Exodus 12 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

Irving Jensen (Online) - Used by Permission
Click to Enlarge
View Chuck Swindoll's chart of Exodus
Summary Chart of
The Book of Exodus
Redemption from Egypt
Ex 1:1-18:27
Revelation from God
Ex 19:1-40:38
Getting Israel Out of Egypt Getting Egypt Out of Israel!
Narration Legislation
Birth of
Ex 1-2
Call of
Ex 3-6
Conflict with Pharaoh
Ex 7-10
Ex 11-12
Ex 13-15
Ex 16-18
Ex 19-24
Ex 25-31
Ex 32-34
Ex 35-40
Subjection Redemption Instruction
Suffering and Liberation
of People of God
of God
of God
Moses and
Burdens of Israel
Pharaoh and
Plagues Upon Egypt
Red Sea
and Oppression
and Provision
Law Pattern
and Construction
Israel in Egypt
Ex 1:1-13:16
Israel to Sinai
Ex 13:17-18:27
Israel at Sinai
Ex 19:1-40:38
God's People
God's Grace
in Redemption
God's Glory
in Worship
430 Years

(15% of Exodus)
2 Months

(30% of Exodus)
Mt Sinai
10 Months

(55% of Exodus)
Jensen's Survey of the Old Testament - online

Click to Enlarge
Click for Excellent Map of Route of the Exodus
Click another Exodus from Egypt
Click for Events during the Sojourn at Kadesh-Barnea

human effort and failure divine power and triumph
word of promise work of fulfillment
a people chosen a people called
God’s electing mercy God’s electing manner
revelation of nationality realization of nationality

(from Believer's Study Bible)

Exodus 12:1  Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,


Passover Instituted - Exodus 12:1-28

  • Description of Passover - Exodus 12:1-13
  • Description of Unleavened Bread - Exodus 12:14-20
  • Response of the Israelites - Exodus 12:21-28

Night of Departure from Egypt - Exodus 12:29-42

Regarding Slaves and Strangers - Exodus 12:43-51


It should be noted that Exodus 12 and Exodus 13 constitute a single literary unit as both describe Jehovah's Passover. It is a long section of Scripture but even this serves to emphasize the importance that the Spirit of God placed on this Biblical event. It marks a significant change in the history of Israel and the history of the world! 

James Bruckner writes that "The text structurally braids together the three themes of protecting the precious firstborn, the Passover lamb, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 12:1–13:16." (Exodus - UBCS)

Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt - Jehovah speaks to both brothers. We see Jehovah addressing both Moses and Aaron in Ex 7:8 = first miracle of staff to snake, Ex 9:8 = plague of boils, Ex 12:43, 50 = ordinance of the Passover; Lev 9:23 = in tent of meeting; Nu 12:4 = to Moses, Aaron, Miriam; Nu 14:26, Nu 16:20, Nu 19:1, Nu 20:12, Nu 20:23 - at Mt Hor)

Currid - The designation of the location is for the purpose of not ascribing all Hebrew laws to Mount Sinai (Exod. 20 onwards). In other words, the Israelites were not a lawless society prior to the giving of the codified law at Sinai. It is also interesting to note that the laws given at Sinai rarely deal with the Passover in detail (except Deut. 16)—the reason is clear: the Passover laws were already set down in Egypt. (EPSC-Ex)

Cassuto (Moshe David Cassuto) sets the stage - After the completion of the preceding section there is an interval, which is followed, as stated, by a transformation in the character of the narration; the story changes its aspect, assuming a new form. Pharaoh is forgotten, and so are his servants; Pharaoh’s palace and the entire environment in which we found ourselves throughout the whole of the preceding section disappears, as it were, from our sight. The epic now has its centre in the midst of the people of Israel, and the commands given to Moses and Aaron are directed towards the Israelites. What has to be done vis-à-vis Pharaoh, the Lord will do. Moses and Aaron must concern themselves only with their people. The first injunction they receive is to prepare for the day of redemption, which is due to come soon. (A Commentary on the Book of Exodus)

Hobbs on land of Egypt - The establishing of the Passover was made while the Israelites were still in the land of Egypt, not as part of the commands after the covenant at Mount Sinai. However, the making of the covenant and the commands of the covenant at Sinai were based on what God had done in delivering them from Egypt. For example, the Ten Commandments are prefaced with these words, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Ex 20:2).

Exodus 12:2  "This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.

  • Ex 13:4 Ex 23:15 Ex 34:18 Lev 23:5 Nu 28:16 De 16:1 Es 3:7 


Jehovah now speaks these words to Moses and Aaron and this divine monologue continues down to Ex 12:20, where Moses passes on the communication to the elders. 

This month marks a new beginning!

This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you - See also Ex 13:4, Ex 23:15, Ex 34:18. In the Jewish calendar that originated during their captivity in Babylon the name was changes to "the first month...is the month of Nisan" (Esther 3:7, Neh 2:1) and this corresponds to the months of March or April on the Gregorian Calendar. The first month is called Abib (abib) in Ex 13:4+ a Hebrew noun used of for the first ripe grain which was barley. In Exodus 13:4 Jehovah prescribed that  “On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth." 

This day was in effect the nation of Israel's birthday. J Vernon McGee comments " When Israel entered Egypt, it was as a family. When they made their exit from Egypt, it was as a nation. The interesting point is that God puts the emphasis on the family here because the family comprises the building blocks out of which the nation was made. You remember how Pharaoh forced the Israelites to make bricks without straw. All the time that Israel was in bondage, God made them the bricks of the family for the building of a nation out of the straws of individuals. An old cliché says, “No nation is stronger than the families of that nation.” The zero hour has come for Israel. The countdown begins in this chapter for the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Thru The Bible)

It is worth noting that the 14th of Nisan or Abib, around 3,230 years ago there was a full moon shining down upon Egypt when God went through Egypt at midnight and every firstborn male died. And this is the same night and the same moon which shone down on Jesus and His disciples about 1970 years ago as they observed the last supper—the Passover meal.

The Hebrew word beginning is rosh which also means head (literally in Ex 12:9 = "its head") and was used metaphorically earlier in Ex 6:14 (Ex 6:25) to describe "the heads of their fathers' households." So more literally this passage might be read "the head of months for you," conveying the sense of being not only the first but also the most prominent. The Septuagint (Lxx) uses the Greek word arche signifying the beginning of anything (Jn 1:1) or the first (Jn 2:11) and speaks of the commencement of something as an action, process, or state of being. In a sense beginning in the context of Exodus 12 marks the "Birth of a Nation," the nation of Israel. 

Hobbs - These verses, especially verse 2, emphasize the passover as providing a new beginning for Israel. This new beginning led to other new beginnings recorded in the Book of Exodus: the covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, the giving of the law, the renewal of the covenant after the Israelites made the golden calf, the building of the tabernacle, and more. From the New Testament perspective, the new beginning for the enslaved Israelites foreshadowed the new beginning and new life offered to sinners through Christ. The word “new” is used for the new life found only in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). Like the deliverance from Egypt, only God can make possible a new life for sinners. What Christ offers is not just another opportunity to try and do better in our own strength. What He offers is deliverance from the penalty and power of sin and entry into a new life, which is found only in Him. Have you experienced this new beginning?

This passage could be easily misunderstood, for when He says the first month of the year but today in Judaism there are actually four days that are treated as "first days of the year" each with a different significance...

  1. Abib = Nisan: This occurs in the Spring, usually around April, and marks the beginning of a new Biblical year.
  2. Elul: This was the new year for animal tithes and takes place in the sixth month of the calendar, around August.
  3. Tishri 1: Also known as Rosh Hashanah, this new year occurs on the first day of the seventh month, usually in September. Its date is known as when the world was created. Rosh Hashanah begins a ten-day period leading up to the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
  4. Shevat 15: Falling between January and February, Shevat or Tu B’Shvat, marks the date calculating the titles for harvest. (Source)

Currid - This announcement does not mean a change in the Hebrew calendar. The text literally reads, ‘This month is for you the first month.’ Thus it is at the time of the Hebrew new year that the Passover occurs. And now the Israelites truly have something to celebrate—a new beginning that is born of redemption from Egypt!

NET Note - Jacob (Exodus, 294–95) shows that the intent of the passage was not to make this month in the spring the New Year – that was in the autumn. Rather, when counting months this was supposed to be remembered first, for it was the great festival of freedom from Egypt. He observes how some scholars have unnecessarily tried to date one New Year earlier than the other. 

Cassuto writes that "On the first day of the first month of the new year—that is, at the beginning of a new period of time in human life—God communicates to them joyful tidings; the new calendar period marks a new historic epoch in the life of Israel."

THOUGHT - BEGINNING OF MONTHS – It is called the beginning because it was just that (1) the beginning of a new nation and (2) the beginning of freedom for the people who were redeemed by the blood of the lamb. What a wonderful picture of every believer’s new life in Christ. My physical birthday was in 1946 but the real beginning of my eternal life in Christ was 1984, the year I was transferred from the Kingdom of darkness (our of this “Egypt”) to the kingdom of light, of God’s dearly beloved Son Christ Jesus in Whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Col 1:12-14+). Thank You LORD!

THOUGHT - “God is ever the God of new beginnings in the history of failure. The ultimate statement is found in the Apocalypse in the words: ‘Behold, I am making all things new (kainos = brand new, never seen before!).’ (Rev 21:5+) ” (G Campbell Morgan)

Tony Garland comments on Revelation 21:5+ - What God creates in the new heaven and new earth will surpass anything which man has imagined: “But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ ” (1Cor. 2:9 cf. Isa. 43:16-19). The old creation which had long groaned under corruption is delivered by a new creation (Read Romans 8:19-23+) The redemption set forth in the book of Revelation is much broader than the individual redemption of sinful men. It extends to the redemption of the earth and even the entire creation. Like the new birth, the new creation is a work of God: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2Cor. 5:17+).

Guzik  - The coming deliverance from Egypt was such a significant act that God told the children of Israel to remake their calendar. The new year would now start with the month of their redemption from Egypt. It was a dramatic way of saying that everything was to change.

Spurgeon - “Commence a nation’s annals from its evangelization. Begin the chronicle of a people from the day when they bow at the feet of Jesus.” (Would it have been so that this had been true of Israel! For the most part it was not true in the OT, nor in the NT).

Month (02320)(hodes/chodes from chadash = renew, make new) has two main meanings - (1) the time when the new moon first appears, the day when the crescent moon reappears and is again visible (2 Ki. 4:23, 1 Sa 20:24). Hodes is used in various phrases in this sense to indicate the day after the new moon (1 Sa 20:27); second day of the new moon (1 Sa 20:34) (2) More commonly  hodes refers to a month as the measure of time, specifically the period from one new moon to another (normally 30 days). The idea is hodes was considered a monthly "renewal" of the moon, hence the designation "month." The months are sometimes named (Ex 13:4) and sometimes numbered (Gen. 7:11). The noun can refer specifically to the religious celebrations that occurred at each new moon. These were joyous occasions, observed by the offering of sacrifices as outlined in Nu 28:11-15. They were signaled originally at the central sanctuary by the blowing of trumpets (Nu 10:10; Ps. 81:3). Isaiah observed that Babylonian astrologers made predictions at the time of the new moon (Isa. 47:13). Not all new moon activities were approved by the Lord. Because of their insincere worship, God said to the people of Judah, "The new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot do away with" (Isa. 1:13f; cf. Hos. 2:11).

Baker adds "A full month is a ḥōdeš yāmîm (Gen. 29:14). Idioms are formed that mean month by (be) month, that is, an entire month (Num. 28:14); the day of the month is indicated by the preposition le. A child who is ben-ḥod̠eš is one month old (Lev. 27:6). It is used to indicate the time when a wild donkey is in heat, literally, in her month (heat) (Jer. 2:24). It is used with specific names of months, such as the month of Abib (Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Neh. 2:1; Zech. 7:1)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Hodes - 266x in 223v - month(204), month and months(1), month throughout the months(2), months(33), new moon(17), new moons(9). Gen. 7:11; Gen. 8:4; Gen. 8:5; Gen. 8:13; Gen. 8:14; Gen. 29:14; Gen. 38:24; Exod. 12:2; Exod. 12:3; Exod. 12:6; Exod. 12:18; Exod. 13:4; Exod. 13:5; Exod. 16:1; Exod. 19:1; Exod. 23:15; Exod. 34:18; Exod. 40:2; Exod. 40:17; Lev. 16:29; Lev. 23:5; Lev. 23:6; Lev. 23:24; Lev. 23:27; Lev. 23:32; Lev. 23:34; Lev. 23:39; Lev. 23:41; Lev. 25:9; Lev. 27:6; Num. 1:18; Num. 3:15; Num. 3:22; Num. 3:28; Num. 3:34; Num. 3:39; Num. 3:40; Num. 3:43; Num. 9:1; Num. 9:3; Num. 9:5; Num. 9:11; Num. 9:22; Num. 10:10; Num. 10:11; Num. 11:20; Num. 11:21; Num. 18:16; Num. 20:1; Num. 26:62; Num. 28:11; Num. 28:14; Num. 28:16; Num. 28:17; Num. 29:1; Num. 29:6; Num. 29:7; Num. 29:12; Num. 33:3; Num. 33:38; Deut. 1:3; Deut. 16:1; Jos. 4:19; Jos. 5:10; Jdg. 11:37; Jdg. 11:38; Jdg. 11:39; Jdg. 19:2; Jdg. 20:47; 1 Sam. 6:1; 1 Sam. 20:5; 1 Sam. 20:18; 1 Sam. 20:24; 1 Sam. 20:27; 1 Sam. 20:34; 1 Sam. 27:7; 2 Sam. 2:11; 2 Sam. 5:5; 2 Sam. 6:11; 2 Sam. 24:8; 2 Sam. 24:13; 1 Ki. 4:7; 1 Ki. 4:27; 1 Ki. 5:14; 1 Ki. 6:1; 1 Ki. 6:38; 1 Ki. 8:2; 1 Ki. 11:16; 1 Ki. 12:32; 1 Ki. 12:33; 2 Ki. 4:23; 2 Ki. 15:8; 2 Ki. 23:31; 2 Ki. 24:8; 2 Ki. 25:1; 2 Ki. 25:3; 2 Ki. 25:8; 2 Ki. 25:25; 2 Ki. 25:27; 1 Chr. 3:4; 1 Chr. 12:15; 1 Chr. 13:14; 1 Chr. 21:12; 1 Chr. 23:31; 1 Chr. 27:1; 1 Chr. 27:2; 1 Chr. 27:3; 1 Chr. 27:4; 1 Chr. 27:5; 1 Chr. 27:7; 1 Chr. 27:8; 1 Chr. 27:9; 1 Chr. 27:10; 1 Chr. 27:11; 1 Chr. 27:12; 1 Chr. 27:13; 1 Chr. 27:14; 1 Chr. 27:15; 2 Chr. 2:4; 2 Chr. 3:2; 2 Chr. 5:3; 2 Chr. 7:10; 2 Chr. 8:13; 2 Chr. 15:10; 2 Chr. 29:3; 2 Chr. 29:17; 2 Chr. 30:2; 2 Chr. 30:13; 2 Chr. 30:15; 2 Chr. 31:3; 2 Chr. 31:7; 2 Chr. 35:1; 2 Chr. 36:2; 2 Chr. 36:9; Ezr. 3:1; Ezr. 3:5; Ezr. 3:6; Ezr. 3:8; Ezr. 6:19; Ezr. 7:8; Ezr. 7:9; Ezr. 8:31; Ezr. 10:9; Ezr. 10:16; Ezr. 10:17; Neh. 1:1; Neh. 2:1; Neh. 7:73; Neh. 8:2; Neh. 8:14; Neh. 9:1; Neh. 10:33; Est. 2:12; Est. 2:16; Est. 3:7; Est. 3:12; Est. 3:13; Est. 8:9; Est. 8:12; Est. 9:1; Est. 9:15; Est. 9:17; Est. 9:19; Est. 9:21; Est. 9:22; Job 14:5; Job 21:21; Ps. 81:3; Isa. 1:13; Isa. 1:14; Isa. 47:13; Isa. 66:23; Jer. 1:3; Jer. 2:24; Jer. 28:1; Jer. 28:17; Jer. 36:9; Jer. 36:22; Jer. 39:1; Jer. 39:2; Jer. 41:1; Jer. 52:4; Jer. 52:6; Jer. 52:12; Jer. 52:31; Ezek. 1:1; Ezek. 1:2; Ezek. 8:1; Ezek. 20:1; Ezek. 24:1; Ezek. 26:1; Ezek. 29:1; Ezek. 29:17; Ezek. 30:20; Ezek. 31:1; Ezek. 32:1; Ezek. 32:17; Ezek. 33:21; Ezek. 39:12; Ezek. 39:14; Ezek. 40:1; Ezek. 45:17; Ezek. 45:18; Ezek. 45:20; Ezek. 45:21; Ezek. 45:25; Ezek. 46:1; Ezek. 46:3; Ezek. 46:6; Ezek. 47:12; Dan. 10:4; Hos. 2:11; Hos. 5:7; Amos 4:7; Amos 8:5; Hag. 1:1; Hag. 1:15; Hag. 2:1; Hag. 2:20; Zech. 1:1; Zech. 1:7; Zech. 7:1; Zech. 7:3

G Campbell Morgan - These words constitute the record of a change of calendar at the command of God. This change was introduced in the hour when these people were passing into national constitution as a Theocracy, a people under the direct and immediate government of God, having no king except Him. It was directly connected with the institution of the Passover Feast. Thus the beginning of the year was changed from Tishri, the month of harvest, to Abib, the month of green ears, or of springtime, known after the captivity as Nisan. Thus the new year henceforth was to begin with the celebration of the feast which emphasized the relation of the people to God, and brought constantly to their memory the redemptive basis of that relation. God is ever the God of new beginnings in the history of failure. The ultimate statement is found in the Apocalypse in the words: "Behold, I make all things new." (ED: QUOTED ABOVE) All such new beginnings are founded on plenteous Redemption, conditioned in persistent Righteousness, and issue in perfect Realization. God had redeemed His people from slavery. The dawn of their new year was ever to be radiant with the glory of His bringing of them forth from cruel bondage. God had brought them to Himself, that under His law they might realize the meaning of life, and fulfil its highest purposes. God had admitted them to a fellowship with Himself, which meant, for them, the supply of all need; and for Him, an instrument in the world for carrying out the programme of His infinite grace (ED: AS A NATION, THEY DID NOT DO VERY WELL! OF COURSE THE MESSIAH CAME THROUGH THEIR LINEAGE AND BROUGHT GRACE UPON GRACE AND GRACE AND TRUTH - John 1:16-17+). (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)


The Jewish Calendar


1 Nisan (Abib)
2 lyyar (Ziv)
3 Sivan
4 Tammuz
5 Av
6 Elul
7 Tishri (Ethanim)
8 Marcheshvan (Bui)
9 Kislev
10 Tebeth
11 Shebat
12 Adar

Gregorian Calendar   


Biblical Reference

Exodus 13:4
1 Kings 6:1, 37
Esther 8:9

Nehemiah 6:15
1 Kings 8:2
1 Kings 6:38
Nehemiah 1:1
Esther 2:16
Zechariah 1:7
Esther 2:7

Question: "What is the structure of the Jewish calendar?"

Answer: The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar month, which is a bit longer than 29 ½ days. Because of this, the months in the Jewish calendar are 29 or 30 days long. Twelve lunar months usually amounts to 354 days, 11 days short of a solar year. In order for the festivals to stay in the correct season in relation to the solar year, an extra month is added every few years.

The Jewish calendar is dated from what is supposed to have been the Creation of the earth: 3,760 years and three months before the Christian era. So, to find the current year in the Jewish calendar, one must add 3,759 to the date in the Gregorian calendar. What we call 2015 is, in the Jewish calendar, the year 5775. This system, however, will not work to the exact month, since the Jewish year (running on the civil calendar) begins in autumn rather than in midwinter. A Hebrew month begins in the middle of a month on our calendar today. Crops were planted in what we would call November and December and harvested in March and April.

The Jewish calendar, being lunar-based, invariably began with the new moon. To make up for the shorter year (compared to solar-based calendars), an extra month was periodically inserted between the months Adar and Nisan. That month, sometimes called Veader (“second Adar”), was added seven times within a 19-year cycle (at which time the month Adar received an extra half day).

The names of the months in the Jewish calendar originated in the period following the return from Babylonia to Israel. Before the Babylonian exile, at least four months had other names: Abib (Exodus 13:4), Ziv (1 Kings 6:1, 37), Ethanim ( 1 Kings 8:2), and Bul (1 Kings 6:38). After the Captivity, these months were renamed Nisan, lyyar, Tishri, and Heshvan (originally Marcheshvan), respectively. The pre-exilic names carried agricultural connotations. For example, Abib (“ear of grain”) signified the month in which grain became ripe; Ziv (“radiance”) was the month for desert flowers to bloom. An agricultural orientation is apparent in what is evidently the oldest Hebrew calendar, found at Gezer (southeast of Tel Aviv) in 1908 and dating from the 10th century BC. The calendar divides the year according to agricultural activities such as sowing, reaping, pruning, and storage.

Primarily, however, the months of the Jewish calendar had religious significance for the Jews and enabled them to commemorate the important events of their history. Each month’s beginning was considered holy. To ancient Israel, the moon became a symbol of the nation itself; the sun eventually became symbolic of the Messiah (Malachi 4:2). Since the moon produces no light of its own, the symbolism is especially appropriate: Israel was supposed to reflect the Messiah’s light to the world.

The Jewish calendar remained unchanged during the period between the Old Testament and New Testaments (approximately 400 years), despite an attempt by Hellenistic rulers to introduce a modified lunar-month system, presumably of Macedonian origin. According to that calendar, five days were added to the final month of the year, with each of the 12 months containing 30 days. Even then, it only approximated the solar year.

Usually, the ancient Hebrews did not record dates by citing the month and day of an event. Rather, dates were computed by reference to some significant event such as the accession year of the reigning king (2 Kings 15:17) or a patriarch’s birth (Genesis 7:11). In New Testament times, the Jews continued the Old Testament method of dating events by synchronizing them with events either in their religious calendar or within the secular sphere of the Roman world. Writers of the New Testament followed the same practice (Luke 1:5; John 12:1; Acts 18:12). It was only as the calendar reforms of Julius Caesar became embedded in the culture that people changed from that long-standing method to a more standardized system. (Source - Gotquestions.org)

Exodus 12:3  "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, 'On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household.

BGT  Exodus 12:3 λάλησον πρὸς πᾶσαν συναγωγὴν υἱῶν Ισραηλ λέγων τῇ δεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνὸς τούτου λαβέτωσαν ἕκαστος πρόβατον κατ᾽ οἴκους πατριῶν ἕκαστος πρόβατον κατ᾽ οἰκίαν

NET  Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel, 'In the tenth day of this month they each must take a lamb for themselves according to their families– a lamb for each household.

LXE  Exodus 12:3 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take each man a lamb according to the houses of their families, every man a lamb for his household.

NLT  Exodus 12:3 Announce to the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice, one animal for each household.

KJV  Exodus 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

ESV  Exodus 12:3 Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household.

NIV  Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.

ASV  Exodus 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers' houses, a lamb for a household:

CSB  Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers' households, one animal per household.

NKJ  Exodus 12:3 "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying:`On the tenth day of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.

NRS  Exodus 12:3 Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household.

YLT  Exodus 12:3 speak ye unto all the company of Israel, saying, In the tenth of this month -- they take to them each man a lamb for the house of the fathers, a lamb for a house.

  • Speak - Ex 4:30 6:6 14:15 20:19 Lev 1:2 
  • On the tenth - Ex 12:6 Joh 12:1,12 
  • take - Ge 4:4 22:8 1Sa 7:9 Joh 1:29,36 1Co 5:7 Rev 5:6-13 7:9-14 13:8 
  • lamb - Lev 5:6 Nu 15:11 2Ch 35:7 
  • each household - The Israelites were divided into twelve tribes, these tribes into families, the families into houses, and the houses into particular persons. Nu 1:1-54 Jos 7:14


Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying  - The details of how this would take place are not clear as there were upwards to 2 million Israelites, but Ex 12:21 indicates that after Jehovah had given instructions to Moses and Aaron, Moses then speaks to all the elders of Israel who would have them disseminated the word. 

On the tenth of this month - On the tenth of Abib

Cassuto On the tenth day of this month—on the tenth day after the new moon, a distinguished day according to the ancient division of the month into three parts comprising ten days each, and paralleling to the tenth of Tishri, which is the Day of Atonement and the day of the proclamation of the year of the Jubilee and of liberty—they shall begin their preparation

they are each one to take a lamb for themselves - Literally “and they will take for them a man a lamb." Each one obviously signifies more that a single person, but the family unit. Or they could take a young goat that was an unblemished, male, one year old (Ex 12:5)

according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household - Each household or family was to share one lamb (or goat). 

Congregation (05712)(edah from yaad = to appoint) refers to an assembly by appointment. Of the 145x in the OT, 127 are translated with sunagoge which means assembling or bringing together (congregation, synagogue). Edah does not in itself connote the purpose of the gathering -- e.g., swarm of bees (Jdg 14:8, herd of bulls (Ps 68:30); assembly of the righteous (Ps 1:5); band of evildoers (Ps 22:16); band of violent men (Ps 86:14); company of the godless (Job 15:34); company of Korah (Nu 16:5); company of Abiram (Ps 106:17-18); assembly of the peoples (nations) (Ps 7:7). Edah can describe a congregation of heavenly or human beings (Ps 82:1). Most uses refer to Israel as a group assembled for a variety of reasons (this sense is seen below in virtually all the uses in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Judges). 

Edah - 149x in 140v - assembly(5), band(2), company(13), congregation(126), congregation's(1), herd(1), swarm(1) - Ex 12:3; Ex 12:6; Ex 12:19; Ex 12:47; Ex 16:1; Ex 16:2; Ex 16:9; Ex 16:10; Ex 16:22; Ex 17:1; Ex 34:31; Ex 35:1; Ex 35:4; Ex 35:20; Ex 38:25; Lev 4:13; Lev 4:15; Lev 8:3; Lev 8:4; Lev 8:5; Lev 9:5; Lev 10:6; Lev 10:17; Lev 16:5; Lev 19:2; Lev 24:14; Lev 24:16; Nu 1:2; Nu 1:16; Nu 1:18; Nu 1:53; Nu 3:7; Nu 4:34; Nu 8:9; Nu 8:20; Nu 10:2; Nu 10:3; Nu 13:26; Nu 14:1; Nu 14:2; Nu 14:5; Nu 14:7; Nu 14:10; Nu 14:27; Nu 14:35; Nu 14:36; Nu 15:24; Nu 15:25; Nu 15:26; Nu 15:33; Nu 15:35; Nu 15:36; Nu 16:2; Nu 16:3; Nu 16:5; Nu 16:6; Nu 16:9; Nu 16:11; Nu 16:16; Nu 16:19; Nu 16:21; Nu 16:22; Nu 16:24; Nu 16:26; Nu 16:40; Nu 16:41; Nu 16:42; Nu 16:45; Nu 16:46; Nu 19:9; Nu 20:1; Nu 20:2; Nu 20:8; Nu 20:11; Nu 20:22; Nu 20:27; Nu 20:29; Nu 25:6; Nu 25:7; Nu 26:2; Nu 26:9; Nu 26:10; Nu 27:2; Nu 27:3; Nu 27:14; Nu 27:16; Nu 27:17; Nu 27:19; Nu 27:20; Nu 27:21; Nu 27:22; Nu 31:12; Nu 31:13; Nu 31:16; Nu 31:26; Nu 31:27; Nu 31:43; Nu 32:2; Nu 32:4; Nu 35:12; Nu 35:24; Nu 35:25; Jos 9:15; Jos 9:18; Jos 9:19; Jos 9:21; Jos 9:27; Jos 18:1; Jos 20:6; Jos 20:9; Jos 22:12; Jos 22:16; Jos 22:17; Jos 22:18; Jos 22:20; Jos 22:30; Jdg 14:8; Jdg 20:1; Jdg 21:10; Jdg 21:13; Jdg 21:16; 1 Ki 8:5; 1 Ki 12:20; 2 Chr 5:6; Job 15:34; Job 16:7; Ps 1:5; Ps 7:7; Ps 22:16; Ps 68:30; Ps 74:2; Ps 82:1; Ps 86:14; Ps 106:17; Ps 106:18; Ps 111:1; Pr 5:14; Jer 6:18; Jer 30:20; Hos 7:12

Lamb (goat)(07716)(seh) is actually a neutral word which means one of the flock such as either a sheep or a goat. This animal was clean according to the Law and thus could be eaten (Dt. 14:4; cf. Nu 15:11), so long as the blood had been drained (1 Sa 14:34). A year-old lamb was necessary for a sin or burnt offering (Lev. 5:7; 12:8).  In Ge 22:7 Isaac ask his father Abraham "Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?" Abraham said "God will provide for Himself the lamb." (Ge 22:8). Isaiah uses seh of Messiah writing " Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth." (Isa 53:7). The psalmist speaks for every person declaring "I have gone astray like a lost sheep." (Ps 119:176). The Israelites who suffered destruction and extraction from their homeland by the hands of the Assyrians and Babylonians were compared to a "scattered sheep; the lions have driven away" (Jer. 50:17). All people are called sheep among whom God will judge the lean and fat, protecting those who are his own (Ezek. 34:17, 20, 22).

Seh - 43x in 39v - flock(1), lamb(15), lambs(1), sheep(22), sheep and another(2), sheep and one(1), sheep*(1). Gen. 22:7; Gen. 22:8; Gen. 30:32; Exod. 12:3; Exod. 12:4; Exod. 12:5; Exod. 13:13; Exod. 22:1; Exod. 22:4; Exod. 22:9; Exod. 22:10; Exod. 34:19; Exod. 34:20; Lev. 5:7; Lev. 12:8; Lev. 22:23; Lev. 22:28; Lev. 27:26; Num. 15:11; Deut. 14:4; Deut. 17:1; Deut. 18:3; Deut. 22:1; Jos. 6:21; Jdg. 6:4; 1 Sam. 14:34; 1 Sam. 15:3; 1 Sam. 17:34; 1 Sam. 22:19; Ps. 119:176; Isa. 7:25; Isa. 43:23; Isa. 53:7; Isa. 66:3; Jer. 50:17; Ezek. 34:17; Ezek. 34:20; Ezek. 34:22; Ezek. 45:15

Exodus 12:4  'Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.


Now if the household is too small for a lamb - As noted above the Hebrew seh could refer to either lamb or goat. The thought is that this family would be too small to consume a lamb in one night. "Later Judaism ruled that “too small” meant fewer than ten (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 88)." (NET)

Then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them;

according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb

Cassuto comments "they should share the expenses according to the number of persons."

Guzik - The rabbis later determined that there should be at least ten people for each Passover lamb, and not more than twenty.

J Vernon McGee - This verse does not say anything about the lamb being too little for the household. This would not happen; the lamb is sufficient. It is possible, however, that the household might be too little for the lamb. God is interested in each individual member of the family. Each family was to have a lamb, but what if a man and his wife were childless or had married children who lived apart from them? This couple is then supposed to join with a neighbor who is in the same position and divide the lamb. Each individual in each family is to receive a part of the lamb. The celebration of the Feast of the Passover is to be a personal, private matter. It is redemption for the nation, yes, but it centers in the family. It must be received and accepted by each individual member in the family. The Passover is a family affair.
God is presenting the modus operandi by which He is going to save individuals. No one is saved because he is the member of a nation or a family. Take, for example, the account of the Philippian jailor and the salvation of his household as told in the Book of Acts, chapter 16. His family was not saved because the jailor believed, but because each member of his family made a transaction with the Lamb, each had to partake of the Lamb. That was true here. Every member had to exhibit his faith in this way. “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31) does not mean that if you believe, your family will be saved. No! Your family will have to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and then they will be saved. Each one will have to participate and partake of it in order to come in under the protection and the redemption of the blood that is out on the doorpost of the house.

Exodus 12:5  'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.

  • be an unblemished - Lev 1:3,10 22:19-24 De 17:1 Mal 1:7,8,14 Heb 7:26 9:13,14 1Pe 1:18,19 
  • male a year old - Lev 23:12 1Sa 13:1


Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old NET = "Your lamb must be perfect, a male." Unblemished is the Hebrew word tamim translated with teleios, meaning perfect the main idea referring to totality of something rather than partial (for a lamb this would mean not lame but with all limbs intact, etc) A year old later is defined at Sinai as a clean animal. The idea of without blemish is whole or sound, no physical defects. The rules for sacrificial animals applied here (see Lev 22:19–21; Dt 17:1).

Unblemished (without defect or blemish, perfect) (08549)(tamim from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. Tamim deals primarily with a state of moral or ceremonial purity (e.g., animal sacrifices - 51x tamim refers to unblemished animals - Passover lamb in Ex 12:5 picturing of course Christ sinless perfection - 1 Cor 5:7, "knew no sin" = 2Cor 5:21+). Tamim can mean blameless, complete, whole, full, perfect. Tamim can refer to the "entirety" of a period of time (7 complete Sabbaths = Lev 23:15; full year = Lev 25:30). Joshua 10:13 records the miracle of the sun standing still for a "whole (tamim) day," allowing Joshua to extract vengeance on the Amorite coalition that had attacked him. 

Clearly the idea of a perfect lamb pointed toward the Messiah, even as in Isaiah's prophecy...

He (MESSIAH) was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7+)

You may take it from the sheep or from the goats - The Hebrew word for lamb can refer to either a young sheep or a young goat.

Exodus 12:6  'You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.

  • fourteenth - Lev 23:5 Nu 9:3 28:16,18 De 16:1-6 2Ch 30:15 Eze 45:21 
  • the whole - 2Ch 30:15-18 Isa 53:6 Mt 27:20,25 Mk 15:1,8,11,25,33,34 Lu 23:1,18 Ac 2:23 3:14 4:27 
  • at twilight -  The Jews divided the day into morning and evening:  till the sun passed the meridian, all was morning or forenoon; after that, all was evening or afternoon.  Their first evening began just after twelve o'clock, and continued till sunset; their second evening began at sunset, and continued till night, i.e., during the whole time of twilight; between twelve o'clock, therefore, and the termination of twilight, the passover was to be offered.  See Parallel Passages. Ex 16:12 Mt 27:46-50 


You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month - The verb shall keep means each family is to "guard" the lamb or goat. It is to be kept from anything that might blemish it (think of a lamb being bitten by a dog). The lamb (or goat) was to be kept for 4 days from the tenth of Abib (Nisan) to the fourteenth 

NET on shall keep - This stresses the activity of watching over or caring for something, probably to keep it in its proper condition for its designated use (see Ex 16:23, 32–34).

THOUGHT - There is a powerful principle portrayed in this passage -- The lamb/goat was to be in every sense a substitutionary sacrifice, the animal's death in place of the death of the firstborn. Paul described this substitutionary sacrifice in 2 Cor 5:21+ "He (GOD THE FATHER) made Him (GOD THE SON) Who knew no sin (Heb 4:15b+) to be sin on our behalf (= "IN OUR PLACE" = SUBSTITUTION - see the doctrine of substitution), so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight - "between the two evenings." The idea is that the families even though dwelling in different homes, were to carry out this action as "a single assembly by their united and simultaneous act of worship." (Cassuto)  Curried adds "The time of the community sacrifice is unclear. A direct translation of the Hebrew says, ‘between the two sunsets/evenings’. Some scholars have suggested this means ‘twilight’, that is, between sunset and dark."

THOUGHT - S Lewis Johnson applies this truth regarding killing the lamb - When we think of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ we also need to remember that the lamb pointed forward to him as the one who would be slain. And further, that his death was absolutely necessary. It is not the life that he lived by which we are redeemed, it is by the death that he died that we are redeemed. And so the lamb should be slain. How important it is for us to remember that fact. (Sermon)

ILLUSTRATION - There is a story concerning Pastor D.M. Sterns, a great gospel preacher of the past generation. He preached a sermon and a man came up after his sermon and said, “Mr. Sterns, I don’t like your preaching. I don’t care for the cross. I think that instead of preaching the death on the cross it would be far better to preach Jesus the teacher and example.” “Would you then be willing to follow him if I preached Christ the example?” Mr. Sterns said. “I would,” replied the stranger. “I will follow in his steps,” little realizing of course that he was making a statement that is almost precisely what Peter writes about and 1 Peter chapter 2. And then Mr. Sterns said, “Well, then let us take the first step and the first step is the clause immediately after that fact that we are following in his steps ‘who did no sin’. Can you take that step?” “No, the man replied. I do sin and I acknowledge it.” “Well then,” said the gospel preacher, “your first need of Christ is not as an example but as a Savior.” And so the fact that the lamb had to be slain was devised by the Lord God as a type of the fact that he Lord Jesus ultimately is the Savior of sinners, must accomplish atonement by his death on the cross. (Sermon)

Constable on kill it at twilight - Some of the ancient rabbis taught that God wanted the Jews to sacrifice the Passover lamb exactly at sunset because of the instructions in verse 6 and Deuteronomy 16:6. However “at twilight” literally means “between the two evenings.” The more widely held Jewish view was that the first evening began right after noon and the second began when the sun set. In Josephus’ day, which was also Jesus’ day, the Jews slew the Passover lamb in mid-afternoon. The Lord Jesus Christ died during this time (i.e., about 3:00 p.m., Mt. 27:45–50; Mk 15:34–37; Lk 23:44–46; 1 Cor 5:7). (ED: AND MANY BELIEVE HE DIED AT THE SAME TIME THE SACRIFICIAL LAMBS WERE SACRIFICED!)

NET on the whole assembly of the congregation - Literally = “all the assembly of the community.” This expression is a pleonasm. The verse means that everyone will kill the lamb, i.e., each family unit among the Israelites will kill its animal.

Currid on whole assembly of the congregation - The term ‘community’ is found for the first time referring to the people of God. It literally means ‘assembly’: the people of Israel are congregating for a communal worship service. This act of redemption is solidifying the Hebrews as one covenanted people before Yahweh.

Cassuto on twilight - between the two evenings—that is, toward the evening of the full moon.

John Trapp - “Christ came in the evening of the world; in the ‘last hour’ (1 John 2:11); when all lay buried in darkness; in the eventide of our sin and death.” 

J Vernon McGee on the phrase the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it  (Note it does not say each household is to kill it) - This portion of Scripture is quite interesting. Note that each family had a lamb. Thousands of lambs must have been slain that evening, but the sixth verse reads, “Israel shall kill it in the evening.” These many lambs were speaking of another Lamb. God looked at all of these lambs as that one Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ, who was the Passover offered for us. This feast was pointing to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ into the world.

Exodus 12:7  'Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.

  • Ex 12:22,23 Eph 1:7 Heb 9:13,14,22 10:14,29 11:28 1Pe 1:2 

Blood on Lintels and Doorposts


Notice the "way out" was through the door marked with blood. What a picture of Jesus' words in John 14:6 , “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

In Ex 12:13 the blood was called a sign - "The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live."

Moreover, they shall take some of the blood - Blood of the slaughtered lamb. It is notable that the only portion of the sacrifice which was given to God was the blood of the lamb (goat). The rest of the sacrifice was eaten by each family or if not eaten, it was to be burned (Ex 12:10).

THOUGHT - Note that this act would require faith in the Word from Jehovah. Intellectual acceptance would not be sufficient. One had to believe the Word about the blood of the Lamb protecting the firstborn from death and had to act on that belief by applying the blood of the Lamb to the doorway. The principle is clear -- genuine faith obeys. To say one believes and to not obey is not true faith and the consequence would be destruction of the firstborn. Today to say one believes in Jesus and yet to fail to obey His precepts and commands (in the power of the Spirit) is not genuine faith and the result will be eternal destruction. One is reminded of Jesus' frightening warning to the Jews in His Sermon on the Mount...

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does (present tense - habitually, enabled by the Spirit) the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE (present tense = habitually, as their lifestyle) LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7:21-23+)

One may ask "Why use blood as the sign? Throughout the Old Testament, the shedding of blood often signifies entrance into, and being part of, the covenant with God (see, for example, Gen. 15:9–17; 17:9–14). Blood is the essence of life, and thus it symbolizes the extremity of the covenant relationship extending to life and death. The Hebrews bear the sign of God and live; the Egyptians have no sign and many die." 

The LORD of hosts my Shepherd is--
O sweet these words to me;
And Thou, dear Lamb, will be my Guide
Throughout eternity.

and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it - The blood is to be applied on the doorway before eating any of the lamb. The doorposts are are either side and the lintel is the top portion of the doorway. Many commentators have note a suggestion of the sign of the Cross when blood was applied horizontally and then vertically, and this certainly is possible. The purpose is stated in Ex 12:13 that it is to be an external sign that the people within are numbered among the people of the LORD and are safe from death of their firstborn.

Constable - The door represented the house (cf. Ex 20:10; Dt. 5:14; 12:17; et al.). The smearing of the blood on the door with hyssop was an act of expiation (cleansing; cf. Lev. 14:49–53+; Nu 19:18–19). This act consecrated the houses of the Israelites as altars. They had no other altars in Egypt. They were not to apply the blood to the other member of the door frame, the threshold, because someone might tread on it. (ED: cf warning in Hebrews 10:29+) The symbolic value of the blood made this action inappropriate. The whole ritual signified to the Jews that the blood (life poured out, Lev. 17:11+) of a sinless, divinely appointed substitute cleansed their sins and resulted in their setting apart (sanctification) to God. The application of the blood as directed was a demonstration of the Israelites’ faith in God’s promise that He would pass over them (Ex 12:13; cf. Heb. 11:28).

Cassuto (who was Jewish rabbi, not a believer as far as I can discern) comments on the significance of the two doorposts and on the lintel writing that "not, apparently, on account of the particular importance of these places in ritual-worship, for the latter ascribes greater significance to the threshold than to the lintel, but for the purpose of external indication (compare Ex 12:13)

J Vernon McGee - The children of Israel were to put the blood of the lamb outside on the door. Upon seeing the blood, the death angel would pass over the house. I believe there is a picture given here that will answer a question that is asked many times: What will happen to the little children of believers at the time of the Rapture? If small children are in the house when the Lord comes for His own, will He take the Mom and Dad and leave the little ones behind? This chapter shows us that God will not leave the young ones behind. Inside the home the family is eating the lamb (HE IS REFERRING TO BELIEVERS TODAY, NOT THE HEBREWS IS ISRAEL), and by faith they are partaking of Christ. The young children do not know what is taking place. Will they be left behind in Egypt when Israel goes out from the land? If a little one has not yet reached the age of accountability, will he be slain? Oh no, friend, the blood covers everyone in the family. God will not leave small children behind at the time of the Rapture any more than He left them behind when the Israelites were redeemed and left the land of Egypt.

Herschel Hobbs speaking of the liberation of souls from slavery to sin and Satan  - This liberation requires a response on our part. The Israelites had to follow God’s directions and place the blood of the lamb on their doors; otherwise death would visit that household. Only through faith in the crucified, risen Lord are we set free from sin and death. The blood of Jesus Christ redeems us from sin and death (Eph. 1:7+: 1 Pet. 1:18-19+).

He breaks the pow’r of canceled sin,
He sets the pris’ner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.
(Play also This Is Amazing Grace)

Steven Cole - To be delivered through the Passover blood, Moses and the Israelites had to trust God’s word and do what He told them to do. If anyone disputed it by saying, “It’s not logical that sprinkling blood on your doorposts would protect your oldest son from death,” his son would have died. It would not have been enough to say mentally, “I believe,” but not apply the blood. To be saved from the destroyer, the person had to believe God’s warning by applying the blood.

The same is true with the blood of Christ. You can argue that God is a God of love, not judgment, and that you don’t need the blood of Christ to be saved. You will someday learn too late that He is a God who judges sinners. Perhaps you grew up in a Christian home and you believe in a general sense, but you have not personally fled to the cross. James (Jas 2:19+) warns us that the demons also believe in that manner, but they will not be saved. Unlike the Passover, it is not enough for your father to believe on your behalf.

To be saved, you must acknowledge that as a sinner you deserve God’s judgment. You must abandon all trust in yourself or your good works as a means of salvation. And you must trust in Christ’s blood as God’s payment for your sins. Every sinner must apply the blood of Christ to his or her heart by faith to be saved from God’s judgment. (Overcoming Faith Hebrews 11:27-29))

Exodus 12:8  'They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

  • eat the - Mt 26:26 Joh 6:52-57 
  • roasted - De 16:7 Ps 22:14 Isa 53:10 
  • unleavened - Ex 13:3,7 34:25 Nu 9:11 De 16:3 Am 4:5 Mt 16:12 1Co 5:6-8 Ga 5:9 
  • with bitter - Ex 1:14 Nu 9:11 Zec 12:10 1Th 1:6 

They shall eat the flesh that same night, roasted with fire - The same instruction was kept throughout Israel’s history of the Passover, as confirmed by 2 Chronicles 35:13 "So they roasted the Passover animals on the fire according to the ordinance, and they boiled the holy things in pots, in kettles, in pans, and carried them speedily to all the lay people."

Constable - God directed that they roast it in the manner common to nomads rather than eating it raw as many of their contemporary pagans ate their sacrificial meat (cf. 1 Sa 2:14–15).

Spurgeon commented that "The paschal lamb was not killed in order to be looked at only, but to be eaten; and our Lord Jesus Christ has not been slain merely that we may hear about Him and talk about Him, and think about Him, but that we may feed upon Him.”

And they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (see Nu 9:11) - Unleavened bread had not been allowed to rise (which takes time, usually hours) (cf Ex 12:34). The rabbinic tradition identified varieties of bitter () herbs including lettuce, dandelion, and chicory. People today often use horseradish. Eating these herbs was a reminder that their lives had been “bitter (marar) with hard labor” (Ex 1:14+).

Constable - "The bitter herbs—perhaps endive, chicory, and or other herbs native to Egypt—would later recall to the Israelites who ate them the bitter experiences of life in Egypt. However the sweetness of the lamb overpowered the bitterness of the herbs." 

THOUGHT - Believers should occasionally eat "bitter herbs," to be reminded of how our lives were made bitter when we were in bondage to Sin and Satan both of whom are oppressive taskmasters which ultimately seek to destroy us! It is good to occasionally remember that God has transferred us from our former kingdom of darkness with dark masters and into the light of life in Christ. Why would we want to run back into darkness and bondage? But are not we all tempted from time to time (maybe all the time) to backslide into a former sinful habit? That's a rhetorical question. Eating "bitter herbs" (figuratively speaking) would be a good reminder of the affliction and pain we suffered from our former taskmasters Sin and Satan! 

NET Note on unleavened bread - Bread made without yeast could be baked quickly, not requiring time for the use of a leavening ingredient to make the dough rise. In Deut 16:3 the unleavened cakes are called “the bread of affliction,” which alludes to the alarm and haste of the Israelites. In later Judaism and in the writings of Paul, leaven came to be a symbol of evil or corruption, and so “unleavened bread”—bread made without yeast—was interpreted to be a picture of purity or freedom from corruption or defilement (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 90–91).

J Vernon McGee - We are also told in this verse that they were to eat the flesh of the lamb roast with fire. Fire speaks of judgment. There must be judgment of sin. They were to eat the lamb with unleavened bread. Leaven speaks of sin, and unleavened bread speaks of Christ as the One we are to feed upon. They were also to partake of this meal with bitter herbs. Although there are different meanings attached to these herbs, in this context I believe it means that our experience will not always be sweet after we have received Jesus Christ as Savior. The bitter herbs go with redemption.

Exodus 12:9  'Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails.

  • roasted with fire - Ex 12:8 De 16:7 La 1:13 

Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, both its head and its legs along with its entrails - Cooked whole, note even eviscerated as a symbol of the haste with which they were to leave Egypt. NET "This ruling was to prevent their eating it just softened by the fire or partially roasted as differing customs might prescribe or allow."

Constable has an interesting comment - "They were not to boil the lamb either (v. 9). Roasting enabled the host to place the lamb on the table undivided and unchanged in its essential structure and appearance (v. 9). This would have strengthened the impression of the substitute nature of the lamb. It looked like an animal rather than just meat

Exodus 12:10  'And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.

  • Ex 23:18 29:34 34:25 Lev 7:15-17 22:30 De 16:4,5 


This meal was not to be treated as just "any other meal," but was special, even in a real sense, consecrated, sacred and holy. 

And you shall not leave any of it over until morning - It was not to be stored so you could eat some later. The Hebrew "lo" is a negative and is in combination with the imperfect tense (as in 8 of 10 fo the "Ten Commandments") and so serves to indicate a law Israel must keep. 

Guzik applies this writing "It was for right then, right now, and you had to receive all of it without thinking you could take a bit then and come back to it later if you pleased. We take all of Jesus, not just the parts that please us."

Alan Cole suggests "it was to be eaten ceremonially in God’s presence: nothing might remain over, nor be taken away (Exod. 23:18). This was either to prevent profanation, or to discourage magical practices. (TOTC-Ex)

but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire - This meat was to be treated as sacred and thus not to be used at any other time. 

Currid - The meat of the animal had been set apart for the Passover celebration; it was too sacred to be used at any other time. The Hebrews were not to save any meat for later. In addition, the full consumption of the sacrifice points to its completeness and efficacy. It signifies a full-scale redemption.

Exodus 12:11  'Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste--it is the LORD'S Passover.

  • loins - Mt 26:19,20 Lu 12:35 Eph 6:14 1 Pe 1:13 
  • sandals- Lu 7:38 15:22 Eph 6:15 
  • it is the LORD'S Passover  - Ex 12:27 Lev 23:5 Nu 28:16 De 16:2-6 1Co 5:7 


Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand - A staff in your hand would be a bit awkward to eat with staff in hand but again depicts the need to be ready to move out at a moment's notice. 

To have your loins girded means to have your flowing robe tucked up on you belt so you are not tripped up as you walk briskly out of the land of Egypt. Peter figuratively speaks of loins girded to those who have been saved...

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:13+, cf Eph 6:14+) (Notice that one of the best ways to have a girded mind and sober spirit is to set your mind, your hope, on the blessed return of Jesus and the sure promise of future, eternal good for all who are in Christ!)

J Vernon McGee - Friend, when you come to Christ, you should have your loins girded and be ready to get out of the world and no longer be involved in it. I do not believe that you can be converted and continue living a sinful life (cf 1 John 3:4-10+). This does not mean that you will not sin occasionally, but it does mean that you will not make a habit of living in a pattern of sin....You will get out of “Egypt” if the blood has been put on the doorposts. You are to eat the sacrificial lamb with your loins girt about, ready to go.

Guzik - The Passover lamb had to be eaten in faith, trusting that the deliverance promised to Israel was present, and that they would walk in that deliverance immediately.

The book of Hebrews emphasizes the importance of faith in keeping the Passover -

"By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them." (Hebrews 11:28+)

Comment - Notice the association of by faith with he kept  which clearly links genuine faith with obedience. God affirms that Moses' obediently keeping the Passover the night before he led Israel out of Egypt was the result of his faith and not just religious ceremonialism. Moses' faith produced a response of obedience to the divine command. Moses believed God's promise that the Destroyer of the firstborn would pass over those houses whose doorposts and lintels were sprinkled with the blood of the Passover lamb. It was D L Moody who said that "Faith makes all things possible; love makes all things easy." Indeed, Moses showed his love by his obedience (cp Jn 14:15, 1Jn 5:3). Warren Wiersbe comments on Moses' faith writing that "Faith brings us out (He 11:28), takes us through (He 11:29), and brings us in (He 11:30). When we trust God, we get what God can do; but when we trust ourselves, we get only what weak people can do. The experience of Moses is proof that true biblical faith means obeying God in spite of circumstances and in spite of consequences."

Hughes writes "by faith he kept (perfect tense) the Passover" actually means that he instituted the Passover. Moses actually instituted the Passover as a "lasting ordinance" to be done year after year (Ex 12:14) — which means that Moses never doubted in the least that the people would be delivered from Egypt! He had nothing to go on but God's word, but he believed it implicitly. Moses' massive faith saved Israel! (Preaching the Word – Hebrews, Volume II: An Anchor for the Soul)

Calvin says Moses "acquiesced in the bare word of God where the thing itself was not apparent."

Faith trusts in God’s sacrifice for deliverance from His judgment
All people face the threat of God’s impending judgment.
God has appointed a way of deliverance from His judgment through the blood of a substitute.
God’s way of deliverance must be applied by faith in order to be effective.
- Steven Cole

And you shall eat it in haste - It is to be eaten in haste and indicates a state of watchfulness and readiness as necessary, as it was at this first Passover. On this night this was not a celebratory feast as it would later become. Currid adds in haste "in the original Hebrew does not only mean ‘quickly’, but it bears a great sense of alarm/trepidation/danger." The same verb haste in Dt 16:3 means in essence to leave Egypt the same way, in haste! Do not delay! Isaiah used the same word haste to prophesy a future time in which the children of Israel would depart from Assyria and return to Jerusalem, but not in haste (Isa. 52:12). This second Exodus would not be an escape, but rather a triumph of Yahweh's sovereignty. In the context in Isaiah 52:13 (commentary) we read a Messianic prophecy "Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up and greatly exalted." 

Victor Hamilton remarks "Interestingly, it was very advantageous for the Israelites to leave Egypt on the night of a full moon." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

THOUGHT - Beloved, if you've not been covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb (1Pe 1:18, 19+; 1Cor 5:7 - see related study of Jehovah Roi - The LORD My Shepherd), you too will experience the tragic consequences of having chosen to reject of God's truth regarding redemption from bondage to Satan, Sin and eternal death (separation from God's glorious presence - cp Mt 25:41, 2Th 1:6, 7, 8, 9, 10)

Haste (02649)(chippazon from chaphaz = to hurry away, flee, trembling in alarm) is a masculine noun that means a hurried departure, haste, a hurried flight. Three uses in OT - Ex 12:11, Dt 16:3 = "you came out of the land of Egypt in haste" , Isa 52:12

Bruckner - The people were not to be indifferent to the suffering outside the walls of their homes, even the suffering of their enslavers (Prov. 24:17). They should eat with the haste of alarm, since their deliverance was purchased at such a cost of human and animal life.

it is the LORD'S Passover - It is the Passover Jehovah provides and Jehovah carries out and thus in that sense it all belongs to Him and all those who partake of it belong to Him. Passover is pesach/pesah, which in itself refers primarily to the victim and secondarily to the feast in which the victim was the central feature. Hobbs adds it is the LORD’s passover "means “a passover victim for the Lord.” On the other hand, it may refer to the passover victim supplied “by the Lord,” that is, by His grace so His people could be spared the death of the firstborn."

David Guzik on it is the LORD's passover - The Passover was the Lord’s in the sense that He provided it: (1) As a rescue, to deliver Israel from the plague of the firstborn. (2)  As an institution, to remember God’s rescue and deliverance for Israel through every generation. (3)  As a powerful drama, acting out the perfect sacrifice and rescue Jesus would later provide.

Alan Cole - It is YHWH’s passover. Probably the word pesah, ‘passover’, in itself referred primarily to the victim, and secondarily to the feast in which the victim was the central feature. Literally we should translate ‘it is a passover victim for YHWH’. (Ibid)

John Currid adds "The Passover is not primarily about the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt. Nor is it mainly about the humiliation of Pharaoh and Egypt. Rather its essential purpose is the glorification and exaltation of Yahweh: ‘It is Yahweh’s Passover.’" 

Passover (06453)(pesach/pesah) is a masculine noun thought by some writers (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon) to have its origin from pacach/pasah which apparently means to pass over; to spare (Ex 12:13, 23, 27 - "Jehovah will pass" = pasah).

Pesach/pesah virtually always refers to the Passover, either the feast or the Passover animal.

Note that the Passover is combined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread by Luke who writes "the Feast of Unleavened Bread… is called the Passover, was approaching." (Lk 22:1+

Rooker adds that "These two ceremonies were apparently combined at the beginning, for the Passover lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread (Ex 12:8)." (New American Commentary).

Van Gemeren rightly states that "The etymology of the root פֶּסַח (pesah) is much disputed, and some very tenuous links have been established with the Akk. pašāu, to appease, and the Arab. fasaa, be/become wide (New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis 3:642).

Rooker - The verbal root of the noun translated “Passover” occurs only four times in the Old Testament (Ex 12:13, 23, 27; Isa 31:5). The root has been variously explained: “to have compassion,” “to protect,” “to skip over.” In Isa 31:5 the verb is parallel to the verb “to rescue,” which would harmonize well with the first or second options and would indicate that what was critical during the tenth plague was not the death angel’s “passing over” Israelites’ homes as much as the fact that God was displaying his compassion in protecting his people. (New American Commentary).

NET Note - The meaning of פֶּסַח (pesakh) is debated. (1) Some have tried to connect it to the Hebrew verb with the same radicals that means “to halt, leap, limp, stumble.” See 1 Kgs 18:26 where the word describes the priests of Baal hopping around the altar; also the crippled child in 2 Sam 4:4. (2) Others connect it to the Akkadian passahu, which means “to appease, make soft, placate”; or (3) an Egyptian word to commemorate the harvest (see J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover, 95–100). The verb occurs in Isa 31:5 with the connotation of “to protect”; B. S. Childs suggests that this was already influenced by the exodus tradition (Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 11). Whatever links there may or may not have been that show an etymology, in Exod 12 it is describing Yahweh’s passing over or through.

Related Resources:

David Guzik -  By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul made it perfectly clear: For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). John the Baptist drew on a similar image when he said of Jesus, Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29) It seems that Jesus was actually crucified on Passover (John 19:14). We see Jesus in the Passover.

      •      Jesus lived with and became bonded to the human family before He was sacrificed for them.
      •      The sacrifice of Jesus has to be appropriate to each home, not simply on a national or community basis.
      •      Jesus the Passover Lamb was spotless—perfectly so, not stained by any sin, any moral or spiritual imperfection.
      •      It was only the blood of Jesus, His actual poured-out life that atoned for sin.
      •      In His death Jesus was touched with fire, the fire of God’s judgment and wrath.
      •      In His death Jesus received the bitter cup of God’s judgment.
      •      The work of Jesus has to be received fully, with none left in reserve.
      •      The Passover work of Jesus for His people is the dawn and prelude to their freedom.

Exodus 12:12  'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments--I am the LORD.

  • I will go through the land of Egypt  - Ex 12:23 11:4,5 Am 5:17 
  • will strike down - Ex 12:29,30 11:4-6 
  • against - Nu 33:4 1Sa 5:3 6:5 1Ch 14:12 Isa 19:1 Jer 43:13 Zep 2:11 
  • gods -  Ex 21:6 22:28 Ps 82:1,6 Joh 10:34,35 
  • I am the LORD - Ex 6:2 Isa 43:11-15 Eze 12:16 


'For I will go through - The verb means  pass over, across, through. 

the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast - This speaks of divine judgment and ultimately is a picture of divine judgment upon sin. The NET version for strike down has I will attack, picturing in a sense a war (spiritual war). The plague is all inclusive.

Guzik - God regarded Israel as His firstborn, His favored people. If Egypt refused to release God’s firstborn, then God required the firstborn of Egypt as a penalty and judgment.

Jehovah does not smite without giving warning and twice we read of the warning 

MESSAGE MOSES WAS TO DELIVER TO PHARAOH (Actually Moses' deliverance of this message is not recorded but we know it was in fact spoken by Moses to Pharaoh because when the plagues began, Moses began to show unhesitating obedience) -

Ex 4:22-23+ Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 “So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’” 


 Ex 11:5+ and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

THOUGHT - Note the important principle that Jehovah does not judge, condemn and kill men with first warning them of His certain coming judgment if they continue to refuse to "take refuge in Him" (IN CHRIST)! (Ps 2:12, Acts 4:12+) Jesus made it clear that "God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already (TO REFUSE REFUGE BRINGS A MAN INTO THE STATE OF JUDGMENT), because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:17-18+) Have you taken refuge in Christ, in the "Ark" so that you might be rescued from the wrath to come, not only in the last 7 years of this age, but from age to age, i.e., throughout eternity? Look to Christ or as the Spirit wrote in Isaiah "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." (Isa 45:22 - the verse God used to save C H Spurgeon).

NET - The verb נָכָה (nakhah) means “to strike, smite, attack”; it does not always mean “to kill,” but that is obviously its outcome in this context. This is also its use in Ex 2:12, describing how Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

And against all the gods of Egypt  - God's judgment is not just against the natural but against the supernatural, the spiritual powers in the heavenlies (cf Eph 6:12+), all the demons behind all the gods of Egypt (cf 1 Cor 8:4, 5, 10:19,20, Dt 31:17). As Cole says "No doubt the Egyptians used to pray to their gods for the safety of their first-born."

Currid - God will demonstrate his superiority over ‘all’ the false gods of Egypt (which has already been demonstrated by the plagues against specific gods). Pharaoh is included. All of these are non-gods. This is a great statement of monotheism.

Herschel Hobbs - The plagues as a whole were against the gods of Egypt. In the Egyptian worldview, the Nile River, for example, was seen as a god. Most of the animals that suffered under the plagues, including the tenth, were worshiped by the Egyptians as gods. Pharaoh himself was considered a god. For the Lord to slay the firstborn of their divine Pharaoh as well as their own firstborn and the firstborn of their animals showed the Egyptians who truly was God.

John J Davis on against all the gods of Egypt  -  “The firstborn of Pharaoh was not only his successor to the throne, but by the act of the gods was a specially born son having divine property. Gods associated with the birth of children would certainly have been involved in a plague of this nature. These included Min, the god of procreation and reproduction, along with Isis who was the symbol of fecundity or the power to produce offspring. Since Hathor was not only a goddess of love but one of seven deities who attended the birth of children, she too would be implicated in the disaster of this plague. From excavations we already have learned of the tremendous importance of the Apis bull, a firstborn animal and other animals of like designation would have had a tremendous theological impact on temple attendants as well as commoners who were capable of witnessing this tragic event. The death cry which was heard throughout Egypt was not only a wail that bemoaned the loss of a son or precious animals, but also the incapability of the many gods of Egypt to respond and protect them from such tragedy.” (Moses and the Gods of Egypt : Studies in Exodus) (Bolding added)

I will execute judgments-I am the LORD - Pharaoh had said he did not know Jehovah.He will know Him now! As Jehovah states in Exodus 7:5+ “The Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I stretch out My hand on Egypt (THIS CULMINATES IN THE TENTH PLAGUE) and bring out the sons of Israel from their midst.” Notice the phrase I am the LORD is a reminder that Pharaoh had asked "Who is the LORD that I should obey His voice to let Israel god?" (Ex 5:2+)

THOUGHT - Even as the Egyptians would know Jehovah from His great judgments, so too every person ever born will one day know Jehovah first when they are forced to bow to Him and confess that He is Lord (Php 2:9-11+) and then when He casts them into eternal judgment in the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:11-15+). Do you know Jehovah-Jesus? Do you really know Him, know Him intimately in sense that you have trusted your life and eternal destiny to Him and His sufficient payment of His precious blood to redeem you from "Egypt" so to speak, from sin's (penalty and power and ultimately its presence) and Satan's "sovereignty" (albeit "sovereignty" on the leash of the Sovereign God). "He says, “AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is “THE ACCEPTABLE TIME,” behold, now is “THE DAY OF SALVATION”– (2 Cor 6:2)  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31+)

Exodus 12:13  'The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

  • the blood - Ex 12:23 Ge 17:11 Jos 2:12 Heb 11:28 
  • and when - 1Th 1:10 1Jn 1:7 


The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live - The blood was a sign pointing to the family within the house as protected from the "plague." Don't miss the spiritual truth here -- (1) It was not a sign for Pharaoh but for you, for the Israelites. (2) The sign was a manifestation of God's grace, for He was bestowing unmerited favor on the Israelites. They did not deserve the sign of the blood, but God provided it and He did it based on His promises to Abraham (and the patriarchs) in the unconditional covenant He made with him (a covenant also based on grace!)

Bruckner - This was not a blood ritual that fended off an angry God. God’s grace had provided them with a sign of the Lord’s prevenient provision of protection in the midst of general judgment in the land. The provision was part of the Lord’s identity and the whole exodus pattern. God had come down to deliver the people. The miracle was that anyone responded by seeking God’s shelter and lordship.

Currid on the blood as a sign - A Sign is "a physical symbol that points to a spiritual reality; that is, the people inside the houses covered with blood belong to Yahweh. The blood does not cause the people to be Yahweh’s, but simply acts as a billboard proclaiming the fact."

Sign (0226)('oth) means a signal, a mark a miracle and is used to describe amazing events such as God bringing Israel out of Egypt (Ex 4:8, 9, Nu 14:22) or a sign serving to authenticate the message as from God (1Sa 2:34, 10:7, 9) in contrast to the signs from false prophets (Dt 13:1, 2).

And when I see the blood I will pass over you - The blood was God's sign - "Do not enter this house. The verb pass over (pasach) is partially explained by the second half of the verse which states no plague will befall them.

S Lewis Johnson in his sermon (note below is from article in Emmaus Journal) says "I will pass over you,” speaks of the safe keeping and protection provided through the sacrifice of the substitute. This Hebrew verb that is translated here “pass over” is a word that suggests protection. In fact, in some places in the Old Testament it is used of a bird hovering over its young in the nest. And so the suggestion is that when the destroying angel comes through the Lord will hover over those homes that have the blood on the doorposts and protect them from the destroying angels.

It is interesting that the same Hebrew word for sign was used to protect Cain from being slain (Ge 4:15). This recalls the mark in Ezekiel 9:4+ "The LORD said to him (Ezekiel), “Go through the midst of the city, even through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark (tav - compare Hebrew letter taw/tav which in Greek is a mark of a T the figure of one variety of a Roman cross!) on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations which are being committed in its midst. 5 But to the others He said in my hearing, “Go through the city after him and strike (nakah - same verb used here in Ex 12:13); do not let your eye have pity and do not spare.” The point is that God wants us to know that (1) destruction will come on all who do not have "the mark" (of Jesus), all who are not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God Who Alone takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29+). 

S Lewis Johnson on the meaning of pass over (pasach) - The verb translated here “pass over” is not a word of omission, but of protection. It is not that the Lord will skip over the houses with the blood to those that do not have it. The Hebrew word (פָּסַח [pāsaḥ]) is not easy to define, for its usages are not numerous. It has been given the meaning of “to limp” (cf. 1 Kings 18:21) or “to leap over.” I think the clue to its meaning is found in Isaiah 31:5, where it refers to the protection of Jerusalem by Yahweh [the LORD]. He is compared to birds that hover over their young with outspread wings to protect them. The idea is set out in more detail in Exodus 12:23 where we read, “For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.” Since the destroying angel exists under God’s control, he cannot enter the houses under the protecting hand of God. One is reminded of Peter’s words in the same chapter of his first epistle in which he refers to the Lord Jesus “as of a lamb unblemished and spotless” (1 Peter 1:19)—“who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5).

There are some important spiritual truths illustrated here.

In the first place, it is clear that the safety of the Israelites depended upon the blood shed and sprinkled on the doorposts. It did not depend upon their sense of sin, or upon the possession of certain graces, or upon any spiritual experiences they may have had. It depended upon the blood. With the blood in the proper place they were safe. Our spiritual salvation depends upon the blood of the cross alone. With that sprinkled upon the doorposts of our hearts we are as safe as a prophet or an apostle. It is the blood of the cross that is the foundation of our salvation.

In the second place, the certainty of their salvation depended upon the word of God. It was He who promised that, if they would put the blood on the door, He would pass over them. So, while their safety depended upon the blood, their certainty, or assurance of safety, depended upon the faithfulness of God to His Word and their confidence in Him. It was entirely possible for some who had put the blood on the door to still be in a state of anxiety over their safety. Their safety, however, did not depend upon their state of mind, but simply upon the presence of the blood upon the doorpost. So, in our salvation our safety depends upon the blood of Christ shed on the cross, but our assurance of safety depends upon our confidence in what God has said. (JESUS OF NAZARETH AND PAUL OF TARSUS ON THE PASSOVER LAMB - S Lewis Johnson see full article online; See also Dr Johnson's sermon by same name)

Bruckner - The Lord protected and saved them. The people could, however, reject the protection God offered. The absence of blood on a doorframe would constitute a rejection of God’s offer of grace, protection, and lordship. The Lord offered three promises, better translated, “I will see the blood and I will pass over you; no destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” This was the very purpose for which God had come down.

Constable has an excellent application of when I see the blood - Note that God said that when He saw the blood He would pass over the Jews (v. 13). He did not say when they saw it. The ground of their security was propitiation. The blood satisfied God. Therefore the Israelites could rest. The reason we can have peace with God is that Jesus Christ’s blood satisfied God. Many Christians have no peace because the blood of the Lamb of God does not satisfy them. They think something more has to supplement His work (i.e., human good works)(ED: cf Gal 3:3+). However, God says the blood of the sacrifice He provided is enough (cf. 1 John 2:1+).

I will pass over (06452)(pasach) means to leap, to pass over, to halt, to limp, to be lame. Strong's has "to hop, i.e. (figurative) skip over (or spare); by implication to hesitate; also (literal) to limp, to dance."  We see God's hand of protection again in the use of pasach in Isaiah 31:5 when He would protect Jerusalem. 

NET Note - The meaning of the verb (pass over) is supplied in part from the near context of seeing the sign and omitting to destroy, as well as the verb at the start of verse 12 “pass through, by, over.” Isa 31:5 says, “Just as birds hover over a nest, so the LORD who commands armies will protect Jerusalem. He will protect and deliver it; as he passes over he will rescue it.” The word does not occur enough times to enable one to delineate a clear meaning. It is probably not the same word as “to limp” found in 1 Kgs 18:21, 26 (see KJV below), unless there is a highly developed category of meaning there.

NASB - pass(2), pass over(1), passed(1). Exod. 12:13; Exod. 12:23; Exod. 12:27; Isa. 31:5
KJV - Exod. 12:13; Exod. 12:23; Exod. 12:27; 2 Sam. 4:4; 1 Ki. 18:21; 1 Ki. 18:26; Isa. 31:5

And no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. - Destroy you is a strong verb which was used to describe Jehovah's  destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 13:10). The NET on when I strike translates it when I attack the land of Egypt, which pictures this almost in terms of a war. The first use of the Hebrew verb for strike (nakah) is in Genesis 4:15 where Jehovah marked him with a sign "so that no one finding him would slay him." Here in Exodus 12 a "sign" would prevent the firstborn from being slain! 

Plague (05063)(negeph) means a blow, a striking. It usually describes a calamity or affliction given to those who have aroused God’s anger, as in Ex 30:12; Nu 8:19; 16:46, 47; Josh 22:17. The plague on the Korah for his rebellion (Nu 16:46; Nu 16:47) In a clear Messianic passage in Isa 8:14+ we read "Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem." 

Negeph - 7x in 7v - plague(6), strike(1).Exod. 12:13; Exod. 30:12; Num. 8:19; Nu 16:46; Nu 16:47; Jos. 22:17; Isa. 8:14

Destroy (07843)(shachath) means to decay, to go to ruin, to corrupt, to destroy (Sodom and Gomorrah = Ge 13:10, Ge 18:28, 31-32), to lay waste (Egypt from swarms of flies -Ex 8:24). Shachath is used of Israelites who worshiped the golden calf (Ex 32:7; Dt 9:12; 32:5, Hos 9:9). God warned He would destroy Israel if they were turned away from following Him (Nu 32:15). Shachath describes Israel's behavior as more corrupt after a judge died (Jdg 2:19).

J Vernon McGee - God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” They were not to run out of the house during the night and look at the blood; they were to have confidence and faith in it. They were not saved because they went through the ceremony of circumcision, or because they belonged to some church. God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” The death angel was not making a survey of the neighborhood. They were not to open a window and tell the death angel how good they were and how much charity work they had done. Any man who put his neck out of a window that night would have died. God said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Nothing needed to be added. Who was saved that night? Those who believed God. Those who had sprinkled the blood upon their doorposts and trusted in it. Although I do not understand it completely, I believe what God says. He tells me that the shed blood of Christ will save me and nothing else will. God said that when he saw the blood, he would pass over that home. The blood was not some mystic or superstitious sign. A great principle runs all the way through the Word of God that without shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. In other words, God cannot arbitrarily or big-heartedly shut His eyes to sin and do nothing about it, any more than can a judge today when the guilty are brought before him. The judge should apply the law to the guilty, and the penalty should be paid....But God’s law is inexorable in the universe—“The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The death sentence is upon all of us. But God is gracious, and an innocent life may be substituted for the guilty. Up until Christ came, it was a lamb. Then Jesus was “…the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). If we receive Christ, we are saved from the judgment that we deserve as sinners.

S Lewis Johnson - George Pentecost in his studies in Exodus has written, “There is among the Hebrews a legend of two sisters who that night had, with the rest of their household, gone into their dwellings. One of them stood all ready to depart, and began quietly eating her portion of the roast body of the lamb (a type of the soul feeding upon Christ), her mind at perfect peace and rest. The other was walking about the dwelling, full of terrible fear lest the destroying angel should penetrate therein. This one reproached her sister for being so careless and confident, and finally asked her how it was that she could be so full of assurance when the angel of death and judgment was abroad in the land. The reply was, ‘Why, sister, the blood. He will pass over us. Now I have no right to doubt God’s Word, although I would be uneasy if I doubted the blood’s having been shed.’ ” (G Pentecost - “Out of Egypt”: Bible Readings on the Book of Exodus)

S Lewis Johnson - There is an authentic story told of an aged minister who had preached the gospel in clarity and power during all his public life, but who, when he was suffering at times, found himself greatly beset by doubt and uncertainty. Mentioning the matter to his wife, she drew his attention to John 5:24. As he read the precious words again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life,” he burst into a joyous laugh, and said, “How strange that I should ever forget words like these, when I have preached on them myself for years.” Sometime later his wife came into the room and found her aged husband leaning over the side of the bed, holding the open Bible beneath the couch. She exclaimed, “Whatever are you doing?” He answered, “Satan has been after me again, and as he is the prince of darkness. I took it that he would be in the darkest place in the room, which is under the bed, and so I was just showing him John 5:24; and the moment he saw it he ceased to trouble me.” We can quite understand the mental frailty of such an elderly person, but the principle is true.

When the adversary of your soul comes against you
seeking to destroy your confidence,
show him what God has said

Exodus 12:14  'Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.

  • memorial - Ex 13:9 Nu 16:40 Jos 4:7 Ps 111:4 135:13 Zec 6:14 Mt 26:13 Lu 22:19 1Co 11:23-26 
  • a feast - Ex 5:1 De 16:11 Ne 8:9-12 
  • ordinance - Ex 12:17,24,43 13:10 Lev 23:4,5 Nu 10:8 18:8 De 16:1 1Sa 30:25 2Ki 23:21 Eze 46:14 1Co 5:7,8 


This next section in Exodus 12:14-20 is a description of Unleavened Bread.

Alan Cole - The connection between passover and the feast of ‘unleavened bread’ is equally close, so that they are normally considered one festival, not two (Ex 23:15) and apparently called together ‘unleavened bread’.

Now this day will be a memorial to you - What day? "The reference is to the fifteenth day of the month, the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread." (NET Note) The Feast would be a memorial of God’s sparing the firstborn of the Israelites in Egypt and of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. 

NET Note explains that "The point of the word “remember” in Hebrew is not simply a recollection of an event, but a reliving of it, a reactivating of its significance. In covenant rituals “remembrance” or “memorial” is designed to prompt God and worshiper alike to act in accordance with the covenant. Jesus brought the motif forward to the new covenant with “this do in remembrance of me.”"

Memorial (reminder, remembrance) (02146)(zikkaron from zakar = to remember) means a memorial, a remembrance (with an implication of honor, worship, and celebration), a record, a reminder. That by which the memory of a person or thing is preserved. Something that keeps remembrance vivid. A memorial is a monument, statue, holiday, or ritual that serves as a remembrance or reminder of a person or an event.

Uses 25x in 22v - Exod. 12:14; Exod. 13:9; Exod. 17:14; Exod. 28:12; Exod. 28:29; Exod. 30:16; Exod. 39:7; Lev. 23:24; Num. 5:15; Num. 5:18; Num. 10:10; Num. 16:40; Num. 31:54; Jos. 4:7; Neh. 2:20; Est. 6:1; Job 13:12; Eccl. 1:11; Eccl. 2:16; Isa. 57:8; Zech. 6:14; Mal. 3:16

And you shall celebrate it as a feast to the LORD - NET Note explains that "As the wording implies and the later legislation required, this would involve a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Yahweh."

Currid - This verse uses three terms to define the Passover. First, it is ‘a memorial’. That noun derives from the verb that means ‘to remember/remind’. Passover, therefore, is to serve as a reminder to the Hebrew people of their lives of slavery and of the events of their redemption. Secondly, Passover is ‘a feast’. A ‘feast of gathering’ or a ‘pilgrim-feast’ is what is especially signified by this word. The Hebrews are being called together and appear before Yahweh; it is a communal celebration (see Exod. 23:14–17). Finally, Passover is ‘a lasting ordinance’. The Hebrew term for ‘ordinance’ means ‘law/rule/statute’. And thus we see a law given to Israel by God that precedes the laws revealed at Sinai. Israel is not lawless before the meeting at the mount. Note, in addition, the continuous, binding nature of the ordinance: bound to ‘law’ is a masculine adjective which means various things, but in the context of our passage probably signifies ‘in perpetuity/in continuous existence’. The command to keep the Passover is emphasized by the reiteration of this law in Exodus 12:24 and 13:10.

Throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance - Notice tehre are two expressions of time (generations...permanent) which serve to emphasize that this celebration (or feast) was to be kept in perpetuity.

Permanent (05769)(olam) means eternity, the distant future; duration, perpetual - without end, always, everlasting time. 

Criswell - For the Christian, the memorial observance of the Lord's Supper replaces the Passover Feast in this day of grace (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor. 5:7, 8).  The Jews remembered their deliverance from Egypt in the annual Passover festival (cf. Ex. 12:24-27). Jesus died at Passover time as the new Passover Lamb (5:7) through whom believers are delivered from sin and Satan. As the Savior ate the Last Supper during the Passover and just before He died (cf. Matt. 26:19-30), He instituted this memorial of His death (vv. 24, 25). When He said, "This is My body," as He held the bread, the disciples understood the symbolism because they could see His physical body present before them. The Oriental considers eating together a sign of the bond among those present, and the Lord's Supper points to the bond among the various people present (1 Cor 10:17) and between each participant and the Lord (1 Cor 10:16, 20, 21). The actions in the Supper are eloquent. The Lord, as it were, hands His people the broken bread, saying by this action, "Look! My body was given for you; I died for you." As the Christian takes the bread and eats it, making it part of himself, he says by this action, "Yes, Lord! You died for me, and I am again showing my response to Your death. I am relying upon You to save me. I renew my vow of obedience to You. I love You." The enacted dialogue with the fruit of the vine is similar. The Christian should make sure that there is no unconfessed sin within him before he comes to the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:28). The Supper is for repentant sinners who have put their faith in Christ. It is to be taken seriously, the participants being conscious of the presence of Christ at His table, and not despising others who are present; for they, too, are His body (1 Cor 11:29). The Lord's Supper is shared "till He comes" (1 Cor 11:26); it looks forward to the Lamb's Supper (cf. Rev. 19:7-9). In summary, the Lord's Supper is designed to symbolize and communicate six distinct truths: (1) a memorial to remind us of the central truth in Christianity -- the atonement of Christ (1 Cor 11:24, 25), (2) the fellowship of Christ's body (1 Cor 11:18), (3) a diagnostic feast in which the believer examines his own walk with Christ (1 Cor 11:28), (4) a feast of thanksgiving for salvation (1 Cor 11:24), (5) a witness to Christ's death (1 Cor 11:26), and (6) a feast of hope (1 Cor 11:26). (Believer's Study Bible)

Here are Paul's instructions...

For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death (CRUCIFIXION) until He comes (RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, RETURN - SHOULD MOTIVATE HOLY LIVING - Who you are looking for should impact what we are living for!). (1 Cor 11:23-26) 

How do the elements of the Passover Seder
point to Christ?

Answer: The Seder is the traditional dinner that Jews partake of as part of Passover. The annual Passover commemoration is celebrated by nearly the entire Jewish community, bonding families and communities to their Jewish roots. Each year Jewish people, religious and nonreligious, celebrate the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by gathering and experiencing the Passover Seder.

The Hebrew word Seder means “order.” The Passover meal has a specific order in which food is eaten, prayers are recited, and songs are sung. Each item on the Passover plate has a specific historical meaning related to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt and their freedom from slavery. But 1 Corinthians 5:7 identifies Jesus Christ as our Passover; thus, the Seder carries a New Testament meaning related to Jesus the Messiah.

In the Seder, there are several strong symbols of Christ.

One is the shank bone of a lamb, which reminds the participants of the feast of God’s salvation. During the tenth plague, God instructed the Israelites to daub their doorposts and lintels with the blood of a spotless lamb so that the Lord would “pass over” their homes and preserve the lives within (Exodus 12:1–13). This is a symbol of salvation in Egypt, but it is also a picture of Jesus who was and is the “Lamb of God” (John 1:29). His sacrifice preserves the lives of all who believe. The instructions for the original Passover specified that the lamb’s bones could not be broken (Exodus 12:46), another foreshadowing of Christ’s death (John 19:33).

Another symbol of Christ on the Seder plate is the matzoh, or unleavened bread. As the Jewish people left Egypt, they were in great haste and therefore had no time to allow their bread to rise. From then on, Passover was followed by the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread (Deuteronomy 16:3). There are some fascinating things about the matzoh that provide a remarkable picture of the Messiah:

For example, the matzoh is placed in a bag called an echad, which means “one” in Hebrew. But this one bag has three chambers. One piece of matzoh is placed into each chamber of the bag. The matzoh placed in the first chamber is never touched, never used, never seen. The second matzoh in the bag is broken in half at the beginning of the Seder; half of the broken matzoh is placed back in the echad, and the other half, called the Afikomen, is placed in a linen cloth. The third matzoh in the bag is used to eat the elements on the Seder plate.

The word echad is used in Genesis 2:24 (the man and his wife will become “echad,” or “one” flesh). The word also appears in Numbers 13:23 when the spies returned from Canaan with an echad cluster of grapes. In both cases, the word echad refers to a complex unity of one. Many Jews consider the three matzohs to represent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But they cannot explain why they break “Isaac” in half or why they place half of the middle matzoh back in the echad and keep the other half out, wrapped in a cloth.

The meaning of the Seder’s ritual of the matzohs is understood with clues from the New Testament. The Trinity is pictured in the matzohs. The first matzoh that remains in the bag throughout the Seder represents Ha Av, the Father whom no man sees. The third matzoh represents the Ruach Ha Kodesh, the Holy Spirit who dwells within us. And the second matzoh, the broken one, represents Ha Ben, the Son. The reason the middle matzoh is broken is to picture the broken body of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:24). The half put back in the echad represents Jesus’ divine nature; the other half, wrapped in a linen cloth and separated from the echad represents Jesus’ humanity as He remained on earth.

The linen cloth that wraps half of the second piece of matzoh suggests Jesus’ burial cloth. During the Seder, this linen cloth with the Afikomen inside is hidden, and after the dinner the children present look for it. Once the Afikomen is found, it is held as a ransom. Again, we see that these rituals point to Christ: He was fully God yet fully human; He was broken for us; He was buried, sought for, and resurrected; and His life was given a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus is the completion of the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31, and the Passover Seder rituals bear that out.

Also, the matzoh used for the Passover Seder must be prepared a certain way. Of course, it must be unleavened—leaven is often equated with sin in the Scriptures, and Jesus is sinless. Second, the matzoh must be striped—Jesus’ “stripes” (His wounds) are what heal us spiritually (Isaiah 53:5). And, third, the matzoh must be pierced—Jesus was nailed to the cross (Psalm 22:16).

The other elements of the Seder plate are traditional reminders of the Israelite enslavement to the Egyptians. They are as follows:

Vegetable (Karpas) – This element, usually parsley, is dipped in salt water and eaten. The karpas pictures the hyssop that was used to apply the blood of the Passover lamb to homes of the Israelites in Egypt. In the New Testament, hyssop was used to give the Lamb of God vinegar when Jesus said He thirsted (John 19:29). The salt water represents the tears shed during the bitter years of slavery and the Red Sea that God split during the exodus.

Bitter Herbs (Maror) – The eating of “bitter herbs” is commanded in Exodus 12:8. In modern times, this is usually horseradish, one of the bitterest herbs. The maror reminds the Jews that they were unable to offer sacrifice and worship to God, and that was bitterer than the slavery of Egypt.

Charoset (haroseth) – Charoset is a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and spices. It represents the mortar the Israelites used in the constructing buildings during their slavery to the Egyptians. Of all the elements of the Seder, charoset alone is sweet, and this is a reminder of the hope of redemption.

Hard-boiled or Roasted Egg (Baytzah) – Traditionally, hard-boiled eggs were eaten by mourners, and the egg is eaten during the Seder to remind participants that they are always in mourning for the loss of their temple. The fact that the egg is roasted evokes the roasting of the sacrifice on the altar of the temple.

There are also four cups of wine used at various points during the Seder. Each of these glasses of wine has a name: the first glass is the “cup of sanctification.” The second is the “cup of judgment.” The third is the “cup of redemption.” And the fourth is the “cup of praise.” At the Last Supper, Jesus took the first cup and promised His disciples that the next time He drank the fruit of the vine with them would be in the kingdom (Luke 22:17). Later in the Seder, Jesus took the third cup—the cup of redemption—and used that cup as a symbol of the New Covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). Thus Jesus fulfilled the Passover symbolism and infused the whole feast with a new meaning.

In Exodus 6:6, the Lord God promised His people that He would save them from slavery: “I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.” The phrase “with an outstretched arm” is repeated throughout the Old Testament in connection with Passover remembrances: Deuteronomy 4:34; 7:19; 9:29; 26:8; 2 Kings 17:36; Psalm 136:12; Jeremiah 32:21. Can it be coincidence that, in the New Testament, the Messiah had both of His arms outstretched as He freed us from sin and brought us salvation? (Source: Gotquestions.org)

Exodus 12:15  'Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.

  • Seven - Ex 12:8 13:6,7-10 23:15 34:18,25 Lev 23:5-8 Nu 28:17 De 16:3,5,8 Mt 16:12 Lu 12:1 Ac 12:3 
  • that person - Ex 12:19,20 31:14 Ge 17:14 Lev 17:10,14 Nu 9:13 Mal 2:12 Ga 5:12 

Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread - Note the phase you shall eat, not you might consider eating. The former stresses that the eating of unleavened bread for seven days was obligatory not optional (cf "cut off"). Thus the NET version renders it "you must eat" unleavened bread and also avoid all leaven! 

The Feast of Unleavened Bread (aka Passover) began on the tenth day of Abib (Nisan) when each household was to take a lamb for themselves (Ex 12:3) and they kept watch over it until the fourteenth day of Abib, when it was killed (Ex 12:6) and the Passover meal was eaten The day of eating the Passover meal coincided with the first day of unleavened bread (mentioned in Ex 12:8, but no timing specified). Now the timing of the eating of unleavened bread is specifically given as to be continued for the next seven days. And so the Unleavened Bread continued through the twenty-first of Abib.

Here is the schedule for the Feast of Passover/Unleavened Bread - Luke links these two feasts together writing "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching." (Lk 22:1+)

  • 10th of Abib - Select lamb. Watch next 4 days.
  • 14th of Abib - Kill lamb. Eat lamb. Eat unleavened bread. 
  • 15th of Abib - Feast of Unleavened Bread begins
  • 21st of Abib - Continue eating unleavened bread next 7 days from 15th to 21st of Abib.

Bruckner has an interesting note on timing - The Passover lamb was killed on the fourteenth of the month. The Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the day they left Egypt, from the evening of the fourteenth day (v. 18), technically the beginning of the fifteenth. It continued through the twenty-first (seventh day), which was the day of the concluding feast.

Unleavened bread was like eating something with the consistency of our modern day cracker.

Constable applies the concepts of unleavened and the need to carry out eating it for seven days - The Old Testament uses leaven as a symbol of sin often. Leaven gradually permeates dough, and it affects every part of the dough. Here it not only reminded the Israelites in later generations that their ancestors fled Egypt in haste, before their dough could rise. It also reminded them that their lives should resemble the unleavened bread as redeemed people. Bread is the staff of life and represents life. The life of the Israelites was to be separate from sin since they had received new life as a result of God’s provision of the Passover lamb. Eating unleavened bread for a week and removing all leaven from their houses would have impressed the necessity of a holy life upon the Israelites.

F B Meyer also applies this section on unleavened bread - “For us the leaven must stand for the selfness which is characteristic of us all, through the exaggerated instinct of self-preservation and the heredity received through generations, which have been a law to themselves, serving the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We are by nature self-confident, self-indulgent, self-opinionated; we live with self as our goal, and around the pivot of I our whole being revolves. (ED: AND SO IT IS NOT SURPRISING THAT THE MIDDLE LETTER OF "prIde" IS "I" THE OLD MAN FOCUSED ON SELF!"

Paul picks up on the figure of unleavened signifying evil or wickedness and contrasts it with what is leaven morally speaking...

Clean out (aorist imperative  see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey) the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore (BASED ON PRECEDING TRUTH ABOUT WHO WE ARE IN CHRIST HE GIVES AN EXHORTATION TO CONTINUALLY) let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice (kakia) and wickedness (poneria), but with the unleavened bread of sincerity (eilikrineia from eilikrines) and truth (aletheia).  (1 Cor 5:7-8)

Again Paul said

A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. (Galatians 5:9+)

Unleavened (04682)(massa/matsah possibly from matsats = to drain out) means not raised by leaven (yeast). Bread made without yeast, bread quickly made, without waiting for the dough to rise. The Lxx translates matstsah with the adjective azumos which means without fermentation and substantiates that this is bread made without yeast. The phrase "ta azuma" represents unleavened bread made into flat cakes (Hebrew matzoth) eaten by Jews at Passover season. These were eaten by Israel at the Passover when they had to leave Egypt quickly, not having time for their bread to rise (Ex 12:8, 15, 17-18 - Lxx = azumos). Matsot is used in the phrase "Feast of Unleavened Bread" (Ex 12:17), which followed Passover and lasted for 7 days (Lev 23:6). The first use in Ge 19:3 refers to the meal Lot shared with the 2 angels before the fire and brimstone fell - needless to say HE WAS IN A HURRY TO LEAVE SODOM! This Hebrew word is familiar to most of us because of the unleavened crackers (matzo) used by Jews at Passover. 

But on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses - What day is this? This would be the 15th of Abib. 

For - Term of explanation. Explains why it is so important to get all leaven from the house. It will be a costly "mistake!" 

Whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel   could refer to banishment but some writers (below) think it meant death. Either way, the point is that God was very serious about the keeping of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Currid - The sanction of being ‘cut off’ from Israel is a common penalty in the Torah (see, e.g., Lev. 17:10; 20:3, 5, 6). In a general sense, it means that one is no longer considered part of the covenant community of Israel or receives any of the blessings associated with membership of that community. A person is simply denied fellowship with, and standing in, the people of Israel. It is a very serious consequence, and it underscores the gravity and importance of the Passover ordinances.

NET Note on cut off - it is a common formula in the Law for divine punishment. Here, in sequence to the idea that someone might eat bread made with yeast, the result would be that “that soul [the verb is feminine] will be cut off.” The verb is the equivalent of the imperfect tense due to the consecutive; a translation with a nuance of the imperfect of possibility (“may be cut off”) fits better perhaps than a specific future. There is the real danger of being cut off, for while the punishment might include excommunication from the community, the greater danger was in the possibility of divine intervention to root out the evildoer (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94) In Lev 20:3, 5–6, God speaks of himself as cutting off a person from among the Israelites. The rabbis mentioned premature death and childlessness as possible judgments in such cases, and N. M. Sarna comments that “one who deliberately excludes himself from the religious community of Israel cannot be a beneficiary of the covenantal blessings” (Exodus [JPSTC], 58).

Constable - Anyone who refused to abide by these rules repudiated the spiritual lesson contained in the symbols and was therefore “cut off from Israel.”  This phrase (CUT OFF) means to experience separation from the rights and privileges of the nation through death (from  Keil and Delitzsch).

Question: "What is the significance of unleavened bread?"

Answer: The Bible tells us that the Israelites were to eat only unleavened bread every year during Passover as a commemoration of the Exodus from Egyptian bondage. Since the children of Israel left Egypt hastily, they did not have time for the bread to rise, so it was made on that very first Passover without leaven, also known as yeast. In describing this bread and why it was eaten, the Bible informs us of the following:

"Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (Heb = oni = misery, affliction and used in Ex 3:7, 17, Ex 4:31; kakosis = used in Acts 7:34 of Israel's mistreatment, oppression), because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt" (Deuteronomy 16:3).

Further commands regarding the eating of unleavened bread are found in Exodus 12:8; Ex 29:2; and Numbers 9:11. To this day, in Jewish homes, the Passover celebration includes unleavened bread.

According to the Hebrew lexicon, the term unleavened bread is derived from the word matzoh, which means "bread or cake without leaven." The lexicon also states that matzoh is in turn derived from a word which means "to drain out or suck." In referring to this second Hebrew word, the lexicon states, "In the sense of greedily devouring for sweetness." So it is quite possible that unleavened bread, while it may have been heavy and flat, may also have been sweet to the taste.

In the Bible, leaven is almost always symbolic of sin. Like leaven that permeates the whole lump of dough, sin will spread in a person, a church, or a nation, eventually overwhelming and bringing its participants into its bondage and eventually to death (Galatians 5:9+). Romans 6:23+ tells us that “the wages of sin is death,” which is God’s judgment for sin, and this is the reason that Christ died—to provide a way out of this judgment for sin if man will repent of his sins, accept Christ as his Passover sacrifice, and have his heart changed so that he can conform his life to what God commands. (Source: Gotquestions.org)

Exodus 12:16  'On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.

  • first day - Lev 23:2,3,7,8,21,24,25,27,35 Nu 28:18,25 29:1,12 
  • no work at all shall be done - Ex 16:5,23,29 20:10 35:2,3 Jer 17:21,22, man Heb. soul


On the first day you shall have a holy assembly -  NET = On the first day there will be a holy convocation." These were not rituals but were to teach the Israelites they were a holy people, something they would kick against for the remainder of the Old Testament. But the pattern was set in place for them to follow at the beginning of their redemption from Egypt. They really had no excuse for not capitulating to these life giving regulations. 

NET on holy assembly - This refers to an assembly of the people at the sanctuary for religious purposes. The word “convocation” implies that the people were called together, and Num 10:2 indicates they were called together by trumpets.

Constable - God’s call to the Israelites to live holy lives arose from what God had done for them. Consecration follows redemption; it is not a prerequisite for redemption. Similarly God calls us to be holy in view of what He has done for us (cf. Ro 12:1–2). He does not say we can experience redemption if we become holy first.

Holy (most holy, holy things, sanctuary) (06944)(qodesh/kodhesh) is a masculine noun which means set apart, distinct, unique. In Ex 12:16 qodesh is translated in the Septuagint with hagios describing the quality of persons or things that can be brought near or into God's presence, of things/people set apart for God's purposes.  Qodesh describes that which has been consecrated or set apart for sacred use and was not to be used for common or profane tasks. If it were used for profane things, in simple terms, it became "not holy." It is fitting that the first OT use of qodesh was in God's instruction to Moses - "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (Ex 3:5+).

and another holy assembly on the seventh day - Set apart assembly at the beginning, eating unleavened bread for seven days, then set apart assembly at the termination of the seven days. 

Assembly (04744)(miqra' from the verb qara' meaning to call out loudly, to summon to a specific task) is a call, a summons, an assembly of persons "convoked" (called together), a collected body of people called together for a "religious" purpose, such as a public worship service.  22x in NAS - Ex 12:16; Lev 23:2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 21, 24, 27, 35, 36, 37; Nu 10:2; 28:18, 25, 26; 29:1, 7, 12; Neh 8:8; Isa 1:13; 4:5. These holy convocations degenerated over time into unholy convocations that were even detestable to Jehovah as recorded in Isaiah 1:13+ 

"Bring your worthless offerings no longer, Incense is an abomination (toebah-word study) to Me. New moon and sabbath, the calling of assemblies-- I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly."

no work at all shall be done on them - The regulation of no work was to set these two days apart. The were holy days. These two days were in one sense like the Sabbath, a time of rest. 

Currid on no work - The prohibition against any work on these two days is relayed in the strongest possible form in the Hebrew. When the negative is used with ‘all/any’ it expresses absolute negation, absolutely none whatsoever. In this sense, the first and last days of Passover operate in much the same way as the later Sabbath (see Exod. 20:8–11).

Except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you. - The exception clause for "no work" was practical so that there would be food to consume on these days of holy assemblies.

Alan Cole - This ‘sabbath’, with which the feast of unleavened bread begins and ends, is not as sacred as weekly sabbath, or atonement day. Cooking may still be done, unlike stricter ‘sabbaths’.

Exodus 12:17  'You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance.

BGT  Exodus 12:17 καὶ φυλάξεσθε τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ταύτῃ ἐξάξω τὴν δύναμιν ὑμῶν ἐκ γῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ ποιήσετε τὴν ἡμέραν ταύτην εἰς γενεὰς ὑμῶν νόμιμον αἰώνιον

NET  Exodus 12:17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very day I brought your regiments out from the land of Egypt, and so you must keep this day perpetually as a lasting ordinance.

LXE  Exodus 12:17 And ye shall keep this commandment, for on this day will I bring out your force out of the land of Egypt; and ye shall make this day a perpetual ordinance for you throughout your generations.

NLT  Exodus 12:17 "Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread, for it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a permanent law for you; celebrate this day from generation to generation.

KJV  Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

ESV  Exodus 12:17 And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever.

NIV  Exodus 12:17 "Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

ASV  Exodus 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever.

CSB  Exodus 12:17 "You are to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread because on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. You must observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent statute.

  • You shall also observe - Ex 7:5 13:8 Nu 20:16 
  • permanent ordinance - Ex 12:14 

You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread - NLT  = "Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread." The idea of observe  (Hebrew =  shamar; Lxx = phulasso - protect like a sentinel guards a post) is to keep or guard the Feast

for - Term of explanation - explaining why observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

On this very day - Literally “on the bone of this day” which means “the substance of the day,” the day itself, the very day

I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt - NLT - "it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day." Hosts is usually a military term portraying the people of God in battle array, but can also simply describe an orderly departure (also used in Ex 6:26+). 

Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent ordinance. - NLT - "This festival will be a permanent law for you; celebrate this day from generation to generation." Repetition of permanent ordinance from Ex 12:14 underscores the importance and benefit of the Passover/Unleavened Bread to future generations, to the posterity of the Hebrews. 

THOUGHT - When one considers that the passover celebration clearly points to the Messiah, it is not surprising that God ordained that the Jews never cease to celebrate this feast. There is always the potential that an unsaved Jewish person will have the eyes of their heart opened and come to faith in their Messiah, Yeshuah. Let it be so LORD. In Yeshua's Name. Amen

Exodus 12:18  'In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

  • Ex 12:1,15 Lev 23:5,6 Nu 28:16 

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening You shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. - "Holy, set-apart days and weeks begin and end in the evening. Leviticus 23:32 says, ‘From evening until evening you shall keep the Sabbath." (Currid)

Exodus 12:19  'Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land.

  • Seven - Ex 23:15 34:18 De 16:3 1Co 5:7,8 
  • that person shall be cut off - Ex 12:15 Nu 9:13 
  • whether - Ex 12:43,48 


Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened - The implication is that if you have leaven you will eat leavened bread. 

Guzik comments that "Leaven was also a picture of sin and corruption, because of the way a little leaven influences a whole lump of dough, and also because of the way leaven “puffs up” the lump—even as pride and sin makes us “puffed up.”. Significantly, God called them to walk “unleavened” after their initial deliverance from Egypt. Symbolically, they were being called to a life in moral purity before the LORD.

That person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel - Cut off does not mean killed but does indicate thrown out of the congregation of the Israelites. Cut off is translated in the Septuagint with exolothreuo which means to be utterly or completely cut off. 

Bruckner has an interesting thought on cut off - Cutting off was not enforced legally in Judaism, but was left to God, with the expectation of no descendents and an early death.'

Cut off (03772)(karath) literally means to cut, to cut off or to sever an object from its source or cut into parts and implies a violent action. For example, Zipporah "cut off her son’s foreskin." (Ex 4:25) or the Jews "cut down a branch with a single cluster of grapes." (Nu 13:2-24, cf Dt 19:5, 20:19-20, Jdg 9:48-49, 1Sa 5:4, 17:51, 24:4-5,11, 31:9, 2Sa 10:4, 2Sa 20:22) In another literal use as punishment to Israel for breaking the Mosaic covenant (cf Dt 29:25, 31:16), God says He will "cut down (karath) your incense altars" (Lev 26:30, cf Jdg 6:25-26, cf 1Sa 28:9). A sacrificial animal was not to be offered if it was "cut" (karath) (Lev 22:24).

Whether he is an alien or a native of the land. - The point is that just like the moral laws, the ordinances of the Passover/Unleavened bread were just as binding on aliens as they were on the native Israelites. "These regulations apply both to the foreigners living among you and to the native-born Israelites. (Exo 12:19NLT) The alien may not eat the lamb or celebrate the festival unless he is circumcised, as was the native Israelite. He must wear the physical sign of belonging to the people of God or he is not included in the celebration.

Alien (sojouner) (01616)(ger from gur = to live among people not one's blood relatives)  is a masculine noun meaning sojourner, alien, stranger.  It describes someone who did not enjoy rights usually possessed by residents. It describes a person who does not belong to the nation of Israel by ancestry. The Hebrew word refers to a resident alien, a person to be distinguished from a foreigner. It is someone who has taken up permanent residence in Israel but is not an Israelite by birth or inheritance. In Israel, the alien had a special status and had various rights, such as religious participation. Uses of ger in Exodus - Exod. 2:22; Exod. 12:19; Exod. 12:48; Exod. 12:49; Exod. 18:3; Exod. 20:10; Exod. 22:21; Exod. 23:9; Exod. 23:12; 

J Vernon McGee on leaven - Leaven is mentioned eight times between Ex 12:14-20.

Leaven is a principle of evil. It represents that which is evil and offensive. In the thirteenth chapter of Matthew there is a parable about a woman hiding leaven in three measures of meal. That leaven is not the gospel because leaven is a principle of evil. The three measures of meal represent the Word of God, and leaven (evil) has been put into it. It is amazing to see the amount of error being taught today, and how many gullible folk believe it. “Leaven” is being mixed into the teaching of the Word. All of the cults and “isms” use the Bible, but mix false doctrine with it. This is what the children of Israel were told to avoid.

Our Lord made this matter of “leaven” clear in the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew 16:6 says, “Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Then Matthew 16:11 continues, “How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?” The Lord’s disciples, at this time, thought He was speaking about physical bread. Later they understood that the Lord was speaking about the doctrine of the Pharisees, which was evil.

Unleavened bread is not palatable. There are a great many people who do not like the study of the Bible, the pure, unleavened Word of God. Many people love to come to church for the social time, or the music, or the beauty of the place, but not for the Word of God. They do not want the Word of God because it is not palatable to them. I have been in Israel during the Feast of Unleavened Bread and never got so tired of unleavened bread in my life because I was brought up in the South where we had hot biscuits that puff right up. What a wonderful night it was when this feast came to an end and they brought out the real bread. It tasted good to the natural man. Unleavened bread is not as tasty as the leavened bread is, but the Word of God is the food that is good for the child of God. (Thru the Bible)

Exodus 12:20  'You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.'"


You shall not eat anything leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread. - NET "You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.'" The prohibition against leavened food (of any kind) and the charge to eat massa/matsah, unleavened bread is emphasized. This is clearly an important point with God! 

Alan Cole - In later Judaism, the hunt for leaven all through the house has become a symbolic ritual (ED: EVEN PRACTICED IN MODERN JUDAISM IN THE "SEDER CELEBRATION"). Here it is simply a practical exclusion.

Exodus 12:21  Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, "Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb.

  • elders - Ex 3:16 17:5 19:7 Nu 11:16 
  • and take - Ex 12:3 Nu 9:2-5 Jos 5:10 2Ki 23:21 2Ch 30:15-17 35:5,6 Ezr 6:20 Mt 26:17-19 Mk 14:12-16 Lu 22:7-13 1Co 10:4 
  • lamb - Ex 12:3 
  • the passover - 1 Co 5:7.


The details of how the Feast of Passover (and by implication Unleavened Bread) was to be memorialized in future years were laid down repeated in the instructions to the elders (Ex 12:21–27). 

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them - Speaking to the elders of Israel (first time in Ex 3:16+) would allow the instructions to be disseminated throughout the 1.5-2 million Israelites. Recall that in Ex 6:9 "Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage." But 9 plagues including protection for Israel had "changed their tune," had given Moses esteem in the community and given them a willingness to receive and believe what he said. And remember also that the oppressive conditions had worsened, not gotten better, so it was another way God was preparing the Israelites to desire to depart. 

Mackay on elders - We here come across for the first time a major group in Israelite society, who are to play a significant role in the following narrative (Ex. 3:16, 18; Ex 4:29; Ex 12:21; Ex 17:5, 6; Ex 18:12; Ex 19:7; Ex 24:1, 9, 14; Nu 11:16, 24, 25; 16:25). The elders (the word originally signified ‘the bearded ones’) were a well-known institution in society at that time. Through age and experience they were looked up to as those who were capable of leading the community. It was not the role of the elders to frame legislation or establish legal precedents, but to administer the agreed standards of the community and to arbitrate in disputes. By accepting the authority and judgments of the elders society could live harmoniously without having to resort to violence to settle disputes between individual and families. The institution of elders did much to promote the cohesion and solidarity of Israelite and other similar societies. (MC-Ex)

Go and take for yourselves lambs (or goats - seh) according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. - NLT = "Go, pick out a lamb or young goat for each of your families, and slaughter the Passover animal." Go and take is literally "draw out and take” where the verbs depict the need “to draw out” a lamb or goat selected from among the rest of the flock. These commands are given to the leaders in Israel who were to obey so that the rest of Israel would follow their lead.

Paul writes "lean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." (1 Cor 5:7)

Exodus 12:22  "You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

  • a bunch - Lev 14:6,7 Nu 19:18 Ps 51:7 Heb 9:1,14,19 11:28 12:24 1Pe 1:2 
  • apply - Ex 12:7 
  • none of you shall go outside - Mt 26:30 



You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts - Bunch of hyssop - from the picture above one could see how several of these bushes could function like a brush. The application of blood in Ex 12:7 does not mention hyssop. S Lewis Johnson applies this noting that "The act corresponds to the act of faith in the New Testament, for that is the means of the application of the blood of Christ to the heart."

S Lewis Johnson - The application of the blood of the Passover lamb that was shed was to be made to the lentil and the two side posts. That was their duty. Now, it’s a striking fact that this is parallel with the salvation we have in Christ. Many believe in the shed blood but not in the sprinkled blood. They sometimes acknowledge that Christ has died for sinners but they have never applied that blood to their own heart. What a difference it makes when we believe not simply in the fact that Christ died for sinners but that he died for me, that we have sprinkled the blood upon our hearts in his grace. It wasn’t the lamb tied to the altar that saved. It wasn’t just the blood of a slain lamb in a basin that saved. It was the blood sprinkled that saved. (Sermon)

Constable on hyssop - Hyssop grew commonly on rocks and walls in the Near East and Egypt (v. 22). If it was the same plant that we identify as hyssop today, masses of tiny white flowers and a fragrant aroma characterized it. The Jews used it for applying blood to the door in the Passover ritual because of its availability and suitability as a liquid applicator. They also used it in the purification rite for lepers (Lev. 14:4, 6), the purification rite for a plague (Lev. 14:49–52), and for the red heifer sacrifice ritual (Nu 19:2–6).

Hyssop (0231)(ezob) is a plant commonly found in middle east with tiny white flowers and a fragrant aromatic leaves in the mint family and its use prevents the blood from coagulating. It contains a volatile oil as a purifying agent, and grows in bushy bundles on mountains, in the desert, and through cracks in walls. "The hyssop is a small bush that grows throughout the Sinai, probably the aromatic herb Origanum Maru L., or Origanum Aegyptiacum. The plant also grew out of the walls in Jerusalem (1 Ki 4:33)." (NET Note) Hyssop was used in a variety of purification rights. Hyssop was used as a brush to sprinkle items (Lev 14:4, 6) and here for applying blood to the door at Passover. Hyssop was used in the ordinance concerning the red heifer (Nu. 19:6, 18). It is used literally and figuratively of spiritual cleansing in Ps. 51:7 = "Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." 

Hyssop was always connected with purification through sacrifice.
-- David Guzik

Youngblood - “The hairy surface of its leaves and branches holds liquids well and makes it suitable as a sprinkling device for purification rituals.”

Walter KaiserHyssop appears twice in the NT: in John 19:29, as the instrument for lifting the vinegar to Jesus’ lips when he was on the cross, and in Heb 9:19–20, where the people and the book are sprinkled with blood, though that is probably a different plant. Seven of the OT references are found in two rituals: cleansing a leper (Lev 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52) and cleansing those defiled through contact with the dead (Num 19:6, 18). The other three references are Exod 12:22; 1 Kings 4:33; and Ps 51:7.(EBC)

Gilbrant - The ritual accompanying purification from leprosy employed hyssop as one of the objects dipped in the blood of a bird killed over running water. The elements were then used to sprinkle the mixture of blood and water upon the inflicted person (Lev. 14:4ff). The same ritual was performed to purify mildewed houses (Lev. 14:49ff). Another ritual involving hyssop was the rites surrounding purification from coming in contact with a corpse. Hyssop was one of the materials incinerated with a sacred red heifer to produce ashes for this ritual (Num. 19:6). Twice during their week long period of uncleanness (on the third and seventh day), these ashes were combined with running water and sprinkled upon the unclean person by means of a hyssop bunch (Num. 19:17ff). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Ezob - 10x in 10v - Exod. 12:22; Lev. 14:4; Lev. 14:6; Lev. 14:49; Lev. 14:51; Lev. 14:52; Num. 19:6; Num. 19:18; 1 Ki. 4:33; Ps. 51:7

Related Resources:

Walter Kaiser comments on this verse that "Israel would know the grounds and means of their deliverance and redemption: a sacrificed substitute and the blood of atonement in which the paschal animal died in place of the firstborn of all who took shelter from the stroke of the destroyer." (EBC-Ex)

And none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning - In the original Hebrew there is strong emphasis on the absolute prohibition of anyone going out! This instruction was not mentioned in Ex 12:7. The reason is obvious -- they would be outside of the house protected by the blood. There is no record any did this, but one has to ask if they were not the firstborn, would they have been smitten? However, applying the picture of Passover to Christ, clearly today anyone not protected by His blood will be "eternally smitten."

Apply (touch)(05060)(naga related noun nega used in Ge 11:1 = "one more plague") means to touch (Isa 6:7, Da 8:18, of cohabitation Ge 20:6, adultery - Pr 6:29, Ru 2:9), to reach or finally even to strike (Job 1:19; Isa. 53:4; Ezek. 17:10, figuratively of God's judgment - 1 Sa 6:9, Job 1:11, Job 19:21, literally actually producing harm - Ge 26:11, Josh 9:19, 2 Sa 14:10). The idea is to have physical contact (with persons or something else - 1 Ki 6:27, Esther 5:2). First use in Ge 3:3 Eve misquoted God's command that they cannot "eat from it (correct) or touch it (incorrect), or you will die." (Lesson - Memorize the Word of Truth word perfect!) Isaiah uses it of the Suffering Servant describing our Messiah - "Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted." (Isa. 53:4) Earlier Isaiah used naga in a moral sense (which could involve inappropriate touching) - "Depart, depart, go out from there, Touch (naga) nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the LORD." (Isa 52:11, quoted by Paul calling on believers to live holy, separated lives!) Naga in the intensive form, means to afflict or to be afflicted (Ge 12:17; 2 Ki. 15:5; Ps 73:5). Naga is used in a ritualistic context, viz. that things holy (belonging to God, Exodus 19:13; Leviticus 12:4; Numbers 4:15) are not to be touched by the unauthorized. Unholy things are restricted, too (Nu 19:16, 22; Isa 52:11). Perhaps this is because to touch something is to extend one's authority over it. God forbids people so to touch his prophets (1 Chr. 16:22), his people (Zech. 2:8), or his inheritance (Jer 12:14). These are holy and belong to him (cf. ritualistic use). God touches the wicked with righteous judgment (Ge 12:17; Ge 32:25; 1 Sa 6:9). God's touch often is beneficial, empowering one to service (Isa 6:7; Da 10:16; Jer 1:9). Always, God's touch is authoritative, whether he touches mountains (Ps 104:32; cf. Amos 9:5), a sacrifice (Jdg 6:21; cf. 2 Sa 23:7), or men (1 Ki 19:7; 1 Sa 10:26).

Naga - 139v - add(1), afford*(1), apply(1), arrive(1), arrived(4), attained(1), attains(1), bring down(1), brought down(1), came(6), cast(1), casts(1), close(2), come(2), draw near(1), drawn near(1), drew near(1), follows(1), happened(1), happens(2), plagued(1), pretended to be beaten(1), reach(4), reached(6), reaching(1), smitten(1), stricken(2), strike(1), strikes(1), struck(3), threw(1), touch(22), touched(20), touches(46), touching(6). Gen. 3:3; Gen. 12:17; Gen. 20:6; Gen. 26:11; Gen. 26:29; Gen. 28:12; Gen. 32:25; Gen. 32:32; Exod. 4:25; Exod. 12:22; Exod. 19:12; Exod. 19:13; Exod. 29:37; Exod. 30:29; Lev. 5:2; Lev. 5:3; Lev. 5:7; Lev. 6:18; Lev. 6:27; Lev. 7:19; Lev. 7:21; Lev. 11:8; Lev. 11:24; Lev. 11:26; Lev. 11:27; Lev. 11:31; Lev. 11:36; Lev. 11:39; Lev. 12:4; Lev. 15:5; Lev. 15:7; Lev. 15:10; Lev. 15:11; Lev. 15:12; Lev. 15:19; Lev. 15:21; Lev. 15:22; Lev. 15:23; Lev. 15:27; Lev. 22:4; Lev. 22:5; Lev. 22:6; Num. 4:15; Num. 16:26; Num. 19:11; Num. 19:13; Num. 19:16; Num. 19:18; Num. 19:21; Num. 19:22; Num. 31:19; Deut. 14:8; Jos. 8:15; Jos. 9:19; Jdg. 6:21; Jdg. 20:34; Jdg. 20:41; Ruth 2:9; 1 Sam. 6:9; 1 Sam. 10:26; 1 Sam. 14:9; 2 Sam. 5:8; 2 Sam. 14:10; 2 Sam. 23:7; 1 Ki. 6:27; 1 Ki. 19:5; 1 Ki. 19:7; 2 Ki. 13:21; 2 Ki. 15:5; 1 Chr. 16:22; 2 Chr. 3:11; 2 Chr. 3:12; 2 Chr. 26:20; 2 Chr. 28:9; Ezr. 3:1; Neh. 7:73; Est. 2:12; Est. 2:15; Est. 4:3; Est. 4:14; Est. 5:2; Est. 6:14; Est. 8:17; Est. 9:26; Job 1:11; Job 2:5; Job 4:5; Job 5:19; Job 6:7; Job 20:6; Ps. 32:6; Ps. 73:5; Ps. 73:14; Ps. 88:3; Ps. 104:32; Ps. 105:15; Ps. 107:18; Ps. 144:5; Prov. 6:29; Eccl. 8:14; Eccl. 12:1; Cant. 2:12; Isa. 5:8; Isa. 6:7; Isa. 8:8; Isa. 16:8; Isa. 25:12; Isa. 26:5; Isa. 30:4; Isa. 52:11; Isa. 53:4; Jer. 1:9; Jer. 4:10; Jer. 4:18; Jer. 12:14; Jer. 48:32; Jer. 51:9; Lam. 2:2; Lam. 4:14; Lam. 4:15; Ezek. 7:12; Ezek. 13:14; Ezek. 17:10; Dan. 8:5; Dan. 8:7; Dan. 8:18; Dan. 9:21; Dan. 10:10; Dan. 10:16; Dan. 10:18; Dan. 12:12; Hos. 4:2; Amos 9:5; Jon. 3:6; Mic. 1:9; Hag. 2:12; Hag. 2:13; Zech. 2:8; Zech. 14:5

Exodus 12:23  "For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.

BGT  Exodus 12:23 καὶ παρελεύσεται κύριος πατάξαι τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους καὶ ὄψεται τὸ αἷμα ἐπὶ τῆς φλιᾶς καὶ ἐπ᾽ ἀμφοτέρων τῶν σταθμῶν καὶ παρελεύσεται κύριος τὴν θύραν καὶ οὐκ ἀφήσει τὸν ὀλεθρεύοντα εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὰς οἰκίας ὑμῶν πατάξαι

NET  Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees the blood on the top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then the LORD will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

LXE  Exodus 12:23 And the Lord shall pass by to smite the Egyptians, and shall see the blood upon the lintel, and upon both the door-posts; and the Lord shall pass by the door, and shall not suffer the destroyer to enter into your houses to smite you.

NLT  Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through the land to strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the LORD will pass over your home. He will not permit his death angel to enter your house and strike you down.

KJV  Exodus 12:23 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.

ESV  Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

NIV  Exodus 12:23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

ASV  Exodus 12:23 For Jehovah will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side-posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

CSB  Exodus 12:23 When the LORD passes through to strike Egypt and sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, He will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you.

  • will pass through - Ex 12:12,13 
  • and will not - 2Sa 24:16 Isa 37:36 Eze 9:4,6 1Co 10:10 Heb 11:28+ Heb 12:24 Rev 7:3 9:4 


Moses is still giving instructions to the elders.

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians - Divine judgment!

And when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you - Divine Mercy and Grace. Johnson says the LORD "hovers over" the house and protects it from the destroying angel! And so the blood results in Jehovah passing over the door and not allowing the destroyer inside, which equates with protection. (See discussion by S Lewis Johnson in notes on Ex 12:13). As Johnson says "we learn an important spiritual truth here and the important spiritual truth is simply this, that safety spiritually is dependent upon the blood that is shed by the redeeming substitute." 

David Guzik - Rescue from the angel of death didn’t happen by a prayer or a fasting or a good work; it was accomplished by a life given on behalf of others.

S Lewis Johnson applies this truth of the protecting power of the blood - I remember many years ago when I was first converted I had some difficult with assurance of salvation. And finally one day reflecting upon John 6:37 when Jesus said that every one who comes to him will be kept by him. I remember going into my bedroom in Birmingham, Alabama, kneeling down by the side of my bed and saying to the Lord something like this, “Lord, in John 6:37 you have said, ‘Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.’ I have been concerned over this wondering if I have truly come. But I want you to know that if I have not come to this point I am coming now and receiving the Lord Jesus as my own personal Savior.” I never had any doubts after that about my salvation because I realized finally that my salvation depended upon the blood that was shed for me by Jesus Christ and my conviction given by God the Holy Spirit that God is faithful to his word. (Sermon)

Destroyer (07843)(shachath) means in this context one who destroys (cf fate of Sodom and Gomorrah = Ge 13:10, Ge 18:28, 31-32), to lay waste (Egypt from swarms of flies - Ex 8:24). The Septuagint uses the verb olethreuo which means to kill or destroy and is used in Hebrews 11:28KJV+ (not in Nestle-Aland) "By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed (olethreuo) the firstborn would not touch them."

Who is the destroyer - Walter Kaiser writes "“The destroyer” of v.23 (See 2 Sa 24:16 Isa 37:36) was not a demonic power that rivaled God but was probably an angel of the Lord who expedited his will. In Psalm 78:49, however, where God lets loose on the Egyptians four different words for his anger, this wrath is collectively called “a band of destroying angels” (mišlahaṯ malʾaḵê rāʿîm). Thus whether an angel was the mediating agent or the term was a figurative personification of the final judgment of God on Egypt, it was still God’s direct work. The NT will remember this “destroyer” (ho olothreuōn) in Hebrews 11:28. His work in bringing the plague on Israel for Korah, Dathan, and Abiram’s rebellion in Numbers 16:41–49 and the serpents in Numbers 21:5–6 will also be labeled the work of “the destroying angel” in 1 Corinthians 10:9–10 (see Notes).

Question: "Who is the destroying angel?"

Answer: The destroying angel is also commonly referred to as the angel of death. On numerous occasions, God used angelic beings— heavenly messengers of some kind—to bring judgment to sinners on earth. Various Bible translations refer to this being as a “destroying angel.” There is no clear biblical evidence that any one particular angel was given the title “destroying angel” or “angel of death.” The most we can say is that the Bible’s mentions of a “destroying angel” are references to a heavenly being or beings that came to destroy those under God’s judgment.

The most famous visitation of a destroying angel was on the first Passover. Egypt was about to experience the tenth and final plague, the death of the firstborn. Moses’ instructions to the Hebrews contained this warning: “When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down” (Exodus 12:23). Some other translations have “Angel of Death” (GNT) or “death angel” (NLT) instead of “destroyer.” This being is called “the destroyer of the firstborn” in Hebrews 11:28+.

Interestingly, the original Hebrew text of Exodus 12:23 does not mention an “angel” at all. It simply says that “the destroyer” or “the spoiler” or “the one who causes damage” would slay the firstborn of Egypt. It could have been the Lord Himself who was the destroyer, although the possibility exists that God sent an angel to do the deed. Psalm 78 recounts the plagues in Egypt and sums them up as God’s unleashing of “a band of destroying angels” (Ps 78:49). The Hebrew word for “angel” is used here, but it is not limited to one particular angel.

A destroying angel—a heavenly messenger who brought destruction—was also sent by God to judge the Israelites because of David’s sin in numbering the people: “The Lord sent a plague on Israel from that morning until the end of the time designated, and seventy thousand of the people from Dan to Beersheba died. When the angel stretched out his hand to destroy Jerusalem, the Lord relented concerning the disaster and said to the angel who was afflicting the people, ‘Enough! Withdraw your hand.’ The angel of the Lord was then at the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, ‘I have sinned’” (2 Samuel 24:15–17).

The Assyrians who attacked Jerusalem during King Hezekiah’s reign also met what could be called an angel of death or a destroying angel: “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!” (2 Ki 19:32–35). In this passage (2 Ki 19:35) and in 2 Sa 24:16, the destroying angel is actually called “the angel of the Lord,” which many scholars take to be a reference to Christ in a pre-incarnate appearance. (ED: Related Resource = Angel of the LORD)

Another angel who brought death and destruction is mentioned in the judgment of King Herod (Acts 12:23). An angel with lethal intent, identified as “the angel of the Lord,” bearing a sword gives a warning to Balaam (Nu 22:31–33). And Jesus mentions that angels will be involved in the end-times judgment of the wicked (Matthew 13:49–50). In none of these cases are the angels called “the angel of destruction” or “the angel of death.” We might refer to an angel who metes out God’s judgment as an “angel of destruction,” but it is not an explicitly biblical term. (Source: Gotquestions)

Note: As an aside Revelation has a number of references to angels and some are instrumental in administration of the wrath of God. 

Bob Marcaurelle - God did not say, "When I see good people, I will pass over you ... When I see sincere people who are really trying to be good, I will pass over you ... When I see baptized people, church members, I will pass over you ... When I see strong faith and no fear or doubt, I will pass over you."
No, He said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." The New Birth, symbolized here as eating the Lamb, partaking of Christ's life and strength, will make us good people and sincere people and church members and men and women of strong faith. But it is our faith in Christ, however weak, our admission of sin and guilt, and our taking forgiveness from His pierced hands, that spares us from the plague of the second death. And, thank God, it is not feelings that God looks for.Illustration: Picture a Hebrew boy, huddled in his home. He hears the screams from across the road. He feels the very presence of death all around. He says, "Daddy, I'm scared!" That Hebrew dad says, "Don't worry, son, the blood is on the door." Oh, folks, sometimes my faith is strong and sometimes it is weak. Sometimes Jesus seems so close I feel I can reach out and touch him. But the all important thing is my faith, however weak, is in Jesus and no matter how I FEEL, by faith I know "My Lord is near me all the time." Put your faith in Jesus and when the death angel comes he will take you to live with God and over you, hell, the second death, will have no power (Rev. 20:6).

S Lewis Johnson - It is remarkable that both our Lord and the apostle Paul specifically teach that the Lord Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Passover ritual. In the last Passover and first Lord’s Supper, the Lord Jesus plainly taught that he was the Passover Lamb by commanding that he be remembered in the meetings of the saints by a repetition of the Lord’s Supper. Although Israel had been admonished by the Lord to observe the Passover service “as a permanent ordinance” (Exod. 12:14), the Lord Jesus now admonishes believers to continually eat the bread and drink the wine throughout time until he comes “in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:19; cf. 1 Cor. 11:24–25). It was a clear claim that he is the Passover Lamb, and in observing the Lord’s Supper they were observing the Passover ritual in its intended fulfillment.

Paul, too, makes the connection saying, “For Christ our Passover [‘our paschal lamb,’ RSV] also has been sacrificed” (1 Cor. 5:7).

That brings me to one final appeal. Realizing that it is not simply the living Lamb, nor even the shed blood of the Lamb, but the sprinkling of the shed blood of the slain Lamb that saves, have you sprinkled the blood?

August Van Ryn has sought to show the difference between believing a fact and making that fact one’s own in experience in this way:

“I was walking some years ago with a brother in an eastern city, and as we passed a large building this fellow believer pointed to it, and said, ‘Van, they put eighty-two millions in silver bars in that building the other day.’ Now that statement did not thrill me in the least. What were eighty-two million dollars to me? Nothing at all. You see, that man left out two words. If he had said, ‘There are eighty-two millions for you in that building,’ what a thrill that would have been! If he had made it only a million for me, I might have managed to get along with that, but he left me out altogether. You can easily see—can’t you—what a difference there is between eighty-two million dollars and eighty-two million dollars for you.” And then Mr. Van Ryn concluded with, “Have you ever really believed then that Christ died for you?”

That is my appeal to my readers, too. In the spirit of Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s words, “I have dwelt sufficiently on the efficacy of the blood, but no tongue of seraph can ever speak its worth. I must go home to my chamber and weep because I am powerless to tell this story adequately.” I appeal to you in the name of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, give yourself to him in faith, relying upon his atoning blood to save your soul. May God help you to see and sing,

       There is a fountain filled with blood,
         Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
      And sinners plunged beneath that flood
         Lose all their guilty stains.

      The dying thief rejoiced to see
         That fountain in his day,
      And there may [you], though vile as he,
         Wash all [your] sins away.
-- William Cowper

Exodus 12:24  "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.

  • Ex 12:14 Ge 17:8-10 


And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever - Shall observe (Heb = shamar; Lxx = phulasso) means to guard and protect. Moses instructs the elders that the Passover was to be observed (guarded, protected) by Israel forever!  Your children forever means it must be carefully taught to children so that its meaning and significance would pass from generation to generation. 

Don't miss the repetition of God's call to Israel to observe the Passover throughout their generations, forever (Ex 12:14, Ex 12:17, Ex 12:24)

John Currid applies this section - The Lord’s Supper in the New Testament is a Passover commemoration (see Matt. 26:17–19). Every Passover meal included two elements: wine and unleavened bread. The wine symbolized the blood of the lamb that was shed for the Israelites to protect them from the avenging angel. The bread signified the bread that the Hebrews carried on their backs when they left Egypt in haste. Jesus reinterprets those two elements and pronounces the Passover event a type of foreshadowing of himself and his ministry. In Matthew 26:26–28, Jesus says that the wine is a figure of the blood of Christ that takes away the sins of his people, and the bread is a figure of his body that is hung on the cross for sinners. In short, what Jesus is proclaiming is that he is the Passover Lamb, who by the shedding of his blood is a substitute for his people, protecting them from the wrath and judgement of God. In other words, as Israel is covered by the blood of the Passover lamb, so the new Israel is covered by the blood of the Messiah (see John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 Cor. 5:7). The fact of the matter is that when Christians celebrate the Lord’s Supper they are keeping the Passover that God commanded his people to honour in perpetuity....The reason that Christians celebrate the Passover in this way is, first, to remind themselves of the work of Christ in delivering his people from death and darkness. It is, furthermore, a sign that believers are the people of God and the covenant, and that God dwells in their midst. And, finally, it is a sign of the continuity of the people of God from the Old Testament to the New Testament and beyond.(EPSC-Ex)

Exodus 12:25  "When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.

  • when - Dt 4:5 Dt 12:8,9 Dt 16:5-9 Jos 5:10-12 Ps 105:44,45 
  • as He has promised,  Ex 3:8,17 


When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised - The land...as He has promised (see promises in  Ex 3:8,17, Ge 13:15) reiterates the Abrahamic Covenant and promise of the land. 

You shall observe this rite - For the second time in two verses it is emphasized that Israel is to observe this rite. The idea of observe (Heb = shamar; Lxx = phulasso) is to guard and protect, so that the implication is that this rite could become corrupted or fuzzy in their memory. The Hebrew word for rite (abodah) conveys the idea of service with an attitude of worship. This thought is brought out by the Septuagint's use of the noun latreia which in the NT describes religious service based in worship (see Heb 9:1, Heb 9:6).

Abodah used 20x in Exodus -  Ex 1:14; Ex 2:23; Ex 5:9; Ex 5:11; Ex 6:6; Ex 6:9; Ex 12:25; Ex 12:26; Ex 13:5; Ex 27:19; Ex 30:16; Ex 35:21; Ex 35:24; Ex 36:1; Ex 36:3; Ex 36:5; Ex 38:21; Ex 39:32; Ex 39:40; Ex 39:42; 

John Currid on rite - The Hebrew word for ‘ceremony’ (rite - abodah) is the common term for labour/service. Used earlier of the Hebrews’ slavery under Pharaoh (Exod. 1:14), it here reflects who it is that the Israelites truly serve. And the contrast is clear: the hard and cruel service they rendered to Pharaoh is now replaced by a compassionate, loving service to Yahweh.

Bruckner - The remarkable thing to note here is that God gives the people liturgical instructions for the future before their deliverance or exit from Egypt. Hope was created as plans were laid.

David Guzik - Passover was the greatest work of redemption performed on the Old Testament side of the cross. In the same way Jesus gave the new Passover, saying that His work on the cross was not only for that generation, but should be remembered and applied to all generations (Luke 22:14–20+).

THOUGHT -  The most notable use of latreia is in found in Romans 12:1+ where Paul exhorts believers on the basis of our "deliverance" from "Egypt" (sin and Satan - Romans 1-11) and founded on the mercies of God (cf Ro 11:32+), we should in great gratitude make a presentation of our bodies to God, something we should consider doing every day. And so Paul writes

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (latreia).

Exodus 12:26  "And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?'

  • your children - Ex 13:8,9,14,15,22 De 6:7 11:19 32:7 Jos 4:6,7,21-24 Ps 78:3-6 Ps 145:4 Isa 38:19 Eph 6:4 


And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you - The practice of the Passover/Unleavened bread will stimulate the children to ask and give an opportunity to tell them about the great and marvelous deeds of Jehovah.

John Currid - Moses reiterates the pedagogic aspect of the Passover ritual. When children see the events of the Passover celebration they will naturally be curious. Parents are to seize the opportunity to share with their children the story of redemption from Egypt, and continually to remind them of the God who acts.

One is reminded of the song of Moses, a song that will be sung one day in Heaven...

And they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations. (Revelation 15:3+)

Play (and be blessed) the Song of Moses - Brooklyn Tabernacle and version by Paul Wilbur, Jewish believer.

Exodus 12:27  you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.' " And the people bowed low and worshiped.

  • It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD - Ex 12:11,23 34:25 De 16:2,5 1Co 5:7 
  • bowed - Ex 4:31 Ex 34:8 1Ch 29:20 2Ch 20:18 29:30 Ne 8:6 


You shall say - Giving answer to the curious children.

'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes - Note the two fold work of defeating the enemy (Egypt - cf sin and Satan for believers) and delivering Israel 

NET Note on sacrifice - This expression “the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover” occurs only here. The word זֶבַח (zevakh) means “slaughtering” and so a blood sacrifice. The fact that this word is used in Lev 3:1,3, 6, 9+ for the peace offering has linked the Passover as a kind of peace offering, and both the Passover and the peace offerings were eaten as communal meals.

Smote (05062) (nagaph) means to give a blow, bring a plague, usually from God and either fatal or disastrous (Ex 8:2, Passover - Ex 12:23, 27, Ex 32:35 = smiting Israel after making a golden calf). Exodus uses - Exod. 8:2; Exod. 12:23; Exod. 12:27; Exod. 21:22; Exod. 21:35; Exod. 32:35;

And the people bowed low and worshiped - Notice that this actually occurs before the event took place. So a great salvation (Heb 2:3) should always prompt reverence and worship. 

Bruckner - They worshiped although they were not yet delivered. They worshiped because they believed that the Lord would follow through on these promises. 

The exact phrase bowed low and worshiped was used earlier to describe the sons of Israel in Exodus 4:31+ Moses recording "So the people believed; and when they heard that the LORD was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped."

Worshiped (prostrated) (07812)(shachah) means to bow down, to prostrate oneself, to crouch, to fall down, to humbly beseech, to do reverence, to worship. The idea is to assume a prostrate position as would in paying homage to royalty (Ge 43:28) or to God (Ge 24:26, Ps 95:6). The Septuagint translate shachah here with proskuneo meaning to fall down and worship, prostrating oneself before God. Proskuneo has a basic sense bow down to kiss someone's feet, garment hem, or the ground in front of Him. 

Exodus 12:28  Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

  • Heb 11:28+ 


Real worship will be shown to be real by what happens after we worship! Do we walk out with a greater desire to obey God because we have just experienced God in worship? Do we walk out spiritually energized by the Spirit to more quickly "deflect" the arrows of temptation? If our answer if "no" to these (and othe similar questions), perhaps we have not truly worshiped! Or perhaps we have a case of rapid onset spiritual amnesia!

Obedience is born out of obeisance.
-- John Currid

Guzik comments that "In many ways these were the most important words of the whole account. As great as God’s deliverance was, the people would have never received it if they had failed to do what God told them to do."

Then the sons of Israel went and did so just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did - This passage sums up the fact that Israel kept the Passover exactly as they had been instructed. Note the repetition of did so...so they did, clearly marking their obedience. They heard and they heeded the instructions from God through Moses and Aaron to the elders to the sons of Israel. This is a marked contrast from Ex 6:9+ "So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage." But sadly after so great a salvation the sons of Israel quickly forgot God's wondrous works and so we read "But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul; and Moses was angry with them." (Ex 16:20+)

Walter Kaiser comments that "The section closes with one of those rare notices in Israel’s history: they did exactly what the Lord had commanded (v. 28)—and well they might after witnessing what had happened to the obstinate king and people of Egypt!” (EBC-Ex)

Bruckner writes that "What follows are seven succinct reports that read like a series of related news bulletins (Ex 12:29–30; 31–32; 33–34; 35–36; 37–38; 39; 40–41). The narrative is in a hurry. Pharaoh and the Egyptians were in a hurry. The people and their bread were moving out.

Exodus 12:29  Now it came about at midnight that the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.

  • at midnight - Ex 12:12 11:4 13:15 Job 34:20 1Th 5:2,3 
  • the Lord struck -  Nu 3:13 8:17 33:4 Ps 78:51 105:36 135:8 136:10 Heb 11:28 Heb 12:23 
  • the firstborn of Pharaoh - Ex 4:23 11:5 
  • in the dungeon, Isa 24:22 51:14 Jer 38:6,13 Zec 9:11 

(Exodus 12:29-42)

This is a record of the actual historical event when all the preceding descriptions given to Israel come to pass. 

NET - The next section records the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and so becomes the turning point of the book.

Now it came about at midnight - God's "clock" struck midnight and He struck the firstborn. Likely they would have been sound asleep. God's judgment may come at any time, and usually when we least expect it. If you are pondering the claims of Jesus, do not procrastinate because today may be your "midnight." (see 2 Cor 6:2). 

Guzik - God told Moses that Pharaoh would not let them go until he was forced to by God’s mighty works (Exodus 3:19–20), and that this work would somehow touch the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 4:21–23). Now the situation unfolded just as God said it would.

That the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle - Repeats the truth of Ex 11:5. No one was excluded (except those with blood on their doorposts), affecting from the highest, the palace, to the lowest, the prison, and all in between, "It spans all, from the one who enjoys the greatest comfort to the one in the situation of least comfort." (Currid)

Cole Dungeon is “Literally, the ‘pit-house’. Pits were a common prison. Here the opposite to pharaoh is not the ‘mill girl’ (Exodus 12:29), but the prisoner of war in the dungeon.”

Guzik suggests that "This plague was directed against two significant Egyptian gods. First, Osiris was the Egyptian god thought to be the giver of life. Second, this was against the supposed deity of Pharaoh himself, because his own household was touched (the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne).

THOUGHT - The question is, have you entered in? Have you applied the blood, by repentance and faith upon your heart and life?

Exodus 12:30  Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead.

  • and there was a great cry - Ex 11:6 Pr 21:13 Am 5:17 Mt 25:6 Jas 2:13 


Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians - The entire country woke up in terror because of the deaths.

Guzik - In dealing with Pharaoh, God first had to inform his mind, and then break his will. Pharaoh’s problem wasn’t that there was insufficient intellectual evidence; his heart had to be broken and made soft towards God. Egypt and Pharaoh would not give God His firstborn—Israel (Exodus 4:22–23); so God took the firstborn of Egypt. Finally, Pharaoh knew that the LORD God was greater than all the Egyptian gods, and was greater than Pharaoh himself—who was thought to be a god.

Currid - The serious nature of the plague is also highlighted by the singling out of Pharaoh in the passage. First, he is humiliated by being forced to rise from his bed in the middle of the night, a procedure that is clearly not one normally associated with royalty. And, more critically, the king’s house is subject to the consequences of the plague. It is a true statement that the final plague is primarily directed against Pharaoh as a god of Egypt and against the Egyptian royal succession. Numbers 33:4 links the Passover with the judgement upon the deities of Egypt.

And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no home where there was not someone dead. - The extent of the plague is emphasized by fact that it was throughout the land.  

Guzik - Israel cried to God for deliverance (Ex 2:23), and they cried to Pharaoh from relief (Ex 5:15). Now the Egyptians had reason to cry.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge - No people were more remarkable and frantic in their mournings than the Egyptians.  When a relative died, every one left the house, and the women, with their hair loose, and their bosoms bare, ran wild about the street.  The men also, with their apparel equally disordered, kept them company; all shrieking, howling, and beating themselves.  What a scene of horror and distress must now have presented itself, when there was not a family in Egypt where there was not one dead!

Exodus 12:31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel; and go, worship the LORD, as you have said.

  • called - Ex 10:29 
  • Rise up - Ex 3:19,20 6:1 11:1,8 Ps 105:38 
  • the children - Ex 10:9 


Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night - Pharaoh is forced by God's actions to eat a large slice of "humble pie!" He now has to summon the very men he threw out in Ex 10:28. 

Recall that Moses had been told Pharaoh would not allow Israel to go except under compulsion (Ex 3:19). Compulsion is an irresistible impulse to act regardless of the rationality of the motivation! Pharaoh was now under divine compulsion, just as Jehovah had predicted! 

And said, "Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the sons of Israel - The urgency of Pharaoh is emphasized by the abrupt use of the imperatives (which total four - all in red)! This is actually the first time Pharaoh calls the Hebrews by the name sons of Israel, which would seem to be his way of acknowledging their status as in the process of becoming a sovereign nation. 

Currid makes an interesting comment that "The first two imperatives are found elsewhere in Scripture to indicate great haste. In Genesis 19:14 ("Up, get out of this place,"), Lot urges his sons-in-law with these imperatives to flee for their lives from Sodom."

And go, worship the LORD, as you have said - Since it was night presumably Moses did not see but only heard Pharaoh who had warned him "Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Beware, do not see my face again, for in the day you see my face you shall die!” Moses said, “You are right; I shall never see your face again!” (Ex 10:28-29). 

NET - It appears from this clause that Pharaoh has given up attempting to impose restrictions as he had earlier. With the severe judgment on him for his previous refusals he should now know that these people are no longer his subjects, and he is no longer sovereign. As Moses had insisted, all the Israelites would leave, and with all their possessions, to worship Yahweh.

Exodus 12:32  "Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also."

  • your flocks - Ex 10:26 
  • bless me - Ex 8:28 9:28 Ge 27:34,38 


Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and bless me also - Pharaoh is forced to meet all of God's demands and adds none of his restrictions. "Pharaoh probably meant that they should bless him also when they were sacrificing to Yahweh in their religious festival—after all, he might reason, he did let them go (after divine judgment). To bless him would mean to invoke good gifts from God for him." (NET)

Everyone wants a blessing from God with no strings attached!

Currid - Pharaoh gives no time-frame for their departure and places no restrictions on how long they may be gone. Apparently, at least for the moment, the King of Egypt has been defeated. The ultimate humiliation of Pharaoh is seen in his seeking the blessing of the prophets even after his defeat...there was no real repentance on the part of the king. He gave no recognition of any personal responsibility—he wanted the blessing without the liability, the shame, or the consequences. He simply desired the plagues to be gone. We know this to be the case, because once the immediate shock following the final plague had subsided, the Egyptian king pursued the Hebrews in order to destroy them.

McGee - Pharaoh finally has had to give up. Until now he has been reluctant to give in to Moses’ demands but this plague reached in and touched his own son. God did not begin by touching the lives of the firstborn; He began the contest with Pharaoh by changing Aaron’s rod into a crocodile. If Pharaoh had believed God, the children of Israel could have left the land and he would have spared his people the judgments. The blame, therefore, should not belong to God.

Exodus 12:33  The Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, "We will all be dead."

  • Egyptians urged the people- Ex 11:1 Ps 105:38 
  • We be all - Ge 20:3 Nu 17:12,13 

The Egyptians urged the people to send them out of the land in haste - NLT "All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible"  Urged is actually (and somewhat ironically) the same verb chazaq used to describe Pharaoh’s heart as being hardened! (Ex 7:13, 7:22, 8:19, 9:12, 9:35, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10). The paradox is that previously the Egyptian hearts were hardened not to let the Hebrews go (Ex 9:34), but now they are equally strong in their desire to force them to go! "It conveys the idea of their being resolved or insistent in this—they were not going to change."

Currid observes that "The opening salvo between the Hebrew prophets and Pharaoh focused on that verb: ‘Thus says Yahweh, God of Israel, “Send out my people …” ’ (Ex 5:1). Now the Egyptians are causing the Hebrews to be sent out!"

For they said, "We will all be dead - More literally ‘because all of us are dying’. The fear was if the Hebrews remained many more Egyptians would die. As McGee explains "The Egyptians did not know where the judgment of God would end. God had taken their firstborn; what would He do next? Perhaps He would bring death to all the Egyptians, and so Pharaoh and the people told the Israelites to get out of the land because they feared for their own lives."

Exodus 12:34  So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.

  • kneading bowls, Ex 8:3 

So the people took their dough before it was leavened With their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders -  NET = "Took their dough before the yeast was added."

Currid - Prior to departing from Egypt the Hebrews perform two further acts. The first is stated in this verse. They place dough in ‘kneading bowls’ (this term is used earlier in Ex 8:3), and carry them upon their shoulders wrapped in garments. They had no time to leaven the dough or to cook it in Egypt. Great haste was the order of the day. It is in commemoration of this event that unleavened bread has been part of the Passover celebrations throughout history. 

Exodus 12:35  Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, for they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing;

  • Ex 3:21,22 Ex 11:2,3 Ge 15:14 Ps 105:37 


The prophecy to Abraham in Ge 15:14 - 

But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions.

The prophecy repeated to Moses in Ex 3:22-23

I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians.”

The prophecy to be announced by Moses to the sons of Israel in Ex 11:2-3

“Speak now in the hearing of the people that each man ask from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor for articles of silver and articles of gold.” The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Furthermore, the man Moses himself was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, both in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people. 

Now the sons of Israel had done according to the word of Moses - Jehovah had given the promise. Moses had spoken the promise. Israel had believed and acted on the promise. 

For they had requested from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing - These are the very items God had described to Moses in Ex 3:22. 

Exodus 12:36 and the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

  • the Lord - Ex 3:21 11:3 Ge 39:21 Pr 16:7 Da 1:9 Ac 2:47 7:10 
  • they plundered - Ex 3:22 Ge 15:14 Ps 105:37 


And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians  - NLT = "The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites." "God was destroying the tyrant and his nobles and the land’s economy because of their stubborn refusal. But God established friendly, peaceful relations between his people and the Egyptians. The phrase is used outside Exod only in Gen 39:21, referring to Joseph." (NET)

Favor (grace) (02580)(chen/hen from verb chanan = to favor) means favor (acts which display one’s fondness or compassion for another), grace (acts of kindness displaying one’s pleasure with an object, which benefit the object of pleasure), acceptance. The idea is that a person finds favor in the sight of another person or acceptance by the person. 

So that - Term of purpose. In this case the purpose of Jehovah's favor or grace would result in the Egyptians acquiescing to the requests of the Israelites.

they let them have their request. Thus they plundered the Egyptians  - NLT = "and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth!"

NET on let them have their request -  The verb here is frequently translated “and they lent them,” but lending does not fit the point. What they gave the Israelites were farewell gifts sought by demanding or asking for them.

THOUGHT - When all is going against us and prayers do not bring relief, we may not think God cares, but He is always "in the shadows, keeping watch above His own." And we may not get our reward down here but we will get it in heaven where Paul says our sufferings here aren't even worth comparing to our "glory" there (Rom. 8:18). More wonderful than possessions was their protection. Better than silver, we have salvation. Better than gold, we shall live where the streets are made of gold. Better than fine clothes, we shall wear the perfect righteousness of Christ. God says, "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." We say, "When he shall come with trumpet sound/O may I then in Him be found/Dressed in His righteousness alone/Faultless to stand before the throne." (Bob Marcaurelle)

Exodus 12:37  Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children.

  • sons of Israel - Nu 33:3,5 
  • Rameses - Ex 1:11 Ge 47:11 
  • six hundred - Ex 38:26 Ge 12:2 15:5 46:3 Nu 1:46 11:21 

Click to enlarge - from the Holman Bible Atlas (digital bookHardcover
© 1998 B&H Publishing Group, used by permission, all rights reserved.
This is one of the best resources for Bible maps. 
Please do not reproduce this map on any other webpage.


Now the sons of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth - ‘Rameses’, which was one of the cities the Hebrews had helped to build (Ex 1:11) See map above for locations (another map). Note that the location of Succoth is not absolutely certain.

About six hundred thousand men on foot, aside from children -There is no mention of the word women. It would appear that the term for ‘men’ distinguishes this group from women, children and non-combatants. NET Note adds that "The word for “men” (הַגְּבָרִים, haggévarim) stresses their hardiness and capability—strong men, potential soldiers—in contrast with the word that follows and designates noncombatants."

Most commentators agree this would have totalled about 2 million individuals. We tend to lose sight of the magnitude of this undertaking. For perspective, it would be like the entire city of Houston, Texas (2010 = 2.1 million) leaving the coast. Then Israel would have traveled about 200+/- to Mt Sinai (about the distance from Houston to Dallas, Texas). 

Currid - In favour of taking these numbers at face value is that they coincide with the data given about the population size in the wilderness from the book of Numbers (see Num. 1:46–47; 2:32; 26:51). In addition, according to Exodus 1, the Israelites were experiencing a great period of growth and increase (Ex 1:6–7+).

Exodus 12:38  A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock.

  • A mixed multitude - Heb. a great mixture, Nu 11:4 Zec 8:23 


A mixed multitude also went up with them, along with flocks and herds - NLT renders the "mixed multitude" as "rabble" the same word (in English, but not Hebrew) used in Nu 11:4 describing "the rabble who were among them." These were Gentiles (presumably Egyptians) who had departed Egypt when Israel was delivered by Jehovah. The presence of this mixed multitude was like "leaven" and as Paul warned in the NT "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?" (1 Cor 5:6). These Gentiles were like leaven among the Israelites and spread like leaven becoming the source of unrest which led to the Israelites themselves beginning to grumble about manna among the Israelites as described in Numbers. 

Currid - ‘Mixture’ is a Hebrew word which is used of miscellaneous peoples who attach themselves to a group to which they do not naturally belong (see Jer. 25:20; 50:37; Neh. 13:3). Many English translations render the word as ‘foreigners’. The point is that various kinds of people who were not part of Israel joined themselves with the people of God. Perhaps some of them were Egyptians who came to believe and fear the word of God (see Exod. 9:20–21).

Now the people became like those who complain (Hebrew = anan = ; Septuagint or Lxx = gogguzo in the present tense = they were continually grumbling, murmuring, complaining!) of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp. 2 The people therefore cried out (Heb = tsaaq; Lxx = krazo) to Moses, and Moses prayed to the LORD and the fire died out. 3 So the name of that place was called Taberah, because the fire of the LORD burned among them.  4 The rabble (Heb = asaphsuph - only here; Lxx = epimiktos = "mixed" which is also used in Ex 12:38) who were among them had greedy desires; (Hebrew = "they craved a craving" in this context for food; Greedy is same word used in Ge 3:6+ of Eve's desire for the forbidden fruit - "delight to the eyes") and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? 5 “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, 6 but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”  (Nu 11:1-6)

Now these things (What things? See context = 1 Cor 10:5) happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved. (1 Cor 10:11) Now these things (What things? See context = 1 Cor 10:7-9)  happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. (12) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.(1 Cor 10:6, 11, 12)

THOUGHT - Be careful. Grumbling can be contagious and spread like leaven in dough to those with whom we have close contact! The way to fight our fleshly tendency to grumble (yes, this tendency is still present in believers!) is to depend on the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says it this way "Work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God Who is in you (the Spirit of Christ) both to will (give you the desire) and to work (give you the power) for His good pleasure (Php 2:12+, Php 2:13+ - I love the paraphrase in Php 2:13NLT). And then to "test" whether we are being filled with, empowered by and relying on the Holy Spirit in our daily conduct, the very first command Paul gives relates to grumbling! "Do all things without grumbling or disputing." (Php 2:14) There it is! Now just try to go through even one day without grumbling or murmuring by depending on your own natural strength. It is IM-possible, but in reliance on the Spirit, it is HIM-possible! And don't be discouraged if you fail and fall. We all do. What we all need to do is to continue to practice living in dependence on the Spirit and not on our flesh. If we do, the amount and intensity of our grumbling should dissipate over time. But don't give up when you fall! Confess. Repent. And run with endurance fixing your eyes on Jesus! (Heb 12:2+)

NET - The “mixed multitude” (עֵרֶב רַב, ’erev rav) refers to a great “swarm” (see a possible cognate in Ex 8:21 "swarms of flies") of folk who joined the Israelites, people who were impressed by the defeat of Egypt, who came to faith, or who just wanted to escape Egypt (maybe slaves or descendants of the Hyksos). The expression prepares for later references to riffraff who came along.

McGee - In addition to the Israelites that left Egypt, a mixed multitude left with them. They will be the cause of much trouble in the camp of Israel. We learn more about them in the Book of Numbers; the mixed multitude are troublemakers. Factually, they are half-breeds. An Egyptian married a Jewish maiden or a Hebrew married an Egyptian maiden. The offspring of a union like this had to make a decision—shall he go out of the land of Egypt with the Israelites or stay with the Egyptians? Many of the mixed multitude left the land and many stayed. Those who left, often wondered if they had made a mistake, and when trouble and hardship came they were the first to complain. They were not Israelites in the true sense of the word.

A very large number of livestock - the word for large (kabed) defined what God had done to Pharaoh’s heart (Ex 7:14 - "stubborn") and as God made Pharaoh’s heart heavy, or hard, thus He makes Israel "heavy" in material possessions.

Exodus 12:39  They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

  • were driven out - Ex 12:33 Ex 6:1 Ex 11:1 

They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread - God made sure they had sustenance. It was not filet mignons but it was nutrition for their bodies, which were very weary and hungry.

For - Explains why they baked unleavened dough. They were not able to tarry long enough for bread to rise.

it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay - Their expulsion (Ex 12:33) had been previously predicted

Exodus 6:1 = "Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he will let them go, and under compulsion he will drive them out of his land.” 

Exodus 11:1  Now the LORD said to Moses, “One more plague I will bring on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out from here completely.

And could not delay - This explains the instructions about sandals on feet and staff in hand. They had to move out in haste!

Nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves - They were not completely prepared for the abrupt nature of their departure. 

Exodus 12:40  Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

  • lived in Egypt - Ac 13:17 Heb 11:9 
  • four hundred and thirty years - Ge 12:1-3 Ge 15:13 Ac 7:6 Ga 3:16,17 

Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. - The time is repeated in 3 other books, sometimes as 400 years and other times as 430 years. 

Currid on the 400 versus 430 - The discrepancy between the two figures may easily be explained by the Genesis figure simply being a round number, or one that is the minimum figure, that is, at least 400 years. The number in the present verses would then be the specific figure for the length of the sojourn. The fact that 430 years is the specific figure is confirmed in Ex 12:41 where it says the Hebrews left Egypt, literally, ‘on this selfsame day’ (to the very day).

Genesis 15:13  God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.


Gal 3:16 Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as referring to many, but rather to one, “And to your seed,” that is, Christ. 3:17 What I am saying is this: the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.

Exodus 12:41  And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

  • to the very day - Ps 102:13 Da 9:24 Hab 2:3  Joh 7:8 Ac 1:7 
  • hosts - Ex 12:51 7:4 Jos 5:14 


And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day - The repetition of the time and the precision of the prophecy is emphasized.

All the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt - For 430 years, twice as long as America has been a nation, Israel in Egypt, felt their God did not care. But all the while He was slowly and carefully working out His purposes in them and through them, and ON THE VERY DAY God's time was up, He delivered them in one night.

NET on hosts - This military term is used elsewhere in Exodus (e.g.,Ex 6:26; Ex 7:4; Ex12:17, 50), but here the Israelites are called “the regiments of the Lord.”

Hosts (army/armies, war, service) (06635)(tsaba from the verb tsaba = to go forth to war, to wage war, to serve) is a masculine noun meaning troops or army (2 Ki 5:1) and generally has to do with war or warfare in many of the OT passages. The TWOT says the root verb tsaba "has to do with fighting, e.g. Israel warring against Midian (Nu 31:7). It has also a wider use in the sense of rendering service." And so in a group of uses in Numbers (Nu 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 8:24-25) tsaba has to do with service related to the Tent of Meeting (or Tabernacle). So one might say tsaba is used in contexts of warfare or worship!

THOUGHT - Whatever is going on in your life and mine, however dreadful, however disappointing, however much it tempts us to believe God does not care, He does. He may develop us under it and let us die in it like Moses' parents and countless thousands of other faithful Hebrews. They didn't make it out of Egypt into Canaan but they made it out of Egypt into heaven and into God's "Hall of Fame" in Hebrews Eleven (Heb. 11:23) and that's better. Sometimes, like Aaron and Joshua and all these Hebrews, God will deliver us. But either way, in the furnace or out of it, let us be faithful and joyful and helpful, knowing that Canaan is our next stop. (Bob Marcaurelle)

Exodus 12:42  It is a night to be observed for the LORD for having brought them out from the land of Egypt; this night is for the LORD, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations.

  • It is a night to be observed . Ex 12:14 De 16:1-6 


It is a night to be observed for the LORD  - ESV = "It was a night of watching by the LORD." NET = "It was a night of vigil for the LORD." A vigil is when one was keeping watch or carrying out surveillance, watching purposefully, with the sense of guarding. The picture is of Jehovah watching His people Israel. Since it is night one is reminded of the Psalmist's beautiful words "Behold, He who keeps (Hebrew =  shamar; Lxx = phulasso - protect like a sentinel guards a post) Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep." 

NET Note on night to be observed for the LORD - It is likely that this first clause means that Yahweh was on watch for Israel to bring them out, as the next clause says. He was protecting his people (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 102). Then, the night of vigil will be transferred to Israel, who now must keep it “to” him.

For having brought them out from the land of Egypt - Jehovah is the ultimate Promise Keeping God. The NLT paraphrases it "On this night the LORD kept his promise to bring his people out of the land of Egypt."

The phrase out of Egypt is found 41x in 39v most after they are delivered. God got them out of Egypt but would spend the rest of the OT getting Egypt out of them

Gen. 47:30; Exod. 3:10; Exod. 3:11; Exod. 3:12; Exod. 12:39; Exod. 13:8; Exod. 13:9; Exod. 13:14; Exod. 13:16; Exod. 14:11; Exod. 18:1; Exod. 23:15; Exod. 34:18; Num. 21:5; Num. 22:5; Num. 22:11; Num. 23:22; Num. 24:8; Deut. 9:12; Deut. 9:26; Deut. 16:1; Deut. 16:6; Deut. 23:4; Deut. 24:9; Deut. 26:8; Jos. 2:10; Jos. 5:4; Jos. 5:5; Jos. 5:6; Jos. 24:6; Jdg. 2:1; 1 Sam. 12:8; 1 Chr. 17:21; 2 Chr. 5:10; Ps. 68:31; Hos. 11:1; Hag. 2:5; Matt. 2:15; Heb. 3:16

Deuteronomy 16:1-6 “Observe the month of Abib and celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 “You shall sacrifice the Passover to the LORD your God from the flock and the herd, in the place where the LORD chooses to establish His name. 3 “You shall not eat leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), so that you may remember all the days of your life the day when you came out of the land of Egypt. (ED: HOW OFTEN DO WE AS BELIEVERS TAKE TIME TO REMEMBER OUR INITIAL SALVATION EXPERIENCES? THE PRINCIPLE HERE IS THAT WE SHOULD DO THIS FREQUENTLY, EVEN DAILY! I HAVE NOT DONE THIS AS MUCH AS I SHOULD HAVE! PERHAPS A GOOD WAY TO BEGIN THE DAY IS SAY "FATHER, THANK YOU FOR DELIVERING ME FROM BONDAGE TO SIN AND SATAN THAT I MIGHT LIVE AS A FREE MAN IN CHRIST JESUS AND FOR YOUR GLORY. AMEN") 4 “For seven days no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory, and none of the flesh which you sacrifice on the evening of the first day shall remain overnight until morning. 5 “You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the LORD your God is giving you; 6 but at the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name, you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt.

This night is for the LORD, to be observed by all the sons of Israel throughout their generations - NLT says "So this night belongs to Him." For the LORD means it belongs to Him and He alone gets the credit and the glory. Israel was to observe this night observed for generations to come. NLT then adds it is only fitting that "it must be commemorated every year by all the Israelites, from generation to generation."

THOUGHT - And as we remember "this night" in our own lives, we should be stimulated and motivated to exalt His saving Name "Jesus" (Jehovah Saves) in grateful worship of our Deliverer. Play My Deliverer.

THOUGHT - I once heard a missionary Baptist pastor from the Delta region of Mississippi preach on this text. The title of his sermon was ‘God Works the Night-Shift’! The point of his sermon needs to be driven home to the church today—and that lesson is the constant, ever-working providence of God. He continually maintains and sustains the universe, and he has ceaseless and endless care and compassion for his people. The Westminster Confession of Faith speaks directly to this latter observation: ‘As the providence of God doth, in general, reach to all creatures, so, after a most special manner, it taketh care of his Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof’ (Chapter 5). As the people of God, we can take great comfort from this doctrine: God’s care of his church is uninterrupted and incessant. It has no end. (John Currid)

Exodus 12:43  The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it;

  • no foreigner is to eat of it - Ex 12:48 Lev 22:10 Nu 9:14 Eph 2:12 

Exodus 12:43-51

NET Note -  The section that concludes the chapter contains regulations pertaining to the Passover. The section begins at v. 43, but vv. 40–42 form a good setting for it. In this unit vv. 43–45 belong together because they stress that a stranger and foreigner cannot eat. Verse 46 stands by itself, ruling that the meal must be eaten at home. Verse 47 instructs that the whole nation was to eat it. Verses 48–49 make provision for foreigners who may wish to participate. And vv. 50–51 record the obedience of Israel.

The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "This is the ordinance of the Passover: no foreigner is to eat of it - no foreigner is permitted to share in it apart from being a member of the household as a circumcised slave (Ex 12:44) or obeying  (Ex 12:48) if not a slave but a free man.

Guzik - Receiving the covenant of circumcision and taking Passover were all part of the same package.

Exodus 12:44  but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it.

  • circumcised - Ge 17:12,13,23 

but every man's slave purchased with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat of it - Permission for slaves to eat the Passover was only if they had been circumcised. 

Exodus 12:45  "A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it.

  • Lev 22:10 Eph 2:12 

A sojourner or a hired servant shall not eat of it  - "Temporary residents and hired servants may not eat it." (Ex 12:45 NLT)

A sojourner was a temporary visitors who were dependent in some way on the nation. They were temporary residents, persons working in the land without benefit of wages. The sojourner was less assimilated than the alien and was often attached to someone else's household. He could not participate in the Passover (Exo. 12:45; Lev. 22:10), but could flee to a city of refuge in time of need (Num. 35:15). Leviticus 25 contains a body of regulations concerning the status of a sojourner.

A hired servant refers to a rented or hired person, animal, or object (Ex. 12:45; 22:15). Wages were to be paid promptly to hired workers (Lev. 19:13). Restrictions were laid on hired persons concerning Temple rituals and holy things (Lev. 22:10). Special laws affected the lives of hired laborers. They were not to eat of the Passover (Exo. 12:45; cf. Lev. 22:10), and poor laborers were not to be oppressed (Deut. 24:14). Hired day laborers were to receive pay for their work the same day the services were performed (Lev. 19:13).

Exodus 12:46  "It is to be eaten in a single house; you are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house, nor are you to break any bone of it.

  • in a single house - 1Co 12:12 Eph 2:19-22 
  • nor are you to break any bone of it - Nu 9:12  Joh 19:33,36 


It is to be eaten in a single house - One lamb for each household

You are not to bring forth any of the flesh outside of the house - It was to be totally consumed and parts not consumed burned.

Nor are you to break any bone of it - Exactly why this is to be is not clear. But one thing is crystal clear and today we have an answer.  Why? Because when soldiers came to break the legs of Jesus and the others on the cross to hasten death. The others' legs were broken but not Jesus'. God saw to it that He was already dead, the Bible says so that the Scripture would be fulfilled when the Lamb of God was crucified...

Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came, and broke the legs of the first man and of the other who was crucified with Him; 33 but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. 35 And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. 36 For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.”(Jn. 19:31-36).

Psalm 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 

Exodus 12:47  "All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this.

  • All the - Ex 12:3,6 Nu 9:13 

All the congregation of Israel are to celebrate this 

Exodus 12:48  "But if a stranger sojourns with you, and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat of it.

  • a stranger - Ex 12:43 Nu 9:14 Nu 15:15,16 
  • let all - Ge 17:12 Eze 44:9 47:22 
  • shall be - Ga 3:28 Col 3:11 

But if a stranger sojourns with you and celebrates the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised - These would be the Egyptians who came out with the sons of Israel and as Gentiles they would have been uncircumcised.

And then let him come near to celebrate it; and he shall be like a native of the land - One can only imagine the scenes of grown men who needed to be circumcised, a procedure which by no means was painless. But only in this way would they be considered like a native of Israel. 

But no uncircumcised person may eat of it - This prohibition goes back to Genesis 17 where Abraham was instructed "And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. “A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. “But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant." (Ge 17:12-14)

Exodus 12:49  "The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you."

  • Lev 24:22 Nu 9:14 15:15,16,29 Ga 3:28 Col 3:11 

The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you - That is to say all must be circumcised, the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant.

Exodus 12:50  Then all the sons of Israel did so; they did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.

  • as the Lord - De 4:1,2 12:32 Mt 7:24,25 28:20 Joh 2:5 13:17 15:14 Rev 22:15, by their armies, Ex 12:41 6:26 7:4 


Then all the sons of Israel did so. They did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. - Complete obedience, something that would be rare for Israel in their subsequent history going to the land of promise and even after entering the land of promise. 

Exodus 12:51  And on that same day the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

And on that same day the LORD brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts 

 Acts 13:17 “The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it."

McGee - As we follow the children of Israel out of Egypt, to the Red Sea and into the wilderness, we will learn lessons that correspond to experiences in the Christian life today.