Exodus 12:21-28

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.

21. Vocavit ergo Moses omnes seniores Israel, et dixit ad eos, Extrahite et tollite vobis pecudem pro familiis vestris, et macate Pesah.

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.

22. Accipietis quoque fasciculum hyssopi, et intingetis in sanguine qui erit in pelvi, et projicietis in superliminare et in utrunque postem de sanguine qui erit in vase. Vos autem non egrediemini quisque ex hostio domus suae usque mane.

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.

23. Et transibit Jehova ad percutiendam AEgyptum: ubi autem viderit sanguinem in superliminari et in duobus postibus, tunc transiliet Jehova januam illam, neque permittet vastatorem ingredi domos vestras ad percutiendum.

24. And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.

24. Observabitis sermonem hunc in edictum, tibi et filiis tuis usque in saeculum.

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.

25. Et quum ingressi fueritis terram quam dabit Jehova vobis, sicut pollicitus est, tunc observabitis cultum hunc.

26. And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

26. Et erit quum dixerint vobis filii vestri, Quis est cultus hic vester?

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.

27. Tunc dicetis, Haec est oblatio Pesah Jehovae, qui transivit domos filiorum Israel in AEgypto, quum percuteret AEgyptum, et domos nostras liberavit. Et incurvavit se populus, et adoravit.

28. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

28. Ablerunt itaque et fecerunt filii Israel sicut praeceperat Jehova Mosi et Aharon; sic, inquam, feterunt.

I have here omitted what Moses has related in the beginning of the chapter up to this verse, because it pertains to the perpetual doctrine of the Law. I shall hereafter insert it in its proper place. But., since here also God gave precepts as to the observation of the Passover, I have thought it right to interweave them with the history; because Moses does not merely teach here what God would have observed by His people in all ages, but relates what He required on a particular occasion. But my readers are to be reminded that some precepts are temporary, and some perpetual, like the Law itself. Of this we may see a clear and familiar example in the chapter before us. For up to this place, Moses had explained what; would be the due observation of the Passover year by year for ever; but now he only relates historically, that, on the night in which the people went forth, they celebrated the Passover according' to God's command. I shall, therefore, lightly touch upon what is here repeated; since a more fitting place for a full exposition will be, when we come to the doctrine of the law. The word hop, 1 pesech, means a passing-over, not of the people, (as many have falsely thought,) but of God Himself, who passed over the houses of the Israelites without harm, when He slew the first-born in all Egypt. Since, then, the wrath of God, which then like a deluge covered the whole of Egypt, left the Israelites untouched, He instituted a memorial of His passing-over, whereby they had been preserved in safety amidst the public destruction of the whole land. He is also said to have passed-over the Egyptians, whom He deprived of their first-born; but after a different manner, because He spared His chosen ones, as if they had been far away, or protected in places of sure refuge.

21. Then Moses called for all the elders. His address is especially directed to the elders, that they might afterwards repeat it to the multitude; for he could not have been heard at the same time by so great a number of people. But, although the disorganization of the people had been terrible under that severe tyranny, still God willed that certain relics of order should be preserved, and did not suffer those, whom He had adopted, to be deprived of all government. This also had been an availing means of preserving their unity, so that the chosen seed of Abraham should not be lost. But Moses here only speaks of the sprinkling of the blood; because he had already addressed them as to the eating of the lamb. He therefore commands branches of hyssop to be dipped in the blood, which had been caught in the basin, and every one's lintel and two side-posts to be sprinkled with this. By which sign God testified that He will preserve His people from the common destruction, because they will be discerned from the wicked by the mark of blood. For it was necessary that the Israelites should first be reminded, that by the expiation of the sacrifice, they were delivered from the plague, and their houses preserved untouched; and, secondly, that the sacrifice would profit them, only if its conspicuous sign existed among them. We elsewhere see that the Paschal lamb was a type of Christ, who by His death propitiated His Father, so that we should not perish with the rest of the world. But, already of old time, He desired to bear witness to the ancients under the Law, that He would not be reconciled to them otherwise than through the sacrifice of a victim. And there is no doubt that by this visible symbol He raised up their minds to that true and heavenly Exemplar, whom it would be absurd and profane to separate from the ceremonies of the law. For what could be more childish than to offer the blood of an animal as a protection against the hand of God, or to seek from thence a ground of safety? God, then, shows that He spares the Israelites on no other condition but that of sacrifice; from whence it follows, that the death of Christ was set before them in this ordinance, which alone constituted the difference between them and the Egyptians. But at the same time He taught that no advantage was to be expected from the blood poured forth, without the sprinkling; not that the external and visible sprinkling produced any good effect, but because by this familiar rite it was useful that the ignorant should be brought to perceive the truth, and that they might know that what was put before them Visibly must be spiritually fulfilled. It is notorious from the testimony of Peter, (1 Peter 1:2,) that our souls are sprinkled with the blood of Christ by the Spirit. This was typified by the bunch of hyssop, 2 which herb possesses great cleansing power, and therefore, was often used in other sacrifices also, as we shall hereafter see in the proper places.

23. For the Lord will pass through. He forbids them to go out during the night, lest they should mix themselves with the Egyptians, but commands them to keep quietly under the protection of the blood. By this sign they were admonished that they also were exposed to destruction, if they did not separate themselves from the unbelievers under the safeguard of the blood. Afterwards the promise: is added, that, provided this were done, the angel would pass them over, and inflict no injury upon them, because God would acknowledge the houses so marked as His own. Wherefore, it is again repeated, that they should alone be safe by the blessing of the blood, who should not neglect to sprinkle themselves with it; because faith alone confers upon us the salvation which is obtained by the slaughter of the victim. The angel, whom God had delegated for afflicting Egypt, is here undoubtedly called "the destroyer;" and, although He often executes His judgments by evil angels, it is to be gathered from other passages that this was one of the elect angels, who also was the minister of the people's deliverance under Christ as the Head.

25. When ye come into the land. He now adds that this rite must be annually observed, in order that the memory of this extraordinary grace might never perish. But since a commandment is given respecting the continual observation 3 of the Sabbath, I postpone its explanation to a more appropriate place; except I would cursorily remark, that the proclamation of the blessing is annexed to the sign; because otherwise it would be an empty and unmeaning proceeding. God, therefore, would have the fathers proclaim it unto their children, so that the knowledge of their redemption, being handed down by tradition, may flourish in all ages. The word dbe, 4 gnebod, some have improperly rendered "work," whereas it is rather used for "worship;" as in many passages to serve God means the same as to worship Him. We too, in French, call whatever relates to the exercises of piety "God's service." Finally, Moses adds that the people professed their faith and obedience by solemn adoration. This indeed they had already done from the beginning, but with little constancy, because they had been so harassed by their afflictions as to neglect their duty; but now they correct the fault of ingratitude. Therefore, they not only declare their feelings of seriousness by bowing the head, but give actual proof of them; for it is expressly said, that they diligently performed whatever was commanded.

1 xop. So. Seb. M. A leaping, or passing-over. It is well known that this version has been discussed and defended at considerable length by Archbishop Magee, in No. 35 of the Illustrations to his First Discourse on the Atonement. See Calvin's farther explanations, when he comments on verse 1 of this chapter. -- W.

2 There has been much discussion as to the plant to which this name is given. "In no instance," says the Illustrated Commentary, "has any plant been suggested, that at the same time had a sufficient length of stem, to answer the purpose of a wand or pole, and such detergent qualities, as to render it a fit emblem of purification." The author himself has no question but. that it was of the genus Phytolacca; which combines, in a remarkable manner, these two qualities. Dr. Royle, however, considers it to have been the caper-plant, (Capparis spinosa,), which possesses another important condition wanting in the Phytolacca, viz., that it still grows in the countries to which it is attributed in Scripture.

3 The word "Sabbath," which is not translated in the French, is probably an accidental interpolation.

4 hdbe. Est servitus et ministerium. Hic vero accipitur pro ritu. S.M. -- W.


Back to

These files are public domain. This electronic edition was downloaded from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.