Exodus 12:11
And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover.
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(11) Thus shall ye eat it.—The injunctions which follow are not repeated in any later part of the Law, and were not generally regarded as binding at any Passover after the first. They all had reference to the impending departure of the Israelites, who were to eat the Passover prepared as for a journey. The long robe (beged), usually allowed to flow loosely around the person, was to be gathered together, and fastened about the loins with a girdle; sandals, not commonly worn inside the house, were to be put on the feet, and a walking-stick was to be held in one hand. The meal was to be eaten “in haste,” as liable to be interrupted at any moment by a summons to quit Egypt and set out for Canaan. Some such attitude befits Christians at all times, since they know not when the summons may come to them requiring them to quit the Egypt of this world and start for the heavenly country.

It is the Lord’s passover.—The word “passover” (pesakh) is here used for the first time. It is supposed by some to be of Egyptian origin, and to signify primarily “a spreading out of wings, so as to protect. But the meaning “pass over” is still regarded by many of the best Hebraists as the primary and most proper sense, and the word itself as Semitic. It occurs in the geographic name Tiphsach (Thapsacus), borne by the place where it was usual to cross, or “pass over,” the Euphrates.

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.These instructions are understood by the Jews to apply only to the first Passover, when they belonged to the occasion. There is no trace of their observance at any later time. Each of the directions marks preparation for a journey; the long flowing robes are girded round the loins; shoes or sandals, not worn in the house or at meals, were fastened on the feet; and the traveler's staff was taken in hand.

The Lord's passover - The great and most significant name for the whole ordinance. The word Passover renders as nearly as possible the true meaning of the original, of which the primary sense is generally held to be "pass rapidly," like a bird with outstretched wings, but it undoubtedly includes the idea of sparing Exodus 12:13. See Isaiah 31:5, which combines the two great ideas involved in the word.

Ex 12:11-14. The Rite of the Passover.

11. thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet—as prepared for a journey. The first was done by the skirts of the loose outer cloth being drawn up and fastened in the girdle, so as to leave the leg and knee free for motion. As to the other, the Orientals never wear shoes indoors, and the ancient Egyptians, as appears from the monuments, did not usually wear either shoes or sandals. These injunctions seem to have applied chiefly to the first celebration of the rite.

it is the Lord's passover—called by this name from the blood-marked dwellings of the Israelites being passed over figuratively by the destroying angel.

Thus shall ye eat it, to wit, for this time, because their circumstances required it, that they being suddenly to take a great journey, might be in a traveller’s habit. But that these, and some other circumstances now enjoined and used, were only temporary, and not perpetual nor obligatory, sufficiently appears from the practice not only of the Jews in following ages, but also of Christ and of his apostles. And in like manner there are some institutions in the New Testament which did only oblige that age, and not all that follow them, as Acts 15:28,29.

With your loins girded, like travellers and persons undertaking some difficult service; for such used to gird up their garments, which in those parts were long and troublesome. See 2 Kings 4:29 9:1 Luke 12:35.

Shoes on your feet; a badge,

1. Of their readiness for their journey, Isaiah 5:27 Acts 12:8.

2. Of their freedom; for slaves, such as the Israelites now were in Egypt, used to go barefooted.

3. Of joy, as on the contrary going barefoot was a badge of mourning, 2 Samuel 15:30. Your staff in your hand, like persons upon the point of departing, which was a very comfortable circumstance.

In haste; for so the word signifies, Deu 16:3 Isaiah 52:12. It is the Lord’s passover: this lamb, or your eating of it, is the Lord’s passover, i.e. it is a sign of God’s passing over you and your houses, when he comes to destroy the Egyptians on every side of you, Exodus 12:13,23. It is a metonomy usual in sacramental speeches, as Genesis 17:10 Matthew 26:26-28.

And thus shall ye eat it,.... After the following manner, in the habit and posture described: the Targum of Jonathan adds,"at this time, and not in ages following;''for these rites were peculiar to the passover in Egypt, and not to be observed in later times:

with your loins girded; that is, with their garments girt about their loins, for the better convenience in travelling; for in those countries they wore long loose garments, which reached to their feet, and unless girt up, were a great hinderance in walking; and may denote the saints being girt with the girdle of truth, and their readiness and fitness to perform every good work:

your shoes on your feet; which used to be put off at feasts, in order to have their feet washed, which was frequently done at such times, as we learn from many instances in Scripture, which could not be done unless the shoes were off, Genesis 18:4, besides, it is highly probable that the Israelites in Egypt did not wear shoes in common, it being a hot country, and they in a state of poverty and bondage; but now being about to depart the land, and to take a journey, they are ordered to have their shoes on, to be ready for it: and was a token of their deliverance and freedom, and joy on that occasion; and may, in an evangelic sense, denote the feet of the saints being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Ephesians 6:15,

and your staff in your hand; such as travellers make use of to support and assist, protect and defend them, in their journey, and may be expressive of faith in the word and promises of God, which are the support of his people in their passage through this world, Psalm 23:4.

and ye shall eat it in haste; because upon slaying the firstborn the Egyptians would be urgent upon them to depart immediately. Aquila renders it, "with fear", and so the Targum of Jonathan; but the other sense suits best with the circumstances of the Israelites:

it is the Lord's passover; which he has commanded, and is a sign and token of his passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he destroyed the firstborn in all the houses of the Egyptians, and which is explained in the following verse, and the reason of its name given; the act of passing was his, the ordinance was appointed by him, and it was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7.

And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: {g} it is the LORD'S passover.

(g) The lamb was not the Passover, but signified it, as ordinances are not the thing itself which they represent, but rather they signify it.

11. The Israelites are to partake of the Passover completely prepared for their departure.

your loins girded] The long and loose robes of Orientals, when they wish to move rapidly, are fastened up round the waist with a strong girdle: cf. 1 Kings 18:46, 2 Kings 4:29; 2 Kings 9:1.

your sandals on your feet] ready for a journey. Sandals were not worn in the house.

your staff in your hand] a staff was regularly used in walking.

and ye shall eat it in trepidation] in mingled hurry and alarm. ‘Haste’ alone is not adequate: notice the cognate verb in Deuteronomy 20:3 (‘tremble’), 1 Samuel 23:26, Psalm 48:5 (RVm.). Cf. the same word in Deuteronomy 16:3, and Isaiah 52:12 (where the coming exodus from Babylon is not to be ‘in trepidation’).

it is a passover (Heb. pésaḥ) to Jehovah. The form of sentence, as vv. 27, 42, Exodus 29:18 a, 18b, Exodus 30:10, &c. In vv. 13 (see note), 23, 27, the term pésaḥ is explained by means of the cognate verb in the sense of a passing over (cf. Aq. here ὑπέρβασις); but it is uncertain whether this is the original meaning of the term. The LXX. render by πάσχα, ‘pascha,’ from the Aramaic form of the word: so in NT. (e.g. Matthew 26:17). The Vulg. has in the OT. Phase, in the NT. Pascha; hence our adj. ‘Paschal.’ On the Heb. word, see further p. 408.

Verse 11. - With your loins girded, etc. Completely prepared, i.e., to start on your journey - with the loose wrapper (beged), ordinarily worn, collected together and fastened by a girdle about the waist; with sandals on the feet, which were not commonly worn in houses; and with walking-sticks in the hand. There were some Jews who regarded these directions as of perpetual obligation; but the general view was that they applied to the first occasion only, when alone they would have answered any useful purpose. You shall eat it in haste. As not knowing at what moment you may be summoned to start on your journey, and as having to see to the burning of the bones after the flesh was eaten, which would take some time. It is the Lord's Passover. Very emphatic words! "This is no common meal," they seem to say, "it is not even an ordinary sacrificial repast. The lamb is Jehovah's. It is his pass-sign - the mark of his protection, the precious means of your preservation from death. As such view it; and though ye eat it in haste, eat it with reverence." Exodus 12:11The lamb was to be all eaten wherever this was possible; but if any was left, it was to be burned with fire the following day, - a rule afterwards laid down for all the sacrificial meals, with one solitary exception (vid., Leviticus 7:15). They were to eat it בּחפּזון, "in anxious flight" (from חפז trepidare, Psalm 31:23; to flee in terror, Deuteronomy 20:3; 2 Kings 7:15); in travelling costume therefore, - with "the loins girded," that they might not be impeded in their walking by the long flowing dress (2 Kings 4:29), - with "shoes (Sandals) on their feet," that they might be ready to walk on hard, rough roads, instead of barefooted, as they generally went (cf. Joshua 9:5, Joshua 9:13; Bynaeus de calceis ii. 1, 7; and Bochart, Hieroz. i. pp. 686ff.), and "staff in hand" (Genesis 32:11). The directions in Exodus 12:11 had reference to the paschal meal in Egypt only, and had no other signification than to prepare the Israelites for their approaching departure. But though "this preparation was intended to give the paschal meal the appearance of a support for the journey, which the Israelites were about to tale," this by no means exhausts its signification. The divine instructions close with the words, "it is פּסח to Jehovah;" i.e., what is prescribed is a pesach appointed by Jehovah, and to be kept for Him (cf. Exodus 20:10, "Sabbath to Jehovah;" Exodus 32:5, "feast to Jehovah"). The word פּסח, Aram. פסחא, Gr. πάσχα, is derived from פּסח, lit., to leap or hop, from which these two meanings arise: (1) to limp (1 Kings 18:21; 2 Samuel 4:4, etc.); and (2) to pass over, transire (hence Tiphsah, a passage over, 1 Kings 4:24). It is for the most part used figuratively for ὑπερβαίνειν, to pass by or spare; as in this case, where the destroying angel passed by the doors and houses of the Israelites that were smeared with blood. From this, pesach (ὑπέρβασις, Aquil. in Exodus 12:11; ὑπερβασία, Joseph. Ant. ii. 14, 6) came afterwards to be used for the lamb, through which, according to divine appointment, the passing by or sparing had been effected (Exodus 12:21, Exodus 12:27; 2 Chronicles 35:1, 2 Chronicles 35:13, etc.); then for the preparation of the lamb for a meal, in accordance with the divine instructions, or for the celebration of this meal (thus here, Exodus 12:11; Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 9:7, etc.); and then, lastly, it was transferred to the whole seven days' observance of the feast of unleavened bread, which began with this meal (Deuteronomy 16:1), and also to the sacrifices which were to be offered at that feast (Deuteronomy 16:2; 2 Chronicles 35:1, 2 Chronicles 35:7, etc.). The killing of the lamb appointed for the pesach was a זבח, i.e., a slain-offering, as Moses calls it when making known the command of God to the elders (Exodus 12:27); consequently the eating of it was a sacrificial feast ("the sacrifice of the feast of the Passover," Exodus 34:25). For זבח is never applied to slaying alone, as שׁחט is. Even in Proverbs 17:1 and 1 Samuel 28:24, which Hoffmann adduces in support of this meaning, it signifies "to sacrifice" only in a figurative or transferred sense. At the first Passover in Egypt, it is true, there was no presentation (הקריב), because Israel had not altar there. But the presentation took place at the very first repetition of the festival at Sinai (Numbers 9:7). The omission of this in Egypt, on account of the circumstances in which they were placed, constituted no essential difference between the first "sacrifice of the Passover" and the repetitions of it; for the choice of the lamb four days before it was slain, was a substitute for the presentation, and the sprinkling of the blood, which was essential to every sacrifice, was effected in the smearing of the door-posts and lintel. The other difference upon which Hofmann lays stress, viz., that at all subsequent Passovers the fat of the animal was burned upon the altar, is very questionable. For this custom cannot be proved from the Old Testament, though it is prescribed in the Mishnah.

(Note: In the elaborate account of the Passover under Josiah, in 2 Chronicles 35, we have, it is true, an allusion to the presentation of the burnt-offering and fat (2 Chronicles 35:14); but the boiling of the offerings in pots, caldrons, and pans is also mentioned, along with the roasting of the Passover (2 Chronicles 35:13); from which it is very obvious, that in this account the offering of burnt and slain-offerings is associated with the preparation of the paschal lamb, and the paschal meal is not specially separated from the sacrificial meals of the seven days' feast; just as we find that the king and the princes give the priests and Levites not only lambs and kids, but oxen also, for the sacrifices and sacrificial meals of this festival (see my Archologie, 81, 8).)

But even if the burning of the fat of the paschal lamb had taken place shortly after the giving of the law, on the ground of the general command in Leviticus 3:17; Leviticus 7:23. (for this is not taken for granted in Exodus 23:18, as we shall afterwards show), this difference could also be accounted for from the want of an altar in Egypt, and would not warrant us in refusing to admit the sacrificial character of the first Passover. For the appointment of the paschal meal by God does not preclude the idea that it was a religious service, nor the want of an altar the idea of sacrifice, as Hoffmann supposes. All the sacrifices of the Jewish nation were minutely prescribed by God, so that the presentation of them was the consequence of divine instructions. And even though the Israelites, when holding the first Passover according to the command of God, merely gave expression to their desire to participate in the deliverance from destruction and the redemption of Egypt, and also to their faith in the word and promise of God, we must neither measure the signification of this divine institution by that fact, nor restrict it to this alone, inasmuch as it is expressly described as a sacrificial meal.

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