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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Passover

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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.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Passover'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/p/passover.html. 1893.

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