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Exodus 13:3-10

Context

13:3 Moses said to the people, “Remember 1  this day on which you came out from Egypt, from the place where you were enslaved, 2  for the Lord brought you out of there 3  with a mighty hand – and no bread made with yeast may be eaten. 4  13:4 On this day, 5  in the month of Abib, 6  you are going out. 7 

13:5 When 8  the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, 9  then you will keep 10  this ceremony 11  in this month. 13:6 For seven days 12  you must eat 13  bread made without yeast, and on the seventh day there is to be 14  a festival to the Lord. 13:7 Bread made without yeast must be eaten 15  for seven days; 16  no bread made with yeast shall be seen 17  among you, and you must have no yeast among you within any of your borders.

13:8 You are to tell your son 18  on that day, 19  ‘It is 20  because of what 21  the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 13:9 22  It 23  will be a sign 24  for you on your hand and a memorial 25  on your forehead, 26  so that the law of the Lord may be 27  in your mouth, 28  for 29  with a mighty hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 13:10 So you must keep 30  this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year. 31 

1 tn The form is the infinitive absolute of זָכַר (zakhar, “remember”). The use of this form in place of the imperative (also found in the Decalogue with the Sabbath instruction) stresses the basic meaning of the root word, everything involved with remembering (emphatic imperative, according to GKC 346 §113.bb). The verb usually implies that there will be proper action based on what was remembered.

sn There is a pattern in the arrangement of vv. 3-10 and 11-16. Both sections contain commands based on the mighty deliverance as reminders of the deliverance. “With a mighty hand” occurs in vv. 3, 9, 14, 16. An explanation to the son is found in vv. 8 and 14. The emphases “sign on your hand” and “between your eyes” are part of the conclusions to both halves (vv. 9, 16).

2 tn Heb “from a house of slaves.” “House” is obviously not meant to be literal; it indicates a location characterized by slavery, a land of slaves, as if they were in a slave house. Egypt is also called an “iron-smelting furnace” (Deut 4:20).

3 tn Heb “from this” [place].

4 tn The verb is a Niphal imperfect; it could be rendered “must not be eaten” in the nuance of the instruction or injunction category, but permission fits this sermonic presentation very well – nothing with yeast may be eaten.

5 tn The word הַיּוֹם (hayyom) means literally “the day, today, this day.” In this sentence it functions as an adverbial accusative explaining when the event took place.

6 sn Abib appears to be an old name for the month, meaning something like “[month of] fresh young ears” (Lev 2:14 [Heb]) (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 106). B. Jacob (Exodus, 364) explains that these names were not precise designations, but general seasons based on the lunar year in the agricultural setting.

7 tn The form is the active participle, functioning verbally.

8 tn Heb “and it will be when.”

9 tn See notes on Exod 3:8.

10 tn The verb is וְעָבַדְתָּ (vÿavadta), the Qal perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive. It is the equivalent of the imperfect tense of instruction or injunction; it forms the main point after the temporal clause – “when Yahweh brings you out…then you will serve.”

11 tn The object is a cognate accusative for emphasis on the meaning of the service – “you will serve this service.” W. C. Kaiser notes how this noun was translated “slavery” and “work” in the book, but “service” or “ceremony” for Yahweh. Israel was saved from slavery to Egypt into service for God as remembered by this ceremony (“Exodus,” EBC 2:383).

12 tn Heb “Seven days.”

13 tn The imperfect tense functions with the nuance of instruction or injunction. It could also be given an obligatory nuance: “you must eat” or “you are to eat.” Some versions have simply made it an imperative.

14 tn The phrase “there is to be” has been supplied.

15 tn The imperfect has the nuance of instruction or injunction again, but it could also be given an obligatory nuance.

16 tn The construction is an adverbial accusative of time, answering how long the routine should be followed (see GKC 374 §118.k).

17 tn Or “visible to you” (B. Jacob, Exodus, 366).

18 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.

19 tn Heb “day, saying.” “Tell…saying” is redundant, so “saying” has not been included in the translation here.

20 tn “it is” has been supplied.

21 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).

22 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.

23 tn That is, this ceremony.

24 tn Heb “for a sign.”

25 tn Heb “for a memorial.”

26 tn Heb “between your eyes” (KJV and ASV both similar); the same expression occurs in v. 16.

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.

27 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.

28 sn “Mouth” is a metonymy of cause; the point is that they should be ever talking about the Law as their guide as they go about their duties (see Deut 6:7; 11:19; Josh 1:8).

29 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.

30 tn The form is a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive, functioning as the equivalent of an imperfect of instruction or injunction.

31 tn Or “every year,” or “year after year.”



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