Wanderings in the Wilderness: The First Journey

Exodus 12:37-51; 13:1-19 (cf. Numbers 33:1-5)

Highlights from this Passage

  • The number that departs out of Egypt.
  • The firstborn are offered to God.
  • The memorial of their deliverance.
  • The institution of the Passover.
  • An exhortation to teach their children to remember this deliverance.
  • Why they are led by the wilderness.
  • The bones of Joseph.

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The children of Israel traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot who were men, in addition to children. A mixed multitude went up also with them, with flocks, herds, and even very much livestock. They baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt; for it wasn’t leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and couldn’t wait, and they had not prepared any food for themselves. Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. At the end of four hundred thirty years, to the day, all of Yahweh’s armies went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed to Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of Yahweh, to be much observed by all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner shall eat of it, but every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat of it. A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat of it. It must be eaten in one house. You shall not carry any of the meat outside of the house. Do not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. When a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, and would like to keep the Passover to Yahweh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it. He shall be as one who is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. One law shall be to him who is born at home, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you.” All the children of Israel did so. As Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. That same day, Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Sanctify to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is mine.”

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today you go out in the month Abib. It shall be, when Yahweh brings you into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and no leavened bread shall be seen with you. No yeast shall be seen with you, within all your borders. You shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘It is because of that which Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that Yahweh’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand Yahweh has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

“It shall be, when Yahweh brings you into the land of the Canaanite, as he swore to you and to your fathers, and will give it you, that you shall set apart to Yahweh all that opens the womb, and every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have. The males shall be Yahweh’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and you shall redeem all the firstborn of man among your sons. It shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall tell him, ‘By strength of hand Yahweh brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, Yahweh killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of livestock. Therefore I sacrifice to Yahweh all that opens the womb, being males; but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ It shall be for a sign on your hand, and for symbols between your eyes; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt.”

When Pharaoh had let the people go, God didn’t lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt”; but God led the people around by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the children of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones away from here with you.”

The Exodus

Exodus 12:31-36, 40-42

Highlight from this Passage

The Israelites are driven out of the land. 

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He called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, “Rise up, get out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel; and go, serve Yahweh, as you have said! Take both your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also!”

The Egyptians were urgent with the people, to send them out of the land in haste, for they said, “We are all dead men.” The people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading troughs being bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. The children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they asked of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and clothing. Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. They plundered the Egyptians.

Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. At the end of four hundred thirty years, to the day, all of Yahweh’s armies went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed to Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of Yahweh, to be much observed by all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

The Ninth and Tenth Plagues

Exodus 10:21-27; 11:1-8; 10:28-29; 11:9-10; 12:21-30

Highlights from this Passage

  • Darkness is sent.
  • God promises their departure.
  • He wills them to borrow their neighbors’ jewels. 
  • Moses was esteemed by all except Pharaoh.
  • The fathers must teach their children the mystery of the Passover.
  • The firstborn of Egypt are slain.

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Yahweh said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They didn’t see one another, and nobody rose from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve Yahweh. Only let your flocks and your herds stay behind. Let your little ones also go with you.”

Moses said, “You must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God. Our livestock also shall go with us. Not a hoof shall be left behind, for of it we must take to serve Yahweh our God; and we don’t know with what we must serve Yahweh, until we come there.”

But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let them go. 

Yahweh said to Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh, and on Egypt; afterwards he will let you go. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man ask of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.” Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.

Moses said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘About midnight I will go out into the middle of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the mill, and all the firstborn of livestock. There will be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been, nor will be any more. But against any of the children of Israel a dog won’t even bark or move its tongue, against man or animal, that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. All these servants of yours will come down to me, and bow down themselves to me, saying, “Get out, with all the people who follow you;” and after that I will go out.’” He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.

Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Be careful to see my face no more; for in the day you see my face you shall die!”

Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more.”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Pharaoh won’t listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, “Draw out, and take lambs according to your families, and kill the Passover. You shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two door posts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For Yahweh will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two door posts, Yahweh will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you. You shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever. It shall happen when you have come to the land which Yahweh will give you, as he has promised, that you shall keep this service. It will happen, when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians, and spared our houses.’”

The people bowed their heads and worshiped. The children of Israel went and did so; as Yahweh had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

At midnight, Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon and all the firstborn of livestock. Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

The Passover

Exodus 12:1-20

Highlight from this Passage

  • The Lord institutes the Passover.
  • The Passover foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

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Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; and if the household is too little for a lamb, then he and his neighbor next to his house shall take one according to the number of the souls. You shall make your count for the lamb according to what everyone can eat. Your lamb shall be without defect, a male a year old. You shall take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at evening. They shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel, on the houses in which they shall eat it. They shall eat the meat in that night, roasted with fire, with unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs. Don’t eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire; with its head, its legs and its inner parts. You shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. This is how you shall eat it: with your belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal. I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. I am Yahweh. The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a memorial for you. You shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh. You shall keep it as a feast throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.

“‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away yeast out of your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. In the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no kind of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, only that may be done by you. You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty first day of the month at evening. There shall be no yeast found in your houses for seven days, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a foreigner, or one who is born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.’”