1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine."
God commands that the first born male of man and beast is wholly and holy to God. This was anticipating the birth of God's Son, Jesus Christ who would be foremost in all things.Luke 2:22-24
22 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord
23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD"),
24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, "A pair of
turtledoves or two young pigeons."
3 And Moses said to the people: "Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
4 "On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.
5 "And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites and the Hittites and the Amorites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month.
The Israelites are to begin observing the Passover after they enter the land of Canaan. God would not require this of them while they traveled in the wilderness, as it would quickly deplete their stock of sheep and goats. That, and they dwelt in tents during their travels in the wilderness, to there would be no doors or lintels to splash the blood of the sacrificial lamb upon.Exodus 13:6-7
6 "Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.
7 "Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.
Israel is to eat no leaven (yeast) for 7 days. No leaven is to be anywhere in their home either during these 7 days, as a reminder of the haste in which they left Egypt.Exodus 13:8-10
8 "And you shall tell your son in that day, saying, 'This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.'
9 "It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the LORD's law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.
10 "You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.
They are to tell each generation every year about the mighty hand of the Lord bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. Once they reach Canaan this is to be observed every year, forever. The "sign on the hand" and the "memorial between your eyes" is where the Jews (especially the Orthodox and the Hasidic sects) get the concept of "phylacteries" (Tefillim in Hebrew), small wooded boxes that they strap on the back of the hand and wear on the forehead above the eyes.
These phylacteries contain a small piece of sheep or lamb skin with a verse of the Law (Torah) written on it. Jesus referred to these when He said of the Pharisees;
1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,
2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3 "Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
4 "For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
6 "They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
7 "greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.'
Unfortunately by the time of Jesus, the phylacteries were seen as a mark of holiness. The bigger the phylactery, the closer to God you were in the eyes of the common folk. Jesus pointed out that the Pharisees did this because they loved adulation from people, and were quite vain in their appearances.Exodus 13:11-16
11 "And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,
12 "that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD's.
13 "But every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
14 "So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What is this?' that you shall say to him, 'By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
15 'And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.'
16 "It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt."
All firstborn male animals (except donkeys) are to be sacrificed to God. This is a reminder of the destruction of the firstborn of man and beast in Egypt during the final plague of the Exodus. Also by sacrificing these animals, a constant supply of food was provided for the house of Levi, whole sole purpose was to minister to the Lord and the things of the Lord.
They would own no property, nor would they have an inheritance of land in Israel (unless land was donated to them). Therefore God provided that they would eat of the sacrificial offerings, providing for their welfare as well.
Donkeys were "unclean" animals and were not to be eaten, and therefore could not be sacrificed. As such, they were to be either redeemed with a "clean" animal (a lamb) or they were to be killed, again as a reminder of the destruction of the firstborn in Egypt.Exodus 13:17-18
17 Then it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, "Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt."
18 So God led the people around by way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up in orderly ranks out of the land of Egypt.
God figured that the people would lose heart if they escaped Egypt and immediately ran into a war with the Philistines. There was a well-traveled path between Egypt and Philistia called the Old Horus Road and Israel could have easily reached Canaan within several months by traveling this road.
However the Philistines (Sea Peoples) were fierce fighters, and had conquered or destroyed many of the coastal cities from Turkey to Egypt in their quest for a homeland after fleeing the eruption of the volcanic island of Thera (Greek "Fear") in 1546 B.C., the most violent volcanic eruption in recorded history.
The eruption and destruction of the island of Thera destroyed the advanced Minoan culture that ruled the Aegean Sea (creating the legends of Atlantis), and the Minoan survivors fled south and east from the island of Crete (Hebrew "Caphtor") to escape any future catastrophes.
The eruption of Thera was so violent, that Zakros palace on the southeast corner of Crete 60 miles to the south of the volcano was destroyed so quickly and thoroughly that looters never found the treasures buried in the rubble. Recent archaeological excavations have revealed vials of expensive perfumes and rare jewelry.
Tsunamis washed up on the shores of Crete to a height of 300 feet from the blast, and areas of western
Turkey showed evidence of tsunamis reaching a height of 600 feet.
The Minoans (Philistines) were advanced enough that they had learned to smelt and work iron while the rest of the Middle Eastern cultures were still using bronze, giving the Philistines a huge advantage in war. They had systematically moved down the western coast of Asia from Turkey to Egypt, destroying everything in their path until Pharaoh Rameses III finally stopped them at the border of Egypt.
God spoke of the Minoan origin and flight of the Philistine survivors of Thera when He said;
1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet against the Philistines, before Pharaoh attacked Gaza.
2 Thus says the LORD: "Behold, waters rise out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood; they shall overflow the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell within;
then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall wail.
3 At the noise of the stamping hooves of his strong horses, at the rushing of his chariots,
at the rumbling of his wheels, the fathers will not look back for their children, lacking courage,
4 Because of the day that comes to plunder all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper who remains; for the LORD shall plunder the Philistines, the remnant of the country of Caphtor.
God here was speaking of Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar's soon coming attack against the Philistines. And note that God in verse 4 speaks of the Philistines as being the remnant of the country of Caphtor (Crete).Exodus 13:19
19 And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had placed the children of Israel under solemn oath, saying, "God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here with you."
In the area formerly known as Goshen in Egypt, the remains of a luxurious villa have been unearthed with distinct Asiatic origins. It has been speculated that this was the villa of Joseph, and there is supporting evidence for this (covered in the Genesis chapter 50 study).
The remains of an elaborate tomb in the villa were also unearthed, and a tunnel had been dug into the tomb at first attributed to grave robbers. But grave robbers do not take the bodies from the graves they plunder, and this tomb did not have a body, so it is speculated that Israelites took the body of Joseph from this tomb when they left Egypt.Exodus 13:20-22
20 So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness.
21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night.
22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.
God used a pillar of cloud by day for a visible reminder of His presence, and a pillar of fire by night for light. It was high enough for 2-3 million people to see. This also tells us that they were traveling day and night as needed for their escape from Egypt.