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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 12

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The Passover Ritual Prescribed. 1The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 2“This month* shall stand at the head of your calendar; you shall reckon it the first month of the year. j 2–20: Lv 23, 5–8; Nm 9, 2–5; 28, 16ff; Dt 16, 1–8 . 3Tell the whole community of Israel: On the tenth of this month every one of your families must procure for itself a lamb, one apiece for each household. 4If a family is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join the nearest household in procuring one and shall share in the lamb* in proportion to the number of persons who partake of it. 5The lamb must be a year‐old male and without blemish. You may take it from either the sheep or the goats. 6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight. 7They shall take some of its blood and apply it to the two doorposts and the lintel of every house in which they partake of the lamb. 8That same night they shall eat its roasted flesh with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9It shall not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted whole, with its head and shanks and inner organs. 10None of it must be kept beyond the next morning; whatever is left over in the morning shall be burned up.

11“This is how you are to eat it: with your loins girt, sandals on your feet and your staff in hand, you shall eat like those who are in flight. It is the Passover* of the LORD. 12For on this same night I will go through Egypt, striking down every first‐born of the land, both man and beast, and executing judgment on all the gods of Egypt—I, the LORD! 13But the blood will mark the houses where you are. Seeing the blood, I will pass over you; thus, when I strike the land of Egypt, no destructive blow will come upon you. k Heb 11, 28 .

14“This day shall be a memorial feast for you, which all your generations shall celebrate with pilgrimage to the LORD, as a perpetual institution. 15For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. From the very first day you shall have your houses clear of all leaven. Whoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh shall be cut off from Israel. 16On the first day you shall hold a sacred assembly, and likewise on the seventh. On these days you shall not do any sort of work, except to prepare the food that everyone needs.

17“Keep, then, this custom of the unleavened bread. l Ex 13, 3 . Since it was on this very day that I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt, you must celebrate this day throughout your generations as a perpetual institution. 18From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty‐first day of this month you shall eat unleavened bread. 19For seven days no leaven may be found in your houses. Anyone, be he a resident alien or a native, who eats leavened food shall be cut off from the community of Israel. 20Nothing leavened may you eat; wherever you dwell you may eat only unleavened bread.”

Promulgation of the Passover. 21Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and procure lambs for your families, and slaughter them as Passover victims. 22Then take a bunch of hyssop,* and dipping it in the blood that is in the basin, sprinkle the lintel and the two doorposts with this blood. m 22f: Ex 12, 7. 13 . But none of you shall go outdoors until morning. 23For the LORD will go by, striking down the Egyptians. Seeing the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over that door and not let the destroyer come into your houses to strike you down.

24“You shall observe this as a perpetual ordinance for yourselves and your descendants. 25Thus, you must also observe this rite when you have entered the land which the LORD will give you as he promised. 26When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ n 26f: Ex 13, 8. 14; Dt 6, 20f . 27you shall reply, ‘This is the Passover sacrifice of the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.’ ”

Then the people bowed down in worship, 28and the Israelites went and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.

Death of the First‐born. 29At midnight the LORD slew every first‐born in the land of Egypt, o 29f: Ex 11, 4ff; Pss 78, 51; 105, 36; 136, 10; Wis 18, 10–16 . from the first‐born of Pharaoh on the throne to the first‐born of the prisoner in the dungeon, as well as all the first‐born of the animals. 30Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was loud wailing throughout Egypt, for there was not a house without its dead.

Permission To Depart. 31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Leave my people at once, you and the Israelites with you! Go and worship the LORD as you said. 32Take your flocks, too, and your herds, as you demanded, and begone; and you will be doing me a favor.”

33The Egyptians likewise urged the people on, to hasten their departure from the land; they thought that otherwise they would all die. 34The people, therefore, took their dough before it was leavened, in their kneading bowls wrapped in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35The Israelites did as Moses had commanded: they asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. p 35f: Ex 3, 21f; 11, 2f; Ps 105, 37f . 36The LORD indeed had made the Egyptians so well‐disposed toward the people that they let them have whatever they asked for. Thus did they despoil the Egyptians.

Departure from Egypt. 37The Israelites set out from Rameses q Nm 33, 3ff . for Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting the children. 38A crowd of mixed ancestry* also went up with them, besides their livestock, very numerous flocks and herds. 39Since the dough they had brought out of Egypt was not leavened, they baked it into unleavened loaves. They had been rushed out of Egypt and had no opportunity even to prepare food for the journey.

40The time the Israelites had stayed in Egypt* was four hundred and thirty years. r Gn 15, 13; Acts 7, 6; Gal 3, 17 . 41At the end of four hundred and thirty years, all the hosts of the LORD left the land of Egypt on this very date. 42This was a night of vigil for the LORD, as he led them out of the land of Egypt; so on this same night all the Israelites must keep a vigil for the LORD throughout their generations.

Passover Regulations. 43The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover. No foreigner may partake of it. 44However, any slave who has been bought for money may partake of it, provided you have first circumcised him. 45But no transient alien or hired servant may partake of it. 46It must be eaten in one and the same house; you may not take any of its flesh outside the house. s Nm 9, 12; Jn 19, 36 . You shall not break any of its bones.* 47The whole community of Israel must keep this feast. 48If any aliens t 47f: Nm 9, 14 . living among you wish to celebrate the Passover of the LORD, all the males among them must first be circumcised, and then they may join in its observance just like thenatives. But no man who is uncircumcised may partake of it. 49The law shall be the same for the resident alien as for the native.”

50All the Israelites did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51On that same day the LORD brought the Israelites out of Egypt company by company.


j: 2–20: Lv 23, 5–8; Nm 9, 2–5; 28, 16ff; Dt 16, 1–8 .

k: Heb 11, 28 .

l: Ex 13, 3 .

m: 22f: Ex 12, 7. 13 .

n: 26f: Ex 13, 8. 14; Dt 6, 20f .

o: 29f: Ex 11, 4ff; Pss 78, 51; 105, 36; 136, 10; Wis 18, 10–16 .

p: 35f: Ex 3, 21f; 11, 2f; Ps 105, 37f .

q: Nm 33, 3ff .

r: Gn 15, 13; Acts 7, 6; Gal 3, 17 .

s: Nm 9, 12; Jn 19, 36 .

t: 47f: Nm 9, 14 .

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