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Exodus 12:21-27

Context

12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel, and told them, “Go and select 1  for yourselves a lamb or young goat 2  for your families, and kill the Passover animals. 3  12:22 Take a branch of hyssop, 4  dip it in the blood that is in the basin, 5  and apply to the top of the doorframe and the two side posts some of the blood that is in the basin. Not one of you is to go out 6  the door of his house until morning. 12:23 For the Lord will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees 7  the blood on the top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then the Lord will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer 8  to enter your houses to strike you. 9  12:24 You must observe this event as an ordinance for you and for your children forever. 12:25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give to you, just as he said, you must observe 10  this ceremony. 12:26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 11 12:27 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice 12  of the Lord’s Passover, when he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck 13  Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people bowed down low 14  to the ground,

Exodus 12:29-36

Context
The Deliverance from Egypt

12:29 15 It happened 16  at midnight – the Lord attacked 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 prison, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 12:30 Pharaoh got up 17  in the night, 18  along with all his servants and all Egypt, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house 19  in which there was not someone dead. 12:31 Pharaoh 20  summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out 21  from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the Lord as you have requested! 22  12:32 Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.” 23 

12:33 The Egyptians were urging 24  the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly, 25  for they were saying, “We are all dead!” 12:34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, 26  with their kneading troughs bound up in their clothing on their shoulders. 12:35 Now the Israelites had done 27  as Moses told them – they had requested from the Egyptians 28  silver and gold items and clothing. 12:36 The Lord 29  gave the people favor 30  in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted, 31  and so they plundered Egypt. 32 

Exodus 12:38-39

Context
12:38 A mixed multitude 33  also went up with them, and flocks and herds – a very large number of cattle. 34  12:39 They baked cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they had brought from Egypt, for it was made without yeast – because they were thrust out 35  of Egypt and were not able to delay, they 36  could not prepare 37  food for themselves either.

1 tn Heb “draw out and take.” The verb has in view the need “to draw out” a lamb or goat selected from among the rest of the flock.

2 tn The Hebrew noun is singular and can refer to either a lamb or a goat. Since English has no common word for both, the phrase “a lamb or young goat” is used in the translation.

3 tn The word “animals” is added to avoid giving the impression in English that the Passover festival itself is the object of “kill.”

4 sn The hyssop is a small bush that grows throughout the Sinai, probably the aromatic herb Origanum Maru L., or Origanum Aegyptiacum. The plant also grew out of the walls in Jerusalem (1 Kgs 4:33). See L. Baldensperger and G. M. Crowfoot, “Hyssop,” PEQ 63 (1931): 89-98. A piece of hyssop was also useful to the priests because it worked well for sprinkling.

5 tn The Greek and the Vulgate translate סַף (saf, “basin”) as “threshold.” W. C. Kaiser reports how early traditions grew up about the killing of the lamb on the threshold (“Exodus,” EBC 2:376).

6 tn Heb “and you, you shall not go out, a man from the door of his house.” This construction puts stress on prohibiting absolutely everyone from going out.

7 tn The first of the two clauses begun with perfects and vav consecutives may be subordinated to form a temporal clause: “and he will see…and he will pass over,” becomes “when he sees…he will pass over.”

8 tn Here the form is the Hiphil participle with the definite article. Gesenius says this is now to be explained as “the destroyer” although some take it to mean “destruction” (GKC 406 §126.m, n. 1).

9 tn “you” has been supplied.

10 tn The verb used here and at the beginning of v. 24 is שָׁמַר (shamar); it can be translated “watch, keep, protect,” but in this context the point is to “observe” the religious customs and practices set forth in these instructions.

11 tn Heb “what is this service to you?”

12 sn This expression “the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover” occurs only here. The word זֶבַח (zevakh) means “slaughtering” and so a blood sacrifice. The fact that this word is used in Lev 3 for the peace offering has linked the Passover as a kind of peace offering, and both the Passover and the peace offerings were eaten as communal meals.

13 tn The verb means “to strike, smite, plague”; it is the same verb that has been used throughout this section (נָגַף, nagaf). Here the construction is the infinitive construct in a temporal clause.

14 tn The two verbs form a verbal hendiadys: “and the people bowed down and they worshiped.” The words are synonymous, and so one is taken as the adverb for the other.

15 sn The next section records the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and so becomes the turning point of the book. Verses 28 and 29 could be included in the exposition of the previous section as the culmination of that part. The message might highlight God’s requirement for deliverance from bondage through the application of the blood of the sacrifice, God’s instruction for the memorial of deliverance through the purging of corruption, and the compliance of those who believed the message. But these verses also form the beginning of this next section (and so could be used transitionally). This unit includes the judgment on Egypt (29-30), the exodus from Egypt (31-39) and the historical summation and report (40-42).

16 tn The verse begins with the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), often translated “and it came to pass.” Here it could be left untranslated: “In the middle of the night Yahweh attacked.” The word order of the next and main clause furthers the emphasis by means of the vav disjunctive on the divine name preceding the verb. The combination of these initial and disjunctive elements helps to convey the suddenness of the attack, while its thoroughness is stressed by the repetition of “firstborn” in the rest of the verse, the merism (“from the firstborn of Pharaoh…to the firstborn of the captive”), and the mention of cattle.

17 tn Heb “arose,” the verb קוּם (qum) in this context certainly must describe a less ceremonial act. The entire country woke up in terror because of the deaths.

18 tn The noun is an adverbial accusative of time – “in the night” or “at night.”

19 sn Or so it seemed. One need not push this description to complete literalness. The reference would be limited to houses that actually had firstborn people or animals. In a society in which households might include more than one generation of humans and animals, however, the presence of a firstborn human or animal would be the rule rather than the exception.

20 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Pharaoh) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

21 tn The urgency in Pharaoh’s words is caught by the abrupt use of the imperatives – “get up, go” (קוּמוּ צְּאוּ, qumu tsÿu), and “go, serve” (וּלְכוּ עִבְדוּ, ulÿkhuivdu) and “take” and “leave/go” (וָלֵכוּקְחוּ, qÿkhu...valekhu).

22 tn Heb “as you have said.” The same phrase also occurs in the following verse.

sn It appears from this clause that Pharaoh has given up attempting to impose restrictions as he had earlier. With the severe judgment on him for his previous refusals he should now know that these people are no longer his subjects, and he is no longer sovereign. As Moses had insisted, all the Israelites would leave, and with all their possessions, to worship Yahweh.

23 tn The form is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive (וּבֵרַכְתֶּם, uverakhtem); coming in the sequence of imperatives this perfect tense would be volitional – probably a request rather than a command.

sn Pharaoh probably meant that they should bless him also when they were sacrificing to Yahweh in their religious festival – after all, he might reason, he did let them go (after divine judgment). To bless him would mean to invoke good gifts from God for him.

24 tn The verb used here (חָזַק, khazaq) is the same verb used for Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. It conveys the idea of their being resolved or insistent in this – they were not going to change.

25 tn The phrase uses two construct infinitives in a hendiadys, the first infinitive becoming the modifier.

26 tn The imperfect tense after the adverb טֶרֶם (terem) is to be treated as a preterite: “before it was leavened,” or “before the yeast was added.” See GKC 314-15 §107.c.

27 tn The verbs “had done” and then “had asked” were accomplished prior to the present narrative (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 99). The verse begins with disjunctive word order to introduce the reminder of earlier background information.

28 tn Heb “from Egypt.” Here the Hebrew text uses the name of the country to represent the inhabitants (a figure known as metonymy).

29 tn The holy name (“Yahweh,” represented as “the Lord” in the translation) has the vav disjunctive with it. It may have the force: “Now it was Yahweh who gave the people favor….”

30 sn God was destroying the tyrant and his nobles and the land’s economy because of their stubborn refusal. But God established friendly, peaceful relations between his people and the Egyptians. The phrase is used outside Exod only in Gen 39:21, referring to Joseph.

31 tn The verb וַיַּשְׁאִלוּם (vayyashilum) is a Hiphil form that has the root שָׁאַל (shaal), used earlier in Qal with the meaning “requested” (12:35). The verb here is frequently translated “and they lent them,” but lending does not fit the point. What they gave the Israelites were farewell gifts sought by demanding or asking for them. This may exemplify a “permissive” use of the Hiphil stem, in which “the Hiphil designates an action that is agreeable to the object and allowed by the subject” (B. T. Arnold and J. H. Choi, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, 52).

32 sn See B. Jacob, “The Gifts of the Egyptians; A Critical Commentary,” Journal of Reformed Judaism 27 (1980): 59-69.

33 tn The “mixed multitude” (עֵרֶב רַב, ’erev rav) refers to a great “swarm” (see a possible cognate in 8:21[17]) of folk who joined the Israelites, people who were impressed by the defeat of Egypt, who came to faith, or who just wanted to escape Egypt (maybe slaves or descendants of the Hyksos). The expression prepares for later references to riffraff who came along.

34 tn Heb “and very much cattle.”

35 sn For the use of this word in developing the motif, see Exod 2:17, 22; 6:1; and 11:1.

36 tn Heb “and also.”

37 tn The verb is עָשׂוּ (’asu, “they made”); here, with a potential nuance, it is rendered “they could [not] prepare.”



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