Exodus 34:20
But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) The firstling of an ass.—See Notes 1-3 on Exodus 13:13.

34:18-27 Once a week they must rest, even in ploughing time, and in harvest. All worldly business must give way to that holy rest; even harvest work will prosper the better, for the religious observance of the sabbath day in harvest time. We must show that we prefer our communion with God, and our duty to him, before the business or the joy of harvest. Thrice a year they must appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel. Canaan was a desirable land, and the neighbouring nations were greedy; yet God says, They shall not desire it. Let us check all sinful desires against God and his glory, in our hearts, and then trust him to check all sinful desires in the hearts of others against us. The way of duty is the way of safety. Those who venture for him never lose by him. Three feasts are here mentioned: 1. The Passover, in remembrance of the deliverance out of Egypt. 2. The feast of weeks, or the feast of Pentecost; added to it is the law of the first-fruits. 3. The feast of in-gathering, or the feast of Tabernacles. Moses is to write these words, that the people might know them better. We can never be enough thankful to God for the written word. God would make a covenant with Israel, in Moses as a mediator. Thus the covenant of grace is made with believers through Christ.An expansion of Exodus 34:12. The unfaithfulness of the nation to its covenant with Yahweh is here for the first time spoken of as a breach of the marriage bond. The metaphor is, in any case, a natural one, but it seems to gain point, if we suppose it to convey an allusion to the abominations connected with pagan worship, such as are spoken of in Numbers 25:1-3.9, 10. he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us—On this proclamation, he, in the overflowing benevolence of s heart, founded an earnest petition for the Divine Presence being continued with the people; and God was pleased to give His favorable answer to Moses' intercession by a renewal of His promise under the form of a covenant, repeating the leading points that formed the conditions of the former national compact. Either without a gift to me, so it is a precept; or without benefit to himself, so it is a promise. See Exodus 23:15.

Every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem,.... This goes along with the former; see Gill on Exodus 13:13,

and none shall appear before me empty; at the grand festivals, the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles; see Gill on Exodus 13:15.

But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me {f} empty.

(f) Without offering something.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Exodus 34:20The true way to worship Jehovah is then pointed out, first of all negatively, in the prohibition against making molten images, with an allusion to the worship of the golden calf, as evinced by the use of the expression מסּכה אלהי, which only occurs again in Leviticus 19:4, instead of the phrase "gods of silver and gold" (Exodus 20:23); and then positively, by a command to observe the feast of Mazzoth and the consecration of the first-born connected with the Passover (see at Exodus 13:2, Exodus 13:11, and Exodus 13:12), also the Sabbath (Exodus 34:21), the feasts of Weeks and Ingathering, the appearance of the male members of the nation three times a year before the Lord (Exodus 34:22, see at Exodus 23:14-17), together with all the other instructions connected with them (Exodus 34:25, Exodus 34:26). Before the last, however, the promise is introduced, that after the expulsion of the Canaanites, Jehovah would enlarge the borders of Israel (cf. Exodus 23:31), and make their land so secure, that when they went up to the Lord three times in the year, no one should desire their land, sc., because of the universal dread of the might of their God (Exodus 23:27).
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