Exod. xii. which it doth not appertain to us here to insist on. There
are two things in the words. 1. The commendation of the faith of
Moses, from the due observance of a double divine ordinance of wor-
ship. The one whereof was to be standing and of perpetual use in the
church, namely, the passover ; the other was temporary, suited to that
season only, namely, the sprinkling of the blood ; or it may be esteemed
a temporary addition to the other. 2. The effect or consequent of his
faith in the observance of these ordinances, whereof they were a sign,
' that he who destroyed,' &c.
First. The first thing ascribed to him as the fruit of his faith, is that
' he kept the passover.' The word used TrsnoiriKS, is of a large signifi-
cation. We render it, ' he kept.' But that doth not comprise its
whole sense. For it refers no less to the sprinkling of blood than to
the passover ; and it is not proper to say, he kept the sprinkling of
blood. He wrought, he performed the whole sacred duty ; that is of
killing the passover and sprinkling the blood. ' The passover.' The
Greeks call it ira(r\a, pascha, which some would derive from irao-veiv,
'to suffer,' because the lamb suffered when it was slain, very foolishly.
For the word is of a Hebrew original, only used by the Greeks after
the Chaldec dialect, wherein it is usual to add N to the end of words.
So of the Hebrew rrDD came the Chaldee nhdd, and thence the Greek
Trao-\a. The Hebrew word pesach, is from rrcD, pasach ' to pass over.' Not
that pasach doth properly or commonly signify transire, ' to pass over'
or away, which is *iny ; but a peculiar passing over by a kind of leaping
or skipping, taking one thing and leaving another. Hence it is like the
going of a lame man, rising up and falling down ; and such a one is
called rrDD, piseach, Lev. xxi. 18; Mai. i. 13. Claudus, 'one that
limpeth.' The word was chosen to intimate the manner of the distinc-
tion that God made by the destroying angel, between the houses of the
Egyptians and the Israelites, when he passed over the one untouched,
and entered into another, it may be next to it, with death.
Sundry things did the faith of Moses respect in his keeping or ob-
servance of the passover. 1. Its institution. 2. The command for its
observance. 3. Its sacramental nature, wherein a divine promise was
included. 4. Its mystical or typical signification.
First, lie had respect to the original institution of this ordinance,
which he had by divine revelation. God revealed to him the ordinance
496 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
itself, with all its rites and ceremonies, which was its institution. And
this, faith respects in the first place ; nor will it move or act towards
any thing in the worship of God, but what it hath the warrant of divine
institution for. This is recorded, Exocl. xii. 1 â€” 4, &c.
Secondly. To the command for its perpetual observance, which he
was then to initiate the people into, ver. 14, ' You shall keep it a feast
unto the Lord throughout your generations, you shall keep it a feast by
an ordinance for ever.' For although divine institution be a sufficient
warrant for the observance of any thing in the worship of God, yet to
secure and encourage our faith, God did always confirm it by a com-
mand of obedience. So our Lord Jesus Christ did not only institute
the ordinance of the holy supper, but commanded all his disciples to
observe it in the remembrance of him. And with respect hereunto did
the faith of Moses work in the way of obedience. And an active obe-
dience to the authority of Christ in his commands, is exactly required in
all that we do in divine worship.
Thirdly. He had respect by faith to the sacramental nature of it,
wherein the promise was included. For this is the nature of sacra-
ments, that in and by a visible pledge they contain a promise, and
exhibit the thing promised to them that believe. This is expressed,
Exod. xii. 11, where, speaking of the lamb to be slain and eaten, with
all its rites and ceremonies, God adds, ' for it is the Lord's passover ;'
where the application of the name of the thing signified to the sacra-
mental sign of it, is consecrated to the use of the church. So was it
taken for granted by our Saviour in the institution of the sacrament of
his supper ; where he says of the bread and wine, that they are his
body and blood ; applying the names of the things signified to those
which were appointed signs of them by divine institution. And herein
was enwrapped and contained the promise of the deliverance of the
people, which was exemplified and represented to their faith in all the
rites and circumstances of it. And the accomplishment of this promise
was that which they were obliged to instruct their children and posterity
in, as the reason of keeping this divine service, ver. 24â€”27.
Fourthly. He had respect to the mystical or typical signification of
it. For what Moses did of this kind, it was ' for a testimony of those
things which were afterwards to be declared,' Heb. iii. 5. See the
Exposition. And those testimonies of Moses concerning Christ, which
are so frequently appealed to in the New Testament, consist more in
what he did than in what he said. P'or all his institutions were repre-
sentations of him, and so testimonies to him. And this of the paschal
lamb was one of the most illustrious types of his office. Hence the
apostle expressly calls Christ our passover, * Christ our passover is
sacrificed for us,' 1 Cor. v. 7. He and his sacrifice was that really and
substantially, whereof the paschal lamb was a type, sign, and shadow.
And it may not be an useless diversion to name some of those things
wherein the typical relation between Christ in his sacrifice, and the
paschal lamb or passover, did consist. As,
1. It was a lamb that was the matter of this ordinance, Exod. xii. 3.
And in allusion hereunto, as also to other sacrifices that were instituted
afterwards, Christ is called the < Lamb of God/ John i. 29. 2. This
VEIt. 28.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 497
lamb was to be taken out from the flock of the sheep, ver. 5. So was
the Lord Christ to be taken out of the flock of the church of mankind,
in his participation of our nature, that he might be a meet sacrifice for
us, Ileb. ii. 14 â€” 17. 3. This lamb being taken from the flock was to
be shut up separate from it, Exod. xii. 6. So although the Lord
Christ was taken from amongst men, yet he was separate from sinners,
Ileb. vii. 26, that is, absolutely free from all that contagion of sin which
others are infected withal. 4. This lamb was to be without blemish,
Exod. xii. 5, which is applied unto the Lord Christ, 1 Pet. i. 19, 'a
lamb without blemish and without spot.' 5. This lamb was to be slain,
and was slain accordingly, ver. G. So was Christ slain for us ; a lamb
in the efficacy of his death, slain from the foundation of the world, Rev.
xiii. S. 6. This lamb was so slain as that it was a sacrifice, ver. 27.
It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover. And ' Christ our passover
was sacrificed for us,' 1 Cor. v. 7. 7. The lamb being slain, was to be
roasted, ver. 8, 9 ; which signified the fiery wrath that Christ was to
undergo for our deliverance. 8. That * not a bone of him should be
broken,' ver. 46, was expressly to declare the manner of the death of
Christ, John xix. 33 â€” 36. 9. The eating of him, which was also en-
joined, and that wholly and entirely, ver. 8, 9, was to instruct the
church in the spiritual food of the flesh and blood of Christ, in the
communication of the fruits of his mediation unto us by faith. And
sundry other things of the same nature might be observed.
With respect unto all these things, did Moses by faith keep the pass-
Obs. I. There is always an especial exercise of faith required unte
the due observance of a sacramental ordinance.
Secondly. The second thing ascribed to the faith of Moses, is, tjjv
Trpo(T\vaiv tov aifxaToq, ' the sprinkling of blood.' This, whether it
were a peculiar temporary ordinance, or an observance annexed to the
first celebration of the passover, is all to the same purpose. That it
was not afterwards repeated, is evident, not only from hence, thaj; it is
nowhere mentioned as observed; but principally, because the ground
and reason of it did utterly cease. And God will not have any empty
signs or ceremonies in his worship, that should be of no signification.
However, that first signification that it had, was of constant use in the
church, as unto the faith of believers. The institution is recorded, ver.
7. The blood of the lamb when it was slain, was preserved in a
bason, from whence they were to take it by dipping a bunch of hyssop
into it, ver. 22, and strike it on the two side-posts, and the upper door-
posts of their houses. And this was to be a token unto them, that God
would pass over the houses that were so sprinkled and marked with
blood, that none should be destroyed in them, ver. 13. And this was
to abide for ever in its mystical signification, as the present use of it is
declared in the next words, by the apostle. But unto this day, we are
Obs. II. That whatever is not sprinkled with the blood of Christ
the Lamb of God, who was slain and sacrificed for us, is exposed unto
destruction from the anger and displeasure of God. â€” As also that,
Obs. III. It is the blood of Christ alone which gives us security
VOL. IV. K K
498 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
from him that hath the power of death. â€” See the exposition of ch. ii.
Thirdly. The end of this institution was, that he who destroyed the
first-born might not touch them.
1. The agent employed in this work, was 6 oAo&peuwv, or oXoS^eu-
TÂ»}e> 1 Cor. x. 10, ' the destroyer ;' that is, an angel whom God em-
afterwards in the destruction of Sennacherib's army; as before, in that
of Sodom. There is, therefore, no reason to think, with some of the
Jews, that it was an evil angel, whom they call "TifiiEN, ' Ashmodaeus,'
in the book of Tobit; and usually man "fx^tt, 'the angel of death,' or
' him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.' For there is no
work more holy, or more becoming the holy ministering spirits, than
to execute the judgments of God on impenitent sinners.- I do grant,
that in the infliction of the plagues on the Egyptians in general, espe-
cially in the work of hardening their hearts, and seducing them unto
their deserved destruction, God did make use of the activity of evil
angels unto such ends. For so the Psalmist affirms, 'he sent evil
angels among them,' Ps. lxxviii. 49. But this work of slaying their
first-born, is so peculiarly and frequently ascribed unto God himself,
that I rather judge he employed a good angel therein. And,
Obs. IV. God hath always instruments in readiness to execute the
severest of his judgments on sinners, in their greatest security. â€” They
were all in their midnight sleep in Egypt, when this messenger of death
came amongst them. â€” And,
2. He destroyed the first-born ; ra 7rpwroroKa, in the neuter gender,
that is, -yevvrj/iara. For the destruction was extended to the first-born
of beasts, as well as of men, Exod. xii. 29. And this was done at the
same time throughout all the land of Egypt, that is, about midnight,
ch. xi. 4, xii. 29, 30.
Obs. V. Such is the great power and activity of these fiery minister-
ing sprits, as that, in the shortest space of time imaginable, they can
execute the judgments of God on whole nations, as well and as easily
as on private persons, 2 Kings xix. 35.
The close of the words gives us the Use of the sprinkling of blood on
the posts of the door ; namely, that it might be a sign and token unto
the Israelites, that they should be preserved from that woeful destruc-
tion which they knew would that night befal the Egyptians. Ver. 13,
' The blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you
are.' And what is added, that ' when he did see the blood, he would
pass over them, and the plague should not come nigh them,' was only
to oblige them with all diligence and reverence, to observe his sacred
institution. For their deliverance was suspended on the condition
thereof, and had they failed herein, any of them, they had perished
with the Egyptians.
Mr? Siyy avrwv, 'should not touch them;' that is, the Israelites, or
their cattle. For although they are not mentioned before, yet are they
necessarily understood, And it is thus expressed, ' not touch them,'
to declare the absolute security which they were to enjoy while the
Egyptians were smitten. The destroyer made no approach unto their
VER. EPISTLE To THE HEBREWS. 499
houses, they bad no fear of him. So not to touch, is used for the same
with doing no harm : or being remote from it. Ps. cv. 15, 'Touch not
mine anointed, and do my prophets no barm.' 1 John v. 18, * The
wicked one toucheth him not.' That which God would for ever in-
struct the church in by this ordinance, is, that,
Obs. VI. Unless we are sprinkled with the blood of Christ our pas-
cbal Lamb, no other privilege can secure us from eternal destruction â€”
Though a man had been really an Israelite, and had, with others, made
himself ready that night for a departure, which was a high profession of
faith, yet if the lintel and posts of his door had not been sprinkled with
blood, he would have been destroyed. And on the other hand, where
there is this sprinkling of blood, be the danger never so great or so
near, there shall be certain deliverance. ' The blood of sprinkling
speaks better things than the blood of Abel.'
Ver. 29. â€” Having fixed the foundation and beginning of the de-
liverance of the church, on the exercise of faith in the observance of
the holy institutions of divine worship, prescribed to be the signs and
tokens thereof; the apostle proceeds to give an instance, in one of the
most remarkable passages of divine providence that befel them in the
way of their deliverance.
Ver. 29. â€” fhora Sufitjcrav rrjv tpvSpav SaXcuraav wg Sta Â£Â»>pac, rjg
7rtipav \a(5ovTÂ£g oi Aijvtttioi KaTE7ro$i)(rav.
Tijv envSpav SaXaaaav ; the Syr. retains the Hebrew name, cpD~r N73 s ,
' the reedy sea,' the sea of i-eeds or canes ; as this sea is called con-
stantly in the Scripture.
Uetpav XafiovTit; ; Vulg. experti, ' making a trial.' Periculo facto,
' venturing to do,' as we, ' essaying.' Syr. Tn^y vnÂ»N "D, ' when they
durst,' or emboldened themselves to enter it.
IvÂ«rÂ£7roS'>)aav, devorati sunt ; Vulg. absorpti sunt. Syr. properly,
' were swallowed up,' overwhelmed, drowned, suffocated.
Ver. 29. â€” By faith they panned through the Red Sea as by dry
land; which the Egyptians essaying, (making a trial of) were
droivned, (or swallowed up.)
A greater instance, with respect unto the work of divine providence,
of the power of faith on the one hand, and of unbelief with obdurate
presumption on the other, there is not on record in the whole book of
God. Here we have the end and issue of the long controversy that
was between those two people, the Egyptians and the Israelites ; a cer-
tain type and evidence of what will be the last end of the contest be-
tween the world and the church. Their long conflict shall end in the
complete salvation of the one, and the utter destruction of the other.
First. The persons whose faith is here commended, are included in
that word Sjo-ov, ' they passed ;' that is, the whole congregation of
the Israelites under the conduct of Moses, Exod. xiv. ' And the whole
is denominated from the better part. For many of them were not be-
500 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
lievers in state, unto the sanctification of their persons. For Â« with
many of them,' as the apostle speaks, ' God was not well pleased,
though they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea.'
1 Cor. x. 2, 5. But in a professing society, God is pleased to impute
the faith and obedience of some, unto the whole : as on the other hand,
judgments do oftentimes befal the whole for the provocations of some,
as it frequently happened unto that people in the wilderness. It is
therefore the duty of every man in church society, to endeavour on the
one hand the good of the whole in his own personal faith and obedi-
ence ; as also on the other, to keep them as far as he can from sin,
that he fall not with them under the displeasure of God.
Secondly. Their faith wrought in their passing through the sea : not
in dividing of the waters ; that was an act of immediate almighty power.
But by faith they passed through when they were divided. It is true
that God commanded Moses to divide the sea, ch. xiv. 16, but this was
only ministerially, in giving a sign thereof by stretching forth his rod,
ver. 21. And concerning their passage by faith, some things may be
1. It was the Red Sea that they passed through. T?jv tpvSpav
SaXaaaav, that part of the Ethiopic ocean, which lieth between Egypt
and Arabia. In the Hebi-ew it is constantly called tjiD Q s , 'the sea of
sedges, reeds, or canes,' from the multitude of them growing on its
shore, as it is unto this day. The Greeks call it epvSpaiog, or apuS-pa,
the word here used by the apostle. And it was so called, not from the
red colour of the waters, appearing so from the sand or the sun, as
some have fancied ; but from a king whom they called Erythraeus ; that
is Esau, or Edom, who fixed his habitation and rule towards this sea.
For whereas that name signifies red, they gave him a name of the same
signification in their language. Thence came the sea among them, to
be called the Red Sea, which the Hebrews call Jam Suph.
2. This sea they passed through from the Egyptian unto the Arabic
shore. For what some have imagined, that they entered into the sea,
and making a semicircle, came out again on the same side, leaving
Pharaoh and his host drowned behind them, is inconsistent with the
narrative of Moses, that they passed through the sea. Nor is there
any countenance given hereunto from what is affirmed, Num. xxxiii.
7, 9, namely, that before they entered the sea, they pitched in Etham,
and that after they had passed through the midst of it they went three
days' journey in the wilderness of Etham. For all that tract of land
wherein the Red Sea issues and ends, from which end of it they were
not far remote, belonged unto the wilderness of Etham, both on the
one side of the sea and the other, as is evident in the story.
3. It is said that they passed through u>Q%ia Znpag, 'as on dry land,'
Exod. xiv. 21, 22, 29. Some think that the bottom of the sea being sand,
was fit and -meet to go upon, on the mere separation of the waters.
Others, that this was the effect of the mighty wind which God also
used in the dividing of the waters, though he put forth in it an act of
his almighty power. See Isa. lxiii. 1 1 â€” 13. For no wind of itself
could produce that effect ; much less, keep the parted waters, standing
like walls; yet it is said directly that the east wind made the sea dry
\U!.2 ( J.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBERWS. 501
land, ver. 21, 22. However it were, the ground was made fit and meet
for them to travel on, and pass through the waters without difficulty or
4. The division of the waters was very great, leaving a space for so
great a multitude to pass orderly between the divided parts, perhaps
unto the distance of some miles. And their passage is judged to have
been six leagues from the one shore unto the other ; by some, much
5. The Israelites had light to discern this state of things, and no
doubt the appearance of it was very dreadful. The waters must of ne-
cessity be raised unto a very great height on each side of them : and
although they were, and proved by the power of God, a wall unto them
on the right hand and on the left ; yet was it in them a high act of
faith to put themselves between such walls, as were ready in their own
nature to fall on them unto their destruction every moment, abiding only
under an almighty restraint. But they had the command and promise
of God for their warrant and security, which will enable faith to over-
come all fears and dangers.
6. I doubt not but that Moses first entered himself in the head of
them. Hence it is said that ' God led them through the sea by the
right hand of Moses,' Isa. lxiii. II â€” 13; he entering before them into
the channel of the deep, to guide and encourage them. Some of the
Jews say, that this was done by Amminadib, captain of the host of Ju-
dah, who, when all the rest of the people were afraid, first entered with
his tribe ; whence mention is made of the chariots of Amminadib, Cant,
vi. 12. But, alas; they had neither chariot nor horse with them, but
went all on foot. From all these difficulties and dangers, we may observe,
Obs. I. Where God engageth his word and promise, there is nothing
so difficult, nothing so remote from the rational apprehensions of men,
but he may righteously require our faith and trust in him therein. â€”
Whatever almighty power can extend unto, is a proper object for faith,
in reliance whereon it shall never fail.
Obs. II. Faith will find away through a sea of difficulties, under the
call of God.
Obs. III. There is no trial, no difficulty, that the church can be
called unto, but that there arc examples on record, of the power of faith
i:i working out its deliverance. There can be no greater strait than the
Israelites were in, between the host of the Egyptians and the Red Sea.
Thirdly. It remains that we consider the other people, with what they
did on this occasion, and what end they came unto.
The people were ol Aijvtttioi, ' the Egyptians.' So they are called
here in general. But in the account given us by Moses, it appears that
Pharaoh himself, the king, was there present in person, with all the
nobility and power of his kingdom. It was he in an especial manner,
whom God had undertaken to deal withal. Yea, * he raised him up for
the very purpose, that he might show his power in him, and that his
name thereby might be declared throughout the earth,' Exod. ix. 1G;
Rom. ix. 17. Accordingly, he carried it for a long time with intolera-
ble pride and obstinacy. Hence, the contest betwixt God and him,
with the issue of it, was so famous in the world, that the glory of God
502 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
was exceedingly exalted thereby. And the terror of it made way for
the people in their entrance into Canaan, the hearts of the inhabitants
failing because of them. Here the contest came to an issue in the
utter ruin of the proud tyrant. For there is none so great, so proud, so
obstinate, but if God undertake to deal with them, he will be victorious
in the end. See Exod. xv. 3â€”9.
This Pharaoh, with his Egyptians, that is, his whole army, hor.ses r
and chariots, -rrupav AÂ«j3ovrÂ£e, ' essayed to do,' what they saw the
children of Israel do before them, namely, to pass through the sea while
the waters of it were divided. And this was the greatest height that
ever obdurate infidels could arise unto in this world. They had seen all
the mighty works which God had wrought in the behalf of his people
among them. They and their country were almost consumed with the
plagues and judgments that were inflicted on them on their account.
And yet, now beholding this wonderful work of God in opening the
sea to receive them from their pursuit, they would make a venture, as
the word signifies, to follow them into it. Now, although this pre-
sumptuous attempt of the Egyptians be to be resolved into that judiciary
hardness which was upon them from God, that they might be
destroyed ; yet, no doubt but some things did occur to their minds, that
might lead them to the hardening of themselves. As, 1. That they
might not know for a while, that they entered into the channel of the
sea; the waters being removed far from them; but they might go on
perhaps in the night, without once thinking, that the people whom they
pursued, were gone into the mwlst of the sea. 2. When they discovered
any thing extraordinary therein, they might suppose it was only by
some extraordinary natural cause or occasion, of which sort, many things
fall out in the ebbing and flowing of the sea. But, 3. That which
principally animated them, was, that they were continually near, or close
upon the Israelites, ready to seize on them, as is evident in the story.
And they did perfectly believe that they should fare as well as they.
And for this reason it was, that God began to disturb them in their pas-
sage, that they should not overtake the people, but abide in the sea unto
But, however, these and the like considerations, might serve to blind