And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
I. THAT THE GOOD ARE REQUIRED TO SANCTIFY THEIR FIRSTBORN UNTO THE LORD. "All the firstborn" — that is to say, the most excellent of their possessions, the most valuable, and that which is viewed with the greatest regard.
1. This sanctification of the firstborn was required by the Divine commandment.
2. This sanctification of the firstborn was a grateful acknowledgment of the Divine mercy in sparing the firstborn from the midnight destruction. Heaven never asks more than it gives, or more than is consistent with the gratitude of a devout heart to bestow.
3. This sanctification of the firstborn was to be associated with the deliverance of the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt.
II. THAT THE GOOD, IS SANCTIFYING THEIR FIRSTBORN UNTO THE LORD, ARE NOT CALLED UPON TO GIVE UP THE SOLE USE OF THEIR PROPERTY, BUT TO REDEEM AND TO PUT IT TO A LAWFUL USE. Who would not desire his firstborn to be the Lord's?
III. THAT THE GOOD ARE REQUIRED TO CONNECT THE SANCTIFICATION OF THEIR FIRSTBORN WITH SACRIFICE. "And all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem" (ver. 14). This redemption was to be by sacrifice. Parents need reminding of this duty.
1. Because they are liable to forget the service which past mercy requires of them.
2. Because they are apt to be selfish in the use of their property.
3. Because they are not sufficiently spiritually minded to see God in their property, and therefore forget His claims.
4. Because they do not like to pay the redemption price.
IV. THAT THE GOOD ARE TO TEACH THE RIGHT OF GOD TO THE FIRSTBORN, TO THEIR POSTERITY (vers. 14, 15). Children are very inquisitive. They will ask questions, even about religious matters. At such times they should be carefully and solemnly instructed in Divine truth. The family is the best school for the young. They should early be taught the meaning of self-sacrifice, and the moral grandeur of giving to the Lord. Even the young have their firstborn, which they can be taught to give to the Lord; and if they grow up in the spirit of this obligation they will in after days, impart to it a truer meaning, and give to it a more solemn influence than before they were capable of. Lessons:
1. That the good must sanctify their best things to the Lord.
2. That this can only be done by the redemption of the Cross.
3. That the young must be early taught their obligation to the Lord.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,