Exodus 12

Sunday Evening Bible Study

March 2, 1997


Four over four hundred years, the descendants of Israel have been in Egypt.

Now, as a nation of slaves, God has heard their cry for deliverance, and sent a reluctant man, Moses, to deliver them.

The long, hard process of deliverance has begun through the working of miracles.

There have been nine plagues, all wonderfully aimed at showing the Egyptians how much more powerful Yahweh was than their own gods.

At each point, Pharaoh gets close to letting the people go, then hardens his heart and says "no".

Exodus 12

:2 the beginning of months

There are two Jewish calendars, a civil calendar, and a religious calendar.

The Civil calendar was the official calendar of kings, childbirth, and contracts.

The Sacred calendar was how the different festivals and feasts were figured.

The Passover took place in the seventh month of the civil calendar, but it now becomes the first month of a new calendar, the religious calendar.

This month was called by its Canaanite name Abib (cf. 13:4), meaning "ear" (because the grain was in the ear), though it was later called by the Babylonian name Nisan (cf. Neh. 2:1).

Because the Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar calendar, the months don't exactly correspond with our months. Abib falls somewhere in the March-April time frame.

For us, this year (1997) Passover won't happen until April 22. Obviously the Christian calendar isn't in sync with the Hebrew calendar, since Easter in March 30 this year.

This deliverance is going to be such a momentous occasion, that it will totally reorient their life.

It's similar to being "born again".

It's getting a fresh start.

:3 every man a lamb,

The Passover instructions began with the choosing of a lamb, could be a baby sheep or a baby goat, either were acceptable.

:4 according to the number of the souls

Gill: which Josephus {e} says were never fewer than ten, and were often twenty, but no man might feast alone; with which agrees the Jewish canon ,

``they do not kill the passover lamb for a single person, nor even for a society consisting of one hundred, that cannot eat the quantity of an olive:''

:4 every man according to his eating

The host was to consider how much his family could eat, then invite over neighbors and friends if they were going to have too many leftovers.

The point was that the Lamb was to be entirely consumed on the night of Passover, there was to be none left over.

:5 without blemish, a male


Don't give God 2nd hand junk.

This is a principle we're going to see over and over concerning sacrifice.


There's a story about a man whose cow had twin calves.

He was so excited that he ran to the church and decided to give one of the calves to God in thanks. But he hadn't decided which calf to give to the Lord.

But after a week, one of the calves got sick, and eventually died.

The man came to the pastor and said sadly, "I'm sorry, but God's calf died".

We too often want to give God things that don't cost us very much.


A sinless substitution for you.

The Lamb had to be spotless, almost as it were, without sin.

It had to be a male.

God's beginning to paint a picture here.

:6 keep it up until the fourteenth day

There's several theories as to why the lamb was chosen on the tenth, and sacrificed on the fourteenth.

I wonder if it is so the family will become attached to it, so the sacrifice will be harder, so the sacrifice will mean more.

If it doesn't cost you anything, it isn't a sacrifice.

David had been offered a place to build the temple, for free:

(2 Sam 24:24 KJV) And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

:6 the whole assembly

In other words, everybody kills their lambs at the same time.

:6 kill it at twilight

This phrase can either mean the period of time between sunset and dark, or it can mean the specific time period between 3 and 5 p.m. Probably the latter idea is meant, and the Jews took it this way, because when they had their temple, and all the sacrifices for Passover where brought there to be killed, it left more time for slaughtering and preparing the animals.

It's interesting to note that Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. (Mat.27:46)

:7 strike it on the two side posts

They were to paint the door frame of their houses with this blood.

Some see the shape of a cross, here, but I'm not sure that's quite the idea.

It's better to just look at it as anyone who came into their house would have to come through the blood.

The blood was covering the house.

:8 unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs

Three main parts of the menu were given - lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs.

Bitter herbs - like endive, chicory, nettles, or parsley

Bitter herbs were symbolic of the pain and suffering that the people had while in Egypt.

The old life of sin, the life of Egypt, is full of pain and suffering.

We'll see this a little later on when we look at a typical Jewish Seder.

:9 nor sodden at all with water

The Lamb was not to be boiled, but roasted.

:9 with the purtenance thereof

The innards were all roasted along with the meat itself.

:10 let nothing of it remain until the morning;

The sacrifice was to be made and be done with.

It wasn't to linger on.

Jesus paid for our sins once and for all on the cross.

This is kind of why I have a problem with the typical Catholic crucifix.

It makes you think that He's still on the cross.

But He's not. He paid the price, He's finished the transaction.

:11 it is the LORD'S passover


This event serves as a beautiful illustration of the redemption Christ accomplished at Calvary (cf. John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7).

    1. The offering was to be without blemish (v. 5; cf. 1 Peter 1:19).
    2. The lamb had to be killed (v. 6; cf. John 12:24, 27).
    3. The blood had to be applied (v. 7; cf. Heb. 9:22).

:11 ye shall eat it in haste:

They were to "eat and run".

:13 when I see the blood, I will pass over you

Actually, the lamb was a substitution for the first born.

The angel of death would be killing the firstborn in each family, unless a substitution was made with a Lamb.

Thus the idea of "Passover"

We are covered by the blood of the Lamb, and the judgment for our sins "passes over" us.

(1 Pet 1:18-19 KJV) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; {19} But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

:14 ye shall keep it a feast

The Jews were to repeat this ritual over and over every year, as a reminder of how God had delivered them from Egypt.

It's similar to why we take communion over and over again.

It reminds us of how Jesus paid for our sins.

I think there's another reason why the Jews were to repeat this over and over again.

Because it was to put into their hearts that God would one day provide a Lamb for their sins.

They would realize what was going on when Jesus, the Lamb of God, was offered up for their sins.

:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread

There was a second, parallel feast held along with the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread.

It started on the day of the Passover, and lasted for seven days.

:15 even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses

The Jews today have part of the ritual where the children have to search the house for leaven, to prove that there is no leaven in the house.

There's a level of symbolism involved here.

The Bible speaks of leaven being a picture of sin.

And so the Passover was to be a time of repentance, a time of putting away of sin as well.

(1 Cor 5:6-8 KJV) Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? {7} Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: {8} Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

:16 an holy convocation

A holy "get-together". They were to have "church" on the 14th and the 21st of the month.

:22 hyssop

A common plant of the mint family. Because of its stiff branches and hairy leaves, it served well for sprinkling.

It was often used in sacrifices for the sprinkling of blood.

David wrote:

(Psa 51:7 KJV) Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

:26 your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?


Worship isn't private, it's a family affair.

Your kids are to see you worshipping your God.

They are supposed to ask all those difficult questions.

It's how they come to know the Lord too.

Pass it on.

Note: The children are to ask questions at the Passover celebration!

:30 there was not a house where there was not one dead.

Hardness of heart has a price.

Too often your kids are the ones paying for it.

:33 We be all dead men.

I think the Egyptians are wondering if they're going to be next if they don't let the Israelites go.

:34 took their dough before it was leavened

And that's part of why the feast of unleavened bread is celebrated.

It reminds the people that they had to leave very quickly.

:36 they spoiled the Egyptians

Back pay for a couple hundred years of slavery.

:37 six hundred thousand on foot that were men

That makes the total population somewhere close to two million people, including the women and children.

:38 a mixed multitude went up also with them

These were non-Israelites who went along with them. They will be causing the Israelites much trouble.

It's kind of like the unbelievers who may come to church. They will always be there (good and bad).

Some come because they are seeking, and they will hopefully come to Jesus and join the family.

Some come for other reasons, often pretending to be believers, yet only playing games. These are the dangerous ones.

It's not our job to try to kick the "mixed multitude" out of church. If you try, it will cause more problems than it solves.

:41 at the end of the four hundred and thirty years

This number is significant for two reasons:

    1. It fulfills a prophecy given to Abraham by God.

GEN 15:13 And {God} said to Abram, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.

2. It is a key link in chronology, placing the date of the Exodus with the book of Genesis.

:43 There shall no stranger eat thereof:

Passover is no game to be played at.

It's meant for those who understand what happened.

As you'll see, it may include interested Gentiles like us.

It's like with Communion.

Communion is something very serious for us as believers as we remember the death and resurrection of our Lord.

It's only for those who believe.

:46 neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

Another part of the picture concerning Jesus.

(John 19:33-36 KJV) But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: {34} But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. {35} And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. {36} For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.

:48 when a stranger shall sojourn with thee

God opens the door for even Gentiles like us, as long as we're circumcised.

:48 no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof

It requires a commitment to be part of God's people.

It involves a cutting away of the flesh.

No commitment, no benefit.