The Passover

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

(passing over). First of three great Jewish feasts, instituted in honor of the “passing over” of the Hebrew households by the destroying angel (Ex. 12; 13:3-10; 23:14-19; Lev. 23:4-144These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 9And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 10Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the Lord. 13And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the Lord for a sweet savor: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Leviticus 23:4‑14)). Called the “feast of unleavened bread.” The Christian Passover is “The Lord’s Supper,” eucharist (Matt. 27:6262Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, (Matthew 27:62); Luke 22:1-201Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. 2And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people. 3Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. 4And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. 5And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. 6And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude. 7Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 14And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:1‑20); John 19:4242There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. (John 19:42)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

This was instituted when the Israelites were in Egypt. Jehovah being about to cut off all the firstborn of Egypt, the Israelites were ordered to sprinkle the blood of a lamb, taken for each house, on the lintel and two side posts of their houses, and the promise was given, “The Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.” The Israelites obeyed, and in perfect safety fed upon the lamb, under shelter of the blood. When they should come to the promised land they were enjoined to keep the Passover, as one of their yearly feasts (Ex. 12:3-283Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover. 12For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. 13And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 15Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. 17And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 20Ye shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread. 21Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 25And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26And 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. 28And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they. (Exodus 12:3‑28); Lev. 23:4-84These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. 6And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. (Leviticus 23:4‑8)). See FEASTS.
The Passover sets forth typically the offering of Christ as that in which the righteousness of God in regard of sin has been declared. The blood was a witness of death, that is, of the removal from under the eye of God of the man, or order of man, that had sinned against God. This removal was brought to pass vicariously in the person of the righteous One who gave Himself a ransom for all. In the eating of the lamb roast with fire the people were to enter into the solemnity of what had been effected.
The Jewish authorities state the manner of eating the Passover at the time of the Lord to have been as follows:
1. When all were seated, the head of the feast gave thanks, and they drank the first cup of wine mingled with water.
2. All washed their hands.
3. The table was spread with the paschal lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and a dish of thick sauce (said to signify the mortar with which they made bricks in Egypt).
4. They all dipped a portion of the bitter herbs into the sauce, and ate it.
5. All the dishes were removed from the table, and the children or proselytes were instructed in the meaning of the Passover.
6. The dishes were then brought back, and the president said, “This is the passover which we eat, because the Lord passed over the houses of our fathers in Egypt.” And holding up the bitter herbs he said, “These are the bitter herbs that we eat in remembrance that the Egyptians made the lives of our fathers bitter in Egypt.” He then spoke of the unleavened bread, and repeated Psalm 113 and Psalm 114, concluding with a prayer. They all drank the second cup of wine.
7. The governor broke one of the cakes of unleavened bread, and gave thanks.
8. They then all partook of the paschal lamb.
9. As an ending of the supper they all took a piece of bread and some of the bitter herbs, dipped them in the sauce, and ate them.
10. They then drank the third cup of wine, called “the cup of blessing.”
11. The governor rehearsed Psalm 115-118, and a fourth cup of wine concluded the whole.
Connected with the Passover is the FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD. It was kept for seven days, during which all leaven had to be put away. The first day and the seventh day were holy convocations, on which no servile work was to be done. This feast was intimately connected with the Passover: “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” The unleavened bread sets forth that sense of grace, through faith, in the Christian, in which, apart from influences of the flesh and old associations, he can be habitually in the appreciation of, and in communion with the sacrifice of Christ, so that his whole life is consistent therewith.
It appears evident that the term “Passover” was also applied to the Feast of Unleavened Bread, as in Deuteronomy 16:22Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there. (Deuteronomy 16:2): “Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd.” The “herd” here must refer to the seven days’ feast; and this may account for the Jews refusing to go into the judgment hall “lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the passover” (John 18:2828Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. (John 18:28)), though they had eaten the paschal lamb the night before.

“130. The Passover” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

This, the first of the three great feasts, is usually called the Passover, in commemoration of the passing over of the houses of the Israelites by the destroying angel, at the time when the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain. The ancient Jewish canons distinguish between what they term “the Egyptian Passover” and “the Permanent Passover”; the former signifying the feast in its original form, and the latter representing it as modified in the subsequent years or the history of the people. The essential parts of the feast, were however, the same. It took place during the month Abib, or, as it was subsequently called, Nisan, corresponding very nearly with April of our calendar. See note on Deuteronomy 16:11Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. (Deuteronomy 16:1) (#193). While it lasted, great care was taken to abstain from leaven. A he-lamb or kid of the first year was selected by the head of the family and was slain, its blood being sprinkled originally on the doorposts, and subsequently on the bottom of the altar. The animal was then roasted whole with fire, and eaten with unleavened bread and a salad of bitter herbs. It could not be boiled, nor must a bone of it be broken. When they first ate it in Egypt the Israelites had their loins girt and their shoes on, all ready for a journey, and they partook of it standing, as if in haste to be away. In after years this position was changed to sitting or reclining. Not fewer than ten, nor more than twenty, persons were admitted to one of these feasts. Stanley (in his History of the Jewish Church, vol.1, p. 559, Am. ed.) gives a deeply interesting account, from his personal observation, of the modern observance of the Passover by the Samaritans. For the mode of observing the Passover in our Lord’s time, see notes on Matthew 26:19-2019And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 20Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. (Matthew 26:19‑20) (#715, #716).
It is supposed by some writers that, aside from the general design of the Passover, as already stated, there was in some of its ceremonies an intentional Divine rebuke of the idolatry of heathen nations, and especially of that of the Egyptians. One of their deities was represented by a human body with a ram’s head. To have a lamb slain, and its blood sprinkled on the doorposts, was an act of contempt against this deity. Some heathen people ate raw flesh in connection with their festivities. The passover lamb was to be cooked. This cooking was by roasting, for the Egyptians and Syrians sometimes boiled the flesh of their sacrificial victims in water, and sometimes in milk. It was to be roasted with fire, for the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and ancient Persians are said to have roasted their sacrifices in the sun. It was to be roasted whole, even to the intestines, for the heathen were in the habit of looking into these for omens, and sometimes even ate them raw.

“714. Passover Guests” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The Israelites who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover were received by the inhabitants as brothers, and apartments were gratuitously furnished them where they might eat the feast. In return, the guests gave their hosts the skins of the paschal lambs and the vessels they had used in the ceremonies. According to this custom the disciples, wishing to make arrangements for the Passover, inquired of the Lord if he had any special house in view where he desired to go.

“715. Preparing for the Passover” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The two disciples, Peter and John, who represented the company who, with Jesus, were to celebrate the Passover together, went, as was customary, to the temple with the paschal lamb. There, taking their turn with others who thronged the temple on the same errand, they killed the lamb, the nearest priest catching the blood in a gold or silver bowl, and passing it to the next in the row of priests until it reached the priest nearest the altar, who instantly sprinkled it toward the altar’s base. The lamb was then flayed and the entrails removed, to be burnt with incense on the altar. All this was done in the afternoon. As soon as it was dark the lamb was roasted with great care. Thus the two “made ready the Passover.” They likewise provided unleavened bread, wine, bitter herbs, and sauce. See also note on Exodus 23:1515Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) (Exodus 23:15) (#130).

“716. Passover Ceremonies in Christ's Time” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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.