King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Exodus 13

The first-born sanctified to God The remembrance of the passover commanded. (1-10) The firstlings of beasts set apart. (11-16) Joseph’s bones carried with the Israelites, They come to Etham. (17-20) God guideth the Israelites by a pillar of cloud fire. (21,22)

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The first-born sanctified to God The remembrance of the passover commanded

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the 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 place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.

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

6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.

7 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 shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.

9 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 hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt.

10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

The firstlings of beasts set apart

11 And it shall be when the LORD shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee,

12 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 LORD’s.

13 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 firstborn 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 strength of hand the LORD brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage:

15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.

16 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.

Joseph’s bones carried with the Israelites, They come to Etham

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 return to Egypt:

18 But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

19 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 in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.

God guideth the Israelites by a pillar of cloud fire

21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:

22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Sanctify unto me every first-born. Sanctification in this place means, that the first-born males of the Hebrews should be deputed to the ministry in the divine worship: and the first-born of beasts to be given for a sacrifice. Ch. — Sanctify, set apart. M. — Openeth, the first male fruit of the womb. If a female was born the first, none of the children were to be redeemed. Lu. ii. 23. Jesus Christ submitted to this law; though many of the fathers have asserted that, on account of his miraculous conception and birth, he was not subjected to it; while others maintain the contrary. C.

Ver. 4. Corn. Heb. Abib; which was styled Nisan after the Babylonian captivity. At this time, peculiar names were not yet given to the months, by the Hebrews or Egyptians. C. — They were distinguished by their respective order, productions, or appearances. H.

Ver. 5. When. These regulations did not therefore take place in the desert. M.

Ver. 9. And it, &c. The festivals appointed by God and his Church, naturally remind us of the favours which we have received, and help us to meditate on the law. H. — The Jews, understanding the precept literally, write verses taken from this chapter, and Deut. vi. and xi. upon parchment, and bind these tephilins, or phylacteries, on their forehead. But if these scrolls were requisite, why do they not also put them in their mouth and in their heart? Jesus Christ condemns the vanity of the Pharisees, who wore these bandages extremely large. Matt. xxiii. 5. The Mahometans teach their scholars, by writing the Coran upon a tablet, and exposing it to their view: (C.) a plan lately introduced in England with great success by Mr. Lancaster.

Ver. 13. Price. No other option is given, as the Levites were selected for the ministry. H. — The first offspring of impure animals, were to be redeemed or killed; those of the pure were to be offered in sacrifice. Num. xviii. 15. Philo. Dogs, cats, poultry, &c. were to be slain. Deut. xxiii. 18. C.

Ver. 14. To-morrow. At any future period. Matt. vi. 2. M.

Ver. 15. Hardened. Heb. “by himself,” or by his own malice. W.

Ver. 16. It. This ordinance shall cause thee never to forget the goodness of God. H.

Ver. 17. Lest. God maketh use of precautions, to shew the free-will of man. W. — The Philistines had before made a great slaughter of the Ephraimites, 1 Par. vii. 21. The Chanaanites would also be ready to oppose the Hebrews, if they had attempted to enter by the road of Pelusium, and perhaps the Idumeans and Amalecites also would have met them in front, while the Egyptians attacked their rear. C. — This journey, Philo says, would not have taken up above three days. The battle with Amalec took place only 40 days afterwards, and God protected his people. M.

Ver. 18. Armed, in order of battle. Heb. chamushim, “by fives,” or in five battalions. Jos. i. 14. Jud. viii. 11. C. — Calvin asks where the Hebrews could procure arms, as if to cavil with this translation. But surely they might get them in the same manner as the vessels of gold; and they undoubtedly were not destitute of arms when they encountered the Amalecites, v. 17. H.

Ver. 19. Joseph’s. This attention to the dead is commended. Heb. xi. W. — S. Stephen assures us, that the bones of the other patriarchs were deposited at Sichen; and we may conclude, that they were transported on this occasion by their respective families. Acts vii. 16.

Ver. 20. Etham. A city on the banks of the Red Sea, giving its name to one of the gulphs, which the Greeks called after the city of Heropolis. Plin. vi. 29. The Sept. translate, “They encamped at Othon, which is near the desert;” and (Num. xxxii. 6,) the Hebrews marched three days in the desert of Buthan, before they arrived at Mara.

Ver. 22. Never. From the station of Etham; or, if we follow S. Jerom, from that of Socoth, or even from Ramesses, according to Bonfrere, till the passage of the Jordan, when the ark supplied its want. Jos. iii. 11. This cloud assumed different appearances, as the exigencies of the Hebrews required. It was a figure of baptism; (1 Cor. x. 1.) the fire designated Jesus Christ, and the cloud the Holy Ghost. S. Amb. de sac. 6. C.