This chapter gives an account of one of the most memorable ordinances,
and one of the most memorable providences, of all that are recorded in
the Old Testament.
I. Not one of all the ordinances of the Jewish church was more eminent
than that of the passover, nor is any one more frequently mentioned in
the New Testament; and we have here an account of the institution to
it. The ordinance consisted of three parts:--
1. The killing and eating of the paschal lamb,
2. The sprinkling of the blood upon the door-posts, spoken of as a
and peculiar to this first passover
with the reason for it,
3. The feast of unleavened bread for seven days following; this points
rather at what was to be done afterwards, in the observance of this
This institution is communicated to the people, and they are instructed
in the observance,
(1.) Of this first passover,
(2.) Of the after passovers,
And the Israelites' obedience to these orders,
II. Not one of all the providences of God concerning the Jewish church
was more illustrious, or is more frequently mentioned, than the
deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt.
1. The firstborn of the Egyptians are slain,
2. Orders are given immediately for their discharge,
3. They begin their march.
(1.) Loaded with their own effects,
(2.) Enriched with the spoils of Egypt,
(3.) Attended with a mixed multitude,
(4.) Put to their shifts for present supply,
The event is dated,
Lastly, A recapitulation in the close,
[1.] Of this memorable ordinance, with some additions,
[2.] Of this memorable providence,
|The Appointment of the Passover; the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
||B. C. 1491.|
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it
shall be the first month of the year to you.
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Moses and Aaron here receive of the Lord what they were
afterwards to deliver to the people concerning the ordinance of
the passover, to which is prefixed an order for a new style to be
observed in their months
This shall be to you the beginning of months. They had hitherto
begun their year from the middle of September, but henceforward they
were to begin it from the middle of March, at least in all their
ecclesiastical computations. Note, It is good to begin the day, and
begin the year, and especially to begin our lives, with God. This new
calculation began the year with the spring, which reneweth the face
of the earth, and was used as a figure of the coming of Christ,
Song of Solomon 2:11,12.
We may suppose that, while Moses was bringing the ten plagues upon the
Egyptians, he was directing the Israelites to prepare for their
departure at an hour's warning. Probably he had be degrees brought them
near together from their dispersions, for their are here called the
congregation of Israel
and to them as a congregation orders are here sent. Their amazement and
hurry, it is easy to suppose, were great; yet now they must apply
themselves to the observance of a sacred rite, to the honour of God.
Note, When our heads are fullest of care, and our hands of business,
yet we must not forget our religion, nor suffer ourselves to be
indisposed for acts of devotion.
I. God appointed that on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt
they should, in each of their families, kill a lamb, or that two
or three families, if they were small, should join for a lamb. The lamb
was to be got ready four days before and that afternoon they were to
as a sacrifice; not strictly, for it was not offered upon the
altar, but as a religious ceremony, acknowledging God's goodness to
them, not only in preserving them from, but in delivering them by, the
plagues inflicted on the Egyptians. See the antiquity of
family-religion; and see the convenience of the joining of small
families together for religious worship, that it may be made the more
II. The lamb so slain they were to eat, roasted (we may suppose, in its
several quarters), with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, because they
were to eat it in haste
and to leave none of it until the morning; for God would have them to
depend upon him for their daily bread, and not to take thought for the
morrow. He that led them would feed them.
III. Before they ate the flesh of the lamb, they were to sprinkle the
blood upon the doorposts,
By this their houses were to be distinguished from the houses of the
Egyptians, and so their first-born secured from the sword of the
Dreadful work was to be made this night in Egypt; all the first-born
both of man and beast were to be slain, and judgment executed upon the
gods of Egypt. Moses does not mention the fulfillment, in this chapter,
yet he speaks of it
It is very probable that the idols which the Egyptians worshipped were
destroyed, those of metal melted, those of wood consumed, and those of
stone broken to pieces, whence Jethro infers
The Lord is greater than all gods. The same angel that destroyed
their first-born demolished their idols, which were no less dear to
them. For the protection of Israel from this plague they were ordered
to sprinkle the blood of the lamb upon the door-posts, their doing
which would be accepted as an instance of their faith in the divine
warnings and their obedience to the divine precepts. Note,
1. If in times of common calamity God will secure his own people, and
set a mark upon them; they shall be hidden either in heaven or under
heaven, preserved either from the stroke of judgments or at least from
the sting of them.
2. The blood of sprinkling is the saint's security in times of common
calamity; it is this that marks them for God, pacifies conscience, and
gives them boldness of access to the throne of grace, and so becomes a
wall of protection round them and a wall of partition between them and
the children of this world.
IV. This was to be annually observed as a feast of the Lord in their
generations, to which the feast of unleavened bread was annexed,
during which, for seven days, they were to eat no bread but what was
unleavened, in remembrance of their being confined to such bread, of
necessity, for many days after they came out of Egypt,
The appointment is inculcated for their better direction, and that they
might not mistake concerning it, and to awaken those who perhaps in
Egypt had grown generally very stupid and careless in the matters of
religion to a diligent observance of the institution. Now, without
doubt, there was much of the gospel in this ordinance; it is often
referred to in the New Testament, and, in it, to us is the gospel
preached, and not to them only, who could not stedfastly
look to the end of these things,
1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our Passover,
1 Corinthians 5:7.
(1.) It was to be a lamb; and Christ is the Lamb of God
often in the Revelation called the Lamb, meek and innocent as a
lamb, dumb before the shearers, before the butchers.
(2.) It was to be a male of the first year
in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not
in infancy with the babes of Bethlehem. It denotes the strength and
sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, on whom our help was laid.
(3.) It was to be without blemish
denoting the purity of the Lord Jesus, a Lamb without spot,
1 Peter 1:19.
The judge that condemned him (as if his trial were only like the
scrutiny that was made concerning the sacrifices, whether they were
without blemish or no) pronounced him innocent.
(4.) It was to be set apart four days before
denoting the designation of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the
purpose and in the promise. It is very observable that as Christ was
crucified at the passover, so he solemnly entered into Jerusalem four
days before, the very day that the paschal lamb was set apart.
(5.) It was to be slain, and roasted with fire
denoting the exquisite 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.
(6.) It was to be killed by the whole congregation between the two
evenings, that is, between three o'clock and six. Christ suffered in
the end of the world
by the hand of the Jews, the whole multitude of them
and for the good of all his spiritual Israel.
(7.) Not a bone of it must be broken
which is expressly said to be fulfilled in Christ
denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus.
2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical.
(1.) It was not enough that the blood of the lamb was shed, but it must
be sprinkled, denoting the application of the merits of Christ's death
to our souls; we must receive the atonement,
(2.) It was to be sprinkled with a bunch of hyssop
dipped in the basin. The everlasting covenant, like the basin,
in the conservatory of this blood, the benefits and privileges
purchased by it are laid up for us there; faith is the bunch of hyssop
by which we apply the promises to ourselves and the benefits of the
blood of Christ laid up in them.
(3.) It was to be sprinkled upon the door-posts, denoting the
open profession we are to make of faith in Christ, and obedience to
him, as those that are not ashamed to own our dependence upon him. The
mark of the beast may be received on the forehead or in the right hand,
but the seal of the Lamb is always in the forehead,
There is a back-way to hell, but no back-way to heaven; no, the only
way to this is a high-way,
(4.) It was to be sprinkled upon the lintel and the
sideposts, but not upon the threshold
which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the
It is precious blood, and must be precious to us.
(5.) The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of the preservation of the
Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the
blood was. If the blood of Christ be sprinkled upon our consciences, it
will be our protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and
the damnation of hell,
3. The solemnly eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel-duty to
(1.) The paschal lamb was killed, not to be looked upon only, but to be
fed upon; so we must by faith make Christ ours, as we do that which we
eat, and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him,
as from our food, and have delight and satisfaction in him, as we have
in eating and drinking when we are hungry or thirsty: see
(2.) It was to be all eaten; those that 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. Is
Christ divided? Those hat gather much of Christ will have nothing
(3.) It was to be eaten immediately, not deferred 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.
(4.) 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; this will give an admirable relish to the paschal lamb. Christ
will be sweet to us if sin be bitter.
(5.) It was to be eaten in a departing posture
when we feed upon Christ by faith we must absolutely forsake the rule
and dominion of sin, shake off Pharaoh's yoke; and we must sit loose to
the world, and every thing in it, forsake all for Christ, and reckon it
no bad bargain,
4. The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life,
1 Corinthians 5:7,8.
Having received Christ Jesus the Lord,
(1.) We must keep a feast in holy joy, continually delighting ourselves
in Christ Jesus; no manner of work must be done
no care admitted or indulged, inconsistent with, or prejudicial to,
this holy joy: if true believers have not a continual feast, it is
their own fault.
(2.) It must be a feast of unleavened bread, kept in charity, without
the leaven of malice, and insincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy.
The law was very strict as to the passover, and the Jews were so in
their usages, that no leaven should be found in their houses,
All the old leaven of sin must be put far from us, with the utmost
caution and abhorrence, if we would keep the feast of a holy life to
the honour of Christ.
(3.) It was by an ordinance for ever
as long as we live, we must continue feeding upon Christ and rejoicing
in him, always making thankful mention of the great things he has done
||B. C. 1491.|
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.
I. Moses is here, as a faithful steward in God's house, teaching the
children of Israel to observe all things which God had commanded
him; and no doubt he gave the instructions as largely as he
received them, though they are not so largely recorded. It is here
1. That this night, when the first-born were to be destroyed, no
Israelite must stir out of doors till morning, that is, till
towards morning, when they would be called to march out of Egypt,
Not but that the destroying angel could have known an Israelite from an
Egyptian in the street; but God would intimate to them that their
safety was owing to the blood of sprinkling; if they put
themselves from under the protection of that, it was at their peril.
Those whom God has marked for himself must not mingle with evil doers:
They must not go out of the doors, lest they should
straggle and be out of the way when they should be summoned to depart:
they must stay within, to wait for the salvation of the Lord,
and it is good to do so.
2. That hereafter they should carefully teach their children the
meaning of this service,
(1.) The question which the children would ask concerning this
solemnity (which they would soon take notice of in the family):
"What mean you by this service? What is he meaning of all this
care and exactness about eating this lamb, and this unleavened bread,
more than about common food? Why such a difference between this meal
and other meals?" Note,
[1.] It is a good thing to see children inquisitive about the things of
God; it is to be hoped that those who are careful to ask for the way
will find it. Christ himself, when a child, heard and asked
[2.] It concerns us all rightly to understand the meaning of those holy
ordinances wherein we worship God, what is the nature and what the end
of them, what is signified and what intended, what is the duty expected
from us in them and what are the advantages to be expected by us. Every
ordinance has a meaning; some ordinances, as sacraments, have not their
meaning so plain and obvious as others have; therefore we are concerned
to search, that we may not offer the blind for sacrifice, but
may do a reasonable service. If either we are ignorant of, or mistake
about, the meaning of holy ordinances, we can neither please God nor
(2.) The answer which the parents were to return to this question
You shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, that
is, "By the killing and sacrificing of this lamb, we keep in
remembrance the work of wonder and grace which God did for our fathers,
[1.] "To make way for our deliverance out of bondage, he slew the
firstborn of the Egyptians, so compelling them to sign our discharge;"
[2.] "Though there were with us, even with us, sins against the Lord
our God, for which the destroying angel, when he was abroad doing
execution, might justly have destroyed our first-born too, yet God
graciously appointed and accepted the family-sacrifice of a lamb,
instead of the first-born, as, of old, the ram instead of Isaac, and in
every house where the lamb was slain the first-born were saved." The
repetition of this solemnity in the return of every year was designed,
First, To look backward as a memorial, that in it they might
remember what great things God had done for them and their fathers. The
word pesach signifies a leap, or transition; it is
a passing over; for the destroying angel passed over the houses of the
Israelites, and did not destroy their first-born. When God brings utter
ruin upon his people he says, I will not pass by them any more
intimating how often he had passed by them, as now when the destroying
angel passed over their houses. Note,
1. Distinguishing mercies lay under peculiar obligations. When a
thousand fall at our side, and ten thousand at our right hand, and
yet we are preserved, and have our lives given us for a prey, this
should greatly affect us,
In war or pestilence, if the arrow of death have passed by us, passed
over us, hit the next to us and just missed us, we must not say it was
by chance that we were preserved but by the special providence of our
2. Old mercies to ourselves, or to our fathers, must not be forgotten,
but be had in everlasting remembrance, that God may be praised, our
faith in him encouraged, and our hearts enlarged in his service.
Secondly, It was designed to look forward as an earnest of the
great sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the fulness of time, instead of
us and our first-born. We were obnoxious to the sword of the destroying
angel, but Christ our passover was sacrificed for us, his death
was our life, and thus he was the Lamb slain from the foundation of
the world, from the foundation of the Jewish church: Moses kept the
passover by faith in Christ, for Christ was the end of the law for
II. The people received these instructions with reverence and ready
1. They bowed the head and worshipped
they hereby signified their submission to this institution as a law,
and their thankfulness for it as a favour and privilege. Note, When God
gives law to us, we must give honour to him; when he speaks, we must
bow our heads and worship.
2. They went away and did as they were commanded,
Here was none of that discontent and murmuring among them which we read
The plagues of Egypt had done them good, and raised their expectations
of a glorious deliverance, which before they despaired of; and now they
went forth to meet it in the way appointed. Note, The perfecting of
God's mercies to us must be waited for in a humble observance of his
|The Death of the Firstborn.
||B. C. 1491.|
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.
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
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.
Here we have,
I. The Egyptians' sons, even their first-born, slain,
If Pharaoh would have taken the warning which was given him of this
plague, and would thereupon have released Israel, what a great many
dear and valuable lives might have been preserved! But see what
obstinate infidelity brings upon men. Observe,
1. The time when this blow was given: It was at midnight, which
added to the terror of it. The three preceding nights were made
dreadful by the additional plague of darkness, which might be felt, and
doubtless disturbed their repose; and now, when they hoped for one
quiet night's rest, at midnight was the alarm given. When the
destroying angel drew his sword against Jerusalem, it was in the
(2 Samuel 24:15),
which made it the less frightful; but the destruction of Egypt was by a
pestilence walking in darkness,
Shortly there will be an alarming cry at midnight, Behold, the
2. On whom the plague fastened--on their first-born, the joy and
hope of their respective families. They had slain the Hebrews'
children, and now God slew theirs. Thus he visits the iniquity of the
fathers upon the children; and he is not unrighteous who taketh
3. How far it reached--from the throne to the dungeon. Prince and
peasant stand upon the same level before God's judgments, for there is
no respect of persons with him; see
Now the slain of the Lord were many; multitudes, multitudes,
fall in this valley of decision, when the controversy between
God and Pharaoh was to be determined.
4. What an outcry was made upon it: There was a great cry in
Egypt, universal lamentation for their only son (with many),
and with all for their first-born. If any be suddenly taken ill
in the night, we are wont to call up neighbours; but the Egyptians
could have no help, no comfort, from their neighbours, all being
involved in the same calamity. Let us learn hence,
(1.) To tremble before God, and to be afraid of his judgments,
Who is able to stand before him, or dares resist him?
(2.) To be thankful to God for the daily preservation of ourselves and
our families: lying so much exposed, we have reason to say, "It is of
the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed."
II. God's sons, even his first-born, released; this judgment conquered
Pharaoh, and obliged him to surrender at discretion, without
capitulating. Men had better come up to God's terms at first, for he
will never come down to theirs, let them object as long as they will.
Now Pharaoh's pride is abased, and he yields to all that Moses had
insisted on: Serve the Lord as you have said
and take your flocks as you have said,
Note, God's word will stand, and we shall get nothing by disputing it,
or delaying to submit to it. Hitherto the Israelites were not permitted
to depart, but now things had come to the last extremity, in
consequence of which,
1. They are commanded to depart: Rise up, and get you forth,
Pharaoh had told Moses he should see his face no more; but now
he sent for him. Those will seek God early in their distress who before
had set him at defiance. Such a fright he was now in that he gave
orders by night for their discharge, fearing lest, if he delayed any
longer, he himself should fall next; and that he sent them out, not as
men hated (as the pagan historians have represented this matter), but
as men feared, is plainly discovered by his humble request to them
"Bless me also; let me have your prayers, that I may not be
plagued for what is past, when you are gone." Note, Those that are
enemies to God's church are enemies to themselves, and, sooner or
later, they will be made to see it.
2. They are hired to depart by the Egyptians; they cried out
We be all dead men. Note, When death comes into our houses, it
is seasonable for us to think of our own mortality. Are our relations
dead? It is easy to infer thence that we are dying, and, in effect,
already dead men. Upon this consideration they were urgent with the
Israelites to be gone, which gave great advantage to the Israelites in
borrowing their jewels,
When the Egyptians urged them to be gone, it was easy for the to say
that the Egyptians had kept them poor, that they could not undertake
such a journey with empty purses, but, that, if they would give them
wherewithal to bear their charges, they would be gone. And this the
divine Providence designed in suffering things to come to this
extremity, that they, becoming formidable to the Egyptians, might have
what they would, for asking; the Lord also, by the influence he has on
the minds of people, inclined the hearts of the Egyptians to furnish
them with what they desired, they probably intending thereby to make
atonement, that the plagues might be stayed, as the Philistines,
when they returned the ark, sent a present with it for a
trespass-offering, having an eye to this precedent,
1 Samuel 6:3,6.
The Israelites might receive and keep what they thus borrowed, or
rather required, of the Egyptians,
(1.) As justly as servants receive wages from their masters for work
done, and sue for it if it be detained.
(2.) As justly as conquerors take the spoils of their enemies whom they
have subdued; Pharaoh was in rebellion against the God of the
Hebrews, by which all that he had was forfeited.
(3.) As justly as subjects receive the estates granted to them by their
prince. God is the sovereign proprietor of the earth, and the fulness
thereof; and, if he take from one and give to another, who may say unto
him, What doest thou? It was by God's special order and
appointment that the Israelites did what they did, which was sufficient
to justify them, and bear them out; but what they did will by no means
authorize others (who cannot pretend to any such warrant) to do the
same. Let us remember,
[1.] That the King of kings can do no wrong.
[2.] That he will do right to those whom men injure,
Hence it is that the wealth of the sinner often proves to be
laid up for the just,
|Departure of the Israelites.
||B. C. 1491.|
37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to
Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men,
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.
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
Here is the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt; having
obtained their dismission, they set forward without delay, and did not
defer to a more convenient season. Pharaoh was now in a good mind; but
they had reason to think he would not long continue so, and therefore
it was no time to linger. We have here an account,
1. Of their number, about 600,000 men
besides women and children, which I think, we cannot suppose to make
less than 1,200,000 more. What a vast increase was this, to arise from
seventy souls in little more than 200 years' time! See the power and
efficacy of that blessing, when God commands it, Be fruitful and
multiply. This was typical of the multitudes that were brought into
the gospel church when it was first founded; so mightily grew the
word of God, and prevailed.
2. Of their retinue
A mixed multitude went up with them, hangers on to that great
family, some perhaps willing to leave their country, because it was
laid waste by the plagues, and to seek their fortune, as we say, with
the Israelites; others went out of curiosity, to see the solemnities of
Israel's sacrifice to their God, which had been so much talked of, and
expecting to see some glorious appearances of their God to them in the
wilderness, having seen such glorious appearances of their God for them
in the field of Zoan,
Probably the greatest part of this mixed multitude were but a rude
unthinking mob, that followed the crowd they knew not why; we
afterwards find that they proved a snare to them
and it is probable that when, soon afterwards, they understood that the
children of Israel were to continue forty years in the wilderness, they
quitted them, and returned to Egypt. Note, There were always those
among the Israelites that were not Israelites, and there are still
hypocrites in the church, who make a deal of mischief, but will be
shaken off at last.
3. Of their effects. They had with them flocks and herds, even
very much cattle. This is taken notice of because it was long
before Pharaoh would give them leave to remove their effects, which
were chiefly cattle,
4. Of the provision made for the camp, which was very poor and slender.
They brought some dough with them out of Egypt in their knapsacks,
They had prepared to bake, the next day, in order to their removal,
understanding it was very near; but, being hastened away sooner than
they thought of, by some hours, they took the dough as it was,
unleavened; when they came to Succoth, their first stage, they baked
unleavened cakes, and, though these were of course insipid, yet the
liberty they were brought into made this the most joyful meal they had
ever eaten in their lives. Note, The servants of God must not be
slaves to their appetites, nor solicitous to wind up all the delights
of sense to their highest pitch. We should be willing to take up with
dry bread, nay, with unleavened bread, rather than neglect or delay any
service we have to do for God, as those whose meat and drink it is to
do his will.
5. Of the date of this great event: it was just 430 years from the
promise made to Abraham (as the apostle explains it,
at his first coming into Canaan, during all which time the children
of Israel, that is, the Hebrews, the distinguished chosen seed,
were sojourners in a land that was not theirs, either Canaan or Egypt.
So long the promise God made to Abraham of a settlement lay dormant and
unfulfilled, but now, at length, it revived, and things began to work
towards the accomplishment of it. The first day of the march of
Abraham's seed towards Canaan was just 430 years (it should seem to a
day) from the promise made to Abraham,
I will make of thee a great nation. See how punctual God is to
his time; though his promises be not performed quickly, they will be
accomplished in their season.
6. Of the memorableness of it: It is a night to be much
(1.) The providences of that first night were very observable;
memorable was the destruction of the Egyptians, and the deliverance of
the Israelites by it; God herein made himself taken notice of.
(2.) The ordinances of that night, in the annual return of it, were to
be carefully observed: This is that night of the Lord, that
remarkable night, to be celebrated in all generations. Note, The great
things God does for his people are not to be a nine days' wonder, as we
say, but the remembrance of them is to be perpetuated throughout all
ages, especially the work of our redemption by Christ. This first
passover-night was a night of the Lord much to be observed; but
the last passover-night, in which Christ was betrayed (and in which the
passover, with the rest of the ceremonial institutions, was superseded
and abolished), was a night of the Lord much more to be
observed, when a yoke heavier than that of Egypt was broken from
off our necks, and a land better than that of Canaan set before us.
That was a temporal deliverance to be celebrated in their
generation; this is an eternal redemption to be celebrated in the
praises of glorious saints, world without end.
|Directions Concerning the Passover.
||B. C. 1491.|
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
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
Some further precepts are here given concerning the passover, as it
should be observed in times to come.
I. All the congregation of Israel must keep it,
All that share in God's mercies should join in thankful praises for
them. Though it was observed in families apart, yet it is looked upon
as the act of the whole congregation; for the smaller communities
constituted the greater. The New-Testament passover, the Lord's supper,
ought not to be neglected by any who are capable of celebrating it. He
is unworthy the name of an Israelite that can contentedly neglect the
commemoration of so great a deliverance.
1. No stranger that was uncircumcised might be admitted to eat of it,
None might sit at the table but those that came in by the door; nor may
any now approach to the improving ordinance of the Lord's supper who
have not first submitted to the initiating ordinance of baptism. We
must be born again by the word ere we can be nourished by it. Nor shall
any partake of the benefit of Christ's sacrifice, or feast upon it, who
are not first circumcised in heart,
2. Any stranger that was circumcised might be welcome to eat of the
passover, even servants,
If, by circumcision, they would make themselves debtors to the law in
its burdens, they were welcome to share in the joy of its solemn
feasts, and not otherwise. Only it is intimated
that those who were masters of families must not only be circumcised
themselves, but have all their males circumcised too. If in sincerity,
and with that zeal which the thing required and deserves, we give up
ourselves to God, we shall, with ourselves, give up all we have to him,
and do our utmost that all ours may be his too. Here is an early
indication of favour to the poor Gentiles, that the stranger, if
circumcised, stands upon the same level with the home-born Israelite.
One law for both,
This was a mortification to the Jews, and taught them that it was their
dedication to God, not their descent from Abraham, that entitled them
to their privileges. A sincere proselyte was as welcome to the passover
as a native Israelite,
II. In one house shall it be eaten
for good-fellowship sake, that they might rejoice together, and edify
one another in the eating of it. None of it must be carried to another
place, nor left to another time; for God would not have them so taken
up with care about their departure as to be indisposed to take the
comfort of it, but to leave Egypt, and enter upon a wilderness, with
cheerfulness, and, in token of that, to eat a good hearty meal. The
papists' carrying their consecrated host from house to house is not
only superstitious in itself, but contrary to this typical law of the
passover, which directed that no part of the lamb should be carried
The chapter concludes with a repetition of the whole matter, that the
children of Israel did as they were bidden, and God did for them as he
for he will certainly be the author of salvation to those that obey