Exodus 12:22
And 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 side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
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(22) A bunch of hyssop.—The “hyssop” (êzob) of the Old Testament is probably the caper plant, called now asaf, or asuf, by the Arabs, which grows plentifully in the Sinaitic region (Stanley: Sinai and Palestine, p. 21), and is well adapted for the purpose here spoken of. It was regarded as having purifying properties (Leviticus 14:4; Leviticus 14:49-52; Numbers 19:6; Psalm 51:7), and was therefore suitable for sprinkling the blood of expiation.

In the bason.—The word translated “bason” has another meaning also, viz., “threshold;” and this meaning was preferred in the present place both by the LXX. and by Jerome. Whichever translation we adopt, there is a difficulty in the occurrence of the article, since neither the threshold nor any bason had been mentioned previously. Perhaps Moses assumed that whenever a victim was offered, the blood had to be caught in a bason, and therefore spoke of “the bason” as something familiar to his hearers in this connection. If the lamb had been sacrificed on the threshold, it would scarcely have been necessary to put the blood on the lintel and doorposts also.

None of you shall go out.—Moses seems to have given this command by his own authority, without any positive Divine direction. He understood that the Atoning blood was the sole protection from the destroying angel, and that outside the portal sprinkled with it was no safety.

Exodus 12:22. Out of the door of his house — Of that house wherein he ate the passover: until the morning — That is, till toward the morning, when they would be called for to march out of Egypt; for they went forth very early in the morning. This command was peculiar to the first passover.12:21-28 That night, when the first-born were to be destroyed, no Israelite must stir out of doors till called to march out of Egypt. Their safety was owing to the blood of sprinkling. If they put themselves from under the protection of that, it was at their peril. They must stay within, to wait for the salvation of the Lord; it is good to do so. In after-times they should carefully teach their children the meaning of this service. It is good for children to ask about the things of God; they that ask for the way will find it. The keeping of this solemnity every year was, 1. To look backward, that they might remember what great things God had done for them and their fathers. Old mercies, to ourselves, or to our fathers, must not be forgotten, that God may be praised, and our faith in him encouraged. 2. It was designed to look forward, as an earnest of the great sacrifice of the Lamb of God in the fulness of time. Christ our passover was sacrificed for us; his death was our life.A bunch of hyssop - The species here designated does not appear to be the plant now bearing the name. It would seem to have been an aromatic plant, common in Palestine and near Mount Sinai, with a long straight stalk and leaves well adapted for the purpose of sprinkling.

Bason - The rendering rests on good authority and gives a good sense: but the word means "threshold" in some other passages and in Egyptian, and is taken here in that sense by some versions. If that rendering be correct it would imply that the lamb was slain on the threshold.

None ... shall go out ... - There would be no safety outside the precincts protected by the blood of the lamb; a symbolism explained by the margin reference.

22. hyssop—a small red moss [Hasselquist]; the caper-plant [Royle]. It was used in the sprinkling, being well adapted for such purposes, as it grows in bushes—putting out plenty of suckers from a single root. And it is remarkable that it was ordained in the arrangements of an all-wise Providence that the Roman soldiers should undesignedly, on their part, make use of this symbolical plant to Christ when, as our Passover, He was sacrificed for us [Joh 19:29].

none … shall go out at the door of his house until the morning—This regulation was peculiar to the first celebration, and intended, as some think, to prevent any suspicion attaching to them of being agents in the impending destruction of the Egyptians; there is an allusion to it (Isa 26:20).

A bunch of hyssop; so the Hebrew word is rightly rendered, as appears from Hebrews 9:19.

The door of his house, i.e. of the house wherein he did eat the passover, which ofttimes was his neighbour’s house: see Exodus 12:4.

Until the morning; till the beginning of the morning after midnight, and after the slaughter of the Egyptians’ first-born; which may reconcile those scriptures that seem to contradict one another, while some affirm they went out of Egypt by night, and others by day, for they went out in the morning very early when it was yet dark, as it is expressed in a like case, John 20:1. And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop,.... Which some take to be "mint", others "origanum" or "marjoram", as Kimchi (s), others "rosemary", as Piscator, Rivet, and many more; and indeed this seems to be fitter to strike or sprinkle with than hyssop; but it is more generally understood of hyssop, because the Hebrew word "ezob" is so near in sound to it; though whether it means the same herb we call hyssop is uncertain: Jarchi says, three stalks of it are called a bunch, and so the Misnic canon runs (t),"the command concerning hyssop is three stalks (which Maimonides on the place interprets roots), and in them three branches;''which some have allegorically applied to the Trinity, by whom the hearts of God's people are sprinkled with the blood of the true paschal Lamb, and are purged from dead works: the Heathens in their sacrifices used sometimes branches of laurel, and sometimes branches of the olive, to sprinkle with (u):

and dip it in the blood that is in the basin: which, according to the Targum of Jonathan, was an earthen vessel, into which the blood of the lamb was received when slain, and into this the bunch of hyssop was dipped; so it was usual with the Heathens to receive the blood of the sacrifice in cups or basins (x): the blood being received into a basin, and not spilled on the ground and trampled on, may denote the preciousness of the blood of Christ, the true passover lamb, which is for its worth and excellent efficacy to be highly prized and esteemed, and not to be counted as a common or unholy thing; and the dipping the bunch of hyssop into the blood of the lamb may signify the exercise of faith on the blood of Christ, which is a low and humble grace, excludes boasting in the creature, deals alone with the blood of Jesus for peace, pardon, and cleansing, and by which the heart is purified, as it deals with that blood:

and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin: an emblem of the sprinkling of the hearts and consciences of believers with the blood of Christ, and cleansing them from all sin by it:

and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning; that they might not be in the way of the destroyer; and though the destroying angel knew an Israelite from an Egyptian, yet this was to be the ordinance of protection to them, abiding in their houses, marked with the blood of the passover lamb; signifying that their safety was in their being under that blood, as the safety of believers lies in their being justified by the blood of Christ; for to that it is owing that they are saved from wrath to come: this is the purple covering under which they pass safely through this world to the heavenly glory, Romans 5:9, this circumstance was peculiar to the passover in Egypt; in later times there was not the like danger.

(s) Sepher Shorash, rad. (t) Misn. Parah, c. 11. sect. 9. (u) Vid. Kipping. Rom. Antiqu. p. 241. Virgil Aeneid. 6. Ovid. Fast. l. 5. (x) "-------------tepidumque cruorem Succipiunt pateris----------" Virgil. Aeneid. 6.

And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
22. hyssop] A small plant, growing out of walls (1 Kings 4:33), a wisp of which was well adapted for sprinkling, and is accordingly prescribed to be used in various purificatory rites (Leviticus 14:4; Leviticus 14:6; Leviticus 14:49-51, Numbers 19:6; Numbers 19:18 [Hebrews 9:19]: cf. Psalm 51:7). What plant the ‘hyssop’ is, is, however, disputed; but it is in any case not our hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis, Linn.), which is not a native of Palestine. Saadiah (10 cent.) rendered by ṣa‘tar, i.e. some species of satureia, or (as Kimchi explains) origanum, marjoram; so also Abul-Walid, Maimonides, Kimchi; and this explanation is adopted by Ges., Di., and others. The Pesh. zupha also means the same plant (Löw, Aram. Pflanzennamen, No. 93)1[129]. Post (DB. s.v.) thinks that the particular species meant is the Origanum Maru, Linn. This grows in clefts of rocks, in chinks of old walls, and on the terrace walls throughout Palestine: it has straight, slender, leafy stalks, with small heads, several of the stalks growing from one root, so that a bunch or wisp suitable for sprinkling a liquid with could readily be broken off. Tristram (NHB. 456 ff.) argues in favour of the Caper (Capparis spinosa), a bright green creeper, which climbs out of fissures of rocks in the Sinaitic valleys, and hangs in abundance from the walls of Jerusalem, and the stalks of which, bearing from three to five blossoms each, would likewise be suitable for the same purpose; but the former interpretation has very strong support in ancient tradition, and there appears to be no sufficient reason for deserting it1[130].

[129] In the Talm. (Shabb. 109b), also, the Heb. ’çzôb is identified with the Arab. sumsaḳ, or marjoram.

[130] The Arab. ’aṣaf, which Tristram (NHB. 457) quotes in support of the caper, does not correspond phonetically to the Heb. ’çzôb. In support of marjoram, see esp. Löw’s learned discussion in the Sitzungsberichte of the Vienna Academy (phil. and hist. Classe), 1909, Abh. III.

John 19:29 ὑσσώπῳ περιθέντες (where Matthew 27:48 = Mark 15:36 have περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) does not seem to have any bearing on the question which plant is meant. Different traditions may have been current; or the term ‘reed’ may have been used widely to denote the stalk of either marjoram, which may reach to 3 ft. (Löw, p. 16), or the caper.

strike the lintel … with, &c.] rather, apply some of the blood to (lit. make it draw near to or touch, as Exodus 4:25) the lintel &c.

and none of you, &c.] So as to enjoy the protection of the house sprinkled with the blood. A direction not contained in vv. 1–13.

door] Heb. entrance (lit. opening). So v. 23, Exodus 26:36, and often.Verse 22. - A bunch of hyssop. The hyssop was regarded as having purging or purifying qualities, and was used in the cleansing of the leper (Leviticus 14:4), and of the leprous house (ibid. 51-52), and also formed an element in the "water of separation" (Numbers 19:6). It was a species of plant which grew on walls, and was generally low and insignificant (1 Kings 4:33), yet which could furnish a stick or stalk of some length (John 19:29). It must also have been a common plant in Egypt, the wilderness, and Palestine. Two suggestions are made with respect to it. One, that it was a species of marjoram (Origanum Aegyptiacum, or O. Syriacum) common in both Egypt and Syria; the other that it was the caper plant (Capparis spinosa), which abounds especially in the Desert. (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 21.) It is in favour of this latter identification, that the modern Arabic name for the caper plant is asaf or asuf, which excellently represents the Hebrew ezob, the word uniformly rendered in our version by "hyssop" The blood that is in the basin. The Septuagint and Vulgate render - "that is on the threshold." Saph - the word translated "basin" has the double meaning. None of you shall go out. Moses may well have given this advice on his own authority, without any Divine command. (See introductory paragraph.) He would feel that beyond the protection of the blood of the lamb, there was no assurance of safety. On the first and seventh days, a holy meeting was to be held, and labour to be suspended. מקרא־קדשׁ is not indictio sancti, proclamatio sanctitatis (Vitringa), but a holy assembly, i.e., a meeting of the people for the worship of Jehovah (Ezekiel 46:3, Ezekiel 46:9). מקרא, from קרא to call, is that which is called, i.e., the assembly (Isaiah 4:5; Nehemiah 8:8). No work was to be done upon these days, except what was necessary for the preparation of food; on the Sabbath, even this was prohibited (Exodus 35:2-3). Hence in Leviticus 23:7, the "work" is called "servile work," ordinary handicraft.
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