Exodus 13:1
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
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13:1-10 In remembrance of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, both of man and of beast, and the deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage, the first-born males of the Israelites were set apart to the Lord. By this was set before them, that their lives were preserved through the ransom of the atonement, which in due time was to be made for sin. They were also to consider their lives, thus ransomed from death, as now to be consecrated to the service of God. The parents were not to look upon themselves as having any right in their first-born, till they solemnly presented them to God, and allowed his title to them. That which is, by special mercy, spared to us, should be applied to God's honour; at least, some grateful acknowledgment, in works of piety and charity, should be made. The remembrance of their coming out of Egypt must be kept up every year. The day of Christ's resurrection is to be remembered, for in it we were raised up with Christ out of death's house of bondage. The Scripture tells us not expressly what day of the year Christ rose, but it states particularly what day of the week it was; as the more valuable deliverance, it should be remembered weekly. The Israelites must keep the feast of unleavened bread. Under the gospel, we must not only remember Christ, but observe his holy supper. Do this in remembrance of him. Also care must be taken to teach children the knowledge of God. Here is an old law for catechising. It is of great use to acquaint children betimes with the histories of the Bible. And those who have God's law in their heart should have it in their mouth, and often speak of it, to affect themselves, and to teach others.In one house - i. e. "in one company." Each lamb was to be entirely consumed by the members of one company, whether they belonged to the same household or not.

Break a bone - The typical significance of this injunction is recognized by John, (see the margin reference.) It is not easy to assign any other satisfactory reason for it. This victim alone was exempt from the general law by which the limbs were ordered to be separated from the body.


Ex 13:1, 2. The First-born Sanctified.God commands all the first-born to be consecrated, Exodus 13:1,2. The day of their going forth out of Egypt to be had in remembrance, Exodus 13:3. The feast of unleavened bread to be kept in the land of Canaan, Exodus 13:5-10. The firstlings of beasts to be set apart for the Lord, Exodus 13:12. The reason of it, Exodus 13:15. The way God led them into the wilderness, Exodus 13:18. Moses carries Joseph’s bones out of Egypt, Exodus 13:19. Israel encampeth at Etham, Exodus 13:20. God conducteth them by a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night, Exodus 13:21,22.

No text from Poole on this verse.

And the Lord spake unto Moses,.... When he and the Israelites were at Succoth:

saying; as follows.

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.

Verses 1-16. - SANCTIFICATION OF THE FIRSTBORN. In connection with the deliverance from death of the Israelite first-born by the blood of the lamb, and still further to fix the remembrance of the historical facts in the mind of the nation, Moses was commissioned to declare all the firstborn of Israel for all future time, and all the firstborn of their domesticated animals "holy to the Lord." There was, perhaps, already in the minds of men a feeling that peculiar dignity attached to the first-born in each family; and this feeling was now strengthened by the assignment to them of a sacred character. God claimed them, and also the first-born of beasts, as His own. The clean beasts became his by sacrifice; but the unclean ones could not he similarly treated, and therefore had to be "redeemed" (verse 13) by the sacrifice of clean animals in their place. The first-born of men became at the first institution of the new ordinance God's ministers; but as this system was not intended to continue, it was announced that they too would have to be "redeemed" (verses 13, 15). The exact mode of redeeming them was left to be settled afterwards, and will be found in Numbers 3:40-51; Numbers 18:16. Verse 1. - On the true grammatical nexus of this verse, see note on Exodus 12:51. The injunctions of verse 2, and probably those of 3-15 - were given to Moses on the very day of the setting-forth, most likely, at Succoth in the evening. Exodus 13:1Sanctification of the first-born, and Promulgation of the Law for the Feast of Mazzoth. - Exodus 13:1, Exodus 13:2. The sanctification of the first-born was closely connected with the Passover. By this the deliverance of the Israelitish first-born was effected, and the object of this deliverance was their sanctification. Because Jehovah had delivered the first-born of Israel, they were to be sanctified to Him. If the Israelites completed their communion with Jehovah in the Passover, and celebrated the commencement of their divine standing in the feast of unleavened bread, they gave uninterrupted effect to their divine sonship in the sanctification of the first-born. For this reason, probably, the sanctification of the first-born was commanded by Jehovah at Succoth, immediately after the exodus, and contemporaneously with the institution of the seven days' feast of Mazzoth (cf. Exodus 2:15), so that the place assigned it in the historical record is the correct one; whereas the divine appointment of the feast of Mazzoth had been mentioned before (Exodus 12:15.), and the communication of that appointment to the people was all that remained to be mentioned here.
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