Exodus 12 Explained – Verse by Verse Commentary

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
2 “This month shall be for you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year for you.
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.
4 And if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his nearest neighbor shall take according to the number of persons; according to what each can eat you shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old.
6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.
7 Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.
8 They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted, its head with its legs and its inner parts.
10 And you shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn.
11 In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord.
13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. 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.
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.”
15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.
16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you.
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.
18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
19 For seven days no leaven is to be found in your houses. If anyone eats what is leavened, that person will be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a sojourner or a native of the land.
20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwelling places you shall eat unleavened bread.”
21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and select lambs for yourselves according to your clans, and kill the Passover lamb.
22 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning.
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.
24 You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever.
25 And when you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service.
26 And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’
27 then you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
28 Then the people of Israel went and did so; as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
29 At midnight the Lord struck down 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 the livestock.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians. And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where someone was not dead.
31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as you have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also.
33 The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.”
34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders.
35 The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing.
36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.
37 And the people of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children.
38 And a mixed multitude also went up with them, and very much livestock, both flocks and herds.
39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
40 The time that the people of Israel lived in Egypt was 430 years.
41 At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
42 It was a night of watching by the Lord, to bring them out of the land of Egypt; so this same night is a night of watching kept to the Lord by all the people of Israel throughout their generations.
43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,
44 but every slave that is bought for money may eat of it after you have circumcised him.
45 It may be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the flesh outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 If a stranger shall sojourn with you and would keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised. Then he may come near and keep it; he shall be as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it.
49 There shall be one law for the native and for the stranger who sojourns among you.”
50 All the people of Israel did just as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
51 And on that very day the Lord brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

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The True Meaning of Exodus 12

The Book of Exodus was written by Moses, the great prophet and leader of the Israelites. He had a unique perspective, having been raised in the Egyptian royal household before fleeing and encountering God at the burning bush. Moses relays God’s instructions for the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt through the Passover event in this pivotal chapter.

This chapter sets the stage for the Israelites’ dramatic exodus from Egypt, which will culminate in their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. We will see God’s mighty hand at work, as He protects His people and brings judgment upon their oppressors. The Passover ritual, with its symbolic significance, will become a foundational observance for the Israelites, pointing forward to the ultimate sacrifice of Christ, the Lamb of God.

The events described in Exodus 12 have profound implications that reverberate throughout the rest of the biblical narrative. We see God’s faithfulness to His covenant promises, as well as the importance of obedience and faith in the face of seemingly insurmountable circumstances. This chapter reminds us that God is sovereign and that He will always provide a way of escape for those who trust in Him, just as He did for the Israelites in their time of need.

Exodus 12:1-10

Exodus 12:1-10 states, “The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 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. If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs. That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire—with the head, legs and internal organs. Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. The preparations for the Israelites to celebrate the Passover are being made in this section. The Lord establishes the month of this significant occasion as the first month of the year, symbolizing a fresh start and a new beginning. The Passover was to be a time of remembrance and deliverance for the Israelites, marking their liberation from slavery in Egypt.

The selection of a year-old lamb without defect for each household holds symbolic significance. The lamb represents innocence and purity, foreshadowing Jesus Christ as the sacrificial lamb without blemish who would later redeem humanity from sin (1 Peter 1:19). The act of slaughtering the lamb and putting its blood on the doorframes of the houses served as a sign of protection for the Israelites, as the Lord passed over those homes and spared them from the plague that struck the firstborn in Egypt (Exodus 12:23).

The meal comprising the roasted lamb, bitter herbs, and unleavened bread held spiritual significance. The bitter herbs represented the bitterness of slavery, while the unleavened bread symbolized the haste with which the Israelites had to leave Egypt, without allowing time for their bread to rise (Exodus 12:39). This meal served as a powerful reminder of the hardships endured by the Israelites and the miraculous intervention of God in their deliverance. This passage emphasizes the importance of obedience to God’s instructions, the symbolism of the sacrificial lamb, and the significance of the Passover as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance. It also points to the ultimate fulfillment of these symbols and rituals in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who became the sacrificial lamb for the redemption of all humanity.

Exodus 12:11-20

God gave the Israelites specific instructions regarding the preparation and observance of the Passover meal in Exodus 12:11-20. Let’s break down these verses for a comprehensive understanding of their significance.

Starting with verse 11, God instructs the Israelites on how to eat the Passover meal. The directive is to eat it in haste, with their cloaks tucked into their belts, sandals on their feet, and staff in hand. This sense of urgency was emphasized because the Passover meal was a memorial of the night when God delivered them from slavery in Egypt. This urgency also indicates readiness and a willingness to move quickly when God’s deliverance comes.

Moving on to verse 12, God explains that on the night of the Passover, He would pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn, both man and beast. This was the final plague that led to Pharaoh releasing the Israelites from bondage. However, the Israelites were instructed to mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb as a sign for the Lord to pass over their homes. This act of faith and obedience symbolized the protection and salvation God provided for His people. God lays out the perpetual observance of the Passover festival as a lasting ordinance for the Israelites in verses 14-20. This annual celebration served as a reminder of their deliverance from Egypt and the importance of obedience to God’s commands. The significance of the Passover feast was not only historical but also prophetic, pointing towards the ultimate deliverance through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God.

The meticulous instructions given by God regarding the Passover meal highlight the importance of obedience and faithfulness in the lives of believers. Just as the Israelites had to follow God’s commands precisely to experience His deliverance, Christians are called to heed God’s Word and trust in His promises for salvation and protection. The Passover holds great theological significance in the broader context of the Bible. It foreshadows the ultimate deliverance from sin through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. Jesus becomes the Passover Lamb whose blood saves believers from eternal death in the New Testament. Paul refers to Jesus as our Passover lamb who has been sacrificed in 1 Corinthians 5:7, underscoring the connection between the Old Testament Passover and the redemptive work of Christ. Exodus 12:11-20 not only recounts the historical event of the Passover in Egypt but also conveys timeless lessons about obedience, faith, and the salvation that comes from God alone. It serves as a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness in delivering His people and the call for believers to trust in Him completely for their deliverance and protection.

Exodus 12:21-30

An important passage that captures the events leading up to the Passover night in Egypt is seen in Exodus 12:21-30. Identify the subject: “Let’s”

Rewritten sentence: Let’s break down the verse and delve into its significance within the broader context of the Exodus narrative.

Verse 21 begins with Moses summoning all the elders of Israel and giving them specific instructions from God about the Passover. This scene highlights the role of Moses as the chosen leader of the Israelites, entrusted by God to lead them out of Egypt. The elders represent the leadership of the community who are to ensure that the instructions are followed meticulously. This underscores the importance of obedience and faithfulness to God’s commands.

The instructions given in verses 22-23 detail the actions the Israelites were to take on the night of the Passover. They were commanded to take a lamb for each household, slaughter it, and apply its blood to the doorposts of their houses. This act of marking the doorposts with blood would protect them from the plague that would strike the firstborn in Egypt. This event foreshadows the sacrificial lamb in Christian theology, with Jesus later being seen as the ultimate sacrificial lamb whose blood saves believers from spiritual death. Moses emphasizes the urgency and gravity of the situation as he relays God’s command to the people in verse 24. The Israelites were to observe this ritual as a perpetual ordinance, remembering and commemorating the night of their deliverance from slavery. This ritual serves as a tangible reminder of God’s faithfulness and deliverance, encouraging future generations to trust in God’s promises and providence. We witness the tragic consequences of Pharaoh’s hardened heart as the narrative unfolds in verse 29. Despite numerous warnings and plagues, Pharaoh remains obstinate and refuses to let the Israelites go. The tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, finally breaks his resolve, leading to a cry of great mourning in Egypt. This pivotal moment sets the stage for the Israelites’ liberation and marks a turning point in the Exodus story, underscoring the theme of God’s judgement and deliverance.

The passage in Exodus 12:21-30 encapsulates the themes of obedience, redemption, and divine judgement that resonate throughout the biblical narrative. It foreshadows the ultimate deliverance that God provides through Jesus Christ, the sacrificial lamb who atones for the sins of humanity. The events surrounding the Passover serve as a powerful reminder of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty, inviting believers to reflect on the significance of redemption and the call to trust in God’s saving grace.

Exodus 12:31-42

The context in Exodus 12:31-42 portrays a crucial moment in the story of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. Pharaoh has finally relented and allowed the Israelites to leave after the final and devastating plague of the death of the firstborn. Let’s break down this passage into key sections and explore their meanings.

Verse 31 starts with Pharaoh urgently summoning Moses and Aaron in the middle of the night. This moment is significant because it marks the climax of the conflict between Pharaoh, representing the oppressive power of Egypt, and Moses, the chosen instrument of God for the liberation of His people. The urgency in Pharaoh’s call reflects the sudden realization of the severity of the plagues and the devastating consequences they have brought upon Egypt. It also signifies the defeat and submission of Pharaoh before the God of Israel.

Verse 32 reveals Pharaoh’s request for the Israelites to bless him as they leave. This request is ironic considering the suffering and oppression the Israelites endured under Pharaoh’s rule. It highlights Pharaoh’s desperation and fear in the face of the power of the God of Israel. The theme of God’s justice and judgment against oppressors serves as a reminder, as seen throughout the Bible. The Israelites swiftly depart from Egypt in verses 33-36. They are driven out in haste, not even having time to let their bread rise, which ultimately leads to the observance of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This haste symbolizes the urgency and immediacy of their liberation, emphasizing that it was God’s timing and power that brought about their deliverance, not any human effort. The Feast of Unleavened Bread later becomes an important commemorative event for the Israelites, reminding them of their deliverance from slavery and the need for purity and holiness in their lives.

Verses 37-42 depict the Israelites’ journey from the city of Rameses to Succoth. This journey represents the beginning of their long trek towards the Promised Land, a journey filled with challenges, tests of faith, and the faithfulness of God. God goes before them in the form of a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night as they leave the land of bondage and oppression. This divine presence symbolizes God’s guidance, protection, and provision for His people throughout their journey, underscoring the importance of trusting in God’s leading in times of uncertainty and difficulty. Exodus 12:31-42 encapsulates the culmination of God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt and sets the stage for their journey towards the Promised Land. It reinforces timeless themes of God’s sovereignty, justice, deliverance, and faithfulness towards His people. The story of the Exodus serves as a powerful reminder of God’s willingness to intervene on behalf of the oppressed and downtrodden, showcasing His mercy and power in bringing liberation to those who call upon His name.

Exodus 12:43-51

Several key sections in Exodus 12:43-51 reference the regulations and instructions regarding the observance of the Passover. These verses emphasize the importance of following the laws set by God to commemorate the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The passage begins by stating that no foreigner shall eat of the Passover lamb unless they are circumcised. This requirement highlights the concept of inclusion and exclusivity within the covenant between God and the Israelites. Circumcision was a sign of their commitment and obedience to God’s commandments, serving as a symbol of their separation and consecration as His chosen people. The act of circumcision signified a spiritual removal of impurity and a dedication to God’s will in a broader context. The text explicitly states that we must observe the Passover throughout all generations as a lasting ordinance. This perpetual observance underlines the continuity and significance of the Passover event in the collective memory of the Israelites. The people were reminded of His faithfulness, protection, and sovereignty by commemorating and retelling the story of God’s deliverance each year. This annual ritual served as a means of passing down their history and faith to future generations, ensuring that the knowledge of God’s miraculous deeds would not be lost.

The significance of the blood of the lamb is also reiterated in these verses. The Israelites were instructed to take the blood of the Passover lamb and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of their houses. This act of marking the doorposts with blood was a visible sign of faith and obedience. It was a demonstration of their trust in God’s promise of protection and deliverance, as the angel of death would “pass over” their homes and spare them from the final plague that struck the Egyptians. This act of faith foreshadowed the ultimate atonement through the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood, who is often referred to as the “Lamb of God” in the New Testament.

Additionally, the emphasis on the unleavened bread in the Passover observance symbolizes the haste with which the Israelites had to leave Egypt. The absence of leaven represents purity and sincerity, as leaven is often seen as a symbol of sin and corruption in the Bible. The Israelites were reminded of their urgent escape from bondage and the necessity of living a life free from the “leaven” of sin by consuming unleavened bread during the Passover feast. This practice was later reflected in the New Testament when Jesus warned his disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). The regulations outlined in Exodus 12:43-51 not only provided specific instructions for the observance of the Passover but also conveyed deeper spiritual truths and lessons for the Israelites and future generations. The Passover rituals and symbols served as a means of fostering faith, gratitude, and obedience among God’s people and pointing towards the ultimate deliverance and redemption through Jesus Christ. The timeless message of God’s faithfulness, protection, and salvation remains a central theme that reverberates throughout the Bible, culminating in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate Passover Lamb.

After Exodus 12

The Israelites had followed the Lord’s instructions to the letter. They had slaughtered the Passover lamb, painted its blood on their doorframes, and prepared to leave Egypt. They gathered their belongings and waited with bated breath as the sun set. The time had come to depart this land of bondage and follow God’s leading into the unknown. Little did they know the miraculous events that were about to unfold, events that would forever shape the course of their nation. The stage was set for the Exodus, a pivotal moment in salvation history that would echo through the ages.