4.10.2 Things You Can Only Ponder: Did Israel Eat The
The number of firstborn males after Israel left Egypt was remarkably
small (around 20,000, Num. 3:43). Women in most primitive societies have
an average of 7 births. this would mean that given a total population
of around 2,800,000 on leaving Egypt (Ex. 12:37), there should have been
around 400,000 firstborn males. But instead, there is only a fraction
of this number. Why? Did Israel eat the Passover?
My suggestion- and this is well in the category of things you will never
know for sure and can only ponder- is that many Hebrew firstborns died
on Passover night. Israel were warned that if they did not properly keep
the Passover, “the Destroyer” Angel would kill their firstborn (Ex. 12:23).
“The Destroyer” is mentioned in 1 Cor. 10:10: “Neither murmur ye, as some
of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the Destroyer” (olothreutes;
this is a proper noun in the Greek). Who was the Destroyer? If Scripture
interprets Scripture, it was the ‘Destroyer’ Angel of Passover night.
In similar vein Heb. 11:28 speaks of “He (the Angel) that destroyed (Gk.
olothreuo) the firstborn”.
Israel were side-tracked from what should have been the central object
of their attention: the blood of the lamb. They were disobedient from
the day God knew them, i.e. Passover night (Dt. 9:24). They ate the Passover,
but murmured under their breath; and it was because of this murmuring,
this obsession with chips on their shoulder against their leaders, the
petty grumbles of life, a failure to be awed by the wonder of the redemption
through that Paschal lamb...that they shared Egypt’s judgment. Did Israel
properly eat the Passover? Very soon afterwards, the
people reminded Moses of this incident: “Would to God we (maybe
this is the emphasis) had (also) died by the hand of the Lord (a phrase
often associated with Angel’s work at passover: Josh. 4;24; Is. 11:11;
19:16; Dan. 9:15; Heb. 8:9) in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh
pot (Young’s Literal) and when we did eat bread” (Ex. 16:3). They weren’t
just saying they wished they had died in Egypt; they wished they had died
by the hand of the Lord. Sitting by the flesh pot and eating bread is
perhaps a reference to eating Passover that night, when in (perhaps) 90%
of Hebrew families the firstborn had slumped down in death. They wished
they too had died that Passover night. They felt Moses was going to kill
them as, by implication, they blamed him for killing the firstborn.
Israel were intensely disobedient to God from the time of their exodus
from Egypt, even before their deliverance from the Red Sea (Dt. 9:24 =
Ex. 20:5,6). Perhaps this was because Moses’ faithful keeping of the Passover
meant that the Angel which destroyed the (Egyptian and Hebrew) firstborn
did not destroy the whole of Israel as God had initially planned (Heb.
11:28). Perhaps it was because of this righteousness which God imputed
to Israel at that time that He makes no specific mention of their huge
Israel’s exodus from Egypt on Passover night was a type of our exodus
from the world at the second coming (Lk. 12:35,36 = Ex. 12:11). The firstborns
represent us, the ecclesia of firstborns (Heb. 12;23 Gk.). Perhaps 90%
of the firstborns failed to be delivered because they murmured, they allowed
themselves to be distracted from the fundamental basis of their redemption:
the blood of the lamb. What percentage will it be for the new Israel?