When is the traditional Passover meal eaten?

Is this the even at the beginning of the 14th or the even at the end of the 14th?

Clarify Share Report Asked July 12 2020 1678030644.260467 Charles Crabtree

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
To my knowledge, Judaism regarded (and continues to regard) the beginning of a day as occurring at sundown of the previous calendar day.

God commanded in Exodus 12:6-11 that the Passover meal was to be eaten after the sundown marking the beginning of the fourteenth day of the first month (Nisan) of the Jewish lunar calendar. Waiting until after sundown of the following day would have caused it to be eaten on the fifteenth day of the first month, contrary to God's directive.

July 12 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini John Appelt
In Bible times, two Passover meals were eaten. One was the private, family observance on the evening of the 13th of Abib/Nisan, Exodus 12:22-25.

Then, there was the formal, public, national observance on the 14th of Abib/Nisan, held in the place where God’s name was, Exodus 12:43-47, Leviticus 23:5, Deuteronomy 16:1-2. 

The differences described in the Scriptures prove two different Passover observances:

13th Nisan Passover – A year-old sheep or goat, Exodus 12:5, was kept up to, but not including the 14th day, Exodus 12:6, and killed at twilight. It was roasted in fire, but not boiled, Exodus 12:8, 9, and eaten in the home. After the night of the Exodus, this was not observed again until Israel entered the land, Exodus 12:25.

14th Nisan Passover – Any firstborn animal from either the flock or herd, II Chronicle 35:7, was killed before sunset. It was boiled, II Chronicles 35:11-14, and then was eaten at twilight. A year after leaving Egypt, the people of Israel observed this Passover, and required ceremonial cleanliness, Number 9:1-11. It was held in the place where God’s name was, Exodus 12:43, 46, Deuteronomy 16:1-8, eventually observed in Jerusalem, II Kings 23:23, II Chronicles 35:1, 5. With the destruction of the temple in AD 70, this official observance was likely discontinued.

Further proof of two Passover meal observances is in the New Testament. Jesus privately observed the Passover with His disciples in the upper room on Nisan 13, Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12, Luke 22:15. 

Then, the next day, Nisan 14, was the official Passover, John 18:28. Jesus did not eat this Passover, but He became the Passover, I Corinthians 5:7. He was the Lamb slain at 3 pm, about when the Passover animal was slain.

In both of these observances, the bones were not to be broken, Exodus 12:46, and the people ate unleavened bread and bitter herbs, Exodus 12:8, Numbers 9:11. 

Also, both meals were eaten at “twilight” which in Hebrew is literally, “between the evenings” (“beyn ha-arbayim”). This phrase is found eleven times in these verses: Exodus 12:6, 16:12, 29:39, 41, 30:8, Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 9:3, 5, 11, 28:4, 8.

There have been different reckonings of when the two evenings were. However, based on an article, “Measuring of Time” in the “Universal Jewish Encyclopedia,” early authorities considered the first evening was when the sun disappeared just below the horizon. The second was when there was no trace of light in the sky. This ended the day, and a new day began.

The question is raised if this is enough time to observe a Passover meal. As an example of the time between the evenings, on the Jewish Passover of April 6, 2023, sunset in Jerusalem was at 7:01. Total darkness (end of astronomical twilight) was at 8:25. One hour and 24 minutes is ample time for the observance. 

The Scriptures clearly present two separate Passover meals, one eaten as a family on Nisan 13, and the other a national celebration of the feast on Nisan 14.

August 08 2023 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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