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.
And at midnight the LORD killed all the firstborn sons in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn son of the captive in the dungeon. Even the firstborn of their livestock were killed.
Pharaoh and his officials and all the people of Egypt woke up during the night, and loud wailing was heard throughout the land of Egypt. There was not a single house where someone had not died.
Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron during the night. "Leave us!" he cried. "Go away, all of you! Go and serve the LORD as you have requested.
Take your flocks and herds, and be gone. Go, but give me a blessing as you leave."
All the Egyptians urged the people of Israel to get out of the land as quickly as possible, for they thought, "We will all die!"
The Israelites took with them their bread dough made without yeast. They wrapped their kneading bowls in their spare clothing and carried them on their shoulders.
And the people of Israel did as Moses had instructed and asked the Egyptians for clothing and articles of silver and gold.
The LORD caused the Egyptians to look favorably on the Israelites, and they gave the Israelites whatever they asked for. So, like a victorious army, they plundered the Egyptians!
That night the people of Israel left Rameses and started for Succoth. There were about 600,000 men, plus all the women and children. And they were all traveling on foot.
Many people who were not Israelites went with them, along with the many flocks and herds.
Whenever they stopped to eat, they baked bread from the yeastless dough they had brought from Egypt. It was made without yeast because the people were rushed out of Egypt and had no time to wait for bread to rise.
The people of Israel had lived in Egypt for 430 years.
In fact, it was on the last day of the 430th year that all the LORD's forces left the land.
This night had been reserved by the LORD to bring his people out from the land of Egypt, so this same night now belongs to him. It must be celebrated every year, from generation to generation, to remember the LORD's deliverance.
Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "These are the regulations for the festival of Passover. No foreigners are allowed to eat the Passover lamb.
But any slave who has been purchased may eat it if he has been circumcised.
Hired servants and visiting foreigners may not eat it.
All who eat the lamb must eat it together in one house. You must not carry any of its meat outside, and you may not break any of its bones.
The whole community of Israel must celebrate this festival at the same time.
"If there are foreigners living among you who want to celebrate the LORD's Passover, let all the males be circumcised. Then they may come and celebrate the Passover with you. They will be treated just as if they had been born among you. But an uncircumcised male may never eat of the Passover lamb.
This law applies to everyone, whether a native-born Israelite or a foreigner who has settled among you."
So the people of Israel followed all the LORD's instructions to Moses and Aaron.
And that very day the LORD began to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt, division by division.
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)