Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Said, some time before. Moses mentions all the plagues together. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Year, sacred or ecclesiastical, which is most commonly used in Scripture. The civil year commenced with Tisri, in September, and regulated the jubilee, contracts, &c. (Cornelius a Lapide) — January was the first month to determine the age of trees, and August to decide when cattle became liable to be tithed. (Chap. xxii. 29; Leviticus xix. 23.) (Calmet) — Before the captivity, the months were not styled Nisan, &c., but abib, (chap xiii. 5,) the first…Bul the 11th, (1 Kings vi.), &c. Sa.
Ver. 3. Children; a word which has been dropped in the printed Hebrew and in the Chaldee, which has been assimilated to it, though found still in some manuscripts and in the Samaritan, Septuagint, Syriac and Arabic versions. (Kennicott) — Day. This regarded only the present occasion. (Jonathan) — The Jews no longer eat the paschal lamb, as they are banished from Chanaan. (Calmet) — Man, who has a family sufficient to eat a lamb; Hebrew se, which means also a kid, (as either was lawful, ver. 13,) and perhaps also a calf, Deuteronomy xvi. 2.
Ver. 4. Less. Moses does not specify the number. But in never comprised fewer than ten, nor more than twenty, in which number Menoch does not think women or children are comprised. The Jews satisfied the inquiry of Cestius, concerning the multitude which might be assembled at the paschal solemnity, by allowing ten for every victim; and finding that 250,600 victims had been sacrificed in the space of two hours, they concluded 2,700,000 people were collected at Jerusalem. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vii. 16.)
Ver. 5. Lamb. Hebrew se, which denotes the young of either sheep or goats. (Kimchi) He who had not a lamb, was to sacrifice a kid. (Theodoret) — A kid. The Phase might be performed, either with a lamb or with a kid; and all the same rites and ceremonies were to be used with the one as with the other. (Challoner) — Many have asserted, that both were to be sacrificed. But custom decides against them. All was to be perfect, Momim, as even the pagans required; (Grotius) and God (Leviticus xxii. 22,) orders the victims in general must have no fault. The Egyptians rejected them, if they were even spotted, or twins. — A male, as all holocausts were to be. Pagans gave the preference to females. (Calmet) — One year, not older, though it would do if above eight days old. (Menochius) — The paschal lamb prefigured Jesus Christ, who has redeemed us by his death, being holy, set apart, and condescending to feed us with his sacred person, in the blessed Eucharist. Here we eat the lamb without breaking a bone, though we take the whole victim. (John xix. 36; 1 Corinthians v. 7.) (Calmet) — To fulfil this figure, Christ substituted his own body, and, making his apostles priests, ordered them to continue this sacrifice for ever. He came to Jerusalem on the 10th day of Nisan, on Sunday. He gave himself to his disciples on the evening of the 14th, and died at noon on the 15th. The unleavened bread, and the cup, (Luke xxii. 17,) clearly denoted the blessed Sacrament, which was ordered to be eaten in the house or church of God. (St. Cyprian, Unit.) See St. Gregory, hom. 22, in Evang.; Tertullian, contra Marc. iv, “The bread he made his own body.” If, therefore, the truth must surpass the figure, surely the blessed Sacrament must be more than bread and wine; otherwise it would yield in excellence and signification to the paschal lamb. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Sacrifice, not simply kill, as the Protestants would have it. (Worthington) — Evening. Hebrew, “between the two evenings,” or “suns,” according to the Chaldee, alluding to the sun when it declines and when it sets, including about the space of two hours. This time belonged to the evening of the 14th [of Nisan], at which time the lamb was to be sacrificed, though it was to be eaten in the night, which pertained to the 15th. (Menochius) — The Jews began the day at sun-set, and some began the first evening soon after mid-day. (Matthew xiv. 15, and seq.[following]) (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Houses. Those who joined their neighbours to eat the paschal lamb, were therefore to continue with them that night, if they would escape destruction, ver. 23. (Menochius)
Ver. 8. Unleavened, in testimony of innocence, 1 Corinthians v. 7. The priests of Jupiter did the like. (Servius) — Lettuce, or some “bitter herbs,” Hebrew and Septuagint. The Jews allow of five sorts.
Ver. 9. Raw. Some nations delighted in raw flesh, in the feasts of Bacchus, who hence received the title of Omadios. (Porphyr. de Abstin. 3.) The Hebrew term na, occurs nowhere else, and may perhaps signify half-roasted or boiled, semicoctum. It cannot be inferred from this prohibition, that the Hebrews commonly lived on such food. — In water, as the other victims usually were. (1 Kings ii. 13; 2 Paralipomenon xxxv. 13.) — You shall eat, is not in the original, nor in the Septuagint. We may supply it, however, or “you shall roast all, head,” &c., but in eating, you shall avoid breaking any bone, as the Septuagint and Syriac express it, (ver. 10,) and as we read, ver. 46, and Numbers ix. 12. These were to be burnt, that they might not be profaned. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Haste, as all the aforesaid prescriptions intimate. (Menochius) — Many of them regarded only this occasion, and were not required afterwards. — Phase, which the Chaldee writes Pascha, signifies the passing over (Calmet) of the destroying angel, when he spared those houses only which were marked with blood, to insinuate the necessity of faith in Christ’s death. Some have derived the word from the Greek Pascho, “to suffer,” on account of the similarity of sound. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. First-born, often denotes the most beloved; or, when spoken of those under oppression, the most miserable. (Isaias xiv. 30; Psalm lxxxvii. 27.) Moses observes, (ver. 30,) that every house had one dead, which would not probably be true of the first-born, taken in a literal sense; but where there was no child, there the most dear and honourable person was cut off, Habacuc iii. 13, 14. — Gods, idols, whose statues some assert were overthrown (St. Jerome, ep. ad Fabiol.; Eusebius, pręp. ix. ult.[last]); or sacred animals, which were adored by the Egyptians; (Origen) or the word may imply that the princes and judges of the land would be mostly destroyed. (Calmet) — Forbes observes, that by the destruction of the first-born, all the proper sacrifices, and priests of Egypt, were destroyed.
Ver. 14. This day. The Jews assert, that as their fathers were delivered out of Egypt on the 15th of Nisan, so Israel will be redeemed on that day by the Messias; which has been literally verified in Jesus Christ. — Everlasting. This is what will be done with respect to our Christian passover, (Calmet) of which the Jewish was a figure, designed to subsist as long as their republic. (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Perish, either by sudden death, or by forfeiting all the prerogatives of God’s people; (ver. 19) or his offense shall be deemed mortal. See Genesis xvii. 14. The punishment of Kerith, separation, among the Jews, bore some resemblance to our excommunication. These menaces presuppose, that the law is possible, and that the land of Chanaan be in the possession of the Jews. Thus, the people who were not circumcised during the 40 years’ sojournment in the desert, were not liable to this punishment of separation, as they knew not when the cloud would move, and they would have to march.
Ver. 16. Eating. On the sabbath, meat was not even to be prepared, chap. xvi. 23. During the five intermediate days, any work might be done.
Ver. 17. Bread. Hebrew matsoth. But the Samaritan and Septuagint read Motsue, precept, or ordinance. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Unleavened bread. By this it appears, that our Saviour made use of unleavened bread, in the institution of the blessed Sacrament, which was on the evening of the paschal solemnity, at which time there was no unleavened bread to be found in Israel.
Ver. 19. Stranger. Hebrew ger, signifies also a proselyte. (Menochius) See ver. 43. — Only those men who had been circumcised, were allowed to eat the Phase. Women, belonging to the Hebrews, might partake of it. The unclean were excluded. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Hyssop; Hebrew ezob: which some translate rosemary. (Menochius) — Sprinkle, &c. This sprinkling the doors of the Israelites with the blood of the paschal lamb, in order to their being delivered from the sword of the destroying angel, was a lively figure of our redemption by the blood of Christ. (Challoner) — St. Jerome, in Isaias lxvi, says the doors were to be sprinkled in the form of a cross.
Ver. 24. Children; twelve years old, Luke ii. 42. (Menochius) — Ever. Samaritan adds, “in this month.”
Ver. 27. Victim, sacrificed upon the altar, in honour of the passage, &c. It was a true “sacrifice of propitiation,” as the Arabic translates, and of thanksgiving. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Pharao, who it seems was not the eldest son. Where the first-born of a family had a son, both were consigned to destruction. (Menochius)
Ver. 32. Bless me, by exposing me to no farther danger by your stay.
Ver. 34. Leavened; which dough afterwards made unleavened ember-cakes. Hebrew, “and misharoth (a word which the Vulgate does not translate) provisions” of flour, &c., ver. 39. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] ii. 6.) This flour might be tied up in their cloaks, as they were only square pieces of cloth, Ruth iii. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 36. The Egyptians, who afterwards, pursuing them unjustly, put it out of their power to restore, if they had not been otherwise dispensed with by God. (Haydock)
Ver. 37. Ramesse. The first of the 42 stations or encampments of the Hebrews. (Menochius) — Socoth, or tents, perhaps the Scenę of Antoninus, or the Mischenot, mentioned chap i. 11. — About. Moses does not speak with such precision, as after the people had been numbered, and were found, 13 months after, to be 603,550 men, without the Levites, or those under 20 years. (Calmet) — Women and old men, and Egyptians, who joined their company, might make them amount to three millions. (Menochius)
Ver. 40. Egypt. Samaritan and Septuagint add, “and in the land of Chanaan, they and their fathers,” dating from the departure of Abraham from Haran in his 75th year; from which period, till Jacob’s going into Egypt, 215 years elapsed. Kennicott produces this instance, as a proof that the Hebrew text is defective: Dis. 1. p. 399. Josephus, [Antiquities?] ii. 15; St. Augustine, q. 47. and others, admit this addition as genuine; which, however we have observed on Genesis, is rejected by Ayrolus, Tournemine, &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 42. Observable, in which the Lord has been our sentinel and preserver. (Vatable)
Ver. 48. Dwell, or become a proselyte, by circumcision, if a male; or by baptism, if a female; receiving a sort of new-birth, John iii. 10. The Jews would not suffer any to dwell among them, who would not observe the seven precepts given to Noe, Genesis ix. But the proselytes of justice embraced the Jewish religion. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The manner of preparing and eating the paschal lamb: the first-born of Egypt are all slain: the Israelites depart.
1 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt:
2 This month shall be to you the beginning of months; it shall be the first in the months of the year.
3 Speak ye to the whole assembly of the children of Israel, and say to them: On the tenth day of this month let every man take a lamb by their families and houses.
4 But if the number be less than may suffice to eat the lamb, he shall take unto him his neighbour that joineth to his house, according to the number of souls which may be enough to eat the lamb.
5 And it shall be a lamb without blemish, a male, of one year; according to which rite also you shall take a kid.
6 And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole multitude of the children of Israel shall sacrifice it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood thereof, and put it upon both the side-posts, and on the upper door-posts of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
8 And they shall eat the flesh that night roasted at the fire, and unleavened bread with wild lettuce.
9 You shall not eat thereof any thing raw, nor boiled in water, but only roasted at the fire; you shall eat the head with the feet and entrails thereof.
10 Neither shall there remain any thing of it until morning. *If there be any thing left, you shall burn it with fire.
11 And thus you shall eat it: you shall gird your reins, and you shall have shoes on your feet, holding staves in your hands, and you shall eat in haste; for it is the Phase (that is the Passage) of the Lord.
12 And I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and will kill every first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the Lord.
13 And the blood shall be unto you for a sign in the houses where you shall be; and I shall see the blood, and shall pass over you; and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I shall strike the land of Egypt.
14 And this day shall be for a memorial to you; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord in your generations, with an everlasting observance.
15 Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread: in the first day there shall be no leaven in your houses; whosoever shall eat any thing leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall perish out of Israel.
16 The first day shall be holy and solemn, and the seventh day shall be kept with the like solemnity: you shall do no work in them, except those things that belong to eating.
17 And you shall observe the feast of the unleavened bread: for in this same day I will bring forth your army out of the land of Egypt, and you shall keep this day in your generations by a perpetual observance.
18 *The first month, the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the same month, in the evening.
19 Seven days there shall not be found any leaven in your houses: he that shall eat leavened bread, his soul shall perish out of the assembly of Israel, whether he be a stranger or born in the land.
20 You shall not eat any thing leavened: in all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.
21 And Moses called all the ancients of the children of Israel, and said to them: Go take a lamb by your families, and sacrifice the Phase.
22 *And dip a bunch of hyssop in the blood that is at the door, and sprinkle the transom of the door therewith, and both the door-cheeks: let none of you go out of the door of his house till morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through striking the Egyptians: and when he shall see the blood on the transom, and on both the posts, he will pass over the door of the house, and not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses and to hurt you.
24 Thou shalt keep this thing as a law for thee and thy children for ever.
25 And when you have entered into the land which the Lord will give you, as he hath promised, you shall observe these ceremonies.
26 And when your children shall say to you: What is the meaning of this service?
27 You shall say to them: It is the victim of the passage of the Lord, when he passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, striking the Egyptians, and saving our houses. And the people bowing themselves, adored.
28 And the children of Israel going forth, did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
29 And it came to pass at midnight, *the Lord slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharao, who sat on his throne, **unto the first-born of the captive woman that was in the prison, and all the first-born of cattle.
30 And Pharao arose in the night, and all his servants, and all Egypt: for there arose a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house wherein there lay not one dead.
31 And Pharao calling Moses and Aaron, in the night, said: Arise and go forth from among my people, you and the children of Israel: go, sacrifice to the Lord as you say.
32 Your sheep and herds take along with you, as you demanded, and departing bless me.
33 And the Egyptians pressed the people to go forth out of the land speedily, saying: We shall all die.
34 The people therefore took dough before it was leavened; and tying it in their cloaks, put it on their shoulders.
35 *And the children of Israel did as Moses had commanded: and they asked of the Egyptians vessels of silver and gold, and very much raiment.
36 And the Lord gave favour to the people in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them: and they stripped the Egyptians.
37 *And the children of Israel set forward from Ramesse to Socoth, being about six hundred thousand men on foot, beside children.
38 And a mixed multitude, without number, went up also with them, sheep and herds, and beasts of divers kinds, exceeding many.
39 And they baked the meal, which a little before they had brought out of Egypt in dough: and they made hearth-cakes unleavened: for it could not be leavened, the Egyptians pressing them to depart, and not suffering them to make any stay; neither did they think of preparing any meat.
40 And the abode of the children of Israel that they made in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41 Which being expired, the same day all the army of the Lord went forth out of the land of Egypt.
42 This is the observable night of the Lord, when he brought them forth out of the land of Egypt: this night all the children of Israel must observe in their generations.
43 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the service of the Phase; no foreigner shall eat of it.
44 But every bought servant shall be circumcised, and so shall eat.
45 The stranger and the hireling shall not eat thereof.
46 *In one house shall it be eaten, neither shall you carry forth of the flesh thereof out of the house, neither shall you break a bone thereof.
47 All the assembly of the children of Israel shall keep it.
48 And if any stranger be willing to dwell among you, and to keep the Phase of the Lord, all his males shall first be circumcised, and then shall he celebrate it according to the manner: and he shall be as he that is born in the land: but if any man be uncircumcised, he shall not eat thereof.
49 The same law shall be to him that is born in the land, and to the proselyte that sojourneth with you.
50 And all the children of Israel did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
51 And the same day the Lord brought forth the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their companies.
10: Leviticus vii. 15.
18: Leviticus xxiii. 5.; Numbers xxviii. 16.
22: Hebrews xi. 28.
29: Exodus xi. 5. — ** Wisdom xviii. 5.
35: Exodus iii. 22. and xi. 2.
37: Year of the World 2513, Year before Christ 1491.
46: Numbers ix. 12.; John xix. 36.