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Exodus 12:21-28

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, 12:28 and the Israelites went away and did exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 15 

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 tn Heb “went away and 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.”



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