Exodus Chapter 12

At this point, Moses and Aaron have used their priesthood power to perform 9 of the 10 plagues of Egypt under the direction of the Lord. They have warned Pharaoh and the people of Egypt of the tenth plague, which is that the firstborn of all the people and animals, would be slain if the Israelites were not allowed to be free to leave and worship the Lord. Pharaoh remained unmoved and would not let them go. It continues:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

The Lord instructs Moses and Aaron, as the priesthood leaders of the Israelites, to consider this time the first month of their year, also known as Abib (according to the footnote, which references Exodus 34:18 and Exodus 13:4). They probably had been marking time as the Egyptians did, so this was how the Lord wanted time to be recognized and recorded for the Israelites.

3 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:
4 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.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 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.
7 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.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 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.
10 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.

On the tenth day of this first month of the year, a male, one-year old lamb, without blemish was to be taken by each household. They were to separate that lamb on that day and then on the fourteenth day they were to sacrifice that lamb and use its blood to mark the doorway of the home where they would eat it. They were told how to eat the lamb and what to do with whatever was left after their supper.

11 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.
12 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.
13 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.
14 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.
15 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.
16 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.
17 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.

The was to be the first passover meal. The Lord told them that he would kill the firstborn in all the land of Egypt that night, but the houses which had the blood marking the doorways, would be passed over and not affected. They were told to remember this day from then on, through the generations, and to perform an ordinance each year. The ordinance was that they were to eat unleavened bread for seven days, leaving the leaven out of their house for that time. On the first and last day of this, they would have a gathering of the people, where no work was to be done, except to prepare what they would eat. This ordinance was given to them, to always remember the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt by the power of the Lord.

18 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.
19 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.
20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

The Lord told them, that on that fourteenth day, they were to eat unleavened bread through the twenty-first day of the month, which is the seven days without leaven.

21 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.
22 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.
23 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.
24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.
25 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.
26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?
27 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.
28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

Moses told the elders of Israel to instruct the people in the passover. They were not to leave their homes during the time of passover and if they did as they were told with the blood of the lamb, they would be protected from the destroyer. Then, the Israelites went and did as they had been told by the Lord. This is another example in the scriptures of great faith. These people could have felt abandoned by the Lord at this time, since they had been left to live in bondage for so long. However, they remained faithful and did as they were commanded to do with the lamb and the rest of the instruction for the passover with a hope that they would indeed be spared that night and delivered from the Egyptians.

29 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.
30 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.

That night, the Lord killed the firstborn in all the land, just as He had promised. Pharaoh woke to find what had happened and all the people of Egypt mourned for their loss.

31 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.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 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.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 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:
36 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.

Pharaoh told Aaron and Moses to take his people and his flocks, and leave the land. The Egyptians forced them out because they were afraid for their lives. The Israelites took all their belongings, including the jewels and such from the Egyptians.

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39 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.

The Israelites left in a group of over 600,000 people along with all their animals. As a note, the header on this chapter says that they were leaving finally after 430 years. Their people had been in bondage since the time of Joseph, which I gather had been 430 years prior to this. They had been sent out so quickly, that they were not able to prepare food for themselves. They had unleavened bread to eat.

40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41 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.
42 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.

This says that it was 430 years to the day from when their ancestors were first there to dwell in Egypt. I wonder what the significance of that might be, or if there is one at all. I tend to believe that there are no coincidences when it comes to the gospel, but that there is a reason for these things happening the way they do. I think when we chalk things up as coincidences, we fail to recognize the hand of God in our lives. Anyway, they were finally able to be free and as it says in verse 42, it is a time to be observed forever.

43 And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:
44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
46 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.
47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48 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.
49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
51 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.

Further instructions were given regarding the passover meal. The covenant members of a household, were the only ones to eat of the lamb at passover. It was not to be taken out of the home, and no bones from the lamb were to be broken. This was not a meal for those who were uncircumcised, or who had not entered into the covenant with God. They were to keep a law for the covenant of Israel and a separate law for those from without.

As someone who is not Jewish, but who has been adopted into a tribe of Israel, through my own covenants with God, I wonder why I have never thought to recognize the dates which celebrate these amazing things. I believe that the law of Moses was fulfilled through the atonement of Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t still recognize the glorious deliverance that the Lord provided for these people. I think that although I do not believe that we are to perform these commanded rituals today, we should still take time to remember what the Lord did for the Israelites. This deliverance made possible the birth, life and earthly ministry of our Lord. It stands as proof that no matter how difficult we think life is for us, God can deliver us from our own bondage and bring us to the freedom that we desire. All things are truly possible through the Lord. Just like the Lord saved the Israelites from bondage then, He saved us from bondage now, through the gift and power of the atonement. They recognized their deliverance by sacrificing the perfect firstborn lamb of their flock. The Lord was the perfect firstborn son of God, and He was sacrificed for each of us so that we could be made free from the power of Satan and our sins. I am very grateful that I can receive forgiveness and be made clean again by the power of the Lord. He is truly my Savior and I want to forever recognize the power He has to deliver me and my loved ones.

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1 Response to “Exodus Chapter 12”


  1. 1 Dave January 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story. I’ve just started looking at Exodus on my blog. I hope you’ll stop by.


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