Amplified Bible

Exodus 13

Consecration of the Firstborn

1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Sanctify to Me [that is, set apart for My purpose] every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal; it is Mine.”

Moses said to the people, “Remember [solemnly observe and commemorate] this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage and slavery; for by a strong and powerful hand the Lord brought you out of this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten. On this day in the month Abib, you are about to go onward. And it shall be when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land [of abundance] [a]flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep and observe this rite (service) in this month. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, nor shall there be leaven within the borders of your territory. You shall explain this to your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall serve as a sign to you on your hand (arm), and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the instruction (law) of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a strong and powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10 Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at this time from year to year.

11 “Now it shall be when the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you, 12 you shall set apart and dedicate to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock shall be the Lord’s. 13 Every firstborn of a [b]donkey you shall redeem by [substituting] a lamb [as a sacrifice for it], but if you do not [wish to] redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn among your sons you shall redeem [that is, “buy back” from God with a suitable sacrifice]. 14 And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘With a strong and powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage and slavery. 15 For it happened, when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, that the Lord struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animal. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord all the males, the first [to be born] of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 So it shall serve as a sign and a reminder on your [left] hand (arm) and as [c]frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong and powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”

God Leads the People

17 So it happened, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, even though it was nearer; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war [that is, that there will be war], and return to Egypt.” 18 But God led the people around by the way of the wilderness toward the [d]Red Sea; the sons of Israel went up in battle array (orderly ranks, marching formation) out of the land of Egypt. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had solemnly ordered (placed under an oath) the Israelites, saying, “God will assuredly take care of you, and you must carry my bones away from here with you.” 20 They journeyed from Succoth [in Goshen] and camped at Etham on the edge of the wilderness. 21 The [presence of the] Lord was going before them by day in a pillar (column) of cloud to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, so that they could travel by day and by night. 22 He did not withdraw the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from going before the people.

Footnotes

  1. Exodus 13:5 This phrase referred to the abundant fertility of the land of Canaan. Milk (typically that of goats and sheep) was associated with abundance; “honey” referred mainly to syrups made from dates or grapes and was the epitome of sweetness. Bees’ honey was very rare and was considered the choicest of foods.
  2. Exodus 13:13 For most Israelites, the donkey would eventually be important for their livelihoods as a work-animal, so God foresaw the need and allowed this exception. Those who had no need for an additional donkey were not required to redeem it, but were to kill it in recognition of God’s right to the firstborn. On the other hand, redemption was of course the only option for a firstborn son. God thereby honors His own right to the firstborn, but at the same time forbids human sacrifice.
  3. Exodus 13:16 Heb totaphoth, later renamed tefillin (“attachment”) but often called phylacteries (Gr “safeguards”) these came to be small cube-shaped leather pouches which contained tiny parchments of Ex 13:1-16 and Deut 6:4-9; 11:13-21. They were strapped to the forehead and the left forearm of Jewish men (or the right forearm, if a man was left-handed) in obedience to the commands in this verse and Deut 6:8. Phylacteries and the parchments contained in them were very artistically made, and are still worn today by observant Jews during morning services.
  4. Exodus 13:18 Lit Sea of Reeds. See note 10:19.

New International Reader's Version

Exodus 13

Setting Apart the Oldest Sons

1The Lord said to Moses, “Set apart for me the first boy born in every family. The oldest son of every Israelite mother belongs to me. Every male animal born first to its mother also belongs to me.”

Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day. It’s the day you came out of Egypt. That’s the land where you were slaves. The Lord used his mighty hand to bring you out of Egypt. Don’t eat anything with yeast in it. You are leaving today. It’s the month of Aviv. The Lord will bring you into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites and Jebusites. He promised your people of long ago that he would give that land to you. It’s a land that has plenty of milk and honey. When you get there, celebrate this holy day in this month. For seven days eat bread made without yeast. On the seventh day hold a feast to honor the Lord. Eat bread made without yeast during those seven days. Nothing with yeast in it should be found among you. No yeast should be seen anywhere inside your borders. On that day talk to your child. Say, ‘I’m doing this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ When you celebrate this holy day, it will be like a mark on your hand. It will be like a reminder on your forehead. This law of the Lord must be on your lips. The Lord used his mighty hand to bring you out of Egypt. 10 Obey this law at the appointed time year after year.

11 “The Lord will bring you into the land of Canaan. He will give it to you, just as he promised he would. He gave his word to you and your people of long ago. 12 After you arrive in the land, give to the Lord the oldest son of every mother. Every male animal born first to its mother among your livestock belongs to the Lord. 13 By sacrificing a lamb, buy back every male donkey born first to its mother. But if you don’t buy the donkey back, break its neck. Buy back every oldest son.

14 “In days to come, your child will ask you, ‘What does this mean?’ Say to them, ‘The Lord used his mighty hand to bring us out of Egypt. That’s the land where we were slaves. 15 Pharaoh was stubborn. He refused to let us go. So the Lord killed every oldest son in Egypt. He also killed all those born first among the people and animals. That’s why I sacrifice to the Lord every male animal born first. And that’s why I buy back each of my oldest sons for the Lord.’ 16 This holy day will be like a mark on your hand. It will be like a sign on your forehead. It will remind you that the Lord used his mighty hand to bring us out of Egypt.”

Israel Goes Through the Red Sea

17 Pharaoh let the people go. The shortest road from Goshen to Canaan went through the Philistine country. But God didn’t lead them that way. God said, “If they have to go into battle, they might change their minds. They might return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people toward the Red Sea by taking them on a road through the desert. The Israelites were ready for battle when they went up out of Egypt.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph along with him. Joseph had made the Israelites give their word to do this. He had said, “God will surely come to help you. When he does, you must carry my bones up from this place with you.” (Genesis 50:25)

20 The people left Sukkoth. They camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud. It guided them on their way. At night he led them with a pillar of fire. It gave them light. So they could travel by day or at night. 22 The pillar of cloud didn’t leave its place in front of the people during the day. And the pillar of fire didn’t leave its place at night.