Exodus 12

Breakdown of Chapter

12:1-2: Appointment of that month as the head of the year

12:3-10: Laws of eating the "lamb"

12:11-13: Further laws of eating the lamb and the reasons

12:14-20: Assignment of the days as holy days ("Days of Unleavened Bread") and the restriction of eating leavened bread

12:21-28: Moses's retelling to the Israelites and his elaboration; The Israelites listen to the message

12:29-32: God fulfills His word and Pharaoh urges the Israelites ot leave

12:33-39: The Israelites leave Egypt

12:40-42: Summary of the Israelites' time in Egypt and God's fulfillment of bringing them out

12:43-49: Laws regarding the eating of the "Passover Offering"

12:50-51: Summary of chapter


1. What is the connection between the calendar reform in 12:2-3 and the Exodus?

     Rashbam: This establishes the Torah's use of the Exodus as the calendar standard.

2. What is the meaning and significance of matzah in 12:8, prior to the Exodus taking place?

     Rashbam: These are all manners in which people in a rush would eat. This would fit with the next section where God tells the Israelites to make sure they are ready to leave.

3. What is the festival in 12:14-20 called, and what characterizes it?

     It is called a general Holiday or "Unleavened Bread," which is the characterizing aspect of the days listed.

4. What role(s) does the ger play in the rituals described in Exodus 12?

     He is included, but only if he actively makes himself as part of the nation.

5. In what ways do Moshe’s instructions in 12:21-28 agree with, and in what ways do they disagree with, what we have read until this point?

     Moses skips over the intricate laws and restrictions God gave to him about the way to pick and eat the lamb. Moses attributes God's threat to the "משחית" and not God himself. He seems to skip over much of what God told him.

6. 12:40-41 are very explicit about the length of time the Israelites spent in Egypt. What problems does this number create, and how may it be resolved?

     It can't be that they spent that long, because we have the genealogy and a very good sense of the number of years because we are given ages. Rashbam says that it is counted from "ברית בין הבתרים"

7. What laws are added to the pesah in 12:43-49? What are they doing here?

     It takes the offering and makes it a holistic ritual for the Israelites. They must be part of the group and it is done by the group, for the group.

8. What in the פרק is relevant only to פסח מצרים, and what to פסח דורות? Is such a distinction even evident in the פרק?

     Egyptian Passover: 12:3-13, 21-23, 33-36

     Eternal Passover: 12:14-20, 24-27

     12:43-49 is vague.

     There does seem to be a distinction between what was reserved for then and what will be forever.

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