A Jewish festival, celebrated seven or eight days from the fourteenth day of Nisan. It was kept in remembrance of God's passing over the houses of the Israelites1 when the first born of all the Egyptians were destroyed. It is called also the "feast of unleavened bread,"2 because during its celebration no leavened bread was to be eaten or even kept in the household.3 The word afterwards came to denote the lamb that was slain at the feast.4

A detailed account of the institution of this feast is given in Ex. 12 and 13. It was afterwards incorporated in the ceremonial law5 as one of the great festivals of the nation. In after times many changes seem to have taken place as to the mode of its celebration as compared with its first celebration.6 Again, the use of wine,7 of sauce with the bitter herbs,8 and the service of praise were introduced.

There is recorded in the Bible only one celebration of this feast between the Exodus and the entrance into Canaan, namely, that mentioned in Num. 9:5. It was primarily a commemorative ordinance, reminding the children of Israel of their deliverance out of Egypt.




  • Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.

This article incorporates text from Easton’s Bible Dictionary (1897) by M.G. Easton, which is in the public domain.