Chapters 12 and 14-15

Twelve: Pesach Mitzrayim v. Pesach Dorot

Chapter 12 includes two variations of the Passover holiday. The first is found in verses 3-13 and the second is found in verses 14-20. In the first version, a Passover holiday specific to the generation of the Exodus is detailed. It starts "on the 10th of this month," which implies that the laws detailed are meant to be observed by the generation of the text. The laws of the korban pesach, the bitter herb, and unleavened bread are all included. There was also a commandment to spread the blood of the sacrificial lamb on the doorpost of each home. Moses is told to instruct the Israelites to eat swiftly, with their loins girded, and to prepare for a mass exodus, in light of the impending plague of the firstborn.

Following the description of Pesach Mitzrayim is an account of Pesach Dorot; here, the festival is meant to be observed l'doroteichem. Seven days of "unleavened bread" are required for each subsequent generation, as a "remembrance" of the event.

In verses 43-49, it is added that no foreigner may partake in the Passover offering, unless he is added to the community through circumcision. As well, the offering must be eaten in the house. This addition is made after the Israelites are told by Pharaoh to leave Egypt. Perhaps these final verses are in references to any non-Israelites who may have left Egypt with the newly freed nation. These additions seem to address the question of new citizens and members of the community.

In Deuteronomy 16:1-12, Passover is described again, but in very different terms. There are less specific restrictions on the type on animal permitted for the sacrifice, and sense of hurriedness seems absent. This absence, according to Shadal, is for an obvious reason: in Egypt, the Israelites were in a hurry, and in later generations they were not. There is no need to act with hipazon, since there is no rush and no Exodus. The rushing described in Exodus 12: 3-13 is merely a response to the dire situation at hand; in the present day, there is no need to make haste.

Fifteen: Poem of the Sea

In chapter 14, the narrative of the splitting of the sea and subsequent destruction of the Egyptian forces is laid out. In the following chapter, a poem detailing the same event is recorded. Between the two accounts, there are many similarities and differences.

The narrative, unlike the poem, details the complaints of the Israelites. In chapter 14, the Israelites berate Moses for taking them out of Egypt to "die in the wilderness". This sentiment remains absent from the poem.

The poem focuses mainly on the destruction of the Egyptians and the power of God. As a testament to God's strength, there is no need to include narrative details of human emotions separate from this theme. Rather than describe the event, the poem is meant to aggrandize the event, like many war songs do. The poem is meant to serve as a signifier of God's supremacy, which acts as a fitting end to a story often focused on God's dominance over and destruction of Egyptian gods.