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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

In the NT we meet with two alternative names for the great Jewish festal season of the Passover-τὸ πάσχα and τὰ ἄζυμα. These are the LXX_ equivalents for the corresponding Heb. terms in the OT, πάσχα being a rough transliteration of Heb. pesaḥ (probably through the Aramaic form pasḥa), and τὰ ἄζυμα a translation of Heb. hammaẓẓôth (‘the unleavened bread,’  Exodus 12:17), a brief form of reference to ḥag hammaẓẓôth (‘the feast of the unleavened bread,’  Exodus 23:15). We have also one instance of the full phrase ἡ ἑορτὴ τῶν ἀζύμων in  Luke 22:1. Similarly τὸ πάσχα is an abbreviation for ἡ ἑορτὴ τοῦ πάσχα ( Luke 2:41); and this is parallel with the OT use of happesaḥ (e.g.  Joshua 5:10) for the full ḥag happesaḥ (e.g.  Exodus 34:25). In both cases the name of an essential feature of the feast (the lamb, the cakes) is used to denote the feast itself. The analogy of the use of the maẓẓôth (‘cakes’) as a short name for the festival suggests that pesaḥ was originally the special name for the lamb and that it is not the name of the feast transferred to the lamb. ‘Killing’ and ‘eating’ τὸ πάσχα are just as often spoken of as ‘keeping’ τὸ πάσχα.

It would be impossible for readers of the LXX_, who were familiar only with Greek, to realize such word-play between ‘passover’ and ‘pass over’ as is found in Exodus 12 -word-play which is obvious alike in EVV_ and in Heb.; e.g.  Exodus 12:27 : zebhaḥpesaḥ … ǎsher pâsaḥ, ‘passover-sacrifice (to the Lord) who passed over.’ The LXX_, which uses πάσχα invariably for pesaḥ, reads in the same passage, ‘A sacrifice to the Lord is this pasch (τὸ πάσχα), for He screened (ἐσκέπασε) the houses of the people of Israel.’

The Vulg._ handling of the term is very curious. At its first appearance in  Exodus 12:11 it is a sort of transliteration yielding the odd form Phase followed by an explanatory parenthesis, ‘(id est, transitus) Domini.’ So throughout the OT, except in Ezra and Ezekiel, Phase as an indeclinable substantive continues to be used, but some caprice is shown in using sometimes Phase and sometimes phase. In  Ezra 6:19-20 and  Ezekiel 45:21 the form Pascha appears: and in the NT this term is invariably used. It appears to be generally intended to mark the distinction between the name as applied to the feast and as applied to the lamb by using Pascha in the former case (‘facere, celebrare Pascha’) and pascha in the latter (‘immolare, comedere, manducare pascha’). Uncertainty, too, is shown as to the declension of the word, it being treated both as feminine and as neuter (e.g.  Luke 2:41 ‘in die solemni Paschae’;  Luke 22:8, ‘parate nobis pascha’). Similarly we have in  Mark 14:1 ‘Erat autem Pascha et Azyma,’ and in  Luke 22:1 ‘appropinquabat autem dies festus Azymorum, qui dicitur Pascha.’ In  Acts 12:3;  Acts 20:6 is found ‘dies Azymorum.’

Whether we have not here traces of two ancient Spring festivals, one pastoral (peṣaḥ) and one agricultural (maẓẓôth), now merged into one and invested with a new significance as a historical commemoration which almost wholly obliterates the primitive origins, is a question that lies beyond the scope of this article. This much, however, may be said. The real origin of the term pesaḥ (and so πάσχα) is, to say the least, obscure. The explanation given in Exodus 12 quite possibly indicates the well-known tendency to supply a derivation for a term from itself, especially when it is to be adapted to new uses. For πάσχα, we know, a connection with πάσχω (‘suffer’), was found as early as Irenaeus (2nd cent. a.d.), who says: ‘A Moyse ostenditur Filius Dei, cuius et diem passionis non ignoravit, sed figuratim pronunciavit, eum pascha nominans’ (Haer. iv. 10). Tertullian and Chrysostom repeated the error of connecting πάσχα with our Lord’s Passion. There must have been very many, familiar only with Greek, to whom the term itself was meaningless.

1. The feast.-The Passover was a ḥag, i.e. a pilgrim feast characterized by joyousness; it was necessarily observed at the central sanctuary at Jerusalem. Josephus mentions more than once the large numbers that came up to the feast, and speaks of it as a particularly turbulent time when sedition was liable to break out on the slightest provocation (see Ant. XVII. ix. 3, XX. v. 3). He calculates that there were 2,700,200 capable of celebrating the Passover at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (Bj_ Vi ix. 3; see also [for a.d. 65] BJ_ II. xiv. 3). Whatever exaggeration there may be in these numbers, it is clear that the concourse of people at the feast must have been great. According to the same authority, more than once in the unquiet years which preceded the fall of Jerusalem the Passover was made the occasion of massacre and bloodshed in which many perished.

With the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple, the Passover necessarily ceased to be a ḥag. It became simply a domestic festival, though of peculiar preciousness. Their downfall as a nation, their being scattered abroad throughout the world, could not blot out for the Jews the memory of their redemption from Egyptian bondage, which the festival commemorated, whilst it also kept alive hopes for the days to come. The scene of the celebration was the home, and those who kept the feast were the family circle or household. But we are largely in the dark as to how the Jews observed the feast, say in a.d. 71, when it was no longer possible to go up to Jerusalem, and how exactly the celebration of the Passover (as well as other matters) was adjusted to the new order of things. All we know is that out of a period of uncertainty and dimness the Passover feast emerges as one of the most distinctive features of Judaism, one that has been made the subject of a special tractate of the Mishna (Pesaḥim), and one that has continued to this day as a specially valued festival.

2. The Passover as a note of time.-Twice in the Acts ( Acts 12:3;  Acts 20:6) we have ‘the days of unleavened bread’ referred to as a note of time. No absolute certainty is attainable with reference to NT chronology; everything, therefore, that can shed light on it is to be welcomed. In  Acts 12:3 we have the fact explicitly mentioned that it was the Passover time when the occurrences there recorded took place; but unfortunately that does not give us information as to the year. The uncertainties, however, are narrowed down to the limits of a very few years, and careful calculation has shown that Herod Agrippa I. most probably died in a.d. 44. St. Peter mysteriously disappears from view, leaving us henceforth dependent on uncertain tradition for all further knowledge of his career. The unfortunate translation of μετὰ τὸ πάσχα in AV_ as ‘after Easter’ is an obvious anachronism, unless, indeed, ‘Easter’ was in the 16th cent. used indiscriminately for the Jewish and the Christian Pasch.  Acts 20:6 f. also probably indicates the Passover of a.d. 56 or 57 as marking the close of the missionary activity of St. Paul, who was arrested soon after (see art._ ‘Chronology of the NT’ in HDB_ i. 416, 420).

Nothing could show better than these scanty notes of time how deep-rooted the custom was, how the feast was observed as regularly as the year came round. Men spoke naturally of ‘the days of the unleavened bread’ as a significant point in the calendar, just as we speak of ‘after Christmas’ or ‘at Christmas.’ Ordinary dates dwindle into insignificance beside these fixed, outstanding seasons. Similarly we find the other primary Jewish festivals (Tabernacles and Pentecost) used in the same way- John 7:2 (Tabernacles),  Acts 2:1;  Acts 20:16,  1 Corinthians 16:8 (Pentecost).

3. How Passover was kept in apostolic times.-Even among the Jews the Paschal observance had undergone considerable changes in the course of time. Whilst a due reference was preserved to the all-important fact of the deliverance from Egypt, the emergence of the Jews as more or less a people, yet time and historical catastrophes had left their mark. What mention, e.g., is there in the Pentateuchal legislation of the four cups of wine? When were they introduced? We cannot tell; yet they were a settled feature of the feast in our Lord’s day. The cup which He took in the institution of the Lord’s Supper was no new thing. It is generally admitted that this was the third cup or cup of blessing which is still drunk at the conclusion of the meal (‘after supper,’  Luke 22:20,  1 Corinthians 11:25). The greatest difference, however, was made by the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70. Up to that time the paschal lambs had been slain in their thousands year by year. Then it all ceased. A roasted shank-bone of a lamb is all that remains of the most notable element of the feast as originally ordained. On the other hand, the unleavened cakes and the bitter herbs (now taking the form of horse-radish) go back to primitive times.

But ‘the present Passover liturgy contains comparatively very few relics from New Testament times’ (A. Edersheim, The Temple: its Ministry and Services as they were at the Time of Jesus Christ, London, n.d., p. 231). Perhaps it is more correct to say that the present Passover liturgy contains large expansions of and additions to the ritual observed in the 1st cent. a.d. What that form was exactly it is impossible to tell. It was pre-eminently a time of revolution: the breakup and passing away of the old order to give place to a new. The transformation of Passover from a ḥag to a purely domestic festival was not so sudden as might at first appear. Even before the destruction of Jerusalem the domestic festivities were of growing importance, although that stupendous event made an end of the whole sacrificial system and yearly festal gatherings. We may be sure, however, that the kernel of the commemoration was jealously maintained, that the essential framework of the ritual to-day was there from the first. That ritual briefly is as follows. The search for leaven on the eve of Passover with quaint formulae ushers in the feast. The festival commences with a sanctification; then comes the first cup of wine; the aphiḳomen (half a maẓẓah, which is reserved to be eaten at the close) is set aside; the question is asked, ‘Why is this night distinguished from all other nights?’ to which a long response is given; this is followed by the first part of Hallel (Psalms 113, 114), the second cup of wine, washing of the hands; the unleavened bread (maẓẓôth) is eaten with bitter herbs (horse-radish); next comes Hillel’s ceremony (eating a piece of horse-radish placed between two pieces of unleavened bread); the aphiḳomen is eaten, grape after meals is said with considerable additions; then there is the third cup of wine and the opening of the door; Hallel is resumed (Psalms 115-118); Psalms 136 is recited with large expansions, followed by the fourth cup of wine and prayer for the Divine acceptance of the service; ‘Adir hu’, an impassioned song praying for the rebuilding of the Temple, brings all to a close.

Such a curious feature as the opening of the door is of uncertain date, but, though most likely later than the 1st cent. a.d., is yet of considerable age. The expansions are mostly seen in the Haggâdic matter-the long narrative sections which are so conspicuous a feature of the observance. The compositions, ‘How many are the benefits which God has conferred upon us?’ ‘And it came to pass at midnight,’ ‘Ye shall say, “It is the sacrifice of Passover,” ’ ‘To Him praise has ever been and ever will be due,’ and others, must be dated long after apostolic times. On the other hand, the Hallel and other portions of the Psalms are most probably amongst the oldest features.

One feature of the celebration on the second night of the Passover carries us back uninterruptedly to the primitive times when the Jews were settled in Canaan and were an agricultural people. It is the counting of the omer, and it most particularly reminds us that here we have originally a celebration of the recurring seasons of the year and the yearly ingathering of the earth’s fruits. The first-fruits of barley harvest were offered on the second day of Passover, and from then seven weeks were counted by primitive methods of calculation; this brought them to Pentecost and the beginning of wheat harvest. ‘Though one ephah, or ten omers, of barley was cut down, only one omer of flour, or about 5·1 pints of our measure, was offered in the Temple on the second Paschal’ (Edersheim, op. cit. p. 259). Ages have passed, the Jews are scattered throughout the world, there is no longer flour to be offered, there is no omer; still at the evening service in the synagogue and on the second night of the festival in the home, as regularly as the Passover comes round, the words are said: ‘Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us with Thy precepts and commanded us concerning the counting of the Omer. This is the first day of the Omer. May it be Thy will, O Lord our God and the God of our fathers, to rebuild thy Temple speedily, in our days, and to make Thy law our portion.’ And at evening service in the synagogue daily the counting goes on until the night before Pentecost (see art._ Pentecost).

Whenever the custom may have originated, it is curious to think that still in every Jewish home, just after the third cup, or cup of blessing, has been drunk, the door is opened to admit the prophet Elijah, for whom a spare cup of wine is always set, as the forerunner of the Messiah. ‘May the All-merciful send us Elijah the prophet … who shall give us good tidings, salvation, and consolation.’ We think of the question: ‘Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?’ ( Matthew 17:10), and of the answer: ‘Elijah is come already.’ That which differentiates between Jew and Christian is mainly the recognition of Jesus as the Christ. How can we fail to feel the pathos in the impassioned prayers with which the Paschal service closes? ‘O mighty God, rebuild Thy house speedily, speedily even in our days, rebuild it. O God, rebuild Thy Temple speedily!’ and in the aspiration repeated more than once, but especially before the fourth cup: ‘Next year in Jerusalem!’ We wonder how far these words really express the yearning of the Jewish heart. Words and formulae often live on and survive the original desire, very intense and sincere, which prompted them.

The question arises, as in the matter of keeping Sabbath on the seventh day, whether the early Christians continued to observe these festivals just the same as the Jews. They did not at once break away from the practices in which they had been brought up (see, e.g.,  Acts 3:1). ‘The Christian Churches in Judaea existed as Jewish sects’ (C. von Weizsäcker, The Apostolic Age, i.2 [London, 1897] 175), and it is with Jewish Christians that we are first of all concerned. In all probability they went on for years observing the festivals with their old Jewish significance as they also complied with other traditional usages. J. Bingham, indeed, on very slender grounds holds that the ‘first Christians of Jerusalem … did not keep Easter with the Jews on what day of the week scever it fell, but on the Sunday following in honour of our Saviour’s resurrection’ (Ant. XX. v. 4 [in Works, Oxford, 1855, vol. vii.]). Apart even from the loose wording here, when we come to look into matters we see that he has little, if any, authority for the belief. The ‘first day of the week,’ the Lord’s Day, was the regular, weekly commemoration of our Lord’s resurrection. It is more than doubtful if there was an annual commemoration (‘Easter’) in apostolic times.

But the old runs into the new. Even though still marking events by ‘the days of unleavened bread’ ( Acts 12:3), they might well invest the season with a new significance as time went on, and associate it with a new commemoration. ‘When the apostles came to write of the bondage of sin and the new liberty and life in Christ, their teaching would be all the more easily understood and more lovingly accepted, because to many of their readers it recalled the Passover table of the family and the sound of silent voices’ (G. M. Mackie, ‘The Jewish Passover in the Christian Church,’ ExpT_ xiii. [1901-02] 392).

St. Paul, however, who divined most accurately the true genius of Christianity as a religion with universal aims, evidently disapproved of the continuance of Judaism as a system crippling the spiritual energies of the Church, the new liberty in Christ. He explicitly deprecated the observance of Jewish feasts ( Galatians 4:8-11) on the part of purely Gentile converts.  Colossians 2:16 is equally decided. Though he was, as he himself proudly claimed, ‘a Hebrew of Hebrews,’ it is more than questionable if he kept the Passover after his conversion and after he had grasped the meaning of Christianity for the Gentile world. And when he makes an allusion to the feast in writing to the Corinthians ( 1 Corinthians 5:6-8), it shows only that the feast per se has no longer any interest for him. It may, indeed, show incidentally that it was somewhere about the time of its celebration that he was writing his Epistle; but his allusions are purely symbolic. He gives to the Paschal lamb and to the unleavened bread a meaning of which his forefathers never dreamed. To St. Paul more than to any other is it due that Christianity broke away from the swaddling-clothes of Judaism and became a faith with a far more glorious redemption than the Exodus to commemorate.

As L. Duchesne remarks, ‘There was no reason why Christians should observe the feasts and fasts of the Jewish calendar. They were allowed to drop out of use. Nevertheless, each year one of these holy days, the Paschal Feast or the Feast of the Azymes, recalled the memory of the Passion of the Saviour. The memories which Israel had connected, and still connected, with this anniversary might no longer be of interest; but it was impossible to forget that Our Lord had died … on one of those days. The Pasch was therefore retained, though the ritual details of the Jewish observance were omitted’ (Early History of the Christian Church, Eng. tr._ of 4th ed., i. [London, 1909] 207 f.).

4. ‘Christ our Passover.’-We have already referred in passing to  1 Corinthians 5:6-8, but both here and in  1 Corinthians 15:20;  1 Corinthians 15:23 there are allusions to Passover (‘the firstfruits,’ ἀπαρχή) which call for a rather more extended notice. For they show us better than anything else how the transition from the Jewish to the Christian Pasch was made, how the new interest and commemoration swallowed up and superseded the old. Once again Passover was in all probability being celebrated in the Jewish community. But St. Paul, perhaps for the very first time, was quick to see an illustration of Christ and His redeeming work in the sacrifice of the lamb, and in the complete removal of leaven which preceded the feast ( Exodus 12:15) an illustration of the moral purification which Christianity calls for. He sees, again, in the first-fruits offered at the Passover an illustration of what Christ is in His resurrection to the harvest field of the dead.

(a) τὸ πάσχα ἡμῶν: ‘our Paschal lamb,’ i.e. of Christians as distinct from Jews. It is altogether unnecessary to see in the lamb of the original institution an actual prototype of our Lord. To see in the Paschal lamb ‘the prefiguration of Jesus Christ whose death is the sacrifice which averts the wrath of God from His community’ (C. von Orelli, art._ ‘Passover’ in Schaff-Herzog_, viii. 370) is to go beyond what is warranted. The reference is too casual for so much to be built upon it. The Apostle never again speaks of Christ as a lamb. The lamb of the Passover, moreover, was partaken of in a festal meal, and St. Paul was probably thinking specially of this. For he immediately follows with ‘Therefore let us keep festival’ (ἑορτάζωμεν); not with a reference to any feast in particular, but to the new life of joyousness Christians are to live, in which ‘sincerity and truth’ are essential (so Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. xv. 3. 8). Again we have Christ compared to a ‘lamb without blemish and without spot’ ( 1 Peter 1:19), absolute purity, however, being a general requirement in any sacrifice offered to God ( Deuteronomy 17:1). Allegory soon became busy with these representations of the Lord. He was ‘the Lamb of God’ ( John 1:29) rather in antithesis to the whole sacrificial system of the Jews. The majestic apocalyptic figure of the Lamb which is all-prominent in Rev. is the outgrowth of this conception, and is mainly responsible for the Agnus Dei of Christian art._

(b) ἀπαρχή, LXX_ for Heb. re’shîth ( Leviticus 23:10), ‘firstfruits.’ It is almost impossible that St. Paul should use this particular term without having in mind a reference to the offering of first-fruits at Passover, especially when we take it in connection with  Leviticus 5:6. R. F. Weymouth (The NT in Modern Speech3, London, 1909, p. 469) translates (no doubt advisedly)  1 Corinthians 15:20, ‘being the first to do so of those who are asleep’; and again  1 Corinthians 15:23, ‘Christ having been the first to rise’: but this entirely obscures the beautiful figure of the harvest field. As used by St. Paul, the gathering of first-fruits and the presenting of them to God is a pledge that the whole harvest shall be reaped.

5. Passover and the Eucharist.-Is there any connection between the Passover of the Jews and the Lord’s Supper of the Christian Church? Our limitations forbid any treatment in detail of what is still a very vexed question. It must be admitted that the materials are scanty and not free from obscurity. The difference, e.g., between the Synoptists and the Fourth Gospel as to the actual time when the Lord held His Last Supper, whether the meal was an ‘anticipated Passover’ or Passover itself, is well known. Referring to the repeated attempts to harmonize them, Duchesne sensibly remarks: ‘It is wiser to acknowledge that, on this point, we are not in a position to reconcile the evangelists’ (op. cit. p. 209, n._ 4). And why trouble, when even the fact that the Lord instituted some memorial observance for His disciples is itself open to question? Wilder extremists see in the Supper, not a simple memorial instituted naturally by Jesus and suggested by the circumstances of the time, but the influence of mystery-religions and strange cults with their eating and drinking of a god.

One thing is pretty certain. There was a meal in some form or another associated with Christianity from the very beginning. In  Acts 2:42 the κλάσις τοῦ ἄρτου, ‘the breaking of the bread,’ suggests a distinctive custom of the first disciples. Still more in  Acts 20:7 is it apparent that this custom was observed ‘on the first day of the week,’ and it becomes a more definitely religious ordinance. More than all we have fortunately St. Paul’s treatment of a crying scandal in the Church at Corinth which incidentally gives us some light on the practice of the times ( 1 Corinthians 10:16 f.,  1 Corinthians 11:17 ff.). From the first, apparently, the commemoration (Eucharist) was observed in connection with a common meal to symbolize and to foster fraternity (Agape). The Apostle’s action here was to set a hedge round the commemoration and rescue it from the disgraceful abuses which attended the common meal. It distinctly contributed to the ultimate separation of the Eucharist as a purely religious and symbolic feast, although at the time of the Didache (c._ a.d. 100) the Agape appears still to have been associated with it ( 10), at any rate in certain localities.

But St. Paul’s mention of the ‘cup of blessing’ ( 1 Corinthians 10:16), coupled with the fact that he had already seen in the Paschal lamb an illustration of Christ, makes it clear that he at any rate viewed this ordinance as the Christian counterpart of the Jewish Passover. Edersheim (LT_4, London, 1887, ii. 511) is very decided as to this relation, and even goes so far as to venture the opinion that the broken bread was none other than the aphiḳomen or unleavened cake eaten at the close of the meal. A. C. McGiffert (A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, Edinburgh, 1897, p. 70) seems hardly consistent in saying there is no indication in our sources that the Lord’s Supper was viewed as thus related to the Jewish Passover, as he remarks, ‘It can hardly be doubted, in other words, that it was believed, at any rate at an early day, if not from the beginning, in the church of Jerusalem, that Jesus had commanded them to do as they actually were doing.’ If Jesus gave the command He gave it at the Paschal meal, or at least in close association with it. ‘Whether in the words and acts of Jesus there is an implied reference to the Passover or not, the association of the Eucharist with the Passover was a natural one, though we may have to admit that the Paschal features in the language of St. Paul represent the later reflexion of a period when the idea of Christ as the true Passover ( 1 Corinthians 5:7,  John 19:36) had influenced the conception of the institution’ (art._ ‘Eucharist’ in ERE_ v. 543a). We may notice that really St. Paul’s language is separated from the Crucifixion only by a score of years or so, no great interval after all. It is the more natural to think, considering the relation of Christianity to Judaism, that we have here a close point of connection between the old and the new.

6. Passover and Easter.-The true celebration of Easter, the festival of our Lord’s resurrection, was, as we have seen above, a thing of weekly occurrence. ‘The first day of the week’ became established even in the Apostolic Church as the special day of joyful commemoration on the part of Christians. In that they were most sharply in contrast with the Jews. But whatever obscurity may hang round the original connection between the Paschal feast and the Eucharist, there can be no question that when Easter came to be observed, as it was observed at the same season of the year,-in spring-it was regarded as the counterpart of the Jewish Passover. Speaking of the movable feasts, Duchesne says: ‘Dans ces fêtes, comme en tant d’autres choses, l’Eglise est, à un certain degré, héritière de la Synagogue. L’année ecclésiastique n’est autre chose que la combinaison de deux calendriers, l’un juif et l’autre chrétien. Au calendrier juif correspondent les fêtes mobiles, au calendrier chrétien les fêtes fixes’ (Origines du culte chrétien4, Paris, 1909, p. 225). After observing that this symmetry must not be pressed too far, he remarks: ‘Les chrétiens ne conservèrent point toutes les fêtes juives; et quant à celles qu’ils retinrent, ils y attachèrent de bonne heure une signification appropriée à leurs croyances.… On ne conserva que celles de Pâques et de la Pentecôte’ (ib.).

This correspondence is made abundantly clear by the fact that the name for the festival of the resurrection of our Lord is in most countries simply the name ‘Pascha’ reproduced in various forms. Thus Lat. festa paschalia, which has passed into Fr. as Pâques (a plur. form), Ital. Pasqua, etc. (see CED_, s.v. ‘Pasch’). The name ‘Easter’ is, quite differently, from A.S._ plur. eâstron, a relic of heathenism with dim suggestions of the worship of nature powers awakening in spring. But even where ‘Easter’ became the settled name, some form of Pascha such as ‘Pasch’ existed side by side with it.

It was only to be expected that with the weekly celebration there should gradually grow up a special yearly commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is so tremendous and vital a fact that as each Paschal season came round the tendency would be more and more to give importance to the annual celebration at the very season when our Lord died and rose again. But this was after the Apostolic Age.

So there is no need to enter with any minuteness upon a controversy which, springing up in the 2nd cent., continued for long to agitate the Christian Church and was the occasion of great and widespread bitterness of feeling. Pity that such things should be! But it was a controversy that grew up out of this very relation of the Christian to the Jewish feast; and it had reference to the time when the festival should be kept. A large section of the Church, believing that on the 14th Nisan, the day of the Paschal sacrifice, Jesus also died, were firm in their resolve to keep their Pasch on the same day as did the Jews. (The term Pascha, it may be said, originally included a reference to the death as well as the resurrection of Christ. A distinction was made between τὸ πάσχα σταυρώσιμον, the Pascha crucifixionis, and τὸ πάσχα ἀναστάσιμον, the Pascha resurrectionis.) On the other hand, seeing that the 14th Nisan could fall on any day of the week, and therefore the celebration of Easter also, the Roman Church, and those who were influenced by it, kept the festival on Sunday as a fixed day, arriving at the date by more or less intricate calculation. It was not, however, by any means the same Sunday that Christians observed even where this principle obtained. The former, mainly Asians, were called Quartodecimans or ‘Fourteenthers.’ At first they agreed to differ. ‘Polycarp [c._ a.d. 150], during his stay in Rome, tried to convince Pope Anicetus that the quartodeciman use was the only one permissible. He did not succeed. Neither could Anicetus succeed in persuading the old master to adopt the Roman method. They parted, nevertheless, on the best of terms’ (Duchesne, Early Hist. of the Christian Church, i. 210). A very different state of things followed when a later pope, Victor, interfered to secure one uniform way. It is a sorry story of schism and strife. But where now are the Tessarescaedecatitae, Audiani, Sabbatiani, Protopaschitae and other curious sects, who ‘would not hold any communion with … any that did not keep the Pasch at the same time that the Jews did’? (Bingham, op. cit. XX. v. 3).

The two festivals still exist side by side. It is true that, quite apart from the Jewish feast, Christians would still have celebrated the resurrection of the Lord. But, be that as it may, the historical connection of Christianity and Judaism is indubitably signified as year by year at the same time the Christian keeps Easter and the Jew Passover-though with what radical difference of meaning!

Literature.-In addition to works and articles quoted throughout, see artt._ ‘Passover’ in Hdb_ (W. J Moulton), in EBi_ (I. Benzinger), in JE_ (E. G. Hirsch); art._ ‘Pasch or Passover’ in CE_ (C. Aherne); in ERE_, artt._ ‘Festivals and Fasts (Christian)’ (J. G. Carleton), ‘Festivals and Fasts (Hebrew)’ (F. H. Woods); A. Hilgenfeld, Der Paschastreit der alten Kirche nach seiner Bedeutung für die Kirchengeschichte, Halle, 1860; Eighteen Treatises from the Mischna (including Pesahim), tr._ D. A. de Sola and M. J. Raphall, London, 1843; F. Delitzsch, ‘Der Passahritus zur Zeit des zweiten Tempels,’ Zeitschr. für die ges. luther. Theologie und Kirche, xvi. [1855] 257 ff.; P. Gardner, The Origin of the Lord’s Supper, London, 1893; A. A. Green, The Revised Hagada, do., 1897; H. C. Trumbull, The Blood Covenant, do., 1887.

J. S. Clemens.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(See Feasts .) Ρecach ( Exodus 12:11, etc.). The word is not in other Semitic languages, except in passages derived from the Hebrew Bible; the Egyptian word Pesht corresponds, "to extend the arms or wings over one protecting him." Also She'Or , "leaven," answers to Egyptian Seri "seething pot," Seru "buttermilk," Hebrew from Shaar something left from the previous mass. Pass-over is not so much passing by as passing so as to shield over; as  Isaiah 31:5, "as birds flying so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem, defending also He will deliver it, passing over He will preserve it" ( Matthew 23:37, Greek Episunagon , the "epi" expresses the hen's brooding over her chickens, the "sun" her gathering them together;  Ruth 2:12;  Deuteronomy 32:11). Lowth, "leap forward to defend the house against the destroying angel, interposing His own person." Vitringa , "preserve by interposing." David interceding is the type ( 2 Samuel 24:16); Jehovah is distiller from the destroying angel, and interposes between him and the people while David intercedes.

So  Hebrews 11:28;  Exodus 12:23. Israel's deliverance front Egyptian bondage and adoption by Jehovah was sealed by the Passover, which was their consecration to Him.  Exodus 12:1-14 directs as to the Passover before the Exodus,  Exodus 12:15-20 as to the seven days' "feast of unleavened bread" (Leaven Symbolising Corruption, As Setting The Dough In Fermentation; Excluded Therefore From Sacrifices,  Leviticus 2:11 ) . The Passover was a kind. of sacrament, uniting the nation to God on the ground of God's grace to them. The slain lamb typified the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" ( John 1:29). The unleavened loaves, called "broad of affliction" ( Deuteronomy 16:3) as reminding them of past affliction, symbolized the new life cleansed from the leaven of the old Egyptian-like nature ( 1 Corinthians 5:8), of which the deliverance from the external Egypt was a pledge to the believing.

The sacrifice (For Jehovah Calls It "My Sacrifice":  Exodus 23:15-18 ;  Exodus 34:25 ) came first; then, on the ground of that, the seven days' feast of unleavened bread to show they walked in the strength of the pure bread of a new life, in fellowship with Jehovah. Leaven was forbidden in all offerings ( Leviticus 2:4-5;  Leviticus 7:12;  Leviticus 10:12); symbol of hypocrisy and misleading doctrine ( Matthew 16:12;  Luke 12:1). The seven stamped the feast with the seal of covenant relationship. The first and seventh days (the beginning and the end comprehending the whole) were sanctified by a holy convocation and suspension of work, worship of and rest in Jehovah, who had created Israel as His own people ( Isaiah 43:1;  Isaiah 43:15-17). From the 14th to the 21st of Nisan. See also  Exodus 13:3-10;  Leviticus 23:4-14. In  Numbers 9:1-14 God repeats the command for the Passover, in the second year after the Exodus; those disqualified in the first month were to keep it in the second month.

Talmudists call this "the little Passover," and say it lasted but one day instead of seven, and the Hallel was not sung during the meal but only when the lamb was slain, and leaven was not put away. In  Numbers 28:16-25 the offering for each day is prescribed. In  Deuteronomy 16:1-6 directions are given as to its observance in the promised land, with allusion to the voluntary peace offerings ( Chagigah , "festivity") or else public offerings ( Numbers 28:17-24;  2 Chronicles 30:22-24;  2 Chronicles 35:7-13). The Chadigah might not be slain on the Sabbath, though the Passover lamb might. The Chagigah might be boiled, but the Passover lamb only roasted. This was needed as the Passover had only once been kept in the wilderness (Numbers 9), and for 38 years had been intermitted. Joshua ( Joshua 5:10) celebrated the Passover after circumcising the people at Gilgal. First celebration. On the 10th of Abib 1491 B.C. the head of each family selected a lamb or a kid, a male of the first year without blemish, if his family were too small to consume it, he joined his neighbor.

Not less than ten, generally under 20, but it might be 100, provided each had a portion (Mishna, Pes. 8:7) as large as an olive, formed the company (Josephus, B. J., 6:9, section 3); Jesus' party of 13 was the usual number. On the 14th day he killed it at sunset ( Deuteronomy 16:6) "between the two evenings" (margin  Exodus 12:6;  Leviticus 23:5;  Numbers 9:3-5). The rabbis defined two evenings, the first the afternoon ( Proia ) of the sun's declension before sunset, the second ( Opsia ) began with the setting sun; Josephus (B. J., 6:9, section 3) "from the ninth (three o'clock) to the 11th hour" (five o'clock). The ancient custom was to slay the Passover shortly after the daily sacrifice, i.e. three o'clock, with which hour Christ's death coincided. Then he took blood in a basin, and with a hyssop sprig sprinkled it (in token of cleansing from Egypt-like defilements spiritually:  1 Peter 1:2;  Hebrews 9:22;  Hebrews 10:22) on the lintel and two sideposts of the house door (not to be trodden under; so not on the threshold:  Hebrews 10:29).

The lamb was roasted whole ( Genesis 22:8, representing Jesus' complete dedication as a holocaust), not a bone broken ( John 19:36); the skeleton left entire, while the flesh was divided among the partakers, expresses the unity of the nation and church amidst the variety of its members; so  1 Corinthians 10:17, Christ the antitype is the true center of unity. The lintel and doorposts were the place of sprinkling as being prominent to passers by, and therefore chosen for inscriptions ( Deuteronomy 6:9). The sanctity attached to fire was a reason for the roasting with fire; a tradition preserved in the hymns to Agni the fire god in the Rig Veda. Instead of a part only being eaten and the rest burnt, as in other sacrifices, the whole except the blood sprinkled was eaten when roast; typifying Christ's blood shed as a propitiation, but His whole man hood transfused spiritually into His church who feed on Him by faith, of which the Lord's supper is a sensible pledge. Eaten with unleavened bread ( 1 Corinthians 5:7-8) and bitter herbs (repentance  Zechariah 12:10).

No uncircumcised male was to partake ( Colossians 2:11-13). Each had his loins girt, staff in hand, shoes on his feet; and ate in haste (As We Are To Be Pilgrims, Ready To Leave This World:  1 Peter 1:13 ;  1 Peter 2:11 ;  Hebrews 11:13 ;  Luke 12:35-36 ;  Ephesians 6:14-15 ) , probably standing. Any flesh remaining was burnt, and none left until morning. No morsel was carried out of the house. Jehovah smote the firstborn of man and beast, and so "executed judgment against all the gods of Egypt" ( Exodus 12:12;  Numbers 33:3-4), for every nome and town had its sacred animal, bull, cow, goat, ram, cat, frog, beetle, etc. But the sprinkled blood was a sacramental pledge of God's passing over, i.e. sparing the Israelites. The feast was thenceforth to be kept in "memorial," and its significance to be explained to their children as "the sacrifice of the Passover (I.E. The Lamb, As In  Exodus 12:21 , 'Kill The Passover') , to Jehovah" (Hebrew  Exodus 12:27).

In such haste did Israel go that they packed up in their outer mantle (As The Arab Haik Or "Burnous") their kneading troughs containing the dough prepared for the morrow's provision yet unleavened ( Exodus 12:34). Israel's firstborn, thus exempted from destruction, became in a special sense Jehovah's; accordingly their consecration follows in Exodus 13. This is peculiar to the Hebrew; no satisfactory reason for so singular an institution can be given but the Scripture account. Subsequently ( Leviticus 23:10-14) God directed an omer or sheaf of firstfruits (barley, first ripe,  2 Kings 4:42), a lamb of the first year as a burnt offering, with meat offerings, on the morrow after the sabbath (I.E. After The Day Of Holy Convocation) to be presented before eating bread or parched grain in the promised land ( Joshua 5:11). If  Luke 6:1 mean "the first Sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread," the day on which the firstfruit sheaf was offered, from whence they counted 50 days to Pentecost, it will be an undesigned coincidence that the disciples should be walking through fields of standing grain at that season, and that the minds of the Pharisees and of Jesus should be turned to the subject of grain at that time (Blunt, Undesigned Coincidences, 22). (But (See Sabbatical Year.)

The consecration of the firstborn in Exodus 13, naturally connects itself with the consecration of the firstfruits, which is its type. Again these typify further "Christ the firstfruits of them that slept"; also the Spirit, the firstfruits in the believer and earnest of the coming full redemption, namely, of the body ( Romans 8:23); also Israel, the firstfruit of the church ( Romans 11:16;  Revelation 14:4), and elect believers ( James 1:18). "The barley was smitten, for the barley was in the ear ... but the wheat was not smitten, for it was not grown up" ( Exodus 9:31-32). The seasons in Judaea and Egypt. were much the same. Therefore in  Deuteronomy 16:9 the direction is "seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the grain," namely, at the Passover when the wave sheaf was offered, the ceremony from which the feast of weeks was measured. By "grain" the barley harvest is meant: had Moses written "wheat" it would have been impossible to reconcile him with himself; but as "corn" means here barley, all is clear, seven weeks still remaining until wheat harvest, when at Pentecost or the feast of weeks the firstfruit loaves were offered (Blunt, Undesigned Coincidences, 1).

Moreover, the Passover lambs were to be slain at the sanctuary, and their blood sprinkled on the altar, instead of on the lintel and doorposts ( Deuteronomy 16:1-6). The Mishna (Pesachim, 9:5) marks the distinctions between "the Egyptian Passover" and "the perpetual passover." The lamb was at the first Passover selected on the tenth day of the month (not so subsequently:  Luke 22:7-9;  Mark 14:12-16); the blood was sprinkled on the lintels and side-posts; the hyssop was used; the meal was eaten in haste; and only for a day was unleavened bread abstained from. The subsequent command to burn the fat on the altar, and that the pure alone should eat ( Numbers 9:5-10;  Numbers 18:11), and that the males alone should appear ( Exodus 23:17;  Deuteronomy 16:16), was unknown at the first celebration; nor was the Hallel sung as afterward ( Isaiah 30:29); nor were there days of holy convocation; nor were the lambs slain at a consecrated place ( Deuteronomy 16:2-7). Devout women, as Hannah and Mary, even in late times attended ( 1 Samuel 1:7;  Luke 2:41-42).

The fat was burned by the priests ( Exodus 23:18;  Exodus 34:25-26), and the blood sprinkled on the altar ( 2 Chronicles 35:11;  2 Chronicles 30:16). Joy before the Lord was to be the predominant feeling ( Deuteronomy 27:7). The head of the family or anyone ceremonially clean brought the lamb to the sanctuary court, and slew it, or on special occasions gave it to Levites to slay ( 2 Chronicles 30:17). Numbers at Hezekiah's Passover partook "otherwise than it was written," "not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary" ( Numbers 9:5-10). Instead therefore of the father of the family slaying the lamb and handing the blood to the priest, to sprinkle on the altar, the Levites did so; also at Josiah's Passover ( 2 Chronicles 35:6;  2 Chronicles 35:11). Hezekiah prayed for the unpurified partakers: "the good Jehovah pardon every one that prepareth his heart to seek God ... though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the sanctuary."

Hezekiah presumes that those out of Ephraim coming to the Passover were sincere in seeking Jehovah the God of their fathers, though they had been unable to purify themselves in time for the Passover. Sincerity of spirit in seeking the Lord is acceptable to Him, even where the strict letter of the law has been unavoidably unfulfilled ( Hosea 6:6;  Micah 6:8;  Matthew 9:13). Hezekiah kept the Passover as "the little passover" in the second month, for "they could not keep it" at the regular time, "because the priests had not sanctified themselves sufficiently, neither had the priests gathered themselves to Jerusalem." They kept other seven days beside the first seven,

(1) because Hezekiah had given so many beasts that there was more than they could use during the ordinary seven days;

(2) so many priests bad sanctified themselves as to be able to carry on the altar services with such numerous sacrifices.

Josiah's Passover is the next recorded (2 Chronicles 35). Then Ezra's (6). The Pesachim (7:1) say a wooden (pomegranate) spit was thrust lengthwise through the lamb; Justin Martyr says (Trypho, 40) another spit was put crosswise, to which the front feet were attached; so do the modern Samaritans in roasting the Passover lamb; type of the cross, it was roasted thoroughly in an earthen beehive-shaped oven, but not touching the sides, that the roasting might be wholly by fire ( Exodus 12:9;  2 Chronicles 35:6-13). The modern Jews use dry thin biscuits as unleavened bread; a shoulder of lamb thoroughly roasted, instead of a whole one; a boiled egg, symbolizing wholeness; sweet sauce to represent the sort of work in Egypt; a vessel of salt and water (Representing The Red Sea) into which they dip their bitter herbs; a cup of wine stands all the night on the table for Elijah ( Malachi 4:5); before filling the guests' cups a fourth time an interval of dead silence follows, and the door is opened to admit him. The purging away of leaven from the house, and the not eating leavened bread, is emphatically enforced under penalty of cutting off ( Exodus 12:15-20;  Exodus 13:7).

The rabbis say that every corner was searched for leaven in the evening before the 14th Nisan. The bitter herbs (Wild Lettuces, Endive, Chicory, Or Nettles, All Articles Of Egyptian Food: Pesachim 2:6) symbolized Israel's past bitter affliction, and the sorrow for sin which becomes us in spiritually feeding on the Lamb slain for us ( Luke 22:62). The sauce is not mentioned in the Pentateuch, but in  John 13:26;  Matthew 26:23. Called Haroseth) in the Mishna: of vinegar and water (Bartenora). Some say it was thickened to the consistency of mortar to commemorate Israel's brick-making hardships in Egypt. Four cups of wine handed round in succession were drunk at the paschal meal (Mishna, Pes. 10:1, 7), which the Pentateuch does not mention; usually red, mixed with water (Pes. 7:13). (See  Luke 22:17;  Luke 22:20;  1 Corinthians 10:16; and (See Lord 'S Supper

The second cup was filled before the lamb was eaten, and the son ( Exodus 12:26) asked the father the meaning of the Passover; he in reply recounted the deliverance, and explained  Deuteronomy 26:5, which was also connected with offering the firstfruits. The third was "the cup of blessing." The fourth the cup of the Hallel; others make the fourth, or "cup of the Hallel," the "cup of blessing" answering to "the cup after supper" ( Luke 22:20). Schoettgen says "cup of blessing" was applied to any cup drunk with thanksgiving (compare  Psalms 116:13). The Hallel consisted of Psalm 113; 114, sung in the early part of the Passover, before the lamb was carved and eaten; Psalm 115-118, after the fourth cup (the greater Hallel sung at times was Psalm 120-138). So the "hymn" sung by Jesus and His apostles ( Matthew 26:30;  Mark 14:26). The ancient Israelites sat. But reclining was the custom in our Lord's time ( Luke 22:14;  Matthew 26:20;  John 21:20 Greek).

A marble tablet found at Cyricus shows the mode of reclining at meals, and illustrate, the language of the Syrophoenician woman, "the dogs eat of the crumbs." The inhabitants of Jerusalem accommodated at their houses as many as they could, so that our Lord's direction to His disciples as to asking for a guestchamber to keep the Passover in was nothing unusual, only His divine prescience is shown in His command ( Matthew 26:18;  Mark 14:13-15). Those for whom there was no room in the city camped outside in tents, as the pilgrims at Mecca. In Nero's reign they numbered, on one occasion, 2,700,000, according to Josephus (B. J. 6:9, section 3); seditions hence arose ( Matthew 26:5;  Luke 13:1). After the Passover meal many of the country pilgrims returned to keep the remainder of the feast at their own homes ( Deuteronomy 16:7). The release of a prisoner at the Passover was a Jewish and Roman custom which Pilate complied with ( Matthew 27:15;  John 18:39). (See Pilate .)

As to the reconciling of the synoptical Gospels, which identify the last supper with the Passover, and John, who seems to make the Passover a day later, probably  John 13:1-2 means "before the Passover (I.E. In The Early Part Of The Passover Meal) Jesus gave a proof of His love for His own to the end. And during supper" ( Ginomenou , The Vaticanus, Sinaiticus Manuscripts, Even If Genomenou Be Read With The Alexandrinus Manuscript It Means When Supper Had, Begun To Be) , etc. Again,  John 13:29, "buy those things that we have need of against the feast," refers to the Chagigah provisions for the seven days of unleavened bread. The day for sacrificing the Chagigah was the 15th, then beginning, the first day of holy convocation. The lamb was slain on the 14th, and eaten after sunset, the beginning of the 15th. Also  John 18:28, the rulers "went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover," means that they might go on keeping the Passover, or that they might eat it even yet, though having suffered their proceedings against Christ to prevent their eating it before, or especially that they might eat the Chagigah ( Deuteronomy 16:2;  2 Chronicles 35:7-9); the Passover might be eaten by those not yet cleansed ( 2 Chronicles 30:17), but not so the Chagigah .

Joseph however did not scruple to enter the praetorium and beg Jesus' body from Pilate ( Mark 15:43). Had the Passover supper not been until that evening ( John 18:28) they might have been purified in good time for it by ablution; but as the feast had begun, and they were about to eat the Chagigah (Or The Passover Lamb Itself, Which They Ought To Have Eaten In The Early Part Of The Night) , they could not. Lastly,  John 19:14, "the preparation of the passover," is explained by  Mark 15:42, "the preparation, the day before the subbark" in the Passover week; the day of holy convocation, the 15th Nisan, not "before the Passover." So  John 19:31, "the preparation for the sabbath" began the ninth hour of the sixth day of the week (Josephus, Ant. 16:6, section 2). "That sabbath was a high day," namely, because it was the day (next after the day of holy convocation) on which the omer sheaf was offered, and from which were reckoned the 50 days to Pentecost. It is no valid objection that our Lord in this view was tried and crucified on the day of holy convocation, for on the "great day of the feast" of tabernacles the rulers sent officers to apprehend Jesus ( John 7:32-45).

Peter was seized during the Passover ( Acts 12:3-4). They themselves stated as their reason for not seizing Him during the Passover, not its sanctity, but the fear of an uproar among the assembled multitudes ( Matthew 26:5). On the Sabbath itself not only Joseph but the chief priests come to Pilate, probably in the praetorium ( Matthew 27:62). However, Caspari (Chronicles and Geogr. Introduction Life of Christ) brings arguments to prove Christ did not eat the paschal lamb, but Himself suffered as the true Lamb at the paschal feast. (See Jesus Christ The last supper and the crucifixion took place the same (Jewish) day. No mention is made of a lamb in connection with Christ's last supper. Matthew ( Matthew 27:62) calls the day after the crucifixion "the next day that followed the day of preparation." The phrase, Caspari thinks, implies that "the preparation" was the day preceding not merely the Sabbath but also the first day of the Passover feast. All the characteristics of sacrifice, as well as the term, are attributed to the Passover.

It was offered in the holy place ( Deuteronomy 16:5-6); the blood was sprinkled on the altar, the fat burned ( 2 Chronicles 30:16;  2 Chronicles 35:11;  Exodus 12:27;  Exodus 23:18;  Numbers 9:7;  Deuteronomy 16:2;  Deuteronomy 16:5;  1 Corinthians 5:7). The Passover was the yearly thank offering of the family for the nation's constitution by God through the deliverance from Egypt, the type of the church's constitution by a coming greater deliverance. It preserved the patriarchal truth that each head of a family is priest. No part of the victim was given to the Levitical priest, because the father of the family was himself priest. Thus when the nation's inherent priesthood ( Exodus 19:6) was delegated to one family, Israel's rights were vindicated by the Passover priesthood of each father ( Isaiah 61:6;  1 Peter 2:5;  1 Peter 2:9).

The fact that the blood sprinkled on the altar was at the first celebration sprinkled on the lintel and doorposts of each house attested the sacredness of each family, the spiritual priesthood of its head, and the duty of family worship. Faith moving to obedience was the instrumental mean of the original deliverance ( Hebrews 11:28) and the condition of the continued life of the nation. So the Passover kept in faith was a kind of sacrament, analogous to the Lord's supper as circumcision was to baptism. The laying up the lamb four days before Passover may allude to the four centuries before the promise to Abram was fulfilled (Genesis 15), typically to Christ's being marked as the Victim before the actual immolation ( Mark 14:8;  Mark 14:10-11). Christ's blood must be sprinkled on us by the hyssop of faith, else guilt and wrath remain ( Isaiah 53:7;  Acts 8:32;  1 Peter 1:18-19). Being first in the religious year, and with its single victim, the Passover stands forth preeminent.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Pass'over. The first of the three great annual festivals of the Israelites, celebrated in the month Nisan, (March-April) from the 14th to the 21st. (Strictly speaking the Passover only applied to the Paschal Supper , and the Feast of Unleavened Bread followed, which was celebrated to the 21st). (For the corresponding dates in our month, See The Jewish Calendar , At The End Of This Volume ). The following are the principal passages, in the Pentateuch, relating to the Passover :  Exodus 12:1-51;  Exodus 13:3-10;  Exodus 23:14-19;  Exodus 34:18-26;  Leviticus 23:4-14;  Numbers 9:1-14;  Numbers 28:16-25;  Deuteronomy 16:1-6.

Why instituted. - This feast was instituted by God, to commemorate the deliverance of the Israelites, from Egyptian bondage, and the sparing of their firstborn, when the destroying angel smote the first-born of the Egyptians. The deliverance from Egypt was regarded, as the starting-point of the Hebrew nation. The Israelites were, then, raised from the condition of bondmen under a foreign tyrant, to that of a free people owing allegiance to no one, but Jehovah . The prophet, in a later age, spoke of the event as A Creation And A Redemption of the nation.

God declares himself to be "the Creator of Israel." The Exodus was, thus, looked upon as the birth of the nation; the Passover was its annual birthday feast. It was the yearly memorial, of the dedication of the people to him, who had saved their first-born from the destroyer, in order that they might be made holy to himself.

First celebration of the Passover . - On the tenth day of the month, the head of each family was to select from the flock, either a lamb or a kid, a male of the first year, without blemish. If his family was too small to eat the whole of the lamb, he was permitted to invite his nearest neighbor to join the party.

On the fourteenth day of the month, he was to kill his lamb, while the sun was setting. He was then to take blood in a basin, and with a sprig of hyssop, to sprinkle it on the two side-posts, and the lintel of the door of the house. The lamb was then thoroughly roasted, whole. It was expressly forbidden that it should be boiled, or that a bone of it should be broken. Unleavened bread and bitter herbs were to be eaten with the flesh.

No male who was uncircumcised was to join the company. Each one was to have his loins girt, to hold a staff in his hand, and to have shoes on his feet. He was to eat in haste, and it would seem that, he was to stand during the meal. The number of the party was to be calculated as nearly as possible, so that all the flesh of the lamb might be eaten; but if any portion of it happened to remain, it was to be burned in the morning. No morsel of it was to be carried out of the house.

The lambs were selected, on the fourteenth, they were slain, and the blood sprinkled, and in the following evening, after the fifteenth day of the Passover had commenced, the first Paschal Meal was eaten. At midnight, the firstborn of the Egyptians were smitten. The king and his people were now urgent that the Israelites should start immediately, and readily bestowed on them supplies for the journey. In such haste did the Israelites depart, on that very day,  Numbers 33:3, that they packed up their kneading troughs, containing the dough prepared, for the morrow's provisions, which was not yet leavened.

Observance of the Passover in later times. - As the original institution of the Passover in Egypt, preceded the establishment of the priesthood, and the regulation of the service of the Tabernacle, it necessarily fell short, in several particulars, of the observance of the festival , according to the fully-developed ceremonial law. The head of the family slew the lamb in his own house, not in the Holy Place; the blood was sprinkled on the doorway, not on the altar.

But when the law was perfected, certain particulars were altered, in order to assimilate the Passover , to the accustomed order of religious service. In the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of Exodus, there are not only distinct references, to the observance of the festival in future ages, for example,  Exodus 12:2;  Exodus 12:14;  Exodus 12:17;  Exodus 12:24-27;  Exodus 12:42;  Exodus 13:2;  Exodus 13:5;  Exodus 13:8-10, but there are several injunctions, which were evidently not intended for the first Passover , and which, indeed, could not possibly have been observed.

Besides the private family festival, there were public and national sacrifices offered, each of the seven days of unleavened bread.  Numbers 28:19. On the second day, also, the first-fruits of the barley harvest were offered in the Temple.  Leviticus 23:10. In the latter notices of the festival in the books of the law, there are particulars added, which appear as modifications of the original institution.  Leviticus 23:10-14;  Numbers 28:16-25;  Deuteronomy 16:1-6. Hence, it is not without reason that the Jewish writers have laid great stress on the distinction between "the Egyptian Passover , " and "the perpetual Passover ."

Mode and order of the Paschal Meal . - All work, except that belonging to a few trades, connected with daily life was suspended, for some hours before the evening of the 14th Nisan. It was not lawful to eat any ordinary food after midday. No male was admitted to the table unless he was circumcised, even if he were of the seed of Israel.  Exodus 12:48. It was customary for the number of a party to be not less than ten.

When the meal was prepared, the family was placed round the table, the paterfamilias taking a place of honor, probably, somewhat raised above the rest. When the party was arranged, the first cup of wine was filled, and a blessing was asked by the head of the family on the feast, as well as a special one, on the cup. The bitter herbs were then placed on the table, and a portion of them eaten, either with or without the sauce. The unleavened bread was handed round next, and afterward, the lamb was placed on the table, in front of the head of the family.

The Paschal Lamb could be legally slain, and the blood and fat offered only in the national sanctuary.  Deuteronomy 16:2. Before the lamb was eaten, the second cup of wine was filled, and the son, in accordance with  Exodus 12:26, asked his father, the meaning of the feast. In reply, an account was given of the sufferings of the Israelites in Egypt , and of their deliverance, with a particular explanation of  Deuteronomy 26:5, and the first part of the Hallel, (a contraction from Hallelujah ), Psalms 113; Psalms 114, was sung.

This being gone through, the lamb was carved and eaten. The third cup of wine was poured out and drunk, and soon afterward the fourth. The second part of the Hallel, Psalms 115 to Psalms 118, was then sung. A fifth wine-cup appears to have been occasionally produced, but perhaps, only in later times. What was termed the greater Hallel, Psalms 120 to Psalms 138, was sung on such occasions.

The Israelites, who lived in the country, appear to have been accommodated at the feast, by the inhabitants of Jerusalem, in their houses, so far if there was room for them.  Matthew 26:18;  Luke 22:10-12 Those who could not be received into the city, encamped without the walls in tents, as the pilgrims now do at Mecca.

The Passover as a type. - The Passover was not only commemorative, but also typical. "The deliverance which it commemorated was a type of the great salvation it foretold." - No other shadow of things to come contained in the law can vie with the festival of the Passover , in expressiveness and completeness.

(1) The Paschal Lamb must of course be regarded, as the leading feature, in the ceremonial of the festival. The lamb slain typified Christ , the "Lamb of God," slain for the sins of the world. Christ , "our Passover , is sacrificed for us."  1 Corinthians 5:7.

According to the divine purpose, the true Lamb of God was slain, at nearly the same time as, "the Lord's Passover ," at the same season of the year; and at the same time of the day, as the daily sacrifice at the Temple, the crucifixion beginning at the hour of the morning sacrifice, and ending at the hour of the evening sacrifice. That the lamb was to be roasted and not boiled, has been supposed to commemorate the haste of the departure of the Israelites. It is not difficult to determine the reason of the command, "not a bone of him shall be broken." The lamb was to be a symbol of unity - the unity of the family, the unity of the nation, the unity of God with his people, whom he had taken into covenant with himself.

(2) The unleavened bread ranks, next in importance to the Paschal Lamb . We are warranted in concluding that, unleavened bread had a peculiar sacrificial character, according to the law. It seems more reasonable to accept St, Paul's reference to the subject,  1 Corinthians 5:6-8, as furnishing the true meaning of the symbol. Fermentation is decomposition, a dissolution of unity. The pure dry biscuit would be an apt emblem of unchanged duration, and, in its freedom from foreign mixture, of purity also.

(3) The offering of the omer, or first sheaf of the harvest,  Leviticus 23:10-14, signified deliverance from winter: the bondage of Egypt being well considered, as a winter in the history of the nation.

(4) The consecration of the first-fruits, the firstborn of the soil, is an easy type of the consecration of the first born of the Israelites, and of our own best selves, to God. Further than this...

(1) the Passover is a type of deliverance from the slavery of sin.

(2) It is the passing over of the doom we deserve for your sins, because the blood of Christ has been applied to us by faith.

(3) The sprinkling of the blood upon the door-posts was a symbol of open confession of our allegiance and love.

(4) The Passover was useless unless eaten; so we live upon the Lord Jesus Christ .

(5) It was eaten with bitter herbs, as we must eat our Passover with the bitter herbs of repentance and confession, which yet, like the bitter herbs of the Passover , are a fitting and natural accompaniment.

(6) As the Israelites ate the Passover all prepared for the journey, so do we with a readiness and desire to enter the active service of Christ , and to go on the journey toward heaven. - Editor).

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [4]

The Feast of Passover was God’s appointed way for the people of Israel to celebrate their miraculous escape from Egypt ( Exodus 12:14;  Exodus 12:24). The name of the feast recalled God’s act of ‘passing over’ the houses of the Israelites while killing the firstborn of the Egyptians ( Exodus 12:27). However, God withheld judgment from the Israelite households only when he saw the blood of the sacrificial animal around the front door. The blood was a sign that an innocent life had been taken in place of the one under judgment ( Exodus 12:5;  Exodus 12:7;  Exodus 12:12-13;  Exodus 12:21-23; cf.  Leviticus 17:11; see Blood ).

Regulations and practices

The month of the Passover became the first month of the Jewish religious year ( Exodus 12:2). (This was the season of spring in Israel and corresponds with March-April on our calendar.) Late in the afternoon of the fourteenth day, each household killed a lamb, which the people ate in a sacrificial meal that night. This was now the beginning of the fifteenth day according to Israelite reckoning, for they considered sunset to mark the end of one day and the beginning of the next ( Exodus 12:6;  Exodus 12:8).

Each Passover meal was a re-enactment of the first Passover meal, when people prepared and ate it in haste, dressed ready for their departure in the morning ( Exodus 12:11;  Exodus 12:25-27). They did not cut up the animal and boil it, but roasted it whole over an open fire. They made their bread without yeast (leaven), to save time waiting for the dough to rise. The entire meal was deliberately kept simple, to keep the people from any feeling of self-glory. They were to burn the leftovers, and so prevent any defilement of the solemn occasion through the meat’s spoiling or the people’s keeping portions as sacred charms ( Exodus 12:8-10).

Following the Passover, and joined to it, was the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. The two were considered one festival ( Deuteronomy 16:1-8;  Mark 14:1). Having removed leaven from their houses before preparing the Passover, the people kept their houses free of leaven for the week after the Passover ( Exodus 12:14-20). This reminded them that, having been saved through the Passover, they had fled from Egypt hastily, cooking unleavened bread as they travelled ( Exodus 12:33-34;  Exodus 12:39). (Concerning the offerings made at the Feast of Unleavened Bread see Feasts .)

Once the Israelites arrived in Canaan, they were to celebrate the Passover only at the central place of worship. At first this was the tabernacle, and later the temple ( Deuteronomy 16:5-6;  Joshua 5:10-11;  2 Chronicles 8:12-13;  2 Chronicles 30:1;  2 Chronicles 35:1;  Luke 2:41;  John 2:13;  John 11:55).

All adult male Israelites had to attend the Passover celebration ( Exodus 23:14;  Exodus 23:17), and so could foreigners, provided they had accepted circumcision and so become part of the covenant people ( Exodus 12:43-49). There were special provisions for those Israelites who were unable to attend because of unavoidable circumstances ( Numbers 9:6-13; cf.  2 Chronicles 30:17-20). The reforms that became necessary at various times in Israel’s later history show that people had frequently neglected or misused the Passover ( 2 Chronicles 30:5;  2 Chronicles 35:16-18).

Jesus’ last Passover

By the time of Jesus, the Passover had developed into a set form with a number of added rituals. Although people killed the lamb at the temple, they ate the meal privately with friends and relatives ( Luke 22:8-13). Among the additions to the meal was a cup of wine, for which the head of the household offered a prayer of thanks (or blessing;  1 Corinthians 10:16), and which he passed around among the participants, both before and after the eating of unleavened bread ( Mark 14:22-24;  Luke 22:15-20).

Singing also became part of the celebration, the participants singing a collection of psalms known as the Hallel (Psalms 113; Psalms 114; Psalms 115; Psalms 116; Psalms 117; Psalms 118). They usually sang the first two psalms before eating the lamb, the other psalms after ( Mark 14:26).

It appears that on the occasion of Jesus’ last Passover, he and his disciples ate the meal a day earlier than the official time, and probably without a lamb ( Luke 22:15;  John 13:1). If this was so, the reason was probably that Jesus knew that he himself was now the Passover lamb. On the next day he would lay down his life at the same time as the animals were being killed in preparation for the meal that was to follow that night ( John 18:28;  John 19:14;  John 19:31;  John 19:42).

Jesus’ death on the cross was the great act of redemption of which the Israelite Passover was but a picture (cf.  Exodus 12:5 with  1 Peter 1:18-19; cf.  Exodus 12:46 with  John 19:36; cf.  Exodus 12:21;  Exodus 12:27 with  1 Corinthians 5:7). Once Jesus had died, the Passover was of no further use. It was replaced by a new remembrance ceremony, the Lord’s Supper ( Matthew 26:17-30;  1 Corinthians 10:16;  1 Corinthians 11:23-26; see Lord’S Supper )

Nevertheless, the New Testament refers to the requirements of the Passover to provide a lesson for Christians. Just as the Passover festival meant that Israelites removed leaven from their houses, so the sacrifice of Jesus Christ means that Christians should remove sin from their lives ( 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; see Leaven ).

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [5]

While we have the comment which God the Holy Ghost hath given us by his servant Paul, ( 1 Corinthians 5:7) concerning the Passover, in expressly calling Christ by that name, we must be convinced that it is our highest interest and most bounden duty to study the subject with the closest apprehension, in order to obtain the clearest sense of that the important subject of the Passover means. The reader, therefore, I trust, will bear with me if I call his attention somewhat more particularly to this point.

The Jews called the Passover Paschah or Pesach, and the original meaning is flight or passage—perhaps in allusion to the flight or hasty departure of Israel from Egypt. We have a very circumstantial account of the Passover,  Exodus 12:1-51 to which I refer. The Israelites, no doubt, had higher views in the institution itself than to suppose it merely referred as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt. They considered it typical; and the ordination of it being of perpetual standing in the church, must have led them to this conclusion. And may we not add, that, since all the leading features of the redemption by the Lord Jesus, in his person, work, offices, and character, are more or less exhibited in shadow and figure in the Passover, surely the Lord the Spirit gave to many a true Israelite grace and faith to eye, in the paschal lamb, the type of the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." ( Revelation 13:8)

If the lamb appointed in the Jewish Passover was to be a male of the first year without blemish and without spot; such was Christ. If the lamb was set apart four days before the Passover—so was Christ, not only in the original purpose, and council, and foreknowledge of God before all worlds, but also in four days' entrance into Jerusalem, as it is remarkable Christ did before his sufferings and death. And if the Jewish lamb was roasted whole with fire, and not a bone of him broken, who but must see in this a type of him who, in the accomplishment of salvation sustained all the fire of divine wrath against sin in his sacrifice, and whose bones, it is expressly said, were not broken, that this Scripture might be fulfilled? ( John 19:36)

Various are the accounts given by various writers of the manner in which the Jews of modern times observe the Passover. They all make it a very high festival. Eight days, for the most part they continue this festivity, during which time they would not for the world knowingly have any leaven within their houses. Nothing would hurt the mind of a Jew more than the discovery of any thing disposed to fermentation, or to make leaven. And on the fourteenth day of Nisan the Passover begins. And the ceremony generally commenceth in every family by the first-born observing fasting, by way of reference to the destruction of the first-born in Egypt. When this is over, and the time of the evening service being come, all the household enter on prayer, which when finished they proceed to the feast of unleavened bread, with some portion of a lamb, and bitter herbs. During the service they hold wine in their hands, and recount the history of their fathers in Egypt, and the Lord's deliverance of them. The close of their devotions is generally with some of the Psalms, such as from  Psalms 112:1-10, to  Psalms 118:1-29, always beginning with Hallelujah. When the devotional part is all over, they sit down to eat and drink, generally break up their meeting with praying for the health and prosperity of the prince in whose dominions they dwelt, agreeably to the advice of  Jeremiah 29:7. So much concerning the method of the observance of the Passover by the children of Israel. I cannot dismiss this part of the subject without first remarking, that as far as decency and seriousness are observed by them in their seasons of worship, it were to be wished that many Christians would follow their example.

It appears from the relation given by the several evangelists, that the Lord Jesus observed this feast of the Passover four times during his ministry, which was but about three years and a half; but by our Lord's entering upon his ministry sometime before the first of the four Passovers he kept, the annual period came round the fourth time before his crucifixion, and therefore we count four in the life of Jesus.

The first public Passover Christ observed is related to us by  John 2:13-25.

The second Passover which Christ graced with his presence is recorded  John 5:1, etc. when he healed the cripple at the pool of Bethesda

The third public Passover where we find the Lord Jesus also present is recorded  John 6:4. The feast we read of  John 7:37 was the feast of tabernacles. (See  John 7:2, etc.)

The fourth and last Passover the Lord Jesus honoured in the observance was, as is recorded by all the evangelists, when in the midst of it he summed up and finished the whole shadow of types and ordinances in that one offering of himself upon the cross, whereby "he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." (See the relation of this Passover at large,  Matthew 26:1-75;  Mark 14:1-72;  Luke 22:1-71;  John 12:1-50 and  John 13:1-38)

I would only make one observation upon the whole in this place, namely, if the Lord Jesus never once during his ministry omitted his attendance on the Passover, how hath he thereby endeared to his redeemed his holy Supper, instituted and appointed as it was by himself to take place in his church in the room of the Jewish Passover! Surely by this Jesus might be supposed to intimate his holy pleasure, that his people should be always present at the celebration of it. Methinks by this constant attendance of the Lord, he meant to say that not one of his little ones should be absent at his Supper. And his servant, the apostle, seems to have had the same views of his Master's gracious design in this particular when he saith, "For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he comes." ( 1 Corinthians 11:26)

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

Hebrew PESACH, Greek PASCHA, a passing over, a name given to the festival established and to the victim offered in commemoration of he coming forth out of Egypt,  Exodus 12:1-51; because the night before their departure, the destroying angel, who slew the firstborn of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Hebrews without entering them, they being marked with the blood of the lamb, which for this reason was called he Passover,  Mark 14:12,14   1 Corinthians 5:7 , or the paschal lamb.

The month of the exodus from Egypt, called Abib by Moses, and afterwards named Nisan, was ordained to be thereafter the first month of the sacred or ecclesiastical year. On the fourteenth day of this month, between the two evenings, (See Evening they were to kill the paschal lamb, and to abstain from leavened bread. The day following, being the fifteenth, reckoned from six o'clock of the preceding evening, was the grand feast of the Passover, which continues seven days, usually called "the days of unleavened bread," or "the Passover,"  Luke 22:1; but only the first and the seventh day were peculiarly solemn,  Leviticus 23:5-8   Numbers 28:16,17   Matthew 26:17 . They were days of rest, and were called Sabbaths by the Jews. The slain lamb was to be without defect, a male, and of that year. If no lamb could be found, they might take a kid. They killed a lamb or a kid in each family; but if any family was not large enough to eat the lamb, they might associate another small family with them. The Passover was to be slain and eaten only at Jerusalem, though the remainder of the festival might be observed in any place. The lamb was to be roasted entire, and eaten the same night, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs; not a bone of it was to be broken; and all that was not eaten was to be consumed by fire,  Exodus 12:1-51   John 19:36 . If any one was unable to keep the Passover at the time appointed, he was to observe it on the second month; he that willfully neglected it, forfeited the covenant favor of God; while on the other hand resident foreigners were admitted to partake of it,  Numbers 9:6-14   2 Chronicles 30:1-27 . The direction to eat the Passover in the posture and with the equipments of travelers seems to have been observed only on the first Passover. Besides the private family festival, there were public and national sacrifices offered on each of the seven days of unleavened bread,  Numbers 28:19 . On the second day also the first fruits of the barley harvest were offered in the temple,  Leviticus 23:10 .

Jewish writers give us full descriptions of the Passover feast, from which we gather a few particulars. Those who were to partake having performed the required purification and being assembled at the table, the master of the feast took a cup of unfermented wine, and blessed God for the fruit of the vine, of which all ten drank. This was followed by a washing of hands. The paschal lamb was then brought in, with unleavened cakes, bitter herbs, and a sauce or fruit-paste. The master of the feast then blessed God for the fruits of the earth, and gave the explanations prescribed in  Exodus 12:26,27 , specifying each particular. After a second cup, with a second washing of hands, an unleavened cake was broken and distributed, and a blessing pronounced upon the Giver of Bread. When all had eaten sufficiently of the food before them, a third cup of thanksgiving, for deliverance from Egypt and for the gift of the law, was blessed and drunk,  Matthew 26:27   1 Corinthians 10:16; this was called "the cup of blessing." The repast was usually closed by a fourth cup and psalms of praise,  Psalm 136:1-26   145:10   Matthew 26:30 .

Our Savior partook of the Passover for the last time, with his disciples, on the evening with which the day of his crucifixion commenced,  Matthew 26:17   Mark 14:12   Luke 22:7 . The following day, commencing with the sunset three hours after his death, was the Jewish Sabbath, and was also observed as "a Passover,"  John 13:29   18:28   19:14,31 . Compare  Matthew 27:62 .

This sacred festival was both commemorative and typical in its nature and design; the deliverance which it commemorated was a type of the great salvation it foretold. The Savior identified himself with the paschal lamb as its great Antitype, in substituting the Lord's supper for the Passover. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,"  1 Corinthians 5:7; and as we compare the innocent lamb slain in Egypt with the infinite lamb of God, the contrast teaches us how infinite is the perdition which He alone can cause to "pass over" us, and how essential it is to be under the shelter of his sprinkled blood, before the night of judgment and ruin overtakes us.

The modern Jews also continue to observe the Passover. With those who live in Palestine the feast continues a week; but the Jews out of Palestine extend it to eight days, according to an ancient custom, by which the Sanhedrin sent two men to observe the first appearance of the new moon, who immediately gave notice of it to the chief of the council. For fear of error, they dept two days of the festival.

As to the Christian Passover, the Lord's supper, it was instituted by Christ when, at the last Passover supper he ate with his apostles, he gave them a symbol of his body to eat, and a symbol of his blood to drink, under the form of bread and wine; prefiguring that he should give up his body to the Jews and to death. The paschal lamb, which the Jews killed, tore to pieces, and ate, and whose blood preserved them from the destroying angel, was a type, and figure of our Savior's death and passion, and of his blood shed for the salvation of the world.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [7]

פסח , signifies leap, passage. The passover was a solemn festival of the Jews, instituted in commemoration of their coming out of Egypt; because the night before their departure the destroying angel that slew the first-born of the Egyptians passed over the houses of the Hebrews without entering them, because they were marked with the blood of the lamb, which, for this reason, was called the paschal lamb. The following is what God ordained concerning the passover: the month of the coming out of Egypt was after this to be the first month of the sacred or ecclesiastical year; and the fourteenth day of this month, between the two evenings, that is, between the sun's decline and its setting, or rather, according to our reckoning, between three o'clock in the afternoon and six in the evening, at the equinox, they were to kill the paschal lamb, and to abstain from leavened bread. The day following, being the fifteenth, reckoned from six o'clock of the preceding evening, was the grand feast of the passover, which continued seven days; but only the first and seventh days were peculiarly solemn. The slain lamb was to be without defect, a male, and of that year. If no lamb could be found, they might take a kid. They killed a lamb or a kid in each family; and if the number of the family was not sufficient to eat the lamb, they might associate two families together. With the blood of the lamb they sprinkled the door posts and lintel of every house, that the destroying angel at the sight of the blood might pass over them. They were to eat the lamb the same night, roasted, with unleavened bread, and a sallad of wild lettuces, or bitter herbs. It was forbid to eat any part of it raw, or boiled; nor were they to break a bone; but it was to be eaten entire, even with the head, the feet, and the bowels. If any thing remained to the day following it was thrown into the fire,   Exodus 12:46;  Numbers 9:12;  John 19:36 . They who ate it were to be in the posture of travellers, having their reins girt, shoes on their feet, staves in their hands, and eating in a hurry. This last part of the ceremony was but little observed; at least, it was of no obligation after that night when they came out of Egypt. During the whole eight days of the passover no leavened bread was to be used. They kept the first and last day of the feast; yet it was allowed to dress victuals, which was forbidden on the Sabbath day. The obligation of keeping the passover was so strict, that whoever should neglect it was condemned to death,  Numbers 9:13 . But those who had any lawful impediment, as a journey, sickness, or uncleanness, voluntary or involuntary, for example, those who had been present at a funeral, &c, were to defer the celebration of the passover till the second month of the ecclesiastical year, the fourteenth day of the month Jair, which answers to April and May. We see an example of this postponed passover under Hezekiah,  2 Chronicles 30:2-3 , &c.

The modern Jews observe in general the ceremonies practised by their ancestors in the celebration of the passover. While the temple was in existence, the Jews brought their lambs thither, and there sacrificed them; and they offered their blood to the priest, who poured it out at the foot of the altar. The paschal lamb was an illustrious type of Christ, who became a sacrifice for the redemption of a lost world from sin and misery; but resemblances between the type and antitype have been strained by many writers into a great number of fanciful particulars. It is enough for us to be assured, that as Christ is called "our passover;" and the "Lamb of God," without "spot," by the "sprinkling of whose blood" we are delivered from guilt and punishment; and as faith in him is represented to us as "eating the flesh of Christ," with evident allusion to the eating of the paschal sacrifice; so, in these leading particulars, the mystery of our redemption was set forth. The paschal lamb therefore prefigured the offering of the spotless Son of God, the appointed propitiation for the sins of the whole world; by virtue of which, when received by faith, we are delivered from the bondage of guilt and misery; and nourished with strength for our heavenly journey to that land of rest, of which Canaan, as early as the days of Abraham, became the divinely instituted figure.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [8]

Passover, the principal annual feast of the Jews. Comp.  1 Corinthians 5:7-8. It was appointed to commemorate the "passing over" of the families of the Israelites when the destroying angel smote the first-born of Egypt, and also their departure from the land of bondage.  Exodus 12:1-51. At even of the 14th day of the first month (Nisan) the Passover was to be celebrated, and on the 15th day commenced the seven days' feast of unleavened bread. The term "Passover" is strictly applicable only to the meal of the paschal lamb, and the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated on the 15th onward for seven days to the. 21st inclusive. This order is recognized in  Joshua 5:10-11. But in the sacred history the term "Passover" is used also to denote the whole period—the 14th day, and the festival of the seven days following.  Luke 2:41;  John 2:13;  John 2:23;  John 6:4;  John 11:55. As to the time of the celebration of the Passover, it is expressly appointed "between the two evenings,"  Exodus 12:6;  Leviticus 23:5;  Numbers 9:3;  Numbers 9:5, or, as it is elsewhere expressed, "at even, at the going down of the sun."  Deuteronomy 16:6. This is supposed to denote the commencement of the 15th day of Nisan, or at the moment when the 14th day closed and the 15th began. The twenty-four hours, reckoned from this point of time to the same period of the next day, or 15th, was the day of the Passover. At sunset of the 14th day the 15th began, and with it the feast of unleavened bread. The lamb was to be selected on the 10th day, and kept till the 14th day, in the evening of which day it was to be killed.  Exodus 12:3-6. The feast began by the handing around of a cup of wine mixed with water; over which the head of the family or the chief of the association pronounced the benediction. The lamb, roasted whole, and the other dishes were then placed on the table, and after a second cup of wine the meal was eaten. Everybody present partook of the lamb, the bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread, and care was taken that no bone was broken. What was left of the flesh was immediately burnt. After the meal followed the third cup of wine, then the singing of psalms and hymns, and finally a fourth, and perhaps a fifth, cup of wine. Then followed the feast of unleavened bread, occupying seven days, the first and last or which were peculiarly holy, like the Sabbath.  Exodus 12:15-16. That the Passover was a type of the sacrifice of Christ is clearly shown by Christ himself, where he says, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God."  Luke 22:15-16. He at that time instituted what is called the Lord's Supper to commemorate his death and which since then has taken the place of the Passover in his church.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Exodus 12:13 Exodus 23:15 Mark 14:1 Acts 12:3 Exodus 12:15 Mark 14:12-14 1 Corinthians 5:7

A detailed account of the institution of this feast is given in  Exodus 12,13 . It was afterwards incorporated in the ceremonial law ( Leviticus 23:4-8 ) as one of the great festivals of the nation. In after times many changes seem to have taken place as to the mode of its celebration as compared with its first celebration (Compare  Deuteronomy 16:2,5,6;  2 Chronicles 30:16;  Leviticus 23:10-14;  Numbers 9:10,11;  28:16-24 ). Again, the use of wine ( Luke 22:17,20 ), of sauce with the bitter herbs ( John 13:26 ), and the service of praise were introduced.

There is recorded only one celebration of this feast between the Exodus and the entrance into Canaan, namely, that mentioned in  Numbers 9:5 . (See Josiah .) It was primarily a commemorative ordinance, reminding the children of Israel of their deliverance out of Egypt; but it was, no doubt, also a type of the great deliverance wrought by the Messiah for all his people from the doom of death on account of sin, and from the bondage of sin itself, a worse than Egyptian bondage (  1 Corinthians 5:7;  John 1:29;  19:32-36;  1 Peter 1:19;  Galatians 4:4,5 ). The appearance of Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover in the time of our Lord is thus fittingly described: "The city itself and the neighbourhood became more and more crowded as the feast approached, the narrow streets and dark arched bazaars showing the same throng of men of all nations as when Jesus had first visited Jerusalem as a boy. Even the temple offered a strange sight at this season, for in parts of the outer courts a wide space was covered with pens for sheep, goats, and cattle to be used for offerings. Sellers shouted the merits of their beasts, sheep bleated, oxen lowed. Sellers of doves also had a place set apart for them. Potters offered a choice from huge stacks of clay dishes and ovens for roasting and eating the Passover lamb. Booths for wine, oil, salt, and all else needed for sacrifices invited customers. Persons going to and from the city shortened their journey by crossing the temple grounds, often carrying burdens...Stalls to change foreign money into the shekel of the temple, which alone could be paid to the priests, were numerous, the whole confusion making the sanctuary like a noisy market" (Geikie's Life of Christ).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [10]

1: Πάσχα (Strong'S #3957 — Noun Neuter — pascha — pas'-khah )

the Greek spelling of the Aramaic word for the Passover, from the Hebrew pasach, "to pass over, to spare," a feast instituted by God in commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, and anticipatory of the expiatory sacrifice of Christ. The word signifies (I) "the Passover Feast," e.g.,  Matthew 26:2;  John 2:13,23;  6:4;  11:55;  12:1;  13:1;  18:39;  19:14;  Acts 12:4;  Hebrews 11:28; (II) by metonymy, (a) "the Paschal Supper,"  Matthew 26:18,19;  Mark 14:16;  Luke 22:8,13; (b) "the Paschal lamb," e.g.,  Mark 14:12 (cp.   Exodus 12:21 );  Luke 22:7; (c) "Christ Himself,"  1—Corinthians 5:7 .

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [11]

A solemn festival of the Jews, instituted in commemoration of their coming out of Egypt; because, the night before their departure, the destroying angel, who put to death the first-born of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Hebrews, without entering therein; because they were marked with the blood of the lamb, which was killed the evening before, and which for this reason was called the paschal lamb.

See  Exodus 12:1-51 : Brown's Dict. article FEAST; and Mc'Ewen on the Types. p. 172.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [12]

 Exodus 12:11 (a) This is plainly a type of the Lord JESUS. the young man, the young King, sacrificed for us at Calvary and under the protection of whose Blood we are safe, as in1Co  5:7. (See also  Leviticus 23:5;  Deuteronomy 16:2;  Matthew 26:19).

Webster's Dictionary [13]

(1): ( n.) The sacrifice offered at the feast of the passover; the paschal lamb.

(2): ( n.) A feast of the Jews, instituted to commemorate the sparing of the Hebrews in Egypt, when God, smiting the firstborn of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Israelites which were marked with the blood of a lamb.

King James Dictionary [14]

P`ASSOVER, n. pass and over. A feast of the Jews, instituted to commemorate the providential escape of the Hebrews, in Egypt, when God smiting the first-born of the Egyptians, passed over the houses of the Israelites, which were marked with the blood of the paschal lamb.

1. The sacrifice offered at the feast of the passover.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [15]

See [[Feasts And Festivals Of Israel]]

Holman Bible Dictionary [16]


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

the first and most important of the three great annual festivals the other two being pentecost and the Feast of tabernacles on which the male population appeared before the Lord in Jerusalem. In the present article it is our aim to combine the Scriptural notices of this institution with whatever information ancient or modern authors give, especially the Talmudical regulations for its observance. (See Festival).

I. Name And Its Signification The Heb. word פֶּסִח , Pesach (from פָּסִח , pasach, to pass through, to leap, to halt [ 2 Samuel 4:4;  1 Kings 18:21], then tropically to pass by in the sense of sparing, to save, to show mercy [ Exodus 12:13;  Exodus 12:23;  Exodus 12:27;  Isaiah 31:5]), denotes

1. An Overstepping, Passover, and is so rendered by Josephus ( Ant. 2:14, 6, Ὑπερβασία ) , Aquila ( Ὑπέρβασις ), and the English version.

2. It signifies The Paschal Sacrifice, by virtue of which, according to the divine appointment, The Passing Over, or Saving, was effected ( Exodus 12:21;  Exodus 12:27;  Exodus 12:48;  2 Chronicles 30:15).

3. It designates The Paschal Meal on the evening of the 14th of Nisan; while the seven following days are called הג הִמִּצוֹת , The Feast Of Unleavened Bread ( Leviticus 23:5-6), and hence the expression ממחרת הפסח , the morrow of the Passover, for the 15th of Nisan ( Numbers 33:3;  Joshua 5:11). It is used synecdochically for the whole Festival Of Unleavened Bread, which commenced with the paschal meal ( Deuteronomy 16:1-3; comp. also  Ezekiel 45:21, where פסח is explained by חג שבעות ימים ), written fully הִפֶּסִה חִג ( Exodus 34:25). The whole feast, including the paschal-eve, is also denominated

חִג הִמִּצּוֹת , The Festival Of Unleavened Bread, Ἑορτὴ Τῶν Ἀζύμων , Ἡμέραι Τῶν Ἀζύμων , Festum Azymorum ( Exodus 23:15;  Leviticus 23:6 :  2 Chronicles 8:13;  Ezra 6:22;  Luke 22:1;  Luke 22:7;  Acts 12:3;  Acts 20:6; Josephus, War, 2:1, 3); or simply הִמִּצּוֹת , Τὰ Ἄζυμα ( Exodus 12:17;  Mark 14:1). The simple name Pesach ( פֶּסִח = Φασέκ ; Sept.  2 Chronicles 30:15;  2 Chronicles 35:1;  2 Chronicles 35:11; Aramaean פִּסְחָא = Τὸ Πάσχα ;  Mark 14:1), however, is the one commonly used by the Jews to the present day to denote the festival of unleavened bread; and it is for this reason that this appellation is retained untranslated in the Sept. and N.T.

Some have taken the meaning of פָּסִח , the root, of פֶּסִח , to be that of "passing through," and have referred its application here to the passage of the Red Sea. Hence the Vulgate has rendered פֶּסִח by Transitus, Philo ( De Vit. Mosis, lib. 3, c. 29) by Διαβατήρια , and Gregory of Nazianzum by Διάβασις . Augustine take's the same view of the word; as do also Von Bohlen and a few other modern critics. Jerome applies Transitus both to the Passing Over of the destroyer and the Passing Through the Red Sea (in Matthew 26). But the true sense of the Hebrew substantive is plainly indicated in  Exodus 12:27; and the best authorities are agreed that פָּסִח never expresses "passing through," but that its primary meaning is "leaping over." Hence the verb is regularly used with the preposition עִל . But since, when we jump or step over anything, we do not tread upon it. the word has a secondary meaning "to spare," or "to show mercy" (comp.  Isaiah 31:5 with  Exodus 12:27). The Sept. has therefore used Σκεπάζειν in  Exodus 12:13; and Onkelos has rendered זֶבִחאּפֶּסִח , "the sacrifice of the Passover," by דְּבִח חֲיָס , "the sacrifice of mercy." In the same purport agree Theodotion, Symmachus, several of the fathers, and the best modern critics. Our own translators, by using the word "Passover,"' have made clear  Exodus 12:12;  Exodus 12:23 and other passages, which are not intelligible in the Sept. nor in several other versions. (See Bahr, Symbolik, 2:627; Ewald, Alterthumer, p. 390; Gesenius, Thes. s.v.; Drusius, Noce Majores, in  Exodus 12:27; Carpzov, App. Crit. p. 394.)

Some of the Church fathers, not knowing the Heb. signification, have derived Πάσχα from the Greek Πάσχω To Suffer. Thus Chrysostom tells us, Πάσχα Λέγεται , Ὅτι Τότε Ἔπαθεν Χριστὸς Ὑπὲρ Ἡμῶν .( Homil. 5, in 1 Tim.); Irenaeus says: "A Moyse osteniditur Filius Dei, cujus et diem passionis non ignoravit, sed-figuratim pronunciavit eum pascha niominans?(Adv. Fvr .iv. 22); Tertullian affirms, "Hanc solemnitatem- praecanebat (sc. Moyset) et adjecit, Pascha esse Domini, id est, passionem Christi" (Adv. Judaeos, c. x, s. f.). Chrvsostom appears to avail himself of it for a paronomasia in the above passage, in another place the format states the true meaning: Ὑπέρβασίς Ἐστι Καθ Ἑρμηνείαν Τὸ Πάσχα . Gregory of Nazianzum seems to do the same ( Orat. Xlii ) , since he elsewhere (as is stated above) explains Πάσχα as Διάβασις (see Suicer, s.v.). Augustine, who took this latter view, has a passage which is worth quoting:

"Pascha, fratres, non sicut quidam existimant, Grsecum nomen esth sed Hebranem; opportunissime tamen occurrit in hoc nomine qusedam congrnentia utrarumquie linuutirunm. Quia eniln peati Graece Πάσχειν dicitur, idea Pascha Passio putata est, velut hoc nomen a passione sit appellatunm; in sna vero lingna, hoc est in Ilebraea, Pascha Transi-Us dicitur; propterea tune priinum Pascha celeb'ravit populus Dei, quando ex A Egypto fugientes, rubrum mare transierunt. Nunc ergo tigura illa prophetica in veritate completa est, cum sicut ovis ad imnlolandum ducitur Christus, cujus sanguine illitis postibus nostris, id est, cnjus signo crucis signatis frontibus nostris, a perditione hujus saeculi tanquam a captivitate vel iiiterempttone AEgyptia liberamur; et agimus saluberrimum transitum cum a diabolo transimus ad Christum, et ab isto instabili saeculo ad ejus fundatissimum regnum,  Colossians 1:13" (In Joan. Tract. 4).

II. Biblical Institution And Observance Of The Passover (from the time of Moses to the Captivity). The following are the principal passages in the Pentateuch relating to the Passover:  Exodus 12:1-51, in which there is a full account of its original institution and first observance in Egypt;  Exodus 13:3-10, in which the unleavened bread is spoken of in connection with the sanctification of the first-born, but there is no mention of the paschal lamb?  Exodus 23:14-19, where, under the name of the feast of unleavened bread, it is first connectced with the two other great annual festivals, and also with the Sabbath, and in which the paschal lamb is styled "My sacrifice;"  Exodus 34:18-26, in which the festival is brought into the same connection, with immediate reference to the redemption of the first-born, aid in which the words of  Exodus 23:18, regarding the paschal lamb, are repeated;  Leviticus 23:4-14, where it is mentioned in the same connection, the days of holy convocation are especially noticed, and the enactment is prospectively given respecting the offering of the first sheaf of harvest, with the offerings which were to accompany it, when the Israelites possessed the Promised Land;  Numbers 9:1-14, in which the divine word repeats the command for the observance of the Passover at the commencement of the second year after the Exodus, and in which the observance of the Passover in the second month, for those who could not participate in it at the regular time, is instituted;  Numbers 28:16-25, where directions are given for the offerings which were to be made on each of the seven-days of the festival;  Deuteronomy 16:1-6, where the command is prospectively given that the Passover, and the other great festivals, should be observed in the place which the Lord might choose in the Land of Promise, and where there appears to be an allusion to the Chagigah, or voluntary peace-offerings. There are five distinct statutes on the Passover in the 12th and 13th chapters of Exodus ( Exodus 12:2-28;  Exodus 12:42-51;  Exodus 13:1-10).

1. At The Exode . In the first institution of the Passover it was ordained that the head of each family was to select, on the 10th of Nisan (i.e. four days beforehand, supposed to represent the four generations which had elapsed since the children of Israel had come to Egypt,  Genesis 15:16), a male lamb or goat of the first year, and without blemish, to kill it on the eve of the 14th, sprinkle the blood with a sprig of hyssop on the two side- posts and the lintel of the door of the house-being the parts of the house most obvious to passers-by, and to which texts of Scripture were afterwards affixed, (See Mezuzah) to roast (and not boil) the whole animal with its head, legs, and entrails, without breaking a bone thereof, and when thoroughly done, he and his family were to eat it on the same evening together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, having their loins girt, their sandals on their feet, and their staves in their hands. If the family, however, were too small in number to consume it, a neighboring family might join them, provided they were circumcised sons of Israel, or household servants and strangers who had been received into the community by the rite of circumcision. The whole of the Pesach was to be consumed on the premises, and if it could not be eaten it was not to be removed from the house, but burned on the spot on the following morning. The festival was to be celebrated seven days, i.e. till the twenty-first of the month, during which. time unleavened bread was to be eaten, built cessation from all work and trade was only to be on the first and seventh day of the festival. Though instituted to dispute them from the general destruction of Egypt's first-born, the Israelites were told to regard the Passover as an ordinance forever, to teach its meaning to their children, and that the transgression of the enactments connected therewith was to be punished with excision ( Exodus 12:1-28;  Exodus 12:48-51).

The precise meaning of the phrase בין הערבים , Between The Two Evenings, which is used with reference to the time when the paschal animal is to be slain ( Exodus 12:6;  Leviticus 23:5;  Numbers 9:3;  Numbers 9:5), as well as in connection with the offering of the evening sacrifice ( Exodus 29:39;  Exodus 29:41;  Numbers 28:4), and elsewhere ( Exodus 16:12;  Exodus 30:8), is greatly disputed. The Samaritans, the Karaites, and Aben-Ezra, who are followed by Michaelis, Rosenm Ü ller, Gesenius, Maurer, Kalisch, Knobel, Keil, and most modern commentators, take it to denote the space between the setting of the sun and the moment when the stars become visible, or when darkness sets in, i.e. between six and seven o'clock. Accordingly, Aben-Ezra explains the phrase Between The Two Evenings as follows: "Behold we have two evenings, the first is when the sun sets, and that is at the time when it disappears beneath the horizon; while the second is at the time when the light disappears which is reflected in the clouds, and there is between them an interval of about one hour and twenty minutes" ( Comment. On  Exodus 12:6). Tradition, however, interprets the phrase Between The Two Evenings to mean from afternoon to the disappearing of the sun, the first evening being from the time when the sun begins to decline from its vertical or noontide point towards the west; and the second from its going down and vanishing out of sight, which is the reason why the daily sacrifice might be killed at 12:30 P.M. on a Friday (Mishna, Pesachim, v, 1; Maimonides, Hilchoth Korban Pesach. 1:4). But as the paschal lamb was slain after the daily sacrifice, it generally took place from 2:30 to 5:50 P.M. (Joseph. War, 6:9, 3).

We should have deemed it superfluous to add that such faithful followers of Jewish tradition as Saadia, Rashi, Kimchi, Ralbag, etc., spouse this definition of the ancient Jewish canons, were it not for the assertion which is made in some of the best Christian commentaries that "Jarchi [= Rashi] and Kimchi hold that the two evenings were the time immediately before and immediately after sunset, so that the point of time at which the sun sets divides them." Now Rashi most distinctly declares, "From the sixth hour [= twelve o'clock] and upwards is called between the two evenings ( בין הערבים ), because the sun begins to set for the evening. Hence it appears to me that the phrase Between The Two Evenings denotes the hours between the evening of the day and the evening of the night. The evening of the day is from the beginning of the seventh hour [= immediately after noontide], when the evening shadows begin to (Commentary on  Exodus 12:6). Kimchi says almost literally the same thing:" בין הערבים is from the time when the sun begins to incline towards the west, which is from the sixth hour [=twelve o'clock] and upwards. It is called ערבים because there are two evenings, for from the time' that the sun begins to decline is one evening, and the other evening is after the sun has gone down, and it is the space between which is meant by between the two evenings" (Lexicon, s.v. ערב ). Eustathius, in a note on the seventeenth book of the Odyssey, shows that the Greeks too held that there were two evenings, one which they called the latter evening ( Δείλη Ὀψία ) , at the close of the day; and the other the former evening ( Δείλη Πρωϊ v Α ) , which commenced immediately after noon (see Bochart. Hieroz. pt. 1, lib. 2, cap. 1; Oper. 2:559, ed. 1712).

2. In the Post-Exodus Legislation on this festival several enactments were introduced at different times, which both supplement and modify the original institution. Thus it is ordained that all the male members of the congregation are to appear in the sanctuary be fore the Lord with the offering of firstlings ( Exodus 23:14-19;  Exodus 34:18-26); that the first sheaf of the harvest ( עמר ) is to be offered on "the morrow after the Sabbath" ( Leviticus 23:4-14); that those who, through defilement or absence from home, are prevented from keeping the. Passover on the 14th of Nisan, are in celebrate it on the 14th of the following month ( Numbers 9:1-14); that special sacrifices are to be offered or each day of the festival ( Numbers 28:16-25); than the paschal animals are to be slain in the national sanctuary, and that the blood is to be sprinkled on the altar instead of the two door-posts and lintels of the doors in the respective dwellings of the families ( Deuteronomy 16:1-8). The ancient Jewish canons, therefore, rightly distinguished between The Egyptian Passover ( פסח מצרים ) and The Permanent Passover ( פסח דורות ) , and point out. the following differences between them

(a) In the former the paschal animal was to be selected on the tenth of Nisan ( Exodus 12:3).

(b) It was to be killed by the head of each family in his own dwelling, and its blood sprinkled on the two door-posts and the lintel of every house ( Exodus 12:6-7;  Exodus 12:22). dressed in their journeying garments ( Exodus 12:11).

(d) Unleavened bread was to be eaten with the paschal animal only on the first night, and not necessarily during the whole seven days, although the Israelites were almost compelled to eat unleavened bread, because they had no time to prepare leaven ( Exodus 12:39).

(e) No one who partook of the Pesach was to go out of the house until the morning ( Exodus 12:22).

(f) The women might partake of the paschal animal.

(g) Those who were Levitically impure were not necessarily precluded from sharing the meal.

(h) No firstlings were required to be offered.

(i) No sacrifices were brought.

(j) The festival lasted only one day, as the Israelites commenced their march on the 15th of Nisan (Mishna. Pesachim, 9:5; Tosiftha, Pesachim, 7; Maimonides, Iad Ha-Che Zaka, Hilchoth Korban Pesach. 10:15).

Now these regulations were peculiar to the first Passover, and were afterwards modified and altered in the Permanent Passover. Elias of Byzantium adds that there was no command to burn the fat on the altar, that neither the Hallel nor any other hymn was sung, as was required in later times in accordance with  Isaiah 30:29, and that the lambs were not slain in the consecrated place (quoted by Carpzov, App. Crit. p. 406. For other Jewish authorities, see Otho's Lexicon, s.v. Pascha).

Dr. Davidson, indeed (Introduction to the O.T. 1:84, etc.), insists that the Deuteronomist ( Deuteronomy 16:1-7) gives other variations that he mentions both צאן , Small Cattle, and בקר , Oxen, as the paschal sacrifice, and states that the paschal victim is to be Boiled ( בשל ), while in the original institution in Exodus 12 it is enacted that the paschal sacrifice is to be a שה only, and is to be Roasted. But against this is to be urged

(1) That the word פסח in  Deuteronomy 15:1-2, as frequently is used for the whole festival of unleavened bread, which commenced with the paschal sacrifice, and which indeed Dr. Davidson a little farther on admits, and that the sacrifices of sheep and oxen in question do not refer to the paschal victim, but to all the sacrifices appointed to be offered during the seven days of this festival. This is evident from  Deuteronomy 15:3. where it is distinctly said, "Thou shalt eat no leavened bread therewith. ( עליו ) [i.e. with the פסה in  Deuteronomy 15:2], seven days shalt thou eat therewith ( עליו ) [i.e. with the פסח ] unleavened bread," thus showing that the sacrifice and eating of פסח is to last seven days, and that it is not the paschal victim which had to be slain on the 14th and be consumed on that very night ( Exodus 12:10).

(2) בשל simply denotes To Cook, Dress, or Fit For Eating In Any Manner, and here unquestionably stands for בשל באש , To Roast In Fire, (As in  2 Chronicles 35:13). This sense is not only given in the ancient versions (Sept., Vulg., Chaldee paraphrase of Jonathan ben-Uzziel, etc.), and by the best commentators and lexicographers (Rashi-Rashbam, Aben-Ezra, Ibn- Saruk, Kimchi, Furst, Keil, etc.), but is supported by Knobel (Comment. on Exodus and Leviticus p. 98), who is quite as anxious as Dr. Davidson to establish the discrepancy between the two accounts.

(3) We know from the non-canonical records that it has been the undeviating practice of the Jews during the second Temple to offer שה only as a pas'chal sacrifice, and To Roast it, but not To Boil it. Now the Deuteronomist, who, as we are assured by Dr. Davidson and others, lived at a very late period, would surely not contradict this prevailing practice of a later time. Besides, if the supposed variations recorded by the Deuteronomist describe practices which obtained in later times, how is it that the non-canonical records of the Jewish practices at a later period agree with the older description, and not with the supposed variations in Deuteronomy?

That the Israelites kept the Passover on the evening before they left Egypt is distinctly declared in  Exodus 12:28. Bishop Colenso, however, argues against the Mosaic institution of the Passover, and against the possibility of its having been celebrated, because

(1) Moses having received the command about the Passover on the very day at the close of which the paschal lambs were to be killed, could not possibly have communicated to every head of a family throughout the entire country the special and strict directions how to keep it;

(2) The notice to start at once in hurried flight in the middle of the night could not suddenly and completely be circulated; and

(3) As the people were 2,000,000 in number, and, if we take fifteen persons for each lamb, there must have been slain 150,000 paschal lambs, all males, one year old; this premises that 200,000 male lambs and 200,000 ewe-lambs were annually produced, "and that there existed a flock of 2,000,000 (The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined, pt. 1, chap. 10).


(1) from  Exodus 12:2-3 it is evident that, so far from receiving the command on the 14th of Nisan, Moses received it at the very beginning of the month, and that there was therefore sufficient time for the elders (comp.  Exodus 12:1-2 with  Exodus 12:21) to communicate the necessary instruction to the people, who were a well-organized body, presided over by the heads of families and leaders ( Exodus 5:6-23;  Numbers 1:1, etc.;  Joshua 7:14, etc.). The expressions בלילה הזה (12:12) and הלילה כחצות (11:4), on which Dr. Colenso lays so much stress, do not refer to the night following the day of the command, but to the night following the day when the command was to be executed הזה here, as frequently elsewhere, denotes The Same, and expresses simultaneousness, whether past, present, or future, inasmuch as in historical narrative not only that which one can see, or, as it were, point his finger at, is regarded as present, but that which has just been mentioned ( Genesis 7:11;  Genesis 7:13;  Exodus 19:1;  Leviticus 23:6;  Leviticus 23:21;  Job 10:13), and that which is immediately to follow ( Genesis 5:1;  Genesis 6:15;  Genesis 45:19;  Isaiah 66:2;  Jeremiah 5:7;  Psalms 74:18).

(2) The notice to quit was not momentary, but was indicated by Moses long before the celebration of the Passover ( Exodus 11:1-8), and was most unmistakably given in the order to eat the paschal meal in traveling attire, so as to be ready to start ( Exodus 12:11).

(3) The average of fifteen or twenty persons for each lamb, based upon the remark of Josephus (War li, vi , 9 , 3), is inapplicable to the case in question, inasmuch as those who, according to later legislation, went up in after- times to Jerusalem to offer the paschal sacrifice were all full-grown and able-bodied men, and every company of twenty such persons, when the Jews were in their own land, where there was every facility for obtaining the requisite flocks, might easily get and consume a .sheep in one night. But among the several millions of Israelites in Egypt and in the wilderness there were myriads of women, children, invalids, uncircumcised and unclean, who did not partake of the Passover, and those who did eat thereof would fully obey the divine command if one or two hundred of them simply ate a morsel of one and the same animal when they found any difficulty in obtaining flocks, inasmuch as the paschal sacrifice was only to be commemorative; just as one loaf suffices for hundreds of persons at the sacrament of the Lord's Supper. Instead, therefore, of 150,000 being required for this purpose, 15,000 animals would suffice. Moreover, Dr. Colenso, misled by the A.V., which renders שה by Lamb, makes a mistake in restricting the paschal sacrifice of Egypt to a lamb. Any Hebrew lexicon will show that it denotes one of the flock, i.e. either a sheep or a goat, and it is so used in  Deuteronomy 14:4, שה כבשים ושה עזים , One Of The Sheep And One Of The Goats (comp. Gesenius's and Furst's Lexicons. s.v. שה ) . This mistake is all the more to be deplored, since at the institution of the Passover it is expressly declared that it is to be הכבשים ומן העזֹים מן ... שה , One Of The Sheep Or Of The Goats ( Exodus 12:5). It is well known to scholars that the Jewish canons fixed a lamb for this purpose long after the Babylonian captivity. Hence the Targumist's rendering of שה by אמר or אמרא , which is followed by the A.V. It is well known also that goats have always formed a large admixture in Oriental flocks, and in the present which Jacob sent to Esau the proportion of sheep and goats is the same ( Genesis 32:14). Now the fifteen thousand paschal-sacrifices divided between the lambs and the goats would not be such an impossible demand upon the flocks.

3. Subsequent Notices Before The Exile. After the celebration of the Passover at its institution ( Exodus 12:28;  Exodus 12:50). we are told that the Israelites kept it again in the wilderness of Sinai in the second year after the exodus (Numbers 9). Between this and their arrival at Gilgal under Joshua, about thirty-nine years, the ordinance was entirely neglected, not because the people did not practice the rite of circumcision, and were therefore legally precluded from partaking of the paschal meal ( Joshua 5:10, with  Exodus 12:44-48), as many Christian expositors will have it, since there were many thousands of young people that had left Egypt who were circumcised, and these were not legally disqualified from celebrating the festival; but because, as Kashi, Aben-Ezra, and other Jewish commentators rightly remark,  Exodus 12:25;  Exodus 13:5-10 plainly show that after the first Passover in the wilderness, the Israelites were not to keep it again till they entered the land of Canaan. Only three instances, however, are recorded in which the Passover was celebrated between the entrance into the Promised Land and the Babylonian captivity, viz. under Solomon ( 2 Chronicles 8:13), under Hezekiah, when he restored the national worship ( 2 Chronicles 30:15), and under Josiah ( 2 Kings 23:21;  2 Chronicles 35:1-19). Later Biblical instances are the one celebrated by Ezra after the return from Babylon (Ezra 6), and those occurring in the life of our Lord.

III. Rabbinical Regulations. After the return of the Jews from the captivity, where they had been weaned from idolatry, the spiritual guides of Israel reorganized the whole religious and political life of the nation, and defined, modified, and expanded every law and precept of the Mosaic code, so as to adapt them to the altered condition of the people. The celebration of the Passover, therefore, like that of all other institutions, became more: regular and systematic during this period,. while the different colleges which were now established and which were attended by numerous disciples, (See Education), have faithfully transmitted to us all the sundry laws, rites, manners, and customs connected with this and all other festivals, which it was both impracticable and impossible to record in the limited space of the canonical books of the O.T. Hence it is that the manners and customs of this period, which were those of our Savior and his apostles, and which are therefore of the utmost importance and interest to Christians, and to the understanding of the N.T., can be more easily ascertained and more minutely described. Hence, also, the simple summary notice of the fact that the Israelites kept the Passover after their return from Babylon, contained in the canonical Scriptures ( Ezra 6:19-22), may be supplemented by the detailed descriptions of the manner in which this festival was celebrated during the second Temple, given in the noncanonical documents. The various practices will be better understood and more easily followed if given in connection with the days of the festival on which they were respectively observed.

1. The Great Sabbath ( שִׁבִּת הִגָּדוֹל , Shabbdth Hag-Gadol ) is the Sabbath immediately preceding the Passover. It is so called in the calendar because, according to tradition, the tenth of the month on which the Lord commanded every head of a family to select the paschal sacrifice ( Exodus 12:3) originally happened to fall on the Sabbath; and though in later legislation the animal was not required to be set aside four days beforehand, yet the Jewish canons determined that the Sabbath should be used to instruct the people in the duties of this great festival. Hence special prayers ( יוצרות ) bearing on the redemption from Egypt, the love of God to Israel, and Israel's obligations to keep the Passover, have been ordained for this Sabbath, in addition to the ordinary ritual.  Malachi 3:1-18;  Malachi 4:1-6, was read as Maphtir ( מפטיר ) = the lesson for the day, (See Haphtarah), and discourses were delivered by the spiritual guides of the community explanatory of the laws and domestic duties connected with the festival ( Tur Orach Chajim, sec. 430). Though the present synagogal ritual for this day is of a later date, yet there can be no doubt that this Sabbath was already distinguished as the great Sabbath ( Μεγάλη Ἡμέρα Τοῦ Σαββάτου ,  John 19:31) in the time of the second Temple, and was used for preparing the people for the ensuing festival. (See Sabbath).

2. The 13 Th Of Nisan. On the evening of the 13th, which, until that of the 14th, was called The Preparation For The Passover ( עֶרֶב פֶסִח , Παρασκευὴ Τοῦ Πάσχα ,  John 19:14), every head of the family searched for and collected by the light of a candle all the leaven (Mishna, Pesachim, 1:1). Before beginning the search he pronounced the following benediction: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and hast enjoined us to remove the leaven" (Talmud, Pesachim, 7 a; Maimonides, Yad Ha-Chezaka, Hilchoth Chamez U-Maza, 3:6). After the search he said "Whatever leaven remains in my possession which I cannot see, behold it is null, and accounted as the dust of the earth" (Maimonides, Ibid. ) . What constituted leaven will be understood when the ancient definition of unleavened bread is known. According to the Jewish canons, the command to eat unleavened bread ( Exodus 13:6;  Exodus 23:15;  Exodus 34:18;  Leviticus 23:6;  Numbers 28:17;  Deuteronomy 16:3) is executed by making the cakes ( מצוע ) which are to be eaten during the seven days of this festival of wheat, barley, spelt, oats, or rye (Mishna, Pesachim, 2:5). They appear to have been usually made of the finest wheat flour (Buxtorf, Sysn. Jud. c. 18, p. 397). It was probably formed into dry, thin biscuits, not unlike those used by the modern Jews. From these five kinds of grain ( מיני דגן חמשת ), which can be used for actual fermentation, the cakes are to be prepared before the dough begins to ferment; anything else made from one of these five kinds of corn with water constitutes leaven, and must be removed from the house and destroyed. Other kinds of produce and preparations made therefrom do not constitute leaven, and may be eaten. Thus we are told, "Nothing is prohibited on the Feast of Passover because of leaven except the five kinds of corn, viz. wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye. Leguminous plants, such as rice, millet, beans, lentils, and the like, in these there is no leaven; and although the meal of rice or the like is kneaded with hot water and covered with cloths till it rises like leavened dough, yet it may be eaten, for this is not leaven, but putrefaction. Even the five kinds of corn, if simply kneaded with the liquor of fruit, without water, are not accounted leaven. Though the dough thus made stands a whole day and rises, yet it may be eaten, because the liquor of fruit does not engender fermentation but acidity. The fruit-liquor, oil, wine, milk, honey, olive-oil, the juice of apples, of pomegranates, and the like, but no water, is to be in it, because any admixture of water, however small, produces fermentation" (Maimonides, Yad Ha-Chezaka, Hilchoth Chamnez U-Maza, v. 1; 2).

3. The 14 Th Of Nisan. On this day, which, as we have seen, was till the evening called The Preparation For The Passover, and which was also called the first day of Passover or of unleavened bread ( Leviticus 23:5-6;  Numbers 9:3;  Numbers 28:16;  Joshua 5:10;  Ezekiel 45:21;  2 Chronicles 30:15; 2 Chronicles 35 :l; Joseph. War, v. 3, 1), for the reason stated under the 13th of Nisan, handicraftsmen, with the exception of tailors, barbers, and laundresses, were obliged to relinquish their work either from morning or from noon, according to the custom of the different places in Palestine (Mishna, Pesachim, 4:1-8). Leaven was only allowed to be eaten till mid- day, when all leaven collected on the previous evening and discovered on this day had to be burned. The time for desisting from eating and burning the leaven was thus indicated: "Two desecrated cakes of thanksgiving- offering were placed on a bench in the Temple: as long as they were thus exposed all the people ate leaven; when one of them was removed they abstained from eating, but did not burn it; and when the other was removed all the people began burning the leaven" (ib. 1:5). It was on this day that every Israelite who was not infirm, ceremonially impure, uncircumcised, or who was on this day fifteen miles without the walls of Jerusalem (Mishna, Pesachim, 9:2; Maimonides, Hilchoth Korban Pesach. v. 89), appeared before the Lord in Jerusalem with an offering in proportion to his means ( Exodus 23:15;  Deuteronomy 16:16-17). Though women were not legally obliged to appear in the sanctuary, yet they were not excluded from it ( 1 Samuel 1:7;  Luke 2:41-42). The Israelites who came from the country to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover were gratuitously accommodated by the inhabitants with the necessary apartments ( Luke 22:10-12;  Matthew 26:18); and the guests left in return to their hosts the skins of the paschal lambs, and the vessels which they had used in their religious ceremonies ( Joma, 12 a). It was, however, impossible to house all the pilgrims in Jerusalem itself, since the circumference of the city was little more than one league, and the number of the visitors was exceedingly great. Josephus tells us that there were 3,000,000 Jews at the Passover A.D. 65 (Wars 2:14, 3), and that at the Passover in the reign of Nero there were 2,700,000, when 256,500 lambs were slain (ib. 6:9, 3), and most of them must therefore have encamped in tents without the walls of the town, as the Mohammedan pilgrims now do at Mecca. It is therefore not surprising that seditions broke out on these occasions, and that the Romans, fearing lest these myriads of pilgrims should create a disturbance, and try to shake off the foreign yoke when thus massed together, took all the precautionary measures of both force and conciliation during the festival (Joseph. Ant. 17:9, 3; War, 1:3, etc.;  Matthew 16:5;  Luke 13:1). In confirmation of Josephus's statement, which has been impugned by sundry writers, it is to be remarked that ancient Baraitha, preserved in Tosiftha Pesachim, cap. 4. (s.f.), and the Babylon Pesachim, 64 b, relate as follows: Agrippa was anxious to ascertain the number of the Jewish population. He therefore ordered the priests to put down the number of the paschal lambs, which were found to be 1,200,000; and as there was to every lamb a company of no less than ten persons, the number of Jews must have been tenfold.

4. The Offering Of The Paschal Lamb . Having selected the lamb, which was neither to be one day above a year nor less than eight days old (Maimonides, Hilchoth Korban, 1:12, 13) being an extension of the law about firstlings and burnt-offerings ( Exodus 22:30;  Leviticus 22:27) and agreed as to the exact number of those who were to join for one lamb, the representatives of each company went to the Temple. The daily evening sacrifice ( Exodus 29:38-39), which was usually. killed at the eighth hour and a half (= 2:30 P.M.), and offered up at the ninth hour and a half (3:30 P.M.), was on this day killed at 1:30, and offered at 2:30 P.M., an hour earlier; and if the 14th of Nisan happened on a Friday, it was killed at 12:30 and offered at 1:30 P.M., two hours earlier than usual (Mishna, Pesachim, v. 1; Maimonides, Hilchoth Korban Pesach. 1:4). All the representatives of the respective companies were divided into three bands or divisions. "The first division then entered with the paschal sacrifices, until the court of the Temple was filled, when the doors of the court were closed, and the trumpets were sounded three times, differing in the notes ( תקעו והריעו ותקעו ). The priests immediately placed themselves in two rows, holding bowls of silver and gold in their hands, i.e. one row holding silver bowls and the other gold ones. These bowls were not mixed up, nor had they stands underneath, in order that they might not be put down and. the blood become coagulated. The Israelites themselves killed their own paschal sacrifices, the nearest priest caught the blood, handed it to his fellow-priest, and he again passed it on to his fellow-priest, each receiving a full bowl and returning an empty one, while the priest nearest to the altar sprinkled it in one jet towards the base of the altar. Thereupon the first division went out, and the second division entered; and when the second again went out, the third entered; the second and third divisions acting in exactly the same way as the first. The Hallel was recited, (See Hallel), the whole time, and if it was finished before all the paschal animals were slain, it might be repeated a second and even a third time.... The paschal sacrifice was then suspended on iron hooks, which were affixed to the walls and pillars, and its skin taken off. Those who could not find a place for suspending and skinning it had pieces of wood provided for them, which they put on their own shoulders and on the shoulders of their neighbor, and on these they suspended the paschal sacrifice, and thus took off its skin. When the 14th of Nisan happened on a Sabbath, on which it was not lawful to use these sticks, one of the offerers put his left hand on the right shoulder of his fellow-offerer, while the latter put his right hand on the shoulder of the former, whereon they suspended the paschal sacrifice, and took off its skin."

As soon as it was opened, the viscera were taken out with the internal fat. The fat was carefully separated and collected in the large dish, and the viscera were washed and replaced in the body of the lamb, like those of the burnt sacrifices ( Leviticus 1:9;  Leviticus 3:3-5; comp. Pesachim, 6:1). Maimonides says that the tail was put with the fat ( Not. In Pesach. v. 10). The fat was burned on the altar, with incense, that same evening. On the Sabbath, the first division, after leaving the court, remained on the Temple Mountain, the second between the ramparts (i.e. the open space between the walls of the court of the women and the trellis- work in the Temple, comp. Mishna, Middoth, 2:3), while the third remained in its place. When it became dark, they all went out to roast their paschal sacrifices (Mishna, Pesachim, v. 5-10). A spit, made of the wood of the pomegranate-tree, was put in at the mouth of the paschal lamb, and brought out again at its vent; it was then carefully placed in the oven so as not to touch its sides, lest the cooking should be affected (comp.  Exodus 12:9;  2 Chronicles 35:13), and if any part of it happened to touch the earthenware oven, it had to be pared off; or if the fat which dripped from it had fallen on the oven, and then again fallen back on the lamb, the part so. touched had also to be cut out ( Pesachim, 7:1, 2). If any one broke a bone of the paschal lamb, so as to infringe the command in  Exodus 12:46, he incurred the penalty of forty stripes ( Pesachimn, 7:11). The bone, however, for the breaking of which the offender was to receive the stripes, must either have some flesh on it or some marrow in it, and he incurred the penalty even if some one had broken the same bone before him (Maimonides, Hilcloth Korban Pesach. 10:1, 3). The oven was of earthenware, and appears to have been in shape something like a bee- hive, with an opening in the side to admit fuel. According to Justin Martyr, a second spit, or skewer, was put transversely through the shoulders, so as to form the figure of a cross. As Justin was a native of Flavia Neapolis, it is a striking fact that the modern Samaritans roast their paschal lambs in nearly the same manner at this day. "The lambs (they require six for the community now) are roasted all together by stuffing them vertically, head downwards, into an oven which is like a small well, about three feet in diameter, and four or five feet deep, roughly stoned, in which a fire has been kept up for several hours. After the lambs are thrust in, the top of the hole is covered with-bushes and earth, to confine the heat till they are done. Each lamb has a stake or spit run through him to draw him up by; and, to prevent the spit from tearing away through the roast meat with the weight, a cross piece is put through the lower end of it" (Miss Rogers's Domestic Life in Palestine). Vitringa, Bochart, and Hottinger have taken the statement of Justin as representing the ancient Jewish usage; and, with him, regard the crossed spits as a prophetic type of the cross of our Lord. But it would seem more probable that the transverse spit was a mere matter of convenience, and was perhaps never in use among the Jews. The Rabbinical traditions relate that the lamb was called Galeatus, "qui quum totus assabatur, cum capite, cruribus, et intestinis, pedes autem et intestina ad latera ligabantur inter assandum, agnus ita quasi armatum repraesentaverit, qui galea in capite et ense in latere est munitus" (Otho, Leax. Rab. p. 503).

5. The Paschal Supper. The paschal sacrifices, having been taken to the respective abodes of the companies, and the meals prepared, the parties arranged themselves in proper order, reclining at ease on the left side, round the table. A cup of wine was filled for everyone, over which the following benediction was pronounced: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine! Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast chosen us above all nations, and exalted us above all peoples, and hast sanctified us with thy commandments. Thou hast given us, O Lord our God, appointed seasons for joy, festivals and holy days for rejoicing, such as the feast of unleavened bread, the time of our liberation, for holy convocation, to commemorate our exodus from Egypt. Yea, thou hast chosen us, and hast sanctified us above all nations, and hast given us thy holy festivals with joy and rejoicing as an inheritance. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who hast sanctified Israel and the festivals! Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast preserved us and kept us, and hast safely brought us to this period!" The cup of wine was then drunk, and a basin of water and a towel were handed round, or the celebrators got up to wash their hands; ( John 13:4-5;  John 13:12), after which thebles sing belonging thereto was pronounced. A table was then brought in, upon which were bitter herbs and unleavened bread, the Charseth (see below), the body of the paschal lamb, and the flesh of the Chagigah, or feast offering. The president of the meal then took the herb, dipped it in the Charoseth, and, after thanking God for creating the fruits of the earth, he ate a piece of the size of an olive, and gave a similar portion to each one reclining with him at the table ( Matthew 26:23;  John 13:26).

A second cup of wine was then poured out, and the son, in accordance with  Exodus 12:26, asked his father as follows: "Wherefore is this night distinguished from all other nights? On all other nights we may eat either leavened or unleavened bread, but on this night unleavened bread only; on all other

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [18]

pas´ō - vẽr ( פּסח , peṣaḥ , from pāṣaḥ , "to pass" or "spring over" or "to spare" (  Exodus 12:13 ,  Exodus 12:23 ,  Exodus 12:17; compare  Isaiah 31:5 . Other conjectures connect the word with the "passing over" into a new year, with assyr pašâh̬u , meaning "to placate," with Hebrew pāṣah , meaning "to dance," and even with the skipping motions of a young lamb; Aramaic פּסחא , paṣḥā' , whence Greek Πάσχα , Páscha  ; whence English "paschal." In early Christian centuries folk-etymology connected páscha with Greek páschō , "to suffer" (see Passion ), and the word was taken to refer to Good Friday rather than the Passover):

1. Pesach and Maccoth

2. Pesach Micrayim

3. Pesach Doroth

4. Maccoth

5. The 'Omer

6. Non-Traditional Theories

7. The Higher Criticism

8. Historical Celebrations: Old Testament Times

9. Historical Celebrations: New Testament Times

10. The Jewish Passover

1. Pesach and Maccoth:

The Passover was the annual Hebrew festival on the evening of the 14th day of the month of 'Ābhı̄bh ( Abib ) or Niṣan , as it was called in later times. It was followed by, and closely connected with, a 7 days' festival of maccōth , or unleavened bread, to which the name Passover was also applied by extension (  Leviticus 23:5 ). Both were distinctly connected with the Exodus, which, according to tradition, they commemorate; the Passover being in imitation of the last meal in Egypt, eaten in preparation for the journey, while Yahweh, passing over the houses of the Hebrews, was slaying the firstborn of Egypt ( Exodus 12:12 f;   Exodus 13:2 ,  Exodus 13:12 ff); the maccōth festival being in memory of the first days of the journey during which this bread of haste was eaten ( Exodus 12:14-20 ).

2. Pesach Micrayim:

The ordinance of peṣaḥ micrayim , the last meal in Egypt, included the following provisions: (1) the taking of a lamb, or kid without blemish, for each household on the 10th of the month; (2) the killing of the lamb on the 14th at even; (3) the sprinkling of the blood on doorposts and lintels of the houses in which it was to be eaten; (4) the roasting of the lamb with fire, its head with its legs and inwards - the lamb was not to be eaten raw nor sodden ( bāshal ) with water; (5) the eating of unleavened bread and bitter herbs; (6) eating in haste, with loins girded, shoes on the feet, and staff in hand; (7) and remaining in the house until the morning; (8) the burning of all that remained; the Passover could be eaten only during the night (  Exodus 12:1-23 ).

3. Pesah Doroth:

This service was to be observed as an ordinance forever ( Exodus 12:14 ,  Exodus 12:24 ), and the night was to be lel shimmūrı̄m , "a night of vigils," or, at least, "to be much observed" of all the children of Israel throughout their generations ( Exodus 12:42 ). The details, however, of the peṣaḥ dōrōth , or later observances of the Passover, seem to have differed slightly from those of the Egyptian Passover (Mishna, Peṣāḥı̄m , ix.5). Thus, it is probable that the victim could be taken from the flock or from the herd ( Deuteronomy 16:2; compare  Ezekiel 45:22 ). (3), (6) and (7) disappeared entirely, and judging from  Deuteronomy 16:7 , the prohibition against seething (Hebrew bāshal ) was not understood to apply (unless, indeed, the omission of the expression with water" gives a more general sense to the Hebrew word bāshal , making it include roasting). New details were also added: for example, that the Passover could be sacrificed only at the central sanctuary ( Deuteronomy 16:5 ); that no alien or uncircumcised person, or unclean person could partake thereof, and that one prevented by uncleanness or other cause from celebrating the Passover in season could do so a month later ( Numbers 9:9 ff). The singing of the Hallel (Psalms 113 through 118), both while the Passover was being slaughtered and at the meal, and other details were no doubt added from time to time.

4. Maccoth:

Unleavened bread was eaten with the Passover meal, just as with all sacrificial meals of later times ( Exodus 23:18;  Exodus 34:25;  Leviticus 7:12 ), independently perhaps of the fact that the Passover came in such close proximity with the Feast of Unleavened Bread ( Exodus 12:8 ). Jewish tradition distinguishes, at any rate, between the first night and the rest of the festival in that the eating of maccōth is an obligation on the first night and optional during the rest of the week ( Peṣāḥı̄m 120a), although the eating of unleavened bread is commanded in general terms ( Exodus 12:15 ,  Exodus 12:18;  Exodus 13:6 ,  Exodus 13:7;  Exodus 23:15;  Exodus 34:18;  Leviticus 23:6;  Numbers 28:17 ). The eating of leavened bread is strictly prohibited, however, during the entire week under the penalty of kārēth , "excision" ( Exodus 12:15 ,  Exodus 12:19 f;   Exodus 13:3;  Deuteronomy 16:3 ), and this prohibition has been observed traditionally with great care. The 1st and 7th days are holy convocations, days on which no labor could be done except such as was necessary in the preparation of food. The festival of maccōth is reckoned as one of the three pilgrimage festivals, though strictly the pilgrimage was connected with the Passover portion and the first day of the festival.

During the entire week additional sacrifices were offered in the temple: an offering made by fire and a burnt offering, 2 young bullocks, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year without blemish, together with meal offerings and drink offerings and a goat for a sin offering.

5. The 'Omer:

During the week of the maccōth festival comes the beginning of the barley harvest in Palestine ( Menāḥōth 65b) which lasts from the end of March in the low Jordan valley to the beginning of May in the elevated portions. The time of the putting-in of the sickle to the standing grain (  Deuteronomy 16:9 ) and of bringing the sheaf of the peace offering is spoken of as the morrow after the Sabbath ( Leviticus 23:15 ), that is, according to the Jewish tradition, the day after the first day, or rest-day, of the Passover ( Menā 65b; Meg Ta‛an . 1; Josephus, Ant. , III, x, 5), and according to Samaritan and Boethusian traditions and the modern Karites the Sunday after the Passover. At this time a wave offering is made of a sheaf, followed by an offering of a lamb with a meal and drink offering, and only thereafter might the new grain be eaten. From this day 7 weeks are counted to fix the date of Pentecost, the celebration connected with the wheat harvest. It is of course perfectly natural for an agricultural people to celebrate the turning-points of the agricultural year in connection with their traditional festivals. Indeed, the Jewish liturgy of today retains in the Passover service the Prayer of Dew ( ṭal ) which grew up in Palestine on the basis of the needs of an agricultural people.

6. Non-Traditional Theories:

Many writers, however, eager to explain the entire festival as originally an agricultural feast (presumably a Canaanitic one, though there is not a shred of evidence that the Canaanites had such a festival), have seized upon the ‛ōmer , or sheaf offering, as the basis of the ḥagh (festival), and have attempted to explain the maccōth as bread hastily baked in the busy harvest times, or as bread quickly baked from the freshly exempted first-fruits. Wherein these theories are superior to the traditional explanation so consistently adhered to throughout the Pentateuch it is difficult to see. In a similar vein, it has been attempted to connect the Passover with the sacrifice or redemption of the firstborn of man and beast (both institutions being traditionally traced to the judgment on the firstborn of Egypt, as in   Exodus 13:11-13;  Exodus 22:29 ,  Exodus 22:30;  Exodus 23:19;  Exodus 34:19 ,  Exodus 34:20 ), so as to characterize the Passover as a festival of pastoral origin. Excepting for the multiplication of highly ingenious guesses, very little that is positive has been added to our knowledge of the Passover by this theory.

7. The Higher Criticism:

The Pentateuch speaks of the Passover in many contexts and naturally with constantly varying emphasis. Thus the story of the Exodus it is natural to expect fewer ritual details than in a manual of temple services; again, according to the view here taken, we must distinguish between the peṣaḥ micrayim and the peṣaḥ dōrōth . Nevertheless, great stress is laid on the variations in the several accounts, by certain groups of critics, on the basis of which they seek to support their several theories of the composition of the Pentateuch or Hexateuch. Without entering into this controversy, it will be sufficient here to enumerate and classify all the discrepancies said to exist in the several Passover passages, together with such explanations as have been suggested. These discrepancies, so called, are of three kinds: (1) mere omissions, (2) differences of emphasis, and (3) conflicting statements. The letters, J, E, D, P and H will here be used to designate passages assigned to the various sources by the higher criticism of today merely for the sake of comparison. (1) There is nothing remarkable about the omission of the daily sacrifices from all passages except   Leviticus 23:8 (H) and   Numbers 28:19 (P), nor in the omission of a specific reference to the holy convocation on the first day in the contexts of   Deuteronomy 16:8 and   Exodus 13:6 , nor even in the omission of reference to a central sanctuary in passages other than Dt 16. Neither can any significance be attached to the fact that the precise day is not specified in Ex 23 (E) where the appointed day is spoken of, and in  Leviticus 23:15 (H) where the date can be figured out from the date of Pentecost there given. (2) As to emphasis, it is said that the socalled Elohist Covenant (E) (Ex 23) has no reference to the Passover, as it speaks only of maccōth in  Exodus 23:15 , in which this festival is spoken of together with the other reghālı̄m or pilgrimage festivals. The so-called Jehovistic source (Jahwist) ( Exodus 34:18-21 ,  Exodus 34:25 ) is said to subordinate the Passover to maccōth , the great feast of the Jehovistic history (JE) ( Exodus 12:21-27 ,  Exodus 12:29-36 ,  Exodus 12:38 ,  Exodus 12:39;  Exodus 13:3-16 ); in Dt (D) the Passover is said to predominate over maccōth , while in Lev (P and H) it is said to be of first importance. Je and P emphasize the historical importance of the day. Whether these differences in emphasis mean much more than that the relative amount of attention paid to the paschal sacrifice, as compared with maccōth , depends on the context, is of course the fundamental question of the higher criticism; it is not answered by pointing out that the differences of emphasis exist. (3) Of the actual conflicts, we have already seen that the use of the words "flock" and "herd" in Dt and Hebrew bāshal are open to explanation, and also that the use of the maccōth at the original Passover is not inconsistent with the historical reason for the feast of maccoth - it is not necessary to suppose that maccōth were invented through the necessity of the Hebrews on their journey. There is, however, one apparent discrepancy in the Biblical narrative that seems to weaken rather than help the position of those critics who would ascribe very late dates to the passages which we have cited: Why does Ezekiel's ideal scheme provide sacrifices for the Passover different from those prescribed in the so-called P ascribed to the same period (  Ezekiel 45:21 )?

8. Historical Celebrations: Old Testament Times:

The children of Israel began the keeping of the Passover in its due season according to all its ordinances in the wilderness of Sinai ( Numbers 9:5 ). In the very beginning of their national life in Palestine we find them celebrating the Passover under the leadership of Joshua in the plains of Jericho ( Joshua 5:10 ). History records but few later celebrations in Palestine, but there are enough intimations to indicate that it was frequently if not regularly observed. Thus Solomon offered sacrifices three times a year upon the altar which he had built to Yahweh, at the appointed seasons, including the Feast of Unleavened Bread ( 1 Kings 9:25 =   2 Chronicles 8:13 ). The later prophets speak of appointed seasons for pilgrimages and sacrifices (compare  Isaiah 1:12-14 ), and occasionally perhaps refer to a Passover celebration (compare  Isaiah 30:29 , bearing in mind that the Passover is the only night-feast of which we have any record). In Hezekiah's time the Passover had fallen into such a state of desuetude that neither the priests nor the people were prepared for the king's urgent appeal to observe it. Nevertheless, he was able to bring together a large concourse in Jerusalem during the 2nd month and institute a more joyful observance than any other recorded since the days of Solomon. In the 18th year of King Josiah, however, there was celebrated the most memorable Passover, presumably in the matter of conformity to rule, since the days of the Judges ( 2 Kings 23:21;  2 Chronicles 35:1 ff). The continued observance of the feast to the days of the exile is attested by Ezekiel's interest in it (  Ezekiel 45:18 ). In post-exilic times it was probably observed more scrupulously than ever before ( Ezra 6:19 ff).

9. Historical Celebrations: New Testament Times:

Further evidence, if any were needed, of the importance of the Passover in the life of the Jews of the second temple is found in the Talmud, which devotes to this subject an entire tractate, Peṣāḥı̄m on which we have both Babylonian and Palestine gemārā' . These are devoted to the sacrificial side and to the minutiae of searching out and destroying leaven, what constitutes leaven, and similar questions, instruction in which the children of Israel sought for 30 days before the Passover. Josephus speaks of the festival often ( Ant. , II, xiv, 6; III, x, 5; IX, iv, 8; Xiv , ii, 2; Xvii , ix, 3; Bj , II, i, 3; V, iii, 1; VI, ix, 3). Besides repeating the details already explained in the Bible, he tells of the innumerable multitudes that came for the Passover to Jerusalem out of the country and even from beyond its limits. He estimates that in one year in the days of Cestius, 256,500 lambs were slaughtered and that at least 10 men were counted to each. (This estimate of course includes the regular population of Jerusalem. But even then it is doubtless exaggerated.) The New Testament bears testimony, likewise, to the coming of great multitudes to Jerusalem ( John 11:55; compare also  John 2:13;  John 6:4 ). At this great festival even the Roman officers released prisoners in recognition of the people's celebration. Travel and other ordinary pursuits were no doubt suspended (Compare  Acts 12:3;  Acts 20:6 ). Naturally the details were impressed on the minds of the people and lent themselves to symbolic and homiletic purposes (compare  1 Corinthians 5:7;  John 19:34-36 , where the paschal lamb is made to typify Jesus; and  Hebrews 11:28 ). The best-known instance of such symbolic use is the institution of the Eucharist on the basis of the paschal meal. Some doubt exists as to Whether the Last Supper was the paschal meal or not. According to the Synoptic Gospels, it was ( Luke 22:7;  Matthew 26:17;  Mark 14:12 ); while according to John, the Passover was to be eaten some time following the Last Supper ( John 18:28 ). Various harmonizations of these passages have been suggested, the most in genious, probably, being on theory that when the Passover fell on Friday night, the Pharisees ate the meal on Thursday and the Sadducees on Friday, and that Jesus followed the custom of the Pharisees (Chwolson, Das letzte Passahmal Jesu , 2nd edition, Petersburg, 1904). Up to the Nicene Council in the year 325, the church observed Easter on the Jewish Passover. Thereafter it took precautions to separate the two, condemning their confusion as Arianism.

10. The Jewish Passover:

After the destruction of the temple the Passover became a home service. The paschal lamb was no longer included. Only the Samaritans have continued this rite to this day. In the Jewish home a roasted bone is placed on the table in memory of the rite, and other articles symbolic of the Passover are placed beside it: such as a roasted egg, said to be in memory of the free-will offering; a sauce called ḥārōṣeth , said to resemble the mortar of Egypt; salt water, for the symbolic dipping (compare   Matthew 26:23 ); the bitter herbs and the maccōth . The ṣēdher (program) is as follows: sanctification; washing of the hands; dipping and dividing the parsley; breaking and setting aside a piece of maccāh to be distributed and eaten at the end of the supper; reading of the haggādhāh shel peṣaḥ , a poetic narrative of the Exodus, in answer to four questions asked by the youngest child in compliance with the Biblical command found 3 times in Exodus and once in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt tell thy son on that day"; washing the hands for eating; grace before eating; tasting the maccāh  ; tasting the bitter herbs; eating of them together; the meal; partaking of the maccāh that had been set aside as 'ăphı̄ḳōmēn or dessert; grace after meat; Hallel  ; request that the service be accepted. Thereafter folk-songs are sung to traditional melodies, and poems recited, many of which have allegorical meanings. A cup of wine is used at the sanctification and another at grace, in addition to which two other cups have been added, the 4 according to the Mishna ( Peṣāḥı̄m x.1) symbolizing the 4 words employed in  Exodus 6:6 ,  Exodus 6:7 for the delivery of Israel from Egypt. Instead of eating in haste, as in the Egyptian Passover, it is customary to recline or lean at this meal in token of Israel's freedom.

The prohibition against leaven is strictly observed. The searching for hidden leaven on the evening before the Passover and its destruction in the morning have become formal ceremonies for which appropriate blessings and declarations have been included in the liturgy since the days when Aramaic was the vernacular of the Jews. As in the case of other festivals, the Jews have doubled the days of holy convocation, and have added a semi-holiday after the last day, the so-called 'ı̄ṣṣur ḥagh , in token of their love for the ordained celebration and their loathness to depart from it.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [19]

Pass´over. The Passover, like the sabbath and other institutions, had a twofold reference—historical and typical. As a commemorative institution it was designed to preserve among the Hebrews a grateful sense of their redemption from Egyptian bondage, and of the protection granted to their first-born on the night when all the first-born of the Egyptians were destroyed as a typical institute its object was to shadow forth the great facts and consequences of the Christian Sacrifice .

The word Passover has three general acceptations in Scripture. First, it denotes the yearly solemnity celebrated on the 14th day of Nisan or Abib, which was strictly the Passover of the Lamb, for on that day the Israelites were commanded to roast the lamb and eat it in their own houses; Second, It signifies that yearly festivity, celebrated on the 15th of Nisan, which may be called the Feast of the Passover ; Third, it denotes the whole solemnity, commencing on the 14th, and ending on the 21st day of Nisan . The paschal lamb, in the age following the first institution of the Passover in Egypt, and after the settlement of the Hebrews in Palestine, could only be killed by the priests in the court of the temple (;; ), whence the owner of the lamb received it from the priests, and 'brought it to his house in Jerusalem, and roasted it, and ate it in the evening;' and it was thus that Christ kept the Passover, eating it in a chamber within Jerusalem but the feast of unfermented things the Jews thought themselves bound to keep in every place in which they might dwell, if they could not visit Jerusalem. As, however, from the evening of the 14th to the 21st day of Abib or Nisan (April), all ferment was banished from the habitations of the Hebrews, both institutions thus received a common name (;; ).

On the 10th of the month Abib, the master of a family separated a ram or a goat of a year old, without blemish , which was slain on the 14th day, between the two evenings, before the altar . Originally the blood was sprinkled on the posts of the door , but afterwards the priests sprinkled the blood upon the bottom of the altar (comp.;;; ). The ram or kid was roasted in an oven whole, with two spits made of pomegranate wood thrust through it, the one lengthwise, the other transversely (crossing the longitudinal one near the fore-legs), thus forming a cross. Thus roasted with fire, as an emblem of purification, it was served up with a bitter salad unpickled, indicative of the bitterness of their bondage in Egypt, and with the flesh of the other sacrifices . What of the flesh remained uneaten was to b e consumed with fire, lest it should see corruption (comp.;; ). Not fewer than ten, nor more than twenty persons, were admitted to this sacred solemnity. At its first observance the Hebrews ate the Passover with loins girt about, sandals on their feet, staves in their hands, and in haste, like travelers equipped and prepared for immediate departure but subsequently the usual mode of reclining was adopted in token of rest and security .

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [20]

The chief festival of the Jews in commemoration of the passing of the destroying angel over the houses of the Israelites on the night when he slew the first-born of the Egyptians; it was celebrated in April, lasted eight days, only unleavened bread was used in its observance, and a lamb roasted whole was eaten with bitter herbs, the partakers standing and road-ready as on their departure from the land of bondage.