1

יד וְהָיָה כִּי-יִשְׁאָלְךָ בִנְךָ, מָחָר--לֵאמֹר מַה-זֹּאת: וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו--בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יְהוָה מִמִּצְרַיִם, מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים.

טו וַיְהִי, כִּי-הִקְשָׁה פַרְעֹה לְשַׁלְּחֵנוּ, וַיַּהֲרֹג יְהוָה כָּל-בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, מִבְּכֹר אָדָם וְעַד-בְּכוֹר בְּהֵמָה; עַל-כֵּן אֲנִי זֹבֵחַ לַיהוָה, כָּל-פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם הַזְּכָרִים, וְכָל-בְּכוֹר בָּנַי, אֶפְדֶּה.

In Pasuk 14 it mentions how Hashem took us out of Mitzrayim. Then in Pasuk 15 it mentions how Hashem punished the Bechorim. It seems out of order. Has anyone seen/heard a Peshat on this?

4

One possibility is that it's a "klal uprat" (generality followed by the specifics), as is common in the narratives of Tanach. For example, consider how Gen. 1:27 says generally that G-d created man and woman, and then in 2:18ff it fills in the details. Another example is where Josh. 4:1 speaks of all of the people crossing the Jordan, then the next few verses flash back to what happened before and during the crossing.

So here too, v. 14b is the general answer: "G-d took us out of Egypt with a strong hand." Verse 15a then explains the details of how this came about.

It may also be that these are answers to two different questions. In the Haggadah the question מה זאת is referring to the mitzvos of Pesach (even though, in context, it would seem to be talking about the mitzvos relating to firstborn children and animals); the answer to that is to tell about the Exodus. Then the child may follow up with the question about the reasons for the mitzvos of bechoros, and the answer is that it is in commemoration of the Death of the Firstborn.

  • 1
    Then why do we only mention Makas Bechoros? – Gershon Gold Jan 6 '11 at 21:57
  • 1
    Because that was the "straw that broke the camel's back" which led directly to the Exodus. Everything else is sort of backstory. – Alex Jan 6 '11 at 23:48
  • Cf. judaism.stackexchange.com/a/82925 – msh210 May 26 '17 at 6:02
1

Rabbi Shimon Schwab Zatzal in Maayan Bais HaShoayva brings from the Sefer Mikroei Kodesh that the Egyptians did not realize the night of Makas Bechoros that only the Bechorim died. They first noticed that after the Jews left as they were burying them. (See Maayan Bais HaShoayva Parshas Bo pg 158)

1

R. Avraham Ibn Ezra (long commentary to Exodus 13:15) explains that first the verse states that God took us out powerfully, then clarifies what that particular powerful act was; the killing of the first-borns, since that in particular allowed for their exit from Egypt:

החל לומר בחוזק יד הוציאנו, ושב לפרש מה היתה היד החזקה, והיא מכת הבכורים, כי על יד זה יצאו ממצרים, ולא על יד מכות הראשונות

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .