The Passover
Deuteronomy 16:1-9
Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God…

The Passover was a sacrifice (Exodus 12:2), and was connected with sacrifices (Leviticus 23:5-8; Numbers 28:15-26); hence "flock and herd" (ver. 2) covering the sacrifices of the seven days' feast. It was the sacrifice which mediated the new relationship established between Jehovah and the people on the night of the Exodus. There was a fitness, at so solemn a crisis in the history of the chosen nation, in the line of demarcation between them and the Egyptians being drawn so strongly in atoning blood. Not for any righteousness of theirs, but through God's mercy, under cover of blood of atonement, was Israel - collectively a part of Egypt, and individually partakers of its guilt and corruptions - spared the stroke of judgment. The sacrifice then offered was:

1. Pacificatory. In their blood-sheltered dwellings, the Israelites enjoyed the presence of God, communion with God, peace with God. A feast of peace was held upon the flesh, as in the later peace offerings.

2. Purificatory. It sanctified the people in view of their departure from Egypt; and separation as a peculiar people to Jehovah - in view also of his peculiarly near approach to them in their deliverance.

3. Protective. As warding off the stroke of the destroying angel. Later Passovers, as the yearly presentation of the blood implied, were not only commemorations, but in some sense also perpetuations of the original one. The Passover, as observed from year to year, was -

I. A MEMORIAL. It stood as an historical monument, testifying to the reality of the events of the Exodus. In this view of it, it is of great value. No criticism of documents can impair its witness. It is a Bible outside of the Bible, confirmatory of the Bible narratives. No one has yet succeeded in showing how a festival like the Passover could have been introduced at any period later than that to which it historically refers. It has, so far as we can make out anything in history, been observed by the Jews from the very beginning of their national existence. Note to what it testifies -

1. To the fact of the Exodus.

2. That the Exodus was accomplished without warlike resistance from the Egyptians.

3. That it was looked forward to, prepared for, sacrifice offered, and a sacrificial meal eaten, in anticipation of it.

4. That the preparations for departure were hurried, yet orderly.

5. That on the night in question a judgment fell on Egypt, from which the Israelites were exempted - a circumstance which gives to the feast its name, the Passover. The festival has thus all the value of a contemporary witness, and fully corroborates the Scripture history. The Lord's Supper, in like manner, is an historical witness, not to be got rid of, testifying to acts and words of our Lord on the night of his betrayal, and furnishing clear evidence as to the light in which his death was regarded by himself.

II. A TYPE. The typological features have often been dwelt on.

1. The lamb - select, unblemished, of full age, subjected to fire, unmutilated (John 19:36), fitness of the victim to represent Christ (Isaiah 53:7).

2. The blood - atoning, need of personal application, sole shelter from death, under its shelter inviolable security (Romans 8:1).

3. The feast - the slain lamb the food of a new life (John 6:51-57); a feast of reconciliation and peace, with fellow-believers, with bitter herbs (affliction, repentance), and without leaven - memorial of haste (ver. 3), but also emblematic of spiritual incorruption, of the purity which is to characterize the new life (1 Corinthians 5:7-9); no part of the flesh to remain till morning (ver. 4), for same reason, to avoid corruption; the feast to last seven days - a week, an entire circle of time, symbolical of life-long consecration to holiness of walk.

4. The redemption - great, once for all, a redemption, by blood and by power, from wrath, from bondage. All these types are conspicuously fulfilled in Christ.


1. The first and chief of the feasts (ver. 1).

2. To be observed regularly (ver. 1). So now the Lord's Supper (1 Corinthians 11:25).

3. At the central sanctuary (vers. 2, 5, 6). Christians should seek to realize their unity with all saints at the Lord's table.

4. With due seriousness and solemnity (vers. 2, 6). - J.O.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Observe 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.

WEB: Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover to Yahweh your God; for in the month of Abib Yahweh your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.

Jewish Commemorative Feasts
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