Exodus 12
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
Chapters 12–13

The last Plague. The departure from Egypt. Laws relating to the Passover, Maẓẓoth and the First-born. Journey to Etham

Regulations for the observance of the Passover, Exodus 12:1-13 (P), and of he feast of Maẓẓoth (i.e. Unleavened Cakes), Exodus 12:14-20 (P); communication to the people by Moses of directions (not the same as those given to him in Exodus 12:1-13) for the observance of the Passover, Exodus 12:21-28 (J); the death of the Egyptian first-born, and preparations of the Israelites for the Exodus 12:29-36 (J and E); their journey from Rameses to Succoth, Exodus 12:37-42 (E and P); supplementary regulations respecting the Passover, Exodus 12:43-51 (P); the dedication of the first-born to Jehovah, Exodus 13:1-2 (P); promulgation by Moses to the people of directions respecting the feast of Maẓẓoth, Exodus 13:3-10 (J), and the dedication of the first-born, Exodus 13:11-16 (J); the journey from Succoth to Etham, Exodus 13:17-22. The double origin of the laws in this section of Exodus is particularly evident; the marks of P in the passages assigned to him are very numerous and clear; and regulations respecting the Passover, Maẓẓoth, and the first-born, are all given in duplicate. Exodus 12:25-27 a, Exodus 13:3; Exodus 13:5; Exodus 13:8-9; Exodus 13:11; Exodus 13:14-16 may be parenetic expansions of the original text by the compiler of JE: they approximate to style and tone to Deuteronomy. Cf. the Introd. p. 17.

Exodus 12:1-13. Regulations for the Passover, according to P.

And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
1. unto Moses and Aaron] Together, as often in P: v. 43, Exodus 7:8, Exodus 9:8, Numbers 2:1 al.

in the land of Egypt
] The locality is specified, because this and the following regulations are the only ones stated to have been given in Egypt.

This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
2. This month, &c.] The ‘month’ is the one corresponding to our Mar.–Apr., called in J and E (Exodus 13:4, Exodus 23:15, Exodus 34:18) and Deuteronomy 16:1) ‘Abib,’ and in the later post-exilic writings (Nehemiah 2:1, Esther 3:7) by its Bab. name, Nisan. P never, like the older pre-exilic writers, calls the months by their Canaanitish or Phoenician names, Abib (ll.cc.), Ziv (1 Kings 6:1; 1 Kings 6:37), Ethanim (ib. 1 Kings 8:2), Bul (ib. 1 Kings 6:38); but, as do the late parts of Kings (1 Kings 12:32-33 [compiler], 2 Kings 25:1; 2 Kings 25:3; 2 Kings 25:8; 2 Kings 25:25; 2 Kings 25:27), Jer. (Jeremiah 1:3, Jeremiah 28:1; Jeremiah 28:17, Jeremiah 36:22 al.), Ezek. (Ezekiel 1:1, Ezekiel 8:1 al.), Hag. (Haggai 1:1; Haggai 1:15, Haggai 2:1), Zech. (Zechariah 1:1; Zechariah 1:7, Zechariah 7:1; Zechariah 7:3), and Chron., denotes them by numbers (1 Chronicles 16:1; 1 Chronicles 19:1; Leviticus 16:29, &c.). The old Hebrew year began in autumn (Exodus 23:16; cf. Exodus 34:22, 1 Samuel 1:20); and P here refers the later custom of beginning it in spring (see Jeremiah 36:22) to the time of the institution of the Passover in Egypt. The Bab. year began in spring; but whether the Hebrew custom was due to Bab. influence is uncertain. The earliest clear cases of the Heb. year beginning in spring are in the dates quoted above from Kings and Jer.; but 2 Kings 19:29 (= Isaiah 37:30) perhaps pre-supposes it. As the passages from Kings and Jer. shew, the reckoning from spring was more than a merely ecclesiastical calendar, it was used also for dating civil events. See further Nowack, Arch. i. 217 ff. DB. iv. 764; EB. iv. 5365 f.; König, ZDMG. lvi. (1906), p. 624 ff. There is a survival in P of the old mode of reckoning in the first day of the seventh month being celebrated as New Year’s day (Leviticus 23:24).

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:
3. the congregation] P’s standing expression for Israel, as an organized religious community, or ‘church.’ It occurs in P more than 100 times, usually alone (‘the congregation’), sometimes with the addition of ‘of Israel’ (as here, vv. 6, 47, Leviticus 4:13), or ‘of the children of Israel’ (Exodus 16:1-2, &c.). Except in P and the allied narrative of Joshua 22, it occurs in the historical books only in Jdg 21:10; Jdg 21:13; Jdg 21:16, 1 Kings 8:5 (not in LXX.) = 2 Chronicles 5:6, 1 Kings 12:20.

the tenth day] perhaps (Di. Bä.) some sanctity attached to the day which closed the first decade of the month: the 10th day of the seventh month was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27); in Islam, also, as Di. observes, the 10th day of the 12th month is the day of the great sacrifice at the Mecca pilgrimage; cf. Benzinger, Arch. 2 p. 169.

a lamb] The Heb. seh denotes a single head of the tsôn, or smaller cattle (including both sheep and goats), without reference to age or sex; and may be used of either a sheep or a goat (hence RVm.): see v. 5b; and comp. Numbers 15:11 b (Lex. ‘or for a seh among the lambs or the goats’), Deuteronomy 14:4 b (Lex. ‘the seh of lambs and the seh of goats’).

fathers’ houses] A ‘father’s house’ is a common expression in P and Chr. for a family: see on Exodus 6:14.

a lamb for an household] The Passover was to be a domestic institution: each lamb was to be partaken of only by members of one family, or (in the case provided for in v. 4) of two families living side by side.

And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
4. too little for a lamb] According to the later Jews, fewer than ten (cf. Jos. BJ. vi. 9. 3; and Targ. Ps.-Jon. here), in accordance with the Rabb. exegesis of Numbers 14:27, that ten was the smallest number the could constitute a ‘congregation’ (the ‘congregation’ there being interpreted of the ten murmuring spies).

according to every man’s eating, &c.] In determining the number of persons sufficient for one lamb, you are to be guided by the usual measure or amount of their eating,—according, for example, as they are adults or children, healthy or infirm, &c.

Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
5. Characteristics of the animal chosen: it is to be (1) without blemish (like sacrificial animals in general, Deuteronomy 17:1, Leviticus 22:19; Leviticus 22:21 [H]); (2) a male, as superior to a female, and therefore more appropriate as an offering to Jehovah (so for burnt-offerings, in H and P, Leviticus 1:3; Leviticus 1:10; Leviticus 22:19 : for peace- and sin-offerings females were allowed); (3) one year old (cf. the same regulation Exodus 29:38, Leviticus 9:3, and elsewhere); (4) either a lamb or a kid (cf. on v. 3); later usage declared in favour of a lamb.

of the first year] Heb. ‘the son of a year.’ The meaning is disputed. The Rabbis interpret of the first year, i.e. from 8 days old (Leviticus 22:27 H) to a full year; modern commentators generally, a year old (LXX. ἐνιαύσιος). The Hebrew idiom (of human beings as well as of animals) occurs constantly (Genesis 21:4-5; Genesis 25:26, &c.): the same age as here is appointed for sacrifices, esp. for burnt-offerings, Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 12:6 (‘a son of its year’), Exodus 23:12; Exodus 23:18-19, and elsewhere.

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
6. ye shall keep it up] Heb. it shall be to you for a keeping: cf. Exodus 16:23; Exodus 16:32-34, Numbers 17:10 [Heb. 25], Exodus 19:9.

the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel] Cf. for the pleonasm Numbers 14:5.

between the two evenings] one of P’s technical expressions: of the Passover, as here, Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 9:3; Numbers 9:5; Numbers 9:11; of the time for offering the evening burnt-offering, Exodus 29:39; Exodus 29:41, Numbers 28:4; Numbers 28:8; of the time for lighting the lamps in the Tabernacle, Exodus 30:8; and Exodus 16:12†. The meaning is disputed. (1) Onkelos renders בין שמשיא ‘between the two suns,’ which is explained in the Talm. to mean the time between sunset and the stars becoming visible; cf. Ibn Ezra (as cited by Kalisch), ‘We have two evenings; the first, sunset, the second, the ceasing of the light which is reflected in the clouds; and the interval between them is about an hour and 20 minutes’ (so Ges. Keil). The Italian astronomer, Schiaparelli (Astronomy in the O.T., 1905, p. 92 f.), arrives at nearly the same explanation. He supposes that the expression arose out of the custom of watching for the first appearance of the crescent moon to mark the beginning of the new month; and thinks that the ‘first’ evening would be the half-hour between sunset and the average time at which in the latitude of Palestine the crescent moon would appear, and that the ‘second’ evening would be the hour afterwards, from the appearance of the crescent to complete darkness: ‘between the two evenings’ would thus mark the time about half-an-hour after sunset. Cf. Deuteronomy 16:6, where the Passover is to be sacrificed ‘at the going down of the sun,’ i.e. at sunset. (2) Saadiah (d. a.d. 942), Rashi and Kimchi understand the ‘first’ evening to be the time when the sun first begins to decline to the west, and the shadows begin to lengthen, and the ‘second’ evening to be the beginning of night. But this interpretation gives a very forced sense to the ‘first’ evening. (3) The traditional explanation, adopted by the Pharisees and the Talmudists (Pesâḥim 61a) was that the ‘first’ evening was when the heat of the sun begins to decrease, about 3 p.m., and that the ‘second’ evening began with sunset. So Josephus (BJ. vi. 9. 3) says that in his day the Passover was sacrificed ‘from the 9th to the 11th hour’ (i.e. from 3 to 5 p.m.). The Mishna (Pesâḥim v. 1) seems to imply that the Passover was usually killed half-an-hour after the 8th hour, i.e. at 2.30 p.m.1[128]: the time however appears to have been variable; for ibid. § 3 it is merely said that if offered ‘before noon,’ it was not valid. (1) is the most natural explanation of the Heb. expression, and has also the support of Deuteronomy 16:6 : but (3) is certainly the sense that was traditionally attached to it.

[128] In Exodus 29:39; Exodus 29:41 ‘between the two evenings’ is also assigned as the time at which the daily burnt-offering was to be offered: when the two collided, the daily burnt-offering was offered an hour earlier (slaughtered, half-an-hour after the 7th hour, and sacrificed half-an-hour after the 8th hour). Pes. v. 1.

And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
7. The blood of the slain lamb to be applied to the doorposts and lintel of the house in which it is eaten,—as it were, to consecrate the house, and protect its inmates against destruction. This rite is probably a survival of an earlier, perhaps pre-Yahwistic stage, of usage. The Bedawin of the present day, when a new house is dedicated, sprinkle its doors and front with the blood of a goat slaughtered at the ceremony. See p. 411; and Lees, The Witness of the Wilderness (1909), p. 180.

And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
8. in that (Heb. this) night] the night between the 14th and the 15th.

roast with fire] over the fire, on a spit, not in an oven.

unleavened cakes] not ‘bread,’ for the Heb. word is plural. They were a kind of biscuit, which could be baked rapidly, as for an unexpected visitor (Genesis 19:3, Jdg 6:19-21, 1 Samuel 28:24), or when there was no time to use leaven (below, v. 39); and they are still the ordinary food of the Bedawin. They were used in other ritual besides that of the Passover (v. 15, Exodus 29:2, Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 7:12, Numbers 6:15 al.). Unleavened cakes are now usually made in Syria by the thin dough being clapped on to the heated interior side of the tannûr (Exodus 8:3), after the embers have been removed: they may be thinner than pasteboard, and 1–1½ ft. in diameter (EB. s.v. Bread; L. and B. iii. 219). The unleavened cakes made by modern Jews for the Passover are round, about ¼ in. thick, and 12 in. in diameter (Jewish Encycl. viii. 394). For the probable reason why leavened bread was avoided, see on Exodus 23:18 a. In Deuteronomy 16:3 the unleavened cakes (of the Passover and Maẓẓoth together) are called the ‘bread of affliction,’ and explained symbolically as a memorial of the mingled hurry and alarm (ḥippâẓôn) with which the Israelites left Egypt (cf. below, vv. 11, 34, 39), and as adapted to lead Israel to a grateful recollection of its deliverance.

bitter herbs] only besides Numbers 9:11 (also of the Passover); and Lamentations 3:15 (fig. of severe suffering). LXX. πικρίδες, which is differently explained by the ancients (see Kn. ap. Di.; Nowack, Arch. ii. 173) as meaning either wild lettuce (cf. Vulg. lạctuca agrestis) or wild endive,—both plants indigenous in Egypt and Syria. The Mishna (Pes. ii. 6) mentions five species of herbs any one of which would satisfy the present injunction: lettuce, wild endive, garden endive (?), nettles, and bitter coriander (?). The intention of the bitter herbs is uncertain: perhaps they were meant simply as a condiment, or salad: the later Jews (Gamaliel in Pesâḥim Exodus 10:5; Rashi) explained them as a memorial of the Israelites’ lives being ‘made bitter’ in bondage (ch. Exodus 1:14).

Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
9. Eat not of it raw] lest the blood should be eaten at the same time, against the standing prohibition, Leviticus 7:26 f., Exodus 17:10-12, &c.

nor boiled at all with water] Sacrifices partaken of by the worshipper are elsewhere regularly represented as boiled: see (in P) Exodus 29:31, Leviticus 6:28; Leviticus 8:31, Numbers 6:19; cf. also Exo 1 Samuel 2:15, Zechariah 14:21, and the ‘boiling-places’ in Ezekiel’s restored Temple, Ezekiel 46:20; Ezekiel 46:24 : there must thus be some reason for roasting being here so emphatically enjoined. What the reason was must remain matter of conjecture. Di. thinks that it was because in this case the fat (which might not be eaten, Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:23-25, and had not, as in the case of the peace-offering, been removed previously, and burnt upon the altar, Leviticus 3:3-5; Leviticus 3:9-11; Leviticus 3:14-16) might drip down and be consumed in the fire. G. F. Moore, art. Sacrifice in EB. iv. 4187, thinks it a survival of archaic usage. ‘In the earliest times the carcase of the victim was probably roasted whole either over an open fire, or in a pit in the earth (as by the modern Samaritans), and the flesh sometimes eaten half raw or merely softened by fire. Deuteronomy 16:7 (see RVm.) prescribes that it shall be boiled, like other sacrifices partaken of by the worshipper. This, however, did not prevail; and P preserves the primitive custom.’

its head with, &c.] i.e. it is not to be divided (like the burnt-offering, for instance, Exodus 29:17, Leviticus 1:8-9), but to be roasted whole (cf. v. 46).

And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
10. Nothing of it to be left over to the morning. An injunction given generally in the case of sacrifices, and intended to guard against profanation of the sacred flesh: Exodus 23:18 = Exodus 34:25; Deuteronomy 16:4 (of the Passover); Leviticus 7:15 (cf. v. 17).

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.
11. The Israelites are to partake of the Passover completely prepared for their departure.

your loins girded] The long and loose robes of Orientals, when they wish to move rapidly, are fastened up round the waist with a strong girdle: cf. 1 Kings 18:46, 2 Kings 4:29; 2 Kings 9:1.

your sandals on your feet] ready for a journey. Sandals were not worn in the house.

your staff in your hand] a staff was regularly used in walking.

and ye shall eat it in trepidation] in mingled hurry and alarm. ‘Haste’ alone is not adequate: notice the cognate verb in Deuteronomy 20:3 (‘tremble’), 1 Samuel 23:26, Psalm 48:5 (RVm.). Cf. the same word in Deuteronomy 16:3, and Isaiah 52:12 (where the coming exodus from Babylon is not to be ‘in trepidation’).

it is a passover (Heb. pésaḥ) to Jehovah. The form of sentence, as vv. 27, 42, Exodus 29:18 a, 18b, Exodus 30:10, &c. In vv. 13 (see note), 23, 27, the term pésaḥ is explained by means of the cognate verb in the sense of a passing over (cf. Aq. here ὑπέρβασις); but it is uncertain whether this is the original meaning of the term. The LXX. render by πάσχα, ‘pascha,’ from the Aramaic form of the word: so in NT. (e.g. Matthew 26:17). The Vulg. has in the OT. Phase, in the NT. Pascha; hence our adj. ‘Paschal.’ On the Heb. word, see further p. 408.

For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
12. And I will go through, &c.] cf. Exodus 11:4.

and against, &c.] cf. Numbers 33:4 (P); for ‘judgements,’ also, see on Exodus 6:6.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
13. pass over] The Heb. is pâsaḥ, cognate with pésaḥ, ‘passover.’ Except here, and vv. 23, 27, the word occurs only in Isaiah 31:5 ‘As birds flying, so will Jehovah protect Jerusalem: he will protect and deliver, he will pass over and rescue.’ The word is not found in this sense in the cognate languages: there is a presumption that it is the same word as pâsaḥ, to limp (1 Kings 18:21; 1 Kings 18:26); see p. 408.

a token] Cf. Exodus 13:9; Exodus 13:16, Exodus 31:13; Exodus 31:17; Genesis 9:12-13; Genesis 9:17; Genesis 17:11; Joshua 2:12.

plague] Heb. négeph (lit. a striking or blow), usually of a calamity inflicted on those who have aroused God’s anger: Exodus 30:12, Numbers 8:19; Numbers 16:46-47, Joshua 22:17 (all P). Cf. the cogn. verb (‘smite’), vv. 23, 27, Exodus 8:2, Exodus 32:35, Joshua 24:5 (‘plagued’). Not the word rendered ‘plague’ in Exodus 11:1; but cognate with maggçphâh, Exodus 9:14 : see p. 58.

to destroy you] This is a paraphrase: the Heb. may be rendered either (RVm.) for a destroyer (cf. v. 23), or for destruction (cf. Ezekiel 5:16; Ezekiel 9:6 RVm.). As P regards Jehovah as the destroyer (v. 12), the latter rend. is preferable (Di.).

On the history and significance of the Passover, see further p. 405 ff. By Di. and others the Passover is thought to have been originally a pre-Mosaic spring-offering of propitiation and communion with the Deity, offered annually for the purpose of protecting tents and flocks from pestilence or other misfortune during the coming year, and of renewing by the common sacred meal a sense of communion with the Deity: the observance was gradually associated by tradition with the deliverance of Israel from the plague which attacked the Egyptians; and it thus became an annual commemoration of the Exodus.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
14. this day] not, as might seem at first sight, the 14th of the month, the day on which the Passover was observed, but the 15th, the first day of the feast of Maẓẓoth.

a memorial] viz. of the Exodus (v. 17): ‘memorial,’ as Numbers 16:40, Joshua 4:7.

a feast] a pilgrimage (see on Exodus 5:1): as Exodus 23:15; Exodus 23:17 shew, a pilgrimage to a sanctuary was an essential feature in the feast of Maẓẓoth.

throughout your generations … an ordinance for ever] both standing expressions of P. ‘Ordinance for ever’ (ḥoḳ ‘ôlâm, also rendered ‘statute for ever,’ ‘perpetual statute’) recurs v. 17, Exodus 27:21, Exodus 28:43, Exodus 29:9; Exodus 29:17 times in Lev., Nu. ‘Generations’ (dôrôth) means successive generations: cf. v. 42, Exodus 27:21, Exodus 30:10; Exodus 30:21, Exodus 31:13; Exodus 31:16, Exodus 40:15.

14–20. Regulations for the pilgrimage of Maẓẓoth (or Unleavened Cakes) according to P. Unless the writer has expressed himself loosely, vv. 14–20 can hardly be the original sequel of vv. 1–13: as Di. observes, not only is there nothing in vv. 1–13 to which ‘this day’ in vv. 14, 17 can refer, but a memorial day (v. 14) would not be appointed before the event which it was to commemorate had taken place, and v. 17 speaks of this as past: it is possible, therefore, that in the original text of P vv. 14–20 stood somewhere after v. 41, perhaps before v. 50. The feast of Maẓẓoth, though it followed immediately after the Passover, was quite distinct from it (Leviticus 23:5-6): it lasted (v. 15) seven days. Its original intention was in all probability to celebrate the beginning of harvest: cf. p. 241, and on Exodus 23:15 a.

Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
15. Seven days] from the 15th to the 21st of the first month.

unleavened cakes] See on v. 8. So vv. 17, 18, 20 (on v. 39, see note).

even] rather, surely: cf. in the Heb. Exodus 31:13, Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:39, Numbers 1:49.

put away] Heb. make to cease. The later Hebrews were very punctilious in carrying out this injunction; and even before the Passover (which was also eaten with unleavened cakes, v. 8), the house was elaborately searched with candles in order to discover and remove any ‘leaven’ (i.e. fermented dough, or certain articles made of fermented grain: see EB. iii. 2753) that might be in it (Pesâḥim i.–iii.). See an illustration of the search for leaven, from a drawing of 1725, in the Jewish Encyclopaedia, ix. 548; or, on a smaller scale, in Oesterley and Box, The Religion and Worship of the Synagogue (1907), p. 210.

leaven] Heb. se’ôr,—in practice (see Leaven in EB.; cf. i. 604), a piece of sour (i.e. fermented) dough, reserved for the purpose from the previous day’s baking.

Leaven was regarded as produced by corruption (cf. on Exodus 23:18 a, and Plut. Quaest. Rom. 109 ‘Now leaven is itself the offspring of corruption, and corrupts the lump (φύραμα) with which it is mixed’); and so in the NT. it becomes a figure of corrupt teaching or practice, Matthew 16:6 (= Mark 8:15 = Luke 12:1), 11: St Paul twice quotes the saying, ‘A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump’ (1 Corinthians 5:6, Galatians 5:9), with reference to moral corruption: and in 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, with evident reference to the injunction here, bids Christians ‘clear away the old leaven,’ and ‘keep the feast’ of their Passover, Christ (i.e. live the Christian life), with the ‘unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.’

that soul shall be cut off from Israel] a formula, with slight variations (as he or that man for that soul; and from his father’s kin or from the congregation for from Israel), very common in P: v. 19, Genesis 17:14, Exodus 30:37-38; Exodus 31:14, Leviticus 7:20-21; Leviticus 7:25; Leviticus 7:27; Leviticus 17:4; Leviticus 17:9; Leviticus 18:29; Leviticus 19:8; Leviticus 20:17-18; Leviticus 22:3; Leviticus 23:29, Numbers 9:13; Numbers 15:30-31; Numbers 19:13; Numbers 19:20† (cf. with the first person, I will cut off …, Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 20:5-6†; I will destroy …, Leviticus 23:30†). The offence for which this is the penalty is usually neglect of some ceremonial observance, and only occasionally a moral offence, or idolatry. The punishment intended is not death by the civil power (which would be out of the question in many of the cases in which ‘cutting off’ is prescribed, and which is moreover denoted regularly by the formula, ‘shall be put to death’), but excommunication (cf. Ezra 10:8), combined with a threat of divine interposition to root out the evil-doer, as is clear from the variants in which the first person is used (Di. on Genesis 17:14).

And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
16. On the first and seventh day there was also to be a ‘holy convocation,’ i.e. an assembly at the sanctuary for religious purposes. The expression occurs besides only in the two calendars of P, Leviticus 23:2-4; Leviticus 23:7-8; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:24; Leviticus 23:27; Leviticus 23:35-37, Numbers 28:18; Numbers 28:25-26; Numbers 29:1; Numbers 29:7; Numbers 29:12; and, without ‘holy,’ Isaiah 1:13; Isaiah 4:5 (EVV., each time, ‘assemblies’). The assembly was ‘called’ together by silver trumpets (see Numbers 10:2 [where ‘calling’ is in the Heb. the same as ‘convocation’ here], Numbers 10:3; Num 10:7, cf. Numbers 10:10): Kalisch reminds us how in Mohammedan countries festivals are announced by heralds from conspicuous places, especially the towers of mosques.

save that which, &c.] The prohibition of work was thus not as strict as for the sabbath (Exodus 16:23, Exodus 35:3), or the day of atonement (Leviticus 23:28). Cf. Leviticus 23:7-8.

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.
17. selfsame day] A peculiar expression,—lit. the bone (i.e. the substance) of the day, the day itself, the very day (cf. Exodus 24:10 ‘the heaven itself,’ and Job 21:23 Heb.),—found only in P (vv. 41, 47, 51, Genesis 7:13; Genesis 17:23; Genesis 17:26 al.) and Ezek. (Ezekiel 2:3, Ezekiel 24:2, Ezekiel 40:1).

have I brought forth, &c. The pilgrimage is to be observed in commemoration of the day of the Exodus from Egypt. Cf. v. 14a.

your hosts] P pictures the Israel of the Exodus as a vast army: see on Exodus 6:26.

throughout, &c.] as v. 14b.

17–20. The essential parts of the institution repeated and insisted on again, in P’s manner; see on Exodus 6:27.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
18. The more precise determination of the ‘7 days’ of v. 15. They were to begin with the evening of the day on which the Passover was killed, and to last till the evening of the 21st day.

Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
19. Repeated, with slight alterations of phraseology, from v. 15, and with the new regulation that what has been laid down is to apply equally to the ‘sojourner,’ or resident foreigner (see on v. 48), and to the native Israelite.

Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
20. in all your habitations] i.e. throughout the land generally. Another of P’s standing expressions: Exodus 35:3, Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:26; Leviticus 23:3; Leviticus 23:14; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:31, Numbers 35:29; cf. Ezekiel 6:6; Ezekiel 6:14.

21–27 (J). Moses gives the people directions for the observance of the Passover. As Di. has shewn, the passage cannot be the real sequel to vv. 1–13. Moses does not here repeat to the elders, even in an abridged form, the injunctions before received by him; but while, with the one exception of the application of the blood to the lintel and side posts of the door, nearly all of the many particulars laid down in vv. 1–13 are omitted, fresh points (the hyssop, the basin, none to leave the house till the morning), not mentioned before, are added. The inference is irresistible that Exodus 12:21-23 is really part of a different account (i.e. J’s) of the institution of the Passover, which ‘stands to Exodus 12:3-13 in the same relation in which the regulations respecting Maẓẓoth in Exo Exodus 13:3-10 stand to those in Exodus 12:14-20’ (Di. p. 100; ed. 2, p. 111).

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
21. Draw out] viz. out of the folds. The intrans. sense Move along (RVm. ‘Go forth’ is much too free), viz. (Di.) to your several homes, to get the lambs, found in Jdg 4:6; Jdg 5:14 (perhaps), Jdg 20:37, Job 21:33, is here scarcely suitable.

lambs] Marg. Or, kids. See on v. 3.

according to your families] If the writer were the same as in vv. 1–13, it is hardly likely that he would represent Moses, when communicating his instructions to the people, as taking no notice of the particulars on which such stress is laid in vv. 4–6.

the passover] See on v. 12. The word is introduced here as if the institution were already well known.

And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
22. hyssop] A small plant, growing out of walls (1 Kings 4:33), a wisp of which was well adapted for sprinkling, and is accordingly prescribed to be used in various purificatory rites (Leviticus 14:4; Leviticus 14:6; Leviticus 14:49-51, Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:18 [Hebrews 9:19]: cf. Psalm 51:7). What plant the ‘hyssop’ is, is, however, disputed; but it is in any case not our hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis, Linn.), which is not a native of Palestine. Saadiah (10 cent.) rendered by ṣa‘tar, i.e. some species of satureia, or (as Kimchi explains) origanum, marjoram; so also Abul-Walid, Maimonides, Kimchi; and this explanation is adopted by Ges., Di., and others. The Pesh. zupha also means the same plant (Löw, Aram. Pflanzennamen, No. 93)1[129]. Post (DB. s.v.) thinks that the particular species meant is the Origanum Maru, Linn. This grows in clefts of rocks, in chinks of old walls, and on the terrace walls throughout Palestine: it has straight, slender, leafy stalks, with small heads, several of the stalks growing from one root, so that a bunch or wisp suitable for sprinkling a liquid with could readily be broken off. Tristram (NHB. 456 ff.) argues in favour of the Caper (Capparis spinosa), a bright green creeper, which climbs out of fissures of rocks in the Sinaitic valleys, and hangs in abundance from the walls of Jerusalem, and the stalks of which, bearing from three to five blossoms each, would likewise be suitable for the same purpose; but the former interpretation has very strong support in ancient tradition, and there appears to be no sufficient reason for deserting it1[130].

[129] In the Talm. (Shabb. 109b), also, the Heb. ’çzôb is identified with the Arab. sumsaḳ, or marjoram.

[130] The Arab. ’aṣaf, which Tristram (NHB. 457) quotes in support of the caper, does not correspond phonetically to the Heb. ’çzôb. In support of marjoram, see esp. Löw’s learned discussion in the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy (phil. and hist. Classe), 1909, Abh. III.

John 19:29 ὑσσώπῳ περιθέντες (where Matthew 27:48 = Mark 15:36 have περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) does not seem to have any bearing on the question which plant is meant. Different traditions may have been current; or the term ‘reed’ may have been used widely to denote the stalk of either marjoram, which may reach to 3 ft. (Löw, p. 16), or the caper.

strike the lintel … with, &c.] rather, apply some of the blood to (lit. make it draw near to or touch, as Exodus 4:25) the lintel &c.

and none of you, &c.] So as to enjoy the protection of the house sprinkled with the blood. A direction not contained in vv. 1–13.

door] Heb. entrance (lit. opening). So v. 23, Exodus 26:36, and often.

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.
23. pass over] The verb is cognate with pésaḥ. See on v. 13.

the destroyer] The destroying angel: cf. esp. 2 Samuel 24:16; also Isaiah 37:36. LXX. ὁ ὀλεθρεύων: cf. Hebrews 11:28; and (with allusion to Numbers 16:46-50) Wis 18:25, 1 Corinthians 10:10 (ὁ ὀλοθρευτής).

And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
24. The ceremonies prescribed in vv. 21, 22 (‘this thing’) are to be observed in perpetuity, year by year.

And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.
25–27a. How, in future years, when Israel is in Canaan, the memory of the deliverance is to be kept alive: the children of successive generations, at the time when the Passover is celebrated, are to be instructed respecting its origin. The verses form one of the parenetic passages in Exodus (cf. Exodus 13:8-10; Exodus 13:14-16, Exodus 15:26; and see p. 87), which in style and tone approximate to Deuteronomy, and may be additions due to the compiler of JE.

The injunction contained in these verses is still observed by the Jews, in the part of the Passover service called the Haggâdâh, or ‘telling’: see Oesterley and Box, op. cit. p. 359 ff.

26, 27a. For the instruction of the children, cf. Exodus 10:2, Exodus 13:8, Deuteronomy 4:9 b, Deuteronomy 6:7 (= dey 11:19); and esp. the similarly worded passages, Exodus 13:14-15, Deuteronomy 6:20 ff., Joshua 4:6-7 (J), Joshua 4:21-24 (D[131]).

[131] Deuteronomic passages in Josh., Jud., Kings.

27b. bowed the head and worshipped (Exodus 4:31)] In acknowledgement of the promises of protection and deliverance given in vv. 21–23.

And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.
And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
28. How the people carried out the instructions given to them (vv. 1–13). The verse, as its style and form shew (see on Exodus 7:6), belongs to P; and perhaps formed originally the conclusion to vv. 1–13.

And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
29. Execution of the threat of Exodus 11:4 f. (J).

the captive, &c.] In Exodus 11:5the bondmaid that is behind the mill.’

29–36. The death of the Egyptian first-born; and preparations of the Israelites for their departure.

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 there was not one dead.
30. a great cry in Egypt] cf. Exodus 11:6 (J).

The tenth plague, like the preceding ones, has also its connexion with the natural conditions of the country. Malignant epidemics are of not unfrequent occurrence in Egypt; and Di. quotes from Kn. (see also DB. iii. 892b) numerous references to travellers and others, who state that they usually break out in spring, and are often worse at the time of the Ḥamsîn wind (see on Exodus 10:23; and cf. Lane, Mod. Eg.5 i. 2); they are also sometimes accompanied by very great mortality. But, as Di. continues, ‘the plague here, by its momentary suddenness, as also by its carrying off as its victims exclusively the first-born of the Egyptians, bears a wholly supernatural character. This particular form of the tradition (Sage) evidently first arose partly through the influence of the Isr. spring-offering of the Passover, partly through that of the Isr. custom of dedicating the first-born, which together brought into the tradition the sparing of the houses and first-born of the Israelites, and transformed the Egyptians who perished in the plague into first-born’ (Di. on v. 29, slightly abridged). Cf. pp. 410, 412.

And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.
31. as ye have said] Exodus 3:18, Exodus 5:3, Exodus 7:16 (all J). It seems therefore (Di.) that the Pharaoh only gives leave for a temporary absence.

31, 32. The Pharaoh hastily summons Moses and Aaron, and gives permission for the people to go and serve Yahweh with their flocks and herds, as they had requested. ‘The passage has sometimes been deemed inconsistent with Exodus 10:29. But there is a difference between seeking an audience to demand leave to depart or threaten chastisement, and response to the urgent summons of the stricken king’ (C.-H.).

Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
32. as ye have said] See Exodus 10:9; Exodus 10:26 (J).

and bless me also] viz. at the festival which you are about to hold: include me as well as yourselves in the blessings which you will then invoke.

And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
33. We be all dead men] cf. (though the terms are milder) Exodus 10:7.

And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
34. The people had not time to leaven their dough, but took it with them before it was leavened. The notice, taken in conjunction with the one in v. 39, is evidently intended as an explanation of the origin of the Maẓẓoth-feast: cf. Deuteronomy 16:3; and p. 91, above.

their kneading-bowls,] See on Exodus 8:3.

in their clothes] rather, in their mantles. The simlâh was the large square outer garment, made of woollen cloth, which served as a covering by night (ch. Exodus 22:26 f.), and was also often used for carrying things in (Jdg 8:25, Ruth 3:15). See Dress 3 b in DB. (i. 625).

And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
35. did &c.] had done …, and asked,—before viz. the events just narrated (vv. 29–34). Cf. Exodus 11:3.

35, 36. Carrying out of the instructions given in Exodus 3:21-22 (cf. Exodus 11:2).

And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.
36. let them have] lit. let them ask (viz. successfully), i.e. granted them, let them have, not necessarily ‘lent’ them. So Exo 1 Samuel 1:28 (lit. ‘let one ask him for Jehovah’), correlative of ‘ask’ in vv. 17, 27, as of the same word here in v. 35. Still, it is remarkable that the ordinary word for ‘gave’ is not used: and it cannot be denied that ‘let ask’ may, as in Syriac (Luke 11:5 Pesh.), have had in Heb. the meaning lend. In this case, we must suppose that the things were ‘lent’ for use at the festival in the wilderness; Pharaoh’s subsequent pursuit of the Israelites put their return out of the question, and so they ‘spoiled’ the Egyptians (Ewald, Hist. ii. 66). Dillm. writes: ‘In reality the fundamental idea of the narrative is this: God, in His contest for the oppressed and against the oppressor, brings it about by His judgements that the enemy is obliged not only to allow the people to hold their festival in the wilderness, but also at their request to provide them willingly with garments and ornaments to wear at it (cf. on Exodus 3:21 f.); and eventually even to give these things up to them, as lawful spoil, and also, probably, as a reward for long and hard service (so Jubilees 48:18, Philo, Vit. Mos. i. p. 103, Clem. Al. Strom. i. p. 345, Iren. iv. 49, and other Fathers), and as partial compensation for what the Hebrews left behind them in Egypt.’

And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
37. journeyed] lit. plucked up (viz. tent-pegs), a metaphor from breaking up camp. So regularly, as Exodus 13:20, Exodus 16:1, &c.

Ra‘meses] Very possibly (p. 4) Tell er-Reṭâbeh, 10 m. W. of Succoth.

Succoth] No doubt the Eg. Thke, with the determinative of a foreign place, prob. (Griffith) a foreign name, the sing. of Succoth, ‘Booths,’ and to be read Thukke. Thukke is often mentioned in inscriptions found at Tell el-Maskhuta (= Pithom: see on Exodus 1:11); and seems to have been both a name of Pithom itself, the capital of the nome (so in these inscriptions, and in the geographical lists), and also to have denoted the region surrounding Pithom (so in the Anastasi papyri, dating from Dyn. 19., in which it has moreover the determinative of a borderland inhabited by foreigners): see Naville, Pithom, ed. 4, pp. 6, 7b; cf. W. Max Müller, EB. ii. 1436, and s.v. Pithom. Indeed Dillm. (on Exodus 14:2) had already, before Naville’s discoveries, pointed out that this was the situation required for Succoth.

six hundred thousand] The same number is given in Numbers 11:21 (also J). If it stood alone, it might be understood as a round number, current traditionally, for a very high figure: but P commits himself to details, giving the numbers of the various tribes, the whole number being, at the first census in the wilderness (Numbers 1:46), 603, 550 males above 20 years old, besides 22,000 Levites above one month old, or 8580 between 30 and 50 years old (Numbers 3:39; Numbers 4:48). 600,000 men implies a total, including women and children, of at least 2,000,000 souls. These numbers are incredible: they are not consistent either with the limits of Goshen,1[132] or (as has been most recently shewn by Petrie, Researches in Sinai, 1907, pp. 206–8) with the number that could be maintained in the Sinaitic Peninsula (similarly Di. Numbers, p. 6)2[133]: the details given by P are, moreover, inconsistent and impossible in themselves (see G.B. Gray, Numbers, pp. 12–15). The figures do not come to us from eye-witnesses; and tradition, in the course of years, greatly exaggerated the numbers of the Israelites at the Exodus.

[132] So Sayce, EHH. 212.

[133] Petrie’s own solution of the difficulty (that ’eleph in the lists in Numbers has been understood wrongly in the sense of ‘thousand’ instead of in that of ‘family’) is improbable in itself (’eleph itself meaning ‘clan’ rather than ‘family,’ and even in that sense being very rare, and never occurring in statistical lists), besides leaving many passages unexplained. See also McNeile, p. 75; and Numbers (Camb. Bible), p. 7f.

children] Heb. ṭaph, lit. those taking short, tripping steps, here including women, as Exodus 10:10; Exodus 10:24 al.

37–42. The departure from Egypt.

And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
38. a great mixed multitude] cf. Numbers 11:4 (the Heb. word different). Non-Israelites (cf. the same word in Nehemiah 13:3) of various kinds are meant: e.g. Egyptians who had intermarried with Israelites (cf. Leviticus 24:10), other Semites who had found their way into Egypt, and prisoners taken in war who had been employed in the corvée (Exodus 1:9).

flocks and herds] cf. v. 32, Exodus 10:26.

And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
39. Cf. v. 34; and for unleavened cakes see on v. 8. Here, however, there is an independent word for ‘cakes,’ the one found in Genesis 18:6, 1 Kings 19:6 al., and probably denoting cakes baked rapidly by being placed on the ‘hot stones’ (1 K. l.c.),—i.e. stones heated by a fire having been made upon them (EB. i. 604),—and covered with the hot ashes: LXX. ἐγκρυφίαι, Vulg. subcinericii panes.

thrust out] Exodus 6:1 (Heb.), Exodus 11:1.

Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
40. four hundred and thirty years] cf. the round number 400 in Genesis 15:13 (hence Acts 7:6, Jos. Ant. ii. 9.1, BJ. v. 9. 4). Whether it is historically correct is more than we can say: not only is Egyptian chronology itself uncertain, but we do not know the Eg. king under whom Jacob went down into Egypt; hence we have no independent data for fixing with precision the interval between Jacob’s migration into Egypt and the Exodus. The chronology of P (from whom all systematic dates in the Pent. are derived) is artificial, and in many of its particulars entirely undeserving of confidence: still this figure may itself be correct. It is however inconsistent with the many passages of P (see on Exodus 6:27), which place Moses and his contemporaries in the fourth generation from Jacob’s sons. P himself may have been unconscious of the inconsistency; for he may have reckoned—of course, falsely—a generation at 100 years (cf. Genesis 15:16, comp. with 13). In a later age it appears to have been noticed; and in all probability the reading of LXX. Sam. here ‘in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, was 430 years,’ originated in an endeavour to lessen it: for, as the period from Abraham’s migration into Canaan to Jacob’s descent into Egypt was (according to P) 215 years (Genesis 12:4; Genesis 21:5; Genesis 25:26; Genesis 47:9), this reading reduces the period of the sojourn in Egypt to half of that stated in the Heb. text. The reading of Sam. LXX. was followed by St Paul in Galatians 3:17, by Jos. Ant. ii. 15. 2, and by many ancient Jewish and Christian authorities; but it cannot be the original text; not only has Israel’s sojourn in Egypt alone to do with the present context, but until the birth of Jacob’s sons there were no ‘children of Israel’ to dwell in Canaan at all. Cf. the Introd. p. xlv.

40, 41. The length of Israel’s sojourn in Egypt.

And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
41. the selfsame day] See on v. 17.

the hosts of Jehovah] cf. v. 17; and see on Exodus 6:26.

It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
42. The night is to be observed in perpetuity as a night of watching, or of vigil, unto Jehovah; cf. Isaiah 30:29. Both the margins are preferable to the text. ל, however, cannot mean for (i.e., apparently, in return for), though it might mean with regard to; but its natural meaning here would be in order to; hence Bu. Bä. may be right in rendering, A night of watching was it for Yahweh to bring them out, &c.; Jehovah Himself was on the watch that night to protect His people from the destroyer, and to bring them safely out of Egypt: v. 41b will then be a later addition, transforming the night of vigil kept by Jehovah, into a night of vigil kept to Him (cf. Nowack, Arch. ii. 149).

throughout your generations. See on v. 14.

43–51 (P). Regulations respecting the Passover, supplementary to those in vv. 1–13, and intended principally to define what persons were or were not authorised to eat it. No foreigner, temporary ‘settler,’ or (foreign) hired servant is to eat of it: a slave, and a ‘sojourner,’ i.e. a protected foreigner, when they have been circumcised, may eat of it (vv. 43–45, 48 f.).

And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
43. no alien] or foreigner, i.e. a foreigner temporarily resident in Israel. It was a distinctively Israelitish observance.

But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
44. But a foreigner, bought as a slave into an Israelitish family, may eat of it, if he is made a member of the Isr. community by circumcision. Slaves were regarded as members of the family, and, as such, were circumcised (Genesis 17:12-13, P), so that they might join in the family religious rites. ‘That is bought for money’ distinguishes the slave here referred to from the slave ‘born in the house’ (cf. Genesis 17:12; Genesis 17:23; Genesis 17:27), i.e. born of parents who were themselves slaves in the same establishment: a slave of the latter kind would, as a matter of course, be circumcised, and have a right to partake of the Passover.

A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
45. The settler (tôshâb) and hired servant are not to eat of it. The technical distinction between the tôshâb and the gêr (v. 48) is not altogether clear. To judge from the etymology, the tôshâb was a foreigner, more permanently ‘settled’ in Israel than an ordinary gêr, and also perhaps (Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 25:6) more definitely attached to a particular family (LXX. usually πάροικος), but, like the gêr, without civil rights, and dependent for his position on the good-will of his patronus (cf. Genesis 23:4, Leviticus 25:23, Psalm 39:12, 1 Chronicles 29:15): the word also occurs Leviticus 25:35; Leviticus 25:40; Leviticus 25:45; Leviticus 25:47 (twice), Numbers 35:15. RV. ‘sojourner,’ except Leviticus 25:6; Leviticus 25:45 ‘stranger.’ See further Bertholet, Die Stellung der Isr. zu den Fremden (1896), p. 157 ff. (cf. 172 f.), Bä. p. 107, EB. iv. 4818. The ‘hired servant’ is associated, as here, in Leviticus 22:10; Leviticus 25:6; Leviticus 25:40, with the tôshâb, and in Leviticus 22:10 with the gêr as well, as having both similar disqualifications, and (Exodus 25:39 f.) similar rights; evidently he is to be thought of as a foreigner (cf. Leviticus 25:6 ‘that sojourn with thee’), whose rights are limited, and who is hired by his master, for fixed wages, for a longer or a shorter time. Why the same permission is not given to the ‘settler’ as to the ‘sojourner’ (v. 48) to partake of the Passover, if he is circumcised, is not apparent; perhaps (cf. Bertholet, 159) he is included in v. 48 in the more general term gêr (cf. Lev Exo 25:6 end).

In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
46. Three regulations designed to emphasize the unity of the company partaking of each passover (cf. vv. 4, 9; 1 Corinthians 10:17): one lamb was always to be eaten in one house; no part of the flesh was to be carried out of the house; and (in dressing the Paschal lamb) no bone in it was to be broken (cf. Numbers 9:12; also John 19:36, Psalm 34:20).

All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
47. All Israelites are to keep the Passover (cf. Numbers 9:13).

hold it] Heb. do it: not in the sacrif. sense noticed on Exodus 10:25, but in that of hold, keep: so v. 48, Numbers 9:2-6, Deuteronomy 16:1 al., and ποιεῖν Matthew 26:18, Hebrews 11:28; cf. with pilgrimage, ch. Exodus 34:22, Deuteronomy 16:10; Deuteronomy 16:13, 1 Kings 8:65, and with Sabbath, ch. Exodus 31:16, Deuteronomy 5:15.

And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
48. The ‘stranger,’ or, better, sojourner, Heb. gêr, i.e. the protected foreigner, if he is circumcised, may keep the Passover. The gêr was like the Arab jâr, i.e. ‘a man of another tribe or district, who coming to sojourn in a place where he was not strengthened by the presence of his own kin, put himself under the protection of a clan or of a powerful chief’ (W.R. Smith, Relig. of the Semites, p. 75 f.; cf. his Kinship and Marriage in Early Arabia, pp. 41–43). ‘Stranger’ is the conventional rendering of gêr; but it is inadequate: a better word would be sojourner, which would also preserve the connexion with the corresponding verb in such passages as v. 49, Genesis 12:10; Genesis 19:9; Genesis 47:4. In the legislation of JE and Deut. the gêr has no legal status in Israel, and is represented as liable to oppression (Exodus 22:21; Exodus 23:9, Deu Exo 1:16, &c.): in P (cf. Ezekiel 47:22) he is placed on practically the same footing as the native Israelite, he enjoys the same rights (Numbers 35:15 ‘for the sojourner and for the settler’ [above, on v. 45]; Leviticus 19:34 ‘thou shalt love him as thyself’), and is bound by the same laws (ch. Exodus 12:19, Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 17:8; Leviticus 17:10; Leviticus 17:12-13; Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 22:18; Leviticus 24:16); the principle, ‘One law shall there be for the homeborn and for the gêr,’ is repeatedly affirmed (ch. Exodus 12:49, Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:15-16; Numbers 15:29). Indeed, in P the term is already on the way to assume the later technical sense of ‘proselyte,’ the foreigner who, being circumcised and observing the law generally, is in full religious communion with Israel.

come near] to take part in the sacred rite. So often in P, as Exodus 40:32, Leviticus 9:5; Leviticus 9:7-8 (EVV. ‘draw near’), Exodus 21:17 f. (‘approach’), Numbers 16:40.

one that is born in] lit. a native of; the word, when standing alone, is rendered homeborn (v. 49). It denotes the native Israelite, as distinct, especially, from the gêr, or foreigner settled in Israel; cf. v. 19, Leviticus 16:29; Leviticus 17:15; Leviticus 18:26; Leviticus 19:34; Leviticus 23:42; Leviticus 24:16; Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:13; Numbers 15:29-30.

One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
49. Cf. Leviticus 24:22, Numbers 9:14; Numbers 15:15-16; Numbers 15:29.

Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
50. Thus did, &c.] The words seem unsuitable where they stand; for as the passover had been already eaten (v. 28), the injunction given in vv. 43–49 could not possibly now be at once carried out. Perhaps (Di.) they were once preceded by vv. 14–20 (see on these verses).

And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
51. A repetition of the substance of v. 41b (cf. Exodus 6:30 repeated from Exodus 6:12), intended seemingly to close the account of the departure from Egypt.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Exodus 11
Top of Page
Top of Page