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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

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Chapter 12

Chapter Overview

This chapter gives an account of one of the most memorable ordinances, and one of the most memorable providences of all that art recorded in the old testament. I. None of all the ordinances of the Jewish church were more eminent than that of the passover. It consisted of three parts. 1. The killing and eating of the paschal lamb, verse 1-6, 8-11.
2. The sprinkling of the blood upon the doorposts, peculiar to the first passover, verse 7.
with the reason for it, verse 11-13.
3. The feast of unleavened bread for seven days after; this points rather at what was to be done after in the observance of this ordinance, verse 14-20.
This institution is communicated to the people, and they instructed in the observance. (1.) Of this first passover, verse 21-23.
(2.) Of the after passovers, verse 24-27.
And the Israelites obedience to these orders, verse 28.
II. None of all the providences of God concerning the Jewish church was more illustrious, than the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt. 1. The first-born of the Egyptians are slain, verse 29, 30.
2. Orders are given immediately for their discharge, verse 31-33.
3. They begin their march, 1. Loaded with their own effects, v. 34. 2. Enriched with the spoils of Egypt, verse 35, 36.
3. Attended with a mixed multitude, verse 37, 38, 4.
Put to their shifts for present supply, verse 39.
This event is dated, verse 40-42.
III. A recapitulation in the close, 1st. Of this memorable ordinance, with some additions, verse 43-49 2dly.
Of this memorable providence, verse 50, 51.

Verse 1
The Lord spake - Had spoken, before the three days darkness. But the mention of it was put off to this place, that the history of the plagues might not be interrupted.

Verse 2
This shall be to you the beginning of months - They had hitherto begun their year from the middle of September, but hence-forward they were to begin it from the middle of March, at least in all their ecclesiastical computations. 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, by degrees, brought them near together from their dispersions, for they are here called the congregation of Israel; and to them, as a congregation, orders are here sent.

Verse 3
Take every man a lamb - In each of their families, or two or three families, if they were small, join for a lamb. The lamb was to be got ready four days before. and that afternoon they went, they were to kill it, ( Exodus 12:6,) 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. The lamb so slain they were to eat roasted (we may suppose in its several quarters) with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; they were to eat it in haste, Exodus 12:11, and to leave none of it until the morning; for God would have them to depend upon him for their daily bread. Before they eat the flesh of the lamb, they were to sprinkle the blood upon the door-posts; by which their houses were to be distinguished from the houses of the Egyptians, and so their first-born secured from the sword of the destroying angel. 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, Numbers 33:4. It is probable the idols which the Egyptians worshipped were defaced, those of metal melted, those of wood consumed, and those of stone broke to pieces. 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 for many days after they came out of Egypt, Exodus 12:14-20. There was much of the gospel in this ordinance: (1.) The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7, and is the Lamb of God, John 1:29. 2. It was to be a male of the first year; in its prime. Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days. It notes the strength and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, on whom our help was laid. 3. It was to be without blemish, noting the purity of the Lord Jesus, a lamb without spot, 1 Peter 1:19. 4. It was to be set apart four days before, noting the designation of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise. It is 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, noting the exquisite sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. 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 latter end of the world, Hebrews 9:26, by the hand of the Jews, the whole multitude of them, Luke 23:18. 7. Not a bone of it must be broken, Exodus 12:46, which is expressly said to be fulfilled in Christ, John 19:33,36. (2.) The sprinkling of the blood was typical. 1st, It was not enough that the blood of the lamb was shed, but it must be sprinkled, noting the application of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; 2dly, It was to be sprinkled upon the door-posts, noting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ, and obedience to him. The mark of the beast may be received in the forehead, or in the right hand, but the seal of the lamb is always in the forehead, Revelation 7:3. 3dly, The blood thus sprinkled was a means of the preservation of the Israelites from the destroying angel. 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 solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. 1st, 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 in him, as we have in eating and drinking when we are hungry or thirsty. 2dly, 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. 3dly, It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. 4thly, It was to be eaten in a departing posture Exodus 12:11, when we feed upon Christ by faith, we must sit loose to the world, and every thing in it. (4.) The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1 Corinthians 5:7,8. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, 1st. We must keep a feast, in holy joy, continually delighting ourselves in Christ Jesus; If true believers have not a continual feast, it is their own fault. 2dly, It must be a feast of unleavened bread, kept in charity, without the leaven of malice, and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. All the old leaven of sin must be put far from us, with the utmost caution, if we would keep the feast of a holy life to the honour of Christ. 3dly, It was to be an ordinance forever. As long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, and rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.

Verse 9
Raw - Half roasted, but throughly drest.

Verse 10
Ye shall burn with fire - To prevent the profane abuse of it.

Verse 11
The Lord's passover - A sign of his passing over you, when he destroyed the Egyptians.

Verse 16
An holy convocation - A solemn day for the people to assemble together.

Verse 19
A stranger - A proselyte. Heathens were not concerned in the passover.

Verse 22
Out of the door of his house - Of that house, wherein he ate the passover: Until the morning - That is, till towards morning, when they would be called for to march out of Egypt. They went out very early in the morning.

Verse 23
The destroyer - The destroying angel, whether this was a good or an evil angel, we have not light to determine.

Verse 27
The people 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.

Verse 31
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 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 delay'd, 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 plain by his request to them.

Verse 32
Bless me also - Let me have your prayers, that I may not be plagued for what is past when you are gone.

Verse 33
We be all dead men - When death comes unto our houses, it is seasonable for us to think of our own mortality.

Verse 34
Their kneading-troughs - Or rather, their lumps of paste unleavened.

Verse 37
About six hundred thousand men - The word means strong and able men fit for wars, beside women and children, which we cannot suppose to make less than twelve hundred thousand more. What a vast increase was this to arise from seventy souls, in little more than two hundred years.

Verse 38
And a mixed multitude went up with them - Some perhaps willing to leave their country, because it was laid waste by the plagues. But probably the greatest part was but a rude unthinking mob, that followed they knew not why: It is likely, when they understood that the children of Israel were to continue forty years in the wilderness, they quitted them, and returned to Egypt again. And flocks and herds, even very much cattle - This is taken notice of, because it was long ere Pharaoh would give them leave to remove their effects, which were chiefly cattle.

Verse 39
Thrust out - By importunate entreaties.

Verse 40
It was just four hundred and thirty years from the promise made to Abraham (as the Apostle explains it, Galatians 3:17,) at his first coming into Canaan, during all which time the Hebrews, were sojourners in a land that was not theirs, either Canaan or Egypt. So long the promise God made to Abraham lay dormant and unfulfilled, but now, 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 four hundred and thirty years (it should seem, to a day) from the promise made to Abraham, Genesis 12:2. I will make of thee a great nation.

Verse 42
This first passover night was a night of the Lord, much to be observed; but the last passover night, in which Christ was betrayed, was a night of the Lord, much more to be observed, when a yoke heavier than that of Egypt was broke 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 generations; this an eternal redemption to be celebrated world without end.

Verse 45
An hired servant - Unless he submit to be circumcised.

Verse 47
All the congregation of Israel must keep it - Though it was observed in families apart, yet it is looked upon as the act of the whole congregation. And so the new testament passover, the Lord's supper, ought not to be neglected by any that are capable of celebrating it.

Verse 48
No stranger that was uncircumcised might eat of it. Neither may any now approach the Lord's supper who have not first submitted to baptism; nor shall any partake of the benefit of Christ's sacrifice, who are not first circumcised in heart. Any stranger that was circumcised might eat of the passover, even servants. Here is an 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.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Exodus 12". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/wen/view.cgi?book=ex&chapter=012>. 1765.  

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