The Last Plague
Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will let you go. When he lets you go, he will most certainly drive you out of here completely. Speak so that all of the people [of Israel] may hear, and tell every man to ask from his neighbor, and every woman to ask from her neighbor, articles of silver, and articles of gold.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was greatly esteemed in the land of Egypt, [both] in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.
Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘At midnight I am going out into the midst of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land [the pride, hope, and joy] of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the hand-mill, and all the firstborn of cattle as well. There shall be a great cry [of heartache and sorrow] throughout the land of Egypt, such as has never been before and such as shall never be again. But not even a dog will [a]threaten any of the Israelites, whether man or animal, so that you may know [without any doubt] and acknowledge how the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ All these servants of yours will come down to me and bow down before me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ After that I will leave.” And he left Pharaoh in the heat of anger.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders (miracles) may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders (miracles) before Pharaoh; yet the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go out of his land.
- Exodus 11:7 Lit move his tongue, that is, bark in a threatening way.
The Passover Lamb
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This [a]month shall be the beginning of months to you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Tell all the congregation of Israel, ‘On the tenth [day] of this month they are to take a lamb or young goat for themselves, according to [the size of] the household of which he is the father, a lamb or young goat for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb [to be consumed], let him and his next door neighbor take one according to the number of people [in the households]; according to what each man can eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb or young goat shall be [perfect] without blemish or bodily defect, a male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to slaughter it [b]at twilight. Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel [above the door] of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the meat that same night, roasted in fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted in fire—both its head and its legs, along with its inner parts. You shall let none of the meat remain until the morning, and anything that remains left over until morning, you shall burn completely in the fire. Now you are to eat it in this manner: [be prepared for a journey] with your [c]loins girded [that is, with the outer garment tucked into the band], your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; you shall eat it quickly—it is the Lord’s Passover. For I [the Lord] will pass through the land of Egypt on this night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal; against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments [exhibiting their worthlessness]. I am the Lord. The blood shall be a sign for you on [the doorposts of] the houses where you live; when I see the blood I shall pass over you, and no affliction shall happen to you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.
Feast of Unleavened Bread
‘Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as an ordinance forever. [In the celebration of the Passover in future years,] seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove the [d]leaven from your houses [because it represents the spread of sin]; for whoever eats leavened bread on the first day through the seventh day, that person shall be cut off and excluded from [the atonement made for] Israel. On the first day [of the feast] you shall have a holy and solemn assembly, and on the seventh day there shall be another holy and solemn assembly; no work of any kind shall be done on those days, except for the preparation of food which every person must eat—only that may be done by you. You shall also observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very day I brought your hosts [grouped according to tribal armies] out of the land of Egypt; therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, [and continue] until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. Seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off and excluded from [the atonement made for] the congregation of Israel, whether a stranger or native-born. You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread.’”
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take a lamb for yourselves according to [the size of] your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. You shall take a bunch of [e]hyssop, dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and touch some of the blood to the lintel [above the doorway] and to the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.
A Memorial of Redemption
For the Lord will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel [above the entry way] and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow [f]the destroyer to come into your houses to slay you. You shall observe this event [concerning Passover] as an ordinance for you and for your children forever. When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall keep and observe this service. When your children say to you, ‘What does this service mean to you?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians, but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed [their heads] low and worshiped [God].
Then the Israelites went and did [as they had been told]: just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.
Now it happened at midnight that the Lord struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the [g]dungeon, and all the firstborn of the cattle. Pharaoh got up in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry [of heartache and sorrow] in Egypt, for there was no house where there was not someone dead. Then he called for Moses and Aaron at night and said, “Get up, get out from among my people, both you and the Israelites; and go, serve the Lord, as you said. Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and go, and [ask your God to] bless me also.”
Exodus of Israel
The Egyptians [anxiously] urged the people [to leave], to send them out of the land quickly, for they said, “We will all be dead.” So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
Now the Israelites had acted in accordance with the word of Moses; and they had asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing. The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they gave them what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians [of those things].
Now the Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides [the women and] the children. A mixed multitude [of non-Israelites from foreign nations] also went with them, along with both flocks and herds, a very large number of livestock. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought from Egypt; it was not leavened, since they were driven [quickly] from Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any food for themselves.
Now the period of time the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. At the end of the four hundred and thirty years, to that very day, all the hosts of the Lord [gathered into tribal armies] left the land of Egypt.
Ordinance of the Passover
It is a night of watching to be observed for the Lord for having brought them out of the land of Egypt; this [same] night is for the Lord, to be observed and celebrated by all the Israelites throughout their generations.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: no [h]foreigner is to eat it; but every man’s slave who is bought with money, after you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. No stranger (temporary resident, foreigner) or hired servant shall eat it. It is to be eaten inside one house; you shall not take any of the meat outside the house, nor shall you break any of its bones. The entire congregation of Israel shall keep and celebrate it. If a stranger living temporarily among you wishes to celebrate the Passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised, and then he may participate and celebrate it like one that is born in the land. But no uncircumcised person may eat it. The same law shall apply to the native-born and to the stranger who lives temporarily among you.”
Then all the Israelites did so; they did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. And on that very same day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their hosts (tribal armies).
- Exodus 12:2 Originally known as Abib (March/April), after the Babylonian captivity the name was changed to Nisan.
- Exodus 12:6 Lit between the two evenings, that is, between sunset and nightfall (likely 6:00-7:20 p.m.) each household was to slaughter its own lamb or goat.
- Exodus 12:11 A variation of a phrase often found in the Bible that is an urgent call to get ready for immediate action, or to prepare for a coming action or event. The phrase is related to the type of clothing worn in ancient times. To keep from impeding the wearer during any vigorous activity, e.g. battle, exercise, strenuous work, etc., the loose ends of garments (tunics, cloaks, mantles, etc.) had to be gathered up and tucked into the girdle. The girdle was a band about six inches wide that had fasteners in front. It was worn around the loins (the midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips) and was normally made of leather. The girdle (band) also served as a kind of pocket or pouch and was used to carry personal items such as a dagger, money or other necessary things. Gird up your mind or gird up your heart are examples of variants of this phrase and call for mental or spiritual preparation for a coming challenge.
- Exodus 12:15 This is the first time leaven is mentioned in the Bible. The Hebrew word (seor) refers specifically to the leavening agent (as opposed to dough containing it), which today is thought of as yeast, a type of fungus. In Jewish thinking, leaven was symbolic of impurity and corruption. As leaven spreads through dough, sin spreads through a population. Jesus used it as a symbol for the corrupt and hypocritical teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees (see especially Luke 12:1; cf Matt 16:11; Mark 8:15), but He also used leaven’s ability to permeate a mass of dough many times its own size as an illustration of the spread of the kingdom of heaven (Matt 13:33; Luke 13:21).
- Exodus 12:22 This evidently was a bristly plant which was useful as a kind of brush.
- Exodus 12:23 Another translation is “the destruction,” which would make Yahweh (God) Himself, and not an “Angel of the Lord,” the One who either “passes over” (Ex 12:13) or “destroys.”
- Exodus 12:29 Lit house of a cistern. Cisterns, which were underground water reservoirs, were, when dry, sometimes used to confine prisoners.
- Exodus 12:43 I.e. a gentile who had not become a proselyte to Judaism; but see v 48 for an exception.