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Exodus 12:14-28

Context

12:14 This day will become 1  a memorial 2  for you, and you will celebrate it as a festival 3  to the Lord – you will celebrate it perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 4  12:15 For seven days 5  you must eat 6  bread made without yeast. 7  Surely 8  on the first day you must put away yeast from your houses because anyone who eats bread made with yeast 9  from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off 10  from Israel.

12:16 On the first day there will be a holy convocation, 11  and on the seventh day there will be a holy convocation for you. You must do no work of any kind 12  on them, only what every person will eat – that alone may be prepared for you. 12:17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very 13  day I brought your regiments 14  out from the land of Egypt, and so you must keep this day perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 15  12:18 In the first month, 16  from the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you will eat bread made without yeast until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening. 12:19 For seven days 17  yeast must not be found in your houses, for whoever eats what is made with yeast – that person 18  will be cut off from the community of Israel, whether a foreigner 19  or one born in the land. 12:20 You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.’”

12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel, and told them, “Go and select 20  for yourselves a lamb or young goat 21  for your families, and kill the Passover animals. 22  12:22 Take a branch of hyssop, 23  dip it in the blood that is in the basin, 24  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 25  the door of his house until morning. 12:23 For the Lord will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees 26  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 27  to enter your houses to strike you. 28  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 29  this ceremony. 12:26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 30 12:27 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice 31  of the Lord’s Passover, when he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck 32  Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people bowed down low 33  to the ground, 12:28 and the Israelites went away and did exactly as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 34 

Exodus 12:43-49

Context
Participation in the Passover

12:43 35 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner may 36  share in eating it. 37  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 38  with you and wants to observe the Passover to the Lord, all his males must be circumcised, 39  and then he may approach and observe it, and he will be like one who is born in the land 40  – but no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 12:49 The same law will apply 41  to the person who is native-born and to the foreigner who lives among you.”

1 tn Heb “and this day will be.”

2 tn The expression “will be for a memorial” means “will become a memorial.”

sn The instruction for the unleavened bread (vv. 14-20) begins with the introduction of the memorial (זִכָּרוֹן [zikkaron] from זָכַר [zakhar]). The reference is to the fifteenth day of the month, the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. B. Jacob (Exodus, 315) notes that it refers to the death blow on Egypt, but as a remembrance had to be held on the next day, not during the night. He also notes that this was the origin of “the Day of the Lord” (“the Day of Yahweh”), which the prophets predicted as the day of the divine battle. On it the enemy would be wiped out. For further information, see B. S. Childs, Memory and Tradition in Israel (SBT). The point of the word “remember” in Hebrew is not simply a recollection of an event, but a reliving of it, a reactivating of its significance. In covenant rituals “remembrance” or “memorial” is designed to prompt God and worshiper alike to act in accordance with the covenant. Jesus brought the motif forward to the new covenant with “this do in remembrance of me.”

3 tn The verb וְחַגֹּתֶם (vÿkhaggotem), a perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive to continue the instruction, is followed by the cognate accusative חַג (khag), for emphasis. As the wording implies and the later legislation required, this would involve a pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Yahweh.

4 tn Two expressions show that this celebration was to be kept perpetually: the line has “for your generations, [as] a statute forever.” “Generations” means successive generations (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). עוֹלָם (’olam) means “ever, forever, perpetual” – no end in sight.

5 tn This expression is an adverbial accusative of time. The feast was to last from the 15th to the 21st of the month.

6 tn Or “you will eat.” The statement stresses their obligation – they must eat unleavened bread and avoid all leaven.

7 tn The etymology of מַצּוֹת (matsot, “unleavened bread,” i.e., “bread made without yeast”) is uncertain. Suggested connections to known verbs include “to squeeze, press,” “to depart, go out,” “to ransom,” or to an Egyptian word “food, cake, evening meal.” For a more detailed study of “unleavened bread” and related matters such as “yeast” or “leaven,” see A. P. Ross, NIDOTTE 4:448-53.

8 tn The particle serves to emphasize, not restrict here (B. S. Childs, Exodus [OTL], 183, n. 15).

9 tn Heb “every eater of leavened bread.” The participial phrase stands at the beginning of the clause as a casus pendens, that is, it stands grammatically separate from the sentence. It names a condition, the contingent occurrences of which involve a further consequence (GKC 361 §116.w).

10 tn The verb וְנִכְרְתָה (vÿnikhrÿtah) is the Niphal perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it is a common formula in the Law for divine punishment. Here, in sequence to the idea that someone might eat bread made with yeast, the result would be that “that soul [the verb is feminine] will be cut off.” The verb is the equivalent of the imperfect tense due to the consecutive; a translation with a nuance of the imperfect of possibility (“may be cut off”) fits better perhaps than a specific future. There is the real danger of being cut off, for while the punishment might include excommunication from the community, the greater danger was in the possibility of divine intervention to root out the evildoer (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 94). Gesenius lists this as the use of a perfect with a vav consecutive after a participle (a casus pendens) to introduce the apodosis (GKC 337 §112.mm).

sn In Lev 20:3, 5-6, God speaks of himself as cutting off a person from among the Israelites. The rabbis mentioned premature death and childlessness as possible judgments in such cases, and N. M. Sarna comments that “one who deliberately excludes himself from the religious community of Israel cannot be a beneficiary of the covenantal blessings” (Exodus [JPSTC], 58).

11 sn This refers to an assembly of the people at the sanctuary for religious purposes. The word “convocation” implies that the people were called together, and Num 10:2 indicates they were called together by trumpets.

12 tn Heb “all/every work will not be done.” The word refers primarily to the work of one’s occupation. B. Jacob (Exodus, 322) explains that since this comes prior to the fuller description of laws for Sabbaths and festivals, the passage simply restricts all work except for the preparation of food. Once the laws are added, this qualification is no longer needed. Gesenius translates this as “no manner of work shall be done” (GKC 478-79 §152.b).

13 tn Heb “on the bone of this day.” The expression means “the substance of the day,” the day itself, the very day (S. R. Driver, Exodus, 95).

14 tn The word is “armies” or “divisions” (see Exod 6:26 and the note there; cf. also 7:4). The narrative will continue to portray Israel as a mighty army, marching forth in its divisions.

15 tn See Exod 12:14.

16 tn “month” has been supplied.

17 tn “Seven days” is an adverbial accusative of time (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12, §56).

18 tn The term is נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), often translated “soul.” It refers to the whole person, the soul within the body. The noun is feminine, agreeing with the feminine verb “be cut off.”

19 tn Or “alien”; or “stranger.”

20 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.

21 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.

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

23 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.

24 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).

25 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.

26 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.”

27 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).

28 tn “you” has been supplied.

29 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.

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

31 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.

32 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.

33 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.

34 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.”

35 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.

36 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).

37 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).

38 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).

39 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).

40 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.

41 tn Heb “one law will be to.”



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