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Exodus 12:40-51

Context

12:40 Now the length of time the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years. 1  12:41 At the end of the 430 years, on the very day, all the regiments 2  of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt. 12:42 It was a night of vigil for the Lord to bring them out from the land of Egypt, 3  and so 4  on this night all Israel is to keep the vigil 5  to the Lord for generations to come.

Participation in the Passover

12:43 6 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner may 7  share in eating it. 8  12:44 But everyone’s servant who is bought for money, after you have circumcised him, may eat it. 12:45 A foreigner and a hired worker must not eat it. 12:46 It must be eaten in one house; you must not bring any of the meat outside the house, and you must not break a bone of it. 12:47 The whole community of Israel must observe it.

12:48 “When a foreigner lives 9  with you and wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised, 10  and then he may approach and observe it, and he will be like one who is born in the land 11  – but no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 12:49 The same law will apply 12  to the person who is native-born and to the foreigner who lives among you.”

12:50 So all the Israelites did exactly as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron. 13  12:51 And on this very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their regiments.

1 sn Here as well some scholars work with the number 430 to try to reduce the stay in Egypt for the bondage. Some argue that if the number included the time in Canaan, that would reduce the bondage by half. S. R. Driver (Exodus, 102) notes that P thought Moses was the fourth generation from Jacob (6:16-27), if those genealogies are not selective. Exodus 6 has Levi – Kohath – Amram – Moses. This would require a period of about 100 years, and that is unusual. There is evidence, however, that the list is selective. In 1 Chr 2:3-20 the text has Bezalel (see Exod 31:2-5) a contemporary of Moses and yet the seventh from Judah. Elishama, a leader of the Ephraimites (Num 10:22), was in the ninth generation from Jacob (1 Chr 7:22-26). Joshua, Moses’ assistant, was the eleventh from Jacob (1 Chr 7:27). So the “four generations” leading up to Moses are not necessarily complete. With regard to Exod 6, K. A. Kitchen has argued that the four names do not indicate successive generations, but tribe (Levi), clan (Kohath), family (Amram), and individual (Moses; K. A. Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, 54-55). For a detailed discussion of the length of the sojourn, see E. H. Merrill, A Kingdom of Priests, 75-79.

2 sn This military term is used elsewhere in Exodus (e.g., 6:26; 7:4; 12:17, 50), but here the Israelites are called “the regiments of the Lord.”

3 tn There is some ambiguity in לֵיל שִׁמֻּרִים הוּא לַיהוָה (lel shimmurim hu’ la’adonay [layhveh]). It is likely that this first clause means that Yahweh was on watch for Israel to bring them out, as the next clause says. He was protecting his people (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 102). Then, the night of vigil will be transferred to Israel, who now must keep it “to” him.

4 tn “and so” has been supplied.

5 tn Heb “this night is for Yahweh a vigil for all Israelites for their generations.”

6 sn The section that concludes the chapter contains regulations pertaining to the Passover. The section begins at v. 43, but vv. 40-42 form a good setting for it. In this unit vv. 43-45 belong together because they stress that a stranger and foreigner cannot eat. Verse 46 stands by itself, ruling that the meal must be eaten at home. Verse 47 instructs that the whole nation was to eat it. Verses 48-49 make provision for foreigners who may wish to participate. And vv. 50-51 record the obedience of Israel.

7 tn This taken in the modal nuance of permission, reading that no foreigner is permitted to share in it (apart from being a member of the household as a circumcised slave [v. 44] or obeying v. 48, if a free individual).

8 tn This is the partitive use of the bet (ב) preposition, expressing that the action extends to something and includes the idea of participation in it (GKC 380 §119.m).

9 tn Both the participle “foreigner” and the verb “lives” are from the verb גּוּר (gur), which means “to sojourn, to dwell as an alien.” This reference is to a foreigner who settles in the land. He is the protected foreigner; when he comes to another area where he does not have his clan to protect him, he must come under the protection of the Law, or the people. If the “resident alien” is circumcised, he may participate in the Passover (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104).

10 tn The infinitive absolute functions as the finite verb here, and “every male” could be either the object or the subject (see GKC 347 §113.gg and 387 §121.a).

11 tn אֶזְרָח (’ezrakh) refers to the native-born individual, the native Israelite as opposed to the “stranger, alien” (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 104); see also W. F. Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, 127, 210.

12 tn Heb “one law will be to.”

13 tn Heb “did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.” The final phrase “so they did,” which is somewhat redundant in English, has been represented in the translation by the adverb “exactly.”



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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