Thursday, January 12, 2012

Exodus 12:43-51 Passover Regs

"The LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
'These are the regulations for the Passover:

No foreigner is to eat of it.
Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him,
but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it.
It must be eaten inside one house;
take none of the meat outside the house.

Do not break any of the bones.

The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD's Passover
must have all the males of his household circumcised;
then he may take part like one born in the land.
No uncircumcised male may eat of it.
The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.'

All the Israelites did just what the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.
And on that very day the LORD brought the Israelites
out of Egypt by their divisions."

Exodus 12:43-51 (NIV)

Some comments:
  1. No foreigner was to eat of the Passover, but this was not because of some kind of discrimination against foreigners.  As the NIV Study Bible says (pg.106 commentary on Ex. 12:48):  "Only those consecrated to the LORD in covenant commitment could partake of the Passover; only for them could it have its full meaning (see Genesis 17:9-14)."
  2. The fact that a temporary resident or hired worker could not eat of the Passover and the rule that it must be eaten inside one house seems to underline the point of #1 above:  no casual partaking, no eat-n-run.
  3. The bones of the sacrifice lamb must not be broken.  Why not?  Why should this matter?  Well, God was leaving a clue in the Scriptures as to the identity of the real sacrifice for sin, Jesus, the One known as the Lamb of God.  Psalm 34:19-20 notes that "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken." Later in the New Testament, the apostle John says that this verse applies to Jesus:

"Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath.
Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath,
they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man
who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead,
they did not break his legs.
Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear,
bringing a sudden flow of blood and water.
The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true.
He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.
These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled:
'Not one of his bones will be broken,'
and, as another scripture says,
'They will look on the one they have pierced.'

John 19:31-37 (NIV)

Note: The 'special Sabbath' spoken of in verse 31 above was the Passover.
(See John 13:1)
The fact that Psalm 34 was detailing some characteristics of a righteous man
reminds us that Jesus was also righteous, a "lamb without blemish" or without sin,
and therefore the perfect and acceptable Passover sacrifice.

 4.  Both native-born and aliens were to be bound by these Passover regulations.  Anyone could participate, as long as he complied with the rules which God had given.  None were excluded, nor were any exempt from these regulations because of some type of special exception or status.

 5.  The Israelites obeyed and on that same day, the LORD immediately set about to deliver them.  He brought Israel out of Egypt 'by their divisions', battle imagery which underlined the fact that these were the people and the army of the LORD and that the LORD had fought a great battle for them.

[On a side note, I just saw a PBS documentary about Egypt which declared that Egypt had the greatest army in the world at that time.  However, the Israelites had the Maker of the Universe as their covenant-keeping God.  No contest.]

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