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Day 34 – The Passover Instituted


Exodus 12

1 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,

2 ‘This month must be the first of all the months for you, the first month of your year.

3 Speak to the whole community of Israel and say, “On the tenth day of this month each man must take an animal from the flock for his family: one animal for each household.

4 If the household is too small for the animal, he must join with his neighbour nearest to his house, depending on the number of persons. When you choose the animal, you will take into account what each can eat.

5 It must be an animal without blemish, a male one year old; you may choose it either from the sheep or from the goats.

6 You must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month when the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter it at twilight.

7 Some of the blood must then be taken and put on both door-posts and the lintel of the houses where it is eaten.

8 That night, the flesh must be eaten, roasted over the fire; it must be eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

9 Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with the head, feet and entrails.

10 You must not leave any of it over till the morning: whatever is left till morning you must burn.

11 This is how you must eat it: with a belt round your waist, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. You must eat it hurriedly: it is a Passover in Yahweh’s honour.

12 That night, I shall go through Egypt and strike down all the first-born in Egypt, man and beast alike, and shall execute justice on all the gods of Egypt, I, Yahweh!

13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are. When I see the blood I shall pass over you, and you will escape the destructive plague when I strike Egypt.

14 This day must be commemorated by you, and you must keep it as a feast in Yahweh’s honour. You must keep it as a feast-day for all generations; this is a decree for all time.

15 “For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you must clean the leaven out of your houses, for anyone who eats leavened bread from the first to the seventh day must be outlawed from Israel.

16 On the first day you must hold a sacred assembly, and on the seventh day a sacred assembly. On those days no work may be done; you will prepare only what each requires to eat.

17 You must keep the feast of Unleavened Bread because it was on that same day that I brought your armies out of Egypt. You will keep that day, generation after generation; this is a decree for all time.

18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you must eat unleavened bread.

19 For seven days there may be no leaven in your houses, since anyone, either stranger or citizen of the country, who eats leavened bread will be outlawed from the community of Israel.

20 You will eat nothing with leaven in it; wherever you live, you will eat unleavened bread.” ‘

21 Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, ‘Go and choose a lamb or kid for your families, and kill the Passovervictim.

22 Then take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and with the blood from the basin touch the lintel and both door-posts; then let none of you venture out of the house till morning.

23 Then, when Yahweh goes through Egypt to strike it, and sees the blood on the lintel and on both door-posts, he will pass over the door and not allow the Destroyer to enter your homes and strike.

24 You will observe this as a decree binding you and your children for all time,

25 and when you have entered the country which Yahweh will give you, as he has promised, you will observe this ritual.

26 And when your children ask you, “What does this ritual mean?”

27 you will tell them, “It is the Passover sacrifice in honour of Yahweh who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, and struck Egypt but spared our houses.” ‘ And the people bowed in worship.

28 The Israelites then went away and did as Yahweh had ordered Moses and Aaron.

29 And at midnight Yahweh struck down all the first-born in Egypt from the first-born of Pharaoh, heir to his throne, to the first-born of the prisoner in the dungeon, and the first-born of all the livestock.

30 Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up in the night, and there was great wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead.

31 It was still dark when Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, ‘Up, leave my subjects, you and the Israelites! Go and worship Yahweh as you have asked!

32 And take your flocks and herds as you have asked, and go! And bless me too!’

33 The Egyptians urged the people on and hurried them out of the country because, they said, ‘Otherwise we shall all be dead.’

34 So the people carried off their dough still unleavened, their bowls wrapped in their cloaks, on their shoulders.

35 The Israelites did as Moses had told them and asked the Egyptians for silver and golden jewellery, and clothing.

36 Yahweh made the Egyptians so much impressed with the people that they gave them what they asked. So they despoiled the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites left Rameses for Succoth, about six hundred thousand on the march-men, that is, not counting their families.

38 A mixed crowd of people went with them, and flocks and herds, quantities of livestock.

39 And with the dough which they had brought from Egypt they baked unleavened cakes, because the dough had not risen, since they had been driven out of Egypt without time to linger or to prepare food for themselves.

40 The time that the Israelites spent in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years.

41 And on the very day the four hundred and thirty years ended, all Yahweh’s armies left Egypt.

42 The night when Yahweh kept vigil to bring them out of Egypt must be kept as a vigil in honour of Yahweh by all Israelites, for all generations.

43 Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, ‘This is the ritual for the Passover: no alien may eat it,

44 but any slave bought for money may eat it, once you have circumcised him.

45 No stranger and no hired servant may eat it.

46 It must be eaten in one house alone; you will not take any of the meat out of the house; nor may you break any of its bones.

47 ‘The whole community of Israel must keep it.

48 Should a stranger residing with you wish to keep the Passover in honour of Yahweh, all the males of his household must be circumcised: he will then be allowed to keep it and will count as a citizen of the country. But no uncircumcised person may eat it.

49 The same law will apply to the citizen and the stranger resident among you.’

50 The Israelites all did as Yahweh had ordered Moses and Aaron,

51 and that same day Yahweh brought the Israelites out of Egypt in their armies.

Leviticus 9

1 On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel;

2 he said to Aaron, ‘Take a calf to offer a sacrifice for sin, and a ram for a burnt offering, both without blemish, and bring them before Yahweh.

3 Then say to the Israelites, “Take a goat to be offered as a sacrifice for sin, a calf and a lamb one year old (both without blemish) for a burnt offering,

4 a bull and a ram for communion sacrifices to be slaughtered before Yahweh, and a cereal offering mixed with oil. For Yahweh willappear to you today.” ‘

5 They brought what Moses had ordered in front of the Tent of Meeting; then the whole community approached and stood before Yahweh.

6 Moses then said, ‘This is what Yahweh has ordered you to do, so that his glory may be visible to you.’

7 Moses then addressed Aaron, ‘Go to the altar and offer your sacrifice for sin and your burnt offering, and so perform the rite of expiation for yourself and your family. Then present the people’s offering and perform the rite of expiation for them, as Yahweh has ordered.’

8 Aaron went to the altar and slaughtered the calf as a sacrifice for his own sin.

9 Aaron’s sons then presented the blood to him; he dipped his finger in it and put some on the horns of the altar, and then poured the rest of the blood at the foot of the altar.

10 The fat of the sacrifice for sin and the kidneys and the mass of fat over the liver he burned on the altar, as Yahweh had ordered Moses,

11 and the meat and the skin he burned outside the camp.

12 He then slaughtered the burnt offering; Aaron’s sons then handed him the blood, which he poured all around the altar.

13 They then handed him the quartered victim and the head, and he burned these on the altar.

14 He then washed the entrails and shins and burned them with the burnt offering on the altar.

15 He then presented the people’s offering. He took the goat for the people’s sacrifice for sin, slaughtered it, and made a sacrifice for sinwith it in the same way as with the first.

16 He then had the burnt offering brought forward and proceeded according to the ritual.

17 He then had the cereal offering brought forward, took a handful of it and burned it on the altar in addition to the morning burnt offering.

18 Then he slaughtered the bull and the ram as a communion sacrifice for the people. Aaron’s sons handed him the blood and he poured it all around the altar.

19 The fat of the bull and the ram, the tail, the covering fat, the kidneys, the mass of fat over the liver,

20 he placed on the ribs and then burned on the altar.

21 With the ribs and the right thigh Aaron made the gesture of offering as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

22 Aaron then raised his hands towards the people and blessed them. Having thus performed the sacrifice for sin, the burnt offering and the communion sacrifice, he came down

23 and entered the Tent of Meeting with Moses. Then they came out together to bless the people and the glory of Yahweh appeared to the entire people:

24 a flame leapt out from Yahweh’s presence and consumed the burnt offering and fat on the altar. At this sight the entire people shouted for joy and fell on their faces.

Psalm 114

1 Alleluia! When Israel came out of Egypt, the House of Jacob from a people of foreign speech,

2 Judah became his sanctuary, and Israel his domain.

3 The sea fled at the sight, the Jordan turned back,

4 the mountains skipped like rams, the hills like sheep.

5 Sea, what makes you flee? Jordan, why turn back?

6 Why skip like rams, you mountains? Why like sheep, you hills?

7 Tremble, earth, at the coming of the Lord, at the coming of the God of Jacob,

8 who turns rock into pool, flint into fountain.

Thoughts and Reflection

Today we read about the Passover. In Passover, the angel of death would kill the firstborns unless their house was marked on the doorposts and lintels with a sacrificial lamb’s blood. This may seem extreme, but reading the Bible in context, God had warned Pharaoh that this would happen if he did not free the Israelites. The Lamb itself is also a symbol for Jesus. John the Baptist has said, “Behold the Lamb of God.” Later St. Paul proclaims him as the Passover lamb.

Another symbol is that Israelites could not partake in the sacrifice of the Passover until they were brought into the covenant. We are not able to receive the Eucharist until we have been brought into the New Covenant through Baptism. In tradition, the lamb was brought into the house for a week and then the lamb is sacrificed on the seventh day. This is meaningful since the lamb now has meaning to the family and truly is a sacrifice to the Lord.

Interestingly, sheep were seen as sacred by the Egyptians, and by slaughtering them, the Israelites would have committed a sacrilegious act in their eyes and it would be difficult for them to remain in Egypt.

About This Project

For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!


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