Exodus Thirteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Exodus 13:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Exodus 13:2 Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

Exodus 13:3 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.

Exodus 13:4 This day came ye out in the month Abib.

the month Abib. The Israelite religious calendar, as established at this time, is still recognized by modern Jews. It is as follows, in relation to our modern western calendar:

Abib = March/April
Ziv = April/May
Sivan = May/June
Tammuz = June/July
Ab = July/August
Elul = August/September
Tishri = September/October
Bul = October/November
Chislev = November/December
Tebeth = December/January
Shebet = January/February
Adar = February/March

Exodus 13:5 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.

keep this service. The Passover observance was to be kept by the Israelites each year in remembrance and appreciation for what God had done for Israel. As such it became in itself a strong testimony to the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, as well as the deliverance from Egypt. That is, if some group of priests, many centuries later, had invented the whole scenario and then tried to foist it off on the people as having come from Moses, then the fact that no such Passover service had been previously practiced by their ancestors, would have immediately revealed the fraud.

Exodus 13:6 Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD.

Exodus 13:7 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.

Exodus 13:8 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 forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:9 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.

Exodus 13:10 Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year.

Exodus 13:11 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,

Exodus 13:12 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.

Exodus 13:13 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.

firstling of an ass. As an unclean animal, the ass was not suitable as a sacrifice, but was a valuable animal for service. Since every firstborn animal was henceforth to be sacrificed, the firstborn of an ass must either be slain and discarded, or else redeemed by a sacrificial lamb. The firstborn son of Israelite parents also had to be redeemed by a lamb.

Exodus 13:14 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:

Exodus 13:15 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.

Exodus 13:16 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.

frontlets. These “frontlets” or “phylacteries” were small pouches containing sections from the laws of Moses, worn on the forehead or the left arm above the elbow. Some orthodox Jews follow this practice even today. The Hebrew word means “prayer case.”

Exodus 13:17 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:

Exodus 13:18 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.

way of the wilderness. The shortest way to Canaan was by way of the seacoast, where a Philistine colony had been established since even before Abraham's time. The Egyptians also probably had forces stationed there. More importantly, God had a testing and training program awaiting His people before they would be ready for the conquest of Canaan. There was also an appointment at Mt. Sinai.

Exodus 13:19 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.

bones of Joseph. Joseph, like his father Jacob, had specifically asked that his remains eventually be buried in the Promised Land, and Moses honored this request. See Genesis 50:25.

Exodus 13:20 And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.

Exodus 13:21 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:

pillar of a cloud. Many naturalistic explanations have been offered to account for this remarkable cloud, but none really fit the description. This glory-cloud called the shekinah was altogether miraculous, giving God's people constant assurance of His presence with them during their long stay in the wilderness (note also Exodus 40:38; Numbers 9:15-23).

Exodus 13:22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.