King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 12

The beginning of the year changed, The passover instituted. (1-20) The people instructed how to observe the passover. (21-28) The death of the first-born of the Egyptians The Israelites urged to leave the land of Egypt. (29-36) The Israelites’ first journey to Succoth. (37-42) Ordinance respecting the passover. (43-51)

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The beginning of the year changed, The passover instituted

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying,

2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.

3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:

4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.

5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.

9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.

10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.

11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s passover.

12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.

14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.

17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.

18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.

19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.

20 Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.

The people instructed how to observe the passover

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover.

22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.

23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.

25 And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the LORD will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service?

27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped.

28 And the children of Israel went away, and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

The death of the first-born of the Egyptians The Israelites urged to leave the land of Egypt

29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said.

32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.

33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.

34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.

35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:

36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.

The Israelites’ first journey to Succoth

37 And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.

38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.

39 And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.

40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.

41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

Ordinance respecting the passover

43 And the LORD said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof:

44 But every man’s servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.

45 A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.

46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.

47 All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.

48 And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.

49 One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.

50 Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

51 And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Said, some time before. Moses mentions all the plagues together. M.

Ver. 2. Year, sacred or ecclesiastical, which is most commonly used in Scripture. The civil year commenced with Tisri, in September, and regulated the jubilee, contracts, &c. Lapide — January was the first month to determine the age of trees, and August to decide when cattle became liable to be tithed. C. xxii. 29. Levit. xix. 23. C. — Before the captivity, the months were not styled Nisan, &c. but abib, (C. xiii. 4,) the first…Bul the 11th, (1 K. vi.), &c. Sa.

Ver. 3. Children; a word which has been dropped in the printed Heb. and in the Chaldee, which has been assimilated to it, though found still in some MSS. and in the Sam. Sept. Syr. and Arab. versions. Ken. — Day. This regarded only the present occasion. Jonathan. — The Jews no longer eat the paschal lamb, as they are banished from Chanaan. C. — Man, who has a family sufficient to eat a lamb; Heb. se, which means also a kid, (as either was lawful, v. 13,) and perhaps also a calf. Deut. xvi. 2.

Ver. 4. Less. Moses does not specify the number. But in never comprised fewer than ten, nor more than twenty, in which number Menoch does not think women or children are comprised. The Jews satisfied the inquiry of Cestius, concerning the multitude which might be assembled at the paschal solemnity, by allowing ten for every victim; and finding that 250,600 victims had been sacrificed in the space of two hours, they concluded 2,700,000 people were collected at Jerusalem. Josep. Bel. vii. 16.

Ver. 5. Lamb. Heb. se, which denotes the young of either sheep or goats. Kimchi. He who had not a lamb, was to sacrifice a kid. Theodoret. — A kid. The Phase might be performed, either with a lamb or with a kid; and all the same rites and ceremonies were to be used with the one as with the other. Ch. — Many have asserted, that both were to be sacrificed. But custom decides against them. All was to be perfect, Momim, as even the pagans required; (Grotius) and God (Lev. xxii. 22,) orders the victims in general must have no fault. The Egyptians rejected them, if they were even spotted, or twins. — A male, as all holocausts were to be. Pagans gave the preference to females. C. — One year, not older, though it would do if above eight days old. M. — The paschal lamb prefigured Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us by his death, being holy, set apart, and condescending to feed us with his sacred person, in the blessed Eucharist. Here we eat the lamb without breaking a bone, though we take the whole victim. Jo. xix. 36. 1 Cor. v. 7. C. — To fulfil this figure, Christ substituted his own body, and, making his apostles priests, ordered them to continue this sacrifice for ever. He came to Jerusalem on the 10th day of Nisan, on Sunday. He gave himself to his disciples on the evening of the 14th, and died at noon on the 15th. The unleavened bread, and the cup, (Lu. xxii. 17,) clearly denoted the blessed Sacrament, which was ordered to be eaten in the house or church of God. S. Cyp. Unit. See S. Greg. hom. 22. in Evang. Tert. c. Marc. iv. “The bread he made his own body.” If, therefore, the truth must surpass the figure, surely the blessed Sacrament must be more than bread and wine; otherwise it would yield in excellence and signification to the paschal lamb. W.

Ver. 6. Sacrifice, not simply kill, as the Protestants would have it. W. — Evening. Heb. “between the two evenings,” or “suns,” according to the Chaldee, alluding to the sun when it declines and when it sets, including about the space of two hours. This time belonged to the evening of the 14th, at which time the lamb was to be sacrificed, though it was to be eaten in the night, which pertained to the 15th. M. — The Jews began the day at sun-set, and some began the first evening soon after mid-day. Matt. xiv. 15. and seq. C.

Ver. 7. Houses. Those who joined their neighbours to eat the paschal lamb, were therefore to continue with them that night, if they would escape destruction, v. 23. M.

Ver. 8. Unleavened, in testimony of innocence, 1 Cor. v. 7. The priests of Jupiter did the like. Servius. — Lettuce, or some “bitter herbs.” Heb. and Sept. The Jews allow of five sorts.

Ver. 9. Raw. Some nations delighted in raw flesh, in the feasts of Bacchus, who hence received the title of Omadios. Porphyr. de Abstin. 3. The Heb. term na occurs no where else, and may perhaps signify half-roasted or boiled, semicoctum. It cannot be inferred from this prohibition, that the Hebrews commonly lived on such food. — In water, as the other victims usually were, 1 K. ii. 13. 2 Par. xxxv. 13. — You shall eat, is not in the original, nor in the Sept. We may supply it, however, or “you shall roast all, head,” &c. but in eating, you shall avoid breaking any bone, as the Sept. and Syr. express it, (v. 10,) and as we read, v. 46, and Num. ix. 12. These were to be burnt, that they might not be profaned. C.

Ver. 11. Haste, as all the aforesaid prescriptions intimate. M. — Many of them regarded only this occasion, and were not required afterwards. — Phase, which the Chaldee writes Pascha, signifies the passing over (C.) of the destroying angel, when he spared those houses only which were marked with blood, to insinuate the necessity of faith in Christ’s death. Some have derived the word from the Greek Pascho, “to suffer,” on account of the similarity of sound. H.

Ver. 12. First-born, often denotes the most beloved; or, when spoken of those under oppression, the most miserable. Is. xiv. 30. Ps. lxxxvii. 27. Moses observes, (v. 30,) that every house had one dead, which would not probably be true of the first-born, taken in a literal sense; but where there was no child, there the most dear and honourable person was cut off. Hab. iii. 13. 14. — Gods, idols, whose statues some assert were overthrown (S. Jer. ep. ad Fabiol. Euseb. præp. ix. ult.); or sacred animals, which were adored by the Egyptians; (Origen) or the word may imply that the princes and judges of the land would be mostly destroyed. C. — Forbes observes, that by the destruction of the first-born, all the proper sacrifices, and priests of Egypt, were destroyed.

Ver. 14. This day. The Jews assert, that as their fathers were delivered out of Egypt on the 15th of Nisan, so Israel will be redeemed on that day by the Messias; which has been literally verified in Jesus Christ. — Everlasting. This is what will be done with respect to our Christian passover, (C.) of which the Jewish was a figure, designed to subsist as long as their republic. M.

Ver. 15. Perish, either by sudden death, or by forfeiting all the prerogatives of God’s people; (v. 19) or, his offense shall be deemed mortal. See Gen. xvii. 14. The punishment of Kerith, separation, among the Jews, bore some resemblance to our excommunication. These menaces presuppose, that the law is possible, and that the land of Chanaan be in the possession of the Jews. Thus, the people who were not circumcised during the 40 years’ sojournment in the desert, were not liable to this punishment of separation, as they knew not when the cloud would move, and they would have to march.

Ver. 16. Eating. On the sabbath, meat was not even to be prepared. C. xvi. 23. During the five intermediate days, any work might be done.

Ver. 17. Bread. Heb. matsoth. But the Sam. and Sept. read Motsue, precept, or ordinance. C.

Ver. 18. Unleavened bread. By this it appears, that our Saviour made use of unleavened bread, in the institution of the blessed Sacrament, which was on the evening of the paschal solemnity, at which time there was no unleavened bread to be found in Israel.

Ver. 19. Stranger. Heb. ger, signifies also a proselyte. M. See v. 43. — Only those men who had been circumcised were allowed to eat the Phase. Women, belonging to the Hebrews, might partake of it. The unclean were excluded. C.

Ver. 22. Hyssop; Heb. ezob: which some translate rosemary. M. — Sprinkle, &c. This sprinkling the doors of the Israelites with the blood of the paschal lamb, in order to their being delivered from the sword of the destroying angel, was a lively figure of our redemption by the blood of Christ. Ch. — S. Jerom, in Is. lxvi. says the doors were to be sprinkled in the form of a cross.

Ver. 24. Children; twelve years old. Lu. ii. 42. M. — Ever. Sam. adds, “in this month.”

Ver. 27. Victim, sacrificed upon the altar, in honour of the passage, &c. It was a true “sacrifice of propitiation,” as the Arab. translates, and of thanksgiving. C.

Ver. 30. Pharao, who it seems was not the eldest son. Where the first-born of a family had a son, both were consigned to destruction. M.

Ver. 32. Bless me, by exposing me to no further danger by your stay.

Ver. 34. Leavened; which dough afterwards made unleavened ember-cakes. Heb. “and misharoth (a word which the Vulg. does not translate) provisions” of flour, &c. v. 39. Josep. ii. 6. — This flour might be tied up in their cloaks, as they were only square pieces of cloth. Ruth iii. 15. C.

Ver. 36. The Egyptians, who afterwards, pursuing them unjustly, put it out of their power to restore, if they had not been otherwise dispensed with by God. H.

Ver. 37. Ramesse. The first of the 42 stations or encampments of the Hebrews. M. — Socoth, or tents, perhaps the scenæ of Antoninus, or the Mischenot, mentioned C. i. 11. — About. Moses does not speak with such precision, as after the people had been numbered, and were found, 13 months after, to be 603,550 men, without the Levites, or those under 20 years. C. — Women and old men, and Egyptians, who joined their company, might make them amount to three millions. M.

Ver. 40. Egypt. Sam. and Sept. add, “and in the land of Chanaan, they and their fathers,” dating from the departure of Abraham from Haran in his 75th year; from which period, till Jacob’s going into Egypt, 215 years elapsed. Kennicott produces this instance, as a proof that the Hebrew text is defective: Dis. 1. p. 399. Josephus ii. 15. S. Aug. q. 47. and others, admit this addition as genuine; which, however we have observed on Genesis, is rejected by Ayrolus, Tournemine, &c. H.

Ver. 42. Observable, in which the Lord has been our sentinel and preserver. Vatab.

Ver. 48. Dwell, or become a proselyte, by circumcision, if a male; or by baptism, if a female; receiving a sort of new-birth. Jo. iii. 10. The Jews would not suffer any to dwell among them, who would not observe the seven precepts given to Noe. Gen. ix. But the proselytes of justice embraced the Jewish religion. C.