Exodus 12:40-49 (NKJV)
Now the sojourn of the children of Israel who lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night of solemn observance to the LORD for bringing them out of the land of Egypt. This is that night of the LORD, a solemn observance for all the children of Israel throughout their generations.
And the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. But every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then he may eat it. A sojourner and a hired servant shall not eat it. In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it. One law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.”
These Passover rules are needed because the people who fled Egypt were not all Israelites.
A mixed multitude went up with them also, – Exodus 12:38a (NKJV)
Now the son of an Israelite woman, whose father was an Egyptian, went out among the people of Israel: – Leviticus 24:10a (NKJV)
Romance is common between neighboring peoples, plus the Egyptians must have been beyond frustrated with their own government. There would have been many who were close enough to the people of Israel to have been warned about the Passover. Some may have even participated. Deciding to become a refugee is a bold leap, but some Egyptians made that choice.
So, in a precursor of the new covenant, God sets up some rules for this mixed multitude. Anyone can join in the Passover celebration, but they must submit their whole household to circumcision. Nothing less than a full-up religious conversion will do.
Otherwise, they’re just visitors.
Leaving Egypt had to involve a lot of heartache. Imagine failing to convince a friend to come along. Imagine failing to convince a friend to do the Passover sacrifice!
Many of us have similar heartaches. People long to help the ones they love, but some friends and family don’t want our help.
Ask the LORD to comfort those in these struggles and to glorify Himself through their growth.
The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here: