Click here to read Exodus 11:1-13:16

Today’s passage focuses on the events surrounding and setting up future commemoration of God’s redemption of Israel.  In many ways this is the culmination of what Israel has been anticipating for more than 430 years; finally Israel will be free from the oppression of Egypt.

The narrative action of this passage is fairly straightforward—Pharaoh once again refuses to free God’s people, God performs the final plague and kills all of the firstborn of Egypt, and Israel is finally allowed to leave and they travel to Succoth.  However, the institution of Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the consecration of all the firstborn of Israel (animals and people) allow God to provide the people of Israel an identity and a way to remember what He has done.

God delivers the people from Egypt, but the sacrifice of the lamb and the passing over of the houses of Israel because of the blood remind the Israelites (and us) of a theme that was introduced very early in Genesis—the idea of need of bloodshed to redeem and deliver from death. In addition to the Passover meal, the Feast of Unleavened Bread (which went on for 7 more days) was instituted, too.  The unleavened bread would not only remind them of how quickly they left, but yeast is also used in the Old Testament as a symbol of sin (sin permeates every part of a person just like yeast does with dough).  So as they ate the bread without yeast they would also be reminded of the need for holiness.  God gave them these institutions so that they would remember what He had done here, so that they would pass word of it on to their children, and so that it would tie together what God had done in the past to what He would currently do for them.

God also reminds the Israelites that He isn’t just taking them out of Egypt without reason, but that His plan is to give them the land that He promised to Abraham.  And along with this God commands His people to consecrate their firstborn (sons and animals) to Him as a sign of their total commitment to God (consecrate just means to consider something as belonging to God). Through all of these things God once again demonstrates that Israel is His special people as He brings them out of Egypt.

Names Places

God – God

Moses – baby drawn from water and saved

Pharaoh – ruler of Egypt

Aaron – Moses’ brother, a Levite


Egypt – where the sons of Jacob/Israel lived

Rameses – city the Israelites left from

Succoth – city where Israel received more Passover instructions and consecrated their firstborn



Pharaoh’s officials


elders of Israel

occupants of the Promised Land – Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, Jebusites


Promised Land – land God promised to Abraham


Today's stops are indicated with arrows. Click to Enlarge (From Logos Bible Software)

Interesting facts:

1) Passover is important because the death of the firstborn of Egypt was considered a judgment for their sin and God accepted the death of an animal.  This will set up the basis of part of the future sacrificial system of Israel (coming in the weeks ahead) and both of these will provide a better understanding of the significance of Jesus sacrifice (who is also called the lamb of God).  In this passage God explains that when they see the blood they will be reminded of what is happening, and when He sees the blood He will pass by because His justice is satisfied. In the future we’ll see that the sacrifice of an animal in place of a human is only temporary, but that because Jesus was perfect and fully God, His sacrifice in our place was able to pay the penalty of sin permanently.

2) With the final plague God killed the firstborn of every family in Egypt—both animal and person.  The firstborn son of Pharaoh was viewed as a god, which means that to all of the Egyptians, the true God would have killed one of their gods.

3) The following is taken from Dr. Thomas Constable’s notes and shows that Egyptian history aligns with the account in today’s passage:

There is evidence from Egyptology that the man who succeeded Amenhotep II, the pharaoh of the plagues, was not his first-born son. His successor was Thutmose IV (1425-1417 B.C.), a son of Amenhotep II but evidently not his first-born. Thutmose IV went to some pains to legitimatize his right to the throne. This would not have been necessary if he had been the first-born. So far scholars have found no Egyptian records of the death of Amenhotep II’s first-born son.