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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

Exodus 13

Verses 1-22

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 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 13:1-2 ).

All right, now you see God had spared the firstborn. In all of Egypt they were all wiped out. So God is saying, "All right now set aside all the firstborn, they're Mine." The firstborn child always belonged to God; it was set apart for God. God claimed the firstborn, not only of the children but also of the animals that were born. So we get now the law of the redemption of the firstborn.

And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of the hand of the Lord he brought you out from this place: [and ye shall no more] there shall no leavened bread be eaten. This day that you came out in the month of April. And it shall be when the Lord shall bring you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he sware unto your fathers to give to thee, a land flowing with milk and honey, that thou shalt keep this service in this month. Seven days thou shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day it shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be any leaven in all of your houses. For thou shalt show thy son in that day, saying, This is done because that which the Lord did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, the lord's law may be in your mouth: for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. And thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year. It shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, to give it to you, That you shalt set apart unto the Lord all that opens the matrix, and every firstling that comes of the beast which you have; or the males shall be the Lord's. And every firstling of a donkey thou shalt redeem it with a lamb; if thou wilt not redeem it, then you're to break its neck: the firstborn of man among the children thou shalt redeem. And it shall be when thy son asks thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of the hand of the Lord he brought us out of Egypt, from the house of bondage ( Exodus 13:3-14 ):

So the firstborn son, whether it be the firstborn son or the firstborn animal, that was a male that had to be redeemed. The first donkey that was born of this particular mother was the Lord's.

Now if you wanted to keep the donkey and use it, then you had to buy it from the Lord, was the idea. God claimed the firstborn of all the animals. If you wanted to keep it for yourself, then you had to purchase it from God. You had to redeem it. If you didn't redeem it, then you had to kill it, the donkey, or the cow or whatever. If you wanted to keep-or the ox, you wanted to keep it, then you had to redeem it. You had to buy it from God.

The same with your child, the firstborn male child was God's, belonged to God. Then you had to redeem that child from God, offering sacrifice unto the Lord to redeem the child. So when your children-again God is trying to create questions in the minds of the children. "When your children shall ask you, saying, What is this? Then you shall tell them how that the Lord brought you out of Egypt, slaying the firstborn by His strength," and so forth, "He brought you out."

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 of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that opens the matrix, being males; but the firstborn of my children I redeem ( Exodus 13:15 ).

So the firstborn became a sacrifice unto God. But you couldn't sacrifice a donkey; so you could keep the donkey and sacrifice the lamb. But the firstborn became a sacrifice unto the Lord.

It shall be for a token upon your hand, and for the frontlets between your eyes: for by strength of the hand of the Lord he brought us forth out of Egypt ( Exodus 13:16 ).

Now this "frontlets between your eyes and token upon your hands", you'll notice if you go over to the Wailing Wall how that the orthodox Jews when they come down, they'll wrap themselves with these little boxes that they wrap on their wrists. Then they'll wrap the strap up their arm before they go up to the wall to pray. Also, they'll wrap another little leather box there on their forehead.

In these little boxes are copies of the commandments of God. So they are to bind them to their wrists, and to their forehead. It's so that the idea on their forehead, that it might be in my mind to do the will of God; on your hand that it might be on the strength of your hand to do service to the Lord. And so the idea of doing service with my hands, and my mind being upon the law of God, and my hand doing the law of God. So they do this before they pray at the wall. They'll strap themselves and it is on their hand and on the frontlet, on their forehead, that it might be signifying, really, the mind to do the will of God, and the hand to do the work of God.

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 the closest route; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt: But God led them 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. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had strictly sworn the children of Israel, saying, [Or he had strictly sworn the children of Israel, it was a strict thing with him.] that God will surely visit you; ye shall carry up my bones from here with you ( Exodus 13:17-20 ).

So they carried the remains of Joseph, the bones of Joseph that they might bury them when they came into the land, when they came out of Egypt.

Now the interesting thing is that by far the closest route to Israel would be right up the coast. It'd be the easiest way to go. Right through the land of the Philistines, right on into the land. They could actually make the journey within a week or so and be in the land. But God knew that they were not yet prepared. That if the Philistines would come out to meet them with war, their faith in God was not yet strong enough. Fear would grip their hearts; they would seek to return to Egypt.

So the wilderness experience is necessary in order that they might have the experiences of trusting in God, learning what it is to have faith in God, learning the power of God. So that when they did finally come into the land and face the enemies, they would have great confidence and faith in God to deliver the land into their hands. So we find the wilderness experiences are experiences where they are learning how that God can meet their needs no matter what they be. That God is sufficient to take care of their needs, and how that God will answer and will respond to their prayers and to their needs.

So they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them in the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light to go by day and night ( Exodus 13:20-21 ):

For they needed to get out of there, and so they were traveling day and night for awhile. In the daytime the cloud was in front of them to lead them, following the cloud. At nighttime there was the light in the sky to lead them, and they walked in the light of this fire, this flaming fire at night in the sky that was there to direct them.

And he took not away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people ( Exodus 13:22 ). "

Copyright Statement
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Exodus 13". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/exodus-13.html. 2014.