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Symbol Rate: 20.770
Translation at Tsiyon - Our Tsiyon Partners in
Slovakia have kindly provided us content in Slovakian, now available
from our Tsiyon.org website. This is very helpful, not only for
Slovakian visitors, but visitors reading other Eastern European
languages as well, including Russian, can also read Slovakian.
Thanks a bunch, Katka!
Oldest Documented Passover
Outside of the Scriptures
The Passover Papyrus from Elephantine, 419 BCE
Location: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, Germany (P.
Verses: Exodus 12:15–20, 23:15, Lev. 23:6–7, Num. 28:17–18,
2 Kings 25:26
is the Passover of YHWH ..This day shall be to you for a
memorial, and you shall keep it a feast to YHWH: throughout your
generations you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever.
Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the very first day
you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats
leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day, that
person shall be cut off from Israel. (Exodus 12:11, 14, 15)
Elephantine Papyri are a collection of ancient Jewish manuscripts
dating from the 5th century BC. They come from a Jewish community at
Elephantine, then called Yeb, the island in the Nile at the border
of Nubia (Sudan), which was probably founded as a military
installation in about 650 BC during Manasseh's reign to assist
Pharaoh Psammetichus I in his Nubian campaign. The dry soil of Upper
Egypt preserved documents from the Egyptian border fortresses of
Elephantine and Syene (Aswan). Hundreds of these Elephantine papyri,
written in hieratic and Demotic Egyptian, Aramaic, Greek, Latin and
Coptic, span a period of 1000 years.
One letter in particular, now known simply as the "Passover
Papyrus", was a response to an earlier letter sent from the
Elephantine community to the High Priest in Jerusalem. It was an
inquiry as to the proper way to observe the celebration of Passover.
It sets out the celebration of Passover on the evening of the 14th
of Nisan, followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning on the
15th and continuing through the 21st. This is just as Torah
designates, and is how we at Tsiyon still celebrate Passover
today, in contrast with the typical modern Jewish practice of
keeping Passover on the 15th rather than the 14th.
Translation: Here is a reconstruction in English of what the
Passover Papyrus actually says:
[To my brothers, Ye]daniah and his colleagues the Jewish ga[rrison,]
your brother Hanan[i]ah. May God [seek after] the welfare of my
brothers [at all times.] And now, this year, year 5 of King Darius,
it has been sent from the king to Arsa[mes ……… …]
Now, you thus count four[teen days in Nisan and on the 14th at
twilight ob]serve [the Passover] and from the 15th day until the
21st day of [Nisan observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Seven
days eat unleavened bread. Now,] be pure and take heed. [Do] n[ot
do] work [on the 15th day and on the 21st day of Nisan.] Do not
drink [any fermented drink. And do] not [eat] anything of leaven
[nor let it be seen in your houses from the 14th day of Nisan at]
sunset until the 21st day of Nisa[n at sunset. And b]ring into your
chambers [any leaven which you have in your houses] and seal (them)
up during [these] days. ...
[To] my brothers, Yedaniah and his colleagues the Jewish garrison,
your brother Hananiah s[on of ??].
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Very fittingly for our Passover Midrash, we encounter the birth of
Jacob/Israel; the first mention of him in Scripture. From before
birth Jacob was predestined in the Sovereign Plan of YHWH to be the
father of the Israelite nation! Interestingly, the birth of Jacob
can very well be seen as foreshadowing the Passover birth of the
Israelite nation that occurred several hundred years later.
In fact, the 1st century Torah scholar, Sha'ul/Paul, wrote about
Jacob in Romans 9 indicating that Jacob actually pictures the
faithful Remnant of Israel who are even now being gathered out of
all nations as part of the Sovereign Plan of YHWH in our day! Yes,
US, the Remnant, looking forward to the Second Exodus at one of
these Passovers soon to come!
Brother Dave, Brother Glen, and I had an amazing time doing this
Midrash together and I know that when you hear it you will feel very
much a part of the excitement we enjoyed in doing it. All of us here
at Tsiyon pray that you will be uplifted, strengthened and
blessed this Passover, not only by the Midrash, but even more so by
your precious fellowship with our Passover Lamb.
Eliyahu ben David