This week’s parsha (Bo) is from Exodus 10:1-13:16 and the Haftarah is from Jeremiah 46:13-28. This parsha gives us the details of the last three plagues to fall on the houses of Egypt (locusts, darkness, and the death of the first born) and then continues with the children of Israel leaving the land of Egypt for good. With theses plagues we incrementally see Pharaoh’s resolve wavering. First, he says that yes they can go…but only the men. When Moses says that this is no good Pharaoh says that no one can go…and then the locusts come. After the locusts have devoured everything there is, Pharaoh asks for Moses to intercede on his behalf and asks for forgiveness–but still Pharaoh will not let the Israelites go…then the plague of darkness descends on Egypt. This darkness, like most of the other plagues is something that the Israelites get to witness, but not something that touches them directly. After three days Pharaoh calls Moses and Aaron back and says “ok fine, the men, the women, and the children can go and worship in the desert but you have to leave all of your stuff and your animals here.” This doesn’t work because sacrifice is part of what is involved with worship, so Moses says no and Pharaoh says no right back.
At the end of this exchange Pharaoh says that he never wants to see Moses’ face again. God’s tells Moses regarding this tenth and final plague is that this plague will be it for Pharaoh and it will be enough for Pharaoh to drive them completely out of Egypt for good. But, the Israelites won’t be protected from this plague automatically. In order to be preserved through the visit by the Angel of Death, each home will have to kill a perfect and healthy lamb and spread its blood over the door of their home. It was the blood of the lamb that caused the Angel of Death to pass over the homes of the Israelites. It was only if the Israelites acted in obedience and in faith that their firstborn children would be spared. This plague wasn’t just changing Pharaoh’s heart, it was changing the calendar for the Jewish people for all time. If you didn’t know or if you hadn’t yet guessed, this is the first passover. The Angel of Death “passed over” (get it?) the homes with blood on their doors and this deliverance from death and from slavery in Egypt is something that the Jewish people were to remember and celebrate every year.
For this first Passover there could have been no doubt in the homes for those firstborn children that they were spared because the lamb was not. For those of us who know Yeshua (Jesus) as our Messiah we know that we are spared the judgment that our sin rightly deserves because Yeshua was not spared. This passage and the celebration of Passover later this year are a great reminder for me that we are unable as people to deliver ourselves or to protect ourselves from ultimate judgment. God provided instructions and provided the deliverance for the Israelites as they were fleeing Egypt and he provided the instructions and deliverance for all mankind to be redeemed and reconciled to him.
We hope that you will enjoy reading this passage with your families this week. Shabbat Shalom Camp Gilgal!