God gave Israel a memorial called the Feast of Unleavened Bread to remind them that He was the one who led them out of Egypt.
GOD wanted Israel to remember that He was responsible for their deliverance and freedom from Egyptian slavery. In the second world, the Gentile nations were increasingly corrupt, under the leadership of their angelic rulers (“gods”).
GOD foreknew that Israel would be tempted—and ultimately give in to that temptation—to leave Him in order to follow the allure of other gods. This annual feast was to serve as a reminder that it was Yahweh, Jehovah GOD, who was the God of Israel, the mighty One who saved.
1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, the first begotten, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both man and cattle; it is Mine.”
3 Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, in which you went out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 4 On this day you are going out, in the month of new grains. 5 And it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Hivites, the Gergesites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, and the Jebusites, which He swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month. 6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days, and no leavened bread shall be seen among you; nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your regions. 8 Then you shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the Lord my God did for me when I came up from Egypt.’ 9 It shall be as a sign to you on your hand and as a memorial before your eyes, that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord God brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall therefore keep this law according to the times of the seasons from year to year.
11 “Then it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as He swore to your fathers, and gives it to you, 12 that you shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every male, everything that opens the womb from the herds or among your cattle; as many as you shall have, you shall sanctify the males to the Lord. 13 But every offspring that opens the womb of a donkey you shall exchange for a sheep; but if you will not exchange it, you shall redeem it; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14 So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘With a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 15 Thus it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of cattle. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and immoveable before your eyes, for with a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”Exodus 13:1-16 OSB
Later, GOD told Moses:
13 “Now in everything I said to you, be circumspect and do not invoke the name of other gods, nor let it be heard from your mouth. 14 Keep a feast to Me three times in the year: 15 You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread (you shall eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month of new grains, for in it you came out of Egypt; none shall appear before Me empty); 16 and the Feast of Harvest, the first fruits of your labors you sowed in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field. 17 Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God. 18 When I cast out the nations from before your face and expand your borders, you shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leavened bread; nor shall the fat of My sacrifice remain until morning. 19 The first of the first fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. You shall not boil a lamb in its mother’s milk.Exodus 23:13-19 OSB
In Leviticus, as Moses recorded the Law, we read:
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath rest, a holy convocation to the Lord. You shall do no work on it; it is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwellings.
4 ‘These are the feasts to the Lord, holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. 5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Pascha to the Lord. 6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no service work on it. 8 But you shall offer a whole burnt offering to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no service work.’”Leviticus 23:4-7 OSB
And again, GOD reminded Moses:
1 “Observe the month of new corn, and keep Pascha to the Lord your God, for in the month of new corn He brought you out of Egypt by night. 2 Therefore you shall sacrifice Pascha to the Lord your God from the sheep and oxen, in the place the Lord chooses for His name to be called upon there. 3 You shall eat no leavened bread with it; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread with it, that is, the bread of affliction (for you came out of the land of Egypt in haste), that you may remember the day you came out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life. 4 And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your borders for seven days, nor shall any of the meat you sacrifice the first day at twilight remain until morning. 5 You may not sacrifice Pascha within any of your cities the Lord your God gives you; 6 but at the place the Lord your God chooses for His name to be called upon there, there you shall sacrifice Pascha at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt. 7 You shall roast and eat it in the place the Lord your God chooses, and in the morning you shall turn and go to your houses. 8 Six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh and final day, there shall be a feast to the Lord your God. You shall do no work on it except what must be done for life.Deuteronomy 16:1-8 OSB
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
- Seven day feast, eventually held in Jerusalem
- Abib (Nisan) 15-21
- No leaven was to be in the Israelites’ houses between Abib 15 and Abib 21. Abib 14 became known as Preparation Day because all leaven was removed.
- Unleavened bread represented bread made in haste, without time for leaven to rise, because Israel left Egypt in haste.
- Passover began the Feast, with the Passover meal to be eaten as the Hebrew day transitioned from Abib 14 to Abib 15. (Jewish days began at sunset.)
- Passover (Abib 14) was an assembly day, as the Passover lambs were slaughtered on this afternoon and evening.
- Abib 15, the first day of the Feast, was a sabbath day of rest.
- Abib 21, the final day of the Feast, was a sabbath day of rest, with an assembly.