True News 4 U — Passover 2020 — Part 8
Israel’s First Passover—Part Two
In Israel's First Passover—Part One, we looked at the first four Vital Elements #1 thru #4 to help us better understand all that took place in preparation for Passover. Now, we will pick up where we left off and take a look at Vital Elements #5 thru #7 to better help us grasp and see the whole picture of all that really took place.
Listed below are YHWH's commands which He gave to the children of Israel to be done for Passover. This list was also noted in Israel's First Passover—Part One. Here are the the full list of Vital Elements:
Element #1: When were the Passover lambs killed?
Element #2: Where were the lambs killed?
Element #3: Where were the children of Israel located during the entire Passover?
Element #4: How long did it take to kill, roast and eat the lambs, and to burn the bones and remains?
Element #5: When did the children of Israel leave their houses?
Element #6: What does “night” (Hebrew lailah) mean? What does “morning” (Hebrew boqer) mean?
Element #7: When did the children of Israel spoil the Egyptians?
Element #8: When and where did the Exodus begin?
The Scriptural account of the Passover and the Exodus has been grossly misrepresented. There is a lot of confusion that has and still is being done by those who support a 15th Passover. They claim that all the events of the Passover and the Exodus occurred in less than twelve hours. Amazing! They ignore the Scriptural definition of ben ha arbayim that is revealed in Exodus Chapter 16. They claim that the lambs were killed at approximately 3 PM in the afternoon of the 14th and that the Passover meal was not eaten until the 15th day—after the 14th had ended at sunset. They claim that YHWH did not pass over the children of Israel at midnight on the 14th, which was the Passover day—but at midnight on the 15th, which was the night that the Exodus began.
They adamantly argue that the Scriptural account in Exodus Chapter 12 supports a Passover and Exodus in the same day. But in their attempts to justify this teaching, they have relied on the traditional Judaic interpretation of Exodus Chapter 12. This interpretation takes the plain statements in Exodus Chapter 12 totally out of context and distorts their meaning. To add to the confusion, a number of key Hebrew words have been redefined to make it appear that the Scriptures support the traditional practice of a 15th Passover.
The way to eliminate the confusion we see is to come to a true understanding of the account in Exodus Chapter 12 by letting the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures. We are trying to look at all the Elements in a methodical way to examine every aspect of the events that are recorded in Exodus Chapter 12 to better understand what really took place.
Element #5: When Did the Children of Israel Leave Their Houses?
In Israel's First Passover—Part One, we examined the Scriptural evidence that the children of Israel killed the lambs at their houses in the land of Goshen, and that they roasted the lambs and ate the Passover meal in their houses on the night of the 14th. We will now review those Scriptures, and we will find the answer to Vital Element #5.
The commands of YHWH that are recorded in Exodus Chapter 12 show us that the children of Israel ate the flesh in that night (Exodus 12:8). After eating the Passover meal, they burned the leftovers so that nothing would remain until morning (Exodus 12:10). At midnight that same night, YHWH passed over their houses and spared their firstborn, but He killed the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:12-13, 29). The children of Israel were dressed for travel and they were ready to leave their houses (Exodus 12:11).
When did the children of Israel leave their houses? The answer is revealed in the Scriptural record that YHWH has preserved for us:
“21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, ‘Draw out and take a lamb for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. 22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the bowl, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood in the bowl. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until sunrise [Hebrew boqer]’ ”
(Exodus 12:21-22, comment and emphasis added)
YHWH strictly forbid any Israelite to leave their house until sunrise. The Schocken Bible conveys the precise meaning of the Hebrew word boqer, showing the exact time at which the children of Israel were permitted to leave:
“Now you—you are not to go out, any man from the entrance to his house, UNTIL DAYBREAK.”
(Exodus 12:22, The Schocken Bible, emphasis added)
We know that the children of Israel did not leave their houses until the sun was beginning to rise on the morning of the 14th day, because the Scriptural record tells us very clearly that the children of Israel obeyed all that YHWH had commanded:
“27 ...And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. 28 And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron; SO THEY DID.”
(Exodus 12:27-28, emphasis added)
The children of Israel remained in their houses that entire night, just as YHWH had commanded. At midnight, YHWH passed through the land of Egypt and He struck down all the firstborn of the Egyptians:
“29 And it came to pass at midnight the LORD struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, to the firstborn of the captive that was in the prison, also all the firstborn of livestock. 30 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 consider the scene described in these verses. We are not told how long it took YHWH to pass through the land of Egypt, but it is clear that the plague swept swiftly from house to house. In every Egyptian house there was at least one death! The killing of the firstborn must have been dramatic and terrifying, rather than a silent, peaceful death while sleeping. There were tremendous cries of anguish, fear and lamentation as a result of the sudden awful death of the firstborn. The Egyptians still living must have been in stark terror and dread that they might be killed at any moment as well.
The children of Israel could not have known how long it would take for YHWH to kill all the firstborn of the Egyptians. Since they could hear the cries of the Egyptians over the death of their firstborn, they would not have dared to go out of their houses. In the hours that followed, while the Egyptians wailed and lamented over their dead, the children of Israel remained in their houses under the protection of the blood of the Passover lambs. They had no assurance that death would not befall them also, if they left their houses before morning.
There is absolutely no indication in the Scriptural account that the children of Israel left their houses immediately after YHWH had passed at midnight, as the proponents of a 15th Passover claim. On the contrary, the Scriptures state very clearly that the children of Israel did exactly as YHWH had commanded them:
“22 ...And none of you shall go out of the door of his house UNTIL SUNRISE.... 28 And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron, SO THEY DID.”
(Exodus 12:22, 28, emphasis added)
If any of the children of Israel had left their houses before morning, it would be recorded in the Scriptures that some of the people had disobeyed the command of YHWH and that they had left their houses too soon, and therefore, they had died in the plague of the firstborn. The Scriptures would have recorded any disobedience to YHWH’s commands, just as it is recorded for us that some of the children of Israel went out to gather manna on the Sabbath, when they were commanded not to do so (Exodus 16:27-28). Since the account in Exodus Chapter 12 tells us that the children of Israel obeyed YHWH’s commands for the Passover, we know that they stayed in their houses the entire night. They did not leave their houses shortly after midnight, as the advocates of a 15th Passover claim.
The Answer for Element #5):
The children of Israel were in their houses in the land of Goshen during the entire night of the 14th, and they did not leave until the morning, or daybreak.
Element #6: What Does “NIGHT” (HEBREW LAILAH) Mean? What Does “MORNING” (HEBREW BOQER) Mean?
The word “night” is used in a number of verses in the Passover account in Exodus Chapter 12. It is found in YHWH’s instructions to the children of Israel (Exodus 12:8, 12) and in the account of the slaying of the firstborn of Egypt (Exodus 12:30-31). It is also used in the account of the Exodus (Exodus 12:42). In every occurrence, the word “night” is translated from the Hebrew noun lailah.
The word “morning” is used three times in Exodus Chapter 12. It occurs twice in YHWH’s command to burn the remains of the Passover lambs (Exodus 12:10), and once in His command for the children of Israel to remain in their houses after eating the Passover (Exodus 12:28). In each occurrence, the word “morning” is translated from the Hebrew noun boqer. To make it appear that the Passover and the Exodus occurred in the same night, the advocates of a 15th Passover have redefined the meaning of this Hebrew word. They claim that YHWH’s command in Exodus 12:28, forbidding the children of Israel to leave their houses until “morning,” meant that the people could leave as soon as YHWH had passed at midnight. By modern day standards, this interpretation might seem to be valid, since today every hour after midnight is labeled as AM and it is counted as morning. But the Hebrews did not have clocks nor did they reckon time as we do today. We cannot understand the true meaning of YHWH’s command if we rely on a modern definition of “morning” to interpret the Scriptural account.
What did YHWH’s command in Exodus 12:28 mean to the children of Israel? How did they determine when the “night” had ended and the “morning” had arrived? The answer to this question is clearly revealed in the Scriptures. Let’s look at some Scriptural examples of the use of the words “night” (Hebrew lailah) and “morning” (Hebrew boqer).
These two Hebrew words are first used in the Creation account in Genesis Chapter 1:
“3 And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light. 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided between the light and the darkness. 5 And God called the light day [Hebrew yohm], and He called the darkness night [Hebrew lailah]. And the evening [Hebrew erev] and the morning [Hebrew boqer] were day one.”
(Genesis 1:3-5, comments and emphasis added)
In the very beginning, YHWH designated the dark portion of each twenty-four hour day as lailah, or “night.” There is no room to question or debate the Scriptural meaning of lailah. In every occurrence in the Old Testament, lailah is consistently used to name the darkness of night. That was the meaning of lailah at the time of the Passover and the Exodus, as the account of the plague of the locusts clearly shows:
“And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day [Hebrew yohm], and all the night [Hebrew lailah]. When it was morning [Hebrew boqer], the east wind brought the locusts.”
(Exodus 10:13, comments and emphasis added)
This verse is significant because it shows a complete period of the light of day (yohm) followed by a complete period of the darkness of night (lailah), which ends with the next morning (boqer). This usage of the Hebrew words in sequence makes it clear that there is a distinct division between “night” (lailah) and “morning” (boqer). The verse clearly records that the wind blew “all the night” before the morning came and that the locusts arrived—showing that “morning” (boqer) occurs after the darkness of night (lailah) had ended. This verse does not convey or indicate in any way whatsoever that “morning” (boqer) begins as soon as midnight has passed. There is absolutely no Scriptural basis for interpreting the time period that falls between midnight and dawn as “morning.” THE SCRIPTURES DO NOT SUPPORT ANY SUCH DEFINITION OF “MORNING.”
Throughout the Old Testament, there is a clear-cut division between morning (boqer) and the darkness of night (lailah). This Scriptural division of time is upheld by the leading Hebrew authorities, who define lailah as the period of time from the end of ben ha arbayim, when darkness has fallen, to boqer, when morning is dawning (Englishman’s Hebrew Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament and Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament).
The Passover events that are recorded in Exodus Chapter 12 confirm this definition of lailah. The sequence of events in the death of the firstborn makes it very clear that the hours after midnight are still “night”—not “morning.”
“12 For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt.... 29 And it came to pass at midnight, that the LORD smote all the firstborn.... 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians.... 31 And he called for [sent a message to] Moses and Aaron by night...”
(Exodus 12:12, 29, 30, 31, Jewish Publication Society of America, comment and emphasis added)
These Scriptures tell us plainly that the firstborn of the Egyptians were struck down “at midnight.” Thus, it was past midnight when Pharaoh and the Egyptians rose up, and Pharaoh sent a message to Moses and Aaron. According to Scripture, these events took place “in the night” and “by night.” Here is conclusive evidence that the period of darkness which follows midnight is Scripturally defined as “night.” In every verse that has been cited, the Hebrew word translated “night” is lailah, which always refers to the darkness of night. There can be no doubt whatsoever that lailah—as defined and used in the Scriptures—includes the dark hours between midnight and dawn.
The Faithful Version Bible reads:
“30 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. 31 And during the night he sent word to Moses and Aaron saying, ‘Rise up! Get away from my people, both you and the children of Israel! And go serve the LORD as you have said.”
There is one 15th Passover advocate claims that the children of Israel did not have to remain in their houses after midnight because Moses left his house and went to Pharaoh’s court immediately after receiving his message, which was sent shortly after midnight. But the Scriptural account does not record that Moses went to Pharaoh’s court after receiving the message. To the contrary, the Scriptures show that Moses did not see Pharaoh that night. Moses’ last appearance in Pharaoh’s court took place before the death of the firstborn of Egypt, as it is recorded in Exodus Chapter 10. At that time, Moses proclaimed that he would not come to Pharaoh’s court again:
“28 And Pharaoh said to him [Moses], ‘Get away from me! Take heed to yourself! See my face no more, for in the day you see my face you shall die.’ 29 And Moses said, ‘You have spoken well. I will never see your face again.’ ”
(Exodus 10:28-29, comment and emphasis added)
Moses did not go to Pharaoh after the death of the firstborn at midnight. Pharaoh sent word or a message to Moses, as Exodus Chapter 12 clearly records. During Moses final appearance in Pharaoh’s court—before the death of the firstborn—he prophesied that Pharaoh’s servants would deliver that message:
“4 And Moses said, ‘Thus says the LORD, “About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt. 5 And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sits upon his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl that is behind the mill; and the firstborn of beasts. 6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. 7 But against any of the children of Israel not even a dog shall move his tongue, against man or beast, so that you may know that the LORD puts a difference between the Egyptians and Israel. 8 And all these, your servants, shall come down to me and bow themselves down to me, saying: “You and all the people that follow you— get out!” And after that I will go out.’ And he [Moses] went out from Pharaoh in flaming anger.”
(Exodus 11:4-8, comment and emphasis added)
The Scriptures do not support the claim that Moses went to Pharaoh’s court after YHWH had passed at midnight. Moses did not see Pharaoh’s face after the death of the firstborn of Egypt. Pharaoh’s servants came to Moses, bowed down in trembling fear and delivered the message. We are not told how long after midnight they came, but the Scriptural account makes it very clear that the time was still night (lailah).
The Answer to the First Part of Element #6:
“Night,” translated from the Hebrew lailah, is the entire dark period of each twenty-four hour day. It extends from the end of ben ha arbayim, when darkness has come, to the arrival of boqer, or sunrise/morning.
Determining the Scriptural Definition of “MORNING”
We have learned that the word “morning” is translated from the Hebrew word boqer. The advocates of a 15th Passover have redefined the meaning of this Hebrew word in an attempt to show Scriptural support for their version of the Passover events. Since their false definition of boqer has been a key factor in the arguments for a 15th Passover, we will cover this in detail so that we can fully understand how their interpretation of the Passover events conflicts with the Scriptural account. The following explanation of the Hebrew term boqer is given in a doctrinal dissertation by Dr. Robert L. Kuhn and Lester L. Grabbe:
“Boqer, though, is somewhat more troublesome. In English we can use the term ‘morning’ for any time between midnight and noon. We have not found any passage [of Scripture] which specifically begins boqer with the middle of the night. It often refers to the light period of the day from sunrise until about the middle of the day just as English ‘morning’ does.”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 8, emphasis added)
These two scholars could not find a single Scripture to support their claim that boqer begins shortly after midnight. On the other hand, they admit that many passages of Scripture show that boqer “refers to the light period of the day,” which begins at sunrise.
These scholars begin their explanation by telling us that the Scriptures nowhere refer to boqer as beginning in the middle of the night, yet that is the conclusion they ultimately arrive at by their circuitous reasoning, which uses a modern method of reckoning time to define a Hebrew word that is over 3500 years old and it has never had such a meaning! They state,
“It might be noted here that Exodus 11 and 12 emphasize that the death angel passed about midnight (11:4; 12:29). The Israelites already knew the death angel would come by about then. Once the angel passed, the danger was also past. Since Israel was told to eat in haste and to burn anything left until evidently ‘morning’ (boqer), IS NOT THIS A GOOD INDICATION, in the context, that boqer began just after midnight just as it does in our modern parlance?”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 8, emphasis added)
After implying that the context supports this definition of boqer, they admit that THERE IS NO REAL SCRIPTURAL PROOF. Instead, they rely on the later traditions of the Jews to support their views. They write:
“There is NO ABSOLUTE PROOF for this. But it is significant that certain Jewish groups (including the Samaritans) later required everything to be eaten by midnight (see Pesahim 10:9; Zebahim 5:8). What was not consumed by then was burned. Is this what God meant when He commanded them to burn anything left until boqer and not to go out of their houses until boqer? This is certainly indicated by the context. In any case we have evidence [we will examine that evidence shortly] that boqer could include a considerable period of time before sunrise. Thus, there is no contradiction or difficulty with the statements that Israel left while it was ‘morning’ and yet also went out ‘in the night.’
“A second possible explanation is as follows: the Israelites could be said to go out at night because that is when Pharaoh’s command came. This is the explanation given by such eminent Jewish commentators as Rashi and Ibn Ezra. Even according to it the Israelites did not have to wait until sunrise to begin getting under way. Since God commanded them to stay in their houses only until ‘morning,’ not ‘sunrise.’ But even if they waited until shortly before sunrise to leave their houses, they could be said to go out in the night simply because that was when Pharaoh was forced into ordering their departure.”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 8, emphasis added)
Did you notice how these scholars present their “evidence” for a Passover and Exodus in the same night:
“...evidently...a good indication...as it does in our modern parlance...no absolute proof...certainly indicated...could include... second possible explanation...could be said....”
These inconclusive expressions verify what they have openly admitted—that they have NO SCRIPTURAL PROOF to support their claims. They argue in the same manner as lawyers who seek a verdict of agreement by what is called in legal terms “reasonable doubt.” The arguments that they have presented do not measure up to the standard for establishing and proving Biblical doctrine.
In stating their views, these two scholars were not able to point to any Scripture which clearly supports their statements and conclusions. Rather than correcting their views to conform to the facts that are clearly recorded in the Scriptural account, they chose to rely on theoretical suppositions and Jewish traditions. When we analyze their statements, we find that their definition of “morning,” or boqer, is based on the false supposition that there was no reason for the children of Israel to remain in their houses after YHWH had passed through the land of Egypt at midnight. Why then would YHWH require them to remain in their houses until sunrise?
Those who hold to this view have failed to consider that the houses of the children of Israel were scattered throughout the land of Goshen. Moreover, the children of Israel numbered nearly two million. There was no possible way to notify the people when the command of Pharaoh was given, allowing them to leave Egypt. It would have required many hours of travel in the dark hours after midnight to carry Pharaoh’s message to every household in every part of Goshen. But boqer, beginning at the crack of dawn, could easily be seen from every house. That is why YHWH commanded them not to leave until “morning,” or boqer. When the children of Israel could see the first light of dawn, they knew that it was the set time to leave their houses.
Scholars who support a 15th Passover will not admit that “morning,” or boqer, begins when the first light of dawn appears. If they admit that boqer does not include the hours between midnight and dawn, they will have to acknowledge that it was impossible for the Passover and the Exodus to occur in the same night. Not willing to admit their error, they cling to their false interpretation of boqer and twist the Scriptures out of their original context.
As part of their “evidence,” these scholars have selected a verse in the book of Ruth. They state,
“However, boqer can also be used in reference to the latter portion of the night before sunrise. Several passages show this: ‘She lay down at his feet until morning (boqer), then she got up before it was possible for one to recognize the person beside him’ (Ruth 3:14 [Lester L. Grabbe’s translation]). This shows the time was long before sunrise while still very dark.”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, pp. 8-9)
These scholars view Ruth 3:14 as Scriptural evidence that “morning,” or boqer, includes the time “long before sunrise while still very dark.” Is this a valid interpretation of Ruth 3:14? To find the answer, we will apply Rule #3 of the Fourteen Rules for Bible Study shown below. Let’s examine the context of this verse.
Fourteen Rules for Bible Study
Begin with Scriptures that are easy to understand.
Let the Bible interpret and prove the Bible. Don’t look for what you want to prove; look for what the Bible actually proves.
Understand the context—the verses before and after, the chapters before and after. Does your understanding of a particular verse harmonize with the rest of the Bible?
Understand the original language, Hebrew or Greek. Never try to establish dogmatic doctrine or teachings by using Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. It can be helpful at times, but it is extremely limited.
Ask, what does the Scripture clearly say?
Ask, what does the Scripture not say?
Ask, who was the book written to?
Ask, who wrote it?
Ask, who said it?
Understand the time frame in history when the book was written.
Base your study on Scriptural knowledge that you already understand. What do you know up to this point in time?
Do not allow your own personal assumptions or preconceived notions to influence your understanding and conclusions.
Do not form conclusions based on partial facts or insufficient information, or the opinions and speculations of others.
Opinions, regardless of how strongly you feel about them, don’t necessarily count. Scripture must be your standard and guide.
When we read the third chapter of the book of Ruth, we will find that it is relating the events that occurred when Ruth followed the instructions of her mother-in-law Naomi to go to the threshing floor of Boaz, a kinsman. Boaz was winnowing
“2 ...barley tonight in the threshing floor.... 7 And when Boaz had eaten and had drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. And she came softly...and lay down. 8 And it came to pass at midnight, the man was startled and turned himself. And, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 And he said, ‘Who are you?’ And she answered, ‘I am your handmaid Ruth.’... 10 And he said, ‘Blessed be you of the LORD.... 13 Lie down until the morning [boqer].’ 14 And she lay at his feet until the morning [boqer]. And she rose up before one could discern another. And he said, ‘Do not let it be known that a woman came to the floor’.... 16 And when she came to her mother-in-law, she said, ‘Is that you, my daughter?’ And she told her all that the man had done to her.... 18 Then she said, ‘Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall. For the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter today’ ”
(Ruth 3:2, 7-10, 13-14, 16, 18, comments and emphasis added)
When we take a close look at the Scriptural account, we will find that there are three different terms which are used to show the time sequence of these events. In Verse 2, we find the word “tonight,” which is translated from lailah. In Verse 8, we find the word “midnight,” which is translated from lailah (“night”) and ghatzee (“in the middle”). In Verse 13, we read that Ruth was to stay until “morning,” or boqer. Verse 14 tells us that she arose “before one could discern another.” The question that needs to be answered here is this: How dark was it at the time she arose to go home? Verse 14 does not give us a definitive time, but it only states that there was not enough light “to discern another.” Dr. Grabbe has interpreted this statement as showing that the time was “long before sunrise.” But when we study the Scriptural account, we find other statements that contradict this definition.
The Scriptural account states that it was midnight when Boaz suddenly awoke and discovered Ruth’s presence (Ruth 3:8). It was at midnight that he told her, “Tarry this night [Hebrew lailah] ...lie down until the morning [Hebrew boqer]” (Ruth 3:13). If “morning,” or boqer, begins just after midnight, Boaz would not have told Ruth to lie down again until the morning had arrived. The fact that Boaz told her, “Stay tonight [Hebrew lailah],” shows us that lailah had not yet ended. Since Boaz spoke these words at midnight, lailah is clearly referring to the period of darkness following midnight. Lailah did not end until the first light of dawn, or boqer. Ruth did not leave the threshing-floor until the dawn of morning. Although the day was dawning, and there was enough light for Ruth to find her way back into the village of Bethlehem to Naomi’s house, it was not light enough for her to be recognized by others.
There is only one brief period of time that fits the Scriptural use of boqer, or “morning,” in Ruth 3:14. “Morning” in this verse is specifically referring to the time when the first light appears in the eastern sky, just before the sun rises. At sunrise, it is light enough for one to recognize another. But when the first faint light of dawn appears, it is still dark enough not to be able to identify a person. This is the exact time that “night,” or lailah, comes to an end, and “morning,” or boqer, begins.
Morning, or boqer, does not include any part of the night, or lailah. Boqer begins with the first light of dawn, just before the sun rises above the horizon. Nowhere in Scripture is there any indication that boqer is “long before sunrise” or “the latter portion of the night.” The Scriptures never refer to the dark hours after midnight as boqer, or “morning.” In the Scriptures, the period of time after midnight is always called “night,” or lailah.
The use of lailah and boqer in the book of Ruth is consistent with all other Scriptures. The word “morning,” or boqer, in Ruth 3:14 is no exception. In this verse, “morning” refers to the beginning of the light period of a twenty-four hour day, as it has been from the creation of the world. The words of Boaz, as recorded in the previous verse, show us the utter folly in claiming that boqer includes the hours “long before sunrise.” Boaz told Ruth,
“Stay tonight [Hebrew lailah], and it shall be that in the morning [Hebrew boqer] if he will redeem you—...Lie down until the morning [Hebrew boqer].”
(Ruth 3:13, comments and emphasis added)
It would be ridiculous to claim that the Israelites of that day arose “long before sunrise” to carry on their business, yet that is what we would have to conclude if we accept Dr. Grabbe’s definition of boqer. But if we are willing to believe the Scriptures, we will acknowledge that boqer in Ruth 3:13 and 14 obviously cannot be referring to any portion of the night. The Scriptural context of the verse that Dr. Grabbe quoted as evidence for his definition of boqer shows how utterly illogical that definition is! Clearly, the use of boqer in this Scriptural passage shows that this term refers to the morning hours, not to the hours “long before sunrise” or to “the latter part of the night.”
In every Scriptural occurrence, boqer refers to the morning, which begins when the night, or lailah, comes to an end. When the darkness of night ends and the first light of dawn appears in the east, that is the beginning of boqer. While the light is very faint when boqer begins, it still marks the end of lailah, or night.
In the book of Exodus, we find additional proof that boqer begins with the light of dawn. YHWH told Moses,
“You go to Pharaoh in the morning [boqer]. Lo, he goes out to the water. And you shall stand by the river’s bank until he comes. And you shall take in your hand the rod which was turned to a snake.”
(Exodus 7:15, comment and emphasis added)
Notice that Moses was to meet Pharaoh “in the morning,” or boqer. Why would Pharaoh go to the Nile River in the morning? The answer is obvious when we understand that the Egyptians worshiped the Nile River and the sun as gods. Pharaoh was considered a god-king. As such, part of his duties included worshiping the sun and the river at sunrise. He also bathed in the “holy water of the Nile” in the morning as a religious ritual.
When Pharaoh hardened his heart, God commanded Moses and Aaron,
“19 ‘Take your rod, and stretch out your hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their canals, and upon their pools, and upon every reservoir of their waters, that they may become blood’.... 20 And he lifted up the rod and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants. And all the waters in the river were turned to blood.”
(Exodus 7:19-20, emphasis added)
These verses tell us that YHWH’s commands were carried out in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, showing that boqer, or “morning,” is not referring to the dark of the night. There was sufficient light at boqer for Pharaoh and his servants to observe Aaron as he struck the waters and to see the waters turn to blood. If boqer were in the dark of the night, it would have been impossible to see that the waters had been turned to blood.
Again, before the plague of flies, YHWH commanded Moses to meet Pharaoh at the river:
“And the LORD said to Moses, ‘Rise up early in the morning [Hebrew boqer] and stand before Pharaoh. Lo, he comes forth to the water...’ ”
(Exodus 8:20, comment and emphasis added)
This verse plainly refers to the beginning of boqer. Moses was told to rise up “early in the morning” (boqer). At the first light of dawn, Moses was to get up and go to the river. Obviously, YHWH would not command Moses to go to Pharaoh in the dark hours following midnight, and Pharaoh would not come down to the water at midnight or shortly afterwards. The confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh was to occur at sunrise, which was the exact time of the river-sun ritual performed by the god-king Pharaoh. This use of boqer in the events leading up to the Exodus shows that “morning” does not begin in the dark hours after midnight, as Kuhn and Grabbe claim. According to Scripture, boqer begins with the first light of dawn.
In their dissertation concerning the Passover and the Exodus, Kuhn and Grabbe present other Scriptural references as “evidence” that boqer includes the period of darkness after midnight. But when we examine these verses in their Scriptural context, we find no indication that “morning,” or boqer, refers to any time near midnight. For further study, please refer to these two Scripture references: 1 Samuel 19:10 and 1 Kings 3:21.
Another attempt to prove that boqer includes the dark hours after midnight is found in these scholars’ narration of the three watches of the night. They state,
“A further indication is found in the ‘watches’ used for dividing the night. There were three of these. The first third of the night fell into an unnamed watch, though this may have been called the ‘evening watch’ (Lam. 2:19). The second was called the ‘middle watch’ (Judges 7:19) [his reference was incorrectly stated as Judges 7:10]. The last part of the night fell into the ‘morning (habboqer) watch’ (Ex. 14:24; I Sam. 11:11). This is a further indication that ‘morning’ could be applied to the last part of the night.”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 9)
A careful examination of these references to the night watches will demonstrate that they do not support the claim that boqer includes the dark hours after midnight. Let us examine one of these verses in Lamentations 2:19 where it says,
“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches....”
This verse is referring to the beginning of all three night watches. It does not specifically refer to the first watch of the night and it does not designate which hours are included. If the watches were set in the spring of the year, when the days and nights are nearly equal in duration, they would be divided as follows:
the first watch would be from 6 to 10 PM,
the second or “middle watch” from 10 PM to 2 AM, and
the third or “morning watch” from 2 to 6 AM.
The fact that the third watch was called the “morning watch” does not mean that the dark hours from 2 to 6 AM are part of the “morning,” or boqer. The third watch, or “morning watch,” was the final watch of the night. It was called the “morning watch” because it ended when morning arrived. It began long before boqer, or dawn, but continued as a time of watching past the arrival of boqer and the beginning of daylight.
To help understand the Hebrew Watch and Time, please check out the following:
Hebrew Watch Hebrew Time
In attempting to show Scriptural support for their definition of “morning,” Kuhn and Grabbe also present a reference from the New Testament. They state,
“Mark 1:35 speaks of Jesus rising early in the morning long before sunrise. While the Hebrew word naturally is not used, it shows the concept of ‘morning’ including the time before sunrise as well as the time afterward.”
(The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 9)
In the King James Version, Mark 1:35 reads as follows:
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed....”
At first glance, this verse might appear to support Kuhn and Grabbe’s definition of “morning.” However, as the marginal reference in Bullinger’s Companion Bible and other editions of the Bible show, the KJV translation of Mark 1:35 is a poor rendering of the Greek text. A leading Greek-English interlinear verifies that the wording in the King James Version does not accurately convey the meaning of the Greek text and correctly translates this verse as follows:
“And very early while yet night having risen up...”
Berry has translated this verse to show the exact meaning of the Greek text. The Greek word that is translated “night” is ennuxon, which specifically means IN THE NIGHT or AT NIGHT. The use of this Greek word in Mark 1:35 does not support the claim that the dark hours of the night are “morning.”
Understanding that this verse is incorrectly translated in the King James Version is important from another point of view. Dr. Lester L. Grabbe was a professor of Greek, a reputed expert in the Greek language, and for him to choose a verse that was incorrectly translated from the Greek text raises grave doubts about the honesty of his research. As an expert in New Testament Greek, as a professor who taught Greek to Bible students, surely he was aware of the correct wording of Mark 1:35 in the Greek text. Why then did he use a mis-translation of this verse to support his claim? If he were not an expert in New Testament Greek, this oversight might have been explained as a lack of knowledge. But since he is an expert in New Testament Greek, such negligence is inexcusable. It demonstrates a careless disregard for Scriptural truth! When we closely examine the writings of Kuhn and Grabbe, we find a consistent pattern of choosing to follow the interpretations of men and misrepresenting the true facts of what is clearly written in the Scriptures.
The Answer for Element # 6:
“Night,” translated from the Hebrew lailah, includes the entire dark period of each twenty-four hour day. “Morning,” translated from the Hebrew boqer, does not include the dark hours after midnight. Boqer begins at the crack of dawn, when the first light of day brings the night to an end.
Element #7: When Did the Children of Israel Spoil the Egyptians?
The proponents of a 15th Passover claim that the spoiling of the Egyptians took place before the Passover and the death of the firstborn of Egypt, which was the tenth and final plague. Some view YHWH’s instructions to Moses in Exodus Chapter 11 as evidence that the spoiling began shortly after the ninth plague. Others claim that the spoiling began even earlier, based on the words that YHWH spoke to Moses when He called him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. These words were spoken to Moses as he stood before the burning bush in the land of Midian:
“20 And I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in the midst of it. And after that he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And it shall be that when you go, you shall not go empty. 22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that stays in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold and clothing. And you shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters. And you shall retrieve these from the Egyptians.”
The fact that YHWH gave these instructions to Moses in advance does not mean that the children of Israel began to spoil the Egyptians as soon as the plagues began. The children of Israel did not begin to spoil the Egyptians until YHWH gave them favor in the sight of the Egyptians. This favor was a special miracle of YHWH, in which He changed the minds of the Egyptians. The words of YHWH in Exodus Chapter 3 reveal the exact time that the favor was granted. Notice the chronological sequence of events:
“20 And I will stretch out My hand and smite Egypt with all My wonders [plagues] which I will do in the midst of it. And AFTER THAT he will let you go. 21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians...”
(Exodus 3:20-21, comment and emphasis added)
These verses do not support the assertion that favor was granted to the children of Israel long before the death of the firstborn, which was the final plague or “wonder” that struck Egypt. To the contrary, YHWH declared to Moses that all of His plagues would strike Egypt before He would grant favor to the children of Israel. No favor would be given until the plagues were completed and the children of Israel had been freed from their bondage. When YHWH had given them victory over the Egyptians, then the children of Israel would gather the spoil from their enemies.
The sequence of events that is revealed in Exodus Chapter 3 cannot be ignored when we attempt to understand YHWH’s later instructions to Moses in Exodus Chapter 11. Although those instructions were given before the final plague against Egypt, they cannot be interpreted as evidence that the spoiling took place before the time that YHWH had appointed. Let us now examine these instructions, which were given after the plague of thick darkness:
“1 And the LORD had said to Moses, ‘I will yet bring one plague [the death of the firstborn] on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward, he will let you go from here. When he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out from here altogether. 2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man ask from his neighbor, and every woman from her neighbor, articles of silver and jewels of gold.’ 3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.”
(Exodus 11:1-3, comment and emphasis added)
The words “Speak now” in Exodus 11:2 have led many to conclude that the spoiling of the Egyptians began at that time. But the words that are used in the Hebrew text do not support the immediacy of action that these English words imply. The Hebrew verb that is translated “speak” is not a command to speak at that time but an exhortation to be ready to speak because the time of fulfillment was near. Fox’s translation helps to convey the meaning of the text:
“Pray speak in the ears of the people...”
(Exodus 11:2, The Schocken Bible, emphasis added)
The instructions for spoiling the Egyptians were given to the children of Israel at the same time that the instructions for the Passover were given. Exodus Chapter 12 records Moses’ delivery of the Passover instructions to the elders:
“Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them...”
(Exodus 12:21, emphasis added)
After receiving all of YHWH’s instructions from Moses, the elders delivered them to the children of Israel. The children of Israel bowed their heads in worship when they heard YHWH’s instructions for the Passover day (Exodus 12:27-28). These instructions included the spoiling of the Egyptians, which would take place after the final plague against Egypt and the release of the children of Israel from bondage.
After the children of Israel kept the Passover at night, in the morning of the Passover day, the children of Israel fulfilled YHWH’s instructions to spoil the Egyptians:
“33 And the Egyptians were urging the people, that they might send them out of the land quickly, for they said, ‘We are all dead men.’ 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading- troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses. And they asked for articles of silver, and articles of gold, and clothing from the Egyptians. 36 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they granted their request, and they stripped the Egyptians.”
(Exodus 12:33-36, emphasis added)
Here is plain Scriptural evidence that the spoiling of the Egyptians was completed after the Passover and the death of the firstborn, when the Egyptians were filled with a sense of impending doom. In their urgency to be rid of the children of Israel, the Egyptians heaped upon them all the clothing and jewelry that they desired, as YHWH had said. The clothing and jewelry were literally thrust upon the children of Israel by the Egyptians, as a ransom for their lives. For they said, “...WE ARE ALL DEAD MEN!” The Egyptians who were not killed in the final plague must have been in absolute terror that YHWH would strike them down, as He had their firstborn. Fearful of being struck dead, they gave the children of Israel everything they asked.
Those who promote a 15th Passover reject the statements that are clearly recorded in the Scriptural account. They refuse to acknowledge that the spoiling of the Egyptians was not fulfilled until after the death of the firstborn. Allowing time for the spoiling to take place after the Passover complicates their attempts to fit the Passover and the Exodus into the same night. But the truth of Scripture is that YHWH’s promise which He made to the children of Israel that they would not go out empty was fulfilled in the hours before the Exodus. When their adversaries had acknowledged defeat, then the children of Israel collected the spoils of the victory that YHWH had given them.
The Answer for Element #7:
The children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians after the completion of the plagues, when YHWH gave them favor in the eyes of the Egyptians. On the morning of the Passover day, they collected the spoils of their victory over the Egyptians.
We have now studied Vital Elements #5 thru 7 of the Passover in Egypt. We have examined every major argument concerning these aspects of the Passover, and we have tried to show the true Scriptural chronology of the events that took place on the Passover day. We will study Vital Element #8 in The Exodus and the Feast of Unleavened Bread —Part Three, which concerns the Exodus and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.