Seven Days of Eight Days?
In Rabbinic Judaism today the terms Passover and “Feast of Unleavened Bread” are synonymous and begin at evening on the 15th of Nisan with the 14th of Nissan simply being the day that the Passover sacrifice was made prior to the feast.
However the Torah identifies the 14th as a “moed” and a feast:
Exodus 12:6 - And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (KJV)
Exodus 12:14 - And this day shall be to you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the L-RD throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (KJV)
Here Exodus 12:6, 14 establishes that the 14th of Nisan is the Passover, a memorial, and a "moed" to be kept throughout Israel's generations.
The understanding of an eight day system for Passover/ULB is affirmed by Josephus' statements at Jos. Antiq. 2:15:1 "...we keep a feast for eight days which is called unleavened bread". Whereas, the Torah passages show that there are seven days in which leaven is forbidden, here it affirms the understanding that it is actually eight days in which unleavened bread is partaken (from the 14th-21st, Deut. 16:3). This is elaborated on in a further statement by Josephus at Jos. Antiq. 3:10:5
In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days. But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them.
Here again, Josephus shows that the 14th is Passover. Furthermore, he elaborates by telling us that the feast of unleavened bread SUCCEEDS Passover, thus clearly distinguishing and separating the two.
This seems to have been the understanding of our Nazarene Forefathers. The Goodnews According to the Hebrews was an ancient account used by the Nazarenes. This very important ancient work has been lost to the modern world and exists today only as a collection of quotes and references made by "Church Fathers" and other Historical sources. This account gives further support to an eight day system for Passover/Unleavened Bread:
These eight days of Passover, at which Messiah the son of G-d rose again, signify eight days after the recurrence of the Passover, at which the seed of Adam will be judged, as is proclaimed in the Good News of the Hebrews...
(Good News according to the Hebrews, cited in Breton Vaticanus Reginus, lat. 49)
Which Day is the Sabbath?
Exodus 12:15 - Seven days shall you eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
Now, if we follow chronologically, the seven day period of Unleavened Bread begins after Passover. The key phrase "first day" bears some special attention. Again, the Hebrew word which appears as "first" here is "roshown". Let us examine the meaning of this very important key word in depth:
roshown - lit. "heads, chief, former, before", as in, "prior to what immediately follows next".
The Hebrew language is largely a contextual language with its terms relying on what surrounds them. This particular word is translated as "before" on several occasions in the Tenach:
Numbers 6:12 - And he shall consecrate to the L-RD the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were BEFORE shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. (KJV)
Joshua 8:33b - Moses the servant of the L-RD had commanded BEFORE, that they should bless the people of Israel. (KJV)
I Kings 13:6 - And the king answered and said to the man of G-d, Intreat now the face of the L-RD your G-d, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again. And the man of G-d besought the L-RD, and the king's hand was restored him again, and became as it was BEFORE. (KJV)
Between the Evenings?
And you shall keep it unto the fourteenth day of the same month, and the whole
assembly of the assembly of Yisra’el, shall kill it at dusk.
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is YHWH’s Pesach.
And on the fifteenth day of the same month, is the feast of unleavened bread unto
YHWH; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
1 And YHWH spoke unto Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the
second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying:
2 Let the children of Yisra’el keep the Pesach in its appointed season.
3 In the fourteenth day of this month at dusk, you shall keep it in its appointed season;
according to all the statutes of it, and according to all the ordinances thereof, shall you
4 And Moshe spoke unto the children of Yisra’el, that they should keep the Pesach.
5 And they kept the Pesach in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at
dusk, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that YHWH commanded Moshe, so did
the children of Yisra’el.
And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, is YHWH’s Pesach.
The term “dusk” here in the Hebrew is literally “between the evenings”. In Rabbinic Judaism this refer to the time between noon when the sun begins to decline, and about 6pm (sunset). In other words about 3PM in the afternoon. The problem is that sunset marks the exact transition between two days. This the “evening” of the “between the evenings” in question could be the evening that begins the 14th or the evening that ends the 14th.
This understanding is supported by Lev. 23:32:
It shall be to you a Sabbath of rest,
and you shall afflict your souls:
in the ninth day of the month at even,
from even to even, shall you celebrate your Sabbath.
Here we begin the fast for the Day of Atonement after the 9th at evening but, we know that the fast is on the 10th (Lev. 23:27). Therefore, the evening that follows the ninth is the evening of the 10th.
If the Passover is killed around 3PM on the 13th (as it was done by Samaritans and Sadducees) then it was eaten early the night of the 14th. But if it is killed around 3PM on the 14th (Following the Halacha of Rabbinic Judaism) then it was eaten early the night of the 15th.
There are 7 days of the Feast of Matza, erev of the 14th of Aviv - erev of the 21st of Aviv.
There are 8 days of matza, 14th of Aviv - 21st of Aviv.
I would respectfully submit that the Rabbinic interpretation of 'bayn ha-arbayim' is highly problematic.
I pose 2 questions: 1) has anyone ever lit a shabbat candle shortly after noon (12pm)?
2) does anything resembling 'the first evening' or the 'second evening', used according to the rabbinical interpretation, ever show up in scripture, outside of the phrase 'bayn ha-arbayim'? The Hebrew Scriptures are nearly a 1000 pages long, surely if the phrase wasn't pure rabbinic invention it would show up somewhere! Please indicate if any trace of a phrase along lines of "Moshe did x and y at the time of the second evening" is to be found... it's gotta be in there somewhere, right?
Why interpret this phrase in such a way as to violently alter the simple, straightforward meaning of dozens of verses because of Lev 23:32?
This verse could be interpreted, without changing a single consonant, as "with (or 'in' ) deliverance" ('b'teshua), so that it reads as follows:
w'ineetem et-nafphshotaykem b'teshua lach'dosh baerev
and you will afflict your souls (fast) with deliverance in order to restore on the evening (of the 10th, SEE VERSE 27)
since the spelling of the number 'nine' (taysha) happens to be the same as a deficient spelling of the word 'deliverance/salvation' (t'shua H8668) , with a vav being removed (vav is the number 6, the number of man/sin- thus thematically this is eminently in theme with the day - the Day of Atonement). This spelling is present in 1 Samuel 19:2 (19:3 in Hebrew version). What's more, this word is related the verb 'yasha' from whence the Name Yeshua (Yahoshua) comes, again, eminently in theme with the Day of Atonement. This verse is a further proof of Yeshua's Messiahship! which many of the rabbis were keen to hide.
What is the correct interpretation of 'bayn ha-arbayim then?
Noted Jewish scholar Avraham Ibn Ezra (1089 -1164 ) writes:
Behold, we have two erev periods, the first is when the sun sets, and that is at the time when it dissappears beneath the horizon; while the second is at the time when the light dissappears which is reflected in the clouds, and there is between them an interval of about one hour and twenty minutes.
Also, the Targum of Onkelos renders the term 'bayn ha-arbayim- into Aramaic as 'bahn ha'shamashia' which is defined in the Talmud as the time between sunset and the time when the stars become visible. (B. Shab. 34a-b, B. Ber 2 a-b).
The Pharisees had developed their own interpretations, which were innovations from the ancient aristocratic priestly interpretations. Didn't Yeshua say exactly this, that they abandon the commandments of YHWH because of their traditions (Matthew 15:3) and that they teach the commandments of men Matthew 15:9 and Isa 29:13?
Obviously you can tell at this point that I do not interpret Matthew 23:3 to mean that the Rabbis hold authority. I would submit that this verse means that when a rabbi tells you to keep the Written Law one should keep it, but not any silly custom ( although some of them are quite beautiful) that comes to be according to the Pharisaic maxim "minhag Yisrael Torah hi" that is, translated, "A custom of Israel is Law". This is precisely what Yeshua disliked about them! Such an interpretation of Matthew 23 makes the discourse completely incoherent.
Also, and extremely importantly, a careful analysis of the death of Maschiach will show that in those final days of his earthly life, he walked according to the ancient aristocratic (and, be it noticed, Scriptural) reckoning of time (which the Pharisees, upon coming into power, changed) regarding Passover, which was only fitting because he was YHWH's Lamb, and kept/was slain on YHWH's Passover (14 of Aviv - Lev 23:5)!!!
If yours is an effort to reconstruct the faith of the original Nazarene followers of Yeshua how can this be overlooked?
According to an article I have read at Nazarenespace regarding the customs of the Pharisees in place regarding the usage of the Divine Name, it is hypothesized that the determining factor that sealed Yeshua's fate was the pronunciation of the Name. That likely being the case, is it so hard to conceptualize that the Pharisees may have also been incorrect in their view on the Calendar???
Also, regarding your statement that the Sadducee practice was to slaughter at 3pm, is, I believe, incorrect. The ancient practice would have been to slaughter the lamb and put blood on the door as soon as the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon (probably around 6:30 pm ) at the very beginning of the 14th (see Gen 1:5). The lamb would be cooked right away and late into the night of the 14th would be the actual supper. In Egypt on that fateful week, the leftovers were burnt before morning. The Egyptian firstborn were killed on the night of the 14th and on the second part of 14th (the daylight hours) the Israelite must have been preparing for the journey. According to Deut 16:1 and Numbers 33:3 the Israelites left on the 15th at night. I believe Papias and Polycarp would agree.
I made a typo here: I wrote 1 Samuel 19:2, should have written 2 Samuel 19:2 (v3 in Hebrew text). This verse is definitely worthy of meditation in connection with Yom Kippur, of which Yeshua as the type/antitype is way too obvious:
So the victory (t'shua) that day was turned into mourning for all the people. For the people heard it said that day, "The king is grieved for his son."
the word t'shua is translated as victory. it is Strong's H8668, related to 'yasha' from whence Yeshua.
used 34 times (according to my research spelled defectively once, only here - 33 +1 )
Baruch YHWH and His Maschiach
Jeremiah Dalton said:
since the spelling of the number 'nine' (taysha) happens to be the same as a deficient spelling of the word 'deliverance/salvation' (t'shua H8668) , with a vav being removed (vav is the number 6, the number of man/sin- thus thematically this is eminently in theme with the day - the Day of Atonement). This spelling is present in 1 Samuel 19:2 (19:3 in Hebrew version).