Tuesday, August 14, 2012

XXXVIII - Exodus Chapter 12 - The Passover

Ex 12 - The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread

This chapter 12 contains so much I doubt if I'll cover it all in one post.

Vss 1,2  -  Israel built its calender year around religious feasts.  Other civilization sub-sects have built their calenders around the seasons, planting and harvest.  The Hebrew calender of course included these also, but the emphasis was not on farming, but rather on what God had done.  The calender year is to begin with the Feast of the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  These two feasts are to commemorate (means "call to remembrance") and rejoice over the Lord bringing them out of Egypt.  After this event, God made them into a nation.  God stresses this as He has Israel to prepare for their freedom from bondage.  He was about to redeem His people.  This very time in History will mark the first celebration of a new year and the celebration is to be with feasts.

Vss 3, 4  -  Some families were to worship with other families and some, if large enough to eat a whole lamb, would worship by itself.  But they were all to observe the feast at the same time and in the same way.  {Later the practice would be adjusted slightly to have ten people for each lamb.}  Note that God says that the entire lamb must be eaten.  There was to be no waste or leftovers.  In vs 10 He instructs that if there was any left, it must be burned.  Therefore the family or combined families must be the proper size.

Vss 5-7  -  I've heard many times:  Religion is empty without sacrifice.  And all sacrifice costs something.  For the Passover and all other sacrifices, God required the best.  He said the animals you chose must be year-old males, without blemish.  Think about show animals at the state fairs.  This is the quality God wants sacrificed for Him.  Vs 6 - These "very best" animals were to be separated for fourteen days, then all were to be slaughtered at the same time that evening.  Then (vs 7) they were to take the blood of the slaughtered sacrificial animals and spread it on the sides and tops the door frames of their homes.  This clearly marked that this was the home of a Hebrew family, and (just as importantly) an obediant, God-fearing Hebrew family.  {You and I both know that there were Hebrews who did not wish to join Moses and the leading of God.  Many of these were probably some who may have found favor with the Egyptians and lived lives with which they were satisfied.  Also, to pick up and move was to take a certain amount of courage, which would also have required a certain amount of faith.  Let's remember, Moses has told everyone that they would leave Egypt and go toward and through the wilderness to reach the promised land.}
Vss 8-11  -  In these verses God gives specific intructions on how to cook and eat the meal.  Three features of this meal has special meaning:  1)  Bitter herbs were to be used.  This was to remind them (and all future generations of Israelites as they celebrated the Passover every year) of how bitter their bondage was in Egypt.  2) The bread was to be baked without yeast.  This was to signify that there was no time to wait for the dough to rise.  3) Tuck your cloak into your belt, have your sandals on, and staff in hand, ready to travel quickly.  They must be ready to travel as they ate the meal.  {(KJV)  "Gird your Loins" means pull up the bottom fabric of your garment and tuck it into your belt, so as to get the long cloth out of the way so you won't trip on it.  This term is used so many times in the Bible, not only as preparation for travel, but also in preparation to do battle.}  All of this is telling the Israelites that the time is now.

Vs 12, 13  -  In the previous nine plagues Moses and Aaron had served as God's intruments.  With rod or prayer they called in the plague.  However, for this tenth and final plague no human shared involvement or responsibility.  God alone has power over life and death.  He says in vs 12 that He will pass through all of Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals.  He says further in vs 12 that He will bring judgement on all the gods of Egypt.  I told you earlier that we
would learn a lot about the personality of God.  This part in vs 12 draws attention when He says He'll bring judgement on the "gods" of Egypt.  God doesn't like people worshipping other gods.  In the 20th chapter of Exodus God gives His Ten Commandments, and see which one is first:  "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me".  This is important to God and should be important to us.  In vs 13 God tells Israel that the blood on the door frames will be a sign for Him.  "When I see the blood, I shall pass over you".  Thus the name of the feast:  Passover.  He promises that no destructive plague will do them harm.
Vs 14-28  -  In these verses God carefully gives Moses details for the feasts and the preparations for leaving.  As I stated earlier, these instructions can be considered a precursor to the Levitican Law.  {It is important to comment that the Levitican Law is not complicated, but rather lengthy with much detail.  Although one should not get bogged down with trying to learn all the details, all serious students of God's Holy Scripture should be sure to read all of it to get a full understanding of God.}  I like the last three verses in this passage.  The Lord gave Israel many chances to teach their children.  Parents teaching their children is a very important part of God's intended societal structure.  The Passover was a feast of remembrance and worshp, but it also stirred curiosity of children.  We are to
to teach what our children are to do and why they should do it.  Then the annual feasts are to serve as reminders for their entire lives.  God wants this observance to be perpetual to the end times.

Vs 29, 30  -  God did what He said He was going to do.  He struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, including the firstborn of Pharaoh and all people and livestock.  All the Egyptians got up during the night and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt because every house had a death in it.

The next post will cover the rest of chapter 12 and will begin with the exodus itself. 


  1. Where did you get the info about the yeast? I have never heard that but it makes a lot of sense. Interesting fact. I wonder what kind of herbs they ate?

  2. Ex.12:39 is a good reference about the yeast, but to be honest I've known that for quite a number of years. Cannot pinpoint origin. Probably in a commentary book I used while preparing a Sunday School lesson.

    I don't about the herbs for sure, although some are mentioned by name throughout the Bible.