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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  • jamelisrael says:

    I will leave another nugget of truth that supports that between the evenings is talking about the afternoon and NOT sunset..

    The during the evening sacrifices the Levites burnt incense..

    => 2 Chronicles 13:11 And they burn unto the Lord every morning and >>every evening burnt sacrifices and sweet incense:< Psalm 141:2 >>Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.< Revelation 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and >>golden vials full of odours,<>which are the prayers of saints.< Revelation 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the >>smoke of the incense,<>came with the prayers of the saints,<>priest’s office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.<>at the time of incense.<>at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.<<

    The hour of prayer was done at the time of incense which occurred when the 1st evening began which is at the ninth hour. This would be equivalent to 3pm our time.

    .. the same time Jesus our Passover gave up the ghost (Mark 15:34-37)!

    .. the same time the Passover lamb was sacrificed!

  • Marie Schryver says:

    So, if they don’t kill the lamb until the end of the 14th/beginning of the 15, how can the meat be cooked and eaten in that short amount of time? According to research, depending on the size of the lamb, it can take 4-5 hours to cook. So, if sunset is at 7:13 pm in Israel and the lamb takes 4-5 hours to cook, they won’t be able to eat it until sometime after 11pm! That gives them an hour or less to consume what they can and then destroy the rest. (don’t leave any after midnight?) Is this how it’s supposed to be done?

    • John says:

      Tradition is irrelevant. The Torah says the lamb must be killed between the evenings therefore anytime during the fourteenth was acceptable but the evening before day was inconvenient for the obvious reason and you didn’t want to tarry the next day either because you’d run into the problem you’re describing. The Torah states that the Pesach was to be boiled and to get the flavour and tenderness one would slow cook it. I always slow cook the meat for Chag haMatzot and it’s out of this world. Then when the 15th arrives it’s eaten or offered on the covenant table. Then at midnight Yeshua was unjustly arrest in the garden in our stead and that next morning of the 15th they began the crucifixion. Blessings to all who read and verify.

      • David Johnson says:

        John, you say, “The Torah states that the Pesach was to be boiled” but here is what the Torah says

        Exo_12:8-9 “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasted with fire, and unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs.
        Do not eat of it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire…”

        Please explain the difference.

  • John says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters,
    If you are understanding that Messiah Yeshua DIED on the 15th of Aviv, everything in the Scriptures both in the Tanach and Renewed Covenant writings WILL make sense. The mystery of Passover clears up and becomes very simple.

    • jamelisrael says:

      John 13 verse 30 clearly tells us that when Judas left it was definitely not the 15th of Abib. Here’s why…

      John 13:
      26 Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

      27 And >>>after the sop Satan entered into him<<>>do quickly.<<>>He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.<<<

      Jesus told him to go quickly and Judas immediately went out and it was night!

      Some of them thought that Jesus told Judas to buy things for the feast and it was night when Judas left… Clearly that night could not have been the 15th because buying and selling is forbidden on that day.

      That would be like Jesus telling him to break the commandments… we know that's not the case.

  • John says:

    The reason why there is much confusion regarding Passover is because most people enter this Torah subject with the FALSE presumption that the Lamb of Elohim Yeshua died on the 14th. This is completely wrong. Yeshua died on the15th AFTER He had offered or eaten (zebach) Pesach. The Scriptures testify to this fact over and over again. The lamb was always killed on the 14th BUT it was always OFFERED on the 15th. Yeshua was never killed BUT He certainly offered Himself. Shalom.

    • David Johnson says:

      John, please explain/clarify this stance…”The lamb was always killed on the 14th BUT it was always OFFERED on the 15th”

  • Andrew Hodkinson says:

    Hi all, appreciating what I’m reading here

    1) If the torah says the Passover is to be kept (which surely includes the night’s eating not just the killing) on the 14th (Num 9 and in Ezra’s day), then why is it kept on the 15th? (When there is not a single passage in Torah that says the 15th has anything to do with Passover).

    2) We are only told to ‘shamar’ (keep) and ‘asar’ (do) the Passover, and the term ‘chagag’ (celebrate) is reserved purely for the 3 Feasts and no other appointments. Passover is a festal offering -chag, but it is never elevated in title to Chag of Passover, most probably because of titled Feasts having connotations of celebration?? Here it would seem the joining of the two moedim could cause a conflict of moods? The Passover is unique among offerings in that it is to be eaten with bitter herbs – hence I believe not celebrated, but kept.

    3) Concerning the use of first (rishon) day in Deuteronomy – Can context not make it the ‘head day’ or the ‘foremost day’ before the feast or day 1 in a sequence and hence only context can help?

    4) If the night of Passover is on the Feast, then why is the Unleavened Bread of the Feast related only to the haste of leaving and not to the unleavened bread that was with the Passover?

    Of course I’m pushing for an early Beyn Ha Arbayim and the 14th night to be kept. I see some Karaites avoid this conclusion because of Num 33:3 because they say the only way the morrow after the Passover can be the 15th is if it is kept at the end of the 14th. Yet the word for ‘on the morrow’ I see can mean ‘the following day’?

    • John says:

      Very much confusion about Passover because most people believe Yeshua died on the 14th though there is not ONE single proof in the entire Scriptures. Yeshua died on the 15th which is the High Day of Passover Feast. This day is also a Shabbat. Why? Because only Messiah’s work is valid for redemption; not man’s work so all men rest on that day of redemption.
      May all be blessed today on this High Shabbat of Passover.

      • David Johnson says:

        John help me to understand the following scriptures from your point of view that Yeshua did not die on the 14th.

        Joh 19:14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, Behold your king!
        Joh_19:31 Then the Jews, because it was Preparation, begged Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath. For that sabbath was a high day.

        as far as I understand these verses are “preparing the Passover” thus the 14th not the 15th.
        Also what does “high Sabbath” mean?

      • You are right . The Apostle John said he had to be buried BEFORE the First day of UB started(which is the 15th)…because they could not be left on the cross during a Holy Day. Yeshua told his Apostles to “go and prepare the Passover” in the upper room. Apparently he knew when the Passover was to be eaten? Whether the Jews were keeping it correctly or not here is what we know for certain: Yeshua washed the Disciples feet, Blessed the bread, and wine sometime after sundown on the 14th. was taken by the Soldiers during the night, crucified around 9:00am(the 14th), died at 3:00pm(the 14th) and put in the tomb at the end of the 14th. Before the High Sabbath of UB began. Then was raised 3 days and 3 nights later.

  • Eric says:

    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?



    • Eric says:

      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