Chris' Original Blogbeque

A fresh, vinegar-based examination of life

Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread

Posted by Chris on July 16, 2008

This is part of a series. See the description and introduction and glossary.

Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread fit together as one long celebration. The Torah teaches about them in five different sections of scripture: Exodus 11-12, Leviticus 23, Numbers 9 & 28, and Deuteronomy 16. The different texts both synchronize to give a good picture of Passover but also differ in purpose to complement one another.The last post I made on Old Testament time is important here. Passover starts on the 14th day of the first month (see Timeline), at twilight. Twilight also means that the next day, according to Hebrew tradition, would be starting. The Feast of Unleavened Bread started the next day, the 15th There’s not enough information for an amateur like me to understand everything. For example, the Feast calls for celebrations on the first and last days of the Feast—would that be at twilight on the 15th or during the day on the 16th? I assume it’s during the day on the 16th, even though that’s the second day according to “calendar time.” But know that this difference in measuring time, along with the lack of a detailed explanation (no need for that for the people who were receiving the books), accounts for any lapses and I do not think this is an issue that should provoke controversy as far as judging the historicity and uniformity of scripture.

Another controversial topic is where the Passover is celebrated. The earlier mentions of Passover instruct Israelites to celebrate Passover and the Feast wherever they are; Deuteronomy commands them to come to the “one place”, i.e. Jerusalem. I believe that this was given as a future command for when God would lead them to build a Temple. Controversy still surrounds the issue of date and authorship of Deuteronomy. It was “found” much later by King Josiah and many scholars would say that he had the book written for, among other reasons, exerting control over Hebrews by requiring them to come to Jerusalem. Discussing this issue is neither my area of expertise nor the purpose of this study.

Passover Purpose: to atone for the people and the holy things
  • Commemorate the Passover in Egypt (Ex 12:14,25-27)
  • Remember God sparing the firstborn Hebrews in Egypt (Ex 11-12)
  • Egypt Passover: each family sacrifices a y/o male w/o defect (goat or sheep) at twilight and put the blood and the doorframes. Same night, they cook the meat in a certain way and eat it in a certain fashion (Ex 12:1-11)
  • This gives us a picture of the Passover being a time of celebration and thankfulness for what God has done, especially in His work of saving us from an oppressor through the blood of a sacrificial lamb

When you enter the land that the LORD will give you as he promised, observe this ceremony. And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped. Exodus 12:25-27

Passover Meal
  • Do not break the bones of the sacrifice (Ex 12:46; Num 9:12)
  • Eat a lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, not leaving any until morning (Num 9:11-12)
  • Those who were unclean could eat (Num 9:10)
  • No foreigner could eat except a slave (Ex 12:43-45) unless all males in household circumcised
  • Must be eaten inside the house (Ex 12:46)
Feast of Unleavened Bread: Sacred Assembly on first & last days (Ex 12:16, Num 28:17,25, Lev 23:6-8 )
  • Give offerings equivalent to monthly offerings
  • Regular daily offerings
  • So not work on these days except to prepare food
Unleavened Bread purpose & activitie
  • Eat bread w/o yeast for 7 days (Ex 12:15,19-20)
    • They left Egypt so quickly that they did not have time to prepare food (Ex 12:39)

  • For 7 days offerings should be made to God
Other rules for the Holiday
  • Could be celebrated anywhere (Ex 12:20; Num 9:10), but all Israelites must celebrate (Ex 12:47)
  • After they reached the promised land, it was commanded that Passover should be celebrated at the Temple in Jerusalem (Deut 16)
  • Anyone who eats yeast during the seven days cut off from Israel (Ex 12:15,19)
  • Failure to celebrate (even if unclean or away), cut off from Israel (Num 9:13)

2 Responses to “Passover & Feast of Unleavened Bread”

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