the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
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, ἡ 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 ὁ 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, Rosenmü 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 ἡ 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 13th 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 14th 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
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Passover'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​p/passover.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.