Exodus 12:21
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.
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(21) Moses called for all the elders.—He had been directed to “speak unto all the congregation” (Exodus 12:3), but understood the direction as allowing him to do so mediately, through the elders.

Draw out.—Some understand this intransitively—“Withdraw, and take,” i.e., go, and take; others transitively—“Withdraw a lamb from the flock.”

According to your families—i.e., with reference to the number of your families, but not necessarily one for each. (See Exodus 12:4.)

12:21-28 That night, when the first-born were to be destroyed, no Israelite must stir out of doors till called to march out of Egypt. Their safety was owing to the blood of sprinkling. If they put themselves from under the protection of that, it was at their peril. They must stay within, to wait for the salvation of the Lord; it is good to do so. In after-times they should carefully teach their children the meaning of this service. It is good for children to ask about the things of God; they that ask for the way will find it. The keeping of this solemnity every year was, 1. To look backward, that they might remember what great things God had done for them and their fathers. Old mercies, to ourselves, or to our fathers, must not be forgotten, that God may be praised, and our faith in him encouraged. 2. It was designed to look forward, as an earnest of the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the fulness of time. Christ our passover was sacrificed for us; his death was our life.Draw out - i. e. draw the lamb from the fold and then take it to the house.

The passover - The word is here applied to the lamb; an important fact, marking the lamb as the sign and pledge of the exemption of the Israelites.

21-25. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, &c.—Here are given special directions for the observance. No text from Poole on this verse. Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel,.... Not in age but in office, who were either heads of families, or at least principal men in the tribes; which explains in what manner he was to speak to the congregation of Israel, and convey to them the will of God concerning the observation of these feasts, Exodus 12:3,

and said unto them, draw out; a lamb or a kid, out of the flocks on the tenth day of the month, and keep it up until the fourteenth, as in Exodus 12:3.

and take you a lamb, according to your families; or "take ye of the flock" (r), whether a lamb or a kid; a lamb for every family, if there was a sufficient number in it to eat it up; if not, two or more families were to join and keep the feast together:

and kill the passover; the lamb for the passover, which was to be done on the fourteenth day of the month; and before the priesthood was established in the family of Aaron, and before the Israelites were possessed of the land of Canaan, and the temple was built at Jerusalem, the passover was killed by the heads of families, and in their own houses, but afterwards it was killed only by the priests, and at Jerusalem and in the temple there, see Deuteronomy 16:5.

(r) "de filiis gregis", Onk. & Jon.

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.Verse 21-28. - THE FIRST PASSOVER. Having received the Divine directions as to the new rite, if not with all the fulness ultimately given them, yet with sufficient fulness for the immediate purpose, Moses proceeded to communicate the Divine Will to the people under his protection. Having already aroused the jealousy and hatred of Pharaoh, he could not summon a general assembly of the people, but he ventured to call a meeting of the elders, or heads of principal families, and through them communicated the orders which he had received to the entire nation. We find, in the directions which he gave, two small points which are not comprised in the record of God's words to him.

1. The designation of the "hyssop," as the instrument, by which the blood was to be placed on the side-posts and lintel (ver. 22); and,

2. The injunction not to quit the house "until the morning." These points may have been contained in the original directions, though omitted from the record for brevity; or they may have been added by Moses of his own authority. On the other hand, several very main points of the original directions are not repeated in the injunctions given to the elders, though there can be no doubt that they were communicated. Verse 21. - Draw out - i.e., "Withdraw from the flock." (See ver. 3.) A lamb. The word used is generic, and would not exclude the offering of a goat. Judging from the words "I brought out" in Exodus 12:17, Moses did not receive instructions respecting the seven days' feast of Mazzoth till after the exodus from Egypt; but on account of its internal and substantial connection with the Passover, it is placed here in immediate association with the institution of the paschal meal. "Seven days shall he eat unleavened bread, only (אך) on the first day (i.e., not later than the first day) he shall cause to cease (i.e., put away) leaven out of your houses." The first day was the 15th of the month (cf. Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17). On the other hand, when בּראשׁון is thus defined in Exodus 12:18, "on the 14th day of the month at even," this may be accounted for from the close connection between the feast of Mazzoth and the feast of Passover, inasmuch as unleavened bread was to be eaten with the paschal lamb, so that the leaven had to be cleared away before this meal. The significance of this feast was in the eating of the mazzoth, i.e., of pure unleavened bread (see Exodus 12:8). As bread, which is the principal means of preserving life, might easily be regarded as the symbol of life itself, so far as the latter is set forth in the means employed for its own maintenance and invigoration, so the mazzoth, or unleavened loaves, were symbolical of the new life, as cleansed from the leaven of a sinful nature. But if the eating of mazzoth was to shadow forth the new life into which Israel was transferred, any one who ate leavened bread at the feast would renounce this new life, and was therefore to be cut off from Israel, i.e., "from the congregation of Israel" (Exodus 12:19).
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