Exodus 11–12: The Passover

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 45–47

Exodus 11 is a continuation of the face-to-face meeting between Moses and Pharaoh that occurred at the end of Exodus 10. While still in the presence of Pharaoh, Moses received a revelation about the tenth and final plague. He declared to Pharaoh that the final plague would be the death of the firstborn in all the land. Pharaoh responded to Moses as he had before—he hardened his heart and ignored Moses’ warning. Moses then left, seeing Pharaoh’s “face again no more” (Exodus 10:29; see also v. 28).The tenth and final plague, described in Exodus 11–12, was a great tragedy for the Egyptians. The final plague was also one of the most significant events in Israelite history when God showed His power as He delivered His people. To all who believe in Jesus Christ, this event—known as the Passover—is one of the most powerful symbols of Christ found in the Old Testament and can strengthen our testimony of His Atonement. As you read, look for how God’s miraculous deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage can be compared to Christ’s Atonement and think of how Jesus Christ delivers us from the spiritual bondage of sin.
man putting blood on lintel

Understanding the Scriptures

Exodus 12

Blemish (v. 5)Defect or fault 
Keep it up (v. 6)Take care of it 
Strike (vv. 7, 22)Put, hit, mark 
Flesh (v. 8)Meat 
Unleavened bread (vv. 8, 15, 17–18, 20)Bread made without yeast 
Bitter herbs (v. 8)Plants that taste bitter 
Sodden … with water (v. 9)Boiled 
Loins girded (v. 11)Putting a belt around one’s cloak 
Execute judgment (v. 12)Judge 
By an ordinance (vv. 14, 17)As a sacred ritual or permanent law 
Leaven (vv. 15, 19)Yeast 
Save (v. 16)Except 
Even (v. 18)Sunset 
Draw out (v. 21)Select 
Hyssop (v. 22)An herb 
Bason (v. 22)Bowl-like container 
Lintel (vv. 22–23)Top crosspiece of a door frame 
Suffer (v. 23)Allow 
Observe (v. 24)Do, preserve or protect 
Service (vv. 25–26)Ceremony, ordinance 
Were urgent (v. 33)Eager for them to leave 
Tarry (v. 39)Stay 
Victual (v. 39)Food and other supplies 
Sojourning, sojourn, sojourneth (vv. 40, 48–49)Temporary dwelling, to live somewhere for a time 
Hosts (v. 41)People 
Observed (v. 42)Remembered and treasured 
Stranger (v. 43)Non-Israelite 
Ought (v. 46)Anything 

Exodus 11:2—Why Would the Lord Ask the Israelites to Borrow Things When They Were Leaving?

The word borrow is not used here the way we would normally use it. The Hebrew word for borrow means to ask or request. In other words, the Israelites asked payment for service they gave to the Egyptians over the years. Because of recent plagues, the Egyptians were soft enough in their hearts to give liberally (see Exodus 12:35–36). As you read further in Exodus, you will find out what the Lord will have them do with these riches.

Exodus 12:1–20—Animal Sacrifice a Similitude of Christ

President Joseph Fielding Smith said:

“When the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord gave them the passover. They were to take a lamb without blemish; they were not to break any of its bones. They were to kill it, cook it, and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. This feast they were to remember annually thereafter until Christ should come. This was also in the similitude of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you stop to consider it, it was at the time of the passover that our Lord was taken and crucified in fulfillment of the promises that had been made that he would come to be our Redeemer.

“All these things point to his coming and to his ministry. In fact sacrifice goes right back to the days of Adam. Animal sacrifices were to be without blemish, for it was in the similitude of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and pointed to his coming. We do not learn much in the Book of Genesis what sacrifice was for, because the plain things pertaining to sacrifice have been removed” (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954–56], 1:22).

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Exodus 11–12.

Activity A iconLearn about Christ from the Passover

The Passover is a type, or symbol, of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Make a chart like the one shown here. Using Exodus 12:1–20, 43–49, list the elements of the Passover and then write what you think those elements represent as they apply to Christ, His Atonement, and our deliverance through repentance from the bondage of sin and worldliness. The following scripture references may help you as you look for meanings to symbols: Jeremiah 51:6; John 19:30–36; 1 Peter 1:18–20; Mosiah 27:24–26; Alma 5:21, 27, 57; 34:8–10; Doctrine and Covenants 19:16–19, 31.

Try to find at least the following elements: new calendar, lamb (without blemish), blood on the doorposts, unleavened bread, eaten with bitter herbs. There is a small section in the front of this study guide entitled “Look for Types and Symbolic Meanings” (on p. 4) that will help you interpret or find the spiritual significance of scriptural symbols. The first two elements are provided for you as examples.


Elements of the Passover

Spiritual Significance or Interpretation


Calendar changed; the Passover marked the first month of the year

Through our repentance and the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can make a “new beginning.”


A lamb

The blood of the Lamb of God, or Jesus Christ, cleanses us if we repent.

Activity B iconWhat about Today?

man putting blood on lintel; shepherd with lamb; Christ on the cross

Following His Resurrection, Jesus Christ gave instructions regarding sacrifices and offerings under the law of Moses.

  1. 1.

    Read Matthew 26:17–30 and tell which ordinance the Lord asked us to participate in today that helps us remember the same spiritual things that the Passover did in ancient times.

  2. 2.

    Read 1 Corinthians 5:7–8 and tell why we no longer observe the Passover.