This chapter is about consecrating the firstborns & the Israelites crossing the sea. This chapter is pretty straight forward. I hope you enjoy.
God says to Moses that he (God) wants every firstborn, humans & animals, consecrated to him (God). Moses tells the Israelites to commemorate this day, the day they came out of Egypt, out of slavery. Also that in the month of Abib, you’re leaving.
Moses goes on to tell them not to eat anything with yeast. Moses then says that when the Israelites get into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Hivites, & Jebusites (all of these people groups are mentioned more in-depth in Genesis.) that they were to observe this ceremony in the month of Abib, the feast of unleavened bread, for 7 days. Moses tells them that they (the whole Israelite community) are to observe this “festival” every year, at the same time every year.
Moses then goes on to tell the Israelites that after God brings them into the land of the Canaanites & gives it to them, the Israelites are to give over to God the 1st offspring “of every womb,” all the firstborn males of men & animals. Moses tells them that they are to “redeem,” with a lamb, the firstborn donkey. If they don’t redeem it, break its neck. Also they have to redeem every firstborn of your sons. (Only the men are subject to this. If you are the firstborn & a girl, this doesn’t apply to you. Sorry ladies. Trust me, as the firstborn of my father (yes, I’m a woman.), I know how sucky this would/could be. Because my dad didn’t have any sons, my sister & I would’ve been screwed back then! Royally screwed!)
Moses then says: “If your sons come to you & ask why we do this, tell them that Pharaoh didn’t let us Israelites go out of slavery. So God killed every firstborn in Egypt. This is why we sacrifice every 1st born male, of men & animals, & redeem each of the firstborn sons to God. And it’ll be like a sign on your hand & a symbol on your forehead that God brought us out of Egypt.”
When Pharaoh let the Israelites go, God didn’t lead them on the road through the country that the Philistines lived, though it would’ve been shorter. God said that if they went through where the Philistines lived & went to war, then the Israelites will change their minds & go back to Egypt. So God led them around by the desert road toward the Red Sea (there are some linguists that have translated the Hebrew & it’s not the Red Sea but the Sea of Reeds.). The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle. (This gets me. If God is going to led the Israelites around where the Philistines lived because they might change their minds about leaving Egypt if they went to war with the Philistines, then why would they be armed for battle after the went out of Egypt?)
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph made his sons of Israel swear an oath, to take his bones out of Egypt (check out Genesis 50:25). After leaving Succoth, they camped at Etham, which was on the edge of the desert. By day, they were guided by a pillar of cloud & by night, they were guided by a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night. (Wouldn’t this give away there position, specifically at night?) The pillars of cloud & fire didn’t leave its place in front of the Israelites.