James Nisbet Commentary - Exodus 12:22 - 12:23

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James Nisbet Commentary - Exodus 12:22 - 12:23

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:


‘And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason,’ etc.


The night of the Passover was ‘a night much to be remembered.’ Wherever a Jew exists it is to this night he points, as the proudest epoch in his people’s history. The feast of the Passover is full of typical meaning. Notice, first, that this was a little judgment day. The children of Israel were to be delivered by a direct visitation of God. There are three great truths brought out in this narrative.

I. The universality of condemnation.—God was going to save the Israelites, but before He saved them He must condemn them. He sent Moses with a message couched in the language of symbol, which clearly showed that the Israelites were guilty no less than the Egyptians. The lamb was to be the representative of the firstborn son, who must die for the sins of his family. The Israelite and the Egyptian are brought under one common charge of guilt, and there they all stand, ‘condemned already.’

II. The great truth of substitution.—God sends Moses to His people and bids them choose ‘for every family a lamb.’ The lamb was instead of the firstborn. Christ is the ‘Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.’

III. The third truth taught is appropriation.—The Israelite would not have been safe if he had merely killed the lamb; he had to sprinkle its blood on the lintel and on the two sideposts. When we repose our confidence in the Person of Christ, we have taken the bunch of hyssop and dipped it in the blood, and from that moment we are safe.

Canon Hay Aitken.


(1) ‘The Passover-feast, kept as a united national act of obedience, was the first act of the independent and free nation; organised under Jehovah, their invisible king. Observe that the national history dates from a Divine deliverance; as we date from the coming to earth of our Incarnate Saviour. Get illustrations of the atonement of the Lord Jesus from the Passover. Work out the following points:—(1) The victim it provides. (2) The sacrifice it requires. (3) The duty it enjoins (ver. 7). (4) The spirit it demands. (5) The peril it averts. (6) The extent it contemplates.’

(2) ‘The paschal lamb being without blemish fitly shadowed forth the perfection of His character; its age, how He was to be cut off in the flower of His days; the charge not to break its bones, represents literally what took place in our Lord’s case; and the charge to roast it with fire is a foreshadowing of the severity of His sufferings, while the bitter herbs with which it was to be eaten tells of the sorrow for sin with which it behoves us to receive the Saviour; and the eating itself, and the sprinkling of the blood, are indications of the appropriation which we need to make of Him by faith in order that we may live by Him, and of the necessity of having His blood applied to our hearts and consciences in order that it may cleanse us from all sin. The whole speaks of Christ, and is meaningless except as it speaks of Him.’

(3) ‘None but the circumcised could partake. O! my soul, hast thou put off from thee the filthiness of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ, so only canst thou be sure of having a right to the body and blood of the Lamb.’