Pharaoh had suffered nine plagues and yet had not learned to obey God. God told Moses that He would send one final punishment to the Egyptians. And that then Pharaoh would certainly let the Israelites go.
So Moses went to Pharaoh with a final message from God and said, “The Lord says that at about midnight He will go through the land of Egyp. And every first-born son will die. From your own son down to the son of the lowest maidservant, and the first-born of all the cattle will die too. Then, finished Moses angrily, “you will beg me to go, and I shall leave.” Even this had no effect on Pharaoh who did not change his mind.
God gave Moses and Aaron detailed instructions for the Israelites for what later became known as the Feast of the Passover.
Each family was to choose a young lamb; it had to be a special animal, without any defect or blemish, and to be a one-year-old male. If a family was too small to eat a whole animal, they were to share one with the next-door neighbors.
They were to keep the animal for fourteen days to make sure there was no blemish that they had missed. Then they were to kill it and, with a spring of hyssop dipped in its blood, they were to mark the doorposts and lintels of the house in which the animal was to be eaten. This marking would show the houses Israelites lived so that the of death, se sod, would pass those and leave the inhabitants untouched.
The meat was to be roasted and eaten with bitter herbs and pieces of bread made without yeast. The bitter herbs be a reminder of their bitter bondage under Pharaoh, and the unleavened bread indicated the haste in which they were to eat it, for there would not be time to wait for the yeast to rise as it does in ordinary bread.
None of the meat was to be kept until the morning, and any that was left over was to be burnt to ashes.
They were to eat this special meal quickly and were to be dressed for a journey, with sandals on their feet and a stick in their hands. They were all to stay indoors that night and no one was to leave the house until the morning. The doors and windows were to remain closed.
Moses told the people that when they had left Egypt and had been taken to the rich and fertile land God had promised, they were to continue celebrating this festival of unleavened bread every year.
‘When your children ask what it means,’ he said, ‘you must tell them that it is the sacrifice of the Passover because God passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared them, but the Egyptians were killed.
As God had said, so it happened. At midnight the first-born son of every family in Egypt died. Pharaoh and all his servants rose during the night, and there was laud weeping in Egypt because there was not one house in which the eldest son had not died. There was great sorrow throughout Egypt. The animals died also. Just as Moses had told Pharaoh they would. But, not one Israelite died or any animal that belonged to an Israelite.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron that same night and said, ‘Get out! You and all the people of Israel. Go and worship your god, and take your flocks and herds too. And pray for a blessing for me also.”
The Egyptian people were anxious to see the Israelites go as well. “Hurry up and leave our country,” they said, otherwise we shall all be dead. And they gave the Israelites gold and silver and clothing and anything else which they asked for.
The Israelites packed up their belongings and hurriedly left the land of Egypt so quickly that they did not have time to get food ready or prepare leavened bread.
Happily, they set out on foot, a great company of them, free at last from the bondage of Pharaoh! There were about 600,000 men, not counting women and children. And all their sheep and goats and cattle went with them. There number of other races and Egyptians with them, who had married Israelites or were slaves to them for the Israelites had slaves of their own.
They had been in the land of Egypt for 430 years. And so none of them knew what it was like to be free.
Jewish families still celebrate “The Passover,” a festival for which God had given Moses exact instructions.
No foreigner was to be allowed to eat it, nor any temporary resident or hired worker. The whole meal was to be eaten in the house in which it was prepared. And must not be taken outside. No bones of the animal were to be broken.
God told Moses that every first-born male Israelite and every first-born male animal must be dedicated to Him.
No leavened bread was to be eaten for seven days. When the festival began on the seventh day, the parents were to explain to their children that it was a reminder of what God had done for them when they left Egypt. It would also remind them to continue to study God’s laws and to remember that it was God’s power that had delivered them from Egypt.
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End of The Passover
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