Passover – Tampering of Exod. 12:14

In an effort to support an 8-day practice of Passover and Unleavened Bread consisting of Abib 14-21, many purported followers of Yahweh manipulate the simple truth conveyed by certain passages of Scriptures. 

For instance, they claim to offer as evidence Exodus 12:14, which they say has been misinterpreted and thereby proves that Passover Day, Abib 14, is not a Festival Day, a High Sabbath, or the first day of Unleavened Bread. Passover Day is summarily relegated to be just a memorial and a type of preparation day.

It is also claimed that the Festival of Unleavened Bread begins on their designated High Sabbath of Abib 15. This 7-day Festival would continue through Abib 21.

One should keep in mind that these assertions are made with the knowledge that one actually begins to eat unleavened bread on Passover Day, Abib 14.

Therefore, when one adds the 1-day observance of the Passover Memorial (Abib 14) to the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread (Abib 15-21), there is a total of 8 days of eating unleavened bread.

Unfortunately, the information given as proof for this 8-day practice lacks any semblance of scriptural truth. Nowhere in Scriptures is there any instruction to eat unleavened bread for 8 days! 

We will now address Exodus 12:14 used as proof for an 8-day practice.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (KJV, Exodus 12:14)

The following is an explanation for this passage from a prominent Sacred Name group:

Based on this verse, some Bible students believe that the Passover is a Sabbath and first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in which no work is permitted. The King James Bible is often difficult to understand and in some cases like this one offers a poor rendition of the original meaning. Notice that a semicolon separates “memorial” from the phrase, “and you shall keep it a feast to Yahweh…” as if they are two different observances. The word “it” is added (italicized), offering further evidence that the second phrase describes a Feast apart from the Passover.

The reader must be aware that this explanation is replete with problems.

First, we have to admit and agree that indeed some Bible students do, in fact, believe that the Passover is a Sabbath and the first high day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This is where our agreement ends. Our disagreements will be explained as we proceed.

Second, it is stated that Exod. 12:14 is difficult to understand and does not mean what it seems to say.

Third, the issue of poor punctuation is given for the inadequate and difficult translation.

Fourth, it is claimed the word “it” in the verse has been added, and because of this addition, it further supports the idea that there is a Feast apart from the Passover.

Let us now address these three issues by turning to the Hebrew of Exod. 12:14 and reading from right to left:

והיה          היו          הז          לכם              לזכרון              וחגתם        אתו
it     celebrate and  memorial a for   unto you  this the  day the  to be and

     חג           ליהוה                  לדרתיכם                חקת      עולם        תחגהו
celebrate it   forever statute a   your generations to     Yahweh to    feast a

 The KJV without punctuation gives:

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

When one reads both the literal English and the KJV without punctuation, the meaning comes through quite clear and opposite to the sense emanating from the Sacred Name group’s explanation.

Also, it is crucial to note that the word “it” has not been artificially added by the translators as alleged! The word for “it” is אתו  as one can see in the Hebrew text.

Therefore the meaning of the passage does not infer a separate Feast apart from the Passover!

Most English translations of Scriptures have correctly included “it” in the passage of Exod. 12:14.

Allen P. Ross,  gives the following for אתו:

3msg   אֹתֹו   him or it  (Introducing Biblical Hebrew and Grammar, Pt. 2, Ch. 16.4. Baker Academic, 2001)

As stated earlier, there are numerous instances in the English translations of Scriptures that correctly have “it” where אתו appears. Note the following verses:

Exod. 12:6-7, 11, 14, 47; 16:21, 24, 33; 25:11, 24; 29:26; Lev. 23:41; Num. 9:3, 11-12. There are many more that are not listed.

Because of not doing the proper research and the need for a predetermined conclusion, the 8-day adherents refer to the Jewish version of the TANAKH for the desired translation. They provide the following translation of Exod. 12:14 for support:

This day shall be to you one of remembrance: You shall celebrate it as a festival to Yahweh throughout the ages…

The following is a commentary by a Sacred Name group given for an explanation of this version of the passage:

The TANAKH says that we are to remember to observe the Passover “as” we might an annual feast, not that it is a feast. The annual feasts of Yahweh are to be observed on appointed times, and to neglect these feasts is to neglect the will of Yahweh.

Unfortunately, for their view, the flawed translation immediately falls apart. The word “as” does not appear in the Hebrew text whatsoever. It has been added. What is even more disturbing about their view is that the translators have correctly included the word “it”!

As an attempt to be fair about this situation, we will offer the English translation of Exod. 12:14 provided by the Jewish Publication Society of America titled “The Holy Scriptures, According to the Masoretic Text. A New Translation. With the Aid of Previous Versions and with Constant Consultation of Jewish Authorities. Philadelphia, 1917.” 

We have slightly amended the translation so that it correctly reflects the name Yahweh in the passage.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and ye shall keep it a feast to Yahweh; throughout your generations ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.

As one can readily observe, the passage is easily understood to support a 7-day observance of Abib 14-20, even from the Jewish perspective and with their punctuation.

To provide further definition, we would like to present the English translation from the Greek Septuagint (LXX).

And this day shall be to you a memorial, and ye shall keep αὐτὴν (auten; it) a feast to Yahweh through all your generations; ye shall keep αὐτὴν (auten; it) a feast for a perpetual ordinance.

Notice that the word “it” is represented by the Greek word αὐτὴν.

In conclusion, what does all this mean? What would be a reasonable and proper translation of Exod. 12:14 whereby a person could attain the truth regarding the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread? Based upon the Hebrew and Greek texts, the following would express a reasonable and more correct translation:

And this day (Abib 14) shall be unto you for a memorial, and you shall celebrate it (Abib 14) a Khag (Festival) to Yahweh; throughout your generations you shall celebrate it by a statute for a world-age lasting time.

When all of the evidence is considered, there can be no escaping the fact that Exodus 12:14 is quite explicit regarding the Festival of Passover.

Accordingly, Passover, Abib 14, is not only a Memorial but, more specifically, is a High Sabbath and a Khag or Festival Day.

Since one necessarily eats unleavened bread with the Passover meal on the Khag of Passover, at the beginning of Abib 14, the evidence also points to this day as the first Khag day of the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread.

The testimony from Scriptures is clear.

The Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread is a 7-day Festival, which occurs on Abib 14 to 20. The first and last days of this Festival, Abib 14 and 20, are Khag days and High Sabbaths.

Hopefully, this article will alert those who are seeking Yahweh’s truth regarding the Festival of Passover and Unleavened Bread and compel them to take a more proactive approach toward their searching of Scriptures.

At minimum, if one does not have the time to search out the facts of the matter, then they should present the information to their religious teachers or elders. Listen to their response and compare it with the plain message being proclaimed by Scriptures.

Remember, we must always be diligent in our search for Yahweh’s truth, as were those of Berea in the 1st century C.E.

These (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11)

And lastly, we should not forget the instructions given to us by Scriptures:

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. (1Thes. 5:21)

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  1. #1 by Shirley Dorsey on 03/24/2020 - 5:20 pm

    Then why does exodus 12:18 says “In the first of the month, on the 14th day of the new month, in the evening, you shall eat unleavened bread UNTIL THE TWENTY-FIRST
    DAY of the new month in the evening?

    Shirley

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