Richard Agee

Exodus 13-15: God delivers Israel from Mitzraim (Egypt) through the Red Sea

Richard AgeeOn the 15th day of the first month, the first day of what God established as Khag Matzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), Israel left Mitzraim (Egypt). We’ll explore why the Bible talks more about the Matzot than Pesakh (Passover).

Pesakh commemorates God’s breaking the chains of Mitzraim that held Yisra’el there, and Matzot, God’s breaking the power of Mitzraim via the sea.

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Sanctify to Me every firstborn, the first offspring of every womb among the sons of Israel, both of man and beast; it belongs to Me.'” (Ex. 13:1)

They didn’t have detailed birth certificates back in the day, but everyone knew who their first-born was. 

During the Exodus, they had no choice but to eat מַצּוֹת matzot (unleavened bread, Strong’s lexicon No. H4682), they didn’t even have time to rest for one moment. They had to travel three days and then stop to make a sacrifice. 

God is telling them in Ex. 13:5 that once they enter the land, they will remember this time by voluntarily eating unleavened bread for seven days. 

“‘You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.” And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the LORD brought you out of Egypt. Therefore, you shall keep this ordinance at its appointed time from year to year.'” (Ex. 13:8–10)

What do we do now? How do we show our sons what happened in Egypt? We need to be taught, retaught, educated and re-educated about our spiritual history. 

“Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the LORD brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten.'” (Ex. 13:3)

When we memorize the first commandment (Ex. 20:2–3), we learn that we are to have no other gods before us, but we often forget the first part of the commandment:

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Ex. 20:2)

God did not do this with kindness, negotiation, diplomacy or understanding but with strength, power and “an outstretched arm.” God did not negotiate with Pharaoh.

God took the children of Israel and Pharaoh had no choice but to let them go.  

God told the children of Israel to redeem the first-born of Israel, but the first-born of the animals were to be given to the Lord. There’s one animal that is given a way out and that is the first-born of the donkeys. The first born donkey can be redeemed with a lamb. 

When the children asked why they were supposed to do this, the father was to tell his son:

“With a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. ‘It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ “So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”” (Ex. 13:14–16)

That first-born son is supposed to remember that God redeemed Israel with the first-born of Egypt, who were innocent of Pharaoh’s crimes, so they are to redeem their first-born sons and their first-born donkeys with an innocent lamb as well.

The donkey is supposed to carry the covenant that God made with Abraham, Yitzkhak (Isaac) and Ya’akov (Jacob). The covenant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had nothing to do with sin but the covenant of Sinai was given due to sin. 

It took the children of Israel three days to reach the sea, according to Exodus 14, after traveling day and night with no rest at all. Once they reach the edge of the red sea, we read that God warns Moses that Pharaoh is coming to hunt the down. Pharaoh would have had spies reporting their travel path to him and God uses this to bring one last judgement on Egypt. 

Pharaoh didn’t send the children of Israel away for good, he was sending them away to make their sacrifice three days in the wilderness. But now he is coming to the realization that they don’t plan to come back voluntarily so he plans to send an army to retrieve them. 

So at the three-day point, they had stopped to make sacrifices but it also left them vulnerable to attack by Pharaoh. The children of Israel didn’t realize they are heading towards Sinai, only Moses knew where they were going. 

The children of Israel felt trapped, the Pharaoh felt the children of Israel were trapped. Only God and Moses knew that the children of Israel were not really trapped but that this was going to be a final trap for Pharaoh. 

On encampment was called Baal-Zephon (בַּעַל־צְפֹן ba’al-tzefon (H1189, from בַּעַל ba’al H1167 (lord, master, husband, pagan deity) and צָפוֹן tsaphon H6828 (north))). The “Lord of the North” was the last “god” of Egypt that God needed to humiliate and conquer. He accomplished that when He took the children of Israel over the sea and drowned Pharaoh and his army. 

Part of the song of Moshe (Ex. 15:1–18; cf. Rev. 15:3–4) was:

“‘Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders?'” (Ex. 15:11)

The Exodus put fear into the people of Philistia, Moab, Edom, and Canaan and God will remove them from the Promise Land in His time.  

Immediately after they arrived safely on the other side, God took them straight to Marah, the land of bitter water (Ex. 15:22–26). God made the children of Israel sick “unto death” on purpose. God also had Moses throw a stick in the same water and make it pure. Did the stick have magical powers? No. Why did God do this? It was to show them that God alone can heal people from illness. 

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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