Now the LORD gave the following instructions to Moses and Aaron while they were still in the land of Egypt:
"From now on, this month will be the first month of the year for you.
Announce to the whole community that on the tenth day of this month each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for a sacrifice.
If a family is too small to eat an entire lamb, let them share the lamb with another family in the neighborhood. Whether or not they share in this way depends on the size of each family and how much they can eat.
This animal must be a one-year-old male, either a sheep or a goat, with no physical defects.
"Take special care of these lambs until the evening of the fourteenth day of this first month. Then each family in the community must slaughter its lamb.
They are to take some of the lamb's blood and smear it on the top and sides of the doorframe of the house where the lamb will be eaten.
That evening everyone must eat roast lamb with bitter herbs and bread made without yeast.
The meat must never be eaten raw or boiled; roast it all, including the head, legs, and internal organs.
Do not leave any of it until the next day. Whatever is not eaten that night must be burned before morning.
"Wear your traveling clothes as you eat this meal, as though prepared for a long journey. Wear your sandals, and carry your walking sticks in your hands. Eat the food quickly, for this is the LORD's Passover.
On that night I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn sons and firstborn male animals in the land of Egypt. I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt, for I am the LORD!
The blood you have smeared on your doorposts will serve as a sign. When I see the blood, I will pass over you. This plague of death will not touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.
"You must remember this day forever. Each year you will celebrate it as a special festival to the LORD.
For seven days, you may eat only bread made without yeast. On the very first day you must remove every trace of yeast from your homes. Anyone who eats bread made with yeast at any time during the seven days of the festival will be cut off from the community of Israel.
On the first day of the festival, and again on the seventh day, all the people must gather for a time of special worship. No work of any kind may be done on these days except in the preparation of food.
"Celebrate this Festival of Unleavened Bread, for it will remind you that I brought your forces out of the land of Egypt on this very day. This festival will be a permanent regulation for you, to be kept from generation to generation.
Only bread without yeast may be eaten from the evening of the fourteenth day of the month until the evening of the twenty-first day of the month.
During those seven days, there must be no trace of yeast in your homes. Anyone who eats anything made with yeast during this week will be cut off from the community of Israel. These same regulations apply to the foreigners living with you, as if they had been born among you.
I repeat, during those days you must not eat anything made with yeast. Wherever you live, eat only bread that has no yeast in it."
Then Moses called for the leaders of Israel and said, "Tell each of your families to slaughter the lamb they have set apart for the Passover.
Drain each lamb's blood into a basin. Then take a cluster of hyssop branches and dip it into the lamb's blood. Strike the hyssop against the top and sides of the doorframe, staining it with the blood. And remember, no one is allowed to leave the house until morning.
For the LORD will pass through the land and strike down the Egyptians. But when he sees the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe, the LORD will pass over your home. He will not permit the Destroyer to enter and strike down your firstborn.
"Remember, these instructions are permanent and must be observed by you and your descendants forever.
When you arrive in the land the LORD has promised to give you, you will continue to celebrate this festival.
Then your children will ask, 'What does all this mean? What is this ceremony about?'
And you will reply, 'It is the celebration of the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he killed the Egyptians, he spared our families and did not destroy us.'" Then all the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
So the people of Israel did just as the LORD had commanded through Moses and Aaron.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)