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[311] But when God had signified, that with one plague he would compel the Egyptians to let Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the people that they should have a sacrifice ready, and they should prepare themselves on the tenth day of the month Xanthicus, against the fourteenth, (which month is called by the Egyptians Pharmuth, Nisan by the Hebrews; but the Macedonians call it Xanthicus,) and that he should carry the Hebrews with all they had. Accordingly, he having got the Hebrews ready for their departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he kept them together in one place: but when the fourteenth day was come, and all were ready to depart they offered the sacrifice, and purified their houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop for that purpose; and when they had supped, they burnt the remainder of the flesh, as just ready to depart. Whence it is that we do still offer this sacrifice in like manner to this day, and call this festival Pascha which signifies the feast of the passover; because on that day God passed us over, and sent the plague upon the Egyptians; for the destruction of the first-born came upon the Egyptians that night, so that many of the Egyptians who lived near the king's palace, persuaded Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Accordingly he called for Moses, and bid them be gone; as supposing, that if once the Hebrews were gone out of the country, Egypt should be freed from its miseries. They also honored the Hebrews with gifts; 1 some, in order to get them to depart quickly, and others on account of their neighborhood, and the friendship they had with them.

2

1 These large presents made to the Israelites, of vessels of and vessels of gold, and raiment, were, as Josephus truly calls them, gifts really given them; not lent them, as our English falsely renders them. They were spoils required, not of them, Genesis 15:14; Exodus 3:22; 11:2; Psalm 105:37,) as the same version falsely renders the Hebrew word Exodus 12:35, 36. God had ordered the Jews to demand these as their pay and reward, during their long and bitter slavery in Egypt, as atonements for the lives of the Egyptians, and as the condition of the Jews' departure, and of the Egyptians' deliverance from these terrible judgments, which, had they not now ceased, they had soon been all dead men, as they themselves confess, ch. 12. 33. Nor was there any sense in borrowing or lending, when the Israelites were finally departing out of the land for ever.

2 HOW THE HEBREWS UNDER THE CONDUCT OF MOSES LEFT EGYPT.

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