From Exodus 13-15
The LORD has performed the Passover. Rescuing his firstborn Israel by killing the firstborn of Egypt. Afterward the LORD gives them further instructions for later years to remember what the LORD has done and commemorate this great event.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Today’s passage follows straight after the Passover and Israel’s deliverance from Egypt.
13 The LORD said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” (Ex 13.1-2)
In the Passover event God purchased the redemption of his firstborn son Israel through the death of the Egyptian firstborn (cf. Ex 4.22).
3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
4 Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. 5 And when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this service in this month.
6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen with you, and no leaven shall be seen with you in all your territory. (Ex 13:3–7)
He instructs to observe the feast of unleavened bread. This is a week long festival that follows the Passover. Because the Israelites are escaping from Egypt they cannot practice it now. When they do practice it they are to eat unleavened bread.
What do you think leaven represents and why are they to bake without it?
8 You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ 9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth. For with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall therefore keep this statute at its appointed time from year to year.
11 “When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12 you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. (Ex 13:8-13)
The festival is to remind them of the saving acts of God in bringing them out of Egypt. They are meant to pass on this from generation to generation. ‘You shall tell your son’. In the Exodus, God has been faithful to his covenant promises.
The fulfillment of God’s covenant promises will bring about the salvation of the world.
The festival is a ‘sign’ and a ‘memorial’. A sign shows people something. In this case when people see it they will be reminded of what they LORD has done and be encouraged to obey his law.
In saving Israel, the LORD has taken them as his people and will care for them. In response they are to obey his law. One of the law he gives them here is that of offering the firstborn. Every firstborn male is the LORD’s. Some of the firstborn were offerings to the LORD, others were redeemed at the peoples cost.
14 And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals.
Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.” (Ex 13:14–16)
When their sons ask why they practice the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread and the giving of the firstborn. It will give them a golden opportunity to share what the LORD has done. This sharing will continue for generation to generation.
Story of Israel
And so it did. Perhaps the greatest example of the Passover in the Old Testament was that observed by King Josiah. After many years of disobedience God raised up a faithful king who called Judah back to the LORD (2 Ki 23:21–25).
Presumably the Passover was followed by the feast of unleavened bread and God’s people remembered his faithfulness and mighty saving acts and responded in faithfulness to what the LORD had done for them.
Story of Jesus
Jesus commanded his followers to observe another Passover (Mk 14.12f).
22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” (Mk 14:22-25)
In both the Passover and the Feast, God’s people remember his faithfulness and salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross. Interpreting the spiritual meaning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread Paul instructs.
7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5:7–8)
God’s people ought to respond to what the LORD has done for them.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.