Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost (Sep 17th)

Pastor's Summary of Exodus 12:1-14

God has assailed the Egyptians with nine plagues: turning the water of the Nile to blood; infestations of frogs, gnats, and flies; terminal illness of livestock; boils; thunder, hail and fire; locusts; and darkness for three days: all this is to convince the Pharaoh to "Let my people go, so that they may worship...[God]" (9:1). The Pharaoh has refused to listen; he has refused to come to the knowledge that, "I am the LORD" (7:17)

God continues to act in history in the benefit of his chosen people. As is the case for the other plagues, the preparation for the last plague is described at length, but the plague itself occupies only a few verses. A lamb or goat is to be kept in safekeeping ("keep it", v. 6 until close to the full moon ("the fourteenth day"); then "the whole assembled congregation" will slaughter it: here all take on the role of priests. The priestly role extends further: the animal is to be "roasted" (v. 8, not boiled), and it is to be completely consumed (v. 10): a perfect ("without blemish", v. 5) and complete sacrifice. When eating it, the people are to be ready to travel (v. 11) and it shall be eaten "hurriedly"-but also (per translation) in trepidation. In v. 12, God will do to the Egyptians more than what Pharaoh tried to do to the Israelites: "strike down every firstborn", male and female. The people are to "celebrate it as a festival to the Lord" (v. 14), and also as a pilgrimage. This is the origin of Passover, the commemoration of how God rescued his chosen people. Easter, too, is an event of rescue: God rescues us from sin. In vv. 29-32, God brings the tenth plague on the Egypians, killing all their eldest children. The Pharaoh has had enough: he says "Rise up, go away from my people...God, worship the LORD...And bring a blessing on me too!" God has made his point. In v. 37ff, the Exodus begins.