Exodus 12:6 MEANING

Exodus 12:6
(6) Ye shall keep it up.--Heb., ye shall have it in custody: separate it, i.e., from the flock, and keep it in or near your house for four days. During this time it could be carefully and thoroughly inspected. (Comp. Exodus 12:3.)

The whole assembly of the congregation . . . shall kill it.--Every head of a family belonging to the "congregation" was to make the necessary arrangements, to have the victim ready, and to kill it on the fourteenth day, the day of the full moon, at a time described as that "between the two evenings." There is some doubt as to the meaning of this phrase. According to Onkelos and Aben Ezra, the first evening was at sunset, the second about an hour later, when the twilight ended and the stars came out. With this view agrees the direction in Deuteronomy 16:6 :--"Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun." It is objected that, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud., vi. 9, ? 3), the actual time of the sacrifice was "from the ninth to the eleventh hour"--i.e., from three o'clock to five--and that there would not have been time for the customary ceremonies during the short twilight of Palestine. The ceremonies consisted in the slaughter of the lambs at the tabernacle door, and the conveyance of the blood in basins to the altar, in order that it might be sprinkled upon it. For this operation a period of several hours' duration would seem to have been necessary: hence the time came gradually to be extended; and when this had been done, a new interpretation of the phrase "between the evenings" grew up. The first evening was explained to begin with the decline of the sun from the zenith, and the second with the sunset; but this can scarcely have been the original idea.

Verse 6. - Ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day. The interval of four days (see ver. 3) was probably intended to give ample time for the thorough inspection of the lamb, and for obtaining another, if any defect was discovered. The precept is not observed by the modern Jews; and the later Targum (which belongs to the sixth century after Christ) teaches that it was only intended to apply to the first institution; but the text of Exodus is wholly against this. The whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it. One of the main peculiarities of the Paschal sacrifice was this - that the head of each family was entitled - in the early times was required to offer the sacrifice for himself. In it no one intervened between the individual and God. Thus it was recognised that the whole nation was a nation of priests, as are Christians also, according to St. John (Revelation 1:6) and St. Peter (1 Peter 2:5). The intervention of Levites at a late date (2 Chronicles 30:17; 2 Chronicles 35:5, etc.) was contrary to the original institution. In the evening. Literally, "between the two evenings." This phrase has been explained in two ways. Some regard the first evening as commencing when the sun begins visibly to decline from the zenith, i.e. about two or three o'clock; and the second as following the sunset. Others say, that the sunset introduces the first evening, and that the second begins when the twilight ends, which they consider to have been "an hour and twenty minutes later" (Ebn Ezra, quoted by Kalisch). The use of the phrase in ch. 16:12, and the command in Deuteronomy 16:6 - "Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun," seem to be decisive in favour of the second explanation. The first arose out of the later practice. When the lambs were sacrificed in the temple by a continual succession of offerers, it became impossible to complete the sacrifices in the short time originally allowed. Of necessity the work of killing the victims was commenced pretty early in the afternoon, and continued till after sunset. The interpretation of the direction was then altered, to bring it into accord with the altered practice.

12:1-20 The Lord makes all things new to those whom he delivers from the bondage of Satan, and takes to himself to be his people. The time when he does this is to them the beginning of a new life. God appointed that, on the night wherein they were to go out of Egypt, each family should kill a lamb, or that two or three families, if small, should kill one lamb. This lamb was to be eaten in the manner here directed, and the blood to be sprinkled on the door-posts, to mark the houses of the Israelites from those of the Egyptians. The angel of the Lord, when destroying the first-born of the Egyptians, would pass over the houses marked by the blood of the lamb: hence the name of this holy feast or ordinance. The passover was to be kept every year, both as a remembrance of Israel's preservation and deliverance out of Egypt, and as a remarkable type of Christ. Their safety and deliverance were not a reward of their own righteousness, but the gift of mercy. Of this they were reminded, and by this ordinance they were taught, that all blessings came to them through the shedding and sprinkling of blood. Observe, 1. The paschal lamb was typical. Christ is our passover, 1Co 5:7. Christ is the Lamb of God, Joh 1:29; often in the Revelation he is called the Lamb. It was to be in its prime; Christ offered up himself in the midst of his days, not when a babe at Bethlehem. It was to be without blemish; the Lord Jesus was a Lamb without spot: the judge who condemned Christ declared him innocent. It was to be set apart four days before, denoting the marking out of the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour, both in the purpose and in the promise. It was to be slain, and roasted with fire, denoting the painful sufferings of the Lord Jesus, even unto death, the death of the cross. The wrath of God is as fire, and Christ was made a curse for us. Not a bone of it must be broken, which was fulfilled in Christ, Joh 19:33, denoting the unbroken strength of the Lord Jesus. 2. The sprinkling of the blood was typical. The blood of the lamb must be sprinkled, denoting the applying of the merits of Christ's death to our souls; we must receive the atonement, Ro 5:11. Faith is the bunch of hyssop, by which we apply the promises, and the benefits of the blood of Christ laid up in them, to ourselves. It was to be sprinkled on the door-posts, denoting the open profession we are to make of faith in Christ. It was not to be sprinkled upon the threshold; which cautions us to take heed of trampling under foot the blood of the covenant. It is precious blood, and must be precious to us. The blood, thus sprinkled, was a means of preserving the Israelites from the destroying angel, who had nothing to do where the blood was. The blood of Christ is the believer's protection from the wrath of God, the curse of the law, and the damnation of hell, Ro 8:1. 3. The solemn eating of the lamb was typical of our gospel duty to Christ. The paschal lamb was not to be looked upon only, but to be fed upon. So we must by faith make Christ our own; and we must receive spiritual strength and nourishment from him, as from our food, see Joh 6:53,55. It was all to be eaten; those who by faith feed upon Christ, must feed upon a whole Christ; they must take Christ and his yoke, Christ and his cross, as well as Christ and his crown. It was to be eaten at once, not put by till morning. To-day Christ is offered, and is to be accepted while it is called to-day, before we sleep the sleep of death. It was to be eaten with bitter herbs, in remembrance of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt; we must feed upon Christ with sorrow and brokenness of heart, in remembrance of sin. Christ will be sweet to us, if sin be bitter. It was to be eaten standing, with their staves in their hands, as being ready to depart. When we feed upon Christ by faith, we must forsake the rule and the dominion of sin; sit loose to the world, and every thing in it; forsake all for Christ, and reckon it no bad bargain, Heb 13:13,14. 4. The feast of unleavened bread was typical of the Christian life, 1Co 5:7,8. Having received Christ Jesus the Lord, we must continually delight ourselves in Christ Jesus. No manner of work must be done, that is, no care admitted and indulged, which does not agree with, or would lessen this holy joy. The Jews were very strict as to the passover, so that no leaven should be found in their houses. It must be a feast kept in charity, without the leaven of malice; and in sincerity, without the leaven of hypocrisy. It was by an ordinance for ever; so long as we live we must continue feeding upon Christ, rejoicing in him always, with thankful mention of the great things he has done for us.And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month,.... In their houses; this may denote the preservation of Christ in his infancy, and to the appointed time of his sufferings and death; and it is remarkable, that on this very day, the tenth of Nisan, four days before the passover, and so as many days before his sufferings and death, he made his entry into Jerusalem, near to which he was to be offered up, John 12:1,

and the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it in the evening; that is, of the fourteenth of Nisan; not between the two suns, as the Targum of Jonathan, between the sun setting and the sun rising; nor between the setting of the sun, and the entire disappearance of its rays of light reflecting in the air and clouds after it, as Aben Ezra; so it is said in the Talmud (k), after the sun is set, all the time that the face of the east is red; others say as long as a man can walk half a mile after sun setting; and others, the twinkling of an eye; but "between the two evening's" (l), as it may be rendered; which respects that space of time after the sun begins to decline, and the entire setting of it; when the sun begins to decline, as it does after noon, that is the first evening, and when it is set, that is the second; and the middle space between the one and the other is about the nineth hour of the day, according to the Jewish computation, and, with us, about three o'clock in the afternoon, about which time the passover used to be killed; for they say (m),"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and offered at the nineth; but on the evening of the passover it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath; and if the evening of the passover happened to be on the evening of the sabbath, it was slain at six and a half, and offered up at seven and a half, and after that the passover;''which was done, that there might be time before the last evening for the slaying of the passover lamb. Josephus (n) says, at the passover they slew the sacrifice from the nineth hour to the eleventh; See Gill on Matthew 26:17, and it being at the nineth hour that our Lord was crucified, the agreement between him and the paschal lamb in this circumstance very manifestly appears, Matthew 27:46 though it may also in general denote Christ's appearing in the last days, in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: the slaying of the paschal lamb is ascribed to the "whole assembly of the congregation", because it was to be slain by their order, and in their name, for their use, and they present; and thus the crucifixion of Christ, his sufferings and death, are attributed to the men of Israel, and all the house of Israel, Acts 2:22.

(k) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 34. 2.((l) "inter duas vesperas", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth. (m) Misn. Pesach. c. 5. sect. 1.((n) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.

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