When was the Passover Sacrifice Brought

The Torah commands us: "In the First Month on the fourteenth day of the month, between the two evenings [Hebrew: "Bein Ha'arabayim"], is the Passover [Sacrifice] to Yehovah." In biblical Hebrew, the word "evening" (Ayin-Resh-Bet) indicates both the "early part of the night", as well as the actual "onset of evening". In the expression "between the two evenings" the first "onset of evening" is sunset (when the disk of the sun disappears) while the second "onset of evening" is the disappearance of the last rays of the sun and the onset of total darkness. The expression "between the two evenings" is used interchangeably with the term "Ba-Erev" (literally: "at evening") which itself refers to the "onset of the evening".

For example, in the incident of the Manna it is written (Exodus 16:11-13):

"I have heard the complaints of the Children of Israel; speak to them saying 'Between the two evenings you shall eat meat'... And it was at evening that the quail rose up and covered the camp.'

We see in this passage that an event predicted as happening "between the two evenings" is said to have happened "at evening". The meaning of "at evening" itself can be learned from the verse "... you shall slaughter the Passover [sacrifice] at evening, at sunset" (Deuteronomy 16:6). We see in this verse that "at evening" and "at sunset" are interchangeable expressions (used in "apposition").

To summarize, the Torah describes the time of the Passover Sacrifice with three different expressions: "At Sunset", "At Evening", "Between the Two Evenings". All three of these terms refer to the early evening, shortly after sunset.

Beginning or End of the 14th?

The Torah commands that the Passover sacrifice be brought "In the First Month on the Fourteenth Day of the Month between the two evenings" (Leviticus 23:5). It is unclear from this verse whether what is being referred to is the period of dusk at the beginning of the 14th or the period of dusk at the end of the 14th. Leviticus 23:6 continues that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is "on the Fifteenth Day of this month". From this verse it appears that the Passover Sacrifice is to be brought at sunset at the end of the 14th, and eaten that same evening, on the night of the 15th. This is confirmed by Deuteronomy 16:4, which commands us regarding the Passover Sacrifice: "and there shall not remain of the meat that you slaughter at evening on the first day until the morning." We see that the entire Paschal lamb must be consumed on the following night it is slaughtered and none of it may be left over until the morning (see also Exodus 12:10, 22). For our purposes what is significant is that the verse describes the Passover sacrifice as being slaughtered "at evening on the first day".

The passage in Deuteronomy 16:1-8 is talking about the Feast of Unleavened Bread and there can be no doubt that "the first day" in v.4 refers to the first day of Unleavened Bread. We have already seen in Leviticus 23:6 that the First Day of Unleavened Bread falls out on the 15th of the First Month. When we look at Leviticus 23:5-6 and Deuteronomy 16:4 together it becomes clear that the Passover Sacrifice is brought at the end of the 14th of the First Month between the two evenings and eaten that same evening on the 15th of the First Month. The period of "between the two evenings" is reckoned as both the end of the 14th (Leviticus 23:5) and the beginning of the 15th (Deuteronomy 16:4)!

It is not unusual for the Torah to refer to "such and such a date at evening" and to mean the evening that ends that day. In Leviticus 23:27 we learn that the Day of Atonement occurs on the 10th day of the Seventh Month. A few verses later the Torah makes clear what is meant by the 10th day: "and you shall afflict your souls on the ninth of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall observe your Sabbath" (Leviticus 23:32). So we see that to fast on the 10th day means to fast from sunset on the 9th until the following sunset. In this verse "the ninth at evening" refers to the onset of evening at the end of the 9th, not the beginning! So the fast of the Day of Atonement on the 10th of the month runs from sunset ending the 9th until sunset ending the 10th (see also Exodus 12:18). Similarly, the 14th between the two evenings in verse 5 of the same chapter refers to the end of the 14th, not the beginning, as confirmed by Deuteronomy 16:4.

"and there shall not remain of the meat that you slaughter at evening on the first day until morning"

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28 thoughts on “When was the Passover Sacrifice Brought

  1. First let me say thank you for all you do to help folks understand and interpret Torah!

    Deuteronomy 16:4 is compelling. But I can’t seem to reconcile the post with the commandment in Numbers 9:3.

    ““On the fourteenth day of this new moon, between the evenings, perform it at its appointed time. According to all its laws and right-rulings you perform it.””
    ‭‭Bemiḏbar (Numbers)‬ ‭9:3‬

    This commandment seems to me to say that all the laws and right-rulings pertaining to the Passover must be completed ON the 14. Not the 15th???

    If how I’m interpreting Numbers 9:3 correctly, it would be impossible to sacrifice all the lambs, eat the meal, burn the remains, etc. all on the 14th if the sacrifice is made at the end of the 14th. No?

    (On a side note, a quick study shows that there is approximately 13 minutes “between the evenings.” Not very much time to do the Passover on the 14 “according to all its laws and right-rulings…” Burning the remains takes much longer than 13 minutes just by itself.)

    Am I missing something in my interpretation of Numbers 9:3?



    • I might add as well. Perhaps Deuteronomy 16:1 is referring to the 1st day of “the Passover”. In this case, “The Passover” would be 8 days. Throughout the New Testament, this thought seems to abound. Josephus acknowledges this as well. So all this would make the 1st day in 16:1 the 14th?

      “We keep a Feast for 8 days, of Unleavened Bread.” – Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews 2:15:1

  2. I wonder, Nehemia, when the lambs were slaughtered, if the priests went out to the throngs of people and killed the lambs, or if they stood in lines to approach the alter. I don’t recall Passover being a sacrifice that requires the blood to be sprinkled at the alter.

    I also assume, possibly in correctly, That on the night in Egypt, each family slaughtered their own lamb.

  3. The verse from Exodus 34:25 seems, to me, to say that the Passover lamb was not consumed on the evening of the 15th. “You shall not offer the blood of My sacrifice with leaven, nor shall the sacrifice of the Feast of the Passover be left until morning.”

  4. If I follow you correctly you are saying they killed the lamb late on the 14th, placed the blood on the posts, and then went inside to prepare the lamb for roasting and eating on the 15th just after sunset. Later at midnight (Exodus 11:4) death passed over still on the night of the 15th.

    We know they did not leave their homes till after midnight because of death passing over and also they had to wait to hear from Moses and Arron. Recall they were summoned from Succoth where the Israelites lived back to Rammeses by Pharaoh and then told to leave. (Exodus 12:31)

    Next, 600,000 men, not counting women, children and the mixed multitude, so approximately 2.5 million people in total, spent time that night spoiling the Egyptians for jeweler, silver, gold and clothes. Then they began to pack for their departure leaving the same night of the 15th before sunrise but after midnight.

    Are you saying they did all of this before sunrise? Because scripture says they left the night of the 15th. (Deut 16:1)

    Here is the order of events as I see them from scripture.

    Passover is the night of the 14th: door on the post, prepping and roasting and eating the lamb and they were inside until after midnight.

    So they had from midnight on the 14th to start preparing to leave, spent the day of the 14th spoiling the Egyptians and preparing to depart the coming night of the 15th.

    Num 33:3
    And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the Passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

    ** Note: ** Numbers 33:3 says that they Israel departed Egypt on the 15th the day after Passover. Deuteronomy 16:1 adds even more detail and lets us know that this next day was the night of the 15th.

    Deu 16:1
    Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.

    ** Note: ** This last verse does not say that Passover was to be observed on the 15th but that it was to be observed in the month of Abib, which we all agree on,. What is does clearer say is that Israel departed Egypt at night.

    Exo 12:42
    It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.

    We are told to eat the 14th Passover in bitterness, the KJV says bitter herbs but herbs is not in the original Hebrew only bitter and there are Hebrew words for herb. Bitterness: to be mournful or sorrowful.

    We are told to celebrate the 15th Unleavend Bread because this is the night of Freedom from Israel.

    If they both take place on the same night how can we be both sorrowful and joyful at the same time. God is not a God of confusion.

    Keep in mind that the holydays foreshadow things to come. And those who believe Yeshua to be the Messiah believe this foreshadowed his sacrifice on Passover which was something to be mournful and sorrowful about but the next night when he was put into the grave, joy at his pending resurrection, because as He said, “it is finished” and we joyfully await our resurrection as well.

    Thanks for your input. It is nice to have conversation with those who believe Torah. I look forward to your reply.

    • Mr. Jones:

      I enjoyed your insightful comments and exegesis. “You are not far from the Truth!”

      To add to your argument, I would cite Exodus 12:22 where the Israelites were commanded to not leave their houses until morning. That precludes leaving Egypt in addition to celebrating the Passover.

      Also, it states in Exodus 12:31 that Pharaoh called for (summoned) Moses and Aaron but it doesn’t say they went to see him (for they would defy verse 22). A better rendering would be “sent a message to” (see Bullinger’s Companion Bible, note on vs.22). After all, Moses had told Pharaoh that “I will see your face again no more!” in Exodus 10:29.

      I agree with your conclusions that the Passover was a separate event on the evening of the 14th and that they left Egypt on the night of the 15th.

      It appears that by the time of Josiah (and later Ezra/Nehemia), the Passover became a corporate holiday instead of a personal one which, it appears, the Scriptures intended. The lambs ended up being killed late on the 14th and the two events merged into one.

      This helps explain the apparent contradiction between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John wherein it is clear that Yeshua kept the Passover with the disciples on the evening of the 14th. When John refers to the “Jews Passover”, he is referring to the custom then to eat the Passover lamb on the evening of the 15th.

      We know Yeshua died on the 14th at 3:00 PM and was buried prior to the beginning of the 15th for John states that “Sabbath was a high day” (John 19:31). This would have corresponded to the end of our Wednesday since He had to be entombed “3 days and 3 nights” being resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath.

      May Yehovah continue to bless you with understanding!

      • It also states in Exodus 12 after they killed the Lamb they were to stay in their houses until the morning…Deuteronomy it also states this command again to kill passover and roast then go to thy tents in the morning

      • Mr. Jones, Mr. Lloyd, Bob, Mrs. Ladd: As one who has studied this very matter in great detail, I agree with you all. The Passover Lambs were to be killed between Sunset and darkness at the beginning of the 14th. It is important (and correct) that the Karaite position specifies that “between the two evenings” is between Sunset and darkness. Unfortunately, they believe this refers to the end of the 14th instead. I suspect the reason for this disconnect is not recognizing that sunset is the dividing line between days, therefore, by definition, “between the two evenings” can only occur at the beginning of a Biblical day. You have all touched upon many of the key points in properly determining how to reckon this. I’d love to talk with any/all of you further on this matter if you’re interested. Dustin.carmichael”AT”gmail”DOT”com. Happy Sabbath to you all.

        • As Passover is/ was the 14th if your lamb was not dead and no blood was on your door posts during the dark hours of the 14th your firstborn is dead. They left Egypt during the dark hours of the 15th following a pillar of fire. It appears the newer Karaites still follow a takenot. Yashua was a Karaite.

        • his is the only time – I know of that “between the two evenings” is referring to the end of a day as opposed to every other biblical instance it is the beginning of a day. I’ve asked but no one has been able to point out in scripture or give an example from scripture why this is so.

      • Thank-you Edward Jones and John Lloyd for your clarity of thought expressed in accordance with what we read in the Scriptures.

    • Very well stated brother Ed.

      Yeshua kept the Passover at the right time. Then he and his disciples left the house before midnight and the “death angel” came but was not allowed to touch the disciples because they were now under the “New Covenant”… Yeshua remained under the old covenant – the law of sin and death – so he could bring it to fulfillment.

      Glory to Yehova, thank you Yeshua.

      • The coming of the death angel was a one time occurrence that is not implied or repeated during every Passover.

  5. The RAW meat of a lamb is brought at the end of the 14th of the First Month between the two evenings and eaten that same evening on the 15th of the First Month. Not only do I agree with that, I also think good sense dictates that when one butchers an animal to either get in the freezer or on a grill as soon as possible, left unpreserved raw meat has a tendancy spoil rather quickly.

  6. According to Exodus 12:27 the Passover is the event when the Angel passed-over the children of Israel. Exodus 12:29 says it occurred at midnight. This is the midnight of the 14th. The sacrificial lamb was prior to this. That would put the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th just as the 13th was ending.

  7. This is what my father always called ” first dark”… 🙂 just starting to get dark…
    He also had a lot of other wonderful sayings… how far it was to a place,
    “about a cow low down the road” 🙂 For those of you who don’t know what a cow low is- from Merriam-Webster: the deep sustained sound characteristic especially of a cow

  8. Shalom,

    I have read about this controversy for decades and realize this may sound simplistic and to some minds, WRONG — not worth their consideration.

    Yet, I will be brave and ask ~ Nehemiah, could the Hebrew be understood as telling us the phrase “between the evenings’ is simply referring to the Day between the evenings of 13/14th or 14/15th? The DayLight part of that day period. “It was evening and it was morning”, one day. Could the ‘day’ of Pesach occur between the two evenings that constitute a “day” rather than between the sun setting and the sun disappearing of the same evening?

    Why would our Creator ’cause’ or ‘allow’ this seeming confusion of a day He asks us to keep as a perpetual Memorial? Could it be ancient interpreters have caused this confusion? And possibly on purpose? Just asking… 🙂 Annette

  9. NeHemiah
    Thanks for the report. I made a long and very thorough study of Ben ha’arabaiym. I agree with you.

    • I am of the thought that between the evenings is between the evening of the 14th until the evening of the 15th. Between the evenings

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