be to you for a memorial.
Annual festivals, in commemoration of events believed to have happened, were
the religion of
ideas of the Hebrews. (See the “Introduction” to this chapter.) They were now
required to make the 14th of Abib such a day, and to observe it continually
year after year “throughout their generations.” There is commendable
faithfulness in the obedience still rendered to the command at the present
day; and it must be confessed that the strong expression — throughout
your generations and as an ordinance for ever — excuse to a great
extent the reluctance of the Jews to accept Christianity. They have already,
however, considerably varied from the terms of the original appointment.
May they not one day see that the Passover will still be truly kept by participation
in the Easter Eucharist, wherein Christians feed upon “the Lamb slain from the
foundation of the world” – (Revelation 13:8) — the antitype, of which
the Paschal lamb was the type — Jesus Christ, the true sustenance of souls — the
center and source of all real unity — the one “perfect and sufficient sacrifice, and
oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world”? – Jesus said, Except ye
eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you” –
(John 6:53) The Church requires an Easter communion of all her members,
proclaims that on that day, Christ our passover being slain, we are to keep the
feast; and thus, so far as in her lies, maintains the festival as “an ordinance for
ever,” to be observed through all her generations.
The Passover Feast the Type of the Christian life (vs. 14-20)
ü It is unending, deepening joy. Other joys fade, this brightens.
ü It is a growing appropriation of the Lamb of God. Our union with Him
grows ever closer, fuller. Is this our experience? A nominal Christianity will never save us. Are we feeding on Jesus? Are we in Him and He in us?
DELIVERANCE, AND THE ANTICIPATION OF A GREATER.
ü There was present safety from the destroyer.
ü On the morrow there was to be the passing out from amidst the broken
the types onward. We have forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, and
the expectation of His coming the second time without sin unto salvation.
(Hebrews 9:28) Faith, and love, and hope the threefold glory of Christ’s people.
feast the old leaven was not to be found in the dwellings of
that turns back to sin is cut off (vs. 15, 18-20). What was a mere
accompaniment in the type, is a fruit of life IN CHRIST!
family feast. It began and it closed with an assembly of the whole
congregation. There are separate churches still, as there were families then.
But the union of all believers must be recognized and rejoiced in.
THE PASSOVER CONTINUED IN THE EUCHARIST
It was expressly declared that the Passover was instituted to be observed as a feast “by
an ordinance for ever.” (v. 14) - Jews are justified in remaining Jews, if they cannot
otherwise continue to celebrate it. But they can. The Passover is continued in the
Eucharist. Hence Paul’s words at Easter time — “Christ, our Passover, is crucified
for us; therefore let us keep the feast” (I Corinthians 5:7-8).
EVENT, WHICH THE PASSOVER PREFIGURED AND
FORESHADOWED. The reality underlying both being the Lord’s death
upon the cross as a propitiation for the sins of man, this death was set forth
in anticipation by the Paschal sacrifice; it is now “shown forth” after the
event, in the Eucharist, “until Christ come” (I Corinthians 11:26). The bread
and wine represent the humanity of Christ as truly as the Paschal lamb
represented it. The Eucharistic ceremony is “a perpetual memory (ἀνάμνησις –
an-am’-nay-sis; - recollection; remembrance) of His precious death,” and
in some respects a more lively setting forth of that central event of history
than ever was the Paschal ceremony.
FROM BONDAGE, AS THE PASSOVER DID THE JEW’S. The true
the bondage of sin. This is the “
to be delivered. The death of Christ, which the Eucharist “shews forth,” is the
one and only remedy for sin, the one and only means whereby it becomes
possible for man to shake off the grievous yoke from his shoulders, and
become free. (“Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” –
(John 8:32) - By His meritorious sacrifice the guilt of sin is removed; by His
assisting grace, given most abundantly through the Eucharist, the power of sin
is destroyed, and its taint gradually purged out of our nature.
CHRISTIAN, AS THE PASSOVER FESTIVAL WAS TO THE JEW.
The very name of Eucharist, which became the usual name of the Holy
Communion as early as the second century, indicates how essential a
feature of it thanksgiving was felt to be. “We praise thee, we bless thee, we
worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thee thanks for thy great glory, O
Lord God” — this is the general key-note of Eucharistic services. And
naturally. For, if the Jew had much to thank God for, the Christian has
more. Redemption, justification, assisting grace, sanctification, union
with Christ — clear and distinct promise of everlasting life — are his,
and crowd upon his mind in connection with this sacrament.
SACRIFICE. In the Passover, as generally in sacrifices, the victim was first
offered on behalf of the sacrificers — in this case the household, and then
the flesh of the victim furnished a solemn sacrificial meal to the members of
the household. In the Eucharist, where the true victim is Christ Himself,
whose sacrifice upon the cross is alone propitiatory, a commemoration of
the death of Christ is made, and then there follows a feast of the most
sacred kind. Whatever benefits may have flowed from participation in the
Paschal festival are far exceeded by those attached to the “Supper of the
Lord.” The Jew felt himself by participation in the Passover festival
incorporated anew into the community
participation in the Eucharist, is engrafted anew into Christ.
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
was admitted by the ancient Egyptians, or even known to them.
Apparently, the nation which first adopted it was that of the Babylonians.
have brought it with him from “
from him it may have passed to Jacob, and so to Moses. That the week
was known in the family of Abraham before the giving of the law, appears
from Genesis 29:27-28. Unleavened bread is typical of purity of
heart, leaven being an emblem of corruption (Matthew 16:6-12; I Corinthians 5:7).
“Leaven,” says Plutarch, “comes from corruption, and corrupts the dough with
which it is mixed; and every fermentation seems to be a putrefaction.” The primary
command to celebrate the first passover with unleavened instead of leavened bread
(v. 8), must be attributed wholly to this symbolism. But the permanent institution
of a “feast of unleavened bread,” to last a week, had a double bearing. Partly, it was
designed to deepen and intensify the conviction that corruption and
impurity disqualify for religions service; but it was also partly intended as a
of the fact, that in their hasty flight from
which they took with them was unleavened (ver. 34), and that they were
forced to subsist on this for several days. (Compare the double meaning of
the “bitter herbs, noticed in the comment on verse 8, ad fin.)
The requirement to “put away leaven out of their houses” is probably intended
to teach, that for family worship to be acceptable, the entire household must be pure,
and that to effect this result the head of the household must, so far as he can, eject
the leaven of sin from his establishment. Whosoever eateth… shall be out off from
transgresses any plain precept of God, even though it be a positive one, he should
be severed from the Church, until he confess his fault, and repent, and do penance
for it. Such was the “godly discipline” of the primitive Church; and it were well if
the Churches of these modern times had more of it.
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.” On the first day there shall be an holy
convocation. After the Paschal meal on the evening of the 14th of Abib, there
was to be a solemn assembly of the people on the next day for religions worship.
The name “convocation;” applied to these gatherings, seems to show that
originally the people were summoned to such meetings, as they still are by
the muezzin from the minarets of mosques in Mahommedan countries, and
by bells from the steeples of churches in Christian ones. And on the
seventh day. On the 22nd of Abib — the seventh day after the first holy
convocation on the 15th (see Leviticus 23:4-8). Only two of the Jewish
festivals were of this duration — the feast of unleavened bread, and the
feast of tabernacles (ibid. vs. 39-42). The Christian Church has adopted the
usage for Christmas, Easter, Ascension, and Whitsuntide, where the last
day of the week is known technically as “the octave.” No manner of work
shall be done in them. Festival-days were in all countries days of abstention
from the ordinary business of life, which could not conveniently be carried on
conjointly with attendance at the services, meetings, processions, etc., wherein
the festival consisted. But absolute cessation from all work was nowhere strictly
commanded except among the Hebrews, where it appears to have been connected
with the belief in God’s absolute rest after the six days of creation. The command
here given was solemnly repeated in the law (Leviticus 23:6- 8)
17 “And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day
have I brought your armies out of the
this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.” In this self-same day.
The 15th of Abib — the first day of the feast of unleavened bread. Have I brought
your hosts out. This expression seems to prove that we have in the injunctions of
vs. 14-20, not the exact words of the revelation on the subject made by God to
Moses before the institution of the Passover, but a re-casting of the words after
the exodus had taken place. Otherwise, the expression must have been, “I
will bring your hosts out.” As an ordinance for ever. Easter eve, the day
on which Satan was despoiled by the preaching of Jesus to the spirits in
prison (I Peter 3:19), and on which the Church first realizes its
deliverance from the bondage of sin by the Atonement of Good Friday, is
the Christian continuance of the first day of unleavened bread, and so
answers to this text, as Good Friday to the similar command in v. 14.
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.”
In the first month. The word “month” seems to have
accidentally dropped out of the Hebrew text. In the evening. The Hebrew
day commenced with the evening (Genesis 1:5); but the evening here
intended is that at the close of the 14th of Abib, which began the 15th.
Similarly, the evening of the 21st is here that which commenced the 22nd.
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
“vain repetition” of v.15. It adds an important extension of the punitive clause — “that
soul shall be cut off from
reminded, at the very
inheritance of exclusive privileges, that no exclusion of the Gentiles by reason of race
or descent was ever contemplated by God, either at the giving of the Law, or at any
other time. In Abraham all the families of them were to be blessed (Genesis 12:3).
always open to any Gentiles to join themselves to
“proselytes of justice,” adopting circumcision and the general observance of the law,
and joining the Israelite community. The whole law is full of references to persons
of this class (chps. 20:10; 23:12; Leviticus 16:29; 17:10; 18:26; 20:2; 24:16;
Numbers 35:15; Deuteronomy 5:14; 16:11-14; 24:17, 19; 27:19; 29:11). It must
have been largely recruited in the times immediately following the exodus from the
“mixed multitude” which accompanied the Israelites out of
from the Kenites who joined them in the wilderness (Numbers 10:29-31; Judges 1:16).
“born in the land”— i.e., an Israelite by birth — “the land” is, no
regarded as the true “
by God to the posterity of Abraham (Genesis 15:18).
20 “Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat
unleavened bread.” Here again there is no repetition, but an extension. “Ye shall
eat nothing leavened,” not only no leavened bread (v. 15), but no leavened cake
of any kind. And “in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread,” i.e.,
dwell, whether in
everywhere to this day, though they no longer sacrifice the Paschal lamb.
(? – CY – 2017)
THE PASSOVER PROPER (vs. 3-20)
tenth plague, and as a means by which the first-born of the Israelites might
be saved from destruction, but accompanied by ceremonies which were
connected with the prospective
departure of the whole nation out of
the Passover feast, as established “by an ordinance for ever,” commemorated
two distinct and different things.
ü The passing over of the houses of the Israelites by Jehovah, when he
went through the land in the character of “destroyer” (v. 23), to smite
the first-born; and
ü The hurried
departure of the nation out of
bread for their journey, which they had not had time to leaven (v. 34).
It was thus intended to remind them of two great mercies; the lesser
one being the escape of their first-born from sudden death, and the
greater one the deliverance of the whole people from the bondage and
establishment of them as a nation under the direct government of God,
(a theocracy) and under laws which were communicated to them by
God, Himself at Sinai. Man is so apt to forget the benefits which God
confers upon him, that it has been found necessary, or at least desirable,
in almost all countries, to establish, by authority, days of commemoration,
when national deliverances, national triumphs, national recoveries, shall
be brought prominently before the mind of the nation, and pressed upon
its attention. The Passover must be regarded as one of the most effective
of such commemorative ceremonies. It has continued to be celebrated for
above three thousand years. It brings vividly to the recollection of the
Jew that night of trepidation and excitement, when the lamb was first
killed, the blood dashed upon the doorposts, and the sequel waited for —
that night, when “about midnight” was heard “a great cry,” and in
every house the Egyptians bewailed one dead — that night, in which,
after the cry, a murmur arose, and the Egyptians became “urgent”
(v. 33), and insisted that the Israelites should quit the land forthwith. It
has all the political advantage of a great national celebration; and it
exalts the political idea by uniting it with religious enthusiasm.
week, with the exception of the Paschal lamb and the daily goat, must be
viewed as thank-offerings. They consisted of fourteen bullocks, seven
rams, and forty-nine lambs of the first year, provided by. the priests, and
offered to God in the name of the nation. They were burnt on the altar as
holocausts, accompanied by meat-offerings of flour mingled with oil. At
the same time individuals offered their own private thank-offerings. So far,
the special object of the thanksgiving was the great deliverance, with which
might be conjoined, in thought, God’s further mercies in the history of the
nation. On the second day of the feast, however, another subject of
thankfulness was introduced. The season of the year was that in which the
earliest grain ripened in
it was the time when the return of spring had been long celebrated among
the Semites by a traditional observance. As “each return of the Passover
festival was intended to remind the Israelites of their national regeneration”
(Kalisch), it was thought appropriate to bring the festival into connection
with the regeneration of nature, and the return of vernal vegetation. On the
second day, therefore, a sheaf of the first ripe barley was offered as the
first-fruits of the coming harvest, and thanks were rendered to God for His
bounty in once more bringing to perfection the fruits of the earth. During
the remainder of the week, both subjects occupied the thoughts of the
worshippers, who passed the time in innocent festivities, as songs, music,
symbolical meaning of the Passover, as of so much that is contained in the
Jewish law. Scripture distinctly declares it. “Christ, our Passover, is slain,”
who was prefigured and foreshown in every sacrifice, was symbolized
especially by the Paschal victim. He was “the Lamb of God’ (John 1:29),
“without spot or blemish” (I Peter 1:19), “holy, harmless, undefiled”
(Hebrews 7:26); offered to keep off “the destroyer,” saving us by His blood
from death (Acts 20:28); slain that we might feed upon His flesh (John
6:51). The Paschal lamb, when prepared for sacrifice, presented, as Justin
Martyr informs us, a lively image of the Saviour upon “the accursed tree,”
being extended on a cross formed of two wooden spits, one longitudinal,
and one transverse, placed at right angles each to the other. “Not a bone of
it was to be broken,” that it might the better typify Him whom God
preserved from this indignity (Psalm 34:20; John 19:33). It was to
be consumed entirely, as Christ is to be taken entire into the heart of the
faithful (Galatians 4:19). Scripture also distinctly declares the symbolical
meaning of the unleavened bread. “Let us keep the feast,” says Paul, “not
with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread
of sincerity and truth.” (I Corinthians 5:8) - He who would feed on Christ
must first put away from him all corruption and impurity, eject all leaven
out of the house wherein his spirit dwells, make himself fit to sit down at
that heavenly banquet, by getting rid of all those “evil things which come
from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:23). There may be some doubt,
however, as to the symbolism of the “bitter herbs,” which Scripture leaves
unexplained. The exegesis, that the bitter herbs symbolized the sufferings of
the Israelites in
The memory of past sufferings inflicted by others is not a necessary
accompaniment of present festal joy, though it may enhance that joy by
contrast. The “bitterness” should be something that is always
requisite before the soul can find in Christ rest, peace, and enjoyment —
something that must ever accompany that rest, peace, and enjoyment, and,
so long as we are in the flesh, remain inseparable from it. Two things of
this kind suggest themselves — repentance and self-denial. The bitter herbs
may perhaps symbolize both, pointing on the one hand to the important
truth, that real repentance is a continuous act, never ceasing, while we live
below, and on the other to the necessity of men’s “taking up their cross
daily,” (Luke 9:23) and striving towards perfectness through suffering.
THE FIRST PASSOVER (vs. 21-28)
Having received the Divine directions as to the new rite, if not with all the fullness
ultimately given them, yet with sufficient fullness for the immediate purpose, Moses
proceeded to communicate the Divine Will to the people under his protection.
Having already aroused the jealousy and hatred of Pharaoh, he could not summon
a general assembly of the people, but he ventured to call a meeting of the elders,
or heads of principal families, and through them communicated the orders which
he had received to the entire nation. We find, in the directions which he gave, two
small points which are not comprised in the record of God’s words to him:
Ø The designation of the “hyssop,” as the instrument, by which the blood
was to be placed on the side-posts and lintel (v. 22); and,
Ø The injunction not to quit the house “until the morning.” These points
may have been contained in the original directions, though omitted from
the record for brevity; or they may have been added by Moses of his own
authority. On the other hand, several very main points of the original
directions are not repeated in the injunctions given to the elders, though
there can be no doubt that they were communicated.
Moses called for all the elders of
Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill
the passover.” Draw out — i.e., “Withdraw from the flock.” (See v. 3.)
A lamb. The word used is generic, and would not exclude the offering of a goat.
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.” A bunch of hyssop. The hyssop was regarded
as having purging or purifying qualities, and was used in the cleansing of the
leper (Leviticus 14:4), and of the leprous house (ibid. vs. 51-52), and also
formed an element in the “water of separation” (Numbers 19:6). It was
a species of plant which grew on walls, and was generally low and
insignificant (I Kings 4:33), yet which could furnish a stick or stalk of
some length (John 19:29). It must also have been a common plant in
respect to it. One, that it was a species of marjoram (Origanum
Aegyptiacum, or O. Syriacum
common in both
that it was the caper plant (Capparis spinosa), which abounds especially in
the Desert. (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 21.) It is in favor of this
latter identification, that the modern Arabic name for the caper plant is asaf
or asuf, which excellently represents the Hebrew ezob, the word uniformly
rendered in our version by “hyssop” The blood that is in the basin. The
Septuagint and Vulgate render — “that is on the threshold.” Saph — the
word translated “basin” has the double meaning. None of you shall go out.
Moses may well have given this advice on his own authority, without any
Divine command. (See introductory paragraph.) He would feel that beyond
the protection of the blood of the lamb, there was no assurance of safety.
No Safety for Man Beyond the Limits Protected
the Lamb’s Atoning Blood (v. 22)
No Israelite was to pass beyond the door of his house until the morning, lest he
should be destroyed by the destroyer. Within the precincts, protected by the blood
of the lamb, he was safe. Let Christians beware of stepping beyond the limits
whereto the atoning blood extends. Those step beyond the limits:
ü WHO TEMPT GOD BY DALLYING WITH SIN. Atonement has
been made for us, we feel We have had moments of assurance that
atonement and forgiveness are ours. We have had an impression that
we were safe. At once the Evil One begins to whisper to our hearts
that there is no longer any need of our walking warily, of our being
afraid to put ourselves in temptation’s way, of our flying all contact
with evil; and we are too apt to listen to his suggestions, to regard the
danger of falling from grace as past, and to allow ourselves a liberty in
which there is too often awful peril. We draw near the confines of sin,
confident that we shall sin no more; and lo! we are entangled in the
meshes. And why? Because we have gone beyond the limits protected
by the atoning blood. We have opened the door and stepped out. We
have turned our backs upon the redeeming marks and put them behind
us. We have been over-trustful in our own strength.
ü WHO ARE PUFFED UP BY THE THOUGHT OF THEIR
SPIRITUAL ATTAINMENTS AND PRIVILEGES. “Pride goeth
before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18) - Pride was the great temptation of the
Jew, who felt himself one of God’s peculiar people, to whom pertained
“the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of
the law, and the service of God, and the promises” (Romans 9:4).
And pride often tempts the Christian, who has realized the work of
Christ on his behalf, and the greatness of the salvation wrought for him.
But pride is one of the deadly sins, and at once severs the soul from
Christ. The blood of the covenant does not extend its protection over
the paths which are trodden by the foot of pride. He who enters on
them has wandered beyond the door which bears the redemption
marks, and is open to the assaults of the destroyer.
ü WHO FOLD THEIR HANDS AND CEASE TO BE ZEALOUS OF
GOOD WORKS, AS THOUGH THEY HAD ALREADY
ATTAINED. Though we cannot, by anything that we can do, merit our
own salvation, or redeem ourselves or others (Psalm 49:7), yet God will
have us “work while it is day,” (John 9:4) and be “careful to maintain
good works” - (Titus 3:8). Idleness, apathy, sloth, are contrary to His
will and His word; and the man who indulges in them has strayed
beyond the prescribed limits and in danger of losing the needful
protection. Well for him if he discovers his mistake in time to
return, and , “do again the first works” (Revelation 2:5), and so
regain the lost shelter! It is needless to say that the atoning blood can
avail none who
o reject the atonement; or,
o despise it, by giving it no thought; or,
o trample it under foot by leading an immoral and
ungodly life. These are as far removed from its
protection as were the Egyptians.
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.” Compare verses 12-13 which are
closely followed. The only important difference is, the new expression,
“The Lord will not suffer the destroyer to come in,” which has generally
been regarded as implying, that the actual agent in the killing of the first-born
was a “destroying angel.” But it is to be noted that elsewhere Jehovah Himself
is everywhere spoken of as the sole agent; and that in the present passage the
word used has the meaning of “destruction” no less than that of “destroyer.”
24 “And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy
sons for ever.” To thee and to thy children. The change from the plural to the
singular is curious, Perhaps, we are to understand that Moses insisted on
the perpetuity of the ordinance to each of the elders severally.
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.” See above, ch. 3:8-17; 6:4; and compare Genesis 17:8;
26 “And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you,
What mean ye by this service?” Apparently, Moses adds these injunctions by
his own sole authority. He assumes that curiosity will be aroused by the strange
and peculiar features of the Paschal ceremony, and that each generation in
succession will wish to know its meaning and origin. It is the parents
duty to pass this information on. (It has always been God’s design that children
learn this way – Deuteronomy 6:6-9 – CY – 2010) Careful instruction in the true
nature and value of ceremonial observances is thus of the highest importance; and
parents should not wait till their children “ask the meaning” of public worship,
salvation, baptism, the Lord’s supper, etc., before enlightening them on the true
nature and value of each. Men’s private views are various, and may be mistaken,
but the Scriptures cannot but be true; and a knowledge of what is contained in
the Bible with respect to each Christian rite or ceremony will be an excellent basis
for the formation of a sound and healthy opinion on the subject when, in the course
of time, the different views of different sections of believers come to be known.
Jesus said, “Suffer little children and forbid them not, to come unto me:
for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14; see also Matthew 18:3-6)
27 “That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who
passed over the houses of the children of
smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people
bowed the head and worshipped.” It is the sacrifice. It was offered in the
holy place (Deuteronomy 16:5-6 ); the blood of it was sprinkled upon the altar,
and the fat was burnt (II Chronicles 30:16; 35:11). Compare also ch. 23:18;
Numbers 9:7; Deuteronomy 16:2. The people bowed the head and worshipped.
Rather, “and made obeisance.” Compare ch. 4:31. By “the people”
seems to be meant “the elders of the people.” (See v. 21.)
The Obligation of Men to Teach the True Meaning of Rites
Ceremonies to Their Children (vs. 26-27)
The rites and ceremonies of a religion are liable to be misunderstood in two
1. They may be regarded as unimportant, trifling, nay, even as superstitious
— a weight and an encumbrance on true vital religion. Or,
2. They may be assigned more importance than is their due; considered to
be that in which religion mainly consists, believed to have an inherent
power and efficacy which is far from belonging to them. Men are prone to
extremes; and most persons are naturally inclined either unduly to exalt, or
unduly to depreciate religious ceremonies. Of the two evils, undue
depreciation would seem to be the worse, for the following reason:
ü It tends to make them of little service to men when they actually take part
in them, since they neither prepare themselves properly beforehand, so
as to derive from them the benefit they might, nor enter into them with much heart at the time of their occurrence, nor help their effect by
devout meditation upon them afterwards.
ü It causes an infrequent participation in the ceremonies by the
depreciators, who, expecting but little benefit in the future, and being
conscious of but little benefit in the past, allow small obstacles to
prevent their attendance at services which they do not value.
ü In extreme cases, it produces either complete abstention from, or
sometimes actual abrogation of the rite, whereby advantages are forfeited
on the part of whole sections of believers which would otherwise have
been enjoyed by them.
any rate retaining them in use, so that their benefit is not wholly lost. It
often, however, greatly lessens the benefit:
ü by exaggerated and superstitious views of its nature, and
ü by the attribution of the benefit to the mere formal participation in the
rite irrespective of the participator’s preparation, attention, and
devoutness at the time. Further, it is apt to produce such a reliance on the ceremonies as is unfavorable to practical efforts at improving the moral character and making advances towards Christian perfection. Careful instruction in the true nature and value of ceremonial observances is thus of the highest importance; and parents should perhaps scarcely wait till their children “ask the meaning” of public worship, baptism confirmation, the Lord’s supper, etc., before enlightening them on the
true nature and value of each. In so doing, it will always be of use to set forth the historical origin of each usage, to show when and how it arose, and to draw attention to what Scripture says on the subject. Men’s private views are various, and may be mistaken, but the Scriptures cannot but be true; and a knowledge of what is contained in the Bible with respect to each Christian rite or ceremony will be an excellent basis for the formation of a sound and healthy opinion on the subject when, in the course of time, the different views of different sections of believers come to be known.
“What Mean Ye by This Service?”(vs. 26-27)
Apply to the Lord’s Supper.
ü The children are presumed to be spectators of the ordinance. It is well
that children should be present during the administration of the sacraments.
Ø It awakens their interest.
Ø It leads them to inquire.
ü The ordinance is fitted to attract attention. An external interest attaches
to it. It appeals to the senses. The symbolic acts and movements prompt to
ü It furnishes an excellent opportunity for imparting instruction. Children
will attend to an explanation of the sacraments, who will pay little attention
to a book or a sermon. The symbolism of the ordinance aids instruction;
makes it vivid and impressive.
ABLE TO ANSWER TO HIS CHILDREN. It is a sad matter when a
parent is incapable of sitting down, and instructing his children in the
meaning of the sacramental symbol. It betrays something worse than
ignorance; not improbably, a total want of spiritual religion.
STATEMENT OF THE GREATEST VERITIES OF OUR FAITH. The
Jew had to answer to his child — “It is the sacrifice, of the Lord’s
passover,” etc. (v. 27). The Christian has to answer, “It is the memorial
of our Lord’s death, in atonement for our sins.” He has to tell:
ü How we were in guilt and danger.
ü How, for the love wherewith He loved us, Christ gave Himself up to the
death for our redemption.
ü How, for His sake, we are forgiven and accepted.
ü How the ungodly world has still God’s wrath resting upon it. It is
wonderful to reflect how simply, yet how perfectly, God has provided
for the handing down of a testimony to these great truths in the
ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. The pulpit may fail to preach the doctrine of atonement; Rationalistic and Unitarian teachers may deny
it; but as often as the Lord’s Supper is observed, on the model of the New Testament, the truth is anew proclaimed in unmistakable symbols. To give a child a satisfactory explanation of the Lord’s Supper, embodying the words of institution, would be almost of necessity, to preach a sermon on the atonement.
The Children’s Question in
provoke curiosity. It was not some daily action of the household, of which
the children learned the meaning and purpose almost unconsciously. The
grinding of the corn, the kneading of the dough, in a very short time
explained themselves. But when as the beginning of the year drew round, it
brought with it these special observances, the slaying and eating of the
lamb and the seven days of unleavened bread, there was everything to
make a child ask, “What is this being done for?” God makes one thing to
fit into another. He institutes services of such a kind, with such elements of
novelty and impressiveness in them, that the children make it easier for
them to be instructed IN THE THINGS THAT BELONG UNTO HIS
WILL! And what was true concerning this Passover service, is also true,
more or less, concerning ALL THAT IS REVEALED IN SCRIPTURES!
The great facts of DIVINE REVELATION are such as to provoke curiosity, even in a child’s mind. If it be true that the Scriptures are given to guide us
all the way through life, then what is more reasonable to expect than that
God will have placed much in them to stir up attention and inquiry from
those who are just at the beginning of life?
advantage was to be taken of childish curiosity. Inquisitive children are
often reckoned a nuisance, and told to be quiet; yet such a policy as this,
though it may save trouble in the present, may lead to a great deal more
trouble in the future. A stupid child who never asks questions, is to be
reckoned an object of pity and a source of peril. God has always in mind
how to make each generation better instructed than the one going before;
more obedient to Him, and more serviceable for His purposes. (In
traditionally, in this
for their children to be better off economically than their generation. Normally,
this is the case but think how sad to provide for your children in this world,
and neglect to teach them and prepare them for the next! CY – 2017) The
temptation of the grown
going on in the minds of their children. Remember how Mary and Joseph
suffered through their want of forethought on this point. The God who
watches human beings all the way from the cradle to the grave knows well
how children, even very little children, have their own thoughts about
things; and He wanted the people to give them every encouragement and
information. One question wisely answered leads to the asking of other
questions. Thus, by the continuance of an inquiring mood in the mind, and
thus only, is profitable information to be given. Information is not to be
poured into the mind as into a bucket; it must be taken as food, with
appetite, and digestive and assimilating power. Thus if the question were
not asked, if, while the Passover preparations were being made, a child
stood by in stolid unconcern, or ran away heedlessly to play, such conduct
would fill a wise parent with solicitude. He would look upon it as being
even more serious than a failure of physical health. He would do all he
could by timely suggestions to bring the question forth. Ingenuity and
patience may do much to bring curiosity into action, and if the question
were not asked it would have to be assumed. The narrative of the Passover
was a most important one for every Israelite child to hear and remember;
and if only the narrative was begun, it might soon excite the requisite and
much desired interest.
USEFULNESS TO THE CHILDREN IN THE ANSWERING OF IT.
God, indeed, directs how it is to be answered; but of course, it is not meant
that there was to be a formal, parrot-like confinement to these words.
What, for instance, could be more gratifying to the children, who in after
times asked this question, than to begin by pointing out to them, how God
Himself expected them to ask this question? Then the words He had
directed Moses to provide for an answer, might be repeated. But it would
have been a poor spiritless answer, unpleasing to God, and profitless to the
children, if it had stopped with the bare utterance of the words “It is the
sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover who passed over the houses of the
our houses.” (v.
27) There was room for much to be said,
that would very peculiarly impress the mind of a thoughtful child. He might be
reminded that whereas, now, little children were born in
the freedom of Canaan, some among their forefathers had been born in the
of Pharaoh who had threatened the men* children with destruction. In
particular, the story of the infant Moses might be told. So now, in those
parts of the world where the idols are abolished, and former idolaters are
gathered round the throne of grace for Christian worship, an opportunity is
given for explaining to the children, in how much better a state, and with
how much better surroundings they are brought up. “What mean ye by this
service?’ was a question which could be answered in form, and yet with
such absence of heart, as utterly to chill and thwart the eager inquirer.
Whereas, if it were only answered with evident care, with amplitude of
detail, with loving desire to interest and satisfy, then the child thus
favored, would be laid under great obligations to be thankful in feeling,
and devoted in service. A question of this sort gave great opportunity.
Happy those who could seize the opportunity at once, and use it to the full,
“talking of them when sitting in the house, and when walking by the way,
and when they lie down to go to sleep at night, and when thou risest up!
ISRAELITE (adults included), AT THE ANNUAL OBSERVANCE
OF THE PASSOVER, TO A CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF HIS
OWN FEELINGS WITH RESPECT TO IT. It was a question which helped to guard against formality. A little child may render a great service, without
knowing it, even to a grown man. God can send the little ones, to test, to rebuke, to warn, to stir out of lethargy. “What mean ye by this service?” How is the
Israelite of the grown generation to answer this question? He may tell the
child what the service is intended for, the historical facts out of which it
arose, and the Divine appointments concerning it; but after all, this is no
real answer to the question. It may be an answer to satisfy the inquiring
child, and yet leave the person who has to give it, with a barbed arrow in
his memory and conscience. Notice the precise terms of the question. What
mean ye by this service? How should the child ask in any other terms? It
looks and sees the parents doing something new and strange; and to them
it naturally looks for explanation and guidance. The question is not simply,
“Why is this thing being done?’ but “Why are you doing it, and what do
you mean by it?” It became only too possible in the lapse of ages, to go
through this service in a cold, mechanical, utterly unprofitable way. Not so,
we may be sure, was it
observed the first time in
deliverance. Then all was excitement, novelty, and overflowing emotion.
Be it ours, in considering all outward and visible acts in connection with
religion, all symbolic and commemorative institutions, to ask ourselves in
great closeness and candor of personal self-application, “What mean WE
by this service?’ Do we mean anything at all, and if so, what is it that we
mean? To answer this is not easy: it is not meant to be easy. Perhaps one
great reason why there are such marked and unabated differences of
opinion with respect to Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is, that we have
never sufficiently considered the question, “What mean ye by these
services?’ It is hard work to be quit of mere superstition, mere clinging to
outward observances as matters of custom, tradition, and respectability. It
is very certain that to this question of the children, put in all its particular
emphasis, only too many fathers in
“We do this thing because our fathers did it.” Remember that forms are, in
themselves, NOTHING TO THE INVISIBLE, SPIRITUAL GOD! Their
value is as containing, protecting and expressing what we have to present.
That which pleased Jehovah and profited
and THE HOPES THAT LAY BEHIND IT!
28 “And the children of
commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.” So did they. The long series
of miracles wrought by Moses and Aaron had so impressed the people, that they
yielded an undoubting and ready obedience.
The Passover (vs. 1-28)
and overwhelming blow was about to be struck at
anticipation of that blow, and in immediate connection with the exodus,
God gave directions for the observance of a Passover.
details of the ritual, see the verses of the chapter in exposition.
The design of
the Passover was to make plain to
which its salvation was bestowed — the ground, viz., of ATONEMENT!
The more recent plagues had fallen on
were saved from them. But though the salvation was obvious, the way of
salvation had not yet been indicated. But now that the last and heaviest
plague is about to fall, not only will
on which (the whole) salvation is bestowed WILL BE MADE PLAIN!
ü The connection of the Passover with the exodus. In this relation it is to
be viewed more especially as a purificatory sacrifice. Such a sacrifice was
peculiarly appropriate on the night of leaving
probably have been appointed, even had no such special reason existed for
it as the judgment on the first-born.
ü The connection of the Passover with the judgment on the first-born.
represented by his
first-born; and so with
the first-born in the land of
(v. 12); the punishment in this case, as
frequently in God’s
(compare Isaiah 30:16), taking a form analogous to the sin it is designed to
chastise. “The first-born represented the family, so that judgment of the
first-born stood for judgment upon all, and redemption of the first-born
stood for the redemption of all” (Dr. Gibson). Accordingly, not the
firstborn merely, but the entire household, as represented in him, was
redeemed by the blood of the Passover, and joined in the subsequent feast
upon the lamb (v. 8). Note, there was a peculiar fitness in the Passover
being instituted at this particular crisis.
Ø The death of the firstborn was a judgment pure and simple; not,
like the hail, locusts, etc., an admonitory plague.
Ø It gave a heightened and impressive character to the salvation that
redemption by blood, redemption by power, and the emergence of the
people from slavery into distinct existence as a people of God, were
thus seen going hand in hand. The analogy with the Christian
redemption is obvious.
ü The teaching of the Passover. It taught the people
Ø that naturally they were as justly exposed to wrath as the people of
they were themselves of
without any separate and independent existence of their own, vassals of
the enemy, and inhabitants of the doomed territory — individually, also,
partakers of the guilt and corruption of
had been one of character, it is quite certain that the line would not
have been run so as to range all
on the other. No one can suppose that all the real worth and excellence
were on the side of the latter, and all the meanness and wickedness on
the side of the former. In fact, the children of
in the sins of
it must be on some other ground than their own merits” (Gibson).
Ø That the medium of their salvation — the ground on which it was
bestowed — was BLOOD OF ATONEMENT! It is vain to deny that
the Passover victim was truly a propitiatory sacrifice. The use made of
its blood is proof sufficient of that. The lamb died in room of the
first-born. Sprinkled on the door-posts and lintels, its blood sheltered
the inmates of the dwelling from the stroke of the destroyer (vs. 21-24).
“A sinless victim, the household might, as it were, hide behind it, and
escape the just punishment of their sins” (Kohler in Geikie). The
Passover thus emphatically taught the necessity of atonement for the
covering of GUILT! No thoughtful Israelite but must have deeply
realized the truth, “Without shedding of blood is no remission”
Ø The solidarity of the nation. The observance of the Passover was to be
an act, not of individuals, but of households and groups of households,
and in a wider sense, of the nation as a whole. The Israelites were thus
taught to feel their unity as BEFORE GOD — their oneness in guilt
as in redemption.
o In guilt. Each was involved in guilt and doom, not only
through his own sins, but through the sins of the nation
of which he formed a part (compare Isaiah 6:5;
o In redemption. This was beautifully symbolized in the eating
of the lamb. The lamb was to be roasted entire, and placed on
the table undivided (v. 9). “By avoiding the breaking of the
bones (v. 46), the animal was preserved in complete integrity,
undisturbed and entire (Psalm 34:20)… There was no other
reason for this than that all who took part in this one animal,
i.e. all who ate of it, should look upon themselves as one
whole, one community, like those who eat the New Testament
Passover, the body of Christ (I Corinthians 5:7), of whom the
apostle says (ibid. ch. 10:17), ‘We being many are one bread,
and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.’”
Ø It pointed to an atonement in the future. For, manifestly, there lay in
the blood of the lamb no real virtue to take away sin. It declared the
necessity of atonement, but could not adequately provide it. The life
of a beast was no proper substitute for the life of a first-born son.
(“For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should
take away sin.” Hebrews 10:4) The Passover, therefore, from its
very nature, is to be viewed as a type. It pointed on to CHRIST
in whom all the types of sacrifices find complete fulfillment.
Ø The various features of the ritual were symbolic. The unleavened bread
was indicative of haste (Deuteronomy 16:3); the bitter herbs of the
the victim, the sprinkling of the blood, etc., had also spiritual
significance. See below, Homily on vers. 21-29. It is to be remarked,
in general, that “the earthly relations then existing, and the operations
of God in connection with them, were framed on purpose to represent
and foreshadow corresponding but immensely superior ones, connected
with the work and
GENERATIONS (vs. 14, 24-28). In this respect, the Passover is to be
ü As an historical witness to the reality of the events of the exodus. See below;
also Homily on Deuteronomy 16:1-9. (This website) The Passover, like the
Lord’s Supper, was an institution which, in the nature of things, could not
have been set up later than the event professedly commemorated.
ü As a perpetuation of the original sacrifice. The blood of the lambs was
year by year presented to God. This marked that the true sacrifice had not
yet been offered (Hebrews 10:1-3). Now that Christ has died, and has
“put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 1:1; 9:26; 10:12), there
is no room for further sacrifice, and the Lord’s Supper is to be regarded as
simply a commemorative ordinance and means of grace. The doctrine of
the mass has no foundation in true scriptural analogy.
ü As a means of grace. It was a feast, collecting the Israelites in great
numbers at the sanctuary, and reviving in their minds the memory of the
great deliverance, in which had been laid the foundation of their national
existence. The lamb, slain on their behalf, roasted with fire, and set on the
table before their eyes, to be handled and eaten by them, in solemn
observance of a Divine command, gave them a vivid sense of the reality of
the facts they were commemorating. The Lord’s Supper, in like manner, is
a powerful means of impressing mind and heart, an act of communion on
the part of Christian believers, and a true source of nourishment (through
spiritual participation in Christ) to the soul.
ü The observance of the Passover was connected with oral instruction
(vs. 26-27). This was a further guarantee for the handing down of a
faithful, ungarbled tradition of the meaning of the ceremony; added to the
interest of the service; took advantage of a favorable opportunity to
impress the minds of the young; and helped to keep alive in all classes of
the community a vivid remembrance of GOD’S MIGHTY WORKS!
ordinance for this feast was probably given at Succoth, on the day
succeeding the exodus (see v. 17, and ch.13:5-8). It is inserted here on
account of its internal connection with the Passover. It is to be viewed:
As a memorial of the haste with which the Israelites left
Israelites had evidently intended to leaven their dough on the night of the
exodus, but were prevented by the haste (v. 34). “For thou camest out of
the land in haste” (Deuteronomy 16:3). This is the historical groundwork
of the institution.
ü As a symbol of spiritual truth.
Ø The feast lasted seven days, a complete circle of time.
Ø It was rounded off at the beginning and end by an holy convocation.
This marked it as a sacred period.
Ø Sacrifices were offered during its course (Numbers 28:16-25;
Ø The bread eaten was to be unleavened. So strict was the injunction on
this point that the Israelite found eating leaven during these seven days
was to be “cut off,” i.e., excommunicated. The general idea of the feast
was, therefore, to represent what redeemed life in its entirety ought to
be — a life purged from the leaven of “malice and wickedness,” and
devoted to God’s service in “sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:8).
“The exodus formed the groundwork of the feast, because it was by
The “walk in newness of life” follows on redemption. We may apply
the precept about “cutting
immoral and impure members from the Church.
The Institution of the Passover (vs. 1-28)
Moses has now done with requesting and threatening Pharaoh. He leaves
Pharaoh to the terrible smiting hand of Jehovah, and turns, when it is quite
time to turn, to his own people. He who would not listen had to be left for
those who would listen. It is now manifest that Moses is to be profitably
occupied with matters which cannot any longer be delayed. It was needful
to give warning concerning the death of the first-born to the Israelites quite
as much as to Pharaoh. For some time they had been the passive, the
scarcely conscious objects of Divine mercy and power. Painfully conscious
they were of the physical hardships which Pharaoh inflicted on them, but
they had little or no thought of deprivations and hindrances with respect to
higher things. God had been leading them forward by a way they knew not,
and now the hour has come for them to know the way and walk in it with
understanding, choice, circumspection, and diligence. All at once, from
being passive spectators in the background, they came forward to be prime
actors in the very front; and God is here telling them through Moses what
to do, and how they are to do it. More is to be done than simply wait for
God’s coming at midnight: that coming has to be made ready for with great
solemnity and minuteness of preparation.
ELEMENT INTO THE DELIVERANCE OF HIS PEOPLE AND THEIR
CONNECTION WITH HIM. They are to be delivered, only as they are
willing to be delivered. They are to signify their willing regard to conform
with the will of God. The matter is made almost a personal one; if not
brought before every Israelite, it is brought before every head of a
household. Hitherto the immunities of the people during the course of the
plagues had been secured in a mere external way. The protection belonged
to a certain territory, and the Israelites had to exert no attention, take no
trouble, in order to secure the protection. God kept the flies, the hail, and
the darkness out of
habitations and property of His people. But now, as the last visitation from
God draws nigh, they have to take a part, and a very decided part, in
making their exemption effectual. Jehovah comes, treating all who are in
some significant act the deep difference which separates between them and
the Egyptians. There had been, up to this time, certain differences between
the Egyptian and the Israelite which did not depend upon the Israelite’s
choice. The Egyptian was master, and the Israelite slave; assuredly the
Israelite had not chosen that. An Egyptian might soon lose all trace of his
personal ancestry, but every Israelite could trace his ancestry back to
Jacob, to Isaac, to Abraham; and this was a matter he had not chosen. The
Egyptian belonged to a nation which had been smitten with nine plagues,
but from the later and severer of these the Israelite
been free; yet this freedom had been secured without making it to depend
on the Israelite’s own action. But now, as the day of redemption draws
near, Jehovah reminds every Israelite that underneath all the differences
which, in carrying out His purposes, He may make to exist among men,
there is a common humanity. Before Him who comes smiting at midnight
there is neither Israelite nor Egyptian, bond nor free; everything depends
on the sprinkled blood; and the sprinkled blood depends on whether the
Israelite has put it on his door of his own accord. If, that night, the Israelite
did not of his own accord make a difference between himself and the
Egyptian, then no natural distinction or past immunity was of the slightest
avail. Even already it is being shown that circumcision availeth nothing, but
a new creature.
mark upon the door without must come from the perfect heart and willing
mind within. The only great abiding differences between man and man are
such as we, fully considering our position, concur in making of our own
free will! True it is that we cannot establish and complete these differences
in our own strength; but it is very certain that God will not do this —
indeed, by the very limitations of the thing to be done, He cannot — except
as we willingly and with alacrity (brisk and cheerful readiness) give Him
FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENT OF PURE FAITH INTO ACTIVE
EXERCISE. In Hebrews 11:28 we are told that by faith Moses kept
the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest He that destroyed the firstborn
should touch them. And this faith extended from Moses to every head
of a household in
spirit, on the part of those receiving them. Up to this time nothing had been
required of them except to stand still and wait while God dealt with
Pharaoh. They are left on one side, treated as helpless captives, whom it is
vain to ask for what they cannot give. But now they are asked for
something, and they have not only to render it willingly, but with the
obedience of faith (Romans 16:26). They are asked to slay a number of
lambs, the number being determined according to a settled proportion.
When the lambs are slain, the blood is to be sprinkled on the doors of each
Israelite dwelling, and the flesh, prepared in a peculiar and exact way, is to
be eaten by the inhabitants. Well, what should all this have to do with the
deliverance? If God had told them to get ready swords and spears, and
discipline themselves for battle there would have been something
intelligible in such instructions, something according to the schemes of
human wisdom. But God does not deliver as men would deliver. It pleased
Him, in the fullness of time and by the foolishness of a slain lamb and
sprinkled blood to save
sprinkled blood that saved by themselves. Moses and Aaron might have
slain so many lambs and sprinkled their blood, and yet there would have
been no efficacy in them. Their efficacy as protectors was not a natural
efficacy. The efficacy lay in this: that the lambs were slain and the blood
sprinkled in THE OBEDIENCE OF FAITH! The thing done and the spirit
in which it is done — truth and faith go together in RESISTLESS POWER!
There must be truth; faith by itself does nothing; for a man may believe a lie
and then where is he? There must be faith; truth by itself does nothing; just
as food does nothing unless a man takes it into his stomach. Of course it was
quite possible for a skeptical Israelite to say, “What can there be in this
sprinkled blood?” — and the very fact that such a question was possible
shows how God was shutting His people up to pure faith. He asks them
to act simply on the word of Moses. That word was now to be a sufficient
reason for their conduct. Moses had done enough to show from whom he
came. It is interesting to notice how faith stands here, asked for, the first thing,
by Moses, even as it was afterwards by Jesus. As the Israelites believed
because Moses spoke, so we must believe because JESUS SPEAKS! Jesus
speaks truth because it is true; but we must receive it and believe it, not
because in our natural reason we can see it as true, but because of the
ascertained and well-accredited character of Him who speaks it. And we
must show our faith by our works, as these Israelites did. It was not
required of them to understand how this sprinkled blood operated. They
acted as believing that it would operate, and the indisputable fact is that
they were saved. It is a great deal more important to have a thing done,
than to be able to understand all the ins and outs by which it is done. A
man does not refuse to wind up his watch, because he cannot understand
its intricate mechanism. His purposes are served, if he understands enough
to turn the key. (I remember as a kid listening to the words of the song
which said “Prayer is the key to heaven, but Faith unlocks the door!”
CY – 2017) And so our purposes are served, if we have enough
practical faith in Jesus to gain actual salvation through Him. Exactly how
Jesus saves, is a question which we may ask again and again, and vainly
ask. Let us not, in asking it, waste time and risk ETERNITY when by the
prompt and full obedience of faith, we may know in our experience, that
however obscure the process may be, the result itself is a real and abiding
of Jesus, we see HOW AMPLE A TYPE IT IS OF HIM WHO WAS TO
COME AFTER AND STAND BETWEEN THE BELIEVING SINNER
AND THE AVENGING GOD.
ü The lamb was taken so as to bind families and neighbors together.
This reminds us of Him, who gathers round Himself, in every place, those
who form the true family, the new family; joined together not after the
temporary, dissolving order of nature, but after the abiding, ever-consolidating
order of grace. Wheresoever two or three are gathered together in the name of
Jesus, there the true Lamb of God is present (Matthew 18:20) in all
those relations of which the Passover lamb gave but a foreshadowing. The
true families are made by the coalescence of those who, living in one
Ø one Lord,
Ø one faith,
Ø one baptism,
Ø one God and Father of all.
ü The Passover lamb was without blemish. Consider what is said in this
respect of Jesus (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22; 23:4, 14;
John 19:4-6; II Corinthians 5:21; Ephesians 4:13; Colossians 1:19;
Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter. 2:22).
ü It was a male of the first year. So Jesus was taken in the freshness and
strength of His manhood (Luke 3:23).
ü The flesh of the lamb was eaten in the company for which it had been
slain. It is only when we
bear in mind the first Passover in
reach the significance of all that was said and done on the night when Jesus
sat down for the last Passover feast with His disciples. Jesus took the bread
and said: “Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26; Mark 14:22;
Luke 22:19; I Corinthians 11:24) There was to be no more killing of
the lamb; the bread, easily made and easily portioned out, took its place.
But still the Lord had to say “this is my body.” A body had to be thought
of as eaten, and not mere bread. Really, when we look into the matter, we
find that the sprinkling of the blood was only part of the protection; the
eating was protective also. Assuredly the sprinkling by itself would have
counted for nothing, if the eating had been omitted. When the blood was
sprinkled, it illustrated faith in Him who comes between God and the sinner.
When the flesh was eaten, it illustrated faith in him whose life becomes our
life. Being unblemished, he makes us unblemished, and being acceptable to
God, he makes us acceptable also.
accomplished JEHOVAH MADE CAREFUL PROVISION FOR A
MEMORIAL OBSERVANCE. Thus another indication is given to us, as
to the completeness and order with which His plans were laid. (Those plans
were solidified with Christ before the world began! Revelation 13:8; 17:8 –
CY – 2017) Directions are given for the present need, and along with them
are combined directions by which the record of this great liberating event may
be transmitted to the remotest generations. Henceforth, the beginning of the
year is to date from the month of these dealings with the first-born. Then
there was also the appointment of the feast of unleavened bread. So
crushing was the blow of Jehovah, and so suddenly the consequent action
of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, that the Israelites were hurried out of the
land with their dough before it was leavened. Here then in this domestic
operation of preparing the daily bread was an opportunity given of setting
forth once a year the complete separation which God had effected between
the Israelites and the Egyptians. When for seven days no leaven was put in
the bread, the great fact to be called up was this: that the Egyptians had
hastened the Israelites out of the land. This memorial act called up at once
the great change which God had produced, and in a comparatively short
time. But a little while before and the Egyptians were spoiling the
Israelites, demanding from them bricks without straw; now the Israelites
are spoiling the Egyptians, getting gold and silver and raiment from them in
profusion, and with the utmost good-will.
WERE TO BE CROWNED BY MAKING FULL PREPARATIONS FOR
DEPARTURE. Jehovah was coming to open the prison-doors and strike
off the fetters; and He would have the captives ready to march on the
instant. He is the God who makes all things to work together for good to
them who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28) To him who
is truly and devoutly obeying God, nothing comes but he is able to meet it.
The obedient is never taken at a disadvantage; he is never defrauded of a great
opportunity. The children of
the journey; even though it might plausibly be said that it was a making
ready before the time. The lesson is, obey God in everything where as here
the terms of His requirement are plain to the understanding and imperative
to the conscience. Reasons are not for you, who know only in part, but for
Him to whom the darkness and the light are both alike. (Psalm 139:12)
but also by them. The crucifying of Jesus by the Jews, the revelation of
what lies in every unrenewed heart. “They shall look upon him whom they
have pierced.” (Zechariah 12:10; John 19:37)
ü Appropriating faith. It was the blood applied with their own hands to the
door of the dwelling that saved those within. It is not enough that the
blood be shed. Is it upon our gates? Have we set it by faith between us and
ü It must be applied as God directs us. It was sprinkled on the lintel and
doorposts — not within, but without. It is not enough that we believe. We
must make open profession of our faith.
ü We must abide within until the day dawn and salvation come. To put
that blood (which should be between us and the world) behind us, no
longer to hide within it but to forget it, is to renounce salvation. Are we
without or within the blood-stained gateway? We are saved if we hold the
beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end. (Hebrews 3:14)
shed blood stands between US and DEATH! The awe and joy of redeemed
the judgment of sin but only from afar.
ü Perpetual remembrance (v. 23). We must, in the ordinance of Christ’s
own appointment, SHOW HIS DEATH TILL HE COME!
(I Corinthians 11:26)
ü The handing down of the knowledge of salvation (vs. 26-27). Christians
should glory in the story of the Cross.
THE TENTH PLAGUE – THE DEATH OF THE FIRST BORN (vs. 29-30)
At last the time had come for the dealing of the final blow. Nine plagues had been sent,
nine inflictions endured, and no serious effect had been produced. Once or twice
Pharaoh had wavered, had made profession of submitting himself, had even
acknowledged his sin. But each time he had relapsed into obstinacy. Now at length
the fiat had gone forth for that last plague which had been announced from the first
(ch. 4:23). Pharaoh’s own son, his firstborn, the heir to his throne, was smitten with
death, in common with all the other male Egyptians who had “opened the womb.”
What the effect on the king would have been, had he alone suffered, we cannot
certainly say. As it was, the whole population of the country, nobles, tradesmen,
peasants, suffered with him; and the feeling aroused was so intense that the popular
movement left him no choice. The Egyptians everywhere “rose up in the night” (v. 30),
and raised “a great cry,” and insisted that the Israelites should depart at once (v.33).
Each man feared for himself, and felt his life insecure, so long as a single Israelite
remained in the land. By only affecting all the firstborn and no others, and no
Israelites, as well as its announcement, plainly showed this to be “miraculous”.
29 “And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the
firstborn in the
on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the
dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.” At midnight. As prophesied by
Moses (ch. 11:4). The day had not been fixed, and this uncertainty must have
added to the horror of the situation. The first-born of Pharaoh. We have no
proof that the eldest son of Menephthah died before his father, unless we take
this passage as proving it. He left a son, called Seti-Menephthah, or Seti II,
who either succeeded him, or reigned after a short interval, during which
the throne was held by Ammonmes, a usurper. The first-born of the
captive who was in the dungeon. This phrase takes the place of another
expression, viz. “the first-born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill”
(ch.11:5). In both cases, the general meaning is, “all, from the
highest to the lowest.” This is perhaps the whole that is in the writer’s
thought; but it is also true that captives in dungeons were in some cases
employed in turning hand-mills (Judges 16:21). And all the first-born
of cattle. Rather, “of beasts.” There is no limitation of the plague to
domesticated animals. (Only an Omniscient God could know and
perform this! (CY – 2017)
Christ our Passover (vs. 21-29)
The Passover was an eminent type of Christ. It was probably to it the
Baptist referred when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh
away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Paul gives a decisive utterance on
the question in the words: “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us”
(I Corinthians 5:7).
ü In both you have the death of a blameless victim.
Ø The lamb, physically blameless (v. 5);
Ø Christ, morally faultless. A SINFUL WORLD needs A SINLESS SAVIOUR! It has one in Christ.
Proofs of this sinlessness:
Ø Christ asserts his own freedom from sin (John 8:29-46; 14:30).
Ø In no part of his conduct does He betray the least consciousness of
guilt. Yet it is admitted that Jesus possessed the finest moral insight of any man who has ever lived.
Ø His apostles, one and all, believed him to be sinless (II Corinthians
5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I Peter. 2:22; I John 3:5).
Ø His enemies could find no fault in him (Matthew 26:60; 27:23-24).
Ø The very traitor confessed the innocence of Christ (ibid. v. 4).
Ø The delineation of his character in the gospels avers His moral blamelessness.
ü In both, the design is to secure redemption from a dreadful evil. In the
one case, from the wrath of God revealed against
its first-born. In the other, from the yet more terrible wrath of God
revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men (Romans
1:18). “Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (I Thessalonians 1:10). “Saved from wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).
ü In both, the principle of the deliverance is that of vicarious sacrifice.
The lamb was substituted for the first-born. It protected the house, on
whose door-posts the blood was sprinkled, from the stroke of the avenger.
The substitutionary character of the death of Christ is, in like manner,
affirmed in innumerable Scriptures. Jesus “died for the ungodly”
(Romans 5:6). He “suffered for sins, the just for the unjust” (I Peter 3:18).
He gave “His life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
His blood is a propitiation (Romans 3:25).
ü In both, there was need for an act of personal, appropriating faith.
“The people bowed the head, and worshipped. And the children of Israel
went away, and did as the Lord had commanded" (vs. 27-28). “Through
faith (they) kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood,” etc.
(Hebrews 11:28). Their faith showed itself in sprinkling the blood on
their door-posts and lintels, and in sheltering themselves under it. Nothing
short of this would have availed to save them. So it is not knowledge about
Ø but faith in Him;
Ø personal application to His blood, and
Ø trust in it as the means of salvation,
which secures our safety. Faith is the bunch of hyssop.
ü In both, the slain lamb becomes the food of the new life. There was, on
the part of the Israelites, a sacrificial feast upon the flesh of the lamb. This
denoted, indeed, peace and fellowship with God, but it was also an act of
nourishment. Similarly, under the Gospel, the new life is nourished by
feeding upon Christ. We make Him ours by inward appropriation and
assimilation, and so are spiritually nourished for all holy service (See
John 6). Minor typical features might be insisted upon:
Ø male of the first year,
Ø roast with fire,
Ø not a bone broken,
Ø unleavened bread,
Ø bitter herbs of contrition, etc.,
but the above are the broad and outstanding ones.
belongs to the nature of a type that it should be surpassed by the antitype.
The type is taken from a lower sphere than the thing which it represents.
So completely, in the case of the Passover, does the reality rise above the
type, that when we begin to reflect on it the sense of likeness is all but
swallowed up in the sense of disproportion. How great:
The contrast in the redemptions. The
spiritual elements were involved in it, was primarily a redemption from the
Pharaoh, and from a temporal judgment about to fall on
Underlying it, there was the need for a yet GREATER REDEMPTION — a
redemption from the curse of a broken law, and from the tyranny of sin and
Satan; FROM DEATH:
Ø temporal, and
It is this higher redemption which Christ has achieved, altering, through His death,
Ø the whole relation of God to man, and
Ø of (believing)man to God.
ü The contrast in the victims. That, an irrational lamb; this, THE
ETERNAL SON OF GOD in human nature, the Lord’s own Christ.
ü The contrast in THE EFFICACY OF THE BLOOD! The blood of the
Passover lamb had no inherent virtue to take away sin. Whatever virtue it possessed arose from God’s appointment, or from its typical relation to the sacrifice of Christ. Its imperfection as a sacrifice was seen:
Ø In the multitude of the victims.
Ø In the repetition of the service (Hebrews 10:1-3).
But what the flowing of the blood of millions of lambs, year by year slain in
atonement for sin could not achieve, Christ has achieved once for all by the
offering up of HIS HOLY BODY AND SOUL! The dignity of His person,
the greatness of His love, His holy will, the spirit of perfect self-sacrifice in
which He, Himself sinless, offered Himself up to bear the curse of sin for the
unholy, confers upon his oblation an EXHAUSTLESS MERITORIOSNESS! Its worth and sufficiency are INFINITE! (Hebrews 10:10-15; I Peter. 1:19;
I John 2:2).
ü The contrast in the specific blessings obtained. The difference in these
springs from the contrast in the redemptions.
Ø Escape from judgment.
Ø Outward liberty.
Ø Guidance, care, and instruction in the desert.
Ø Ultimately, an earthly inheritance.
We receive, through Christ,
Ø Pardon of all sins.
justifying righteousness, carrying with it THE
TO ETERNAL LIFE!
Ø Renewal and sanctification by the Spirit.
Ø Every needed temporal and spiritual blessing in life.
o Heaven at the close,
o with triumph over death,
o the hope of a resurrection, and
o of final perfecting in glory.
30 “And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all
the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in
a house where there was not one dead.” And Pharaoh rose up in the night,
and all his servants. This general disturbance differentiates the present
visitations from that which came upon the host of Sennacherib (II Kings 19:35).
Then, the calamity came with such silence and secrecy, that the deaths were not
suspected until men rose to go about their various tasks in the morning Now,
every household seems to have been aroused from its sleep in the night.
We must suppose sharp and painful illness, terminating after a few hours in death.
disaster itself may have been one from which
spring of the year (Kalisch); but its attacking all the firstborn and no others,
and no Israelites, as well as its announcement, plainly showed it to be
miraculous. There was a great cry. See the comment on ch.11:6.
For there was not a house where there was not one dead. This is
perhaps a slight hyperbole. There would be many families in which there
was no son; and some houses might contain no male who had opened the
womb. It is always to be borne in mind, that the language of Scripture —
especially where exciting and tragical events are narrated — is poetical, or
at the least highly rhetorical.
The Death of the First-Born (vs. 29-30)
From the death of the first-born we may learn:
punishment will overtake the wicked sooner or later was the conviction of
heathendom no less than of the Jewish and Christian worlds. Horace says
— “Judgment may halt, but yet it rarely fails to overtake the guilty one at
last.” Tibullus — “Wretch, though at first thy sin no judgment meet,
vengeance will come at length with silent feet.” But the greater heaviness
of the punishment that is long deferred does not appear to have attracted
their notice. Yet experience might have taught it them. Who has not seen
the long triumphant career of a thoroughly bad man, crowned with success
for years, seeming to turn all he touched to gold, “flourishing,” as the
Psalmist has it, “like a green bay tree,” (Psalm 37:35) yet ending in
calamities and misfortunes so striking, and so heaped one upon another, as
to draw general attention? Th Scripture is full of examples. How long God’s
Spirit strove with men in the antediluvian world, as they proceeded from one
wickedness to another, heaping up to themselves wrath against the day of
wrath, till the flood came and swept away the ungodly! For what a
prolonged term of years must the long-suffering of God have borne with
the cities of the plain, as they more and more corrupted themselves, till in
punishment! (Reader – check out arkdiscovery.com – CY – 2010) - Again,
what an instance is Ahab of the operation of the law! Flourishing in every way,
in spite of his numerous sins — his idolatries, cruelties, selfishness, meanness,
hatred of God’s servants — victorious over Benhadad, supported by all the
forces of Jehoshaphat, encouraged by his successes to undertake an aggressive
at a venture (I Kings 22:34) — his blood licked up by dogs — his wife and
seventy sons murdered! (Oh, Reader – ponder this teaching of Scripture –
“Some men’s sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and
some men they follow after. Likewise also the good works of some are
manifest beforehand; and they that are otherwise cannot be hid.” –
(I Timothy 5:24-25). The Pharaohs and the Egyptians had now worked their
wicked will on
Joseph” — all this time they had been treasuring up to themselves wrath
(Romans 2:5) — and now it had fallen upon them in full force. Let
sinners beware of trying the forbearance and long-suffering of God too far
— let them tremble when all goes well with them, and no punishment
comes. Let them be assured that the account of their offences is strictly
kept, and that for each they will have to suffer. Delay does but mean
accumulation. However long suspended, the bolt will fall at last, and it will
be proportioned in its severity to the length of the delay, and the amount of
the wrath stored up.
was night — it was the hour of repose, of peace, silence, tranquility. All
had gone to rest unsuspectingly. No one anticipated evil. Each said to
himself, as he lay down, “To-morrow shall be as this day, and much more
abundant,” (Isaiah 56:12) - when suddenly, without warning, there was death
everywhere. Fathers saw the light of their eyes snatched from them —
mothers beheld their darlings struggling in the agonies of dissolution. A shrill,
prolonged cry sounded throughout the land. So the flood came upon man
unawares (Luke 17:27) – “and knew not until the flood came and took them
all away” - Matthew 24:38-39) — and a sudden destruction overthrew the
cities of the plain (Luke 17: 28, 29) — and Ahab found himself mortally
wounded when he was thinking of nothing but victory — and in the height of
his pride Herod Agrippa was seized with a fearful malady “and eaten of
worms” – (Acts 12:23) — and Uzziah’s leprosy smote him in a moment —
(II Chronicles 26:19) - and in the night of his feast was Belshazzar slain.
(Daniel 5:30). Wicked men are for the most part thinking of nothing less
when the judgments of God fall upon them. They have said to their soul —
“Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat,
drink, and be merry,” when the dread sentence goes forth — “Thou fool,
this night thy soul shall be required of thee.” (Luke 12:19-20) - God’s
judgments often come in the night. We know not what a day, nor what a night
may bring forth. Let us commend our souls to God when we lie down to rest.
ALL CONDITIONS OF MEN. “Pale death smites equally the poor
man’s hut and the king’s palace,” says a heathen moralist. And so it is
with all God’s judgments. He is no respecter of persons. “Without respect of
persons He judgeth according to every man’s work” (I Peter 1:17).
Greatness furnishes no security against Him. His messengers can enter the
palace, elude the sentinels, pass the locked doors, make their way into the
secret chamber, smite the monarch, sleeping or waking, with disease, or
death, or frenzy. Nor can obscurity escape Him; “All things are naked and
open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:13) - The
lowest dungeon, the most wretched garret, the obscurest cellars are within his
ken, their inmates known, the moral condition of each and all of them
noted. His judgments find men out as easily in the darkest haunts of vice,
or the most wretched abodes of poverty, as in royal mansions. And as
greatness will not prevent Him from chastising, so neither will meanness
The “woman behind the mill,” the “captive in the dungeon” are His
creatures and His servants, no less than the great, and must be either His
true servants, or rebels against His authority. If they are the-latter, their
obscurity and insignificance will not save them from His judgments, any
more than the great man’s greatness will save him. Vice must not look for
impunity because it is low-placed, and hides itself in a corner.
THE DISMISSAL OF THE ISRAELITES FROM
The first action seems to have been taken by Pharaoh. The “cry” of the people had no
doubt been heard in the palace, and he was aware that the blow had not fallen on
himself alone, and may have anticipated what the people’s feelings would be; but he
did not wait for any direct pressure to be put upon him before yielding. He sent his
chief officers (ch. 11:8) while it was still night (ch.12:31), to inform Moses and Aaron,
not only that they might, but that they must take their departure immediately, with all
the people, and added that they might take with them their flocks and herds. The
surrender was thus complete; and it was accompanied by a request which we should
scarcely have expected. Pharaoh craved at the hands of the two brothers a blessing!
We are not told how his request was received; but that it should have been made is a
striking indication of how his pride was humbled. The overture from Pharaoh was
followed rapidly by a popular movement, which was universal and irresistible. The
Egyptians “rose up” everywhere, and “were urgent upon the people,” to “send
them out of the land in haste” (v. 33); and to expedite their departure readily
supplied them at their request with gold and silver and raiment (v. 35), thus
voluntarily spoiling themselves for the benefit of the foreigners. The Israelites, long
previously prepared for the moment which had now arrived, made their final
arrangements, and before the day was over a lengthy column was set in motion, and
from Rameses, which seems to have been a suburb of
have lain towards the southeast, and was probably not very remote from the capital.
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
the prohibition of ch.10:24, and“gave the sacrifices and burnt-offerings” which
Moses had required (ib. v. 25). And he called for Moses and Aaron.
Kalisch understands this as a summons to the King’s presence
(Commentary, p. 130), and even supposes that the two brothers complied,
notwithstanding what Moses had said (ch.10:29). But perhaps no more is meant
than at Pharaoh’s instance Moses and Aaron were summoned to an interview
with some of the Court officials (see ch. 11:8). As ye have said. Literally,
“according to your words.” The reference is to such passages as ch. 8:1, 20; 9:1,13.
The Death of the First-Born (vs. 29-31)
On this see Exodus 11:4-7. Observe here:
REPRESENTATION. Hitherto, the plagues had fallen on the Egyptians
indiscriminately. Now, a change is made to the principle of representation.
was to be inflicted, the lines had to be drawn more sharp and clear. We are
reminded that this principle of representation holds a vitally important
place in God’s moral government. The illustrations which more
immediately affect ourselves are, first, the representation of the race in
Adam, and second, its representation in Christ (Romans 5:12-21).
Hence it is not altogether fanciful to trace a relation to Christ even in this
judgment on the first-born.
ü Christ is the great first-born of the race. We catch some glimpse of this
by looking at the matter from the side of
first-born, is admitted to have been a type of Christ (Matthew 2:15).
Much more were the first-born in
this peculiar feature in the calling of the nation — types of Christ. They
resembled Him in that they bore the guilt of the rest of the people. But
Christ, as the Son of man, sustained a relation to more than
we may say, the great
First-born of HUMAN RACE!
ü The death of Christ is not only God’s great means of saving the world,
but it is God’s great judgment upon the sin of the world. It is indeed the
one, because it is the other. There is thus in the death of Christ, both the
endurance of penalty — of the one suffering for, and bearing the guilt of,
the many — even in the destruction of
ü The death of Christ, which brings salvation to the believing, is the
earnest of FINAL DOOM to the unbelieving portion of the race. This also is exhibited in principle in the history of the exodus. In strictness,
the firstborn were viewed as having died, both in
prophecy the coming of the true and sinless first-born, whose death
would redeem. But Christ’s death, to the unbelieving part of mankind — the wilfully and obstinately unbelieving — is a prophecy, not of salvation, but of judgment. God’s judgment on sin in the person of Christ, the first-born, is the earnest of the doom which will descend on all who refuse
Him as a Saviour. And this was the meaning of the death of the first-
but to the one (
of God) His death MEANS DOOM; to the
the attempt to realize it. As we write, accounts come to hand of the terrific
storm of Oct. 14 (1881), attended by a lamentable loss of life on the
Berwickshire coast of
awful and ominous darkness. Compare with remarks on ninth plague the
following: — “I noticed a black-looking cloud over by the school, which
shortly spread over all the sky out by the Head. Sea, sky and ground all
seemed to be turning one universal grey-blue tint, and a horrible sort of
stillness fell over everything.. The women were all gathering at their doors,
feeling that something awful was coming. No fewer than 200 fishermen
and others are believed to have perished, the
losing 129. So connected by intermarriage is the population of the villages
and hamlets, that there is scarcely a family in any of them which is not
called to mourn its dead. The scenes are heart-rending. Business in every
shape and form is paralyzed.” An image this, and yet how faint, of the cry
that went up in
dead. Yet no stroke less severe would have served the purpose, and this
one is to be studied in view of the fact that it did prove effectual for its end.
ü It was a death-stroke. Death has a singular power in subduing and
melting the heart. It is the most powerful solvent God can apply to a
rebellious nature. It is sometimes tried when gentler means have failed.
God removes your idol. He lays your dear one in the dust. You have
resisted milder influences, will you yield to this? Your heart is for the
moment bowed and broken, will the repentance prove lasting, or will it be,
like Pharaoh’s, only for a time?
ü It is a death-grip upon the soul which is needed to make sin relax its
hold upon it. “The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of
hell got hold upon me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord: O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul” (Psalm
116:3-4). God comes in the preaching of His law, and lays His hand, a hand carrying death in it, upon the soul of the trembling transgressor, who then for the first time realizes the fatal and unspeakably awful position in which he has placed himself by sin. It is a death-sentence which is written in his conscience.
ü That which completes the liberation of the soul is a view of the meaning
of the death of Christ. Terror alone will not melt the heart. There is needed to effect this the influence of love. And where is love to be seen
in such wonderful manifestation as at the Cross of Christ? What see
we there? The first-born of the race expiring in awful agony under the judgment of God for our sins. Is not this a spectacle to melt the heart? It
is powerful enough, if earnestly contemplated, to make the Pharaoh that
is within us all relinquish his grip upon the captive spirit. What read we
of the prospective conversion of
and brethren, WHAT SHALL WE DO?” Compare Revelation 1:7.
The Cross inspires mourning:
Ø By the spectacle it presents of holy suffering.
Ø By the recollection of WHO it is that there suffers.
Ø By the thought that it is our own sins which are the cause of this
Ø By the thought that it is the judgment of God in the infliction
of the curse of sin which the Holy one is thus enduring.
Ø By the conviction of sin, and the dread of Divine justice, thus
Ø Above all, by the infinite love shown in this gift of the Son,
and in the
Ø Son’s willingness to endure this awful agony and shame for our salvation.
32 “Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone;
and bless me also.” Also take your flocks and your herds. Pharaoh thus
retracted the prohibition of ch. 10:24, and “gave the sacrifices and
burnt-offerings” which Moses had required (ibid. v. 25). Bless me also.
Pharaoh was probably accustomed to receive blessings from his own
priests, and had thus been led to value them. His desire for a blessing from
Moses and Aaron, ere they departed, probably sprang from a conviction —
based on the miracles which he had witnessed — that their intercession
would avail more with God than that of his own hierarchy. (And is it not
a characteristic of the worldly man to practice sin, and yet expect a blessing?
CY – 2017)
Pharaoh’s Prayer (v. 32)
It has come then to this, that Pharaoh is glad to beg a blessing from the man
whom at first he had so contemptuously spurned. “And bless me also.”
THE MISERABLENESS OF HIS OWN PORTION, AS COMPARED
WITH THAT OF THE GODLY. He may be, often is, even when he
refuses to acknowledge it, secretly conscious of the superior happiness of
the good man. There come times, however, when severe affliction, the
sense of a gnawing inward dissatisfaction, or special contact of some kind
with a man of genuine piety, extorts the confession from him. He owns that
the good man has a standing in the Divine favor; enjoys an invisible
Divine protection; and is the possessor of a peace, happiness, and inward
support, to which his own wretched life is utterly A STRANGER!
SHARE IN THE GOOD OF GOD’S PEOPLE. He envies them. He feels
in his heart that he is wretched and miserable beside them, and that it
would be happiness to be like them. He says with Balaam, “Let me die the
death of the righteous, and: let my last end be like his” (Numbers 23:10).
HUMBLE HIMSELF TO BEG THE PRAYERS OF THE GODLY. And
this, though but a little before, he has been persecuting them. He feels that
the good man has power with God.
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.” (a very logical deduction – CY – 2010) The Egyptians were urgent
upon the people. The Egyptians feared that, if any further delay took place,
the God of the Hebrews might not be content with slaying all the first-born,
but might punish with death the whole nation, or at any rate all the males.
It is easy to see how their desire to get rid of the Israelites would expedite
matters, and enable all to set out upon the journey on the same day. (Also it
would explain their willingness to give them “jewels of silver, and jewels of gold”
in v. 35 below – CY – 2017)
34 “And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their
kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their
shoulders.” The people took their dough. They probably regarded dough
as more convenient for a journey than flour, and so made their flour into
dough before starting; but they had no time to add leaven. Their
kneading-troughs. This rendering is correct, both here and in the two
other places where the word occurs (ch. 8:3, and Deuteronomy 28:5).
Kneading-troughs would be a necessity in the desert, and, if like
those of the modern Arabs, which are merely small wooden bowls, would
be light and portable. The dough and kneading-troughs, with perhaps other
necessaries, were carried, as the Arabs still carry many small objects,
bound up in their clothes (i.e., in the beged or ample shawl) upon their
35 “And the children of
they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and
raiment:” The children of
See ch. 11:2. They borrowed. On this mistranslation, see the comment upon
ch. 3:22. It is plain that the gold and silver articles and the raiment, were
free-will gifts, which the Egyptians never expected to see again, and which
the Hebrews asked and took, but in no sense “borrowed.” Hengstenberg and
Kurtz have shown clearly that the primary meaning of the words translated
“borrowed” and “lent,” is “asked” and “granted,” and that the sense of
“borrowing” and “lending” is only to be assigned them when it is required by
36 “And the LORD 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.” So that they lent unto them such things as they
required. Rather, “So that they granted them what they asked.” They spoiled the
Egyptians. See the comment on ch. 3:22, ad fin. The result was that the Israelites
went forth, not as slaves, but as conquerors, decked with the jewels of the Egyptians,
as though they had conquered and despoiled them.
Churches are sometimes enslaved and oppressed by the civil power. In
unsuspecting confidence they have accepted the State’s protection, and
entered into certain relations with it, supposed to be mutually
advantageous. But, as time has gone on, the terms of the original
arrangement have been disregarded; the civil power has made
encroachments; has narrowed the Church’s liberties, has behaved
oppressively towards it, has reduced it to actual slavery. A time comes at
last when the bondage is felt to be intolerable; and the Church demands its
liberty and claims to go out from under the yoke of the oppressor. Under such
circumstances the following analogies are noticeable: