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CHAP. XIII. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Sanctify unto me all the first-born, whatsoever openeth the

Church's unity manifested in the Lord's Supper, and especially realized

through His death as set forth in 2 Co. v. 147 2. Her militant life.. (I) The Church being an army, criticize the expression,

“I sat under this or that preacher; and the view, that a Christian is to care expressly about his personal salvation. (2) What is the “rations” represented in the sacrament; and what could Cromwell mean by saying,

that he had been paid good wages before the war began? 3. Discipline. That this is not confined to degrading punishment-(1) Show,

from the fact of the Church's being a family and a school. (2) Mention two schoolmasters of the Church, one of whom is known by his calling for

pupils on easy terms. Farewell to Egypt (xiii.). Etham (ver. 20) was on the outer border of the settled dominion of Egypt. The second march of Israel, therefore, carried them fairly to the outside of their "house of bondage." It is not said how long they were on the march from Succoth to the Red Sea. Some appear to dream of a run across by a courier, or an Arabian horse, or a swift camel ; but a nation moves very slow with all its flocks and herds, even though “in haste," and thoroughly well organized,

and glowing in eagerness as an arrow quivering from the bowman's hand. The narrative here pauses, to show to us their consecration for that life which now is visibly redeemed. The sanctification of the first-born is on Israel's part a solemn acceptance of Jehovah as their God and Lord, by the new title of grace in Redemption, as well as by indefeasible right of nature in creation. In the description which follows we see Jehovah placing Himself (Ps. lxxx. I) as shepherd at the head of this flock, which He is to lead into His pastures (and mark Joseph!).

Vers. 1-16. The new revelation (1, 2) regarding sanctification of the firstborn, involves in its detailed regulation (3-16) some repetition of what has already been said on the same subject. Here yet further it is remarkable how the Passover, with its essential meaning, and a force of iteration following reiteration, is placed as the one true fountain of Israel's life ; in relation to which other events, though they should be intrinsically great and marvellous, are but evanescent occasions, or reaches in the stream of that life.

1. The Lord spake : apparently at Succoth, where the revelation which is here recorded may have been taken down in writing when it was given (cp. xvii. 14, xxiv. 4, 7, xxxiv. 27, and see Introd. pp. 57-62). Sanctify-mine. All things by nature belong to Jehovah as God. They consequently ought on man's part, as the subject lord of earth, to be devoted to that King of heaven, by a free continuous act of will, like that Life (1 Co. x. 5) from the smitten Rock which followed Israel all the way. There thus ought to be consecration of the man himself (see under xxix. 20, cp. Ro. xii. I) for service, as well as of the lower creatures he owns for sacrifice. Where, as on the part of Egypt, they are not thus consecrated, they are described, even in their religion, “anathema,” as if hung up in heathen temples for the honour of dead gods. The sanctification is (Ps. cxxx. 4) a grand purpose of the redemption in the strict sense of deliverance from the common doom of death (1 Pe. ii. 5, 9, and in Ro. xii. I mark the " therefore"). The firstborn, here as elsewhere, represents the whole family and estate. In this case the sanctification prescribed is in form peculiar to Israel; because it has reference to (vers. 14, 15) what happened only in Egypt to the first-born. It is a monumental evidence of the Tenth Plague. But the spirit of the thing is

son

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womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of

beast; it is mine. 3 And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in

which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage ;

for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this 4 place : there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day

came ye out, in the month Abib. 5 And it shall be, when the Lord shall bring thee into the

land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites,

and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto thy in all true redemption life. Openeth the womb : a mother's first (male) child, This was the first-born of sanctification.” A father's first son was—the and heir-“ the first-born of inheritance.” Beast : clean animals were sanctified by being sacrificed; unclean, of which only the ass is specified here (ver. 13), by being redeemed (ver. 15;-where, as the principle of the sacrifice, there again comes into view substitution, of life for life and death for death). 3-10. The matter of this institution, substantially given before, now receives a form, of new application, which marks the distinctness (holiness

separation ”-see the stress laid on the separateness under xxxiii. 16) of Israel's being, as Jehovah's redeemed, and consequently of Israel's destination of life, as unto the Redeemer. Even the day, and the Abib month, are, through being set apart for this one thing, made memorable in their significance of that distinctness. So is the service of the week of the unleavened bread. This day: that identical day-may be compared with the first Christian Sabbath, or that Sabbath which was man's first day of life in Éden. Thenceforward the anniversary of it was to open the great opening festival week of the Passover observance. The month Abib (under xii. 2). The Hebrew year had in it twelve lunar months ; with intercalary days making up the 365, so as to give the returning months their own fixed places in the recurring seasons. Until the Babylonish captivity there were not proper names for the month; they were distinctly known only by their numbers, as, the second month of the year, the third month, etc. Abib, here first named, is peculiar to the Pentateuch ; so as to be incidental evidence of its Mosaic antiquity. It perhaps was not intended for an abiding proper

It may have been employed simply, according to its meaning, an ear of corn, a green ear, as descriptive of the season (cp. “Midsummer,” as descriptive of a term, or “sundown” for evening time). The season which it represents or describes, of opening the ear of corn in Palestine, fixes the month as nearly coincident with our April. Month : the Heb. word new moon, reminds that the month begins with the new moon. The first day of it may thus not coincide with the beginning of a solar month. The exodus itself was, ver. 40, like the building of Solomon's temple (1 Ki. vi. 1), made an era in Israelitish history; for fixing the date of other events by specifying their distance in time from that (see Introd, note on Exodus chronology). The use of that event as an era like the birth of Christ, served to keep Israel ever mindful of the event and its vital importance, while further making the nation a continual witness to its historical reality. The way and manner of setting aside the first-born was prescribed later, in the legislature of Sinai (Lev. xxvii.). Land- ebusites: the Perizzites are not mentioned here as in

name.

fathers to give thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that 6 thou shalt keep this service in this month. Seven days thou

shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a 7 feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven

days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee; neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy

quarters. 8 And thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done

because of that which the Lord did unto me when I came 9 forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee

upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes,

that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth : for with a strong 10 hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt. Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

And it shall be, when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy 12 fathers, and shall give it thee, that thou shalt set apart unto

the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that

cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the 13 Lord's. And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with

a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the first-born of man among thy children

shalt thou redeem. 14

And it shall be, when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this ? that thou shalt say unto him, By

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iii. 8 (note). Seven days: this has reference (ver. 5) to the abiding condition of Israel in Canaan. Of course the week was not observed on the present occasion. Leaven, and its significance, see under xii. 18, 19: and again observe (ver. 7) the great energy of the prohibition,-it is not to be seen, anywhere about the house. Show thy son: here again, as in xii. 26, 27, it is expected that the children of God's people shall take an intelligent interest in the great festival, and that they shall be carefully instructed (by their parents) as to the meaning of it. Thus, for young and old the stated periodical observance (ver. 10) shall be (like the Nile's annual flood, Introd. chap. I.) a time of refreshing, (cp. Is. xl. 30, 31), as the spring

brings back the life of the world. 11-16. Firstling: a violent death (see note under the plague) involves to most animals far less of suffering than would result to them from a life lingering into extinction from old age. The redemption price was so small, that few owners would fail to pay, and keep the animal alive ; and it was a great thing to keep alive the fact of redemption as gift of God and want of man. The ass was the only beast of burden at this time in use among the Israelites. Otherwise (under iv. 20) it was much more highly esteemed than it is among us. In Egypt it appears to have been somehow regarded as unclean." In the present regulation it is regarded simply as a sample of the class "unclean” (Nu. xviii. 5). A money redemption price of

:

strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from 15 the house of bondage : and it came to pass, when Pharaoh

would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both the first-born of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that

openeth the matrix, being males; but all the first-born of my 16 children I redeem. And it shall be for a token

upon

thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes : for by strength

of hand the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt. 17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go,

that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest

peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they 18 return to Egypt : but God led the people about, through the

way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of a man was five shekels (Nu. xviii. 18), but this differs from the atonementransom half-shekel of the sanctuary (xxx. 9, notes). Sign-hand-eyes (vers. 9 and 16). The custom of having mottoes on rings and bracelets has widely prevailed. The Egyptians had words written on strips of cloth which they wore as amulets. A similar custom of the later Jews (“phylacteries,” N. T.) has by some been traced to this passage and De. vi. 6-8. It is not necessary to suppose that this passage is more than a metaphor, derived from a familiar Egyptian custom, for description of the intended effect of God's ordinance :(this is the true “ amulet” of believers as shown in Eph. vi. 16; Ps. xci. 1, etc.)

From Etham to the place of passage of the Red Sea (17–19). When Pharaoh : a glance back at the starting-point. Land of the Philistines. To the south-west of Palestine (a name derived from theirs). They (see Introd.) were a strong military people, a thorn in the side of Israel long after the general conquest of Canaan. They were not Canaanitish in blood ; and apparently were not included in the doom of extirpation from the land of promise. A people moving from Egypt along the shore of the Mediterranean would come upon this powerful race with their strong cities, between it and the territory of the Canaanites. The historian, as a reason for not persisting in that route, gives the military unpreparedness of the Israelites. Raw and undisciplined, they were not in condition for breaking through that iron strength. At the same time it was in the plan of Jehovah, a man of war," in the first instance to be Himself the only combatant (Ex. xv.) in the overthrow of Egypt, and to show Himself as Israel's true help in the battle with Amalek. The long period of detention in the wilderness formed a new generation, inured to perils and to toils, and not like their fathers tempting God by distrusting Him. The wilderness of the Red Sea was thus, not only a refuge from Egypt, but a sanctuary of discipline for faith, and a training school for warlike prowess. Hence the deflexion, toward the east and south, along the Red Sea nearest Egypt, from the straight way into Canaan through Philistia. The form is lit. wilderness, Red Sea, --an elliptic utterance, which has the effect of making the Sea break on our view as the real destination of this changed line of movement. We have noted geographical speculations

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19 Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And

Moses took the bones of Joseph with him : for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence

with you.

20

And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped 21 in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord

went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them

about this departure, and their fruitlessness. One of them is to the effect of showing how the Israelites did not pass through the Red Sea as known to mankind, but, struggled or waddled through entanglements of marshes, lagoons, salt-water lakes—as if Israel had been a runaway hippopotamus. The sort of cloud thus raised upon the simple facts of history is not that through which (1 Co. x. 1-5) those original Christians were all baptized unto Moses in the sea. Harnessed: the meaning of this expression has been much discussed, · The Heb. word may come from a root meaning “five ;” and it has been suggested that the Israelites marched in five battalions or columns -say, a centre and two wings with a vanguard and a rearguard. Another suggestion is, that they marched in one column of five deep. The general conception intended for representation by the expression here appears to be that of succinctness, as of a man girt in readiness for a fight or a battle (He. xii. 1, 2—"looking unto” the Pillar). This may imply that the Israelites had weapons of offence and of defence; as no doubt is otherwise likely enough, for they were not calves, though vile enough to worship one (cp. Act. xvii. 29). It was in Jehovah's plan that His people should leave Egypt with an imposing, aspect of orderly power—that He should lead them out" with an high hand. The shepherd of Israel in Ps. lxxx. is said to have led Joseph. The bones of Joseph are a strangely interesting feature of the procession (cp. Ge. 1. 14). His bones were no doubt his body embalmed. (At Otterburn, "the dead Douglas won the field.” Here, however, it was the Living God that won it.) 20-22. Note on Israel's banner of “Jehovah-nissi.” This sub-section resumes the march from the beginning, to describe the manner of it, after the above intimation of the direction of it. The pillar is found in Nu. ix. 15-23, apparently as if in the stated leadership of Israel ; and in Ne. ix. 19, it is expressly described as having remained with them during the wilderness wandering. So in the last sentence of this history, xl. 38,-and in the last sentence of the parallel history, Mat. xxviii. 20 (cp. Ps. xxiii.). In that region a military chief, by way of banner, may have a column of smoke, rising from fire which is carried on a brazier for the purpose. In the pure atmosphere it can be seen from a great distance, so that by means of it he may lead a population spreading wide over the whole region. The same fire, maintained through the night, will still have in it the authoritative guidance ; because the flame shows through the darkness, as smoke shows through the clear sky. Israel had assurance, by “signs," such as the appearance of that pillar in the Red Sea passage, that in their case the cloud or fiame was a visible supernatural presence (cp. xxxiii. 14, 15) of the Living God, as the true leader and commander of Israel (Is. lv. 3). An expression of Quintus Curtius, in his Life of Alexander the Great, has been noted on account of its resemblance to the description in our text :--Observabatur ignis

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