716. Passover Ceremonies in Christ's Time

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Matthew 26:2020Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. (Matthew 26:20). Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
The ceremonies of the Passover supper in the time of Christ were as follows:
1. A cup of wine was filled for every one of the company, over which he who presided at the feast pronounced a blessing, after which the wine was drank.
2. The bitter herbs, the unleavened bread, the charoseth, and the flesh of the chagigah, were then brought in. The charoseth was composed of vinegar and water, according to some authorities; others say that it was a mixture of vinegar, figs, almonds, dates, raisins, and spice, beaten to the consistence of mortar or clay, to commemorate the toils of the Israelites when they worked in the brick-yards of Egypt. The chagigah was a special voluntary peace offering which was made at the Passover and other great festivals.
3. When these were all placed upon the table, the president of the feast, who in a family celebration of the Passover was the head of the family, took a portion of the bitter herbs in his hand, dipped it into the charoseth, and, after thanking God for the fruits of the earth (see note on Matt. 14:1919And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. (Matthew 14:19), #670) ate a piece the size of an olive, and gave a similar portion to each one, who, according to custom, reclined with him on the dinner-bed. See note on Matthew 26:77There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (Matthew 26:7) (#712). (Some Jewish writers say that they reclined on couches while they ate the Passover in order to show that they were no longer slaves, but free, and at rest.) The unleavened bread was then handed round, and the paschal lamb placed on the table in front of the president.
4. A second cup of wine was poured out and drank, after which an explanation of the feast was given, in accordance with Exodus 12:26-2726And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. (Exodus 12:26‑27). The first part of the “Hallel,” or hymn of praise, was then sung. This consisted of Psalms 113 and 114 and was followed by a blessing.
5. After the singing, unleavened bread and bitter herbs, dipped in the charoseth, were eaten. Then the flesh of the chagigah was eaten, and next the paschal lamb. A third cup of wine was then poured out and drank, and soon after a fourth. After the fourth cup the rest of the “Hallel” was sung. This consisted of Psalms 115 to 118 and is the hymn “referred to in verse 30 and in Mark 14:2626And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (Mark 14:26).
It was while partaking of this Passover feast that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by the Saviour. A number of interesting and important questions, some of them of great difficulty, arise in connection with this subject, but their discussion would be out of place here. The different standard commentaries may be consulted for their solution.