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Bible Commentaries
Exodus 12

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-51

Exodus 12:2. The first month of the year. This is called Abib, Exodus 13:4; and Nisan, Esther 3:7. It was before the seventh month, hence the earth is supposed to have been created in September; but now in commemoration of their deliverance from Egypt, the ecclesiastical table which regulated the festivals, was ordered to begin with Abib. Many nations have reckoned their existence from some important era in their history: and in this view it was highly proper for the christian church to reckon time from the year of grace, or the birth of our blessed Lord.

Exodus 12:3 . In the tenth day. Jesus Christ our passover entered Jerusalem on this very day. John 12:12-13. A kid was admissible when a lamb could not be procured.

Exodus 12:12. The gods of Egypt. The Jews affirm that the temples of the Egyptians were demolished on the night of their passover. But Elohim sometimes signifies princes and nobles, and the words might refer to their destruction.

Exodus 12:15. That soul shall be cut off. Aben Ezra gives three glosses of this word, so frequent in the law. The first and highest application of the sentence is against him who shall omit circumcision, and neglect the passover, that he shall be cut off from the world to come. The second is, that he shall die an untimely death. The third is, that he shall die childless, and his name be cut off from the house of Israel. Leaven is mystically understood of a depraved heart; yet fermented bread is easier of digestion than parched corn, and cakes made of flour.

Exodus 12:37. About six hundred thousand. The women also would make 600,000; and the children probably 1,300,000 or 1,400,000. The rabbins commonly agree that they were above two millions, and not exceeding two millions and a half. What a confirmation of God’s faithful word to Abraham, that his seed should be as the stars for multitude.

Exodus 12:38. A mixed multitude went up also with them. Most of these are supposed to have been slaves, who embraced this opportunity of emancipation.


March Abib or Nisan Nehemiah 2:1. Esther 3:7

April Abib Exodus 13:4. Deuteronomy 16:18

April Jiar or Zif 1 Kings 6:37

May Jiar or Zif

May Sivan Esther 8:9

June Sivan

June Thanus

July Thanus

July Ab

August Ab

August Elul Nehemiah 6:15

September Elul

September Ethnaim, Tisri or Thisri.

The civil year now began. Exodus 23:16. Leviticus 25:0.

October Ethnaim 1 Kings 8:2

October Marchevan or Bul

November Marchevan

November Chisleu Zechariah 7:1

December Chisleu

December Tebeth Esther 2:16

January Tebeth

January Sebat Zechariah 1:7

February Sebat

February Adar Esther 9:15

March Adar Ends the year, Mark 16:0


In the most solemn and holy ritual of the paschal lamb, we have a striking type and figure of Jesus Christ. He is the Lamb without spot or blemish, having sanctified his humanity in its assumption, and having been preserved in the world holy and undefiled. On the tenth day of this month he entered Jerusalem, and set himself apart as the lamb of God, to take away the sin of the world. His whole body and soul, if we may so speak, were exposed to the fire of divine justice, and to the rage of those who knew him not. Hence said the prophet, when contemplating his passion in the visions of future times, “My heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, my tongue cleaveth to my jaws.” Psalms 22:14-15. He was crucified in haste; for the rulers sat up the whole of the night, and allowed themselves no repose till they saw him nailed to the cross. The blood of the paschal lamb was to be sprinkled upon the sideposts, and on the upper part of the doorposts, not on the threshold, lest an unhallowed foot should trample upon it; and this solemn, this bloody sign, was to save the sinful Israelites from the destruction which awaited the firstborn and strength of Egypt. Here the glory of the atonement appears. Here the mystical significancy of the blood of the cross, the wood sprinkled with blood appears. Israel was not to be saved by a carnal Messiah reigning in Jerusalem, but by the lamb slain in figure from the foundation of the world. Tremble then, oh my sinful soul, at the decree to destroy the wicked. Haste, haste, to sprinkle thy conscience with this blood of salvation, and to place all thy household under the protection of the bloody sign; so shall the divine justice, which spared not the beloved Son, spare thee from death in the day of destruction.

The paschal lamb was also a brand national and domestic festival of the most delicious kind; and here we have shadowed forth the bread and wine, the milk and honey, the grace and glory, with which the gospel feasts the faithful soul and the church of God. Oh what bread is like that which cometh down from heaven; what food like that of the body of Christ which was broken for us; what benefits like those he has purchased by his passion and death! The love of God is better than life itself; and except we eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, we have no life in us. Sprinkled with this blood, and strengthened with this food, Israel rejoiced while Egypt wept: Israel lived while their enemies died. The paschal house was protected with the sign of salvation, and filled with songs of praise, while the houses of their unbelieving oppressors were full of wailings, and all the terrors of an avenging God.

Other circumstances in the paschal feast are here marked, and of great importance. It was to be eaten with the utmost personal purity, and with unleavened bread. Learn then, oh my soul, in approaching God and his ordinances, to cleanse thy hands from sin, and thy heart from the leaven of malice and hypocrisy. The sprinkling of the blood of Christ is never to be a cloak for sin, but ever accompanied with sanctifying grace. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs. In heaven the feast will be pure, unmixed with sorrow and affliction. The presence of the bridegroom will chase away all gloom and dejection from the mind; but while on earth we have to mourn for sin, and all its dreadful consequences. Here also we have to drink of the cup which our Saviour drank, for the servant is not above his Lord. In these bodies and in this abode, we shall groan beneath the calamities of life. It was to be eaten in families, and associations of families sufficient to consume the whole. Here is likewise shadowed forth the spiritual communion and intercourse, which the scattered families and congregations of the faithful have with their glorious head and chief; being partakers of the same grace, they should ever be distinguished by family affection and brotherly love. No part of the passover was to remain until the morning; no fragment of the Lord’s feast was allowed to corrupt. Here the resurrection of our blessed Lord and eternal life are set before us; here we regale the soul, taste immortal pleasures, and the earnest of eternal joy. Lastly, it was to be eaten in the attitude of our pilgrimage, and in haste. Let us never forget, that the earth is not our home: we are strangers and sojourners in this vale of tears. Heaven is our promised rest. Let us haste thither, for the day is at hand, and the destroying angel is gone forth.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Exodus 12". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/exodus-12.html. 1835.
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