Exodus 10:1 – 13:16; Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13 – 46:28
This week’s parasha is central to the Judeo-Christian faith and in it we see all the major themes we have studied so far come together: the Seed, the Firstborn, the Cross, Creation and – of course – the Passover as an eternal reality. We study the 10 plagues of Egypt as a systematic process of de-creation or un-creation where the people of Egypt experience a reversal of creation while the Hebrew people experience a re-creation. Finally we meditate on the instruction of the “First-born” in Egypt and in Israel focusing on how all of this pertains to the Ultimate First Born – our Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture references from the episode
“All who dwell on the earth will worship him, mwhose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain nfrom the foundation of the world.”
“Then othe King will say to pthose on his right, ‘Come, you qwho are blessed by my Father, rinherit sthe kingdom tprepared for you ufrom the foundation of the world”
“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And tthe dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come”
Wisdom 18:14-16; 19:6-9
When peaceful stillness compassed everything
and the night in its swift course was half spent,
Your all-powerful word, from heaven’s royal throne
bounded, a fierce warrior, into the doomed land,
bearing the sharp sword of your inexorable decree.
And as he alighted, he filled every place with death;
he still reached to heaven, while he stood upon the earth.
For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew,
serving its natural laws,
that your children might be preserved unharmed.
The cloud overshadowed their camp;
and out of what had before been water, dry land was seen emerging:
Out of the Red Sea an unimpeded road,
and a grassy plain out of the mighty flood.
Over this crossed the whole nation sheltered by your hand,
after they beheld stupendous wonders.
For they ranged about like horses,
and bounded about like lambs,
praising you, O Lord! their deliverer.
Ex 7:10) Ephrem the Syrian – Commentary on Exodus 7:4.
The staff is a sign of the cross. It caused all the plagues when it swallowed the snakes, just as [the cross] would destroy all idols
(Ex 8:19) Augustine – Sermon 155.3
Isn’t the finger of God to be understood as being the Holy Spirit? Read the Gospel, and see that where one Evangelist has the Lord saying, “If I with the Spirit of God cast out demons,” another says, “If I with the finger of God cast out demons.” So if that law too was written by the finger of God, that is, by the Spirit of God, the Spirit by which Pharaoh’s magicians were defeated, so they said, “This is the finger of God, … why can it not be said of it, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has delivered you from the law of sin and death”?
(Ex 12:7) Basil the Great – Exegetic Homilies 20.3
Moses caused the doorposts of the Israelites to be signed with the blood of a lamb; but you have given us a sign, the blood itself of a Lamb without blemish, slain for the sin of the world. Ezekiel says that a sign was given on the foreheads of the persons (Ez 9:4).
(Ex 12:13) – Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 12:13:1
What, then, is the intent of “And I shall see the blood”? In reward for the mitzvah that you do, I shall reveal Myself with compassion to you, as it is written (Ibid.) “ufasachti upon you,” “pesichah” connoting life, as in (Isaiah 31:5) “As birds that fly, so will the L rd of hosts shield Jerusalem, shielding and saving, paseach and rescuing.” Variantly: “And I shall see the blood”: I shall see the “blood” of the binding of Isaac, as it is written (Genesis 22:14) “And Abraham called the name of the place ‘The L rd will see.'” And elsewhere it is written (I Chronicles 21:15) “But as he was about to destroy, the L rd saw and He repented Himself of the evil.” What did He see? The blood of the binding of Isaac.
(Ex 12:46) Augustine – Sermon 218.13
Now next, that the legs of those two were broken, while his [Christ’s] were not. He was already dead. Why this happened was stated in the Gospel itself. (Jn 19:33) It was fitting, you see, to demonstrate by this sign as well that the true point and purpose of the Jewish Passover, which contained this instruction, not to break the lamb’s bones, was to be a prophetic preenactment of his death.
(Ex 13:2) Tertullian – On the Flesh of Christ 23.4–5
For who is really holy but the Son of God? Who properly opened the womb but he who opened a closed one? But it is marriage which opens the womb in all cases. The Virgin’s womb, therefore, was especially opened, because it was especially closed.