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Exodus 12:21-28 meaning

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Exodus 12:21
  • Exodus 12:22
  • Exodus 12:23
  • Exodus 12:24
  • Exodus 12:25
  • Exodus 12:26
  • Exodus 12:27
  • Exodus 12:28

Verses 21 – 28 record what Moses did after receiving the description of what the LORD was about to do.

He had to relay the message to the Israelites, so Moses called for all the elders of Israel. He told them to go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. Then, they are to take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts.

Hyssop, a small fragrant bush that grows in Sinai and elsewhere, is associated with cleansing (Leviticus 14:49; Psalms 51:7), signifying that those who obeyed these commands were in need of cleansing and then received the cleansing. Also, hyssop was used by priests in many situations to sprinkle blood (Leviticus 14:51). The blood was to be applied to the doorposts (the vertical framing of a door) and the lintel (the crosspiece across the top of the door). It was not to be sprinkled on the floor at the door because it might have been trampled on. The last instruction from the LORD was that none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning. The house was to be a place of refuge from danger as well as a place where the LORD was to be worshipped because of His wonderful work of deliverance. They were to wait inside, while the Death Angel “passed over” their houses.

Starting in verse 23, Moses explained why the Israelites must kill the Passover animal and smear the door frame with its blood. He said that the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. The blood on the doorposts and lintel was there to deliver the LORD’s covenant people from His judgment and subsequently Pharaoh’s slavery. All the Israelites had to do to escape the “destroyer” was to obey Him.

Once delivered, the LORD commanded that they were to observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. It was to be remembered and celebrated for all time, even when they settled in the Promised Land. When (not “if”) you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. The word “rite” here can also be translated “service.” To celebrate Passover was an act of serving the LORD and also enjoying His benefits.

This was to be done by the Israelites for all time and by all generations. The importance of the Passover also needed to be impressed on each generation, and the LORD told them that when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’  you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’ Each generation was to relay the great significance of the Passover to the next generation. It was a message of deliverance, provision, and protection that all of the LORD’s covenant people must know and celebrate.

The pattern established by the Passover feast is passed on to the New Testament in the form of the Lord’s Supper. Jesus instituted this during His last meal with the disciples, which was a Passover meal. Jesus applied the wine and unleavened bread directly to Himself, and commanded that believers thereafter remember His sacrifice in this way. Jesus delivered us from the slavery of sin, and we are to remember it. We are instructed to eat the cracker (unleavened bread) and drink the cup (representing His blood). We do not need to kill a sacrificial animal, for Jesus Christ is our Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7). He was a perfect sacrifice, who was sacrificed once, for all (Heb 9:28).

In response to the LORD’s commands, the people bowed low and worshiped (verses 27-28). In a further act of worship, the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. Notice that they obeyed “the LORD,” not Moses and Aaron. Celebrating Passover was the LORD’s command, not theirs.

Biblical Text:

21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and take for yourselves lambs according to your families, and slay the Passover lamb. 22 You shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and apply some of the blood that is in the basin to the lintel and the two doorposts; and none of you shall go outside the door of his house until morning.

23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you. 24 And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever. 25 When you enter the land which the Lord will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. 26 And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’27 you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the Lord who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.

28 Then the sons of Israel went and did so; just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.




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