Exodus 12.23 says this: For the LORD will pass through the land and strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the LORD will pass over your home. He will not permit the Destroyer to enter and strike down your firstborn (NLT).
Meredith Kline wrote an excellent article on this “pass-over” event in JETS, 37/4 (December 1994), 497-510. Kline argues that pasach in the context of Exodus 11-12 means “cover over” instead of “pass by.” Look again at the above verse. The first verb is abar (pass by/over), not pasach. Now notice the middle: The LORD will ‘pass over.’ Here the verb is pasach. It fits to read The Lord wil cover over your home. God is not the one striking down (though he is through his destroying angels as Psalm 78 notes); God is the one covering the door, not permitting the Destroyer to enter and kill. Yahweh sees the blood then hovers over the door of the home, not allowing his Destroyer to come in with his sword of revenge.
In Kline’s words, “Pasach does not denote the taking of a detour but the establishing of a deterrent, not God’s bypassing of the house or hopping over the lintel but, on the contrary, his stationing himself squarely and immovably at the door. What the imagery demands is a shielding action – not a separating or distancing of God from the house but an abiding divine Presence, a divine encamping like a guardian of the gate.”
Kline goes on to discuss many more things, including a similar meaning of pasach in Isaiah 31.5, ANE/Egyptian factors, and the context of Exodus 11-12 which contains the verb pasach. He ends the article – as he always does – on what the text has to do with Jesus. Jesus is the true Passover Lamb, the one whose blood shields us, who gives us his Spirit as an eternal covering and protection.
Be sure to read this article when you study the “Feast of Cover-Over”!
One Reply to “The Cover Over (Pass Over)”
I’ve always wanted to read this article but will definitely do so now after this entry. Good stuff, Shane.
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