God’s Instruction To Israel Upon Their Departure From Egypt


Exodus 13

A. The instructions given to them.

1. The firstborn belongs to God, Exodus 13:1-2.

a. Sanctify to Me means ‘set apart to Me’, the firstborn was to be set apart to God.

b. This was for three reasons, first, because Israel was God’s firstborn and this honoured that fact; second, because the firstborn was thought to be the best, and the best was always given to God, finally, to be a reminder to all generations of when God redeemed Israel, His firstborn, Exodus 4.22.

2. The feast of Unleavened Bread, Exodus 13:3-7.

a. The purity of the feast of Unleavened Bread followed upon the blood-deliverance of Passover, we can only walk in purity before the Lord after we have had the blood-deliverance at the cross.

b. At the same time, the days of Unleavened Bread were not joyless, the time began and ended with a feast, a party. A walk of purity in the Lord is not a joyless life!

3. Remember to tell your children why you do these things, Exodus 13:8-10.

a. God wanted the deliverance from Egypt to be constantly before their eyes, the Jews took this passage to practice the wearing of phylacteries, small boxes holding parchment with scriptures on them, held to the forehead or hand with leather straps.

i. Jesus condemned the abuse of the wearing of phylacteries among the Pharisees, they would make their phylactery boxes large and ostentatious as a display of greater spirituality, Matthew 23:5.

b. God is obviously speaking symbolically here, otherwise, why not make a phylactery box to put in the mouth? That the Lord’s law may be in your mouth.

c. In the end times, there will be a Satanic imitation of this practice, when the number of the Antichrist will be applied to either the hand or forehead of all who will take it, Revelation 13:16.

4. How and why to give the firstborn to the Lord, Exodus 13:11-16.

a. This law was only to take effect when in the Promised Land, by then, the need for a reminder of the work of deliverance from Egypt would be all the more necessary.

b. If the firstborn was unacceptable to sacrifice, unclean animal or human, there was to be money given to redeem the firstborn, and the redemption money was to be paid in silver.

i. Silver is the metal associated with redemption and payment for sin, of course, Jesus was betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, Exodus 21:32 / Leviticus 5:15 / Leviticus 27:3 / Leviticus 27:6 / Numbers 18:16 / Deuteronomy 22:19 / Matthew 26:15.

B. Israel’s journey out of Egypt

1. God leads them out in the way less expected, by the wilderness, Exodus 13:17-18.

a. The coastal route, the Via Maris, known as ‘the way of the sea’, was the shortest and most common way to go, but it was also the road where Egypt’s military outposts were. God knew the people of Israel were not ready to face this yet, so He led them in a different way.

b. In the same way, God will never allow us to face more than we are able to bear, He knows what we can handle, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

i. It would have been easy for the Israelites to think that the Via Maris was the way to go, it had good, easy roads, the shortest distance, and it was a trade route so food and water could be bought. But the dangers of the way were too great, even though they could not see them. The same is true of our walk with God, a way that seems right to us may turn out to be full of danger we can’t even think of.

c. The Red Sea first mentioned here is not the huge expanse of the Red Sea, some 100 miles wide, but the western ‘finger’ of the Red Sea that extends up unto the border areas of Egypt, the modern-day Gulf of Suez.

2. The promise to Joseph fulfilled, Exodus 13:19.

a. Joseph, in a great act of faith, had asked that his bones be taken up from Egypt because he knew that Egypt was not their final resting place.

b. ln Genesis 50, it says specifically that Joseph was never buried. His coffin laid above ground for four hundred or so years until it was taken back to Canaan, Genesis 50:25-26.

3. Israel led by the cloud by day and the fire by night, Exodus 13:20-22.

a. The Hebrew for pillar literally means ‘something standing’, it was probably more of what we would think of as a ‘column’ than a pillar.

b. The Lord went before them, what more can we ask for than this? God showed His presence to Israel in a dramatic way, by giving them ‘24-hour-a-day’ assurance, with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.

i. The pillar of cloud by day and of fire by night was also there as a sun and a shield, Psalms 105:39 / Psalm 84:11.

c. We often think that such miraculous assurance would make us never doubt the Lord again, but Israel certainly did, and so would we.



"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."