"The Angel of Death and the First Passover" (Foster Bible)‘Exodus 12’ by Theresa Rodriguez The Society March 27, 2021 Beauty, Culture, Poetry 18 Comments . “And when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” —Exodus 12:13 As you have commanded, the blood to The lintel and the doorposts of my heart Has been applied. Because I’ve done this, through Your power, sin and death are kept apart From life. I am protected, singled out From the destroyer seeking to destroy My soul. Come, rid me of the fears and doubt About eternity that rob my joy Within this present state. I worry so About the future, after all is said And done, and I meet death. Instead, you know I quake with apprehension and with dread. Oh, take me where I can and will be free; For when you see the blood, pass over me. . . .Theresa Rodriguez is the author of Jesus and Eros: Sonnets, Poems and Songs, Longer Thoughts, which has just been released by Shanti Arts, and Sonnets, a collection of sixty-five sonnets which has also just been released by Shanti Arts. Her work has appeared in such journals and publications as in the Wilderness House Literary Review, the Midwest Poetry Review, Leaf Magazine, Spindrift, the Shakespeare Oxford Fellowship, The Road Not Taken: A Journal of Formal Poetry, Mezzo Cammin, The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Epoch Times, and the Society of Classical Poets. Her website is www.bardsinger.com. NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets. NOTE TO POETS: The Society considers this page, where your poetry resides, to be your residence as well, where you may invite family, friends, and others to visit. Feel free to treat this page as your home and remove anyone here who disrespects you. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Remove Comment” in the subject line and list which comments you would like removed. The Society does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or comments and reserves the right to remove any comments to maintain the decorum of this website and the integrity of the Society. Please see our Comments Policy here. CODEC News:Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window) 18 Responses Karyn March 27, 2021 The environment in which we find ourselves can certainly lead to a feeling of hopelessness. We long for what was once and is never to be again. Yet in the midst of this, there is hope to be found. God is trying to reach you, because He loves you more than you can imagine. When God created this fantastic universe, He created man to have a relationship with Him. It took no time for man to sin—not believing God–and to lose that fellowship. The first blood sacrifice was for Adam and Eve in the garden, to cover their nakedness (sin). God had to shed the blood of one of his animals to provide their covering. A few generations of men and the sin grew to a phenomenal level, such that God had nothing to do with man, and only one man was found right with God, Noah. God sent a flood to purify the world from sin, but saved Noah and his family and the animals. After the waters subsided, Noah and the ark’s passengers set about life. And the story repeated. The story of man on earth continued to replay, as man has a deceitful heart and cannot help but sin. And God, being Holy, cannot have any part of sin. So God created a way for man to have a relationship with Him. God set aside a man to become the father of many, Abraham, and used that particular nation of people, through Isaac and Jacob, to show the world His plan for our salvation, the only way to have a relationship with Him. It is an intricately woven story, a beautiful, sometimes difficult, story, but it is the story of God reaching out to man, through His Son, Jesus. The only God who ever chased after His creation! The story of the Israelites is the story of our life. They are the picture of our struggle in this world, our struggle with sin. And through them, the prophets foretold His coming. Since no man could ever take our sin, God sent Jesus, His own incarnation, His only Son, to carry our guilt and be the ultimate covering for our sins. And though He had no sin, he became our sin, and through Him, we can enter into a relationship with God. Not only the joy of a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe, here and now, He freely gives us the gift of eternal life! Are you afraid of death? Uncertain of what comes next? When you know the Creator, you will forever know the Creator, because He is and was and will forever be. And all you need do is recognize you have sinned (not believed God), believe Jesus came as God in human form, lived a sinless life, died a guilty man’s death, and conquered death once and for all! It really is that simple to know God and to have hope—for now, for eternity. I write this because I care about you. These days are terribly difficult, but times are coming 100 times worse than your worst nightmare. The Bible tells us what to expect, and the Bible has been proven true in every word written. There is no reason not to believe what is coming. But God, just as in the days of Noah, has provided an “ark” for those who believe and are looking for His coming. He will take His people out of this world before the tribulation, the soon coming seven years of hell on earth–when this world tries to imitate Him with false, demonic leaders of a new world order, a one world government. You have heard of the “Great Reset?” Of digital currency? Of a mark you will need to buy and sell…Can you see it? It is very close now. I pray you will seek Him this very moment, pray He will show you Truth, and that you will be saved from the coming wrath. After He takes His own out of this world, it will literally cost you your life if you then decide God is real and Christ came to save you. The enemy of God is doing all he can to destroy you; he came to steal, kill and destroy, and he has had a measure of success. Don’t let him dissuade you from believing God now. Jesus told us: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 Thank you Karyn for your concern and prayers. Reply James Sale March 27, 2021 I think if Karyn cared about you, Theresa, she might want to comment on the actual poem rather than providing a fundamentalist rant about Christianity that is a misuse of the site; I say this as a Christian myself and not because I object to Christianity or discussing its deeper aspects. But I love the fact that your poem in its beautiful sonnet form draws attention to that compelling moment in Exodus just before the angel of destruction descends to wreak vengeance on Pharaoh, the Egyptians and even their livestock. It is a terrifying moment – and as you point out, only the blood on the lintels separates the Israelites from their oppressors. The painting of the blood is itself the saving act of faith, and the whole episode as you vividly describe it is merely a ‘type’ of what is to come: namely, now we approach Easter, the lamb of God who takes aways the sins of the world. Your concluding couplet – as so often in your sonnets – is especially fine, and we ‘feel’ the switch from alternating rhymes to that final plea, so urgently and powerfully expressed in those end-stopped rhymes. Fabulous work. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 Thank you very much for your excellent analysis and kind comments, James. Reply Joseph S. Salemi March 27, 2021 This is a thoughtful and well-crafted sonnet, and makes truly relevant the epigraph from Exodus 12. My only suggestion as to structure would be to remove the “Oh” from the beginning of line 13. You don’t need to add this interjection just to start off with an iamb — in fact, the line is starker and more direct when you make it trochaic, and you still maintain the pentameter beat. I agree with Jim Sale — there is a tendency at this site for some posters to add any scriptural, evangelical, or catechetical twist they can to their comments on a poem. It’s tedious. This isn’t a Sunday School. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 Thank you, Dr. Salemi, for your encouraging comments and your suggestion about dropping the “Oh” from line 13. I can see how this would improve the sonnet. I appreciate your insight very much. Reply BRIAN YAPKO March 27, 2021 Theresa, this is a beautiful meditation on vulnerability and faith’s power to transcend our fears and insecurities. I love the craft and I love the message. Well done. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 I am so very glad you liked this Passover sonnet, Brian, I appreciate your kind comments very much! Reply Yael March 27, 2021 What a lovely and profound Passover poem, thank you! May all your first born be passed over. Chag sameach. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 Thank you very much Yael for your kind comments, I appreciate them very much! Reply Margaret Coats March 27, 2021 It is most appropriate that we have a Passover poem here at SCP today, when Passover begins at sunset. And this is a most remarkable sonnet. Every single line of the first eleven is enjambed, which illustrates well the speaker’s grave concern about acceptance by God, despite interior spiritual completion of the Passover ritual. Sonnet critic John Fuller long ago claimed that the appropriate place for the turn of a Shakespearean sonnet is not at line 8 or 9, but at the couplet. Still, most Shakespearean sonnet writers instinctively recognize the fundamental 8-line/6-line proportion to this form as created by Italian writers and perfected by Petrarch–and make the turn near line 8. This sonnet, however, clearly has the turn where the couplet starts to breathe easily and regularly. For that reason, I don’t agree with Joseph Salemi’s suggestion of omitting the “Oh.” I think the singer’s interjection calling on God provides a welcome long breath of air after the apprehension and dread of the previous line–and it marks the turn clearly for the listener. There are other direct-address markers in the poem, but most occur within-line or within-sentence; they are not as free as the “Oh” here. And the poem begins as Joseph suggests, with what I call a headless iamb rather than a trochee; it seems better to have a different kind of beginning for this couplet. My suggestion is to change “Instead” in line 11 to “Indeed.” With “Instead,” the reader expects a contrast to something already said about what “you know,” but I don’t see one here. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 Thank you, Margaret, for your kind comments and your analysis, it means a great deal to me. I can see it both ways, leaving the “Oh” and taking it away. It gives me food for thought! And I agree, I’m not sure why I used “Instead” and not “Indeed.” Using “Indeed” would make my intentions clearer. I appreciate your picking up on that! Reply C.B. Anderson March 27, 2021 I hope I haven’t misunderstood you, Theresa, but I thought this poem made a subtle connection between the Passover and Salvation. Indeed, consider how the Last Supper happened on the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. It’s not all that immodest for Christians to say, “We are Israel.” I’ve been to so many Sedarim and Shabat dinners that I consider myself half-Jewish, as do most of my hosts and hostesses. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 27, 2021 You are right, C.B., I am a Christian writing about the Jewish Passover. There is an old hymn, “Glory to His Name,” by Elisha Hoffman, that says, “There to my heart was the blood applied”… I was thinking about adding this as a second epigraph to this sonnet but decided against it. I am hoping this Passover sonnet can have meaning to both Jews and Christians. I was also writing to honor and celebrate my own Jewish ancestry— I am adopted, and only found my biological father— a Polish Jew— this last year. Reply Margaret Coats March 27, 2021 Theresa takes up very longstanding Christian tradition by seeing a relation between the Passover and salvation. Her epigraph from Exodus 12 is read in the Second Lesson of the Traditional Latin Rite on Good Friday, and in the Ninth Prophecy (of twelve) at the longest service of the Christian Year, Easter Vigil, that occupies the night between Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. Reply Andrew Benson Brown March 27, 2021 Lovely sonnet, Theresa. I feel the power of your faith here, and I think it is safe to say that your soul is not in danger. Living in fundamentalist country as I do, where everybody thinks the latest lame faith-based film deserves to win an academy award, I can definitely relate to the experience of being bombarded by one-note Christians. Reply Theresa Rodriguez March 28, 2021 Thanks very much for your kind comments and encouragement, Andrew! Reply Cynthia Erlandson March 28, 2021 I agree, Andrew. I think that as Christians, we should be careful not to present ourselves as if we are people who never have doubts, fears, or inadequacies. Reply Leave a Reply to Joseph S. Salemi Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Δ This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.