Exodus 12:6
And you 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.
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(6) Ye shall keep it up.—Heb., ye shall have it in custody: separate it, i.e., from the flock, and keep it in or near your house for four days. During this time it could be carefully and thoroughly inspected. (Comp. Exodus 12:3.)

The whole assembly of the congregation . . . shall kill it.—Every head of a family belonging to the “congregation” was to make the necessary arrangements, to have the victim ready, and to kill it on the fourteenth day, the day of the full moon, at a time described as that “between the two evenings.” There is some doubt as to the meaning of this phrase. According to Onkelos and Aben Ezra, the first evening was at sunset, the second about an hour later, when the twilight ended and the stars came out. With this view agrees the direction in Deuteronomy 16:6 :—“Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun.” It is objected that, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud., vi. 9, § 3), the actual time of the sacrifice was “from the ninth to the eleventh hour”—i.e., from three o’clock to five—and that there would not have been time for the customary ceremonies during the short twilight of Palestine. The ceremonies consisted in the slaughter of the lambs at the tabernacle door, and the conveyance of the blood in basins to the altar, in order that it might be sprinkled upon it. For this operation a period of several hours’ duration would seem to have been necessary: hence the time came gradually to be extended; and when this had been done, a new interpretation of the phrase “between the evenings” grew up. The first evening was explained to begin with the decline of the sun from the zenith, and the second with the sunset; but this can scarcely have been the original idea.

Exodus 12:6. Ye shall keep it up — Keep it apart from the rest of the flock. The whole assembly, shall kill it — That is, any man of the whole assembly might kill it. For slaying the passover was not appropriated to the priests.12:1-20 The Lord makes all things new to those whom he delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to himself to be his people. The time when he does this is to them the beginning of a new life. God appointed that, on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt, each family should kill a lamb, or that two or three families, if small, should kill one lamb. This lamb was to be eaten in the manner here directed, and the blood to be sprinkled on the door-posts, to mark the houses of the Israelites from those of the Egyptians. The angel of the Lord, when destroying the first-born of the Egyptians, would pass over the houses marked by the blood of the lamb: hence the name of this holy feast or ordinance. The passover was to be kept every year, both as a remembrance of Israel's preservation and deliverance out of Egypt, and as a remarkable type of Christ. Their safety and deliverance were not a reward of their own righteousness, but the gift of mercy. Of this they were reminded, and by this ordinance they were taught, that all blessings came to them through the shedding and sprinkling of blood. Observe, 1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, 1Co 5:7. Christ is the Lamb of God, Joh 1:29; often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb. It was to be in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not when a babe at Bethlehem. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot: the judge who condemned Christ declared him innocent. It was to be set apart four days before, denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise. It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ, Joh 19:33, denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus. 2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, Ro 5:11. Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer's protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell, Ro 8:1. 3. The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, see Joh 6:53,55. It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter. It was to be eaten standing, with their staves in their hands, as being ready to depart. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain, Heb 13:13,14. 4. The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1Co 5:7,8. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Christ Jesus. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy. The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.Until the fourteenth day - It should be observed that the offering of our Lord on the self-same day is an important point in determining the typical character of the transaction. A remarkable passage in the Talmud says: "It was a famous and old opinion among the ancient Jews that the day of the new year which was the beginning of the Israelites' deliverance out of Egypt should in future time be the beginning of the redemption by the Messiah."

In the evening - The Hebrew has between the two evenings. The meaning of the expression is disputed. The most probable explanation is that it includes the time from afternoon, or early eventide, until sunset. This accords with the ancient custom of the Hebrews, who killed the paschal lamb immediately after the offering of the daily sacrifice, which on the day of the Passover took place a little earlier than usual, between two and three p.m. This would allow about two hours and a half for slaying and preparing all the lambs. It is clear that they would not wait until sunset, at which time the evening meal would take place. The slaying of the lamb thus coincides exactly with the death of our Saviour, at the ninth hour of the day Matthew 27:46.

6. keep it up until the fourteenth day, &c.—Being selected from the rest of the flock, it was to be separated four days before sacrifice; and for the same length of time was Christ under examination and His spotless innocence declared before the world.

kill it in the evening—that is, the interval between the sun's beginning to decline, and sunset, corresponding to our three o'clock in the afternoon.

Ye shall keep it up; separate it from the rest of the flock, and keep it in a safe place; the reasons of which, Exodus 12:3.

The whole assembly; or rather, every assembly, to wit, every such society as meet together for eating of the lamb. And the assembly is said to kill it, because one person did it in their name, and by their appointment; in which manner, and upon which reason, the whole congregation is said to stone a man, Leviticus 24:14,16 Num 15:35 Deu 22:21. It is probable it was killed by the master of the family, who was a priest in his own family, &c.

In the evening; Heb. between the evenings, or the two evenings, i.e. between the beginning and end of the evening. The evening is one third part of the day, and one of the appointed and usual times of devotion, as appears from Psalm 55:17 Daniel 6:10; and it begun at their ninth or our third hour, as may be gathered from Acts 3:1; for then the sun began more sensibly to decline, whence that time is fitly called by the Jews the first evening, and that was the time of the evening sacrifice; the second evening was when the sun was setting or set. Between these it was to be killed. This had a respect both to the time of the world’s age when Christ came, which was its evening, or declining time, or end, Hebrews 1:2 9:26 1 Peter 1:20; and the time of the day in which Christ our Passover was killed, Matthew 27:46-50 Mark 15:25,33,34. And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month,.... In their houses; this may denote the preservation of Christ in his infancy, and to the appointed time of his sufferings and death; and it is remarkable, that on this very day, the tenth of Nisan, four days before the passover, and so as many days before his sufferings and death, he made his entry into Jerusalem, near to which he was to be offered up, John 12:1,

and the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it in the evening; that is, of the fourteenth of Nisan; not between the two suns, as the Targum of Jonathan, between the sun setting and the sun rising; nor between the setting of the sun, and the entire disappearance of its rays of light reflecting in the air and clouds after it, as Aben Ezra; so it is said in the Talmud (k), after the sun is set, all the time that the face of the east is red; others say as long as a man can walk half a mile after sun setting; and others, the twinkling of an eye; but "between the two evening's" (l), as it may be rendered; which respects that space of time after the sun begins to decline, and the entire setting of it; when the sun begins to decline, as it does after noon, that is the first evening, and when it is set, that is the second; and the middle space between the one and the other is about the nineth hour of the day, according to the Jewish computation, and, with us, about three o'clock in the afternoon, about which time the passover used to be killed; for they say (m),"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and offered at the nineth; but on the evening of the passover it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath; and if the evening of the passover happened to be on the evening of the sabbath, it was slain at six and a half, and offered up at seven and a half, and after that the passover;''which was done, that there might be time before the last evening for the slaying of the passover lamb. Josephus (n) says, at the passover they slew the sacrifice from the nineth hour to the eleventh; See Gill on Matthew 26:17, and it being at the nineth hour that our Lord was crucified, the agreement between him and the paschal lamb in this circumstance very manifestly appears, Matthew 27:46 though it may also in general denote Christ's appearing in the last days, in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: the slaying of the paschal lamb is ascribed to the "whole assembly of the congregation", because it was to be slain by their order, and in their name, for their use, and they present; and thus the crucifixion of Christ, his sufferings and death, are attributed to the men of Israel, and all the house of Israel, Acts 2:22.

(k) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 34. 2.((l) "inter duas vesperas", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth. (m) Misn. Pesach. c. 5. sect. 1.((n) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the {e} whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

(e) Every one his house.

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.Verse 6. - Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day. The interval of four days (see ver. 3) was probably intended to give ample time for the thorough inspection of the lamb, and for obtaining another, if any defect was discovered. The precept is not observed by the modern Jews; and the later Targum (which belongs to the sixth century after Christ) teaches that it was only intended to apply to the first institution; but the text of Exodus is wholly against this. The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it. One of the main peculiarities of the Paschal sacrifice was this - that the head of each family was entitled - in the early times was required to offer the sacrifice for himself. In it no one intervened between the individual and God. Thus it was recognised that the whole nation was a nation of priests, as are Christians also, according to St. John (Revelation 1:6) and St. Peter (1 Peter 2:5). The intervention of Levites at a late date (2 Chronicles 30:17; 2 Chronicles 35:5, etc.) was contrary to the original institution. In the evening. Literally, "between the two evenings." This phrase has been explained in two ways. Some regard the first evening as commencing when the sun begins visibly to decline from the zenith, i.e. about two or three o'clock; and the second as following the sunset. Others say, that the sunset introduces the first evening, and that the second begins when the twilight ends, which they consider to have been "an hour and twenty minutes later" (Ebn Ezra, quoted by Kalisch). The use of the phrase in ch. 16:12, and the command in Deuteronomy 16:6 - "Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun," seem to be decisive in favour of the second explanation. The first arose out of the later practice. When the lambs were sacrificed in the temple by a continual succession of offerers, it became impossible to complete the sacrifices in the short time originally allowed. Of necessity the work of killing the victims was commenced pretty early in the afternoon, and continued till after sunset. The interpretation of the direction was then altered, to bring it into accord with the altered practice. In Exodus 11:9 and Exodus 11:10 the account of Moses' negotiations with Pharaoh, which commenced at Exodus 7:8, is brought to a close. What God predicted to His messengers immediately before sending them to Pharaoh (Exodus 7:3), and to Moses before his call (Exodus 4:21), had now come to pass. And this was the pledge that the still further announcement of Jehovah in Exodus 7:4 and Exodus 4:23, which had already been made known to the hardened king (Exodus 11:4.), would be carried out. As these verses have a terminal character, the vav consecutive in ויּאמר denotes the order of thought and not of time, and the two verses are to be rendered thus: "As Jehovah had said to Moses, Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, that My wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt, Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh; and Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart, so that he did not let the children of Israel go out of his land."
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