Philo on the Pesac Sacrifice
Exodus 12:3, 5-6 (Darby Translation)
Speak unto all the assembly of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take themselves each a lamb, for a father's house, a lamb for a house... (5) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a yearling male; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats. (6) And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregation of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the evenings.
THE WORKS OF PHILO
The Decalogue XXX.159
...and the day called by the Hebrews in their own tongue the Pasch on which the whole people sacrifice, every member of them, without waiting for the priests, because the law has granted to the whole nation one special day in every year the right of the priesthood and of performing the sacrifices themselves.
Special Laws 2.XXVII.145-146
After the New Moon comes the fourth feast, called the Crossing-feast, which the Hebrews in their native tongue call Pascha. In this festival many myriads of victims from noon till eventide are offered by the whole people, old and young alike, raised for that particular day to the dignity of the priesthood. For at other times the priests according to the ordinances of the law carry out both the public sacrifices and those offered by private individuals. But on this occasion the whole nation performs the sacred rites and acts as priest with pure hands and complete immunity. The reason for this is as follows: the festival is a reminder and thank-offering for that great migration from Egypt which was made by more than two millions of men and women in obedience to the oracles vouchsafed to them. Now at that time they had left a land brimful of inhumanity which made a practice of expelling strangers, and what was worst of all, assigned divine honours to irrational creatures, not merely domesticated animals, but even wild beasts. So exceedingly joyful were they that in their vast enthusiasm and impatient eagerness, they naturally enough sacrificed without waiting for the priest. This practice which on that occasion was the result of a spontaneous and instinctive emotion, was sanctioned by the law once in every year to remind them of their duty of thanksgiving. These are the facts as discovered by the study of ancient history.
Life of Moses II.224-225
In this month, about the fourteenth day, when the disc of the moon is becoming full, is held the commemoration of the crossing, a public festival called in Hebrew Pasch, on which the victims are not brought to the altar by the laity and sacrificed by the priests, but, as commanded by the law, the whole nation acts as priest, each individual bringing what he offers on his own behalf and dealing with it with his own hands. Now while all the rest of the people were joyful and cheerful, each feeling that he had the honour of priesthood, there were others passing this time in tears and sorrow.
QA on Exodus, Book 1.10
Now at other times the daily priests (chosen) from the people, being appointed for the slaughtering and taking care of them, performed the sacrifices. But at the Passover, here spoken of, the whole people together is honoured with the priesthood, for all of them act for themselves in the performance of the sacrifice. For what reason? Because, in the first place, it was the beginning of this kind of sacrifice, the Levites not yet having been elected to the priesthood nor a temple set up. And in the second place, because the Saviour and Liberator, Who alone leads out all men to freedom, deemed them (all) equally worthy of sharing in the priesthood and in freedom as well, since all who were of the same nation had given evidence of equal piety.
The Snarling Dog
I was going back over Exodus 11 and 12 this morning in final preparations for a Sabbath sermon, and I noticed something I had never noticed before. It is amazing how that you can read a text for so many years and yet miss something very profound.
In Exodus 11:6-7 we have Moses talking to Pharaoh about what is going to happen in the final plague in Egypt. It is the plague where the firstborn in all of Egypt will perish, that is, unless the command to apply blood to the door of the house is obeyed (see Exodus chapter 12). In Exodus 11:6 Moses says that there is going to be a great cry of anguish throughout Egypt. This cry would be something that had not occurred before nor would occur again. It would be the cry of all the families in Egypt that awoke when their firstborn died during the middle of the night. Imagine thousands of people dying at one singular time all over an entire nation.
Moses then states this in Exodus 11:7: "But against all the Israelites, whether man or beast, not even a dog will snarl."
I read this one time, and then I went back again a read it a few more times. I was thinking to myself, "What in the world does this mean?" It even made me chuckle a bit.
The literal reading from the Hebrew is "not even a dog will move/point its tongue," and most commentators regard it as an idiom meaning something like this: when the Israelites leave they will not have to deal with the grief from their firstborn dying. This means that there will be no dogs howling as is customary for dogs to do when someone in the house is hurt or in need.
However, I think there is another meaning (or a two-fold meaning) here that becomes apparent with a bit of study into the worship of the Egyptians. The Egyptians worshiped a multiplicity of gods and in bringing the plagues on Egypt Yahweh was executing judgment on all their gods (Exodus 12:12). One of the gods Egypt worshiped was named Anubis and was the Son of a major god named Osiris. Anubis was depicted as either a dog (jackal) or at least a man with the head of a dog. He was actually called "barking Anubis" by the Egyptian people. Egypt even had a city named Anubis after the name of the god. Anubis' name actually means something like, "Lord of the Place of Embalming," or "Lord of Death." It was believed by the Egyptians that Anubis was the god that carried them to the underworld when they died.
It is quite probable that what Moses meant in Exodus 11:7 is that there would be yet another judgment on one of Egypt's gods. Just as the "powerful" sun god "Ra" was shown to be powerless when there were three days of darkness in Egypt during the ninth plague, Yahweh was now mocking Anubis through His prophet Moses by telling them that even Anubis would not be able to stop the exodus from the land of Egypt, controlled by Yahweh's ultimate power. Even Anubis, the "lord of the dead" couldn't keep Yahweh's Israel people from leaving Egypt. Very interesting to say the least.
Blog by Matthew Janzen. Lover of Yahweh, Yeshua, my wife and 5 children. All else is commentary.