Exodus 12 (paraphrased)

The Passover

12:14-20pp — Lev 23:4-8; Nu 28:16-25; Dt 16:1-8

The Lord told to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, “Tell the community of Israel that on the 10th day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.  If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor.  

The animals must be year-old males without defect, and take them from the sheep or the goats.  Take care of them until the 14th day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.  Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.  That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.

Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire–head, legs and inner parts.  Do not leave any of it till morning; if some is left till morning, burn it.  Eat it with your cloak tucked into your belt, sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand.  Eat it quickly; it is the Lord’s Passover.  On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn–both men and animals–and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt.  I am the Lord.

The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, no plague will touch you when I strike.  For the generations to come you shall celebrate this day as a festival to the Lord.  For 7 days you are to eat bread made without yeast.  On the 1st day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast these days must be cut off from Israel.  On the 1st day hold a sacred assembly, and another one on the 7th day.  Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat–that’s all.

Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this day I brought your divisions out of Egypt.  Celebrate this day for the generations to come.  In the first month you are to eat bread made without yeast, from the evening of the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day.  For 7 days no yeast is to be found in your houses.  And whoever eats anything with yeast in it must be cut off from the community of Israel, whether he is an alien or native-born.  Eat nothing made with yeast.  Wherever you live, you must eat unleavened bread.”

Moses called all the elders of Israel and said, “Go and get the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.  Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and both sides of the doorframe.  Not one of you shall go out of his house til morning.”  He told them what to do with the blood and why.  “Obey these instructions as a lasting ordinance for you and your descendants.

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

At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, including the firstborn of all the livestock.  Pharaoh, all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus

During the night Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron and said, “Up!  Leave my people, you and the Israelites!  Go worship.  Take your flocks and herds and go.  And bless me.”  The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country.  “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!”  So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, and carried it on their shoulders in kneading troughs wrapped in clothing.

The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.  The Lord had made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and they gave them what they asked for; so they plundered the Egyptians.  The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth.  There were about 600,000 men on foot, besides women and children.  Many other people went up with them, as well as large droves of livestock, both flocks and herds.

With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread.  The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.  Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.  At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.  Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.

Passover Restrictions

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover:  No foreigner is to eat of it.  Any slave you have bought may eat of it after you have circumcised him, but a temporary resident and a hired worker may not eat of it.  It must be eaten inside one house; take none of the meat outside the house.  Do not break any of the bones.

The whole community of Israel must celebrate it.  An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land.  No uncircumcised male may eat of it.  The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you.”  All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.  And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.


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