Exodus 12:3
Speak you to all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) In the tenth day.—It is evident that this direction must have been given before the tenth day had arrived, probably some days before. The object of the direction was to allow ample time for the careful inspection of the animal, so that its entire freedom from all blemish might be ascertained. The animal was not to be killed till four days later (Exodus 12:6).

A lamb.—The word used (seh) is a vague one, applied equally to sheep and goats, of any age and of either sex. Sex and age were fixed subsequently (Exodus 12:5), but the other ambiguity remained; and it is curious that practically only lambs seem to have been ever offered. The requirement indicates a social condition in which there was no extreme poverty. All Israelites are supposed either to possess a lamb or to be able to purchase one.

According to the house of their fathers.—Rather, for the house of their fathers: i.e., for their family.

Exodus 12:3. In the tenth day of this month — It was necessary they should now begin to prepare the passover four days before, because otherwise it would have been difficult to get ready so many lambs in Egypt, especially as they were to depart in haste; besides, this being the first instance of the celebration of the ordinance, they would require more time to prepare for a ceremony entirely new. But in future ages they did not begin the preparation till the thirteenth, the day before the passover. They shall take every man a lamb — The Hebrew word signifies a lamb, or kid, (Deuteronomy 14:4,) as is evident from Exodus 12:5; for they might take either for this sacrifice: but commonly they made choice of a lamb.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 lamb - The Hebrew word is general, meaning either a sheep or a goat - male or female - and of any age; the age and sex are therefore epecially defined in the following verse. The direction to select the lamb on the tenth day, the fourth day before it was offered, was intended to secure due care in the preparation for the great national festival. The custom certainly fell into desuetude at a later period, but probably not before the destruction of the temple. 3. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel—The recent events had prepared the Israelitish people for a crisis in their affairs, and they seem to have yielded implicit obedience at this time to Moses. It is observable that, amid all the hurry and bustle of such a departure, their serious attention was to be given to a solemn act of religion.

a lamb for an house—a kid might be taken (Ex 12:5). The service was to be a domestic one, for the deliverance was to be from an evil threatened to every house in Egypt.

In the tenth day; partly, that they might have the lamb ready for the sacrifice, and might not be distracted about procuring it when they should be going to use it; partly, that by the frequent contemplation of the lamb, as a sign appointed by God, they might have their faith strengthened as to their approaching deliverance, and afterwards might have their minds quickened to the more serious consideration of that great deliverance out of Egypt, and of that more glorious deliverance from hell by Christ the true Passover, which should be offered for them; partly, to teach the church in all ages how necessary a thing preparation is to the solemn duties and exercises of religion; and partly, to signify that Christ should be first set apart, and separated to the ministry, which was done three or four prophetical days, i.e. years, before his death, and afterwards offered: most of which reasons being perpetual, it may seem this usage was so too, and not for the first passover only.

They shall take to them, into their houses, where the Jews tell us he was tied to the bed-post.

A lamb, or kid, Exodus 12:5, for the same word signifies both, though a lamb was commonly used, and a kid only in case of the want of a lamb; and the Chaldee and LXX. do almost constantly translate the Hebrew word lamb. And Christ is seldom or never typified by a kid, but generally by a lamb, as he is called John 1:29, partly for his innocency, meekness, patience, &c., but principally with respect to the paschal lamb, instead whereof he was in due time to be offered; whence he is called our Passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7.

A lamb was to be disposed of to every house or family, according to its quantity, or the number of persons in it, as the next verse explains it. The several families are called

the houses of their fathers, because they consist of those persons which come from one father or grandfather. The people were divided into tribes, the tribes were subdivided into families, and the families again into houses, which were like sprigs taken from the greater branches, and planted apart, and each of these had their several fathers, from whom they were denominated, as here they are. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel,.... That is, to the elders of the people, and heads of families; unless we can suppose that they had been gradually gathered, and were now gathered together in a body by the direction of Moses, by whom they were assured that their departure was at hand; and the rather it may be thought that so it was, since the following order concerned the whole and every individual:

saying, in the tenth day of this month; the month Abib or Nisan, which shows that this direction must be given before that day, and so very probably on the first of the month, as before observed:

they shall take to them every man a lamb; not every individual person, but every master of a family, or head of an house, as follows:

according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house; if large enough to eat up a whole lamb, otherwise they were to do as next directed: the Targum of Jonathan suggests, that this direction of taking a lamb to them on the tenth day of the month was only for this time, and not for following ages; and so the Jewish doctors (c) commonly understand it as being peculiar to the passover in Egypt, and not in later times; for they (d) say,"what difference is there between the passover in Egypt, and the passover in later ages? the passover in Egypt was taken within the tenth day, and was obliged to sprinkling with a bunch of hyssop upon the lintel, and upon the two side posts, and was eaten with haste in one night, but the passover in later ages was kept all the seven days.''The ground and reason of this special direction for taking up a lamb on the tenth day was, that they might have a lamb ready; and that through the multiplicity of business, and the hurry they would be in at their departure, they might not forget it, and neglect it; and that they might have time enough to examine whether it had all the prerequisites and qualifications that were necessary; and that while they had it in view, they might be led to meditate upon, and talk of, expect and firmly believe their deliverance; yea, that their faith might be directed to a far greater deliverance by the Messiah, which this was only typical of, Hebrews 11:28 but some of these reasons would hold good in later times, and it seems by some circumstances that this rule was attended to.

(c) Ben Gersom in loc. Maimon. Korban Pesach. c. 10. sect. 15. (d) Misn. Pesach. c. 9. sect. 5.

Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their {c} fathers, a lamb for an house:

(c) As the fathers of the household had great or small families.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the congregation] P’s standing expression for Israel, as an organized religious community, or ‘church.’ It occurs in P more than 100 times, usually alone (‘the congregation’), sometimes with the addition of ‘of Israel’ (as here, vv. 6, 47, Leviticus 4:13), or ‘of the children of Israel’ (Exodus 16:1-2, &c.). Except in P and the allied narrative of Joshua 22, it occurs in the historical books only in Jdg 21:10; Jdg 21:13; Jdg 21:16, 1 Kings 8:5 (not in LXX.) = 2 Chronicles 5:6, 1 Kings 12:20.

the tenth day] perhaps (Di. Bä.) some sanctity attached to the day which closed the first decade of the month: the 10th day of the seventh month was the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 23:27); in Islam, also, as Di. observes, the 10th day of the 12th month is the day of the great sacrifice at the Mecca pilgrimage; cf. Benzinger, Arch. 2 p. 169.

a lamb] The Heb. seh denotes a single head of the tsôn, or smaller cattle (including both sheep and goats), without reference to age or sex; and may be used of either a sheep or a goat (hence RVm.): see v. 5b; and comp. Numbers 15:11 b (Lex. ‘or for a seh among the lambs or the goats’), Deuteronomy 14:4 b (Lex. ‘the seh of lambs and the seh of goats’).

fathers’ houses] A ‘father’s house’ is a common expression in P and Chr. for a family: see on Exodus 6:14.

a lamb for an household] The Passover was to be a domestic institution: each lamb was to be partaken of only by members of one family, or (in the case provided for in v. 4) of two families living side by side.Verse 3. - Speak ye unto all the congregation. Under the existing circumstances Moses could only venture to summon the elders of Israel to a meeting. He necessarily left it to them to signify his wishes to the people. (See ver. 21.) A lamb. The Hebrew word is one of much wider meaning than our "lamb." It is applicable to both sheep and goats, and to either animal without limit of age, In the present case the age was fixed at a year by subsequent enactment (ver. 5); but the offerer was left free with respect to the species. It is curious that, such being the case, the lamb alone should, so far as appears, ever have been offered. According to the house of their fathers. Literally, "for a father's house," i.e. for a family. Moses' address to Pharaoh forms the continuation of his brief answer in Exodus 10:29. At midnight Jehovah would go out through the midst of Egypt. This midnight could not be "the one following the day on which Moses was summoned to Pharaoh after the darkness," as Baumgarten supposes; for it was not till after this conversation with the king that Moses received the divine directions as to the Passover, and they must have been communicated to the people at least four days before the feast of the Passover and their departure from Egypt (Exodus 12:3). What midnight is meant, cannot be determined. So much is certain, however, that the last decisive blow did not take place in the night following the cessation of the ninth plague; but the institution of the Passover, the directions of Moses to the people respecting the things which they were to ask for from the Egyptians, and the preparations for the feast of the Passover and the exodus, all came between. The "going out" of Jehovah from His heavenly seat denotes His direct interposition in, and judicial action upon, the world of men. The last blow upon Pharaoh was to be carried out by Jehovah Himself, whereas the other plagues had been brought by Moses and Aaron. מצרים בּתוך "in (through) the midst of Egypt:" the judgment of God would pass from the centre of the kingdom, the king's throne, over the whole land. "Every first-born shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh, that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maid that is behind the mill," i.e., the meanest slave (cf. Exodus 12:29, where the captive in the dungeon is substituted for the maid, prisoners being often employed in this hard labour, Judges 16:21; Isaiah 47:2), "and all the first-born of cattle." This stroke was to fall upon both man and beast as a punishment for Pharaoh's conduct in detaining the Israelites and their cattle; but only upon the first-born, for God did not wish to destroy the Egyptians and their cattle altogether, but simply to show them that He had the power to do this. The first-born represented the whole race, of which it was the strength and bloom (Genesis 49:3). But against the whole of the people of Israel "not a dog shall point its tongue" (Exodus 11:7). The dog points its tongue to growl and bite. The thought expressed in this proverb, which occurs again in Joshua 10:21 and Judith 11:19, was that Israel would not suffer the slightest injury, either in the case of "man or beast." By this complete preservation, whilst Egypt was given up to death, Israel would discover that Jehovah had completed the separation between them and the Egyptians. The effect of this stroke upon the Egyptians would be "a great cry," having no parallel before or after (cf. Exodus 10:14); and the consequence of this cry would be, that the servants of Pharaoh would come to Moses and entreat them to go out with all the people. "At thy feet," i.e., in thy train (vid., Deuteronomy 11:6; Judges 8:5). With this announcement Moses departed from Pharaoh in great wrath. Moses' wrath was occasioned by the king's threat (Exodus 10:28), and pointed to the wrath of Jehovah, which Pharaoh would soon experience. As the more than human patience which Moses had displayed towards Pharaoh manifested to him the long-suffering and patience of his God, in whose name and by whose authority he acted, so the wrath of the departing servant of God was to show to the hardened king, that the time of grace was at an end, and the wrath of God was about to burst upon him.
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