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On this night the children of Israel would become an independent nation. It would be, essentially, their Fourth of July. God told them it would be New Year’s Day for them, and he described the Passover ritual, which involved each family killing a lamb without blemish, marking their front door with the lamb’s blood in a Sign of a Cross, roasting the lamb, and eating it in haste while Samael, the Angel of Death, passed over the land of Egypt smiting the firstborn of every house where there was not a token of blood on the front door.

“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.”

The lamb was to be killed without breaking any of its bones, which to Christians foreshadowed Christ as the ultimate Paschal Lamb, or Pascha in Aramaic, based on the Egyptian “Pesach” which essentially means coup de grace. This plague was the final straw that broke Pharaoh’s back. Because:

…it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharoah that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead…

Now Pharaoh, speaking through agents, told Moses to take his people and flocks and herds out from his people and go serve God on his oft-requested religious leave. What he had in mind, of course, was merely a temporary leave of absence, and he was counting on the Israelites coming back to make more bricks later.

So a great multitude went into the desert on foot, six hundred thousand adults, all their children, and their animals. This crowd was not pure Hebrew, but included those of mixed ancestry, half-Hebrew and half-Egyptian. They were in such a big hurry that they had to eat unleavened bread, because there was never time to let the bread rise, and that is in fact what the feast of unleavened bread commemorates, the necessity to make do when responding immediately to God.

The entire span of the House of Israel in Egypt was four hundred thirty years to the day, bringing us to the calendar year 1,497 B.C.E.

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