Sunday, March 24, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Exodus 12:29-51 and The Epistle of Barnabas 12-13

Exodus 12:29-51 - Death hits in the middle of the night (12:12:29). Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron, and they are told to leave.  They “asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold. The Lord caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So they stripped the Egyptians of their wealth” (12:34-35=36).

Not counting children there are 600,000—a crowd of mixed ancestry (12:38) with livestock.  “For bread they baked flat cakes from the dough without yeast they had brought from Egypt. It was made without yeast because the people were driven out of Egypt in such a hurry that they had no time to prepare the bread or other food” (12:39).

Further instructions for observing the festival of Passover are given in this chapter. On the regulations for Passover: foreigners are forbidden to partake, but slaves who have been circumcised are part of the people. Chrysostom and Augustus saw Christ’s crucifixion in the verses about how no bone of the sacrificial lamb could be broken.

We are told that 430 years had been the full term of their presence in Egypt.

The Epistle of Barnabas
12 – On the Cross: Quoting II Esdras 4:33 and 5:5: “When shall the consummation of all this be accomplished? Says the Lord. When a tree droops and then rises up again; and when blood drips from a tree. Here you have an allusion both to the Cross and to its future Victim. And in another place, when the Israelites were being assailed by the neighboring tribesmen, there is the command He gave to Moses, for the purpose of reminding those under attack that their own sins were responsible for the loss of their lives. That was when the Spirit, speaking inwardly to Moses, prompted him to make a representation of the Cross and Him who was to suffer on it; when was His way of intimating that unless they come to put their hopes in Him, the hostilities against them will never cease. So Moses made a pile of shields, one upon another, in the midst of the fray; and taking his stand there, high above all the rest, he spread his two arms out wide, and Israel thereupon began to regain the victory” (173-174).

He argues that the serpent on the pole that Moses fashioned for his people (Numbers 21:9) and the conversation between Moses and Joshua in Exodus 17:14 is also packed with typology.

13 – On the People of the Covenant: Who is the Covenant of God intended for? The Jews? Or the Christians? Who are God’s “people”? And to answer this question, he looks to Genesis 25: “Isaac entreated the Lord for his wife Rebecca, because she was barren; and she conceived. Then Rebecca went to inquire of the Lord, and the Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples in your bowels; one people shall be stronger than the other people, and the elder shall be servant to the younger. Now then, it is for you to realize who Isaac is, and who Rebecca is, and to which people this prophecy of the superiority of one to the other refers” (175).

He looks to the difference painted between Joseph’s acceptance of Ephraim and Manasseh, Moses’ two sons by the Midianite woman Zipporah. There again it says that the “elder must serve the younger” (175).

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