Passover 1 – The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Old Testament – in the Wilderness, under Josiah and Hezekiah

We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1. God appears as Judge

2. God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.

God says, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over’ (v. 13). It is not said, ‘When you see it’, but ‘When I see it”.


  1. Scripture quotations here are from the Darby Translation
  2. The notes are a combination of those from the 1890 and 1961 editions of the Darby Bible. Where notes refer to another scripture, the notes from that scripture are used. In many notes in the 1890 edition there is a list of which manuscripts (MSS) use which terms.  These MSS have not been listed.
  3. The Synopsis has been slightly edited to simplify the English.



Exodus 12

And Jehovah spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month shall be unto you the beginninga of months: it shall be the first month of the yearb to you. 3Speak unto all the assemblya of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take themselves each a lamb c, for a father’s house, a lamb for a house. 4And if the household be too small for a lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; each according to the measure of his eating shall ye count for the lamb. 5Your lamb shall be without blemish d , a yearling male; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats. 6And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregatione of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings. 7And they shall take of the blood, and put it on the two door-posts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. 8And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs f  shall they eat it. 9Ye shall eat none of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roast with fire; its head with its legs and with its in-wards. 10And ye shall let none of it remain until the morning; and what remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11And thus shall ye eat it: your loins shall be girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste; it is Jehovah’s passover g . 12And I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and 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 Jehovah. 13And the blood shall be for you as a sign on the houses in which ye are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be among you for destruction, when I smite h  the land of Egypt. 14And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall celebrate it as a feast to Jehovah; throughout your generations as an ordinance for ever shall ye celebrate it. 15Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread: on the very first day ye shall put away i Or leaven out of your houses; for whoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day–that soul shall be cut off from Israel. 16And on the first day ye shall have a holy convocation j Or, and on the seventh day a holy convocation: no manner of work shall be done on them, save what is eaten by every person k –that only shall be done by you. 17And ye shall keep the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; and ye shall keep this day in your generations as an ordinance for ever. 18In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, ye shall eat unleavened bread until the one and twentieth day of the month in the evening. 19Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eateth what is leavened–that soul shall be cut off from the assembly of Israel, whether he be a sojourner, or born in the land. 20Ye shall eat nothing leavened: in all your dwellings shall ye eat unleavened bread.

21And Moses called all the elders of Israel, and said to them, Seize l Or and take yourselves lambs m Or for your families, and kill the passover. 22And take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and smear the lintel and the two door-posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23And Jehovah will pass through to smite h the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two door-posts, Jehovah will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come into your houses to smite you. 24And ye shall observe this as an ordinance for thee and for thy sons for ever. 25And it shall come to pass, when ye are come into the land that Jehovah will give you, as he has promised, that ye shall keep this service. 26And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say to you, What mean ye by this service? 27that ye shall say, It is a sacrifice of passover to Jehovah, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when he smote h the Egyptians and delivered our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshipped. 28And the children of Israel went away, and did as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron; so did they.

29And it came to pass that at midnight Jehovah smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle. 30And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his bondmen, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house in which there was not one dead. 31And he called Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, Rise up, go away from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve Jehovah, as ye have said. 32Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and go; and bless me also. 33And the Egyptians urged the people, to send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We are all dead men! 34And the people took their dough before it was leavened; their kneading-troughs bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35And the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked of the Egyptians utensils of silver, and utensils of gold, and clothing. 36And Jehovah had given the people favour in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they gave to them; and they spoiled the Egyptians.


43And Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: No stranger shall eat of it; 44but every man’s bondman that is bought for money–let him be circumcised: then shall he eat it. 45A settler and a hired servant shall not eat it. 46In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth any of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof. 47All the assembly of Israel shall hold it. 48And when a sojourner sojourneth with thee, and would hold the passover to Jehovah, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and hold it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof. 49One law shall be for him that is home-born and for the sojourner that sojourneth among you. 50And all the children of Israel did as Jehovah had commanded Moses and Aaron; so did they. 51And it came to pass on that same day, that Jehovah brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt according to their hosts.



aLit ‘head’

bThe beginning of the year which began with the first new moon after the Spring Equinox.

a ‘Assembly’ (קָהָל/qahal/Strong H6951) – the congregation is looked at as a moral whole, a corporate person before God – see Lev 4:13; 8:3

c Or ‘kid’ here and in all this passage. שֶׂה/she/Strong H7716 – one of a flock, a sheep (or goat)

d Or ‘perfect’

e’Congregation of the assemby’ (עֵדָה / edah/Strong H5712 )  is the actual subsisting congregagtion composed of all its members. C.f. v.3

f Lit ‘bitterness’

g Signifies the action of passing over (see v 13).

The character of the Passover sacrifice — for it is called ze-vakh (sacrifice) — is pretty plain. There was nothing burnt to the Lord; the holy character of the lamb was preserved by anything remaining over to be burnt, no bone to be broken, nor any part carried out of the house; but there was no sweet savour to the Lord, it had not that character of sacrifice — no altar or place of approach, neither hik-riv (brought near) nor hik-tir (burnt in sweet savour). It was not in character nor effect, coming to God; it was keeping God, as a righteous Judge, out, so that they escaped — keeping Him righteously out (we can say by glorifying gloriously His righteousness), but still as a needed means meeting the case, and excluding the Judge as having now no ground for entering. Deliverance by God (that is, the Red Sea), drawing near to God, a sweet savour to Him, or coming to Him in any way of worship or communion, are not found here. (From Notes & Comments vol. 1 p 210)

h Or ‘plague’ – also v 23.

i Lit ‘put a stop to’

j A calling together – Also Num 10:2

k Lit ‘every soul’

l Or ‘draw out’

m Lit ‘small cattle’ (c.f. v.3) – צֹאן/ tson/Strong H6629 – small cattle, sheep and goats, flock




Despite the plagues Pharaoh’s heart was hardened.  So at last God executes His judgment, taking the firstborn as representatives of all the people. We have thus two parts in the deliverance of the people; in one,

1.     God appears as Judge

2.     God manifests Himself as Deliverer, satisfied through the redeeming blood.


God says, ‘When I see the blood, I will pass over’ (v. 13).  It is not said, ‘When you see it’, but ‘When I see it”.  The soul of an awakened person rests, not on its own righteousness, or even his value of the blood, but on God’s valuation it.  Peace is founded on God’s valuation.  Our faith is in that.


Leviticus 23

4These also are the holy days of the Lord, which you must celebrate in their seasons. 5The first month, the fourteenth day of the month at evening, is the phase of the Lord: 6And the fifteenth day of the same month is the solemnity of the unleavened bread of the Lord. Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread. 7The first day shall be most solemn unto you, and holy: you shall do no servile work therein: 8But you shall offer sacrifice in fire to the Lord seven days. And the seventh day shall be more solemn, and more holy: and you shall do no servile work therein.








We can take the sabbath, the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread as making a whole. Of the two latter, the unleavened bread was the feast, properly speaking; the passover was the sacrifice on which the feast was grounded. As the apostle says, ‘Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with leaven,’ (1 Cor 5:7).  What was indeed necessary for the sabbath, for the rest of God, was the sacrifice of Christ, and purity; and though all these feasts lead on to the rest of God, yet these two, the passover and unleavened bread, are the basis of all, and of the rest itself for us. Christ’s sacrifice and the absence of all principle of sin, form the basis of the part we have in the rest of God. God is glorified in respect of sin; sin is put away for us, out of His sight, and out of our hearts. The perfect absence of leaven marked Christ’s path and nature down here, and is accomplished in us, so far as we realise Christ as our life, and recognise ourselves, though the flesh be still in us, as dead and risen with Him. To be without leaven was the perfection of the Person of Christ living upon earth, and becomes in principle of the walk upon earth of him who is partaker of His life.


Numbers 9


1And Jehovah spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after their departure from the land of Egypt, saying, 2Let the children of Israel also hold the passover at its set time; 3on the fourteenth day in this month between the two evenings, ye shall hold it at its set time; according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ordinances thereof shall ye hold it. 4And Moses spoke to the children of Israel, that they should hold the passover. 5And they held the passover in the first month on the fourteenth day of the month, between the two evenings, in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that Jehovah had commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. 6And there were men, who were unclean through the dead body of a man, and could not hold the passover on that day; and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 7And those men said to him, We are unclean by reason of the dead body of a man: why are we kept back, that we may not present the offering a of Jehovah at its set time among the children of Israel? 8And Moses said to them, Stay, and I will hear what Jehovah commands concerning you. 9And Jehovah spoke to Moses, saying, 10Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your generations be unclean by reason of a dead body or be on a journey afar off, yet he shall hold the passover to Jehovah. 11In the second month, on the fourteenth day, between the two evenings, shall they hold it; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs shall they eat it. 12They shall leave none of it until the morning, nor break a bone thereof: according to every ordinance of the passover shall they hold it. 13But a man that is clean, and is not on a journey, and forbeareth to hold the passover, that soul shall be cut off from among his peoples; because he presented not the offering of Jehovah at its set time: that man shall bear his sin. 14And if a stranger b shall sojourn among you, and would hold the passover to Jehovah, according to the rite of the passover, and according to the ordinance thereof, so shall he do. Ye shall have one rite, both for the stranger and for him that is born in the land.



a Corban’ – a thing presented – as Lev 1:2 – derived from the verb translated ‘present’

b Or ‘soujourner’ as Ex 12:48, Lev 20:2




The Passover, the memorial of redemption of the people of God, as an assembly redeemed by Him, was obligatory during the journey through the wilderness.   But according the record, it was celebrated only once.  Those born in the wilderness were not circumcised till they came to Gilgal across the Jordan, so not in a condition to keep it.  None born there were circumcised.   God makes a provision, in grace and forbearance, for those who were not able to keep it.


Deuteronomy 16


1Keep the month of Abib, and celebrate the passover to Jehovah thy God for in the month of Abib Jehovah thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2And thou shalt sacrifice the passover to Jehovah thy God of the flock and of the herd, in the place which Jehovah will choose to cause his name to dwell there. 3Thou shalt eat no leavened bread along with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread with it, bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste, –that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt, all the days of thy life. 4And there shall be no leaven seen with thee in all thy borders seven days; neither shall any of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst at even on the first day, be left over night until the morning. — 5Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover in one of thy gates, which Jehovah thy God giveth thee; 6but at the place that Jehovah thy God will choose, to cause his name to dwell in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the time that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7And thou shalt cook and eat it at the place which Jehovah thy God will choose; and in the morning shalt thou turn and go unto thy tents. 8Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day is a solemn assembly to Jehovah thy God thou shalt do no work.






The Passover recalled deliverance, deliverance from bondage in Egypt  – for us this means  deliverance from sin and Satan.  It was eaten with unleavened bread, the bread of affliction.  That would signify repentance – ‘truth in the inward parts’ (Psalm 51:6).  They were happy, having escaped bondage, through the power of God alone.  They would have had the sense that it was a deliverance from the evil under which they had been, by their own fault and to their own ruin.  If unrepentant (leaven in the house) the soul was cut off.


God gathered the people around His dwelling-place, and linked them with His name and with Himself.  They worshipped Jehovah.


2 Kings 23

21And the king [Josiah] commanded all the people saying, Hold the passover to Jehovah your God as it is written in this book of the covenant. 22For there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; 23but in the eighteenth year of king Josiah was this passover holden to Jehovah in Jerusalem. 24Moreover the necromancers and the soothsayers, and the teraphim and the idols, and all the abominations that were seen in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, Josiah took away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkijah the priest had found in the house of Jehovah.








2 Chronicles 30

1And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of Jehovah at Jerusalem, to hold the passover to Jehovah the God of Israel. 2And the king took counsel, and his princes, and the whole congregation in Jerusalem, to hold the passover in the second month. 3For they could not keep it at that time, because the priests had not hallowed themselves in sufficient number, neither had the people been gathered together to Jerusalem.








2 Chronicles 35


1And Josiah held a passover to Jehovah in Jerusalem; and they slaughtered the passover on the fourteenth of the first month. 2And he set the priests in their charges, and encouraged them to the service of the house of Jehovah. 3And he said to the Levites, that taught all Israel, and who were holy to Jehovah, Put the holy ark in the house that Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built; ye have not to carry it upon your shoulders. Serve now Jehovah your God and his people Israel; 4and prepare yourselves by your fathers’ houses, in your divisions, according to the writing of David king of Israel, and according to the writing of Solomon his son; 5and stand in the sanctuary for the classes of the fathers’ houses, for your brethren, the children of the people, and according to a the divisions of the fathers’ houses of the Levites; 6and slaughter the passover, and hallow yourselves, and prepare it for your brethren, that they may do according to the word of Jehovah through Moses. 7And Josiah gave for the children of the people a heave-offering of the flocks, lambs and goats, all for the passover-offerings, for all that were present–to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king’s substance. 8And his princes gave a voluntary heave-offering for the people, for the priests, and for the Levites: Hilkijah and Zechariah and Jehiel, rulers of the house of God gave to the priests for the passover-offerings two thousand six hundred small cattle and three hundred oxen; 9and Conaniah, and Shemaiah and Nethaneel, his brethren, and Hashabiah and Jeiel and Jozabad, chief of the Levites, gave as heave-offering to the Levites for the passover-offerings five thousand small cattle and five hundred oxen. 10And the service was prepared, and the priests stood in their place, and the Levites in their divisions, according to the king’s commandment. 11And they slaughtered the passover, and the priests sprinkled the blood from their hand, and the Levites flayed them. 12And they set apart the burnt-offerings to give them to the classes of the fathers’ houses of the children of the people, to present them to Jehovah, as it is written in the book of Moses. And so did they with the oxen. 13And they roasted the passover with fire according to the ordinance; and the consecrated things they boiled in pots and in cauldrons and in pans, and divided them speedily among all the children of the people. 14And afterwards they made ready for themselves and for the priests; because the priests, the sons of Aaron, were engaged in offering up the burnt-offerings and the fat until night; therefore the Levites prepared for themselves, and for the priests, the sons of Aaron. 15And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their place, according to the commandment of David, and Asaph, and Heman, and Jeduthun the king’s seer; and the doorkeepers were at every gate; they had not to depart from their service, for their brethren the Levites prepared for them. 16And all the service of Jehovah was prepared the same day, to hold the passover, and to offer burnt-offerings on the altar of Jehovah according to the commandment of king Josiah. 17And the children of Israel that were present held the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. 18And there was no passover like to that holden in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel hold such a passover as Josiah held, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 19In the eighteenth year of the reign of Josiah was this passover holden.





a Or ‘and for’



However faithful Josiah had been, this had not changed the heart of the people – ‘The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? …, yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord’ (Jeremiah 3: 6, 10). Josiah’s faith was in action, and blessing depended on the conduct of the king.  Despite this, the undercurrent was always tending to the ruin and rejection of the people.


For this special passover, everything is set in order according to the ordinances of Moses and David, in a remarkable manner. It appears that even the ark had been removed from its place (2 Chronicles 35:3); but now, the ark being restored to its rest, the Levites occupy themselves diligently with their service, and even make ready for the priests, that they might keep the feast. They were all in their places according to the blessing of Israel in the rest they enjoyed under Solomon. Those who taught all Israel no longer bore the ark, but they ministered to God and to His people. The singers were there also, according to their order, so that there had not been such a passover since the days of Samuel. It was like the last glimmering of the lamp which God had lighted among His people in the house of David. It was soon extinguished in the darkness of the nation which did not know God, and those who had been His people came under the judgment expressed by the word Lo-ammi (Not-my-people).   God was yet to show His infinite grace.



February 2018

Author: Sosthenes

Once the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth Then a co-writer of a letter by Paul - just a brother - no longer an official Now a blogger seeking to serve the Lord by posting some words that the Lord has given His Church.

13 thoughts on “Passover 1 – The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the Old Testament – in the Wilderness, under Josiah and Hezekiah”

  1. Having been brought up under Darby teachings I was staggered to meet mature Christians who had no understanding that the Exodus from Egypt following the Passover typified not only our personal salvation but also deliverance from this evil world. 1 Cor 10 & Romans 6 refers. “Egypt is destroyed”: Exodus 10:7

  2. This shows the importance of propagating good teaching. I guess we seldom hear of the typical side of the Old Testament.
    Greetings in our Lord

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