13:8 You are to tell your son 1 on that day, 2 ‘It is 3 because of what 4 the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 13:9 5 It 6 will be a sign 7 for you on your hand and a memorial 8 on your forehead, 9 so that the law of the Lord may be 10 in your mouth, 11 for 12 with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt.
13:14 13 In the future, 14 when your son asks you 15 ‘What is this?’ 16 you are to tell him, ‘With a mighty hand 17 the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the land of slavery. 18 13:15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused 19 to release us, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of people to the firstborn of animals. 20 That is why I am sacrificing 21 to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb, but all my firstborn sons I redeem.’
13:22 He did not remove the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night from before the people. 22
1 tn The form is the Hiphil perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence forward: “and you will declare to your son.”
sn A very important part of the teaching here is the manner in which the memory of the deliverance will be retained in Israel – they were to teach their children the reasons for the feast, as a binding law forever. This will remind the nation of its duties to Yahweh in gratitude for the great deliverance.
2 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “saying” has not been included in the translation here.
3 tn “it is” has been supplied.
4 tn The text uses זֶה (zeh), which Gesenius classifies as the use of the pronoun to introduce a relative clause after the preposition (GKC 447 §138.h) – but he thinks the form is corrupt. B. S. Childs, however, sees no reason to posit a corruption in this form (Exodus [OTL], 184).
5 sn This passage has, of course, been taken literally by many devout Jews, and portions of the text have been encased in phylacteries and bound on the arm and forehead. B. Jacob (Exodus, 368), weighing the pros and cons of the literal or the figurative meaning, says that those who took it literally should not be looked down on for their symbolic work. In many cases, he continues, it is the spirit that kills and the letter makes alive – because people who argue against a literal usage do so to excuse lack of action. This is a rather interesting twist in the discussion. The point of the teaching was obviously meant to keep the Law of Yahweh in the minds of the people, to remind them of their duties.
6 tn That is, this ceremony.
7 tn Heb “for a sign.”
8 tn Heb “for a memorial.”
sn That these festivals and consecrations were to be signs and memorials is akin to the expressions used in the book of Proverbs (Prov 3:3, “bind them around your neck…write them on your heart”). The people were to use the festivals as outward and visible tokens to remind them to obey what the Law required.
10 tn The purpose of using this ceremony as a sign and a memorial is that the Law might be in their mouth. The imperfect tense, then, receives the classification of final imperfect in the purpose clause.
12 tn This causal clause gives the reason for what has just been instructed. Because Yahweh delivered them from bondage, he has the strongest claims on their life.
14 tn Heb “tomorrow.”
15 tn Heb “and it will be when your son will ask you.”
16 tn The question is cryptic; it simply says, “What is this?” but certainly refers to the custom just mentioned. It asks, “What does this mean?” or “Why do we do this?”
17 tn The expression is “with strength of hand,” making “hand” the genitive of specification. In translation “strength” becomes the modifier, because “hand” specifies where the strength was. But of course the whole expression is anthropomorphic for the power of God.
18 tn Heb “house of slaves.”
19 tn Heb “dealt hardly in letting us go” or “made it hard to let us go” (see S. R. Driver, Exodus, 110). The verb is the simple Hiphil perfect הִקְשָׁה (hiqshah, “he made hard”); the infinitive construct לְשַׁלְּחֵנוּ (lÿshallÿkhenu, “to release us”) could be taken epexegetically, meaning “he made releasing us hard.” But the infinitive more likely gives the purpose or the result after the verb “hardened himself.” The verb is figurative for “be stubborn” or “stubbornly refuse.”
20 tn The text uses “man” and “beast.”
21 tn The form is the active participle.
22 sn See T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea Narrative,” JBL 90 (1971): 15-30.