Exodus 12:29-36 (The Plague on the Firstborn)

Exodus 12:29-36
The Plague on the Firstborn

For the second and last time in Exodus, the kneading bowls of the people will be mentioned. The first time was during the plague of frogs which filled the kneading bowls of the Egyptians. This time it will be contrasted with the kneading bowls of the Israelites which will be filled with dough and then wrapped in cloth to keep out contamination.

The only other time these kneading bowls are mentioned is in the book of Deuteronomy – once in Israel’s expected blessings for obedience, and once in their expected curses for disobedience. A kneading bowl is something personal to the household. It is where the bread is made.

The bread is prepared and it is brought to the table. The table is where the meal is. And the meal is where life’s most tender moments with family and friends often occur. We can think of our kitchen counter as today’s kneading bowl. We keep it clean and we prepare our meals on it.

Nobody would consider eating food that was prepared on a counter filled with roaches or mold… well maybe roaches – no probably not. We take good care of where we prepare our meals because we want to stay healthy and because we want to eat food which tastes good and which doesn’t have bugs in it.

When we go into a house which isn’t clean in this way, we will find any excuse for not eating what is offered. But in considering this, do we make as much effort in our spiritual house? Is our spiritual bread prepared without contamination?

How carefully we tend to our physical food, but how carelessly we often tend to our spiritual food! Do we take time to read God’s word? And if we do, do we simply read it in order to say we’ve read it, or do we savor it as a meal of the purest sort?

And in what other areas do we neglect to live in a spiritually pure manner? Do we eat the bread of immoral images? Do we consume greed or envy over possessions? Do we drink up bitterness by the mug full? What is it in our lives that we can correct for in our spiritual meal?

Adherence to the word carries great benefit. Failing to adhere to it carries great consequences. Israel as a nation found this out, and each individual will find it out as well. Some are blessed and realize it in this life. Others won’t find out until it’s too late. Let’s be sure that our kneading bowls are filled with unleavened bread as we walk in this life we have been granted.

Text Verse: “Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” Deuteronomy 28:17

A cursed kneading bowl is a kneading bowl that is defiled and unsuitable for use. It could also be an empty kneading bowl that leaves one staring at it wondering when they will eat their next meal. Either way, it is useless to be used for what it was designed.

The kneading bowls of Pharaoh and Egypt were defiled, but they failed to pay heed. Now, eight plagues later, they will suffer the greatest plague for having not learned the lessons of the past. It will be such a terrible thing that they will urge Israel to leave.

Let us learn the lesson of the kneading bowl and keep ours clean and undefiled. Let us keep our lives holy and our doctrine pure. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. Let us partake only of the true Bread, the pure and unleavened Bread of Christ which is revealed in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Go, Serve the Lord as You have Said (verses 29 & 30)

29 And it came to pass at midnight

Nine plagues have come upon Egypt. Nine times they have been afflicted by the hand of the Lord. The land has been ruined and death has been seen. And with the distinction being made between the Egyptians and Israel, the plagues would have been all the more wondrous.

Several times, Pharaoh seemed ready to relent and release captive Israel, even speaking aloud that it would happen. But because of his stubborn heart, he always found a reason to back off from actually following through with his words.

His heart was hard and it only grew harder through the carefully timed wonders which the Lord sent into the land. Now, for several days there has been darkness in the land. The people would have been beside themselves as they sat in their houses, not being able to even tell if it was day or night.

Here at midnight on the 15th of the month of Aviv, the worst terror of all would come upon the people of Egypt. Being the 15th of the month, it would be a full moon, the most propitious time of all for the Exodus of Israel. They would have the moon to illuminate the land as they picked up their belongings and headed out of Egypt.

But for the Egyptians, midnight would make the plague all the more horrifying. The people would have slept, waking to hear the sounds of death consuming their loved ones. Their minds would have been dull and the darkness would only make the calamity more terrible. Would the death strike others? Might it even… even strike me?

And Pharaoh would have the overwhelming horror that he had been told in advance that the plague was coming. In their final meeting, Moses told him that midnight was the hour for it to occur. Whether he believed it possible or not then, he now realized the truth of the statement. Death had come at midnight.

29 (con’t) that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,

Unlike all of the other plagues which could possibly be seen as natural, this one cannot. The death of the firstborn only is unique and cannot be ascribed to anything except a targeted attack. There is a purposeful, willful intent behind the action. Nature does not act in such a way, ever.

No amount of speculation concerning what type of natural phenomena will ever adequately resolve what occurs here. Attempts to find them have only proven the one so speculating to be foolish. The attack will come against all people in all living conditions and even against the animals.

But more than that, those with the blood applied, even if in the exact same neighborhood, will be spared. The impossibility of this being a natural event is assured. Let us accept the narrative at face value and not attempt to undermine the magnificence of what occurred on that sacred midnight in the land of Egypt.

Be advised though that there are so-called scholars who would so attempt to weaken the account. The liberal scholars at Cambridge state as they often do that the text has been manipulated. Here are their words –

“This particular form of the tradition (Sage) evidently first arose partly through the influence of the Isr. spring-offering of the Passover, partly through that of the Isr. custom of dedicating the first-born, which together brought into the tradition the sparing of the houses and first-born of the Israelites, and transformed the Egyptians who perished in the plague into first-born.” (Liberal and perverse “scholars” at) Cambridge

May they be judged appropriately for their lack of faith in the surety and truthfulness of God’s holy and superior word!

And yet, as straight forward as these words appear, there is room for some argumentation. Concerning those targeted, they have been interpreted in a multitude of ways. Is this speaking of only the firstborn son, or the firstborn who opens the womb, regardless as to whether it was a male or a female?

Does it mean all the firstborn in a house? Because if so, it could mean the grandfather who was a firstborn of his mother, the father who was the firstborn of his mother, and so on. If it includes women, then it could include an aunt or a mother.

Some scholars say the word “firstborn,” which is bekor implies a male only. Others disagree. Some even argue that the word, which can mean “chief” or “most” can be speaking in a superlative sense, such as the “most favored.” Little agreement is found among those with such diverse opinions.

However, the narrative itself, as well as the pictures found throughout the Bible, gives us the proper answer. Exodus 1:16 details Pharaoh’s words which said –

“When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” Exodus 1:16

A few verses later, in verse 22, Pharaoh gave another command –

“So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.'” Exodus 1:22

Pharaoh had ordered the killing of Israel’s sons and the Lord would now slay the firstborn sons of his land. And as a certainty of this, In Exodus 4:22, we read these words –

“‘”Then you shall say to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.”‘” Exodus 4:22, 23

In these verses, the word ben or “son” is used in conjunction with bekor or “firstborn.” This was targeted only at the males. Whether it means the males of all generations or only those of the youngest generation is not specified, but if Pharaoh himself were a firstborn, then it would mean only the youngest, because he didn’t die. If not, then we can’t know.

No matter what, because of their treatment of God’s firstborn son, called the Israelites, they would now be so treated. As Jamieson-Faucett-Brown notes –

“They were made, in the justice of God, to feel something of what they had made His people feel.” Jamieson-Faucett-Brown

29 (con’t) from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne

The highest seat in the land was not exempt from the punishment of the plague. And in fact, he was the most deserving of it, having sat in the royal seat, overseeing the unjust laws and crimes committed against the people of the Lord.

He had been given his warning before the first plague that this day would come and he refused to heed it. With each subsequent plague, the day of this judgment drew nearer, and yet he continued to stubbornly refuse to pay heed to the words he had heard and the marvels he had beheld.

29 (con’t) to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon,

Curiously, these words do not read the same as the warning given in Exodus 11. There it said –

…and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Exodus 11:5

There is a possible reason for the change which can be answered by the fact that elsewhere in the Bible captives worked at a grinder while in prison. This is seen in Samson who was taken captive by the Philistines. In Judges 16, it says –

“Then the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza. They bound him with bronze fetters, and he became a grinder in the prison.” Judges 16:21

However, this doesn’t explain why the change was made, only a possible answer for it. And so I would suggest that this change is to point us to the work of Christ. In Exodus 11:5, it says –

“…the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill.”

Grammatically, this could be saying that the firstborn is behind the handmill or the female servant is behind the handmill. However, my friend Sergio notes that –

“Context wise, it continues a sentence where in the first part it uses the exact same language and reference: firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to firstborn of the maidservant who is behind the handmill.”

He goes on to say that, “I understand that Pharaoh was the one who sits on the throne, not his firstborn. Only when Pharaoh dies, then his firstborn takes his throne.”

In the exodus, we have to remember that the lamb was sacrificed in place of the firstborn. I don’t think it would be stretching it to say that Christ died for all people and this is reflected in Him in the words of Exodus 11. He truly was the Firstborn behind the stone in His grave, represented by the millstones.

And yet at the same time He is the Firstborn of the female servant. Mary called herself “the maidservant of the Lord” in Luke 1, she being the mother of the Lord. Thus in the ambiguity of the wording – He fills both roles.

In Exodus 12, He was the “Firstborn of the captive in the dungeon” meaning the Firstborn of fallen man, and yet he was the “Firstborn in the dungeon” meaning the grave. The same word for “dungeon” here, ha’bowr, was used in Genesis where it was called “the pit.” In those sermons, it was clearly a picture of Christ in His death.

Finally, the continuity in the ability to mean both things extends to the phrase “from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne.” In the Joseph sermons, Pharaoh which means “Great House,” pictured God on His throne. And so the same ambiguity in the wording can be applied here also. It can read either “Pharaoh who sat on His throne,” or “the firstborn who sat on His throne.”

Jesus sat on the throne of heaven, but condescended to come to earth where He died as the Firstborn Son of God. This is seen in Colossians 1 –

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Colossians 1:15-18

He is also the Firstborn who sat on His throne as is spoken of numerous times in the New Testament. One which fits this perfectly is found in Hebrews 1 –

“But to the Son He says:
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.'” Hebrews 1:8

I do believe this evaluation is correct. It is showing us that there has been an exchange made. The firstborn of God, the firstborn of the maidservant, and the firstborn of the captive are all picturing the Lord and His wondrous work for the people of the world.

Because of what He has done, we may now join Him as the firstborn registered in heaven, as the author of Hebrews tells us –

“But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect…” Hebrews 12:22, 23

God did not cause the people of the world to suffer unjustly. And there is nothing that has happened to us that He was not willing to endure Himself.

29 (con’t) and all the firstborn of livestock.

The word here should be translated as YLT states it, “and every first-born of beasts.” This word is behemah, which means any beast, whether livestock, a family dog or cat, the camel at the hitching post, or any other beast in the land. There is a reason for this particular judgment.

Due to Egypt’s animal worship, the Lord was showing that all animals were under His authority, even those which had not yet been named in any judgment. If they had made an idol of Rover, he would now be shown as a false god. If they had made an idol of Fifi the cat, it would now be proven false as well. The Lord created, and the Lord has judged.

30 So Pharaoh rose in the night, he, all his servants, and all the Egyptians;

Whether it was the sounds of death which awakened the living, or whether it was the sounds of the living who knew of the death which awakened all others, everyone in Egypt was aroused from their sleep because of what had transpired.

Only the deaf would lay in a peaceful slumber unless they too were awakened to mourn their own dead. Egypt had been crushed before, but never had it received such a punishing blow which reached to the very heart of all people…

30 (con’t) and there was a great cry in Egypt,

Pharaoh was warned of exactly this in Chapter 11 –

“Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.” Exodus 11:6

Ancient travelers of past ages have recorded the habits of the Egyptians when death came near to them. Compiling several scholars’ notes on this, Adam Clarke gives the following summary for us to consider –

“No people in the universe were more remarkable for their mournings than the Egyptians, especially in matters of religion; they whipped, beat, tore themselves, and howled in all the excess of grief. When a relative died, the people left the house, ran into the streets, and howled in the most lamentable and frantic manner.” Adam Clarke

With a culture known for such outlandish mourning over the dead, the term tseaqah gedolah, or “great cry” probably should be considered an understatement. Words would fail to describe the sounds emanating in the darkness of night in the land of Egypt.

30 (con’t) for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

If, as I suggested earlier, only the firstborn son of the house was destroyed, then these words might be taken as hyperbole. Not every house would have a firstborn son, but every house with one would suffer the plague and have dead among them.

But even in houses without a firstborn son, there still could have been firstborn animals. If someone had a favorite monkey that they idolized, or a precious puppy that they loved, they too would have been afflicted by the plague, even if it were less painful than a human child.

And considering that everyone would know a house with a firstborn son, then everyone would have been personally touched by what occurred. The plague would have afflicted every person in the land and the mourning sounds would have been beyond our ability to put into words.

In one final mighty blow upon man and beast
The Lord came through Egypt the land
From the greatest even to the least
No family was exempt from His punishing hand

Except those who had applied the blood
The precious blood of a lamb, innocent and pure
For those there was safety from the deathly flood
Behind the doors, they were safe and secure

Judgment has been rendered upon Egypt’s sin
Upon Pharaoh and all his subjects in the land
Their rebellions had finally done them in
No family was exempt from the Lord’s punishing hand

II. Be Gone! (verses 31 & 32)

31 Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night,

There is again argument and dissension among scholars what these words mean. Did Pharaoh call for Moses and Aaron to come before him? If so, then it would seem to violate what was said in Chapter 10 –

“Then Pharaoh said to him, ‘Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!’
29 So Moses said, ‘You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.'” Exodus 10:28, 29

However, scholars attempt to argue that because of the urgency of the situation, he called for them to appear before him again. However, Chapter 11 answers this and shows that to not be the case. Moses, knowing in advance what would occur said these parting words to Pharaoh –

“And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!” Exodus 11:8

Speculation is unnecessary. Pharaoh sent his messengers while he mourned over his dead. He was unwilling to personally go and beg for them to leave.

31 (con’t) and said, “Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel.

Exactly as Moses had said would come about, Pharaoh now fulfills, imploring not only Moses and Aaron, but all of the people of Israel to leave. And he gives the reason for the order, finally realizing what he ignored throughout the entire period of the plagues…

31 (con’t) And go, serve the Lord as you have said.

This was the original request made in the first meeting between these three back in Chapter 4, “…let my son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” All of the pains, all of the destruction, all of the death and misery could have been avoided if Pharaoh had simply allowed Israel to go.

But when one doesn’t know the true God he is just another of many gods, or he may even be considered a false-god or no-god at all. Unfortunately, when we don’t recognize the Creator, we cannot anticipate what He is capable of. Israel forgot their Lord and they were all but destroyed, twice.

The world has, like Egypt in these verses, all but forgotten the Lord, and the plagues of Egypt will come on a global scale. When it is all said and done, there will be little left. And all of this is because of a failure to serve the Lord, just as He has requested since the beginning of time.

32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone;

Not only were they granted leave, but they have been granted absolute leave. Everything they possessed was to go with them, exactly as the Lord said in Exodus 11 –

“I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether.” Exodus 11:1

Not only is the word from Pharaoh a grant to go serve the Lord, it is a petition begging them to go, even directing them to go. His thoughts were so overwhelmed with the events of the past months and of what occurred that night, that he could only long for them to be gone. But in their going, he looked for release from any further plagues by speaking the continuing words of verse 32…

32 (con’t) and bless me also.”

u’berekhtem gam oti, “and bless me also.” The words are plural, “you (plural) bless me also. Imagine the emotion of the man which would cause him to utter these words to his great foes. The last time they stood face to face, Pharaoh threatened their lives if they ever came before him again.

And yet now, the broken man can only beg for a blessing. No other words could so exactingly show forth his complete submission to the Lord. In Genesis 47:7, the first thing that Jacob, who is Israel, did when coming into the presence of Pharaoh was to bless him. In Genesis 47:10, the last thing he did before leaving Pharaoh’s presence was to again bless him.

Now 215 years later, the last thing that is requested by Pharaoh of Israel’s representatives, is a blessing. It is a nice touch tying the two stories together in a unique way. Jacob voluntarily blessed Pharaoh in the past. Pharaoh now begs for more.

“Bless me also!” cried the people who wouldn’t repent
“Bless me also!” cried those who persecuted the people of the Lord
“Bless me also!” they cried when the plague was sent
“I know now I should have paid heed to His word

“Bless me also!” cried the arrogant leader of the land
“Bless me also!” he cried after leading in wickedness
“Save me from any further punishment from God’s hand
No more curses please! Instead I implore you to bless

How can we ignore the Lord every single day?
How can we ignore Him year after year?
And then ask Him to bless us when things don’t go our way
We humans are incurably dull I do fear

III. The Plundering of the Egyptians (verses 33-36)

33 And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste.

The word for “urged” here is khazaq. This same word has been used nine times already in Exodus in relation to Pharaoh. Eight of them were concerning the hardening of his heart. One was concerning his continued holding of them instead of letting them go. Now it is used concerning the Egyptians urging Israel to go.

The irony in the use of this word now is amazing. The same word which has been used concerning their continued bondage in Egypt is now being turned around as an urgent appeal to get them to leave… immediately. And the reason for the urgency of their request is in the continued words of the verse…

33 (con’t) For they said, “We shall all be dead.”

kulanu metim – “We.all.dead.” Their alarm at what had transpired was so great that they were certain their own death was at hand. As Benson notes –

“When death comes into our houses it is seasonable for us to think of our own mortality.” Benson

Having helped out in the mortuary in Japan while in the service, I can testify that this is true. When you’re around the dead in an enclosed space, you will inevitably think of your own mortal state. In the case of the Egyptians, they could only think that the death would transfer to them as well.

It was as if a sentence of death hung over their heads, calling to them because of the presence of the Israelites. They wanted Israel gone so that the sentence would be commuted.

34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened,

Because of the urgency of the moment, the dough that had been prepared for the exodus was not leavened when they left. There is no contradiction in this and in the instructions found in the earlier verses of this chapter. There it said –

“So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses. For whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.” Exodus 12:14-15

Those verses I just read were in anticipation of the exodus and were to be a memorial. There is no reason to think that the general populace knew of these instructions. They simply made bread day by day and added the yeast in before they baked it.

In the case of the Israelites on this night, they waited to leave, but had no idea that they would nearly be forced out in a moment. The Lord knew what they didn’t and anticipated the annual ritual in advance of the actual circumstances which precipitated it.

The dough or batseq comes from the verb batseq which means to swell. It implies that dough swells through fermentation, but in the case of this dough, it was not yet leavened and would not swell.

34 (con’t) having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.

As I said earlier, this is the second of only four times that the mishereth, or kneading trough, is mentioned in the Bible. The first was during the plague of frogs where it said that the frogs went into the kneading troughs of the Egyptians. They were small elongated wood or wicker troughs where dough was made.

They were lightweight and could be easily carried as described here. Wrapping them, or anything else like this, was a common way of carrying things. In parts of the world, it still is. This is what Ruth did when she left Boaz on the night of their meeting at the threshing floor.

She used her shawl as a way of carrying the barley that he gave her to take home. When I lived in Japan, my wife did this for me every day with my lunch. She’d wrap it in a large piece of cloth, usually one of my bandanas, and I’d carry it to work. Even thirty years later, my friends that I served with still bring that up from time to time.

If I were to look for a reason for the inclusion of this verse, which on its surface seems unnecessary to the account, it would be that it is a picture of Christ. The lamb died in place of the firstborn. In Christ, He died in place of the sinner.

He is sinless, just as the dough was unleavened. Sin results in death, leaven results in corruption. He, being the sinless Bread of life, is carried by the Lord’s people in their Exodus from the world of sin. Like Israel who carried heavy burdens for the Egyptians, we carried a heavy burden in spiritual Egypt, but we carry a light one in Christ. He referred to this in Matthew –

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

35 Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing.

As was seen before in reference to this, the King James Version blindly followed after the Geneva Bible and used the term “borrowed” instead of “asked.” It is the most unfortunate of translations which has led to all kinds of scandalous remarks concerning the Lord and the Lord’s people.

If they “borrowed” and didn’t intend to return, then they stole. Such is the nature of a mistranslation. It has led to many accusations being levied against the soundness of the account. The people asked and the Egyptians gave.

The word for “articles” here can mean a whole host of things from weapons to utensils and from cups to plates. Articles of silver and gold and also garments are requested, not to enrich the Israelites, but for what they will do with them in the wilderness.

They are heading out and will soon develop an organized mode of worship which will continue on until the coming of Christ. These articles will be used in the building of the tabernacle, every detail of which pictures Jesus. God is plundering the Egyptians in order to form this worship for His people.

Likewise, in Christ, God took from humanity in order to build His greater and eternal Temple. He did it in that Christ came from the stream of humanity to be the true Ark of that temple. And He has done it from His people who have become living stones in His temple. Every detail is given to show us hints of the glory to come in Christ.

36 And the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested.

All of Egypt would have been aware of the plight of the Israelites and they would have known that the Lord had judged Egypt because of them. They would look on Israel with fear, yes. But they would also look on them with a sense of realizing the wrongs that had been committed against them. As Matthew Henry says –

“Thus the Lord took care that their hard-earned wages should be paid, and the people provided for their journey.” Henry

Today, people continue to send money to Jewish causes and for the return of those who want to make the move back to the land of Israel. They do it because they perceive the injustices that have been committed against them in the past.

If each person in Egypt were given a single gold ring, a single silver cup, and a one nice garment, it would come out to an immense amount considering the number which is recorded as departing. If one person decides they will no longer go to Starbucks or Disney World because they don’t want to support the gay agenda, it may only mean $100 a year in lost revenue.

But if all Christians were united in this effort, it would deprive them of hundreds of millions of dollars a year, maybe more. Such is the nature of accumulated wealth. When the tabernacle is to be built, Moses will ask the people for donations for the effort. However, after a while this will be seen –

“Then all the craftsmen who were doing all the work of the sanctuary came, each from the work he was doing, and they spoke to Moses, saying, ‘The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.’
So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, ‘Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary.’ And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done—indeed too much.” Exodus 36:4-7

In the end, the extraordinary amount carried out collectively was individually a moderate repayment for many hard years of service, and a just recompense for harsh injustices against them.

*36 (con’t) Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

Each individual Egyptian was glad to have helped in a small way, but the Egyptian economy as a whole was severely harmed in a big way. It is like the common adage, “I went broke saving money” when buying many items that were on sale. Egypt was plundered one small donation at a time.

The Pulpit Commentary provides us with a graphic explanation of the sight of Israel ready to depart –

“The result was that the Israelites went forth, not as slaves, but as conquerors, decked with the jewels of the Egyptians, as though they had conquered and despoiled them.” Pulpit

Everything about this final plague on Egypt speaks of the work of Christ. In the greatest sense, God judged the world’s sin through His own Firstborn. There is a price for redeeming. In Egypt, it was with the firstborn of the people of the land, or with an innocent lamb.

In the world we live in, it can only be from the Firstborn of God, who also is the Lamb of God. Every picture of the past goes both ways, and both ways point to Christ. It is all about Him. Imagine that… we have been purchased by the very Creator of all things through the most precious life, that of Jesus.

How can we turn away from so great a salvation? How could we escape God’s wrath if we did? Nothing but the blood… nothing but the blood of Jesus Christ can wash away our sin. If you have never called out to Him for healing and restoration, please do so today. Let me tell you how you can…

Closing Verse: “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” Deuteronomy 28:5

Next Week: Exodus 12:37-51 (The Exodus) (36th Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Plague of the Firstborn

And it came to pass at midnight
That the Lord struck all the firstborn
In the land of Egypt, showing His might
And how the land did mourn!

From the firstborn of Pharaoh
Who sat upon his throne
To the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon
And all the firstborn of livestock, man and beast did moan

So Pharaoh rose in the night from his spot
He, all his servants, and all the people of Egypt
And there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not
A house where the life of one wasn’t stripped

Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night
And said, “Rise, and out from among my people go
Both you and the children of Israel
And go, serve the Lord as you have said, yes even so

Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said
And be gone; and bless me also, now that my son is dead

And the Egyptians urged the people
That they might send them out of the land in haste
For they said, “We shall all be dead.”
Hurry! There is no time to waste

So the people took their dough
Before to it they could leaven impose
Having their kneading bowls as we know
Bound up on their shoulders, in their clothes

Now the children of Israel had done as tasked
According to the word of Moses, he did tell
And they from the Egyptians had asked
Articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing as well

And the Lord had given the people favor
In the sight of the people of Egypt
So that they granted them what they requested
Thus they plundered the Egyptians; their wealth was stripped

With this final plague, Israel is ready to leave
After many years of hard bondage the time is spent
And while the people of Egypt moan and grieve
Israel will take part in the great exodus event

And each of us who has called upon the Lord
Has likewise been brought out from hard bondage too
When we heard the message of Jesus, the spoken word
He revived our spirit; in Him we have been created anew

Wonderful stories of times gone by
And yet they are relevant to the lives of each one of us
And so with our voices to Him let us shout aloud and cry
All hail the glorious name, the exalted name of Jesus!

Thank You for the new life You have granted to us
Thank You O God, for our Lord, our Savior, our precious Jesus

Hallelujah and Amen…



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