What does Exodus 12:12-14 really mean?

Exodus 12:12-14 is about God’s judgment on the gods of Egypt during the Passover, where the Israelites were spared by the blood of the lamb on their doorposts, commemorating their deliverance from slavery and calling for future generations to remember and celebrate this event.

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.”


Setting the Scene for Exodus 12:12-14

The scene in Exodus 12:12-14 takes place in the land of Egypt during the final plague that God sends upon the Egyptians to secure the release of the Israelites from their bondage. The setting is tense and foreboding as the angel of death prepares to pass through the land, striking down the firstborn of every household that does not have the blood of a lamb on its doorposts. The Israelites, following God’s instructions through Moses, have sacrificed a lamb and marked their doorposts with its blood as a sign of protection.

In this scene, we see the Israelites gathered inside their homes, anxiously awaiting the passing of the angel of death. The atmosphere is one of fear and anticipation, as the consequences of not following God’s command are dire. The Israelites huddle together, their faith in God’s promise of protection tested as they listen to the wails of the Egyptians outside whose firstborn are being taken.

Moses, the leader chosen by God to deliver His people, stands among the Israelites, a pillar of strength and obedience in the midst of chaos. The scene is illuminated by the flickering light of oil lamps, casting shadows on the faces of the Israelites as they cling to the hope of deliverance. The air is heavy with the scent of blood and fear, a stark reminder of the price of disobedience and the power of God’s protection.

What is Exodus 12:12-14 about?

God establishes the Passover as a significant and lasting ordinance for the Israelites to commemorate and remember His deliverance and protection in these verses. The Passover was an event where God spared the Israelites from the final plague in Egypt by having them mark their doorposts with the blood of a lamb, signifying their faith and trust in Him. The Israelites were saved from the destruction that befell the Egyptians by following God’s instructions.

Imagine the deep significance of this ordinance – a yearly reminder of God’s faithfulness and protection, a reminder of the importance of obedience and trust in Him. The Passover serves as a powerful symbol of God’s presence amidst adversity and His promise to deliver His people from harm. Through the observance of this ordinance, the Israelites were encouraged to never forget the miraculous ways in which God had cared for them and to pass down this knowledge to future generations. So, as we reflect on these verses, we are reminded of God’s enduring love and protection, prompting us to trust in Him wholeheartedly in all circumstances.

Understanding what Exodus 12:12-14 really means

In the narrative of the first Passover, as depicted in Exodus 12:12-14, we witness a pivotal moment where God intervenes directly in human history to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The verse marks the culmination of the plagues, with the final and most devastating plague being the death of the firstborn. This act of judgment by God ultimately leads to Pharaoh releasing the Israelites from their bondage, showcasing the power and authority of God in fulfilling His promises.

“I will pass through the land of Egypt” signifies God’s active involvement in the affairs of humanity, demonstrating His sovereignty and righteous judgment. The phrase “I will strike down every firstborn” underscores the severity of God’s judgment against Egypt, highlighting the consequences of disobedience and oppression. The instruction to use the blood of a lamb as a sign on the doorposts for protection symbolizes the concept of sacrificial atonement and deliverance, foreshadowing the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

When God declares, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you,” it emphasizes His mercy and the necessity of obedience to His commands for salvation. This act of passing over the households marked with blood showcases God’s grace and protection for those who trust and obey Him. The imagery of the Passover lamb in Exodus finds its fulfillment in the person of Jesus Christ, who is referred to as the “Lamb of God” in John 1:29, highlighting His sacrificial role in taking away the sins of the world.

The relevance of this passage extends beyond its historical context, resonating with people today who may feel trapped by various forms of bondage, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual. The themes of deliverance, faith, and obedience remain timeless and essential for individuals seeking freedom and salvation. Just as the Israelites had to trust and obey God’s instructions for their deliverance, we are called to have faith and follow God’s guidance in our own lives for ultimate liberation.

Consider a family burdened by financial debt, feeling enslaved by their circumstances. By diligently following a financial advisor’s plan, they experience freedom from debt over time. This mirrors the Israelites’ obedience to God’s instructions and subsequent deliverance. In a similar manner, we are encouraged to trust in God’s plan, obey His commands, and experience the deliverance He promises to those who have faith in Him.

In conclusion, Exodus 12:12-14 serves as a poignant reminder of God’s sovereignty, the significance of obedience to His word, and the assurance of deliverance for those who trust in Him. It prompts us to reflect on our own lives, embrace God’s guidance, and acknowledge the sacrificial love demonstrated through Jesus Christ for our salvation.

How can I remember and honor God’s deliverance?

One way to remember and honor God’s deliverance is by celebrating through rituals and traditions. God instructs the Israelites to commemorate the Passover as a lasting ordinance in the context of Exodus 12:12-14, serving as a reminder of how He delivered them from slavery in Egypt. This act of celebrating and remembering God’s faithfulness can be done through various means such as observing special holidays, setting aside time for prayer and reflection, or participating in church services and ceremonies.

Another way to honor God’s deliverance is by sharing your testimony of His goodness and faithfulness with others. We can also share our experiences of God’s deliverance in our lives with those around us as the Israelites were instructed to pass down the story of the Passover to future generations. This not only strengthens our own faith but also serves as a powerful witness to others of God’s miraculous works and the importance of trusting in Him during challenging times.

Lastly, we can remember and honor God’s deliverance by living a life of gratitude and obedience. We too can show our thankfulness to God by obeying His commandments, walking in His ways, and seeking His will for our lives, just as the Israelites followed God’s instructions and trusted in His plan for their deliverance. We can honor and glorify Him for His deliverance in our lives by continually seeking to align our actions and attitudes with God’s teachings.


Embrace the wisdom of the past, honor traditions, and celebrate the essence of family bonds like a well-tuned machine. Let’s keep the flame of faith burning brightly in our fast-paced world. It is our mission to pass on these sacred threads of history to the next generation as a beacon of love and resilience. Will you weave the tapestry of tradition with dedication and commitment, connecting the fabric of our past to the future?