12 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “From now on, this month will be the first and most important of the entire year. 3-4 Annually, on the tenth day of this month (announce this to all the people of Israel) each family shall get a lamb[a] (or, if a family is small, let it share the lamb with another small family in the neighborhood; whether to share in this way depends on the size of the families). 5 This animal shall be a year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, without any defects.
6 “On the evening of the fourteenth day of this month, all these lambs shall be killed, 7 and their blood shall be placed on the two side-frames of the door of every home and on the panel above the door. Use the blood of the lamb eaten in that home. 8 Everyone shall eat roast lamb that night, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 9 The meat must not be eaten raw or boiled, but roasted, including the head, legs, heart, and liver.[b] 10 Don’t eat any of it the next day; if all is not eaten that night, burn what is left.
11 “Eat it with your traveling clothes on, prepared for a long journey, wearing your walking shoes and carrying your walking sticks in your hands; eat it hurriedly. This observance shall be called the Lord’s Passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt tonight and kill all the oldest sons and firstborn male animals in all the land of Egypt, and execute judgment upon all the gods of Egypt—for I am Jehovah. 13 The blood you have placed on the doorposts will be proof that you obey me, and when I see the blood I will pass over you and I will not destroy your firstborn children when I smite the land of Egypt.
14 “You shall celebrate this event each year (this is a permanent law) to remind you of this fatal night. 15 The celebration shall last seven days. For that entire period you are to eat only bread made without yeast. Anyone who disobeys this rule at any time during the seven days of the celebration shall be excommunicated from Israel. 16 On the first day of the celebration, and again on the seventh day, there will be special religious services for the entire congregation, and no work of any kind may be done on those days except the preparation of food.
17 “This annual ‘Celebration with Unleavened Bread’ will cause you always to remember today as the day when I brought you out of the land of Egypt; so it is a law that you must celebrate this day annually, generation after generation. 18 Only bread without yeast may be eaten from the evening of the fourteenth day of the month until the evening of the twenty-first day of the month. 19 For these seven days there must be no trace of yeast in your homes; during that time anyone who eats anything that has yeast in it shall be excommunicated from the congregation of Israel. These same rules apply to foreigners who are living among you just as much as to those born in the land. 20 Again I repeat, during those days you must not eat anything made with yeast; serve only yeastless bread.”
21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go and get lambs from your flocks, a lamb for one or more families depending upon the number of persons in the families, and kill the lamb so that God will pass over you and not destroy you. 22 Drain the lamb’s blood into a basin, and then take a cluster of hyssop branches and dip them into the lamb’s blood, and strike the hyssop against the lintel above the door and against the two side panels, so that there will be blood upon them, and none of you shall go outside all night.
23 “For Jehovah will pass through the land and kill the Egyptians; but when he sees the blood upon the panel at the top of the door and on the two side pieces, he will pass over[c] that home and not permit the Destroyer to enter and kill your firstborn. 24 And remember, this is a permanent law for you and your posterity. 25 And when you come into the land that the Lord will give you, just as he promised, and when you are celebrating the Passover, 26 and your children ask, ‘What does all this mean? What is this ceremony about?’ 27 you will reply, ‘It is the celebration of Jehovah’s passing over us, for he passed over the homes of the people of Israel, though he killed the Egyptians; he passed over our houses and did not come in to destroy us.’” And all the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
28 So the people of Israel did as Moses and Aaron had commanded. 29 And that night, at midnight, Jehovah killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from Pharaoh’s oldest son to the oldest son of the captive in the dungeon; also all the firstborn of the cattle. 30 Then Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt got up in the night; and there was bitter crying throughout all the land of Egypt, for there was not a house where someone had not died.
31 And Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron during the night and said, “Leave us; please go away, all of you; go and serve Jehovah as you said. 32 Take your flocks and herds and be gone; and oh, give me a blessing as you go.”[d] 33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people of Israel, to get them out of the land as quickly as possible. For they said, “We are as good as dead.”
34 The Israelis took with them their bread dough without yeast, and bound their kneading troughs into their spare clothes, and carried them on their shoulders. 35 And the people of Israel did as Moses said and asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. 36 And the Lord gave the Israelis favor with the Egyptians, so that they gave them whatever they wanted. And the Egyptians were practically stripped of everything they owned!
37 That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth; there were six hundred thousand of them, besides all the women and children, going on foot. 38 People of various sorts[e] went with them; and there were flocks and herds—a vast exodus of cattle. 39 When they stopped to eat, they baked bread from the yeastless dough they had brought along. It was yeastless because the people were pushed out of Egypt and didn’t have time to wait for bread to rise to take with them on the trip.
40-41 The sons of Jacob and their descendants had lived in Egypt 430 years, and it was on the last day of the 430th year that all of Jehovah’s people left the land. 42 This night was selected by the Lord to bring his people out from the land of Egypt; so the same night was selected as the date of the annual celebration of God’s deliverance.
43 Then Jehovah said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the rules concerning the observance of the Passover. No foreigners shall eat the lamb, 44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat it if he has been circumcised. 45 A hired servant or a visiting foreigner may not eat of it. 46 You shall, all of you who eat each lamb, eat it together in one house, and not carry it outside; and you shall not break any of its bones. 47 All the congregation of Israel shall observe this memorial at the same time.
48 “As to foreigners, if they are living with you and want to observe the Passover with you, let all the males be circumcised, and then they may come and celebrate with you—then they shall be just as though they had been born among you; but no uncircumcised person shall ever eat the lamb. 49 The same law applies to those born in Israel and to foreigners living among you.”
50 So the people of Israel followed all of Jehovah’s instructions to Moses and Aaron. 51 That very day the Lord brought out the people of Israel from the land of Egypt, wave after wave of them crossing the border.[f]
- Exodus 12:3 The Hebrew word here translated “lamb” can also mean “kid”—a baby goat.
- Exodus 12:9 liver, literally, “inner parts.”
- Exodus 12:23 he will pass over, or “he will pause at the door of.”
- Exodus 12:32 give me a blessing as you go, literally, “say farewell to me forever.”
- Exodus 12:38 People of various sorts, literally, “a mixed multitude.” The meaning is not clear.
- Exodus 12:51 wave after wave of them crossing the border, or “all of the communities of them.”