Jewish History: Biblical History: The Egyptian First Born:
Did G-d Himself kill the Egyptian first born?
As we read in the Hagadah, Ex. 12:12 clearly implies
that G-d Himself would smite the Egyptian firstborn;
the verse uses the first person three times, and ends
with "ani ha-Shem". But in 12:23, when Moshe tells the
Jews what will happen, he implies that ha-Shem would
be accompanied by a "mashchis" who would do the actual
killing. (This is not the only place in the Torah
where Moshe "softens" G-d's words when he conveys them
to the people.) From the wording of 12:23 it seems
that the mashchis operated in the Jewish houses that
didn't have blood on their doorposts.
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