UNLEAVENED BREAD, etc. part 1

by John Thomas Lowe
(Woodruff, S.C.)

UNLEAVENED BREAD, etc.
Exodus 12:15-28 (NIV).

INTRODUCTION
The Lord continues his instructions to Moses and Aaron for their final meal in Egypt. He has already described the killing of the lambs and put the blood on the doorposts of every Israelite household. The blood is a sign for the Lord to pass by that home. Passover is a springtime event when the lambs are likely to be born at the time of the vernal equinox. It is held at night when families have fulfilled their daytime responsibilities and in the middle of the month when the moon is full. The entire Lamb is to be eaten, with nothing saved for the priests. Indeed, the priests are not even involved since all is to be orchestrated by the heads of the households.
Commentary on
Exodus 12:15-28
15 For seven days, you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day, remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.

For seven days, you are to eat bread made without yeast.
From the evening of the fourteenth day to the evening of the twenty-first; and this was a distinct festival from what was called the feast of the Passover correctly, and does not respect the first Passover in Egypt; for though the Passover lamb was eaten with unleavened bread, and the Israelites ate nothing other, not only for seven days, but for thirty days following; yet this was not only by the divine command, but through necessity, they have no other bread to eat; but in later times they were commanded to keep a feast for seven days, in which they were not to eat leavened bread, in commemoration of their hasty departure out of Egypt, not having time to leaven the dough in their troughs, and of their distress and desire for savory bread:
On the first day, remove the yeast from your houses,
That is, from out of their dwelling houses, which were to be diligently searched for that purpose, and every hole and crevice in them; and not only their lower rooms, their dining rooms and parlors, but their upper rooms and bed-chambers; because it was possible a man might sometimes go into them with a piece of bread in his hand, and drop or leave some of it behind him. Synagogues and schools were to be searched since children might carry bread with them, and this search was to be made by the light of a lamp or candle, not by the light of the moon, if in the night; nor by the light of the sun, if in the day, but by the light of a lamp or candle, and not by the light of a torch, or of a lump of fat, or grease, or oil, but by a lamp or candle of wax: and this search was to be made at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth of Nisan. It is said that leavened bread was forbidden from the seventh hour, one o'clock in the afternoon, and upwards, which is the middle of the day, i.e., eleven o'clock in the morning, and burn it at the beginning of the sixth, or noon.
For whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh
For whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day; from the first of the seven days to the last of them, beginning at night of the fourteenth, and ending at the night of the twenty-first:
It must be cut off from Israel.
That soul shall be cut off from Israel; either from the commonwealth of Israel, and be disfranchised, and not described as an Israelite; or from the Israelitish church-state, and have no communion in it, or partake of the ordinances at it; or if it is to be understood of cutting off by death, it is either by the hand of the civil magistrate, or by the immediate hand of God; and is sometimes by the Jews interpreted of a man dying either without children, or before he is fifty years of age, and some even understand it of the destruction of soul and body or eternal damnation.
16 On the first day, hold a sacred assembly and another on the seventh day. Do no work at all on these days, except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
On the first day, hold a sacred assembly
Moreover, on the first day, there shall be a holy convocation (assembly), a holy day in which the people are called to holy exercises and completely abstain from worldly business done on other days.
And another one on the seventh day.
Moreover, on the seventh day, there shall be a holy convocation; observed in a festival way and the like religious manner; the first day was the day of their going out of Egypt, and the seventh was the day on which Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red sea; for which reason those days are distinguished from the rest, and appointed to be holy convocations, and which appear from the journeying of the children of Israel, as computed by Junius: they came to Succoth on the fifteenth, to Etham the seventeenth, to Pihahiroth the eighteenth, where they were ordered to stay, and wait for the coming of their enemies, on the twentieth the army of Pharaoh came up to them, and the night following the Israelites passed through the sea, and the Egyptians were drowned:
Do no work at all on these days,
No manner of work shall be done on them; as used to be done on other days, and as we are on the other five days of this festival: the Jewish canons are, "it is forbidden to do any work on the evening of the Passover, from the middle of the day and onward, and whoever does work from the middle of the day and onward, they will excommunicate him; even though he does it for nothing (without pay), it is forbidden: R. Meir says, whatever work anyone begins before the fourteenth (of Nisan) he may finish it on the fourteenth, but he may not begin it on the beginning of the fourteenth, though he could finish it: the wise men say, three workmen may work on the evening of the Passover unto the middle of the day, and they are these, tailors, barbers, and fullers (one who washes cloth). Some add shoemakers to this list.
Except to prepare food for everyone to eat; that is all you may do.
Every man must eat, so kindling fire and preparing food might be done on those days, which might not be done on Sabbath days; the prohibition of work was not as strict.

17 "Celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.

On this day, the 15th of Abib - the first day of the feast of unleavened bread, I brought your divisions out of Egypt. This expression seems to prove that we have, in the injunctions of verses 14-20, not the exact words of the revelation on the subject made by God to Moses before the institution of the Passover. However, the words were altered after the exodus had taken place. Otherwise, the expression must have been, "I will bring your multitudes out."
On Easter eve, the day on which the preaching of Jesus defiled Satan to the spirits in prison *(1 Peter 3:19) and on which the Church first realizes its deliverance from the bondage of sin by the Atonement of Good Friday, is the Christian continuance of the first day of unleavened bread, and so answers to this text, as Good Friday to the similar command in ver. 14. Exodus 12:17
*" After being made alive, he proclaimed to the imprisoned spirits."

18 In the first month, you are to eat bread made without yeast from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.

In the first month, you are to eat bread made without yeast,
As it was now ordered to be deemed, the month Abib or Nisan:
From the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day.
The fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread; that is, at the evening following, the fourteenth of Nisan, and which was the beginning of the fifteenth day, the Jews beginning their day from the evening: hence the Targum of Jonathan is, "on the fourteenth of Nisan ye shall slay the Passover, in the evening of the fifteenth ye shall eat unleavened bread:"
until the evening of the twenty-first day.
Unto the twentieth day of the month at even, which would make just seven days; the above Targum adds, "on the evening of the twenty seconds ye shall eat leavened bread," which was the evening following the twenty-first day. This prolonged abstinence from leaven denotes that the whole lives of those who are Israelites indeed should be without guile, hypocrisy, and malice and should be spent in sincerity and truth.

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