Exodus 12:37 through 13:19

Daybreak for Students

Exodus 12:37 through 13:19

Exodus 12
Exodus 13
And it shall be when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What is this? that thou shalt say unto him, By strength of hand the Lord brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage. — Exodus 13:14

In the United States, Memorial Day is a celebration to honor those who have given their lives in the defense of the nation. Flags are flown, parades are held, and memories are shared. It is a reminder of those who made the supreme sacrifice in support of the country Americans love. This day is an opportunity to teach children so they, too, will know and be thankful for the price paid to purchase freedom. 

While our country and national liberty are of great value, there are eternal truths which are even more important. These, too, must be imparted to our children. For example, God’s Word indicates that salvation transforms a person’s life, and brings victory and deliverance from sin. It teaches entire sanctification (holiness), a second application of the Blood of Jesus, which cleanses and purifies the heart. The Bible indicates that sanctified believers can be filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We have proven that these truths are worth staking our lives upon, yet generation after generation must be taught and reminded.

God wanted future generations of the Children of Israel to know about His power that was displayed when He delivered His people out of Egypt. He instituted the Passover celebration and the dedication of the firstborn (as noted in the focus verse) as opportunities for the people to rehearse past events to their children. 

We also have individual spiritual events in our lives that need to be shared. There are Gospel truths we have personally proved that must be passed on. Recounting them reminds us that God’s promises are still true. Just as the Children of Israel were to pass on to their children the account of the deliverance God had given them, we have truths to pass on to our children. May God help us to faithfully transmit the message of the Gospel to the next generation!


As the Egyptians buried their dead, the Israelites left Egypt a free people. At last they were on the way to the Promised Land. This text recounts their departure, restates instructions about the Passover, and describes the dedication of the firstborn.

The exact locations of Rameses and Succoth are not known. It is possible that Rameses was a city in Goshen where the Children of Israel gathered to begin their exit. Succoth was probably not very far east of Rameses in the direction of the Red Sea. The word succoth means “booths” or “tents.” 

It is possible that the statement “six hundred thousand on foot that were men” (verse 37) meant there was a total of between two and three million people when women and children were added to that number. The “mixed multitude” who went with the Children of Israel may have been Egyptians who had come to believe in God, or other slaves who used this opportunity to gain freedom. Later, these people brought trouble to Israel (see Numbers 11:4). 

Instructions about the Passover were restated in verses 43- 49, citing those who were eligible to participate and those who were not. The same regulations applied to the “homeborn” (Israelites) and the strangers who dwelt among them. The phrase “by their armies” means a large number of people arranged in groups like an army. 

In Exodus 13:1-16, Moses relayed a message from God to the people, including a repetition of the Passover details. This was to be celebrated in the month during the Abib (a stage in the development of barley). It correlates approximately to our April on the Gregorian calendar. God also declared that the firstborn of man and animal belonged to Him, and He instituted a system of sacrifices for redeeming their sons and certain animals. This was to remind them of how the firstborn in Egypt had died.

The most direct route to Canaan from Egypt was north and east about two hundred miles. The Children of Israel could have traveled this distance in about fourteen days. However, war was inevitable on that route, so God protected His people by taking them in an indirect way. In the original language, the word “harnessed” in verse 18 indicated that they were armed for battle. However, many scholars believe this passage means the Israelites were organized in an orderly way. It is possible that the arrangement for exiting may have been planned while the plagues were transpiring.

Exodus 13:19 shows how Moses fulfilled the promise to Joseph that his bones would be carried with the Hebrews back to Canaan (see Genesis 50:25).


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The redemption of Israel from Egypt
     B.   The journey
           1.   From Rameses to Succoth (12:37 — 13:19)
                 a.   The journey (12:37-39)
                 b.   The celebration of Passover (12:40-51)
                       (1)   The cause (12:40-42)
                       (2)   The regulations (12:43-49)
                       (3)   The event (12:50-51)
                 c.   The consecration of the firstborn (13:1-16)
                 d.   Additional statements of the journey (13:17-19)


  1. Of the males born in Israel, which of them were to be sanctified (consecrated) to the Lord?

  2. Why do you think God was so concerned that the Israelites remember how the firstborn in Egypt were destroyed?

  3. What parallels can you draw between the Children of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt and your personal deliverance from the bondage of sin?


In order to preserve our spiritual heritage for coming generations, it is important to relate miracles that have touched our lives and to rehearse answers to prayers.