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1 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

2 Sanctifie vnto me all the first borne, whatsoeuer openeth the wombe, among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.

3 And Moses said vnto the people, Remember this day, in which yee 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 leauened bread be eaten.

4 This day came yee out, in the moneth Abib.

5 And it shalbe when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Hiuites, and the Iebusites, which he sware vnto thy fathers to giue thee, a land flowing with milke and hony, that thou shalt keepe this seruice in this moneth.

6 Seuen dayes thou shalt eate vnleauened bread, and in the seuenth day shall be a feast to the Lord.

7 Unleauened bread shall be eaten seuen dayes: and there shall no leauened bread bee seene with thee: neither shall there be leauen seene with thee in all thy quarters.

8 And thou shalt shew thy sonne in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the Lord did vnto mee, when I came forth out of Egypt.

9 And it shall bee for a signe vnto thee, vpon thine hand, and for a memoriall betweene thine eyes, that the Lords law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hande hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt.

10 Thou shalt therfore keepe this ordinance in his season from yeere to yere.

11 And it shalbe when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites as he sware vnto thee, and to thy fathers, and shall giue it thee:

12 That thou shalt set apart vnto the Lord all that openeth the matrix, and euery firstling that commeth of a beast, which thou hast, the males shall be the Lords.

13 And euery firstling of an asse thou shalt redeeme with a lambe: and if thou wilt not redeeme it, then thou shalt breake his necke, and all the first borne of man amongst thy children shalt thou redeeme.

14 And it shalbe when thy sonne asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? That thou shalt say vnto him; By strength of hand the Lord brought vs out from Egypt, from the house of bondage.

15 And it came to passe when Pharaoh would hardly let vs goe, that the Lord slew all the first borne in the land of Egypt, both the first borne of man, and the first borne of beast: Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all that openeth the matrix, being males: but all the first borne of my children I redeeme.

16 And it shall be for a token vpon thine hand, and for frontlets betweene thine eyes. For by strength of hand the Lord brought vs foorth out of Egypt.

17 And it came to passe when Pharaoh had let the people goe, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was neere: For God saide, Lest peraduenture the people repent when they see warre, and they returne to Egypt:

18 But God ledde the people about through the way of the wildernesse of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went vp harnessed out of the land of Egypt.

19 And Moses tooke the bones of Ioseph with him: for hee had straitly sworne the children of Israel, saying; God will surely visite you, and ye shall cary vp my bones away hence with you.

20 And they tooke their iourney from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wildernesse.

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 giue them light to goe by day and night.

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

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Commentary for 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)1-10 In remembrance of the destruction of the first-born of Egypt, both of man and of beast, and the deliverance of the Israelites out of bondage, the first-born males of the Israelites were set apart to the Lord. By this was set before them, that their lives were preserved through the ransom of the atonement, which in due time was to be made for sin. They were also to consider their lives, thus ransomed from death, as now to be consecrated to the service of God. The parents were not to look upon themselves as having any right in their first-born, till they solemnly presented them to God, and allowed his title to them. That which is, by special mercy, spared to us, should be applied to God's honour; at least, some grateful acknowledgment, in works of piety and charity, should be made. The remembrance of their coming out of Egypt must be kept up every year. The day of Christ's resurrection is to be remembered, for in it we were raised up with Christ out of death's house of bondage. The Scripture tells us not expressly what day of the year Christ rose, but it states particularly what day of the week it was; as the more valuable deliverance, it should be remembered weekly. The Israelites must keep the feast of unleavened bread. Under the gospel, we must not only remember Christ, but observe his holy supper. Do this in remembrance of him. Also care must be taken to teach children the knowledge of God. Here is an old law for catechising. It is of great use to acquaint children betimes with the histories of the Bible. And those who have God's law in their heart should have it in their mouth, and often speak of it, to affect themselves, and to teach others.

11-16 The firstlings of beast not used in sacrifice, were to be changed for others so used, or they were to be destroyed. Our souls are forfeited to God's justice, and unless ransomed by the sacrifice of Christ, will certainly perish. These institutions would continually remind them of their duty, to love and serve the Lord. In like manner, baptism and the Lord's supper, if explained and attended to, would remind us, and give us occasion to remind one another of our profession and duty.

17-20 There were two ways from Egypt to Canaan. One was only a few days' journey; the other was much further about, through the wilderness, and that was the way in which God chose to lead his people Israel. The Egyptians were to be drowned in the Red sea; the Israelites were to be humbled and proved in the wilderness. God's way is the right way, though it seems about. If we think he leads not his people the nearest way, yet we may be sure he leads them the best way, and so it will appear when we come to our journey's end. The Philistines were powerful enemies; it was needful that the Israelites should be prepared for the wars of Canaan, by passing through the difficulties of the wilderness. Thus God proportions his people's trials to their strength, #1Co 10:13|. They went up in good order. They went up in five in a rank, some; in five bands, so others, which it seems rather to their faith and hope, that God would bring them to Canaan, in expectation of which they carried these bones with them while in the desert.

21,22 The Lord went before them in a pillar, or appearance of the Divine Majesty. Christ was with the church in the wilderness, #1Co 10:9|. Those whom God brings into a wilderness, he will not leave nor lose there, but will take care to lead them through it. It was great satisfaction to Moses and the pious Israelites, to be sure that they were under Divine guidance. Those who make the glory of God their end, and the word of God their rule, the Spirit of God the guide of their affections, and the providence of God the guide of their affairs, may be sure that the Lord goes before them, though they cannot see it with their eyes: we must now live by faith. When Israel marched, this pillar went before, and pointed out the place of encampment, as Divine Wisdom saw fit. It sheltered by day from the heat, and gave light by night. The Bible is a light to our feet, a lantern to our paths, with which the Saviour's love has provided us. It testifies of Christ. It is to us like the pillar to the Israelites. Listen to that voice which cries, I am the Light of the world; he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of life, #Joh 8:12|. Jesus Christ alone, as shown in the Bible, and as the Holy Spirit, in answer to prayer, recommends him to the soul, is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, #Joh 14:6|.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Exodus 13

  • A disciple
    "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." As the Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, "We speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen.." We have to show by our life what God has wrought in us; that by grace and knowledge teach them to others.
  • A disciple
    "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.." Not for wrapping cords around your arm, or for fixing a little box on your forehead, as is the custom of the Jews; but that the Word may be in your heart and in your mouth to expound these things, with the sign of your good works and the testimony for a memorial!
  • A disciple
    Darrell; well, I DON'T THINK that if we have an unsaved neighbor, who is an ass, we are supposed to break his neck. But as it is a beast of burden, and an unclean beast; and it has to do with teaching spiritual things around redemption and the coming dominion under the Elect; perhaps it is to solemnly and dramatically portray the necessity of our redemption; that there is no other reason to exist!
  • Darrell
    Exodus 13:13 can someone email me an explanation of this verse.
  • Dewey J
    Randy, we must come to grip with and understand the firstborn from both the old and new testaments. John 1:1 says, " in the beginning was the Word-Jesus- and the Word-Jesus- was with God and the Word-Jesus-was God ". Col. 1:15-Jesus- " Who is the imagine of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. Col. 1:18 says, "And he-Jesus-is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things he might have the preeminence ". Emphasize the firstborn from the dead this gives all Christians great faith that we all also shall rise from the dead by the power of Jehovah through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Old testament firstborn lead us to the New testament resurrection of Jesus Christ as the firstborn or the first to rise from the dead never to die again. God bless us all and in the Understanding of his Word. Glory be to Jehovah in the highest through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen!
  • Diamond
    you got to use your blessing

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