And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
We have here a new event, a new starting-point—a new epoch, and therefore a new era. That event was an emancipation, a redemption, an exodus. There were centuries behind of exile and servitude; of that experience which has been so characteristic of Israel, a sojourning which was no naturalisation, a dwelling amongst, without becoming of, another nation; estrangement therefore, isolation, solitude, even in populous cities, and amidst teeming multitudes. Now, all this is behind them. They are to quit the homeless home. Egypt behind, Sinai before, Canaan beyond; this is the exact account of the position of Israel when the words of the text were spoken. Redemption was the starting-point of the new; from it all that follows shall take a new character, a new life.
I. The idea of a new start is naturally attractive to all of us. We are fatigued, we are wearied, we are dissatisfied, and justly so, with the time past of our lives. We long for a gift of amnesty and oblivion.
II. There are senses in which this is impossible. The continuity of life cannot be broken. There is a continuity, a unity, an identity, which annihilation only could destroy.
III. "The beginning of months" is made so by an exodus. Redemption is the groundwork of the new life. If there is in any of us a real desire for change, we must plant our feet firmly on redemption.
IV. When we get out of Egypt, we must remember that there is still Sinai in front, with its thunderings and voices. We have to be schooled and disciplined by processes not joyous but grievous. These processes cannot be hurried, they must take time. Here we must expect everything that is changeful, and unresting, and unreposeful, within as without. But He who has promised will perform. He who has redeemed will save. He who took charge will also bring through.
C. J. Vaughan, Words of Hope, p. 65.
References: Exodus 12:1-20.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 66. Exodus 12:2.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 313; A. Mursell, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xix., p. 88. Exodus 12:3, Exodus 12:4.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, p. 30. Exodus 12:5, Exodus 12:6.—G. Calthrop, Church Sermons, vol. i., p. 347. Exodus 12:7, Exodus 12:8.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xxii., p. 204. Exodus 12:11.—M. Nicholson, Redeeming the Time, p. 305. Exodus 12:11-14.—J. R. Macduff, Communion Memories, p. 125.
Exodus 12:13Our interest in the Passover, as in most of the other institutions of the Levitical economy, consists in its relationship to higher institutions, and to a more hallowed provision; it consists in the prefiguration by them of our Surety and Saviour, who is at once the Surety and Saviour of universal man. There are three points in the analogy to be considered.
I. We, like the children of Israel aforetime, are in circumstances of sorrow. (1) They were in bondage. We also have been brought under bondage to sin, and our yoke is harder than theirs, for ours is heart-slavery, the iron has entered into our soul. (2) The Israelites were in circumstances of peril.
The Lord was about to execute in their sight His strange work of judgment. The transgressions of our race, the sins which we commit, expose us to consequences far more imminent, and far more terrible.
II. For us, as for the children of Israel of old, there is a remedy provided. The great doctrine of Atonement is here brought before us. As by the blood of the victim sprinkled upon the door-posts, seen by the destroying angel, wrath was averted from them and deliverance secured, so by the blood of Jesus, seen by Divine justice sprinkled upon our hearts, wrath is warded off from us, and everlasting salvation is secured. The cross is the meeting-place of God's mercy for the sinner.
III. As there is such a remedy there can be no other. For us as for them there is but one way of escape. "There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved."
W. Morley Punshon, Penny Pulpit, No. 312.
References: Exodus 12:13.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v., No. 228, also vol. xxi., No. 1251; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xiv., p. 22.
Exodus 12:22-23The night of the Passover was "a night much to be remembered." Wherever a Jew exists it is to this night he points, as the proudest epoch in his people's history. The feast of the Passover is full of typical meaning. Notice, first, that this was a little judgment day. The children of Israel were to be delivered by a direct visitation of God. There are three great truths brought out in this narrative.
I. The universality of condemnation. God was going to save the Israelites, but before He saved them He must condemn them. He sent Moses with a message couched in the language of symbol, which clearly showed that the Israelites were guilty no less than the Egyptians. The lamb was to be the representative of the firstborn son, who must die for the sins of his family. The Israelite and the Egyptian are brought under one common charge of guilt, and there they all stand, "condemned already."
II. The great truth of substitution. God sends Moses to His people and bids them choose "for every family a lamb." The lamb was instead of the firstborn. Christ is the "Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world."
III. The third truth taught is appropriation. The Israelite would not have been safe if he had merely killed the lamb; he had to sprinkle its blood on the lintel and on the two sideposts. When we repose our confidence in the Person of Christ, we have taken the bunch of hyssop and dipped it in the blood, and from that moment we are safe.
W. Hay Aitken, Mission Sermons, 1st series, p. 100.
References: Exodus 12:23—H. Macmillan, The Olive Leaf, p. 330. Exodus 12:26.—C.Wordsworth. Occasional Sermons, 7th series, p. 25; H. Alford, Quebec Chapel Sermons, vol. i., p. 17; G. Brooks, Five Hundred Outlines of Sermons, p. 281. Exodus 12:26, Exodus 12:27.—R.D.B. Rawnsley, Sermons in Country Churches, 3rd series, p. 250. Exodus 12:29-31.—W. Landels, Christian World Pulpit, vol. iii., p. 164. Exodus 12:31.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 314. Exodus 12:38.—Ibid.
Exodus 12:30-41(with Matthew 2:15)
I. We cannot treat the Exodus as an isolated fact in history. Egypt is the type of the cunning, careless, wanton world, out of which in all ages God is calling His sons. The Exodus remained a living fact in history. The infant Jesus went down into Egypt, as the infant Israel went down, not to repeat the Exodus, but to illume afresh its fading lines. (1) The children of Israel were an elect race, because they were of the seed of Abraham: that constituted their distinctity. You are of the race of the second Adam, of the same flesh and blood as Jesus; and all who wear a human form and understand a human voice, God calls forth from Egypt; His voice calls to His sons, "Come forth to freedom, life, and heaven." (2) You, like the Israelites, are called forth to the desert, the fiery pillar, the manna, the spiritual rock; and while you aim at Canaan, His will, His heart, are on your side.
II. Note the moral features of the Exodus. (1) There was a life in Egypt which had become insupportable to a man. That bondage is the picture of a soul round which the devil's toils are closing. (2) The Israelites saw the stroke of heaven fall on all that adorns, enriches, and nourishes a worldly life. (3) They had a Divine leader, a man commissioned and inspired by God. We have the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who in the house and the work in which Moses wrought as a servant, represents God as the Son. (4) We discern a condition of utter dependence on the strength and faithfulness of God. They and we were delivered by a Divine work. (5) Notice, lastly, the freedom of the delivered Israelites; a broad, deep sea flowing between them and the land of bondage, and the tyrants dead upon the shore. Such is the glorious sense of liberty, of wealth, of life, when the deep sea of Divine forgiving love sweeps over the past and obliterates its shame.
J. Baldwin Brown, The Soul's Exodus and Pilgrimage, p. 28.
Exodus 12:42I. Scholars have said that the old Greeks were the fathers of freedom; and there have been other people in the world's history who have made glorious and successful struggles to throw off their tyrants and be free.
But liberty is of a far older and nobler house. Liberty was born on the first Easter night, when God Himself stooped from heaven to set the oppressed free. Then was freedom born. Not in the counsels, of men, however wise, or in the battles of men, however brave, but in the counsels of God and the battle of God. Freedom was born not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God, from whom all good things come, and of Christ, who is the life and the light of men and of nations, and of all worlds, past, present, and to come.
II. The history of the Jews is the history of the whole Church and of every nation in Christendom. The Jews had to wander forty years in the wilderness, and Christendom has had to wander too, in strange and blood-stained paths, for eighteen hundred years and more. For as the Israelites were not worthy to enter at once into rest, no more have the nation of Christ's Church been worthy. As the new generation sprang up in the wilderness, trained under Moses' stern law, to the fear of God, so for eighteen hundred years have the generations of Christendom, by the training of the Church and the light of the Gospel, been growing in wisdom and knowledge, growing in morality and humanity, in that true discipline and loyalty which are the yokefellows of freedom and independence.
C. Kingsley, The Gospel of the Pentateuch, p. 149.
References: Exodus 12:42.—C. Kingsley, National Sermons, p. 337. 12-14.—J. Monro Gibson, The Mosaic Era, p. 47. Exodus 13:1-7.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. iv., p. 37. Exodus 13:10.—Parker, vol. ii., p. 315; Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xix., No. 1092; H. Grey, A Parting Memorial, p. 54. Exodus 13:13.—S. Cox, Expositions, 2nd series, p. 381; Parker, vol. ii., p. 74.
This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
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:
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.
Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
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.
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.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
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.
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.
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.
And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
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.
And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
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:
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.
And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
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.
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
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.
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.
And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
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.
All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
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.
One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
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.