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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 12

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Said, some time before. Moses mentions all the plagues together. (Menochius)

Verse 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. (Chap. xxii. 29; Leviticus xix. 23.) (Calmet) --- Before the captivity, the months were not styled Nisan, &c., but abib, (chap xiii. 5,) the first....Bul the 11th, (1 Kings vi.), &c. Sa.

Verse 3

Children; a word which has been dropped in the printed Hebrew and in the Chaldean, which has been assimilated to it, though found still in some manuscripts and in the Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic versions. (Kennicott) --- Day. This regarded only the present occasion. (Jonathan) --- The Jews no longer eat the paschal lamb, as they are banished from Chanaan. (Calmet) --- Man, who has a family sufficient to eat a lamb; Hebrew se, which means also a kid, (as either was lawful, ver. 13,) and perhaps also a calf, Deuteronomy xvi. 2.

Verse 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. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vii. 16.)

Verse 5

Lamb. Hebrew 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. (Challoner) --- 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 (Leviticus 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. (Calmet) --- One year, not older, though it would do if above eight days old. (Menochius) --- 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. (John xix. 36; 1 Corinthians v. 7.) (Calmet) --- 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, (Luke xxii. 17,) clearly denoted the blessed Sacrament, which was ordered to be eaten in the house or church of God. (St. Cyprian, Unit.) See St. Gregory, hom. 22, in Evang.; Tertullian, contra 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. (Worthington)

Verse 6

Sacrifice, not simply kill, as the Protestants would have it. (Worthington) --- Evening. Hebrew, "between the two evenings," or "suns," according to the Chaldean, 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 [of Nisan], at which time the lamb was to be sacrificed, though it was to be eaten in the night, which pertained to the 15th. (Menochius) --- The Jews began the day at sun-set, and some began the first evening soon after mid-day. (Matthew xiv. 15, and seq.[following]) (Calmet)

Verse 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, ver. 23. (Menochius)

Verse 8

Unleavened, in testimony of innocence, 1 Corinthians v. 7. The priests of Jupiter did the like. (Servius) --- Lettuce, or some "bitter herbs," Hebrew and Septuagint. The Jews allow of five sorts.

Verse 9

Raw. Some nations delighted in raw flesh, in the feasts of Bacchus, who hence received the title of Omadios. (Porphyrius, de Abstin. 3.) The Hebrew 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 Kings ii. 13; 2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 13.) --- You shall eat, is not in the original, nor in the Septuagint. We may supply it, however, or "you shall roast all, head," &c., but in eating, you shall avoid breaking any bone, as the Septuagint and Syriac express it, (ver. 10,) and as we read, ver. 46, and Numbers ix. 12. These were to be burnt, that they might not be profaned. (Calmet)

Verse 10


Verse 11

Haste, as all the aforesaid prescriptions intimate. (Menochius) --- Many of them regarded only this occasion, and were not required afterwards. --- Phase, which the Chaldean writes Pascha, signifies the passing over (Calmet) 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. (Haydock)

Verse 12

First-born, often denotes the most beloved; or, when spoken of those under oppression, the most miserable. (Isaias xiv. 30; Psalm lxxxvii. 27.) Moses observes, (ver. 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, Habacuc iii. 13, 14. --- Gods, idols, whose statues some assert were overthrown (St. Jerome, ep. ad Fabiol.; Eusebius, præp. ix. ultra[last]); 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. (Calmet) --- Forbes observes, that by the destruction of the first-born, all the proper sacrifices, and priests of Egypt, were destroyed.

Verse 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, (Calmet) of which the Jewish was a figure, designed to subsist as long as their republic. (Menochius)

Verse 15

Perish, either by sudden death, or by forfeiting all the prerogatives of God’s people; (ver. 19) or, his offense shall be deemed mortal. See Genesis 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.

Verse 16

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

Verse 17

Bread. Hebrew matsoth. But the Samaritan and Septuagint read Motsue, precept, or ordinance. (Calmet)

Verse 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.

Verse 19

Stranger. Hebrew ger, signifies also a proselyte. (Menochius) See ver. 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. (Calmet)

Verse 22

Hyssop; Hebrew ezob: which some translate rosemary. (Menochius) --- 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. (Challoner) --- St. Jerome, in Isaias lxvi, says the doors were to be sprinkled in the form of a cross.

Verse 24

Children; twelve years old, Luke ii. 42. (Menochius) --- Ever. Samaritan adds, "in this month."

Verse 27

Victim, sacrificed upon the altar, in honour of the passage, &c. It was a true "sacrifice of propitiation," as the Arabic translates, and of thanksgiving. (Calmet)

Verse 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. (Menochius)

Verse 32

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

Verse 34

Leavened; which dough afterwards made unleavened ember-cakes. Hebrew, "and misharoth (a word which the Vulgate does not translate) provisions" of flour, &c., ver. 39. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] ii. 6.) --- This flour might be tied up in their cloaks, as they were only square pieces of cloth, Ruth iii. 15. (Calmet)

Verse 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. (Haydock)

Verse 37

Ramesse. The first of the 42 stations or encampments of the Hebrews. (Menochius) --- Socoth, or tents, perhaps the scenæ of Antoninus, or the Mischenot, mentioned chap 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. (Calmet) --- Women and old men, and Egyptians, who joined their company, might make them amount to three millions. (Menochius)

Verse 40

Egypt. Samaritan and Septuagint 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, [Antiquities?] ii. 15; St. Augustine, q. 47. and others, admit this addition as genuine; which, however we have observed on Genesis, is rejected by Ayrolus, Tournemine, &c. (Haydock)

Verse 42

Observable, in which the Lord has been our sentinel and preserver. (Vatable)

Verse 48

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

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Exodus 12". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/exodus-12.html. 1859.
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