Exodus 13
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
1, 2. P’s law of the sanctity of the firstborn. The firstborn in Israel, both of men and cattle, were sacred to Jehovah. Here the principle is stated in its most general form: special details, not always consistent, are given elsewhere. In the ‘Book of the Covenant’ (E), see Exodus 22:29 b, 30: in Exodus 13:12 f. ("" Exodus 34:19 f.: both J), it is provided that only firstborn males are to be Jehovah’s, that the firstborn among men are to be redeemed, and the firstling of an ass (as an unclean animal) to be either redeemed by a lamb or killed; other firstlings are sacrificed to Jehovah (v. 15). In Deuteronomy 15:19-23, the firstling males of the herd and of the flock, if free from defect, are to be sacrificed at the central sanctuary, and the flesh eaten by the owner and his household at a sacred meal (cf. Exodus 12:6 f., 17 f., Exodus 14:23): in Numbers 18:15-18 (P) the firstborn of men and unclean beasts generally are to be redeemed, the former at 5 shekels a head; the firstling of ox, sheep, or goat is to be sacrificed, the flesh being—not the owner’s, as in Deuteronomy 15:19-23, but—the perquisite of the priests: the two laws evidently reflect the usage of two different periods of the history (see the writer’s Deut. p. 187). According to the (unhistorical) representation of P, the Levites, at the first census in the wilderness, were taken by Jehovah in lieu of the firstborn of the other tribes, Numbers 3:11-13; Numbers 3:40-51; Numbers 8:16-18. Both J (or RJE) and P assign as the ground of the custom the fact that Jehovah slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, both man and beast (Exodus 12:12; Exodus 12:29), at the Exodus,—the former (ch. Exodus 13:15) making it a memorial of the event, and the latter stating that Jehovah then ‘sanctified’ to Himself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast, Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17 (P). On the question whether this was the real origin of the custom, see p. 409 f.

Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
2. whatsoever openeth] i.e. first openeth; Heb. péṭer, a technical term: so vv. 12, 13 ("" Exodus 34:19-20), 15; Numbers 3:12; Numbers 8:16; Numbers 18:15; Ezekiel 20:26†. The law is cited (but not verbally) in Luke 2:23.

And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.
3. this day] i.e. the 15th of Abib.

house of bondage (lit. of bondmen or slaves)] so v. 14, Exodus 20:2; and hence often in Dt. (Deuteronomy 5:6 [= Deuteronomy 20:2], Deuteronomy 6:12, Deuteronomy 7:8, Deuteronomy 8:14, Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 13:10), and Joshua 24:17 (D2[135]); also Micah 6:4†. The expression means a place in which slaves are confined (Lat. ergastulum), such as Egypt was to the Hebrews in bondage.

[135] Deuteronomic passages in Josh., Jud., Kings.

strength of hand] so vv. 14, 16†. The usual expression is a strong hand (v. 9): see on Exodus 6:1.

3–4. No leavened bread to be eaten on the day of the Exodus.

3–16. Moses’ promulgation to the people of directions respecting (a) Maẓẓoth, vv. 3–10, and (b) the sanctity of the firstborn, vv. 11–16. Both passages approximate in style and tone to Deuteronomy (cf. on Exodus 12:25-27 a); and it is probable that they are both parenetic expansions, by the compiler of JE, of a simpler original in J, contained perhaps in vv. 3a (to people), 4, 6–7, 10, 12–13.

(a) 3–10. Maẓẓoth. Regulations respecting Maẓẓoth have already been given to Moses by Jehovah in Exodus 12:14-20 (P); but the differences, both material (no mention of a ‘holy convocation,’ with restrictions from work, on the 1st and 7th days; different name, ‘Abib,’ for the month; the 7th, not the 1st day, the ‘pilgrimage’) and linguistic, shew that the regulations found here cannot be by the same writer, but that they have been taken by the compiler from the source J. Cf. the note on Exodus 12:21-27.

This day came ye out in the month Abib.
4. ye go forth] lit. are going forth. The Exodus is represented as in process of taking place. The participle is constantly used similarly in Deuteronomy.

the month of Abib, i.e. the month of fresh young ears (Leviticus 2:14 Heb.); mentioned again in Exodus 23:15 = Exodus 34:18, Deuteronomy 16:1†. It is the old Canaanitish name of the month called by P the ‘first month’ (see on Exodus 12:2).

And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month.
5. And it shall be, &c.] so v. 11; cf. Deuteronomy 6:10; Deuteronomy 7:1; Deuteronomy 11:29.

the Canaanite, &c., … flowing with milk and honey] See on Exodus 3:8.

which he sware, &c.] See Genesis 24:7 (cf. Exodus 15:18); and comp. the references in Genesis 50:24, Exodus 13:11; Exodus 32:13; Exodus 33:1, and constantly a Dt., as Exodus 1:8, Exodus 6:10; Exodus 6:18, &c.

this service] as prescribed in vv. 6, 7.

5–7. How Maẓẓoth is to be kept, after the Israelites have entered Canaan.

Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.
6. Unleavened cakes to be eaten for 7 days (Exodus 12:15), with a ḥag on the 7th day. In P the ḥag is on the first day, and there is a ‘holy convocation,’ with restrictions from work, on the 1st and 7th days: Exodus 12:14; Exodus 12:16, Leviticus 23:6-8. On the use of unleavened cakes in general, see on Exodus 12:8; on their use in this observance, see pp. 241, 242.

Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters.
And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.
8. The children to be instructed (cf. on Exodus 12:26) on the meaning of the festival: it is to remind Israel in perpetuity of the duties which it owes to Jehovah, in gratitude for its deliverance out of Egypt.

And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD'S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.
9. It is to have the same value as a religious mark branded or tattooed upon the hand, or as a memorial-token marked (or worn) upon the forehead, to keep Jehovah’s law in Israel’s continual remembrance, and remind Israel of its duty towards Him; cf. v. 16. The reference here and v. 16 being to observances, the expressions cannot be meant literally (cf. Proverbs 1:9; Proverbs 3:3; Proverbs 6:21; Proverbs 7:3): on Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18, see below, on v. 16.

sign] The allusion is doubtless to the practice, not uncommon among primitive races, of ‘tattooing or branding various parts of the body with the name or symbol of the deity to whom one wishes to dedicate oneself, and whose protection it is desired to secure’ (DB. iii. 871b): cf. Hdt. ii. 113 (στίγματα ἱερὰ on a person taking asylum, as a mark of dedication to the deity), 1 Kings 20:41, Lucian, de Dea Syria, 59 (στίγματα on the neck and wrists of the priests), 3Ma 2:29; and expressions suggested by the same custom in Isaiah 44:5 (RVm.), Isaiah 49:16 a, Ezekiel 9:4; Ezekiel 9:6 (hence Psalms of Sol. 15:8, 10), Galatians 6:7 (στίγματα), Revelation 7:3 f., Exodus 13:16 f.: see further Cuttings in the Flesh (Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5) in DB. or EB. In Israel the regular observance of Maẓẓoth is to serve the same purpose as such a religious mark in other ancient cults: it is to be an outward and visible token of the connexion subsisting between Israel and its God.

memorial] This might either be a synonym of ‘sign,’ or denote some sacred badge worn upon the forehead (‘between the eyes,’ as Deuteronomy 14:1). The word is often used of an object employed to preserve a religious relation in remembrance: Exodus 28:12; Exodus 28:29, Exodus 30:16, Numbers 10:10; Numbers 16:40 ("" ‘sign,’ v. 38), Isaiah 57:8.

in thy mouth] that thou mayest be ever talking of it (cf. for the thought Deuteronomy 6:7; Deuteronomy 11:19, Joshua 1:8 [D2[136]]). The passage cannot refer simply to vv. 6, 7, but must have been written at a time when a considerable body of ‘Jehovah’s law,’ or ‘direction’ (see p. 161 f.), existed.

[136] Deuteronomic passages in Josh., Jud., Kings.

for &c.] and consequently has the strongest claims upon thy obedience.

Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.
10. Thou shalt therefore keep] Heb. And thou shalt keep.

in its season] in the month of Abib (v. 4); cf. Exodus 23:15, where the same Hebrew word is rendered ‘in the time appointed of the month of Abib.’

from year to year] מימים ימימה: so Jdg 11:40; Jdg 21:19, Exodus 1:3; 1 Samuel 2:19†.

(b) 11–16. Firstborn males, both of man and beast, to belong to Jehovah. The firstling of an ass is to be either redeemed by a lamb or killed; the firstborn of men are also to be redeemed: other firstling were sacrificed to Jehovah. Like vv. 3–10, an older law of J (v. 12f., cf. Exodus 34:19 f.) in a parenetic setting. ‘The passage is related to v. 1f. (P) as vv. 3–10 (J) are related to Exodus 12:14-20 (P), and Exodus 12:21-27 (J) to Exodus 12:2-13 (P)’ (Di.).

And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,
11. See on v. 5.

That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD'S.
12. thou shalt cause to pass over unto Jehovah] The word is not the ordinary Heb. for ‘set apart’; and its use here is remarkable. In Numbers 27:7 f. (P), cf. 2 Samuel 3:10, it is indeed used in the simple sense of transferring or making over (an inheritance): but it is also the word regularly used of causing to pass over children in fire to Molech (2 Kings 16:3, Ezekiel 20:31 al.), and with ‘to Molech’ alone, Leviticus 18:21 (H), Jeremiah 32:35, cf. Ezekiel 16:21; Ezekiel 23:37 (‘to them,’ i.e. to the idols), an esp. Exodus 20:25-26 (the same expression as here) ‘in that they caused to pass over (viz. in the fire) all that first openeth the womb.’ It may be (cf., p. 409) that this heathen practice determined the use of the same verb here: Jehovah claimed the firstborn; and the Israelite was to cause his firstborn to pass over to Him: the child was not, however, retained by Him, or offered to Him as a sacrifice, but was to be ‘redeemed’ by its father (v. 13).

and every firstling, &c.] lit. and all that first openeth [the womb], (even) the casting (שגר) of beasts, that thou shalt have: shéger (the root is preserved in the Aram. shegar, to ‘cast’), denotes a newly born animal, Deuteronomy 7:13; Deuteronomy 28:4; Deuteronomy 28:18; Deuteronomy 28:51 †. The ‘beasts’ meant (as the parallel, Exodus 34:19, states explicitly) are ox and sheep.

And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.
13. The ass, not less than the ox and sheep, was a common domestic animal (Exodus 20:17, Exodus 22:9-10, &c.): but it was regarded as ‘unclean’ (the terms of Leviticus 11:3 P exclude it from the ‘clean’ animals), and could not consequently be either eaten, or offered in sacrifice (Leviticus 1:2; Leviticus 22:19). Nevertheless its firstling was claimed by Jehovah, and could only be retained for its owner’s use by being redeemed with a lamb. ‘The present law must date from a time when the ass was the only unclean domestic animal: the later, but juristically more exact P, puts for it (Leviticus 27:27, Numbers 18:15) unclean beast generally’ (Di.). The lamb would be of less value than the ass: the provision of Leviticus 27:27, which prescribes that the firstling of an unclean animal, unless it is sold, is to be valued, and redeemed at 11/5 of its valuation, is more favourable to the priests.

redeem] Heb. pâdâh (not gâ’al, as Exodus 6:6), the word used regularly of redeeming a person, or animal, from death or servitude (cf. Exodus 21:8, and, as here, Numbers 18:15-17, Leviticus 27:27 a; also Exo 1 Samuel 14:45, Psalm 49:7; Psalm 49:15).

lamb] marg. Or, kid: see on Exodus 12:3.

break its neck] Unless redeemed, it could not be retained for use by its owner. It was not to be killed by shedding of blood, because in old Israel ‘the slaughter of an animal in the ordinary way implied a sacrifice, which was impossible in the case of an ass’ (Bä.).

all the firstborn of man, &c.] The price of their redemption is not fixed: perhaps in early times it varied (as offerings also did, Deuteronomy 16:10; Deuteronomy 16:16 f.), according to the position and circumstances of the father. In a later age, the price was fixed definitely at 5 shekels a head (Numbers 18:15, cf. Numbers 3:12; Numbers 8:18,—all P).

And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:
14. in time to come] Heb. to-morrow: so Genesis 30:33, Deuteronomy 6:20, Joshua 4:6; Joshua 4:21; Joshua 22:24; Joshua 22:27-28 †.

By strength of hand, &c.] See on v. 3.

14–15. The children to be instructed (as in v. 8) on the meaning of the observance: it is a memorial of the deliverance from Egypt, and of Jehovah’s slaughter of the firstborn of the Egyptians at the time.

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
15. would hardly, &c.] Heb. dealt hardly in letting us go (or made it hard to let us go), i.e. made difficulties in letting us go: cf., for the Heb., Genesis 35:16.

that Jehovah slew, &c.] cf. Numbers 3:13; Numbers 8:17 (P).

And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.
16. Like Maẓẓoth (v. 9), the redemption of the firstborn is to serve the same purpose as a ritual mark, or badge, in reminding Israel constantly of what Jehovah had done for them.

frontlets] Heb. ṭôṭâphôth (properly, perhaps,—from the Arabic ṭâfa, to make a circuit,—circlets or headbands1[137]): Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18 †. The word takes the place of the ‘memorial’ in v. 9. Originally, as the comparative study of religions makes probable, the ‘frontlet’ was some kind of badge worn upon the forehead as a mark of belonging to the national Deity, by which he might know who were his, and (like an amulet) guaranteeing them his protection, and also reminding those who bore it of their ceremonial duties towards him. Here it is merely said that the redemption of the firstborn is to be for (i.e. to serve the same purpose as) a ‘sign,’ or ritual mark (see on v. 9) upon the head, and ‘frontlets’ on the forehead, in reminding Israel of its duties towards Jehovah. In Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18, where the same two expressions are used, but the reference is to words, it has been generally supposed that material objects are meant (see, however, against this view the strong arguments of A. R. S. Kennedy, art. Phylacteries in DB. p. 871 f.: it is not clear that ‘these words’ in Deuteronomy 6:6 refer to vv. 4, 5 alone; cf. Deuteronomy 11:18[138]); and the later Jews gave effect to this interpretation of the passage by inscribing Deuteronomy 13:1-16, Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21 on small scrolls of parchment, which were enclosed in cases, and bound with leathern thongs to the forehead and left arm. These are the tephillin, ‘prayers,’ of the later Jews, the φυλακτήρια (i.e. preservatives against demons, amulets: cf. Targ. on Song of Solomon 8:3, where protection against demons is expressly said to be the object of binding on the tephillin), mentioned in Matthew 23:5 (see further DB. l.c.).

[137] This meaning is not certain; but the sense drop, jewel (worn as an amulet) does not seem established by Shabb. vi. 1, 5, quoted for it by Kennedy (DB. iii. 872) Ṭôṭépheth certainly denotes there something worn by women; but the Gemara ibid. interprets of a band ‘going round from ear to ear.’ The word is extremely rare: Levy (NHWB. s.v.) states that he knows no other occurrence in post-Bibl. Heb. literature. In 2 Samuel 1:10 Targ. it is used of the armlet worn by Saul.

[138] LXX. also (in Dt. as well as in Ex.) interpret figuratively, ἀσάλευτον πρὸὀφθαλμῶν σου, i.e. ‘something immoveably fixed before [not ‘between’] thine eyes,’ ever present to thy thoughts.

And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
17. the way of, &c.] We say idiomatically the way to, which ought to be read similarly in v. 18, Genesis 3:24 (cf. Exodus 16:7 RV.), Numbers 21:33 (cf. v. 4 RV., and the "" Deuteronomy 3:1), Deuteronomy 1:2, &c. E emphasizes elsewhere also the providence of God: cf. Genesis 45:5; Genesis 45:7 f., Genesis 50:20.

17, 18. Why Israel did not take the shortest route to Canaan, which was also the one usually followed by both caravans and armies, across the North end of the isthmus of Suez, and then along the sea-coast, to Gaza, the most south-westerly of the Philistine cities, here called, ‘the way to the land of the Philistines.’ Because the Philistines were a warlike and aggressive people, it was feared that Israel might be alarmed at meeting them, and be tempted to return to Egypt. Whether, however, the alleged reason was the real reason, is very doubtful: the Philistines in point of fact do not appear to have settled in Canaan till the reign of Rameses III (EB. iii. 3717 f.; Sayce, EHH. 291 f.; Wade, OT. Hist. 108): the use of the term here is consequently an anachronism (cf. Genesis 21:34; Genesis 26:1). It is remarkable that no mention is made of the forts and guards (pp. 127, 141), which might have formed a real obstacle to the Israelites leaving Egypt by the isthmus.

17–22. Journey from Succoth (Exodus 12:37) to Etham.

But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.
18. Instead of leading them straight on, across the N. part of the isthmus of Suez, by the direct route mentioned above, God led the people about (or round), in the direction of the wilderness,—i.e. the Egyptian wilderness, S. of the Wâdy Ṭumîlât, and West of the N. end of the Gulf of Suez (a shallow extension of which reached perhaps at this time as far N. as L. Timsâḥ: see p. 125 ff.),—to the Red Sea (the Gulf of Suez, or its ancient Northern extension, just referred to).

the Red Sea] Heb., as always, the Sea of sûph; probably, the Sea of reeds. The origin of the name is uncertain. Sûph (outside this expression) is used of reeds or rushes (cf. Luther’s Schilfmeer, ‘Reed-sea’) growing along the Nile (Exodus 2:3 [see note], 5, Isaiah 19:6 †), and of sea-weed (Jonah 2:6 †): it seems also to correspond to the late Eg. thuf, Copt. joouf, ‘papyrus.’ Reeds or rushes however do not grow in the salt water of the Red Sea, though (Di.) clumps of them have been found on spots S. of Suez, where fresh water mixes with the salt; but they abound in Lake Timsâḥ. ‘This lake with its large marshes full of reeds, exactly at the entrance of Goshen, would fulfil all conditions for the Exodus and for the Heb. name’ (W. M. Müller, EB., Red Sea). If it is true that there was once a shallow extension of the Gulf of Suez reaching to L. Timsâḥ, it is possible that it was called by the Hebrews, from these growths, the ‘Sea of reeds’; and that afterwards the name was extended to the ‘Red Sea’ generally (so Di. as well as W. M. Müller).

armed] The Heb. word is a rare one (Joshua 1:14; Joshua 4:12, Jdg 7:11 †; read also conjecturally by many in Numbers 32:17), and its precise meaning is uncertain. It in any case implies that the Israelites were prepared for hostile encounters.

And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
19. See Genesis 50:25; and cf. Joshua 24:32.

And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
20. The form of the verse is that usual in P’s itineraries: cf. Exodus 17:1, Exodus 19:2, Numbers 21:10 f., Exodus 22:1, and esp. Exodus 33:5-23.

Etham] On the ‘edge (lit. end) of the wilderness,’ i.e. of the wilderness on the East of the Isthmus of Suez (in Numbers 33:8 [P] called the ‘wilderness of Etham,’ in which the Israelites journeyed for three days after the passage of the Red Sea); the ‘edge’ of this wilderness here meant will be the N. part of what we call the Isthmus of Suez. The precise site of Etham on this ‘edge’ is, however, quite uncertain, as the name has not been satisfactorily identified. Khetem in Egyptian means a ‘closed place, fortress, castle’; and there was a ‘Castle (Khetem) in Zaru (or Zalu),’ corresponding to the Selle of the Roman itineraries, often mentioned in the Inscriptions as passed by the Eg. kings on their expeditions into, or return from, Asia (see Maspero, ii. 122, 123, 370; and cf. the writer’s essay, with citation of inscriptions, in Hogarth’s Authority and Archaeology, pp. 58–61), which has been supposed to be the place meant. Selle is the modern Tell Abu-Sêfeh, at the N. end of L. Ballâḥ, 18 miles N. of L. Timsâḥ (Masp. i. 75, 201 n. 4: see further reff. in DB. s.v. Shur). This however seems to be too far to the N.: a stronger guttural than א would also have been expected at the beginning of ‘’ Etham,’ if it had been the transcription of the Eg. khetem. A site more to the S. seems to be more probable: Di. suggests the E. end of the sand-ridge el-Gisr, 3 miles N. of L. Timsaḥ (see p. 126); Dawson and Naville the N. end of L. Timsâḥ.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
21. went] In the Heb. a ptcp., implying ‘went continually.’

21, 22. How Jehovah, in a pillar of cloud by day, and in a pillar of fire by night, guided the Israelites in their journeyings. For cloud, and fire, as symbols of the Divine presence, cf. on Exodus 3:2, Exodus 9:28, Exodus 19:9; Exodus 19:18, Exodus 20:18. The Pent., however, contains three representations of the Divine presence in the cloud, corresponding to the three sources: in J the pillar of cloud by day and fire by night precedes the Israelites continuously to guide them in the way (so here, Exodus 14:19 b, 24a, Numbers 14:14 b, Deuteronomy 1:33; comp. Nehemiah 9:12; Nehemiah 9:19, Psalm 78:14): in E the pillar of cloud is not spoken of as a guide, but it descends from time to time and ‘stands’ at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, and Jehovah speaks in it to Moses (so Exodus 33:9 f., Numbers 11:25; Numbers 12:5, Deuteronomy 31:15; cf. Psalm 99:7): in P (who does not speak of a ‘pillar’) the cloud covers the Tent of Meeting immediately upon its erection, and remains there, with fire in it by night, till the camp is to be moved, when it is lifted up above it (Exodus 40:34-38, Numbers 9:15-22; Numbers 10:11 f.: cf. v. 34, Exodus 14:14 [the words, ‘and thy cloud standeth over them’: comp. Psalm 105:39; also Isaiah 4:5], Leviticus 16:2, Numbers 16:42, and on Exodus 16:10). The fiery cloud thus formed an imposing visible symbol of the spiritual presence of God, guiding (J), protecting (P), or (E) speaking in Israel, during its journey through the wilderness. But, as in other cases, the symbolism had no doubt some natural basis; and it is thought by Di., McNeile and others that it was suggested by the variously attested custom of a brazier filled with burning wood being borne along at the head of a caravan of pilgrims, or an army (see reff. in Di. and McN.), or of a chief having a fire blazing before his tent (T. H. Weir, Expositor, July 1910, p. 81 f.), or carried before him (cf. Ebers, Gosen, 530, 2544).

He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
22. departed not] The tense used expresses what was habitual (cf. Exodus 33:7-11). The marg. is not necessary: cf. Exodus 33:11 Heb.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Exodus 12
Top of Page
Top of Page