Messianic Education Trust

Shemot/Exodus 12:3   They shall take - each man - a lamb for a fathers' house, a lamb for a household

There is some debate as to how many lambs were required for how many people because of this particular instruction. Who Is ...

Rashi: Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (1040-1105 CE), French rabbi who wrote commentaries on the Torah, the Prophets and the Talmud, lived in Troyes where he founded a yeshiva in 1067; focuses on the plain meaning (p'shat) of the text, although sometimes quite cryptic in his brevity
Rashi explains that , fathers' house, is the same as 'family' from the parallel instruction in v21 below when Moshe actually gives this instruction to the people. The Mechilta points out that both "fathers' house" and "family" refer to extended family units, whereas the second use of the word in this verse means an individual household. Rashi asks what would happen if the extended family were too large or numerous, so that there might not be sufficient for each to eat enough, then answers his own question by showing that this is why the "a lamb for a household" phrase is present - so that each distinct household - mother, father and children - even if part of a larger extended family grouping - should take their own lamb so that there was blood on the doorpost of every house and enough lamb for all to eat.

In the same way as The Name ...

HaShem: literally, Hebrew for 'The Name' - an allusion used to avoid pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, the so-called 'ineffable' name of G–d
HaShem instructs Moshe that each man is to take a lamb, the prophet Jeremiah again presents G-d's call for individual relationship: "In those days people will no longer say: 'The parents have eaten sour grapes, but their children's teeth are set on edge.' Rather, each person will die for his own sins. The teeth of every man who eats sour grapes will be set on edge" (Jeremiah 31:28-29, ). While still being within the nation of Israel and a part of G-d's covenant people, each individual person is responsible for their own actions and their own relationship with G-d. The text continues: "Rather, this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, says G-d: I will set My Torah among them and inscribe it on their hearts. I will be their G-d, and they will be My people. No longer will one person have to teach his fellow man and his brother, 'Know G-d!' for they will all know Me, says G-d, from the least of them to the greatest of them" (v32-33, Living Nach). Clearly set within the context of a corporate relationship with Israel as a people, each person is to know G-d individually.

Yeshua, who is our Pesach - our Passover sacrifice (1 Corinthians 5:7) - emphasised that following Him is a personal action: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23, NASB). Whether wild or natural branches, we are grafted by faith into the olive tree of G-d's covenant relationship (Romans 11:11-24), but in both cases, the mechanism is by each person personally accepting G-d's offer of salvation: "If you confess with your mouth Yeshua as L-rd, and believe in your heart that G-d raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved" (Romans 10:9, NASB) and that is the teaching of the whole of Scripture.

Further Study: Ezekiel 33:10-16; Romans 11:22-24

Application: Where do you stand today? Are you relying on the group of people - church or congregation - of which you are a part, or have you personally taken a lamb - The Lamb - and made peace with G-d? This Passover season, be sure that you know G-d's salvation for yourself, because G-d has no grand-children!

© Jonathan Allen, 2006

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