First, the last few verses of chapter 10

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, ‘Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.’

29 ‘Just as you say,’ Moses replied. ‘I will never appear before you again.’

But before Moses left Pharaoh, he had one last plague to announce. When Moses went to Pharaoh this time, he had already been told the next step:

Exodus 11

1Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.

But not only was there to be a last plague before the people could go, they would not leave empty-handed.

2 Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.” 3 (The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)

The instruction in verse 2 was also given to Moses before he spoke to Pharaoh this last time, and Moses had passed the message on to the people.

Why were ‘the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people’? (Yes, The Lord had done it, but why else would they feel like that towards Moses?)

The opinion of Pharaoh’s officials had changed. He had demonstrated that his power was greater than Pharaoh’s magicians, and as he continued to call down plague after plague, some began to believe (9:20). Once Moses threatened the plague of locusts, they all knew they were in trouble and were prepared to tell Pharaoh he was wrong (10:7).

But also the Egyptian culture was built on a belief in many gods. Many regarded the Pharaohs themselves as gods. Surely someone who could speak to pharaoh face to face, telling him what to do, and calling down punishments when he refused – must also be a god. ‘Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people

We will see later how the people responded.

Moses could now announce the last and most terrible plague:

4 So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. 6 There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. 7 But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. 8 All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.

What do you make of V6 and the first part of v7?

One suggestion:

The death will occur at midnight (v4), and it will not be a quiet ‘passing away’ but will involve sufficient disturbance that it wakes the household. Meanwhile the Israelites will have a peaceful night, protected by the blood of the lamb, and not even disturbed by the bark of a dog.

Why was Moses angry?

Pharaoh himself had acknowledged that his refusal to let the people go was sin (9:27, 9:34, 10:16) but he refused to repent. This attitude of heart, presuming that he could defy the Lord God Almighty, was now threatening the lives of thousands of his people – but still he refused to see what by now was obvious to all the people (v3).

It is interesting that (v8) it would be the officials and the ordinary people (12:33) who would now agree that the people must go. Those who might have had the power to stop them from leaving would now urge them to go and even give them provisions for their journey. The fear of Moses and his God was greater than their fear of Pharaoh and any order he might give would now be ignored.

9 The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

The focus of attention now turns away from Pharaoh, almost as if God is turning his back on him.


Exodus 12

Read verses 1-11

1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 ‘This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. 

4 If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbour, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat. 5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. 7 Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door-frames of the houses where they eat the lambs. 8 That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast. 9 Do not eat the meat raw or boiled in water, but roast it over a fire – with the head, legs and internal organs. 10 Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, you must burn it. 11 This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the Lord’s Passover.

These instructions were to be further developed as instructions to be repeated each year in the feast of ‘Passover’ to be a continual reminder of the miraculous way that the Lord saved his people from their bondage to slavery. It is no accident that Jesus’ crucifixion coincided with Passover. He was to be the ultimate lamb – sacrificed in order to save his people from slavery to sin; and then to lead them triumphantly into the ‘Promised Land’.

John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

John 1:36 When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!’

The lamb had to be sacrificed and the people had to eat it. Does that remind us of the last supper? – Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’

But before the Lamb was sacrificed it had to spend four days as part of the family. Why would this lamb then be different to one simply taken from the flock and killed immediately?

To obtain salvation we have to accept Jesus into our lives – and it has to be today – tomorrow may be too late. (Exodus 12:10)

As the blood on the doorframe would save the Jews in Egypt, so the blood of Christ brings us salvation.

Romans 5:9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!

Read verses 12-13

12 ‘On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn of both people and animals, and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.

Their salvation relied solely on the Blood of the lamb. But there was also a requirement that the people should repent of their sin. Not as a prerequisite for salvation, but because of it. We are sinners saved by Grace alone, not by our good works. It is the saving blood that takes away our sin, but it is our duty to repent of our sin and try to live sinless lives in the future.

Read verses 14-20

14 ‘This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord – a lasting ordinance. 15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day until the seventh must be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.

17 ‘Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 18 In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 For seven days no yeast is to be found in your houses. And anyone, whether foreigner or native-born, who eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Eat nothing made with yeast. Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.’

Yeast was a symbol of Sin throughout the Bible:

1 Corinthians 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

The deliverance offered by God to his people was not a reward for their righteousness; it was given purely by the grace and mercy of God. But to obtain this salvation, they had first to select a perfect lamb.

In the same way that Jesus entered Jerusalem four days before the crucifixion, the lamb was to be taken from the flock and made part of the family for four days. There it could be examined to ensure that it was ‘without blemish or defect’. Jesus was examined by the senior members of the leaders of the people until finally Pilate declared that he was innocent – three times (John 18:38,19:4,19:6.)

Read verses 21-28

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the door-frame. None of you shall go out of the door of your house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the door-frame and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

24 ‘Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. 26 And when your children ask you, “What does this ceremony mean to you?” 27 then tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.”’ Then the people bowed down and worshipped. 28 The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

1 Peter 1:18-21 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Read verses 29-42

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

Could you imagine the scene? – The darkness at midnight, death in every house, and the sounds of wailing everywhere?

31 During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested. 32 Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.’

Chapter 10:35 tells us that Moses didn’t appear before Pharaoh again. So it seems likely that officials were simply sent with the command. But notice the last phrase of verse 32 – what prompted Pharaoh to add that?

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. ‘For otherwise,’ they said, ‘we will all die!’ 34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing. 35 The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians favourably disposed towards the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.

Is that harsh? To plunder people who have just lost their eldest sons? Actually God’s chosen people had been treated as slaves for the last 80 years (Exodus 1:11,22 2:2, 7:7) so the Lord had no sympathy for the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides women and children. 38 Many other people went up with them, and also large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds. 

If there were 600,000 men it would mean there were at least the same number of women and there would be more children – probably over two million people in all. But notice the beginning of verse 38 too! Why would that have been?

It would appear that there were those who wanted to follow the powerful God of the Israelites, rather than their own Pharaoh who had proved his ineffectiveness.

39 With the dough the Israelites had brought from Egypt, they baked loaves of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.

40 Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt. 42 Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honour the Lord for the generations to come.

It just remained for the regulations for the feast which would mean that this amazing deliverance would be remembered for all time throughout the world.

Read verses 43-50

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘These are the regulations for the Passover meal:

‘No foreigner may eat it. 44 Any slave you have bought may eat it after you have circumcised him, 45 but a temporary resident or a hired worker may not eat it.

46 ‘It must be eaten inside the house; take none of the meat outside the house. Do not break any of the bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.

48 ‘A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. 49 The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.’

50 All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.


Exodus 9Exodus 13

Free small group Bible Study guides, commentary, lessons, questions and other material. For the PDF version click   HERE  

Exodus 10:27-29, 11:1-10, 12:1-51 Plague: Death of Firstborn, Passover
(For Exodus 10:1-26 see Exodus 9)