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Explain the significance of the blood painted onto the door frames in Exodus 12.

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In Exodus 12, God commands the Israelites to keep the first Passover in preparation for the final plague (the death of firstborn males) and the Exodus from Egypt. As part of the Passover preparation, God tells Moses and Aaron to instruct the Israelites to paint blood from their Passover lambs on to the frames of their doors. Painting blood onto their door frames signified their faith in God's warning and marked them out from the pagan Egyptians; when the Angel of Death passed through Egypt he would pass over the doors marked with blood (hence the name, "Passover") without killing the firstborn males who lived within those houses. As Presbyterian minister Matthew Henry explained in his famous Bible commentary, this action had greater significance:

The blood of sprinkling is the saint’s security in times of common calamity; it is this that marks them for God, pacifies conscience, and gives them boldness of access to the throne of grace, and so becomes a wall of protection round them and a wall of partition between them and the children of this world.

One can also see allusions to many other biblical events, perhaps most notably the death of Christ (he is frequently referred to as the "Lamb" in Scripture).

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mmartin1981 | Student

The Jews were in slavery to the Egyptians at the time of the writing of Exodus 12. Pharaoh had threatened the life of Moses. The Lord had told Moses and Aaron that the Angel of Death would pass through Egypt, striking the firstborn of Egypt. God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites that "on the 10th day of the Jewish New Year each man was to choose a lamb, without defect, and care for it until the 14th day, On that day each family was the slaughter the chosen lamb. Thee then to take the blood and place it on both sides of the door and over the top of the door. The blood would symbolizes a sacrifice offered as a substitute, one life laid down for another. As the Angel of Death passed through Egypt, the firstborn child of those Jews who had the blood on the top of the door and door posts would be passed over. This was the institution of the first Passover. The Lord would pass over and not destroy the occupants of the houses that were under the sign of blood. Blood represents redemption. It was also a symbol of the sacrifice Jesus Christ.


Barker, K.L, Stek, J.H., Strauss, M.L, and Youngblood, R.F (2008). NIV Study Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.