Blood on the Doorposts--Who Should See It and Why?
(ז) וְלָֽקְחוּ֙ מִן־הַדָּ֔ם וְנָֽתְנ֛וּ עַל־שְׁתֵּ֥י הַמְּזוּזֹ֖ת וְעַל־הַמַּשְׁק֑וֹף עַ֚ל הַבָּ֣תִּ֔ים אֲשֶׁר־יֹאכְל֥וּ אֹת֖וֹ בָּהֶֽם׃

They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintels of the houses in which they are to eat it.

Questions on Exodus

The lintels and doorposts have two sides. One side faces inwards, and is seen by the residents of the home. The other side faces outwards and is seen by people outside the home. Our verse is ambiguous about which side of the doorframe the Israelites were to paint with blood.

Do you think God was asking them to paint blood on the inside or the outside?

Why does it matter whether they paint blood on the inside or the outside?

Intro. to Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael

The following source is from Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael. It is a midrash halacha on the book of Exodus. Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishamel is an interpretation of the parts of Exodus that have to do with halacha/Jewish law. In general, a midrash halacha is a text written by sages after the time of the Bible that clarifies or interprets commandments in the Torah.

(ב) ונתנו על שתי המזוזות ועל המשקוף מבפנים. אתה אומר מבפנים, או אינו אלא מבחוץ? תלמוד לומר וראיתי את הדם –הנראה לי ולא הנראה לאחרים, דברי ר' שמעון. ר' נתן אומר, מבפנים. אתה אומר מבפנים, או אינו אלא מבחוץ? תלמוד לומר והיה הדם לכם לאות – לכם לאות ולא לאחרים לאות. ר' יצחק אומר, לעולם מבחוץ, כדי שיהו המצרים רואין ומעיהן מתחתכין.

(2) (Exodus 12:7) "And they shall place it on the two side posts and on the lintel": on the inside. You say on the inside, but perhaps on the outside (is meant)? It is, therefore, written (Ibid. 13) "And I will see the blood" — blood which is seen by Me and not by others. These are the words of R. Shimon. R. Nathan says: On the inside. You say on the inside, but perhaps on the outside? It is, therefore, written (Ibid.) "and the blood will be for you as a sign" — for you and not for others. R. Yitzchak says: On the outside — so that the Egyptians see their insides be "ripped apart!"

Explanation of Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael

In other words Exodus 12:7 is unclear in it's commandment to paint the blood, and there are three interpretations in Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael.

R. Shimon says the blood should be painted inside, and was meant to be seen by God so God would pass over them.

R. Natan says the blood should be painted inside, and was meant to be seen by the Israelites as a sign that tonight was the night of the Exodus.

R. Yitzhak says the blood should be painted on the outside and was meant to be seen by the Egyptians to see their God's guts or the Egyptians guts ripped to pieces.

Questions about Mekhilta d'Rabbi Yishmael

What is significant about God seeing the blood?

What is significant about the Israelites seeing the blood?

What is significant about the Egyptians seeing the blood?

In the end, what is your conclusion? Who needs to see the sign of the blood on the doors and why?

The blood on the doorposts can be a metaphor of showing readiness and commitment. When we're about to take on a challenge or embark on a journey, who needs to see signs of readiness and commitment? God? Us? Our adversaries?