Exodus 12:29
Parallel Verses
New International Version
At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.

King James Bible
And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

Darby Bible Translation
And it came to pass that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle.

World English Bible
It happened at midnight, that Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of livestock.

Young's Literal Translation
And it cometh to pass, at midnight, that Jehovah hath smitten every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh who is sitting on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive who is in the prison-house, and every first-born of beasts.

Exodus 12:29 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Smote all the first born - If we take the term first-born in its literal sense only, we shall be led to conclude that in a vast number of the houses of the Egyptians there could have been no death, as it is not at all likely that every first-born child of every Egyptian family was still alive, and that all the first-born of their cattle still remained. And yet it is said, Exodus 12:30, that there was not a house where there was not one dead. The word therefore must not be taken in its literal sense only. From its use in a great variety of places in the Scriptures it is evident that it means the chief, most excellent, best beloved, most distinguished, etc. In this sense our blessed Lord is called the First-Born of every creature, Colossians 1:15, and the First-Born among many brethren, Romans 8:29; that is, he is more excellent than all creatures, and greater than all the children of men. In the same sense we may understand Revelation 1:5, where Christ is called the First-Begotten from the dead, i.e., the chief of all that have ever visited the empire of death, and on whom death has had any power; and the only one who by his own might quickened himself. In the same sense wisdom is represented as being brought forth before all the creatures, and being possessed by the Lord in the beginning of his ways, Proverbs 8:22-30; that is, the wisdom of God is peculiarly conspicuous in the production, arrangement, and government of every part of the creation. So Ephraim is called the Lord's First-Born, Jeremiah 31:9. And the people of Israel are often called by the same name, see Exodus 4:22 : Israel is my son, my First-Born; that is, the people in whom I particularly delight, and whom I will especially support and defend. And because the first-born are in general peculiarly dear to their parents, and because among the Jews they had especial and peculiar privileges, whatever was most dear, most valuable, and most prized, was thus denominated. So Micah 6:7 : Shall I give my First-Born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? Shall I give up the most beloved child I have, he that is most dear and most necessary to me, in order to make an atonement for my sins! In like manner the Prophet Zechariah, speaking of the conversion of the Jews to the Gospel of Christ, represents them as looking on him whom they have pierced, and being as one that is in bitterness for his First-Born; that is, they shall feel distress and anguish as those who had lost their most beloved child. So the Church triumphant in the kingdom of God are called, Hebrews 12:23, the general assembly and Church of the First-Born, i.e., the most noble and excellent of all human if not created beings. So Homer, Il. iv., ver. 102: Αρνων πρωτογονων ρεξειν κλειτην ἑκατομβην· "A hecatomb of lambs all firstlings of the flock." That is, the most excellent of their kind.

In a contrary sense, when the word first-born is joined to another that signifies any kind of misery or disgrace, it then signifies the depth of misery, the utmost disgrace. So the First-Born of the poor, Isaiah 14:30, signifies the most abject, destitute, and impoverished. The First-Born of death, Job 18:13, means the most horrible kind of death. So in the threatening against Pharaoh, Exodus 11:5, where he informs him that he will slay all the first-born, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon the throne; to the first born of the maid-servant that is behind the mill, he takes in the very highest and lowest conditions of life. As there was no state in Egypt superior to the throne, so there was none inferior to that of the female slave that ground at the mill. The Prophet Habakkuk seems to fix this as the sense in which the word is used here; for speaking of the plagues of Egypt in general, and the salvation which God afforded his people, he says, Habakkuk 3:13 : Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people - thou woundedst the Head (ראש rosh, the chief, the most excellent) of the house of the wicked - of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. And the author of the book of The Wisdom of Solomon understood it in the same way: The master and the servant were punished after one manner; and like as the king, so suffered the common people - for in one moment the Noblest Offspring of them was destroyed, The Wisdom of Solomon 18:11, 12. And in no other sense can we understand the word in Psalm 89:27, where, among the promises of God to David, we find the following: Also I will make him my First-Born, higher than the kings of the earth; in which passage the latter clause explains the former; David, as king, should be the First-Born, of God, i.e., he should be higher than the kings of the earth - the Most Eminent potentate in the universe. In this sense, therefore, we should understand the passage in question; the most eminent person in every family in Egypt, as well as those who were literally the first-born, being slain in this plague. Calmet and some other critics particularly contend for this sense.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

at midnight

Exodus 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast...

Exodus 11:4 And Moses said, Thus said the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the middle of Egypt:

Exodus 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt...

Job 34:20 In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away...

1 Thessalonians 5:2,3 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night...

the Lord smote. The infliction of this judgment on the Egyptians was most equitable; because, after their nation had been preserved by one of the Israelitish family, they had, contrary to all right, and in defiance of original stipulation, enslaved the people to whom they had been so much indebted, and had murdered their offspring, and made their bondage intolerable.

Numbers 3:13 Because all the firstborn are mine...

Numbers 8:17 For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast...

Numbers 33:4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: on their gods also the LORD executed judgments.

Psalm 78:51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:

Psalm 105:36 He smote also all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.

Psalm 135:8 Who smote the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and beast.

Psalm 136:10 To him that smote Egypt in their firstborn: for his mercy endures for ever:

Hebrews 11:28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

Hebrews 12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all...

the first-born of Pharaoh

Exodus 4:23 And I say to you, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son...

Exodus 11:5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sits on his throne...

dungeon. Heb. house of the pit

Isaiah 24:22 And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison...

Isaiah 51:14 The captive exile hastens that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.

Jeremiah 38:6,13 Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison...

Zechariah 9:11 As for you also, by the blood of your covenant I have sent forth your prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

The Passover: an Expiation and a Feast, a Memorial and a Prophecy
'And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2. This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3. 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 fathers, a lamb for an house: 4. And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Blood
Now, at the time of which this Book of Exodus speaks, Egypt was exposed to a terrible peril. Jehovah himself was about to march through the streets of all the cities of Egypt. It was not merely a destroying angel, but Jehovah himself; for thus it is written, "I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast." No one less than I AM, the great God, had vowed to "cut Rahab" with the sword of vengeance. Tremble, ye inhabitants
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

Appendix xii. The Baptism of Proselytes
ONLY those who have made study of it can have any idea how large, and sometimes bewildering, is the literature on the subject of Jewish Proselytes and their Baptism. Our present remarks will be confined to the Baptism of Proselytes. 1. Generally, as regards proselytes (Gerim) we have to distinguish between the Ger ha-Shaar (proselyte of the gate) and Ger Toshabh (sojourner,' settled among Israel), and again the Ger hatstsedeq (proselyte of righteousness) and Ger habberith (proselyte of the covenant).
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Hope for the Heathen
Throughout his ministry Isaiah bore a plain testimony concerning God's purpose for the heathen. Other prophets had made mention of the divine plan, but their language was not always understood. To Isaiah it was given to make very plain to Judah the truth that among the Israel of God were to be numbered many who were not descendants of Abraham after the flesh. This teaching was not in harmony with the theology of his age, yet he fearlessly proclaimed the messages given him of God and brought hope
Ellen Gould White—The Story of Prophets and Kings

Cross References
Hebrews 11:28
By faith he kept the Passover and the application of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.

Exodus 4:23
and I told you, "Let my son go, so he may worship me." But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.'"

Exodus 9:6
And the next day the LORD did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died.

Exodus 11:4
So Moses said, "This is what the LORD says: 'About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.

Exodus 11:5
Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

Exodus 12:28
The Israelites did just what the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron.

Exodus 13:15
When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the LORD the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.'

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