Exodus 12:14
And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) Ye shall keep it a feast . . . by an ordinance for ever.—The Passover is continued in the Eucharist (1Corinthians 5:7-8); and the Easter celebration, which the Church makes binding on all her members, exactly corresponds in time to the Paschal ceremony, and takes its place. In this way the Passover may be regarded as still continuing under Christianity, and as intended to continue, “even to the end of the world.”

Exodus 12:14-20. This shall be to you for a memorial — It was to be annually observed as a feast to the Lord in their generations, to which the feast of unleavened bread was annexed. A holy convocation — Such solemn festivals were called convocations, because the people were then assembled by sound of trumpet to attend the rites and ordinances of divine worship. The first day was to be a holy convocation, because of the feast of the passover; and the seventh, as being that day, after their exit out of Egypt, when Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red sea. A stranger — A proselyte, Heathen were not concerned in the passover.

It must be here observed, that the whole of this ordinance of the passover was typical.

(1,) The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7. 1st, It was to be a lamb, and Christ is the Lamb of God, John 1:29. 2d, It was to be a male of the first year; in its prime. Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days. It denotes the strength and sufficiency of the Lord Jesus, on whom our help was laid. 3d, It was to be without blemish, signifying the purity of the Lord Jesus, a lamb without spot, 1 Peter 1:19. 4th, It was to be set apart four days before, denoting the designation of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and promise of God. It is observable, that as Christ was crucified at the passover, so he solemnly entered into Jerusalem four days before, the very day that the paschal lamb was set apart. 5th, It was to be slain and roasted with fire, representing the exquisite sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. 6th, It was to be killed by the whole congregation between the two evenings, that is, between three o’clock and six. Christ suffered in the latter end of the world, (Hebrews 9:26,) by the hand of the Jews, the whole multitude of them, Luke 23. 18. 7th, Not a bone of it must be broken, (Exodus 12:46,) which is expressly said to be fulfilled in Christ, John 19:33; John 19:36.

(2,) The sprinkling of the blood was typical. 1st, It was not enough that the blood of the Lamb was shed, but it must be sprinkled, denoting the application of the merit of Christ’s death to our souls, by the Holy Ghost, through faith. 2d, It was to be sprinkled upon the door-posts, signifying the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ, and obedience to him. The mark of the beast may be received in the forehead, or in the right hand, but the seal of the Lamb is always in the forehead, Revelation 7:3. 3d, The blood thus sprinkled was a means of the preservation of the Israelites from the destroying angel. If the blood of Christ be sprinkled upon our consciences, it will be our protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell.

(3,) The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. 1st, The paschal lamb was killed not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon; so we must by faith make Christ ours, as we do that which we eat, and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, and have delight in him, as we have in eating and drinking when we are hungry or thirsty. 2d, It was to be all eaten: those that, by faith, feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ. They must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. 3d, It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. 4th, It was to be eaten in a departing posture, Exodus 12:11; when we feed upon Christ by faith, we must sit loose to the world and all things in it.

(4,) The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1

Corinthians Exodus 5:7-8. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, 1st, We must keep a feast, in holy joy, continually delighting ourselves in Christ Jesus; for if true believers have not a continual feast, it is their own fault. 2d, It must be a feast of unleavened bread, kept in charity, without the leaven of malice, and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. All the old leaven must be put far from us, with the utmost caution, if we would keep the feast of a holy life to the honour of Christ. 3d, It was to be an ordinance for ever. As long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, and rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.12:1-20 The Lord makes all things new to those whom he delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to himself to be his people. The time when he does this is to them the beginning of a new life. God appointed that, on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt, each family should kill a lamb, or that two or three families, if small, should kill one lamb. This lamb was to be eaten in the manner here directed, and the blood to be sprinkled on the door-posts, to mark the houses of the Israelites from those of the Egyptians. The angel of the Lord, when destroying the first-born of the Egyptians, would pass over the houses marked by the blood of the lamb: hence the name of this holy feast or ordinance. The passover was to be kept every year, both as a remembrance of Israel's preservation and deliverance out of Egypt, and as a remarkable type of Christ. Their safety and deliverance were not a reward of their own righteousness, but the gift of mercy. Of this they were reminded, and by this ordinance they were taught, that all blessings came to them through the shedding and sprinkling of blood. Observe, 1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, 1Co 5:7. Christ is the Lamb of God, Joh 1:29; often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb. It was to be in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not when a babe at Bethlehem. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot: the judge who condemned Christ declared him innocent. It was to be set apart four days before, denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise. It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ, Joh 19:33, denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus. 2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, Ro 5:11. Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer's protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell, Ro 8:1. 3. The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, see Joh 6:53,55. It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter. It was to be eaten standing, with their staves in their hands, as being ready to depart. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain, Heb 13:13,14. 4. The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1Co 5:7,8. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Christ Jesus. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy. The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.A memorial - A commemorative and sacramental ordinance of perpetual obligation. As such, it has ever been observed by the Hebrews. By the Christian it is spiritually observed; its full significance is recognized, and all that it foreshadowed is realized, in the sacrament of holy communion. 14. for a memorial, &c.—The close analogy traceable in all points between the Jewish and Christian passovers is seen also in the circumstance that both festivals were instituted before the events they were to commemorate had transpired. For a memorial, or monument, both of this deliverance from Egypt, and moreover of your redemption by Christ, of which that is a type, as even the ancient Jews understood it, who also noted that Israel was to be redeemed in the days of the Messias upon the same day on which they were delivered from Egypt, to wit, upon the fifteenth day of the month of Nisan. Upon which day our blessed Lord was crucified for the redemption of his people. You shall observe it for a solemn feast or festival time.

For ever, i.e. so long as your state and church continues, or till the coming of the Messias. This word doth not always signify eternity, but any long time, as Proverbs 29:14 Daniel 3:9, and oft elsewhere. And this shall be unto you for a memorial,.... To be remembered, and that very deservedly, for the destruction of the firstborn of the Egyptians, and for the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and as memorable a day it is, and much more so, for the redemption of the spiritual Israel by the Messiah; for it was on this selfsame day that he suffered for the redemption and salvation of his people: the Jews not only having a saying,"that in the month Nisan they were redeemed, and in the month Nisan they will be redeemed (g)''but they expressly say,"on the same day, the fifteenth of Nisan, Israel is to be redeemed, in the days of the Messiah, as they were redeemed on that day, as it is said, according to the days, &c. Micah 7:15 (h):"

and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; as the fifteenth day was properly the Chagigah; or festival day, when they made a feast both of the flock and of the herd, of both sheep and oxen, Deuteronomy 16:2.

you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever; unto the end of the Jewish economy and church state, until the Messiah come, the true passover, and be sacrificed for us.

(g) Roshhashanah, fol. 11. 1. 2. (h) Cabalistae apud Fagium in loc.

And this day shall be unto you for a {h} memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance {i} for ever.

(h) Of the benefits received for your deliverance.

(i) That is, until Christ's coming: for then ceremonies will end.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. this day] not, as might seem at first sight, the 14th of the month, the day on which the Passover was observed, but the 15th, the first day of the feast of Maẓẓoth.

a memorial] viz. of the Exodus (v. 17): ‘memorial,’ as Numbers 16:40, Joshua 4:7.

a feast] a pilgrimage (see on Exodus 5:1): as Exodus 23:15; Exodus 23:17 shew, a pilgrimage to a sanctuary was an essential feature in the feast of Maẓẓoth.

throughout your generations … an ordinance for ever] both standing expressions of P. ‘Ordinance for ever’ (ḥoḳ ‘ôlâm, also rendered ‘statute for ever,’ ‘perpetual statute’) recurs v. 17, Exodus 27:21, Exodus 28:43, Exodus 29:9; Exodus 29:17 times in Lev., Nu. ‘Generations’ (dôrôth) means successive generations: cf. v. 42, Exodus 27:21, Exodus 30:10; Exodus 30:21, Exodus 31:13; Exodus 31:16, Exodus 40:15.

14–20. Regulations for the pilgrimage of Maẓẓoth (or Unleavened Cakes) according to P. Unless the writer has expressed himself loosely, vv. 14–20 can hardly be the original sequel of vv. 1–13: as Di. observes, not only is there nothing in vv. 1–13 to which ‘this day’ in vv. 14, 17 can refer, but a memorial day (v. 14) would not be appointed before the event which it was to commemorate had taken place, and v. 17 speaks of this as past: it is possible, therefore, that in the original text of P vv. 14–20 stood somewhere after v. 41, perhaps before v. 50. The feast of Maẓẓoth, though it followed immediately after the Passover, was quite distinct from it (Leviticus 23:5-6): it lasted (v. 15) seven days. Its original intention was in all probability to celebrate the beginning of harvest: cf. p. 241, and on Exodus 23:15 a.Verses 14-20. - Hitherto the directions given have had reference, primarily and mainly, if not wholly, to the first celebration of the Passover on the night preceding the Exodus. Now, it is announced,

(1) That the observance is to be an annual one; and

(2) That it is to he accompanied with certain additional features in the future. These are

(a) the eating of unleavened bread for seven days after the killing of the Passover;

(b) the putting away of leaven out of the houses;

(c)the holding of meetings for worship on the first day and the last; and

(d) the observance on these days of a sabbatical rest. Verse 14. - This day shall be to you for a memorial. Annual festivals, in commemoration of events believed to have happened, were common in the religion of Egypt, and probably not wholly strange to the religious ideas of the Hebrews. (See the "Introduction" to this chapter.) They were now required to make the 14th of Abib such a day, and to observe it continually year after year "throughout their generations." There is commendable faithfulness in the obedience still rendered to the command at the present day; and it must be confessed that the strong expression - throughout your generations and as an ordinance for ever - excuse to a great extent the reluctance of the Jews to accept Christianity. They have already, however, considerably varied from the terms of the original appointment. May they not one day see that the Passover will still be truly kept by participation in the Easter eucharist, wherein Christians feed upon "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" - the antitype, of which the Paschal lamb was the type - the true sustenance of souls - the centre and source of all real unity - the one "perfect and sufficient sacrifice, and oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world"? The Church requires an Easter communion of all her members, proclaims that on that day, Christ our passover being slain, we are to keep the feast; and thus, so far as in her lies, maintains the festival as "an ordinance for ever," to be observed through all her generations. With regard to the preparation of the lamb for the meal, the following directions were given: "They shall eat the lamb in that night" (i.e., the night following the 14th), and none of it נא ("underdone" or raw), or בּשׁל ("boiled," - lit., done, viz., בּמּים מבשּׁל, done in water, i.e., boiled, as בּשׁל does not mean to be boiled, but to become ripe or done, Joel 3:13); "but roasted with fire, even its head on (along with) its thighs and entrails;" i.e., as Rashi correctly explains it, "undivided or whole, so that neither head nor thighs were cut off, and not a bone was broken (Exodus 12:46), and the viscera were roasted in the belly along with the entrails," the latter, of course, being first of all cleansed. On כּרעים and קרב see Leviticus 1:9. These regulations are all to be regarded from one point of view. The first two, neither underdone nor boiled, were connected with the roasting of the animal whole. As the roasting no doubt took place on a spit, since the Israelites while in Egypt can hardly have possessed such ovens of their own, as are prescribed in the Talmud and are met with in Persia, the lamb would be very likely to be roasted imperfectly, or underdone, especially in the hurry that must have preceded the exodus (Exodus 12:11). By boiling, again, the integrity of the animal would have been destroyed, partly through the fact that it could never have been got into a pot whole, as the Israelites had no pots or kettles sufficiently large, and still more through the fact that, in boiling, the substance of the flesh is more or less dissolved. For it is very certain that the command to roast was not founded upon the hurry of the whole procedure, as a whole animal could be quite as quickly boiled as roasted, if not even more quickly, and the Israelites must have possessed the requisite cooking utensils. It was to be roasted, in order that it might be placed upon the table undivided and essentially unchanged. "Through the unity and integrity of the lamb given them to eat, the participants were to be joined into an undivided unity and fellowship with the Lord, who had provided them with the meal" (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:17).

(Note: See my Archologie i. p. 386. Baehr (Symb. 2, 635) has given the true explanation: "By avoiding the breaking of the bones, the animal was preserved in complete integrity, undisturbed and entire (Psalm 34:20). The sacrificial lamb to be eaten was to be thoroughly and perfectly whole, and at the time of eating was to appear as a perfect whole, and therefore as one; for it is not what is dissected, divided, broken in pieces, but only what is whole, that is eo ipso one. There was not other reason for this, than that all who took part in this one whole animal, i.e., all who ate of it, should look upon themselves as one whole, one community, like those who eat the New Testament Passover, the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:7), of whom the apostle says (1 Corinthians 10:17), "There is one bread, and so we, being many, are one body: for we are all partakers of one body." The preservation of Christ, so that not a bone was broken, had the same signification; and God ordained this that He might appear as the true paschal lamb, that was slain for the sins of the world.")

They were to eat it with מצות (ἄζυμα, azymi panes; lxx, Vulg.), i.e., (not sweet, or parched, but) pure loaves, nor fermented with leaven; for leaven, which sets the dough in fermentation, and so produces impurity, was a natural symbol of moral corruption, and was excluded from the sacrifices therefore as defiling (Leviticus 2:11).

"Over (upon) bitter herbs they shall eat it." מררים, πικρίδες (lxx), lactucae agrestes (Vulg.), probably refers to various kinds of bitter herbs. Πικρίς, according to Aristot. Hist. an. 9, 6, and Plin. h. n. 8, 41, is the same as lactuca silvestris, or wild lettuce; but in Dioscor. 2, 160, it is referred to as the wild σέρις or κιχώριον, i.e., wild endive, the intubus or intubum of the Romans. As lettuce and endive are indigenous in Egypt, and endive is also met with in Syria from the beginning of the winter months to the end of March, and lettuce in April and May, it is to these herbs of bitter flavor that the term merorim chiefly applies; though others may also be included, as the Arabs apply the same term to Scorzonera orient., Picris scabra, Sonclus oler., Hieracium uniflor., and others (Forsk. flor. cxviii. and 143); and in the Mishnah, Pes. 2, 6, five different varieties of bitter herbs are reckoned as merorim, though it is difficult to determine what they are (cf. Bochart, Hieroz. 1, pp. 691ff., and Cels. Hierobot. ii. p. 727). By על (upon) the bitter herbs are represented, both here and in Numbers 9:11, not as an accompaniment to the meat, but as the basis of the meal. על does not signify along with, or indicate accompaniment, not even in Exodus 35:22; but in this and other similar passages it still retains its primary signification, upon or over. It is only used to signify accompaniment in cases where the ideas of protection, meditation, or addition are prominent. If, then, the bitter herbs are represented in this passage as the basis of the meal, and the unleavened bread also in Numbers 9:11, it is evident that the bitter herbs were not intended to be regarded as a savoury accompaniment, by which more flavour was imparted to the sweeter food, but had a more profound signification. The bitter herbs were to call to mind the bitterness of life experienced by Israel in Egypt (Exodus 1:14), and this bitterness was to be overpowered by the sweet flesh of the lamb. In the same way the unleavened loaves are regarded as forming part of the substance of the meal in Numbers 9:11, in accordance with their significance in relation to it (vid., Exodus 12:15). There is no discrepancy between this and Deuteronomy 16:3, where the mazzoth are spoken of as an accompaniment to the flesh of the sacrifice; for the allusion there is not to the eating of the paschal lamb, but to sacrificial meals held during the seven days' festival.

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