Simply put, the PASSOVER is about REDEMPTION, and the story surrounding it was way before MOSES was born or even thought to take the children of ISRAEL out of EGYPT (House of Bondage) to a Land flowing with milk and honey.
As is usual with YAHWEH’s promises, in concretizing the one he made with ABRAHAM about having a SEED when he was old and his wife past child-bearing age, YAHWEH informed him of what will befall the offspring of his much sought after ‘Only Son’, with the following words in Genesis Chapter 15 Verse 13;
“…..know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger, in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them Four Hundred Years;
(14) And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance”
Fast forward to many years later as recorded in Exodus Chapter 12 verse 40;
“Now the sojourning of the Children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt was Four Hundred and Thirty Years.
(41) And it came to pass at the end of the Four Hundred and Thirty Years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of YAHWEH went out from the land of Egypt.”
A fulfilment of YAHWEH’s prophecy to Abraham, showing how the tiny dots, stripes and strands that was building up in the days of Abraham, all came together to form the biggest story in the Bible of all time.
Because the story of the deliverance of the Hebrews or Israelites, as the case may be, from their Egyptian overlords by the mighty hand of YAHWEH is well known to you, I will not particularly go into it but dwell largely on the part that has to do with the feast of Passover.
Moses must have felt that a divine hand was at play in rescuing him from the jaws of death as a kid, and possibly remained with him in thinking to fuel the revolution that wool bring about the emancipation of his downtrodden people when he intervened in a squabble involving a Hebrew slave and an Egyptian slave-supervisor. The reaction that followed that activity prompted his having to go into exile, abandoning his privileged position in Egypt for an uncertain future out in the wilderness.
The full story of the Passover revolves around Moses’ activities after he returned from exile in the land of Midian where he’d been in exile (and flourished with wife, kids and flock).
His return, prompted by YAHWEH after the BURNING BUSH encounter was to the end that he would deliver the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, where they relocated to from Canaan, following that great famine in the days of Jacob with JOSEPH (his son) as dé facto Prime Minister in Egypt. That was way before the pharaoh that didn’t know Joseph (Exodus Chapter 1 verse 8) burst onto the scene and saw the Hebrews as a threat owing to their increasing numerical size and ablebodiedness, especially of their males for which he enacted an edict to see to the limiting of their number.
Pharaoh had to be bent literally to yield to the will of YAHWEH but he held out almost to the end of the episode of the TEN PLAGUES, again because YAHWEH wrote the scripts of that intimating Moses of this as recorded in Exodus Chapter 11 Verse 9 –
“And YAHWEH said unto Moses, Pharaoh shall not hearken unto you; that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.”
I doubt we will be narrating the events of those days today had pharaoh all but yielded swiftly to the demands of Moses as directed by YAHWEH. Most times, tales and legends aren’t made of quick and easy successes as with longstanding challenges approached by equal and opposite longsuffering.
It is in the light of all that happened in Egypt, the Ten Plagues and the Strong Hand with which YAHWEH wrought wonders to bring about the emancipation of the Hebrews, that the feast of Passover became imperative.
In Exodus Chapter 12, YAHWEH laid down the ground rules as to how this Feast is to be celebrated, and includes:
1. That the month in which the feast will be celebrated, “….shall be into you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you” (Exodus Chapter 12 verse 2).
This month, Abib or Nisan usually falls in the month of April or late March in the Gregorian or Western Calendar, and interestingly that for this year falls on the 1st of April.
2. On the tenth day of the month, every family was expected to take “…a lamb (or goat), according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for a house” (Exodus Chapter 12 verse 3).
But in a situation where a house is too small to finish one lamb or goat (which should be a male in it’s first year and without blemish) that family could join with a neighbour.
3. This lamb/goat will be kept till the 14th day of the same month to be killed at evening (the start of the Jewish day).
The blood of this animal is then used to smear the doorposts and lintel of homes/houses where the Passover will be eaten, “….and 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 Egypt.” (Exodus Chapter 12 verse 13).
*to be continued*