We forget sometimes that the Hebrews had been in Egypt for 430 years. To put that into perspective, 430 years ago Sir Walter Raleigh was having discussions with 2 leaders in England to embark with a group the next year to form the first English Colony at Roanoke Island in America. Imagine if your ancestors had been a part of that first colony and it had survived and ever since this was the only life and place you had known. Keep in mind, in this Hebrew community, there were no new immigrants. There was no movement. The group of Hebrews living in Egypt on the night of passover all, every one, traced their heritage back to those brothers of those bones of Joseph they would be bringing with them when they left.
We have a hard time grasping just how much changed in this one night. They were on day 14 of the first month of the first year of a brand new calendar. Then, every first born of man or beast, who did not live under the blood of the lamb died in one night.
Egypt was not an upwardly mobile nation. There was position, there was rank and caste. The first born inherited the title, the position and the authority of the family. Pharaoh’s son became Pharaoh. The son of the slave at the hand mill became a slave at a hand mill. And then everyone of those designated to be the successors across not just a city but across the entire nation of Egypt all died in one night. There was no planning. There was no preparation or contingency for this. It would have been utter turmoil
And out of that emerges the Israelites. Complete, en masse, unharmed. The Egyptians hand them everything. All the plunder of Egypt. All the things these slaves never had was handed over to them, gold, jewelry, clothing, weapons, everything their hearts had desired and, with it, they walk out of the country.
They are led by God, physically, by day and night.
The key point is that regardless of how long they had been a part of that old life, it is over. The structure of what made Egypt Egypt is gone. The entire structure is turned upside down and is left without any value. The Hebrews have left with all the wealth and everything that was perceived as having value.
This is the model of what it means to become a Christian. The old life is gone. When you see the light of the truth of Jesus Christ, everything you thought of as being reliable and solid of being of value you realize that it was all a lie. So what do you do? You take the step the Israelite people took, they put their trust in God and followed. But like a new believer, God recognized their weakness and protected them. He protected them from battle and strain, providing time and direction to continue to teach them and strengthen them and to show them what it means to rely only on Him. If we walk with God, He will do the same for us. He will teach us, provide for us and help us grow into the truth that is His love and His Son’s sacrifice for us to be reunited for ever with God.
Drastically cut the population. It would destroy succession planning most of the positions of authority were passed down from father to oldest son. Most of the heads would have died.
When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.
Israel is Gods firstborn son
How I spend my time, where I place my treasures
The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.
This was to mark the obedience of the Israelite people and their descendants, those who committed their life to God. It was a religious holy day, not just a day of feasting