New European Commentary

 

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Deeper Commentary

12:7 Time and again we find that the local pagan myths about Satan are alluded to and deconstructed by Moses. It has been observed that the Passover ritual of smearing the blood of the sacrifice on the doorposts was very similar to what Bedouin tribes have been doing in the Middle East for millennia- they smear the blood on their tent poles and tent entrances when they erect a new home or tent, in order to keep 'satan' figures away ( Roland De Vaux, Studies In Old Testament Sacrifice (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1961) p. 7. But the Exodus record is at pains to point out that the 'Destroyer' was one of Yahweh's Angels; and thus it was ultimately Yahweh Himself who slew the firstborn in those homes without the daubed blood. Again- yet again- we see a pagan idea concerning 'satan' being taken up and reinterpreted in light of the fact that the 'satan' figures don't really exist, and God is the ultimate and unrivalled source of disaster. See on Ex. 21:6.

 

12:19 Israel’s deliverance from Egypt is in many ways a type of our redemption at the time of the Lord’s return. The focus of the Passover feast was the lamb, and this should be the centre of our thinking in these last days.  Some very intense Hebrew words are used to describe their association of themselves with it: "Draw out (‘seize’) and take you a lamb... strike ('lay the hand on', a word used about rape) the lintel... with the blood" (Ex. 12:21,22). And the run-up to Passover was to feature a business-like searching of the house for leaven (Ex. 12:19), reflecting the close self-examination which we should undertake individually and ecclesially ("your houses") in this prelude to the Passover-coming of our Lord. Not surprisingly, in the light of this, Passover night was to be "a night of watching" (Ex. 12:42 RV mg.), strongly suggesting "watching in prayer" (Eph. 6:18;  1 Pet. 4:7;  2 Cor. 11:27?). Similarly those who are found "watching" at the Lord's midnight coming (cp. that of the Passover angel) will be found acceptable (Lk. 12:37). The picture of Israel in their family units huddled together around the Lamb, desperately focusing their attention on that saving blood, watching and praying, examining themselves- this is us, right now. For there can be no serious doubt that the second coming is almost upon our generation. The run up to the final tribulation will provoke a "praying always, that ye may be accounted worthy...to stand before the Son of man" (Lk. 21:36).

12:23 A classic example of Angelic co-operation is found in the account of the first Passover. Ex. 12:23 says that the Passover Angel would "pass (hover) over the door and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you". 'The destroyer' refers to an Angel- Ps. 78 speaks of the "Angels of evil" who brought the plagues, and as the plague of the firstborn was one of them, it follows that this too must have been brought about by an Angel. The same Angel is referred to in Jer. 51:1- the “destroying spirit” [“wind”, AV] who was sent forth by God to smite Babylon; note how Revelation also describes Babylon as being destroyed by a singular Angel. In another Angelic context we read: “O Lord my Lord; will you be the destroyer of the remnant of Israel?” (Ez. 9:8 Heb.). “Let the Angel of the Lord persecute them” (Ps. 35:5,6) has the same Angel in mind. The destroyer Angel is perhaps alluded to in Job 18:13: “The firstborn of death”. Job 33:23 LXX certainly is relevant: “Though there should be one thousand Angels of death…”. This same 'destroyer' Angel is referred to again in the context of being present with Israel to punish them if they disobeyed in 1 Cor. 10:10 -"they were destroyed of the destroyer". So we have here on this first Passover night the situation where one Angel is commissioned to do a certain task- in this case kill all firstborn in Egypt- and goes ahead with this task blind to any other consideration, e. g. whether the people concerned were obedient Israelites or not. Therefore another Angel was needed, presumably more powerful or senior to the 'destroyer', to stop the faithful Israelites being killed. Of course God could have given the 'destroyer' additional instructions about not killing the Jews; but it seems to be God's way of working both amongst us and among the Angels to assign each a specific role in the execution of His purpose, and to take pleasure in seeing each Angel or saint working in loving co-operation with another, after the pattern of the Angelic co-operation. Ez. 20:8-14 talks more about this destroyer Angel: "Neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out My fury upon them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for My name's sake, that it should not be polluted among the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore  I  caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them My statutes. . My sabbaths. . the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. . but I wrought for My name's sake, that it should not be polluted" . The destroyer Angel went out through the midst of the land of Egypt to kill the firstborn. He wanted to kill the Jews too because they were not forsaking the idols of Egypt- i. e. they were preparing to take them out of Egypt with them (Ex. 13:17 and Acts 7:43 lend support here). "I"- God manifest now in the Passover Angel- "wrought for My name's sake" (v. 9) against the Destroyer that this should not be done. He remembered how He had "made myself known unto them" in the burning bush, by saying there "I am the Lord your God "(v. 5). "Mine eye (the Passover Angel) spared them from destroying them ",v. 17; i. e. from the work of the Destroyer Angel, both in Egypt at the night of Passover and also in the wilderness. Notice  how God is spoken of as both wanting to destroy them and also striving for His Name's sake (born by the Angels) so this should not happen. It seems sensible to interpret this by reference to the two powerful Angels  active at this time, perhaps representing the groups of Angels of good and Angels of evil (i. e. disaster bringing) which appear to be in Heaven.


12:29 Moses was the foremost intercessor for Israel, and is actually called ‘the Paraclete’ in the Midrash on Ex. 12:29.

:35 The same phrase "of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass" is used of the vessels taken from the Gentile world and dedicated to the tabernacle (Ex. 11:2; 12:35; Josh. 6:19; 2 Sam. 8:10; 1 Kings 7:51). The generosity of others in Biblical history, their right perspective on the wealth taken from this world, was to inspire other believers in later history. And this is how the body of Christ should function today, with members inspiring others to spirituality.

12:41 "All the hosts (Angels) of the Lord went out (with Israel) from the land of Egypt". See on Lk. 15:6; Ex. 7:4.