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Forschungen zum Alten Testament

Herausgegeben von
Bernd Janowski (Tbingen) Mark S. Smith (New York)
Hermann Spieckermann (Gttingen)

82
Shimon Gesundheit

Three Times a Year


Studies on Festival Legislation
in the Pentateuch

Mohr Siebeck
Shimon Gesundheit: Born 1961; studied at the Department of Bible, Hebrew University
of Jerusalem (2000 PhD) and Department of Near Eastern Civilizations and Languages
at Harvard University (2001 Post-Doc); since 2002 he has been teaching at Hebrew
University of Jerusalem.

e-ISBN 978-3-16-152093-8
ISBN 978-3-16-150980-3
ISSN 0940-4155 (Forschungen zum Alten Testament)
Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbiblio-
graphie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.dnb.de.

2012 by Mohr Siebeck Tbingen.


This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any form (beyond that permitted
by copyright law) without the publishers written permission. This applies particularly to
reproductions, translations, microlms and storage and processing in electronic systems.
The book was printed by Gulde-Druck in Tbingen on non-aging paper and bound by
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Printed in Germany.
Acknowledgements

The kernel of this book was presented as a dissertation written under the
wise and dedicated supervision of Prof. Alexander Rof and Prof. Moshe
Greenberg at Hebrew University in 1999. That research has developed into
the book at hand. Dr. Baruch J. Schwartz translated the first chapter, and
served also as a great source of support and encouragement. Mr. Meshulam
Gotlieb translated the fourth chapter. The remaining chapters were trans-
lated by Dr. Simeon Chavel, whose thoroughness and pursuit of truth left
no stone unturned and resulted in innumerable illuminating and useful
comments. Together with Mr. Steven Ganot, Dr. Chavel was also involved
in the external design of the book and its preparation for print. Finally, Dr.
Claus-Jrgen Thornton carefully scrutinized the whole manuscript. His
meticulousness and erudition have saved the manuscript from some acci-
dental slips and inconsistencies. In addition he provided the indexes. I
would also like to thank my friends Dr. Mordechai Sabato and Dr.
Abraham Shammah for enlightening conversations on the topics discussed
in the book and much more. Among the many other friends and colleagues
who supported, encouraged and assisted me in this project, I would like to
mention in particular Professors Gary Anderson, Erhard Blum, Israel
Knohl, Bernard M. Levinson, Norbert Lohfink, Peter Machinist, Rolf
Rendtorff, Hermann Spieckermann and aharon aharon haviv Yair
Zakovitch, teacher and friend, who influenced my thinking from my very
first class with him in showing me how the intertextual approach makes
literary criticism more compelling. In the course of my research and its
publication I was assisted by grants from the Memorial Foundation for
Jewish Culture, the Lubin Foundation, and the Mizra Foundation, and by a
special research grant from the former rector of Hebrew University, Prof.
Chaim D. Rabinowitz.
The manuscript was completed in 2007 and then translated and edited.
More recent literature (as, for instance, C. Berner, Die Exoduserzhlung
[FAT 73], Tbingen 2010) could unfortunately not be considered or only
sporadically. Apart from that, I tried to trace back the references from
exegetical and scholarly achievements as far back as possible. I have,
however, not always made detailed references to contemporary followers
of these interpretations.
VI Acknowledgements

Dr. Henning Ziebritzki of the Mohr Siebeck publishing house ushered


along the creation of this volume with patience and truly generous support.
Mrs. Ilse Knig graciously persevered in bringing this book to print. With-
out Prof. Bernd Janowskis continuous interest, support and encourage-
ment, this work would not have been published. I am grateful to him and to
Prof. Mark S. Smith and Prof. Hermann Spieckermann, who accepted this
work as a volume in the Forschungen zum Alten Testament series.
Above all I thank my family, and especially my wife Tamar, with grati-
tude that words cannot express. To her I dedicate this book, with love.

Jerusalem, Sivan 5771 (June 2011) Shimon Gesundheit


Table of Contents

Acknowledgements .................................................................................. V
List of Abbreviations .............................................................................. XI

Introduction ............................................................................... 1
The Subject of this Study .................................................................... 1
Methodology....................................................................................... 4

Chapter 1
The Festival Calendars in Exod 23:1419 and 34:1826

1.1 The Problem ..................................................................................... 12


1.2 Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 ...................... 17
1.2.1 The Law of the First-Born .......................................................................... 17
1.2.2 The Cessation of Work on the Seventh Day ................................................ 21
1.2.3 The Epithet God of Israel ........................................................................ 22
1.2.4 Verse 24 ..................................................................................................... 23

1.3 Changes in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 ........................ 25


1.3.1 The Name and the Designation First-Fruits of the Wheat Harvest ... 25
1.3.2 The Date of the Festival of the Ingathering ................................................. 26
1.3.3 The Replacement of (Sacrifice) by (Slaughter) ................... 28
1.3.4 Designation of the Pesah Sacrifice as  ...................................... 28

1.4 Passages Lacking in Exod 34:1826 as Compared with


Exod 23:1419 ................................................................................. 31
1.4.1 On Three Occasions You Shall Feast to Me During the Year (23:14) ....... 31
1.4.2 The Festivals of the Harvest/Weeks and the Ingathering: Exod 34:22
versus Exod 23:16 ...................................................................................... 35

1.5 Summary and Conclusions ................................................................ 36


VIII Table of Contents

Chapter 2
The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread in Exod 12:128

2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 44


2.2 The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 ............................ 46
2.3 The Origin of Exod 12:2127 ........................................................... 58
2.3.1 The Priestly Character of Exod 12:2227a, 28 ............................................ 61
2.3.2 The Redactional Frame in vv. 21, 27b ......................................................... 66
2.3.3 The Revision of vv. 23 and 27 in vv. 11b13 ............................................ 67

2.4 Schematic Summary of the Literary Layers in Exod 12:128 ............ 74
2.5 The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah and the Unleavened
Bread Pericopes ................................................................................ 76
2.5.1 Exod 12:1417 ........................................................................................... 79
2.5.2 Exod 12:1820 and the Priestly Calendars .................................................. 84

2.6 Summary and Conclusions ................................................................ 89


2.6.1 The Literary Complexity of the Pesah Pericope........................................... 89
2.6.2 The Programmatic Redaction in Exod 12:128............................................ 90
2.6.2.1 The Expansional Layer ................................................................... 91
2.6.2.2 Verses 1417 ................................................................................. 92
2.6.2.3 Verses 1820 ................................................................................. 93

Chapter 3
The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar (Deut 16:117)

3.1 Introduction ...................................................................................... 96


3.2 The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival
Calendar (Deut 16:18)..................................................................... 96
3.2.1 The Difficulties in the Literary Flow of the Paragraph ................................ 98
3.2.2 The Text and its Parallels ........................................................................... 99
3.2.3 The Original Deuteronomic Pesah Law Underlying the Paragraph............. 100
3.2.4 The Additions in Verses 1, 34, 8 ............................................................. 106
3.2.4.1 Verses 34 ................................................................................... 106
3.2.4.1.1 Set B The First Insertion: You Shall Not Eat with It
Leavened Food; And None of the MeatShall
Remain Overnight till Morning ................................... 111
3.2.4.1.2 You Shall Not Sacrifice (Exod 23:18) You
Shall Not Slaughter (Exod 34:25) You
Shall Not Eat (Deut 16:3) ............................................ 112
3.2.4.1.3 My Festal Fat (Exod 23:18) the Pesah-Festival
Sacrifice (Exod 34:25) of the Meat That You will
Sacrifice in the Evening (Deut 16:4) ............................ 113
3.2.4.1.4 That You will Sacrifice in the Evening (Deut 16:4) .... 114
Table of Contents IX

3.2.4.2 Set C The Second Insertion: For Seven Days You Shall Eat
with It Unleavened Bread; And Leaven Shall Not Be
Detectable to Youfor Seven Days ............................................ 115
3.2.4.2.1 For Seven Days You Shall Eat with It Unleavened
Bread (Deut 16:3a) .................................................... 115
3.2.4.2.2 And Leaven Shall Not Be Detectable to You, Within
Your Entire Territory, for Seven Days (Deut 16:4a) ..... 118
3.2.4.3 Set D The Third Insertion: Meager Bread; Because You
Left the Land of Egypt in HasteAll the Days of Your Life ....... 120
3.2.4.4 Verses 1 and 8 .............................................................................. 124
3.2.4.5 Verse 1 ........................................................................................ 124
3.2.4.5.1 Keep the Month of Abib ............................................ 125
3.2.4.5.2 Because in the Month of Abib YHWH Your God Took
You out of Egypt......................................................... 128
3.2.4.5.3 And You Shall Perform  the Pesah for YHWH
Your God .................................................................... 128
3.2.4.5.4 Keep the Month of Abibbecause in the Month of
Abibat Night ........................................................... 129
3.2.4.5.5 The Original Frame of the Pesah Law ........................... 132
3.2.4.6 Verse 8 ........................................................................................ 133

3.3 Summation ..................................................................................... 138


3.3.1 The Method of the Literary-Critical Analysis and Its Results .................... 138
3.3.2 Implications of the Literary-Critical Analysis ........................................... 144
3.3.2.1 The Alleged Replacement of the Festival of Unleavened Bread
by the Pesah in Deuteronomy ....................................................... 144
3.3.2.2 Pesah and the Question of Literary Links between D and P ........... 144
3.3.2.3 Did the Festival Calendar of Exodus 34 Have Any Impact on the
Literary Development of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar? ..... 147

3.4 The Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic


Festival Calendar (Deut 16:912, 1315) ........................................ 150
3.4.1 The Festival of Weeks .............................................................................. 152
3.4.2 The Festival of Tabernacles ...................................................................... 154

3.5 The Literary Frame of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar ............ 157
3.6 The Presumed Development of the Deuteronomic Festival
Calendar ......................................................................................... 162

Chapter 4
The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born
in Exod 13:116

4.1 Introduction .................................................................................... 167


4.2 Survey of Literary-Critical Scholarship........................................... 168
X Table of Contents

4.3 The Law of the First-Born (Exod 13:1116) ................................... 172


4.3.1 The Uniqueness of the Historical Rationale for the Law of the First-Born . 172
4.3.2 The Law of the First-Born as an Alternative to the Apotropaic Cult of the
Pesah ....................................................................................................... 174
4.3.3 The Controversy Concerning the Pesah ..................................................... 177
4.3.4 The Literary Sources of the Law of the First-Born .................................... 178
4.3.4.1 You Shall Transfer All Womb-Breachers to YHWH
(vv. 1213, 15)............................................................................. 179
4.3.4.2 From Human First-Born to Animal First-Born (v. 15)................ 183
4.3.4.3 YHWH Slew () Every First-Born in the Land of Egypt
(v. 15) .......................................................................................... 186
4.3.4.4 With Strength of Hand ( ) and With a Strong Hand
(  ) (vv. 3, 9, 14, 16) .......................................................... 188
4.3.4.5 And It Shall Be a Sign on Your Hand and a Mark Between
Your Eyes (v. 16) ....................................................................... 192
4.3.4.6 When Pharaoh Stubbornly Refused to Let Us Go (v. 15) ........... 197

4.4 Consecrate to Me Every First-Born (vv. 12) .............................. 199


4.4.1 The Problem ............................................................................................. 199
4.4.2 A New Reading ........................................................................................ 201

4.5 The Unleavened Bread Section (vv. 310) ...................................... 208


4.5.1 Literary Parallels and Motifs in Exod 12:2527; 13:510, 1116 ............ 209
4.5.2 A Diachronic Perspective on the Unleavened Bread Section (vv. 310) ..... 212
4.5.2.1 The Pesah as a Commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt ........... 213
4.5.2.2 The Integration of the Pesah with the Unleavened Bread............... 216
4.5.3 The Text in its Present Form ..................................................................... 217

4.6 Summary and Conclusions (Exod 13:116)..................................... 222

Chapter 5
Summary and Conclusions

5.1 Results ............................................................................................ 223


5.2 Implications of the Methodological Approach for the Study of the
Festivals ......................................................................................... 223
5.2.1 Exegetical Layer ...................................................................................... 229
5.2.2 Expansional and Supplementary Layer ..................................................... 230
5.2.3 Rewriting and Replacement ...................................................................... 230

Bibliography ......................................................................................... 235

Index of Sources ................................................................................... 253


Index of Modern Authors ...................................................................... 264
Index of Subjects .................................................................................. 269
List of Abbreviations

AB The Anchor Bible, Garden City (New York)


AJSR Association for Jewish Studies Review, Cambridge (Massachusetts)
AnBibl Analecta Biblica, Roma
ANET Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed.: J. B. Pritchard,
Princeton 1969 3
AOAT Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Neukirchen-Vluyn
AOS American Oriental Series, New Haven
ARW Archiv fr Religionswissenschaft, Leipzig
ASTI Annual of the Swedish Theological Institute in Jerusalem, Leiden
ATA Alttestamentliche Abhandlungen, Mnster
ATD Das Alte Testament Deutsch, Gttingen
BA The Biblical Archaeologist, New Haven
BB Bonner Bibel: Die HeiligeSchrift des Alten Testamentes bersetzt und erklrt,
Bonn
BBB Bonner Biblische Beitrge, (Kln/Bonn; Frankfurt) Berlin/Bodenheim
b. Mainz
BC Biblischer Commentar ber das alte Testament, Leipzig
BDB F. Brown S. R. Driver S. A. Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon of the
Old Testament, Oxford 1907
BETL Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium, Leuven
BJRL The Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, Manchester
BK Biblischer Kommentar zum Alten Testament, Neukirchen-Vluyn
BN Biblische Notizen, Salzburg
BWANT Beitrge zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament, Stuttgart
BZ Biblische Zeitschrift, (Freiburg im Breisgau) Paderborn
BZABR Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fr Altorientalische und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte,
Wiesbaden
BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift fr die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, (Gieen)
Berlin/New York
CB The Cambridge Bible, Cambridge
CS Cahiers sioniens, Paris
DBAT Dielheimer Bltter zum Alten Testament, Dielheim
DBS Dictionnaire de la BibleSupplment, Paris
DJD Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Oxford
EJ Enyclopaedia Judaica, Jerusalem
EM Encyclopaedia Biblica = , Jerusalem (Hebrew)
FAT Forschungen zum Alten Testament, Tbingen
FRLANT Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments,
Gttingen
XII List of Abbreviations

GKC A. E. Cowley, Gesenius Hebrew Grammar as Edited and Enlarged by the


Late E. Kautzsch, Oxford 19102
HALOT L. Koehler W. Baumgartner J. J. Stamm, The Hebrew and Aramaic lexicon
of the Old Testament, translated and edited under the supervision of M. E. J.
Richardson, Leiden 19942000
HAT Handbuch zum Alten Testament, Tbingen
HCOT Historical Commentary on the Old Testament, (Kampen) Leuven
HDB Dictionary of the Bible, ed. by J. Hastings (rev. by F. C. Grant & H. H.
Rowley), Edinburgh 1963 2
HKAT Gttinger Handkommentar zum Alten Testament, Gttingen
HTR Harvard Theological Review, Cambridge (Massachusetts)
HUCA Hebrew Union College Annual, Cincinnati
IB The Interpreters Bible, New York
ICC The International Critical Commentary, Edinburgh
IDB The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, New York
ILR Israel Law Review, Jerusalem
JAOS Journal of the American Oriental Society, Ann Arbor (Michigan)
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature and Exegesis, (New York/New Haven)
Philadelphia
JbTh Jahrbuch fr Biblische Theologie, Neukirchen-Vluyn
JpTh Jahrbcher fr protestantische Theologie, Leipzig
JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Sheffield
JSOTS Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series, Sheffield
JSS Journal of Semitic Studies, Manchester
JThS Journal of Theological Studies, Oxford
KeH Kurzgefates exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament, Leipzig
KHC Kurzer Hand-Commentar zum Alten Testament, Tbingen
KuD Kerygma und Dogma, Gttingen
LD Lectio Divina, Paris
MGWJ Monatsschrift fr Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, Frankfurt
(Main)
MVG Mitteilungen der Vorderasiatisch-gyptischen Gesellschaft, Leipzig
NCBC The New Century Bible Commentary, London
NJPS Tanakh The Holy Scriptures: The New JPS Translation According to the
Traditional Hebrew Text
OBO Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis, Fribourg/Gttingen
OTG Old Testament Guides, Sheffield
OTL Old Testament Library, London
OTS Oudtestamentische Studin, Leiden
RB Revue Biblique, Paris
RechBib Recherches Bibliques, Brugge
RivBib Rivista Biblica, Bologna
RTL Revue thologique de Louvain, Louvain
SBAB Stuttgarter biblische Aufsatzbnde, Stuttgart
SBL Society of Biblical Literature
SBOT The Sacred Books of the Old Testament, Leipzig/Baltimore/London
SH Scripta Hierosolymitana, Jerusalem
SHVL Skrifter utgivna av Kungl. Humanistiska Vetenskapssamfundet i Lund, Lund
StANT Studien zum Alten und Neuen Testament, Mnchen
List of Abbreviations XIII

StTh Studia Theologica, cura ordinum theologorum Scandinavicorum edita,


Lund/Aarhus
SVT Supplements to Vetus Testamentum, Leiden
ThLZ Theologische Literaturzeitung, Leipzig/Berlin
ThR Theologische Rundschau, Tbingen
ThRv Theologische Revue, Mnster
ThSt Theologische Studien, Zollikon
ThT Theologisch Tijdschrift, Leiden
ThWAT Theologisches Wrterbuch zum Alten Testament, eds.: G. J. Botterweck
H. Ringgren H.-J. Fabry, vols. 18, Stuttgart 19731995
ThZ Theologische Zeitschrift, Basel
TrThZ Trierer Theologische Zeitschrift, Trier
VF Verkndigung und Forschung: Theologischer Jahresbericht, Mnchen
VT Vetus Testamentum, Leiden
WBC Word Biblical Commentary, Waco (Texas)
WC The Westminster Commentaries, London
WMANT Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und Neuen Testament,
Neukirchen-Vluyn
WUNT Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, Tbingen
ZABR Zeitschrift fr Altorientalische und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte, Wiesbaden
ZAW Zeitschrift fr die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, (Gieen) Berlin/New York
ZBK Zrcher Bibelkommentare, Zrich
ZDPV Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palstina-Vereins, (Leipzig/Stuttgart) Wiesbaden
ZkTh Zeitschrift fr katholische Theologie, Innsbruck
ZThK Zeitschrift fr Theologie und Kirche, Tbingen
Introduction

The Subject of this Study

Literary-critical study of the Bible originated with research into the festival
laws. J. F. L. Georges book on the festivals of Israel, published in 1835,1
left a formative imprint on the subsequent development and crystallization
of the classic approach to literary-historical study of the Pentateuch, as ex-
emplified in J. Wellhausens 1878 work Prolegomena zur Geschichte
Israels.2 Many of Wellhausens conclusions concerning the religious and
social history of Israel during the biblical period rely on his analysis of the
festival laws found in the Pentateuch, in particular his comparison of the
differences between them. Furthermore, the fundamental building blocks
of the documentary hypothesis and the chronological relationship between
the documents themselves were derived from variations in content and
style among the Pentateuchal festival laws.
While the identification of Priestly material in the festival calendars
found in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28293 has gone unquestioned since
Nldekes time,4 major problems regarding the literary-critical evaluation
of the non-Priestly festival laws remain unanswered. In a lecture marking
the hundredth anniversary of Wellhausens publication of Prolegomena zur
Geschichte Israels, M. Sb lamented the fact that since the appearance of
Wellhausens work, the festival laws and the relationship between them
have failed to receive the scholarly attention they deserve.5 Under the

1
J. F. L. George, Die lteren Jdischen Feste, Berlin 1835. The bibliographical de-
tails of those studies explicitly mentioned in the body of this work will generally be cited
in the footnotes in full.
2
Wellhausens book was only published under the title Prolegomena zur Geschichte
Israels beginning with its second edition (Berlin 1883). Its first edition, published in
1878, was printed as the first volume of his Geschichte Israels.
3
With regard to the Priestly calendars, scholarship has focused on identifying their
literary complexities within the Priestly literature; see the recent discussion by Nihan,
Festival Calendars, 177231.
4
Nldekes delineation of the parameters of the Priestly corpus in the Pentateuch was
accepted by most scholars; see T. Nldeke, Untersuchungen zur Kritik des Alten Testa-
ments, Kiel 1869, 1144 (Teil 1: Die sogenannte Grundschrift des Pentateuch).
5
Sb, Priestertheologie und Priesterschrift, 369.
2 Introduction

influence of the comparative study of ancient Near Eastern cultic institu-


tions, scholarly interest has in fact focused more on the phenomenological
study of the cultic aspects of the festivals than on literary-critical analysis
of the texts that purportedly depict them. Sb6 remarked further on the
strong resemblance between the various festival lists that the Graf-Well-
hausen school classically assigned to separate and independent documents
(Exod 34:18, 2223 [J]; ibid., 23:1416 [E]; Deut 16:117 [D]). In his
opinion, the extraordinary resemblance between the lists, on the one hand,
and the clear differences between them, on the other, has yet to receive a
satisfactory explanation. Indeed, it appears that while comprehensive
theories have been offered to elucidate the cultic, theological, and social
developments of the festival institutions, we still lack clarification regard-
ing many of the difficulties arising from the text itself.
It is noteworthy in this regard that many literary-critical appraisals, such
as the attribution of the description of the Pesah in Exod 12:2123 to the
classic J document originally were ventured merely as conjectures.7 Like-
wise, other dubious theories such as the supposition that an ancient rit-
ual decalogue exists in Exodus 348 had become axiomatic in the litera-
ture relating to the festival laws, thus forming the basis for many of the
principles that underlay biblical studies in general9 and the study of the
evolution of biblical law10 and Israels cult11 and religion12 in particular. A
situation has consequently developed whereby many of the essential pre-
suppositions pertaining to the very heart of biblical research and the cultic
and religious development of historical Israel may be undermined by fresh
literary-critical analyses of the Pentateuchal laws relating to the festivals.
Recent years, especially the last decade, have seen reinvigorated interest
in the literary-historical research of the biblical festival calendars,13 and

6
Ibid., 369370.
7
Wellhausen (Composition des Hexateuchs, 75) and Kuenen (Historisch-kritische
Einleitung, 162 [ 9, n. 4d) considered various literary-critical appraisals of Exod 12:21
23. In the end, they tended not to accept the position adopted by most biblical scholars;
regarding this matter, see the second chapter of this work.
8
See Levinson, Goethes Analysis of Exodus 34, 212223.
9
See, for example, Cazelles (Pentateuque, 800, 802, 806) on the ritual decalogue.
10
See, for example, Scharbert (Jahwe im frhisraelitischen Recht, 160183) on
Exod 34:1126.
11
See, for example, Ahuis (Trgergruppen, 4466) on Exod 12:2123.
12
See, for example, Lohfink (Monotheismus, 24) on Exod 34:1126.
13
See the history of research until 2003 in Berlejung, Heilige Zeiten, 361. See also
the monographs of Krting, Schall des Schofar; Weyde, Festivals; Wagenaar, Origin and
Transformation. Similarly, in the study of ancient Near Eastern cultures there is a grow-
ing interest in the calendars and festivals and in the problem of their relationship to
Israels festivals; see e.g. Cohen, Cultic Calendars; Fleming, Time at Emar; see also van
The Subject of this Study 3

new approaches have been formulated. In lectures delivered in 1995 and


1997, and in published form in 1998, I presented my argument that the fes-
tival calendar in Exodus 34 does not present a ritual decalogue or repre-
sent as widely claimed in scholarship Israels earliest legal collection,
but rather a hermeneutically midrashically revised version of the fes-
tival calendar in Exodus 23.14 In those years, B. M. Levinson also began to
think in a similar direction.15 In 1996, an article by E. Blum focused on the
non-legal parts of the covenant-making in the text of Exodus 34, and as-
sessed its date of composition to belong to early post-exilic Judah.16 In the
years since, the line of argument of these studies dissociating the descrip-
tion of the covenant and the laws in Exodus 34 from their classic attribu-
tion to the J document progressively gained acceptance.17
Likewise, the passage in Exod 12:2127 has been recognized in recent
scholarship as a pivotal text in the literary history of the Pentateuch in gen-
eral and the development of the Passover laws in particular. My thesis that
this text is not based upon a pre-Priestly foundation, but rather marks the
original continuation of a Priestly layer in vv. 113 a secondary layer
was first published in brief form in 1995.18 Since then in scholarship on
this central text too one sees productive ferment and the push to grapple
with old conventions regarding Pentateuchal research.19
Already in the very first stages of biblical research, understanding the
puzzling paragraph in Exod 13:116 was thought one of the insoluble
problems of the literary-critical research into the Pentateuch.20 My pro-
posed analysis of this paragraph appears here for the first time.
In 1994, I published on the Deuteronomic festival calendar which is re-
plete with difficulties still debated by scholars a concentrated form of my
thesis, that originally Deuteronomy contained no calendar at all, only a law

der Toorn, Babylonian New Year Festival, 331344; Fleming, Israelite Festival Calen-
dar, 834; idem, Festival Calendars, 161174.
14
My papers, delivered in Israel and Europe, about The Festival Calendars in Exodus
and the Documentary Hypothesis appeared afterwards as an article in Vetus Testamen-
tum 48 (1998), 161195, under the title The Festival Calendars in Exodus XXIII 1419
and XXXIV 1826.
15
See the references in Carr, Method, 107140, and Zahn, Reexamining, 3655.
Levinson presented his analysis in his lecture at the conference on The Pentateuch:
International Perspectives on Current Research (Zrich, January 1012, 2010).
16
Privilegrecht, 347366.
17
Seethebibliographyinchapter 0 .
18
Zur literarkritischen Analyse, 1830.
19
See e.g. Ahuis, Trgergruppen, 4474; Weimar, Zusatz nachdeuteronomistischer
Provenienz, 421448; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 3856; Wagenaar, Origin and Transfor-
mation, 97; Blum, Gesprch mit neueren Endredaktionshypothesen, 135; and see already
May, Relation of the Passover, 6582; Van Seters, Place of the Yahwist, 167182.
20
See recently Zahn, Remember; eadem, Reexamining, 3655.
4 Introduction

adapting the Passover ritual to the principle of cultic centralization.21 The


fuller, detailed analysis published here for the first time encompasses as
well the laws of the Festival of Weeks and of the Festival of Tabernacles.
This volume was written from a literary-critical perspective, based upon
a detailed analysis of the festival laws in the Pentateuch,22 and it will focus
on texts which contain many unresolved difficulties: Exod 12:120, 2128;
13:116; 23:1419; 34:1826; Deut 16:117.23 The genre of these texts
differs from that of the fully formed Priestly calendars in Leviticus 23 and
Numbers 2829.24 In the course of this study, it will become clear that the
choice of these specific texts and the analysis of the connections among
them can cast new light on the laws they contain. Diverging from the pre-
vailing view, the results of this literary-critical analysis will paint a differ-
ent picture of the history of the literary crystallization of the Pentateuchal
festival laws.

Methodology
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darber muss man schweigen.25
Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus logico-philosophicus)

Ich mitraue allen Systematikern und gehe ihnen aus dem Weg.
Der Wille zum System ist ein Mangel an Rechtschaffenheit.26
Friedrich Nietzsche (Gtzen-Dmmerung)

In the wake of a perceived crisis regarding Pentateuchal research, specifical-


ly, the documentary hypothesis, recent decades have seen the emergence of
a wide variety of approaches to the Pentateuch, some defending the
documentary hypothesis, and others proposing new, alternate models.27 On
the one hand, no consensus has formed around a single methodology or

21
Bar-On (Gesundheit), The Festival Calendar in Deuteronomy, 133138.
22
Exod 12:128, 4350; 13:116; 23:1419; 34:1826; Lev 16:134; 23:144; Num
9:114; 28:130:1; Deut 16:117.
23
On Num 28:130:1, see Bar-On (Gesundheit), Sacrifices, 143153. On Num 9:1
14, see Chavel, Second Passover.
24
I have employed here the conventional term calendar, even though it may not be
possible to count the non-Priestly texts as members of the calendar genre in the narrow
meaning of the term; see Wagenaar, Origin and Transformation, 1.
25
What one cannot speak about, one must pass over in silence.
26
I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integ-
rity.
27
See some of the most recent overviews: Nicholson, Pentateuch; Rmer, Penta-
teuchforschung, 289307; Dozeman Schmid, A Farewell to the Yahwist?; Ska, Intro-
duction, 127164; Baden, Pentateuch, 4598.
Methodology 5

approach, but on the other, the fundamental principles of literary-critical


analysis remain prevalent.28 The status of the literary-critical approach has
in fact been strengthened by empirical support gained from the study of
ancient Near Eastern texts,29 as well as by the findings of textual criticism,
namely, the analysis of alternate textual witnesses and the study of the
ancient biblical translations.30
Indeed, the essence of the crisis in the literary-historical study of the
Pentateuch does not stem from the undermining of the method of literary-
critical analysis or from the very distinction made between Priestly literary
layers and non-Priestly material, which is accepted by nearly all scholars.
It stems from questions posed regarding the classic model for describing
the composition of the Pentateuch, as has come to expression in the Graf-
Wellhausen-Kuenen school. Most of the questions themselves are not
new,31 but currently they are being formulated more forcefully and with the
specific goal of refuting the classic model to replace it by an alternate one.
In the last two decades, there are signs of certain shared presuppositions
challenging the classic model having been formulated, but very large gaps
remain between the new alternative models, and the number of new the-
ories is almost the same as the number of scholars proposing them.32 There
does indeed seem to be an excessive number of divisive suppositions and
theories in the field today. 33 And yet, at the same time, there is a lack of
solid literary-critical textual analyses.

28
This conclusion emerges from a survey of most of the recent introductions. For a
contrary argument, see e.g. R. N. Whybray, Introduction; Whybray adopts a synchronic
approach, perceiving the Pentateuch as a single, uniform composition. He dates the Pen-
tateuch to the postexilic period, maintaining that it was composed from earlier documents
into a coherent work by one or more authors.
29
See, for example, Tigay, Stylistic Criterion of Source Criticism, 149173; Eich-
ler, Laws of Eshnunna, 7184; Yaron, Hammurabi, 223238; Otto, Legal Reform
and Reformulation, 160196.
30
See, for example, Tigay, Empirical Basis for the Documentary Hypothesis, 329
342; Rof, Joshua 20: Historico-Literary Criticism Illustrated, 113147; see also Tovs
survey in Textual Criticism, 313349.
31
See, for example, Gunneweg, Anmerkungen und Anfragen zur neueren Penta-
teuchforschung, 107131 (especially 121125); B. Seidel, Entwicklungslinien der
neueren Pentateuchforschung, 476485.
32
The number may even be larger, since due to the continuing critical discussion,
scholars feel constrained fundamentally to change their opinions. See on this point in the
concentrated summary of several of the new Pentateuchal models tested against the ques-
tion of the composition of the Sinai pericope, in Konkel, Snde, 1326.
33
Albertz (Israelite Religion, 7) referred to this phenomenon as the sometimes bound-
less formation of hypotheses. Not a few of the new theories are really old ones resusci-
tated. See Lohfink, Deutronome et Pentateuque, 35; Houtman, Pentateuch, 244246.
6 Introduction

Likewise, it is difficult to deny the argument made by those scholars


adhering to the classic model of the Pentateuchs creation, that the new
theories comprise a large hypothetical element.34 The present work does
not aim to add yet another overarching theory to the mass of theories that
exist in current scholarship on the history of the composition of the Penta-
teuch. Nor do the conclusions drawn in the present work depend on any
particular theory of the Pentateuchs composition. Moreover, the dia-
chronic perspective in it does not lead to an absolute chronology, but to a
relative chronology and to the discernment of literary dependence between
the different texts. Above all, the book aims to be persuasive about the ac-
curacy of the literary analysis itself that is in it. Therefore, against the cur-
rent scholarly trend,35 more space will be given to the manner of analysis.
At times the reader will have to draw a deep breath to read the many pages
that lay out the process of literary-critical analysis, from identifying the
difficulties in the texts coherence without which literary-critical analysis
has no justification whatsoever to presenting the detailed arguments that
strive to vindicate the need for diachronic distinctions within the text. For
example, the need to distinguish within the Deuteronomic festival calendar
a relatively short passage several different stages of composition and
revision can only be made comprehensible by a detailed comparison of the
inner-biblical parallels, elucidation of the texts thrust, and attention to
every one of its details.
This work seeks to invite the reader to a multi-layered reading of the
biblical texts, in an attempt to understand its current formulation in the
light of its gradual development. For that reason, the first reading will
always be a synchronic one of the present, final form of the text. This close
reading will establish whether there exist real difficulties in the coherence
of the passage, difficulties that call for an additional, diachronic reading,
the purpose of which will be to attempt to identify separate compositional
and editorial layers. The third reading will again be a synchronic one of the
texts final form, but the purpose of this synchronic reading will be to reap
the fruit of the labor of the diachronic analysis. For it will assist us to see

34
See, for example, Seebass, Zum Stand der Pentateuchforschung, 115: Das seit
100 Jahren stndig berprfte Modell ist zwar nichts als eine Hypothese zur Erschlieung
eines schwierigen Primrbefundes, aber immer noch die bei weitem einfachste und mit
Abstand vollstndigste. See also W. H. Schmidt, Pldoyer fr die Quellenscheidung,
114; L. Schmidt, Im Dickicht der Pentateuchforschung, 400420.
35
See, for example, Veijola (History of the Passover, 56): How to explain the per-
plexing diversity existing in Deut 16,18 (17) is not an easy task. I shall spare the reader
the trouble of following the route I have taken when attempting to find a proper place for
every piece of this tricky puzzle. Instead I shall present only the result, i.e. a reconstruc-
tion of the four basic strata lying behind the final text (cf. idem, Studien, 133 f.; Deutero-
nomium, 329).
Methodology 7

the difficulties and anomalies of the text in a new light no longer simply
as interference in the flow, but as manifestations of innovative inner-biblical
exegesis. This perspective should strengthen and confirm after the fact the
insights gained during the literary-critical analysis of the second, diachron-
ic reading.36
In a time of a preponderance of new theories all struggling to solve the
riddle of the formation of the Pentateuch, there exists the concern that
sometimes the literary analysis serves to support a theory rather than the
other way around. The overall view presses the scholar to see all the liter-
ary phenomena in the light of a single, reified theory, and the scholar
stands to lose the flexibility required to adapt the theory to the text rather
than force the conclusions of the textual analysis to fit the desired theory.
In contrast to current convention, I have not desisted from employing
varied types of literary analysis for the different passages. For the scholar
must strive to build a set of tools for him- or herself by close engagement
with the text itself, according to the needs of the specific text. Aside from
the literary-historical criticism itself, based on evaluating the coherence of
the text from the points of view of its content, context, style and syntax,
the scholar must approach the text without assuming a particular theoreti-
cal model. The reader of the present book may be surprised to discover that
each chapter works through a different literary-critical model, as suits the
particular text being studied. It attempts to match the theory to the text and
not the text to any preexisting theory. The first chapter compares the two
similar festival calendars in Exodus 23 and 34, and proposes to demonstrate
that the latter is in fact the hermeneutic, midrashic revision of the former.
The second chapter works to show that Exod 12:128 comprises a primary
layer into which were inserted, in a chiastic sequence, the epexegetical com-
ments of a secondary layer. Additionally, it highlights a passage attesting
to an extra-temple apotropaic Passover rite established for all generations
(vv. 2227a), but which was severed from its original location in the text
and thereby lost its validity over the course of the history of the cultic litera-
ture of the Bible. The third chapter lays out the argument that the Deutero-
nomic festival calendar was not initially composed as such, but rather
developed from a text originally centralizing the Passover rite. In success-
ive stages, this law was supplemented by laws about sacrifice and about
leaven and unleavened bread taken from passages in the book of Exodus.
The fourth chapter treats the two legal paragraphs in Exodus 13 as counter-
texts to the law of the extra-temple, apotropaic Passover rite. Each one of

36
In this third reading, I gain much from the thoughtful work in Levinson, Deuteron-
omy. But, as opposed to Levinson, I do not sever the hermeneutics of legal innovation
from literary-historical analysis, and certainly see no contradiction between them (ibid.,
56).
8 Introduction

them constitutes an alternative to the problematic Passover. Whereas the


first (vv. 310) took shape gradually, the second (vv. 1116) was composed
in its entirety in a single late stage. Significantly, the order of the chapters
does not follow the order of the texts within the Torah or any another for-
mal criterion, but the quality of the data and the substance of the argument,
going from the most direct method of analysis to ever more complex.
Archaeological and agricultural data, parallel materials from the ancient
Near East, and ancient post-biblical interpretation can all help only to the
degree that they illuminate or buttress conclusions drawn from the biblical
text itself. Again, in contrast to the prevalent scholarly trend, I will attempt
to resist as much as possible interpreting a biblical passage or expression
in the light of extra-biblical information if a strong pull towards it is not
present in the text itself. For however attractive a particular scholarly
theory or hypothesis might be, the decisive gauge must always be the bib-
lical text itself. For instance, in both old and new studies, the calendrical
meaning of the unique term Festival of the Harvest (  ), which
only appears in the festival calendar of Exodus 23 (v. 16), is considered
identical to the term Festival of Weeks (  ) that appears in the
other calendars in the Pentateuch and all the other festival references in the
Bible. This assumption may seem reasonable in the light of extra-biblical
sources like the Gezer calendar, but it ignores the literary phenomenon of
the Bible, that the term  is a hapax legomenon yet its meaning is
perfectly clear in its context. By contrast, the other biblical festival calen-
dars contain deliberate, tendentious revisions that fill the term 
with new significance, alter its date, and recast it as a Festival of Weeks.
In the face of the authority of the statement of the biblical text, even
material knowledge of festival rites in the ancient Near East and of ancient
agriculture is only a second-order source.
The common approach of interpreting verses in the light of extra-bibli-
cal parallels while overlooking unique literary aspects of the biblical text
itself derives from the tacit assumption that it is perfectly obvious that the
festival calendars in the Pentateuch record reality as it occurred. However,
one must bear in mind that this assumption enjoys no support from the
early biblical literature, which describes an annual Festival of YHWH in
Shiloh (Judg 21:19) or a wine celebration (Judg 9:27) or the like,
but never a thrice-annual pilgrimage festival. Therefore, one should resist
projecting from the text onto reality, then from the speculated reality on
the grounds of extra-biblical parallels back onto the text, and interpreting
the text in the light of material data, without the data having a strong foot-
hold already within the text. Until proven otherwise, one should relate to
the literary texts about the festivals as literature, and attempt to trace the
legislative, cultic and theological ends of the different festival calendars.
Methodology 9

The preference for interpreting the text by means of the text and not by
way of prior assumptions prescribes also a certain restraint in the interpre-
tive implications that stem from the broader context of the passage, such as
the so-called Book of the Covenant, in which is found the festival calendar
in Exodus 23. In the light of the plethora of theories that exists about the
literary history of the gradual shape taken by the Book of the Covenant,
one should resist approaching the festival calendar in Exodus 23 from the
point of view of prior scholarly assumptions that derive from such theories
rather than from the festival calendar itself. One should first interpret the
text of the calendar on its own terms, and only draw secondarily upon the
broader context to the degree that it will illuminate the comprehension of
the festival calendar passage.
The desire for a comprehensive solution to the literary complexity of the
biblical text often leads scholars to omit performing detailed literary-criti-
cal analyses in favor of immersing themselves in theory and phenomenol-
ogy. 37 This shift in scholarly emphasis even creates the impression that
often, textual study is no longer the goal of the research, but rather the
means to an end, the true purpose being to discover a theoretical solution
for explaining the historical evolution of the text to its present form.
This work was written based upon the assumption that the primary pur-
pose of biblical study is to arrive at an understanding of the text in its
present literary form. Engaging in the theoretical question of the texts cre-
ation is only justified in so far as it serves this true purpose. By restraining
the impulse to engage in theoretical, speculative forays, an attempt is made
to minimize the danger of an undue bias prejudicing the characterization of
the texts under discussion. For the weight of the fundamental theoretical
assumptions may create the demand for a certain reading that is to say, a
misreading of the text. A. Toeg said it well, in a similar methodological
context: There is a methodological justification, indeed, obligation, to
concentrate almost exclusively on literary analysis. The more strictly
discussion is confined to this area, the less likely it is to fall prey to the
danger of leaving the facts behind and sailing off into the seas of pure
speculation. Forin the realm of facts there lies nothing but the literary
phenomenon itself.38 Furthermore, immersion in the realm of the facts,
that is to say, in pure literary-critical analysis which ignores general
theoretical considerations in the first stage stands, at the end of the day,
both to produce a theory more in keeping with the text itself and to provide

37
In contrast to this tendency, before publishing his phenomenological work Pro-
legomena zur Geschichte Israels Wellhausen engaged in detailed literary analyses of the
Pentateuch and the Early Prophets (Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der histori-
schen Bcher des Alten Testaments), which were first published in 18761877.
38
Toeg, Lawgiving, 4.
10 Introduction

a stronger foundation for historical research into the cultic evolution of the
festivals. Above all, this work wishes to persuade readers of the vital
necessity of adopting the literary-critical approach in order to reach an
understanding of the text in its present literary form.
The literary-critical analysis undertaken here is not based exclusively
upon stylistic markers but upon a cross-section of literary-critical criteria.
The most crucial of these arise from the difficulties present in the content,
structure, context, and syntax of the passages under discussion. Likewise,
extensive use will be made of the comparative literary analysis of parallel
passages. The very existence of stylistic and substantive parallels allows us
to ground our literary-critical analysis upon a factual, that is, a textual
basis. In many cases a genetic relationship, that is to say, a substantive and
literary dependence, can be discerned between the parallel passages. In this
way, external data is adduced to support diachronic conclusions reached
through an analysis of the texts internal data. Consequently, this approach
challenges a tendency, particularly common among those engaged in tradi-
tion history, to adopt an a priori supposition that two parallel texts have a
common third source, and that both texts are actually independent literary
crystallizations deriving from this common hypothetical source.39 Clearly,
such a theoretical and speculative approach does not advance the cause of
the texts literary analysis; indeed, all it offers is a restatement of the the-
ory itself. Therefore, such an assumption does not seem to have any
methodological justification unless it is impossible to establish any genetic
relationship between two parallel passages. It is vital to analyze the facts
presenting themselves, instead of immediately entertaining speculative
assumptions, which, before any analysis has even begun, bar the scholars
path to an unbiased analysis of the biblical text. Instead of assuming a
hypothetical text, which exists only in his imagination, the scholar should
direct his attention to analyzing the text before his very eyes.
Presuppositions that proceed from tradition-historical research should
fructify and enrich the understanding of the text, but they must be weighed
against the text itself. Since the study of tradition history deals with the
pre-literary stage, for which we have no evidence, it is of necessity specu-
lative. Hence the great importance of subordinating tradition-historical
research to literary-critical analysis. One should forbear from determining
on the basis of considerations derived from tradition history what is early
and late in a text comprising different layers. After all, even an element
issuing from an early tradition can appear in the text as a late, secondary
addition to it. This, for example, is the essence of the literary-critical

39
M. Greenberg (Ezekiel, 469) writes in respect to such presuppositions: Such a
possibility cannot be denied, but is it more likely than the assumption of borrowing? See
also Greenberg, Valid Criteria, 132.
Methodology 11

debate continuing for some hundred years about the proper assessment of
the complex pericope of the Passover and unleavened bread in Deut 16:1
8. It is clear that the conception of the unleavened bread in its literary form
in the Book of the Covenant precedes the configuration of the Passover
sacrifice in the Deuteronomic source. But, in contradistinction to the
approach often taken in current scholarship, this theoretical consideration
cannot be allowed to decide the diachronic analysis while dissociating
philological and literary-critical considerations that proceed from the text
being analyzed.
In this spirit, the order of the chapters in this book does not express the
chronological arrangement learned from the diachronic analysis of the
texts treated. Rather, as noted above, it aims to assist the reader to follow
the different kinds of literary analyses required by the different kinds of
textual data available in each case, beginning with a case that combines the
most concrete data and the most straightforward analysis and progressing
through increasingly complex data and analyses.
1 Chapter 1

The Festival Calendars in Exod 23:1419


and 34:1826

1.1 The Problem

Classic criticism assigns the festival calendar found in Exod 34:1826 to J,


presumed to be the earliest of the Pentateuchal sources, and its counterpart
in Exod 23:1419 to E.1 This determination is inextricably linked with the
prevailing view which regards the Book of the Covenant (Exod 20:22
23:33) as the law-book of the Elohistic document and the Minor Book of
the Covenant (Exod 34:1026) as that of the Yahwistic source.2 Even
scholars who diverge from this traditional method of correlating the non-
Priestly law-codes with the narrative sources, acknowledging that there are
literary and redactional relationships between the two festival calendars,
adhere for the most part to the basic assumption that the earliest kernel of
Israels calendar of sacred feasts is to be sought in the substratum of the
text of Exod 34:1826.3

1
Unless stated otherwise, festival calendar includes the laws in Exod 23:1819 and
34:2526, in addition to the provisions pertaining to the three pilgrimage festivals.
2
See, for instance, Dillmann Ryssel, Exodus, 370371; Cornill, Einleitung, 2829;
McNeile, Exodus, 140143, 220; Driver, Exodus, 242246, 370374; Kittel, Geschichte,
493; Anderson, Introduction, 31, 35, 50; McCarthy, Treaty and Covenant, 165; Haran,
Book of the Covenant, 1090.
3
This is held to be the case by most adherents of the theory that the festival calendar
in Exodus 34 is part of a ritual decalogue (34:1426), believed to be earlier than both
the ethical decalogue (Exod 20:117) and the Book of the Covenant (Exod 20:22
23:33). The ritual decalogue hypothesis took shape in light of the view that the terms
of the covenant made in Exodus 34 are identical with the ten words written on the two
stone tablets (Exod 34:28). This understanding of the text is actually known from the
writings of a fifth-century Alexandrian theologian (see Nestle, Ein Vorgnger Goethes,
134135), and was revived in an anonymous essay by the young poet Goethe in 1773
(Zwo wichtige bisher unerrterte biblische Fragen: Zum erstenmal grndlich beantwortet
von einem Landgeistlichen in Schwaben; see Levinson, Goethes Analysis of Exodus
34, 212223). Such Darwinistic attribution of greater antiquity to cultic law than ethical
law is typical of the Graf and Wellhausenian view of the evolution of Israels religion,
and Wellhausen in fact adopted Goethes suggestion; see Wellhausen, Composition des
Hexateuchs, 8485. (In this he was preceded by Hitzig, Ostern und Pfingsten, 42;
Bertheau, Die sieben Gruppen mosaischer Gesetze, 9093; Ewald, Geschichte, II, 238.)
The Problem 13

In the following study I shall attempt to refute this reigning consensus


and to suggest an alternative view of the festival calendar in Exod 34:1826
and its relationship to the parallel passage in Exod 23:1419.4 The para-
meters of the discussion will be confined to literary analysis, in the hope that,
by setting aside considerations of a more general nature concerning the

Wellhausen later defended the theory against Kuenens attack (ibid., 329335). The num-
ber of suggestions as to how one can locate a decalogue in this text is embarrassingly
large; for a catalogue of 36 different attempts see Wilms, Jahwistisches Bundesbuch,
200206. This fact has not, however, deterred numerous scholars from embracing the the-
ory of the ritual decalogue. See, for instance, the commentaries of Holzinger, Exodus,
96, 119120; Baentsch, Exodus, xlvixlvii; Beer Galling, Exodus, 163164; as well as:
Budde, Gesetzgebung der mittleren Bcher, 220; Erbt, Monotheismus, 117; Marti,
Geschichte der israelitischen Religion, 126; Eissfeldt, Hexateuch-Synopse, II, 274275;
Morgenstern, Oldest Document of the Hexateuch, 2 and passim; Cazelles, Penta-
teuque, 800, 802, 806; Rowley, Moses, 91; Fohrer, berlieferung und Geschichte, 68,
71; Richter, Recht und Ethos, 126; Gese, Dekalog als Ganzheit, 130131.
Even scholars who reject the ritual decalogue hypothesis generally view Exod
34:1826 as an extremely ancient legal document or even as the oldest document in the
Pentateuch; see the following studies: Paton, Book of the Covenant, 9095; W. Baudis-
sin, Einleitung, 132; Steuernagel, Einleitung, 154155; Gremann, Mose, 477; H.
Schmidt, Mose, 100103; Jepsen, Bundesbuch, 9095; Eberharter, Zwei Rezensio-
nen, 159; Hofbauer, Komposition, 521526; M. Buber, Moses, 141142; Beyerlin, Si-
naitraditionen, 96102; Kraus, Gottesdienst, 4244; Kosmala, So-Called Ritual Deca-
logue, 51; Lohfink, Bundesurkunde, 488; Weiser, Einleitung, 99; Horn, Traditions-
schichten, 209211; Wilms, Jahwistisches Bundesbuch, 208213; Halbe, Privilegrecht,
256315 (286); Hossfeld, Dekalog, 211212.
A number of scholars even suppose that the festival calendar of Exodus 23 is literarily
dependent upon the original form of the so-called Minor Book of the Covenant; see the
commentaries of Baentsch, Exodus, xlviii; Holzinger, Exodus, 99; Beer Galling, Exodus,
119; as well as: Graf, Untersuchungen, 2829; Wellhausen, Composition des Hexateuchs,
90; Kuenen, Historisch-kritische Einleitung, 232 ( 13, n. 19), compare 151 ( 8, n. 18
end); Jlicher, Quellen von Exodus, 300301; Budde, Gesetzgebung der mittleren
Bcher, 217219; Bacon, Triple Tradition, 124, note; Staerk, Deuteronomium, 32;
Smend, Erzhlung des Hexateuch, 180, 182; Berry, Ritual Decalogue, 4142; Cazelles,
Code de lAlliance, 97102, 108, 183; Eissfeldt, Einleitung, 285287; Fohrer, Das soge-
nannte apodiktisch formulierte Recht, 71; Gerstenberger, Wesen und Herkunft, 59 n. 2;
Otto, Mazzotfest in Gilgal, 241 ff.; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 48 ff.; idem, Wochenfest, 171.
4
Despite methodological and substantive differences, important precursors of the ap-
proach advanced here are not lacking; they are: George, Feste, 110 ff.; Klostermann, Pen-
tateuch, 527 ff.; anda, Moses und der Pentateuch, 185187; Heinisch, Exodus, 243; Alt,
Die Ursprnge des israelitischen Rechts, I, 317 n. 1; Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation,
194197; Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 38 n. 1; Aurelius, Frbitter Israels, 116
121; Achenbach, Israel, 275283. To this list may be added all those who detect Deutero-
nomic redaction in Exodus 34; see below, p. 41 and n. 76.
14 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

Pentateuchal law-codes and conducting an unbiased literary investigation,


one may arrive at a more objective understanding of the specific matter at
hand.
The key to understanding the festival calendar in Exodus 34 would seem
to lie in a detailed comparison with the parallel text in Exodus 23. The fol-
lowing diagram provides the full text of each calendar, and highlights the
full extent of the common material while distinguishing the material that is
different in them:

Exod 23:1419 Exod 34:1826

v. 14
 
v. 15   v. 18  
 
    
 
     
v. 19   
   
v. 20   
  
  
   
v. 21   
   
v. 16   v. 22  
 

      

   
 

v. 17 
  v. 23   

  
  


v. 24    
 
 
  
 
v. 18     v. 25     
    
v. 19
   v. 26 
  
 
    
The Problem 15

Exod 23:1419 Exod 34:1826

v. 14 On three occasions you shall


feast to Me during the year.
v. 15 The Festival of Unleavened v. 18 The Festival of Unleavened
Bread you shall keep Bread you shall keep
for seven days you shall eat for seven days you shall eat
unleavened bread, unleavened bread,
as I commanded you which I commanded you
at the time of the month of at the time of the month of
Abib, Abib,
because in it because in the month of Abib
you left Egypt. you left Egypt.
v. 19 All womb-breachers are Mine
(lit. to Me). And all your
herds [you shall give the
males of?] the ox- and sheep-
breachers.
v. 20 But a donkey-breacher you
shall redeem with a sheep, and
if you do not (so) redeem, then
you must break its neck. All
the first-borns of your sons you
shall redeem.
And My face shall not be seen And My face shall not be seen
empty-handed. empty-handed.
v. 21 Six days you will work and on
the seventh day you shall cease
work; in plowing season and
harvest season you shall cease
work.
v. 16 And the Festival of the Harvest: v. 22 And a Festival of Weeks you
the first-fruits of your produce shall do: the first-fruits of
that you sow in the field. wheat harvest.
And the Festival of the And the Festival of the
Ingathering, at the end of the Ingathering, the turn of the
year, when you ingather your year.
produce from the field.
v. 17 Three times during the year all v. 23 Three times during the year all
your males shall appear before your males shall appear before
( ) the Lord, YHWH. ( ) the Lord, YHWH
the God of Israel.
16 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

Exod 23:1419 Exod 34:1826

v. 24 When I eradicate nations


before you and expand your
territory, no one will covet
your land when you go to
appear before YHWH your God
three times during the year.
v. 18 You shall not sacrifice with v. 25 You shall not slaughter with
leavened food My sacrificial leavened food My sacrificial
blood; blood;
and My festal fat and the Pesah-festival sacrifice
shall not remain overnight shall not remain overnight
until morning. till morning.
v. 19 The prime first-fruits of your v. 26 The prime first-fruits of your
land you shall bring to the land you shall bring to the
house of YHWH your God. house of YHWH your God.
You shall not cook a kid in its You shall not cook a kid in its
mothers milk. mothers milk.

To my mind, any unprejudiced consideration of the large number of virtu-


ally identical provisions cannot lead to any conclusion other than that the
two calendars of festivals are actually one and the same text. The accepted
view of these two passages as belonging to two different documents J and
E representing two literarily independent formulations, would seem not to
be the result of objective study of the two texts themselves but rather of the
scholarly necessity to sustain the classic documentary hypothesis. But out-
side of the support it has provided for the source-critical theory, this
approach has contributed little to the actual interpretation and characteriza-
tion of the two calendars. It has in fact, to some extent, actually barred the
way to critical exegesis, since the theoretical model adopted has tended not
only to obscure the remarkable similarity between the two texts thus
relieving scholars of the need to account for the existence of practically
identical material but also to enable scholars to disregard the precise dif-
ferences between the two texts.
In contrast to existing method, the avenue of inquiry to be pursued here
will not shirk from drawing the obvious conclusion from the undeniable
resemblances between the two texts; namely, that one was copied from the
other.5 It will also attempt to explain why the copyist has revised his Vor-
lage, altering and supplementing it as he rewrote.

5
The possibility that both texts have been copied from a third is, for our purposes,
irrelevant, since, as will be shown, one of the texts is in any case patently older than the
Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 17

We shall first consider the additional material found in Exodus 34 as


compared with Exodus 23; next we shall discuss the differences between
the two texts in formulation and style; finally we shall attempt to account
for the isolated cases in which the text of Exodus 23 is lacking in compari-
son with the parallel text in Exodus 34.

1.2 Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23

1.2.1 The Law of the First-Born


In its present form, the law recorded in Exod 13:12, 1115 reflects the
conception that the command to consecrate the first-born was given in the
wake of the annihilation of all the first-borns in the land of Egypt (v. 15),
and that its purpose was commemorative: to remind future generations that
with strength of hand YHWH brought us out of Egypt, the house of bond-
age (v. 14). This, it will be argued below, is a relatively late text, depend-
ent upon the law of the first-born in Exod 34:1920.6 As distinct from the
law in Exodus 23, none of the other Pentateuchal legislation regarding the
first-born (Exod 22:2829; Lev 27:2627; Deut 15:1923) is aware of any
connection with the slaying of the first-born of Egypt. Moreover, this con-
nection is totally absent from practically all other contexts, including pass-
ages that speak of the Pesah offering and the Festival of Unleavened
Bread. The only exception is a late stratum of the Priestly source reflected
in Num 3:13 and 8:17, where, in connection with the ceremonies of dedi-
cation of the Levites, the slaying of the Egyptian first-born is given as the
rationale for YHWHs ownership of all first-borns in Israel.7 The suspicion
thus arises that the mention of the first-born in Exodus 34 in the context of
the Festival of Unleavened Bread is an expansion which, as shown by the
comparison to the original text still preserved in Exod 23:15, the writer has
added to the festival calendar.
The suspicion is confirmed by a consideration of the words and My
face shall not be seen empty-handed. In Exod 23:15 these words appear
without further elaboration in connection with the Festival of Unleavened
Bread, leaving the reader to wonder just what one is to bring as an offering
on this pilgrimage festival in order to avoid seeing YHWHs face empty-
handed. In their present context in Exod 34:20b, however, these same

other. Thus, in my formulation of the process, the secondary text was copied from the
original one, while in the alternative formulation, both were copied from a common
source but one is closer to it than the other. The difference is thus a speculative, theoreti-
cal matter only.
6
See chapter 4.
7
See already Steuernagel, Einleitung, 160 ( 40, 5c) and many recent commentaries.
18 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

words can only be taken to refer to the offering of first-born animals


during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The writer of Exodus 34 has
expanded the original text by interpolating the command to offer the first-
born, positioning it between the basic law requiring the observance of the
Festival of Unleavened Bread itself and the otherwise unexplained words
and My face shall not be seen empty-handed. He has thus interpreted
these words to mean: do not dare to participate in the Festival of Unleavened
Bread without bringing along any first-born livestock as an offering to
YHWH.8
Such a law, however, positively commanding the Israelite to bring his
first-born animals as an offering to YHWH as a part of the observance of
the Festival of Unleavened Bread, is nowhere to be found in the Penta-
teuch. Further, this interpretation of the words and My face shall not be
seen empty-handed cannot possibly be their original intent; rather it
stands to reason that they pertain to all three annual pilgrimage festivals,
not to that of alone.9 This is corroborated by the summary verse
(Exod 34:23): however the face of YHWH is to be seen, it is to be seen
three times a year. This is precisely the manner in which the words in
question were understood by the author of Deuteronomy 16, who has actu-
ally incorporated them in the concluding summary (v. 16):10

8
See, for instance, Dillmann Ryssel, Exodus, 276; compare Fishbane, Biblical Inter-
pretation, 196.
9
This is certainly true with regard to Exod 23:15, where there is no mention whatso-
ever of the first-born. Thus, in their original context, the words in question pertain to the
general prescription On three occasions you shall feast to Me during the year (Exod
23:14); indeed, this verse appears to be their most natural original context. Perhaps it
was, and the verse could be reconstructed to read On three occasions you shall feast to
Me during the year, and My face shall not be seen empty-handed. If so, then the
possibility that the words and My face shall not be seen empty-handed have been
dislodged accidentally from their original placement, directly before v. 15 ( 
etc.) and moved to their present location, before v. 16 (  ) should not be dis-
counted (perhaps in an instance of homoioteleuton). Even if this text-critical suggestion
is rejected, the words and My face shall not be seen empty-handed in Exodus 23
certainly apply to the command to make a festival itself, though in this case the location
of the stipulation would have to be explained as a result of the lawgiver having
mentioned it in connection with the first of the three festivals, the Festival of Unleavened
Bread, while assuming it to be in effect on the other two festivals as well; see, for
instance, Kalisch, Exodus, 454; Keil, Genesis und Exodus, 494.
10
For the possibility that the existing vocalization does not represent the original
intent, and that the true sense of the phrase is see the face of YHWH compare already
Geiger, Urschrift, 337; Luzzatto, Isaiah, at 1:12.
To be sure, the texts of Exod 34:23 and Deut 16:16 could also be adaptations of the
words and My face shall not be seen empty-handed in Exod 23:15 (see below), in
which case the interpretation reflected is indeed the original intent.
Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 19

Three times during the year all your males shall appear before Y HWH your God in
the place that He will choose, at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, at the Festival of
Weeks, and at the Festival of Tabernacles, and none shall appear before YHWH empty-
handed.

The fact that the text of Exod 34:1920 leaves no option but to interpret
the words and My face shall not be seen empty-handed in a way utterly
opposed to their plain meaning thus lends considerable weight to the sup-
position that this passage is a secondary expansion.
These two verses in Exodus 34 concerning the first-born are in fact
much closer in content and style to the parallel Priestly passages (Lev
27:2627 and Num 18:1518) than they are to the non-Priestly ones (Exod
22:2829 and Deut 15:1923). The term  (womb-breacher) in
v. 19 is attested in the Priestly texts in various forms (Num 3:12; 8:16;
18:15; cf. Ezek 20:26) but is absent from the non-Priestly legislation,
which makes use of the term (first-born) only. The reliance of the
first-born legislation in Exodus 34 on Priestly texts is thus unmistakable.
In this light, the repeated use of and  throughout the de-
tailed prescriptions in Exod 34:1920, only to be replaced suddenly by the
word in the concluding command, becomes all the more remarkable.
It would seem that the last clause is an expanded, clarifying version of the
parallel law in Exodus 22:

Exod 22:28b Exod 34:1920


  



    
All womb-breachers are Mine
the ox- and sheep-breachers.
But a donkey-breacher
The first-born of your sons you shall All the first-borns of your sons you shall
give to Me. redeem.

Clearly, the detailed provisions of the law, which employ the term
( ), are the later material, while the final clause would seem to be drawn
from the ancient text. Yet even this final stipulation, that the first-born of
humans are to be redeemed, has not merely been copied and preceded by a
series of later additions. This corrected version of the earlier law in Ex-
odus 22 has been designed to make clear that the first-born of humans are
not to be given, at least not in the same sense that the first-born of live-
stock are given, but rather redeemed. Without this correction, the op-
posite conclusion might surely have been drawn from the text of Exod
22:2829:
20 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

You shall not hold back your fullness or your outflow; the first-born of your sons you
shall give to Me. So shall you do regarding your oxen and your sheep;11 seven days it
will be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me.

In response to this formulation of the law, in which both the first-born of


livestock and those of humans are to be given and no distinction seems
to be made, the writer in Exodus 34 has introduced the explicit stipulation
that the human first-born are to be redeemed.
The law in Exodus 13, which will be argued below to be dependent
upon Exodus 34, has been formulated to stress this very same distinction
between humans and livestock:

Exod 13:13 Exod 34:20


   
And all human first-borns among your sons All the first-borns of your sons
you shall redeem. you shall redeem.

The same sensitivity may underlie the Priestly legislation in Num 18:15:
All womb-breachers of all living things that are offered to YHWH, human or animal, shall
be yours; but 12 you must redeem 13 the human first-born and the first-born of impure an-
imals you shall redeem.

The fact that the practice of redeeming both human first-born and those of
impure animals is confined to Exodus 34 and the Priestly legislation (Lev
27:27; Num 18:1517) and is absent from the laws of the first-born found
in the non-Priestly codes cannot be overemphasized. The very use of the
verbal stem in legal-cultic contexts is characteristic of Priestly texts in
particular. The conclusion would seem to be inescapable: the text of the
first-born law in Exodus 34 is based on that found in Exod 22:28b, but has
been rewritten to accord with Priestly legislation. This in turn has resulted
in the stylistic inconsistency   .14
It appears that the purpose of the secondary interpolation of the first-
born law in the festival calendar when it was revised (Exod 34:1920) was

11
On the problem of the literary unity of v. 29 see Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation,
181 ff.
12
For the word  as a (Priestly) formula indicative of restrictive inner-biblical
exegesis, see Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation, 184185, 197198 (in D it is expansive).
13
Here as frequently, the inf. abs. together with the finite verb (  ) is not
merely emphatic but contrastive; see GKC, 113op.
14
It is noteworthy that the law in Lev 27:2627, the kernel of which is admitted to be
quite early even by the Wellhausen school, shows no familiarity with the redemption of
first-born humans (compare the open opposition to such a procedure in the -law of
v. 29!). This law too, just like the ancient law of Exod 22:2829, employs only the term
.
Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 21

to spell out precisely what the interpolator felt could be inferred from the
words and My face shall not be seen empty-handed which were already
present in the original text but not, in his view, sufficiently specific. The
notion that the first-born of Israel human and animal were consecrated
to YHWH when the first-born of Egypt were slain, which emerges from the
Exodus narrative in its present form,15 finds expression only in Exod 13:1
2, 1115 and in the Priestly rationale found in Num 3:13 and 8:17. But the
actual command found in Exodus 34 itself, namely, that the first-born live-
stock are to be offered on the Festival of Unleavened Bread, is not attested
anywhere else in the Pentateuch.

1.2.2 The Cessation of Work on the Seventh Day


Exod 34:21, which requires the cessation of work on the seventh day, in-
terrupts the sequence of the festival calendar, occurring between the Festi-
val of Unleavened Bread and that of Weeks. This alone suggests that this
passage too, which is also not present in the original text of the festival
calendar as given in Exodus 23, may be the result of secondary expansion
of the earlier text. Indeed, the calendar in Exodus 23 does include the
weekly cessation from work but there (v. 12) it precedes the pilgrimage
festivals (vv. 1419), following the law of the seventh, fallow year
(vv. 1011). The copyist wished to include the reference to the weekly ces-
sation of labor as an integral part of the festival calendar. This practice of
incorporating the mention of the weekly Sabbath in the listing of annual
festivals is a uniquely Priestly one, as is immediately apparent from the
inclusion of the Sabbath in the Priestly calendars of sacred occasions in
Leviticus 23 and Numbers 2829, at least in their final forms.
It should also be remarked that the law of weekly cessation from labor
in Exodus 34 has omitted the humanistic, social rationale for the Sabbath
found in Exod 23:12, just as the Priestly writers have done. The writer or
perhaps a later interpolator has replaced it with in plowing season and
in harvest season ( ) you shall cease work (34:21b), thereby providing
the needed justification for the unusual placement of the law, between the
and festivals the latter being the festival celebrating the first-
fruits of the wheat harvest (  ) (v. 22);16 namely, the desire to

15
The words and every first-born animal (  ) in Exod 11:5 and 12:29
may very well be late interpolations, and the original account of the slaying of the first-
born spoke only of humans; see below, pp. 183186, 4 .3.4.2.
16
This interpretation of the juxtaposition can be traced to M. Piorka (born in 1853),
author of a commentary entitled Derek Haqqode (published posthumously, Jerusalem
1980), who cites an earlier commentator with a similar view (I, 112). In critical scholar-
ship it was advanced by Klostermann, Pentateuch, 529 n. 4, 532; for full elaboration, see
Jacob, Exodus, 995. The interpretation is not jeopardized by the suggestion that the
22 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

stipulate that the harvesting of the field, which takes place in the interval
between the Festival of Unleavened Bread and the -festival, does not
override the command to cease all labor on the seventh day. This tendency,
to stress the prohibition of labor on the weekly Sabbath, is also characteris-
tic of Priestly redactors.17

1.2.3 The Epithet God of Israel


The added epithet God of Israel in Exod 34:23, when it is compared with
the otherwise almost identical verse in Exodus 23, is particularly remark-
able:

Exod 23:17 Exod 34:23



  
 
    

  
 

Three times during the year Three times during the year
all your males shall appear all your males shall appear
before the Lord, YHWH. before the Lord, YHWH
the God of Israel.

The combination YHWH the God of Israel is not widespread in the Penta-
teuch,18 and it may be that its appearance in Exodus 34, which, in its
present narrative context, functions as part of the covenant-renewal fol-
lowing the calf episode, is not mere coincidence. Twice in the course of
the calf narrative we are reminded that Aaron cried out These are your

words in plowing season and in harvest season you shall cease work are a merism, and
that the intent is: at all times in the agricultural year (see Gen 45:6; 2 Sam 8:12); compare
Halbe, Privilegrecht, 190. For an attempt to connect the mention of the weekly Sabbath
with the counting of seven weeks, see Crsemann, Tora, 159; Nah, Did the Tannaim
Interpret, 436439; the latter is criticized by Henschke, Tannaitic Meaning, 442446;
Schwartz, Week, 191194.
17
The placement of the Priestly laws dealing with the sanctity of the weekly Sabbath
alongside the commands for the building of the tabernacle (Exod 31:1217; 35:23) is in-
tended to stress that even the worthy task of building the tabernacle may not be per-
formed on the Sabbath. This redactional intent was correctly apprehended by the Rabbis
and the medieval exegetes; see Mekhilta de-Rashbi, 222 (edn Epstein Melamed); Rashi,
Rashbam, Nahmanides, and Ibn Ezra, at Exod 31:13; Rashi and Nahmanides, at Exod
35:2; Rashbam and Ibn Ezra, at Exod 25:1; compare Wellhausen, Composition des Hexa-
teuchs, 145.
18
As the expression is attested only twice more, in passages classically assigned to E
(Exod 5:1 and 32:27), its appearance here, in a recognized J passage, is all the more
unique.
Additions in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 23

gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt (Exod 32:4,
8). Perhaps the writer responsible for the revised festival calendar of
Exodus 34 wished to take into account the total narrative context, and the
unusual epithet YHWH the God of Israel is his way of referring to the
perversion of the calf apostasy, when the molten god became Israels God.
In order to create the clearest possible contrast between that
 in
which the calf was worshipped (see Exod 32:5), the writer now admon-
ishes Israel, at the moment the covenant is renewed, to make its by
appearing before YHWH the God of Israel.19
The prohibition of making molten gods (34:17) may also have been
formulated in order to allude to the making of the molten calf (32:4, 8).20
Indeed, all the terms of the renewed covenant in Exodus 34 may have been
designed as a corrective to the calf apostasy. In contrast to the broad scope
and variegated nature of the laws in what the text itself refers to (Exod 24:7)
as the Book of the Covenant (Exod 20:2223:33), the whole content of
what scholars call the Minor Book of the Covenant (Exod 34:1126) is
confined to a few laws against idolatry and the calendar of festivals.
These two are the very areas in which the Israelites are said to have com-
mitted offense against the deity by worshipping the calf: they celebrated a
(32:5) and sacrificed and prostrated themselves before a molten calf
(32:6, 8).21

1.2.4 Verse 24
We come finally to v. 24, which enlarges upon the recapitulation of the
command to appear before YHWH three times a year. Practically no scholar
disputes the attribution of this passage to a redactor who assumes the
centralization of the cult, and who seeks to encourage pilgrimage to the
single shrine on the festivals.22 The requirement that the entire people
make a pilgrimage, all on the same date, to a single shrine, which may lie at
some distance from ones own locale, must lead to prolonged absences
from ones ancestral homestead. The understandable anxiety about leaving
the entire country virtually unprotected from the neighboring peoples is
alleviated by the lawgiver in the promise that no one will covet your

19
Compare the longer commentary of Ibn Ezra, at v. 23.
20
, attested only once more in the Bible (Lev 19:4); see Keil, Genesis und
Exodus, 566.
21
 ; see Greenberg, , 108, following Bechor Shor, at vv. 1718 (ed. Y.
Nevo: 176).
22
Asserted already by Kuenen, Historisch-kritische Einleitung, 250 ( 13, n. 32, 5e),
followed by numerous scholars down to the present, e.g. Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage,
64. Halbe, Privilegrecht, 162167, denies the unity of the passage, assigning to the Deu-
teronomic redactor only the first half of the verse; his arguments are not compelling.
24 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

land,23 an expression reminiscent of Deuteronomic phraseology such as


no one will stand before you (Deut 7:44).24 The need to encourage and
persuade is equally characteristic of Deuteronomic style; indeed the verse
as a whole is of a distinctly Deuteronomic flavor.25 Note too that the con-
clusion of the verse is a resumptive repetition, in characteristically chiastic
form, of the beginning of the previous verse, further corroborating its
expansionary nature vis--vis Exodus 23:

Exod 34:2324 Exod 23:17


v. 23
Three times during the year Three times during the year

all your males shall appear all your males shall appear
before the Lord, YHWH before the Lord, YHWH.
the God of Israel.
v. 24 When I eradicate nations before you and
expand your territory, no one will covet
your land
when you go to appear before YHWH
your God

three times during the year.

The addition of v. 24 is thus an inner-biblical midrash, inspired by the


viewpoint and style of Deuteronomy. It stands to reason that it too has
been appended to the festival calendar by the author who created the festi-
val calendar of Exodus 34 by expanding and revising the more ancient cal-
endar of festivals as found in Exodus 23.

23
The first-person form should not be taken as addressed to the individual landholder
but rather the nation as a whole. The practical question of how realistic the requirement
to make a pilgrimage could be in light of the demand for centralization is beyond the
scope of this study.
24
Compare Deut 11:25.
25
Compare the expression eradicate nations before to Deut 4:38; 9:4, 5; 18:12
(see Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 343), and the phrase expand
your territory to Deut 12:20; 14:8 (Kuenen, Historisch-kritische Einleitung, 250 [ 13,
n. 32, 5e]; Baentsch, Exodus, 284).
Changes in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 25

1.3 Changes in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23

1.3.1 The Name and the Designation First-Fruits


of the Wheat Harvest
Exod 23:16 Exod 34:22
  
 

  

 
 
And the Festival of the Harvest: And a Festival of Weeks you shall do:
the first-fruits of your produce the first-fruits of the wheat harvest.
that you sow in the field.
And the Festival of the Ingathering And the Festival of the Ingathering

Were the common view of Exodus 34 as the earlier of the two festival cal-
endars correct, it would be difficult indeed to explain why the supposed
later author of Exodus 23 would omit the designation of the date of the
second annual pilgrimage festival as the time of the first-fruits of the wheat
harvest. The opposite, however, is not at all surprising: in place of the ear-
lier, more general text, designating the time of the festival as that of the
first-fruits of what you sow in the field, the more explicit reference to
the first-fruits of the wheat harvest was substituted in the later text of
Exodus 34. We can best explain the substitution if we consider that the
reviser felt the ancient law to stand in opposition to other festival calendars
with which he was already familiar. The requirement to celebrate a festival
at the harvesting of the first-fruits of your produce that you sow in the
field (23:16) i.e., at the beginning of the grain harvest may have
seemed to him not to allow for the -ritual required by Lev 23:10.
According to the law in Leviticus, this ritual, which is to be observed at the
beginning of the harvest, takes place a full seven weeks before the Pente-
cost. This being so, the author of Exodus 34 is likely to have felt com-
pelled to alter the festival calendar of Exodus 23 in order to alleviate the
tension between it and the Priestly law. He has accomplished this first by
substituting the first-fruits of the wheat harvest for the first-fruits of
your produce that you sow in the field. In this manner, he has prevented
what would for him have been a misapprehension, namely, that this festival
was to take place at the beginning of the grain harvest, insisting instead that
the intent of the law was in fact narrower than this, and that it referred to
the wheat harvest alone. Second, he has replaced  the Festival of
the Harvest with  a Festival of Weeks an obscure designation
to be sure, and one for which the literary context in Exodus 34 provides no
explanation, but which is clearly intended to refer to the holy day occurring
26 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

after the counting of seven weeks required by the Priestly legislator in Lev
23:15.26
The ancient calendar of festivals in Exod 23:1419 thus presents the
Festival of the Harvest as occurring at the beginning of the harvest season.
It is alone in doing so; this is the only biblical passage in which the desig-
nation  is attested. In the remainder of the Pentateuchal festival
calendars the festival is referred to as  (in addition to Exod 34:22,
see Deut 16:9; cf.  , Num 28:26) or  (Num 28:26), and
it is held seven weeks after the beginning of the harvest. According to the
Priestly legislation of Leviticus 23, the beginning of the harvest is to be
marked by the -dedication ceremony (Lev 23:1014), not by the Festi-
val of the Harvest. By referring to the latter as  and by characteriz-
ing it as the opening of the wheat harvest, thus freeing up the earlier date
of the harvest of the first-ripening grain barley for the  ceremony,
the author of Exod 34:1826 has undertaken to harmonize these otherwise
irreconcilable laws.27

1.3.2 The Date of the Festival of the Ingathering


Exod 23:16 Exod 34:22

 
 
and the Festival of the Ingathering, and the Festival of the Ingathering,
at the end of the year the turn of the year

The omission of when you ingather your produce from the field in Exod
34:22 as opposed to the parallel verse in Exod 23:16 derives from the
intention to moderate the existing tension between the date of the Festival
of the Ingathering in Exodus 23 (
   ) and the date of
the Festival of Tabernacles in Deut 16:13 (   ). This topic
will be discussed in the analysis of the festival calendar of Deuteronomy.28
Suffice it here to point out that having already deferred the Festival of the
Harvest and recast it as a Festival of Weeks, the author of Exodus 34
seems likely to intend to alter and even defer the Festival of the Ingather-
ing as well. Indeed, the phrase
 at the end of the year in Ex-
odus 23 clearly refers to the end of the year. It is firmly grounded in agri-
cultural life, in which the calendar year ends, and a new year begins, when
the produce of the field has been gathered in. In contrast, the alternative
expression used in Exodus 34,  the turn of the year, is not

26
Compare Deut 16:9.
27
As correctly understood by the rabbinic exegesis; see m. Sota 2:1; Sifra, Nedaba,
13 (edn Finkelstein, 94).
28
See below, pp. 154ff., 3 .4.2.
Changes in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 27

quite as unambiguous. The term  is usually associated with the sense


of cycle;29  occurs only once more, in 2 Chr 24:23.30 It is
possible that just as perceived tension between the calendar in Leviticus 23
and Exodus 23 led the author of Exodus 34 to introduce changes with re-
gard to the Festival of the Harvest/Weeks, so too, the substitution of
for has actually been made here in order to obscure the unequivocal
sense of New Year implied by the more archaic  ,31 and the
reason would be that the author of Exodus 34 sought to avoid the tension
that might arise from the comparison to the Priestly literature, according to
which the calendar year ends and begins again in the spring and not in the
autumn (cf. Exod 12:2; Leviticus 23). The difference between the degree
of ambiguity in the two expressions is reflected in the Septuagint: while

 is rendered literally HS
HFRGRX WRX HQLDXWRX (at the years
going out),  appears as PHVRX QWRM WRX HQLDXWRX (the middle
of the year), taking the turn of the year as its mid-point.32

29
Compare Rashi, followed by most medieval and modern commentators.  
is thus elliptical, and designates the point at which the cycle of the previous year ends
and that of the new year commences. According to this explanation the two parallel
expressions
 and
 are identical in meaning.
30
As opposed to the Exodus passage, the use of the expression in Chronicles is unam-
biguous. The clear sense is at the end of one year, a year after the last narrated event
(Even-Shoshan, , 1474; compare the commentary of Mesudat David). Thus, Joash
receives his punishment for the murder of Zechariah ben Jehoiada (v. 22) exactly a year
after the crime. Compare the account of Ahabs war against Aram (1 Kgs 20:2226), in
which we find the similar expression  in the prophetic announcement of the
war and in the narrators report of its fulfillment (vv. 22 and 26); here too the intent is
evidently to state that the events transpired a year after they were predicted. This would
also seem to be the intent of  in 1 Sam 1:20 (which should perhaps be
emended to ); compare Tg. Pseudo-Jonathan, Kimhi; contrast Wellhausen, Pro-
legomena, 90 n. 1.
31
See Dillmann Ryssel, Exodus, 390; Eerdmans, Exodus, 90. Compare Pfeiffer,
Oldest Decalogue, 304: The feast of ingathering came in the fall, at the exit of the
year (22 16) according to the old Canaanite calendar. During the Exile the Babylonian
calendar became current and, since the year began in the spring, according to the new
reckoning, the fall equinox, which was the date of this feast, could no longer be called
the end of the year; it is called in 34 22 revolution of the year (), a term that
was applied to the two solstices and the two equinoxes. There could be no clearer
evidence of the post-exilic date of the J Decalogue.
32
Compare Wevers, Notes, 566.
28 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

1.3.3 The Replacement of (Sacrifice) by (Slaughter)


Exod 23:18 Exod 34:25
     
You shall not sacrifice You shall not slaughter
with leavened food with leavened food
My sacrificial blood. My sacrificial blood.

Throughout the non-Priestly literature the root is used to denote sacri-


ficial slaughter.33 Priestly usage differs: of 134 occurrences of in the
Bible, only eight are found in Priestly texts,34 all of which pertain to a par-
ticular type of offering: the  . For ritual slaughter the Priestly
texts widely employ the verb ;35 seven more occurrences of , all of
which pertain to the Pesah sacrifice, all belong to demonstrably late or
Priestly texts.36 These data would seem to point to the conclusion that here
too the writer who has composed the revised version of the festival calen-
dar in Exodus 34 has been influenced by Priestly ritual terminology.

1.3.4 Designation of the Pesah Sacrifice as 


The festival calendar in Exodus 23 concludes with an appendix of various
laws (vv. 1819). The first prohibits the presence of leaven in sacrificial
offerings (v. 18a); a similar law can be found in the Priestly legislation in
Lev 2:11.37 The second commands that the suet of the (the sacrifice
33
E.g. Exod 20:21; see Rendtorff, Geschichte des Opfers, 55.
34
Lev 9:4; 17:5 (twice); 19:5 (twice); 22:29 (twice).
35
Most of its appearances are in P, followed by Ezekiel, Chronicles and Ezra. More-
over, the exclusively cultic use of the verb is limited to the Priestly literature; in non-
Priestly sources it denotes non-sacrificial slaughter as well. See, for instance, Judg 12:6;
coPSDUH6QDLWK=%$+DQG+$7, 244; Milgrom, Leviticus 116, 154.
36
Exod 12:6 (Priestly), 21 (redactional; see Bar-On [Gesundheit], Analyse, 23); 2 Chr
30:15; 35:1, 6, 11; Ezra 6:20.
37
See also Lev 6:10. Haran (Temples, 328329) demurs, arguing that if Exod 23:18
were indeed aimed at prohibiting the sacrifice of leavened meal-offerings along with ani-
mal sacrifices, the text ought to have read You shall not burn (or put or bring) unleav-
ened food with [the blood of] my sacrifice rather than the converse You shall not offer
the blood of my sacrifice with leavened food. But Harans point is based on the precise
diction of the Priestly literature, which should not be imposed upon the text of Exodus
23. Moreover, even in P itself the preposition (with) does not necessarily precede
the primary element rather than the subsidiary one, as evidenced, for instance, by the
command with bitter herbs shall they eat it (i.e., the meat) in Exod 12:8.
Haran accepts the midrashic interpretation offered by the Mekhilta as the literal sense
of the verse and explains the text as pertaining to the Pesah sacrifice alone: You shall not
offer (or, You shall not slaughter) My sacrifice (i.e., the Pesah sacrifice) while there is
still leavened food in the house (328). Yet this interpretation too is an attempt to read the
Priestly Pesah and laws of Exodus 12 into the non-Priestly text of Exodus 23, a
Changes in Exodus 34 as Compared with Exodus 23 29

made on a pilgrimage festival)38 not be left until morning (v. 18b).39 Though
this law has no precise equivalent in the Priestly legislation, its counterpart,
from a substantive and stylistic point of view, can be found in the Priestly
prohibition of leaving the flesh of the  -sacrifice until the morning (Lev
7:15).40 The difference is that the non-Priestly passage refers to the suet
only, which is not eaten but is required to be burned on the altar before
morning, whereas the Priestly law speaks of the flesh that is consumed by
the celebrants, and requires that this be done by morning. It seems that the
idea that the burning of the suet too will have taken place by morning is self-
evident in the Priestly law. In any case, this law, as the one that precedes
it, is clearly a general prescription concerning all sacrifice. Surely there is
no justification at all for taking it as pertaining to the Pesah sacrifice alone,
as several scholars have done.41 One must wonder therefore what can poss-
ibly have motivated the author of the revised text in Exodus 34 to do so:

procedure which seems to me inadmissible. Further, it stems from the juxtaposition of the
two separate Priestly pericopes in Exodus 12, which deal respectively with the Pesah
(vv. 113) and the -festival (vv. 1520). It actually runs counter to the plain sense of
these texts, for according to them the command to remove leaven pertains not to the
Pesah sacrifice but only to the first day of the festival (v. 15).
Nor can the reference to Exod 34:25 and Deut 16:34 support the assertion that Exod
23:18 pertains to the Pesah; as aptly put by Rof, inner-biblical exegesis cannot be used
as an indication of the original meaning of the text (Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy,
38 n. 1).
38
here means pilgrimage sacrifice, not just pilgrimage; see Knig, Wrterbuch, 98;
compare also Mal 2:3; Ps 117:27.
39
The use of the verb in this stipulation cannot be taken as proof that a nighttime
sacrifice, i.e., the Pesah, is implied, as asserted by Haran, Temples, 331332. No positive
statement is made regarding the time of the sacrifice, only a negative one regarding a de-
lay in the burning of the suet. Similarly in other laws employing the verb , Lev 19:13
and Deut 21:23: neither the laborers work nor the execution of the criminal can plausibly
be inferred to have taken place at night! The former passage is illuminated by the parallel
in Deut 24:1415 (you must pay him his wages on the same day; compare Nah-
manides). The latter passage explicitly rules out the possibility the execution itself took
place at night (you must bury him on the same day); compare Josh 10:2627: Joshua
had them put to death and impaled on five stakes, and they remained impaled on the
stakes until the evening; at sunset Joshua ordered them taken down from the poles and
thrown into the cave etc.
40
See also Lev 22:2930.
41
This approach is characteristic of rabbinic exegesis, particularly with regard to the
first of the two laws (Rabbi Ishmael in Mekhilta, Kaspa 20; edn Horovitz Rabin,
334); it is also reflected in Tg. Onqelos and in the medieval commentaries (on the
strength of the parallel in 34:25), and in the commentaries of Kalisch, Keil, Holzinger,
Baentsch, Beer Galling, Jacob, etc.; see also Snaith, Ex 23,18 and 34,25, 533534,
and Haran, Temples, 317348.
In light of this virtual unanimity in traditional exegesis, it should be noted that the
Tannaim were not all of one mind; see the controversy in the passage cited from the
30 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

Exod 23:18 Exod 34:25


    
And My festal fat shall not remain And the Pesah-festival sacrifice shall not remain
overnight until morning. overnight till morning.

The revised text is anomalous in the extreme: it denotes the Pesah sacrifice
as a , a term used nowhere else in this connection.42 is a pilgrimage
festival, and the everywhere associated with the Pesah is the pilgrimage
festival of Unleavened Bread ( ); Pesah is the name of the sacrifice,
not of the pilgrimage festival.43 For this reason various emendations of Exod
34:25 have been proposed, though without textual foundation. Our analysis
leads to a more reasonable solution: Exod 34:25, as shown above, repre-
sents a revision of Exod 23:18. The earlier text is completely unambiguous;
moreover, it is now clear how the more difficult text, that of Exodus 34, has
come into existence. The word derives from the word in the original
text, where it referred to the offering made on the occasion of pilgrimage
festivals. The author of the revised text, however, has forcibly interpreted
it to refer to the Pesah sacrifice alone. He has apparently done so as a result
of the association generated by the reference to leaven in the first half of
the verse (Exod 23:18a).44 The ancient law admonishing the offerer not to
allow the suet of the sacrificial animal to be left until the morning seemed
superfluous, if not indeed incomprehensible, to a post-Priestly writer; the
prohibition did, however, remind him of the Priestly injunction not to allow
any of the flesh of the Pesah sacrifice to remain uneaten until morning
(Exod 12:10), and in light of the mention of leaven in the earlier part of the
verse this seemed to be the most reasonable interpretation of the law. The
very fact that this verse, namely 34:25, appears as an appendix to the festival
calendar supports the interpretation that it pertains to the festival laws,
especially since its first half indeed does though it speaks of all pilgrimage
festivals, not just one of them.45 Finally it should be noted that the expression

Mekhilta. Modern opponents of the traditional interpretation include Dillmann Ryssel,


Kahana, Heinisch, Driver, Noth, Cassuto, Childs and most other critics.
42
This meaning may be intended in the redactional verse Exod 12:14; see Bar-On
(Gesundheit), Analyse, 2526.
43
Haran, Temples, 329, 340.
44
See Hitzig, Ostern und Pfingsten, 40; Eerdmans, Exodus, 90.
45
Compare Hitzig, Ostern und Pfingsten, 40. The proximity to the words the prime
first-fruits of your land you shall bring to the house of YHWH your God in the next verse,
which may have been associated in the mind of the copyist with the Festival of the
Harvest: the first-fruits of your produce (v. 16) may be partially responsible for his
having interpreted v. 18 as pertaining to the Pesah and observances. Later, attempts
were made to interpret the concluding command You shall not cook a kid in its mothers
milk in the same manner, as though it too belonged to the festival laws in general (Rash-
Passages Lacking in Exod 34:1826 31

 would probably not have offended the stylistic sense of a later


writer who had already become accustomed to thinking of the Pesah
sacrifice and the Festival of Unleavened Bread as a single, organic entity
which is indeed what they had become in later times (cf. Ezek 45:21).

1.4 Passages Lacking in Exod 34:1826


as Compared with Exod 23:1419

1.4.1 On Three Occasions You Shall Feast to Me During the Year (23:14)
This command, which stands at the beginning of the festival calendar in
Exodus 23, is missing from the revised version of the calendar in Exodus
34. Classic criticism, taking the text of Exodus 23 as the later one, gener-
ally viewed it as a late expansion, designed to add to the text of Exodus 23
a fitting caption. This would appear, however, to be nothing more than the
automatic and mechanical application of a dogmatic preference for the
lectio brevior, without real foundation in this case. Nor can the purported
duplication in v. 17 serve as evidence for viewing v. 14 as a secondary
interpolation; rather the opposite inference is to be drawn. It is not v. 14
but rather the concluding v. 17 which combines elements all of which
have been mentioned previously whose integral literary connection with
the remainder of the text needs to be examined:

Exod 23:1415 Exod 23:17



 
 
 
  
On three occasions you shall feast to Me Three times during the year
during the year
and My face ( ) shall not be seen () all your males shall appear ( ) before
empty-handed. ( ) the Lord, YHWH.

The comparison leads to the realization that the words On three occasions
you shall feast to Me during the year (v. 14) and And My face shall not
be seen empty-handed (v. 15b) probably belong to the early stratum of the

bam) or even specifically to the Festival of the Ingathering (Abrabanel, Sforno, Dillmann
Ryssel; see also Spencer, De Legibus Hebraeorum, IV, 310, 335337; Kalisch, Exodus,
460; and Klostermann, Pentateuch, 525, all of whom adduce an ancient Karaite exegetical
tradition). This last is an extreme example of the trend to apply consistently the forced
interpretation of the appended provisions in the calendar as pertaining to the festival
laws; according to it, v. 18 would apply specifically to the Pesah and observances,
v. 19a to the Festival of the Harvest, and v. 19b to the Festival of the Ingathering.
32 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

text of Exodus 23, while the summary verse (v. 17) would seem to be the
later expansion. This conclusion rests on three considerations:

1. Verse 14 is formulated as first-person divine speech: you shall feast to


Me. This is well in keeping with the context, and the sequel And My
face shall not be seen etc. (v. 15b),46 as well as the preceding portion
of v. 15 (as I commanded you), follows this pattern.47 In contrast, the
third-person reference to the deity in v. 17 is without parallel in the
festival calendar of vv. 1417.

2. Had a late redactor interpolated the general command of v. 14, it is


doubtful whether he would have used the rather unusual for time,
occasion instead of the more common . Outside of this passage,
the word is employed in this sense only in the Balaam narrative in
Numbers 22 (vv. 28, 3233), while is well attested throughout all
stages of biblical literature 101 occurrences including late biblical
Hebrew.48 If, then, the originality of one of the two general statements
in this passage is to be denied on grounds of duplication, it would seem
that the more obvious candidate would be v. 17, which contains the
more common word .49

3. Finally it should be noted that the differences between the formulation


in 23:17 and its parallel components in vv. 1415 are intelligible if seen
as the result of inner-biblical exegesis. V. 15b exhibits particularly bla-
tant anthropomorphisms: the speaker is YHWH, the grammatical subject is
YHWHs face, and the concern of the verse is with the deitys concrete
needs; one is not to appear before Him empty-handed. Little regard is
paid to the question of who is to supply these needs; the entire passage
is quite theocentric. The deitys face must not be seen by the empty-
handed. Verse 17 is formulated in striking contrast. Its central concern
is not to provide for the needs of the deity but to define the obligations
of the worshipper. The verse stipulates that the obligation in question
devolves upon males only, and they are required to fulfill it thrice yearly.

46
See above, p. 18 n. 9, where the possibility that the words and My face shall not be
seen empty-handed originally followed this command directly was advanced.
47
Even in its revised portion; see below.
48
Of which 15 occur in the phrase  three times.
49
This is held e.g. by Klostermann, Pentateuch, 524 n. 5; Driver, Exodus, 244. In the
Balaam narrative as well, the interchange of  in the episode of the ass (Num
22:28, 32, 33) with  in the next chapter (24:10) is indicative of the texts com-
posite nature; see Rof, Balaam, 1057, on the unique use of , see ibid., 45 n. 80.
Passages Lacking in Exod 34:1826 33

Moreover, the obligation to make a pilgrimage is implicit in the verb of


v. 14 according to its use in classical biblical Hebrew.50 As distinct from
this formulation, v. 17 explains the obligation of pilgrimage expressis ver-
bis: Three times during the year all your males shall appear before the
Lord, YHWH. The latter formulation would seem to be intended to clarify
that the statement On three occasions you shall feast to Me during the
year in v. 14 is not exclusive; it does not aim at giving an exhaustive list
of the annual appointed times but rather only those occasions on which a
pilgrimage () is required (). This may therefore be an attempt to min-
imize the tension between the festival calendars of Exodus 23 and 34 and
the Priestly calendars, which include the Sabbath, New Moon, Day of
Remembrance and Day of Atonement.51
The apparent repetition in the summary v. 17 cannot therefore be
viewed as evidence for the secondary nature of v. 14. The more reasonable
conclusion, on examination of context and style and on the strength of the
parallels between the summary verse and the opening verses 1415, is that
the summary verse is the interpolated expansion.
Indeed, the view that v. 14 has been added to the text is to be rejected
on other grounds as well, irrespective of the problem of repetition in v. 17.
The words On three occasions you shall feast to Me during the year are an
indispensable part of the syntactical structure of the entire pericope. Without
them, v. 16 is left syntactically hanging in mid-air;  and 
are no longer in apposition to , replacing it as the direct objects of ;
rather they are a mere list, and the sentence has neither subject nor predi-
cate. Accepting v. 14 as original creates a smooth syntactical transition:

v. 14   On three occasions you shall feast to Me


during the year:
v. 15  The Festival of Unleavened Bread
v. 16      And the Festival of the Harvest: the first-fruits of your
  produce that you sow in the field.
    And the Festival of the Ingathering, at the end of the
  year, when you ingather your produce from the field.

50
BDB: three times shalt thou make pilgrimage unto me (in the year). Compare
Haran, Temples, 288292.
51
In the Priestly calendar of Leviticus 23, at least in its present form, all the days
mentioned are referred to by the term appointed times and all include the
requirement of  sacred convocation. The command to appear before YHWH,
however, is entirely lacking.
34 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

The alternative, namely, that the two festivals in v. 16 resume and continue
the accusative  in v. 15 and that they too are objects of the verb
, is less likely.52 In fact the more reasonable conclusion is that the op-
posite is true: that in its original form, v. 15 was actually syntactically de-
pendent upon v. 14 just as v. 16 is in the present text, and did not contain
the verb . Critics have long noted the stratified character of v. 15.53
The detailed prescriptions it provides concerning the -festival, out of
all proportion to the other two festivals commanded in v. 16, as well as the
reference as I commanded you betray the work of an interpolator.
Whether the reference is to Exod 13:67 or perhaps to Exod 12:15, 18, it is
certainly to a text of later date than the original festival calendar of Exodus
23. No consensus exists as to the original form of the verse; it may have
contained only the words      ,54 in which case
both vv. 15 and 16 would be, from the syntactic point of view, completely
and identically dependent on the introductory v. 14. The omission of the
clause Three times during the year would of course destroy the syntactic
parallelism and with it the syntactic structure of the passage. Thus it is
literarily impossible to view this clause as a secondary interpolation.
Turning now to Exodus 34, it becomes apparent that the author of the
revised calendar has omitted this introductory clause without destroying
the syntactical structure of the pericope. In the course of revising, he has
not only disconnected the verse which, in the original text, was the gram-
matical continuation of the introductory clause (23:16) from its syntacti-
cal dependence on the verb (v. 14); he has also taken care to provide
the verse with a new predicate of its own (  55):

Exod 23:16 Exod 34:22



     
  
And the Festival of the Harvest And a Festival of Weeks you shall do:
[of?] the first-fruits of your produce the first-fruits of the wheat harvest

52
The verb can best be taken as connected with the words  
later in the verse, meaning The Festival of Unleavened Bread you shall keep, at the
appointed time in the month of . This interpretation is reflected in the Massoretic
cantillation; compare Deut 16:1. This rules out extending the syntactic function of
beyond its immediate context. Indeed, the use of the verb with a single command
as its direct object is suspect, this idiom being characteristic of Deuteronomic style; see
Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 336, and the verse from Deuteron-
omy just cited. Below it is suggested that may not be original here.
53
Already Wellhausen, Composition des Hexateuchs, 90 n. 1.
54
Klostermann, Pentateuch, 523, 528 n. 1.
55
Note the similarity to the Deuteronomic  
   (Deut 16:13; compare
vv. 1, 10).
Passages Lacking in Exod 34:1826 35

As will become clear, the writer has thus deprived the original verses of
their artistic balance and poetic parallelism. For the present, however, it
remains to be explained why his revision omitted the introductory clause
itself, the compensation for which has cost him so dearly. The explanation
would seem to lie in the greater distance which would have been created in
the revised calendar between the introduction On three occasions you
shall feast to Me during the year and the verse dealing with the festivals
of Weeks and Ingathering (v. 22 in the present text) than had existed in the
original text the result of the inserted passage pertaining to the laws of
the first-born (vv. 1920) and the weekly cessation of labor (v. 21). Four
entire verses (vv. 1821) interposed between the predicate and the
resumed accusative appositives   would have been
incomprehensible. The verse containing them thus had to be provided with
its own predicate ( ), at which time the introductory verse itself
became superfluous.56

1.4.2 The Festivals of the Harvest/Weeks and the Ingathering:


Exod 34:22 versus Exod 23:16
Exod 23:16 Exod 34:22
  
     
 

 
 

 
And the Festival of the Harvest: And a Festival of Weeks you shall do:
the first-fruits of your produce the first-fruits of the wheat harvest.
that you sow in the field;
and the Festival of the Ingathering And the Festival of the Ingathering:
at the end of the year, the turn of the year.
when you ingather your produce from the
field.

Though the differences between the two calendars with regard to the for-
mulation of the commands concerning these two festivals have been ac-
counted for, a final comparison of the two verses in their entirety may en-
able us to see just how much the structural form of the original text (Exod

56
It might even be argued, though only speculatively, that the need to supply a con-
cluding verse (34:23 || 23:17) was first felt by the writer of the later text (Exodus 34). In
this case, he has not omitted the opening On three occasions etc., which he found in
Exod 23:14; rather, he has revised and supplemented it, and moved it from the beginning
to the end of the text (v. 23). The eventual inclusion of this verse in its primary form
in Exodus 23 (v. 17) as well would then be the result of secondary assimilation, and has
caused a certain superfluity 23:14 and 23:17 saying approximately the same thing. On
the phenomenon of secondary assimilation, see Zakovitch, Assimilation in Biblical Nar-
ratives, 175196.
36 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

23:16) has been damaged and just how thoroughly the artistic balance
between its two parts has been upset by the intervention of the interpolator.
There is little doubt that the substantive parallelism of the verse in Exodus
23, embellished at its midpoint by chiasm, represents the earlier text:57


 
 

58

 

 

The antiquity of the verse is confirmed by the elsewhere unattested desig-


nation of the second festival as  and by the substantive tension
with all the other festival calendars concerning the time of this pilgrimage
festival at the beginning of the harvest (see above).

1.5 Summary and Conclusions

The analysis of the two festival calendars in Exod 23:1419 and 34:1826
has led to the realization that they are not two separate texts; rather, the
latter is but a midrashic revision of the former. The inner-biblical mid-
rashic process has solved difficulties, eliminated obscure words and
phrases, and drawn conclusions based on the juxtaposition of disparate el-
ements in the earlier text. Archaic linguistic usages have been replaced by
later ones, and the discrepancies between the ancient festival calendar and
those found in later Pentateuchal texts have been harmonized. The calendar
has been positioned within the account of the renewal of the covenant 59
following the calf apostasy, and this context has left its mark not only on
the reformulation of the commands but on their substance as well: the
terms of the renewed covenant prohibitions of idolatry and a calendar of
provisions all pertain to the two spheres in which the Israelites be-
trayed YHWH, celebrating a (32:5) and worshipping a molten calf (32:6,
8). This specialized, tendentious selection of laws stands in contrast to the

57
Contra Toeg (Lawgiving, 70) and others, who consider the words 


 to be an explanatory gloss. This is another case in which the rule that the
shorter version is preferable is not automatically applicable.
58
The element first-fruits correlates with the phrase at the end of the year

 in that the two together mark the extremities of the period, its beginning and
its end, much the way that the produce 
that you sow  and the produce
of your ingathering 
does.
59
The covenant renewal, of course, is found in the present form of the text of Exodus
34; the original intent of the components of the narrative is not of concern here.
Summary and Conclusions 37

quantity and variety that characterize the legislation imparted when the
original covenant was made (20:2223:33).
It is evident that this conclusion is irreconcilable with classic source
criticism, which views the laws included in Exodus 34 as an ancient law-
code, one of the Sinai traditions. Our investigation has shown that, at the
very least, vv. 1826 are not an independent document at all but rather a
revision of extant materials; the secondary nature of this revision is re-
inforced by the presence of Priestly influence and Deuteronomic style that
we have seen. As noted by many scholars, Deuteronomic elements, both
linguistic and theological, can be discerned in the verses preceding the fes-
tival calendar (Exod 34:1117) as well.60 This has generally been taken as
evidence of Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic redactional activity in vv. 11
17, while the festival calendar itself has consistently been regarded as the
ancient kernel of the original covenant document. However, our analysis
has demonstrated that the festival calendar as well shows no evidence
whatsoever of being an independent tradition.
This study also has implications for the form-critical research of the
passage, in particular, its relation to the covenant pattern as it has been
identified elsewhere in the biblical literature and in the ancient Near East.
Ever since the pioneering studies of Mendenhall, in which the formal simi-
larities between the biblical   and the Hittite treaties were first noted,
form-critical study of the biblical covenant and its parallels has been a
major branch of biblical research.61 Koroec was the first to identify the

60
Beginning with v. 11 (perhaps even v. 10), the addressee is no longer Moses but Is-
rael. At this point we begin to sense Deuteronomic phraseology, as noted by Wellhausen,
Composition des Hexateuchs, 387; Kuenen, Historisch-kritische Einleitung, 250 ( 13,
n. 32, 5e); Bacon, Triple Tradition, 155, note; Smend, Religionsgeschichte, 280 n. 2;
Baentsch, Exodus, 282; Wildeboer, Literatur, 103; Cornill, Einleitung, 88; Knudson, So-
called J Decalogue, 86; Steuernagel, Einleitung, 155; Morgenstern, Oldest Document
of the Hexateuch, 58; Bewer, Literature, 233 and n. 1; Beer Galling, Exodus, 161;
Rylaarsdam Park, Exodus, 10781079; Noth, Exodus, 215216; Bentzen, Introduction,
IV, 57; Beyerlin, Sinaitraditionen, 100 n. 1; Mowinckel, Pentateuchquellenfrage, 6870;
Wolff, Kerygma des Jahwisten, 368. More recently scholars have called into question
the Deuteronomic character of the passage, noting the divergences from classic Deutero-
nomic phraseology. See, for instance: Lohfink, Hauptgebot, 59 ff.; Brekelmans, ElPHQWV
GHXWpURQRPLTXHV, 7791; Langlamet, Isral, 321350, 481507; Wilms, Jahwistisches
Bundesbuch, 148, 232; Halbe, Privilegrecht, 256259; Otto, Mazzotfest in Gilgal, 208
209; Hossfeld, Dekalog, 205212. See also below.
61
Mendenhall, Law and Covenant. Mention should also be made of an apparently for-
gotten study pre-dating those generally cited, Wiener, Zur Deuteronomiumfrage, 24
48. Despite his rather fundamentalistic view of Deuteronomy, Wiener already identified
some elements of the covenant-form in the Pentateuch by a legal-historical approach; see
esp. 2834.
38 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

characteristic structural components of the Hittite treaties,62 and an attempt


to demonstrate the presence of these elements in Exodus 34 was made in
Baltzers classic study of the covenant formula.63 Though his attempt was
unconvincing, Baltzer even went so far as to propose that the text of Exodus
34 had its own independent existence prior to its having been inserted in
the Sinai-narrative. Yet he failed to deal with the literary and text-critical
issues, and did not take into account the parallel text in Exodus 23. His
study is an example of the direction taken by scholarship in the latter half
of the twentieth century, as aptly pointed out by Toeg:64
Historical speculation, particularly of the type that rests upon typological parallels from
extra-biblical literature, can indeed greatly advance the investigation of various biblical
issues. Today, however, we may discern a tendency to over-use such parallel material,
while fundamental matters of literary and textual analysis are consciously or uncon-
sciously overlooked.

Toeg spelled out his opposition to the overuse of typological parallels par-
ticularly in regard to his study of the Sinai lawgiving tradition:65
Thus, despite theoretical considerations regarding a possible set of connections between
the various literary phenomena to be found in Exodus 1924 and other factors of, for
instance, a cultic or historical nature, there is a methodological justification, indeed,
obligation, to concentrate almost exclusively on literary analysis. The more strictly
discussion is confined to this area, the less likely it is to fall prey to the danger of leaving
the facts behind and sailing off into the seas of pure speculation. For what is true of the
biblical traditions concerning the lawgiving at Sinai is true of many other biblical
passages: in the realm of facts there lies nothing but the literary phenomenon itself.

At least insofar as the first stages of critical study and its point of departure
are concerned, the literary and textual analysis must certainly precede the

62
Koroec, Hethitische Staatsvertrge, 1214.
63
Baltzer, Bundesformular, 1928, 4851. His description included six components,
though he admitted that the first (preamble) and the last two (the invocation of the gods
as witnesses and the recitation of curses and blessings) are lacking in Exodus 34. To be
sure, the third component (the statement of substance concerning the future relationship)
is also missing, but Baltzer argued that though it is not explicitly contained in Exodus 34
in its final form, it was present in the earlier text of vv. 11a, 1216 (despite stylistic pecu-
liarities). As for the second component (the antecedent history), Baltzer claims to have
found it in vv. 1011b; these verses, however, speak of the future. The all-important
fourth component (the specific stipulations), of course, Baltzer located in vv. 1726.
Assertions similar to those made by Baltzer with regard to the presence of the coven-
ant formulary in Exodus 34 were set forth independently by Beyerlin, Sinaitraditionen,
103104, who proceeded from the comparative study of the covenant model to draw out
literary-critical implications as well; see 59 ff. and Lohfink, Hauptgebot, 176179; see
also Knutson, Literary Parallels, 101 ff., 132134, cited by Morgan, Cultic Calendars,
96.
64
Toeg, Lawgiving, 93.
65
Ibid., 4.
Summary and Conclusions 39

typological and comparative study. 66 The preceding study of Exodus 34 has


been an attempt to illustrate this principle by confining the discussion to
the laws that are regarded as the very substance of the covenant described
by the narrative. Though no conclusions emerged which might rule out a
possible connection between the covenant-form in Exodus 34 and the Hittite
vassal treaties of the 15th and 14th centuries BCE,67 it is clear that if any
such connection were to be demonstrated it would be indirect and partial at
best. McCarthy himself, foremost among scholars who assert the biblical
covenants dependence on ancient Near Eastern treaty patterns, was forced
to admit that very little material for such comparison can be found in the
Sinai complex of Exodus 1924.68 He acknowledged that literary
patterns which reflect recurring circumstances in societal life may in point
of fact be the result of independent developments taking place in different
periods and locations, and that there is not necessarily any historical
connection between the separate manifestations of a single phenomenon.69
Since, moreover, with regard to the passage studied here, it has become
clear that the terms of the covenant in Exodus 34 reflect no ancient tradi-
tion but are rather a late revision and redactional adaptation of earlier texts,
it would seem that any reconstruction of the purely hypothetical covenant
pattern based on the form of the covenant in Exodus 34 would be most
unwarranted.70 One might well ask whether in such a case it is reasonable

66
Form-critical analysis can, of course, aid in the second phase of historical-critical
study; see Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 178197, esp. 180 n. 8.
67
The Aramaic Sefire treaties (see Fitzmyer, Aramaic Inscriptions) and the Assyrian
treaties, in particular the Neo-assyrian vassal treaties of Esarhaddon from 672 BCE (see
Wiseman, Vassal Treaties of Esarhaddon) serve as apt parallels for the Covenant at the
Plains of Moab in Deuteronomy, not the covenant in Exodus.
68
McCarthy, Old Testament Covenant, 2930; idem, Treaty and Covenant, 152167,
172176; compare Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 66.
69
McCarthy, Old Testament Covenant, 28. His earlier study adopted a more unequivo-
cal stance regarding the historical continuity between the various Mesopotamian political
treaties; see Treaty and Covenant, 80. The need to exercise caution when drawing histori-
cal implications from form-critical analysis (such as Mendenhalls proof that the Deca-
logue dates from the Mosaic period; see Mendenhall, Law and Covenant, 28) can also be
sensed in the second portion of Baltzers study, where an attempt is made to uncover the
Hittite vassal treaty form in the writings of the Qumran sect and in early Christian texts;
see Baltzer, Bundesformular, 103183.
70
For reservations about the assumed connection between ancient vassal treaties and
the Biblical covenant between God and Israel, see Nicholson, Covenant and Theology,
8182 and passim; compare also the doubts raised by Kraus, Stamm, Noth, Ntscher,
Gese, Nielsen, Jepsen and Cazelles (all cited by McCarthy, Old Testament Covenant, 15
19, 6873; as well as Barr, Covenant, 184; Smend, Bundesformel, 34 n. 16; Fohrer,
berlieferung und Geschichte, 50 n. 71; Perlitt, Bundestheologie, 45 and passim;
Zimmerli, Erwgungen zum Bund, 189; de Vaux, Histoire, 388. For a summary of
scholarship surrounding the covenant in Exodus 34, see Halbe, Privilegrecht, 4355.
40 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

to assume any literary influence at all of extra-biblical covenant patterns


on the present form of the text, or whether, on the contrary, the impact of
other biblical texts and the redactional aims were not in fact the primary
factors.
Further, in the light of this study, there remains no tradition-historical
basis for asserting the antiquity of the covenant laws in Exodus 34. The
tradition-history approach is well illustrated in Beyerlins study of the
Sinai traditions, in which he suggested that the cultic regulations and festi-
val calendar of Exodus 34 took shape in the Priestly circles of the Shiloh
sanctuary.71 Beyerlin saw evidence for this theory in the expression God
of Israel (34:23) which originated, in his view, in the traditions of She-
chem and was later transferred, with the wanderings of the Ark of YHWH,
to Shiloh.72 He considered accepting the Samaritan reading (ark) in
place of the Massoretic (Lord) in v. 23, believing that this reading
corroborated the view of Shiloh, where the Ark of YHWH stood during the
period of the judges, as the place where the legislation developed. Accord-
ing to this hypothesis, this cultic and legal development took place during
the conquest and settlement of Canaan, and was an Israelite reaction
against the threat of total assimilation with Canaanite cultic practices.
Drawing on ancient Near Eastern legal convention, Beyerlin went on to
suggest that the ritual laws of Exodus 34 were originally drafted and pre-
served, in the form of an independent document, in the shrine at Shiloh.
Only later would this document have been taken over as part of the literary
work of the Yahwistic narrative.
Though Beyerlin did not actually delve into the similarities between the
festival calendar of Exodus 34 and that of Exodus 23, these did not go
unnoticed. In his opinion, the most likely explanation for the similarities
was that the two texts are separate recensions of a common source,73 and
he even goes so far as to posit that the cultic laws and festival regulations
of Exodus 23 as well were written and passed down in one of the ancient
shrines. Though he failed to identify which shrine this might have been, he
is convinced that the two traditions received their literary forms in the
Priestly circles responsible for the preservation of written materials in their

71
Beyerlin, Sinaitraditionen, esp. 97102.
72
Gen 33:20; Josh 8:30; 14:2; 1 Sam 1:17.
73
As noted above, this is a widespread approach. See especially the following studies,
all of which speak of independent but parallel versions of written documents or oral tra-
ditions: Paton, Book of the Covenant, 87; Gremann, Mose, 475 n. 4 (end); Jepsen,
Bundesbuch, 9495; Eberharter, Zwei Rezensionen, 159, 162; Kraus, Gottesdienst, 44;
Kosmala, So-Called Ritual Decalogue, 38; Koch, Formgeschichte, 6062; Mowinckel,
Pentateuchquellenfrage, 6691, esp. 73; Perlitt, Bundestheologie, 226 n. 1; Richter,
Recht und Ethos, 94; Horn, Traditionsschichten, 220; Haran, Temples, 327; Wilms,
Jahwistisches Bundesbuch, 187; Halbe, Privilegrecht, 449450.
Summary and Conclusions 41

respective sanctuaries.74 Stacking conjecture upon conjecture, Beyerlin


worked out a complete account of how the festival calendar was integrated
into the narrative in Exodus 34 and a full theory of the cultic tradition un-
derlying the text of covenant renewal. One is hard pressed to find evidence
for all of this in the biblical text; the impression gained is that a closer
reading of the text and its biblical parallels would perhaps have led him to
more solid ground.
In more recent decades, the debate over the attribution of the legal
material in Exodus 34 to J has been renewed. Halbe,75 who has conducted a
lengthy and detailed study of Exod 34:1026, in which the text is closely
examined, all of the fundamental questions surrounding it are examined
anew and the pre-literary source of the covenant tradition is sought, arrives
in his own way, at the end of his literary-critical discussion, at the conclu-
sion reached by classic criticism, namely, that the festival calendar is an
original part of the Sinai tradition in the Yahwistic narrative. A perusal of
subsequent studies shows, however, that Halbe was unsuccessful in his
attempt to uproot the old scholarly tendency76 of discerning Deuteronomic
influence not only in the preamble (vv. 1016)77 but even in the formula-
tion of the laws (vv. 1726). The latter view was always so marginal that
many scholars were quite unaware of it; from time to time it had to be
rediscovered by scholars unconscious of its earlier adherents. It has lately
been revived by Ginsberg, who considers vv. 1027 to be a Deuteronomic
interpolation.78 Taking another approach, Nicholson, following Perlitt, has
argued that vv. 1027 were composed as an organic part of the calf episode
of Exodus 3234, and that no early J stratum can be detected at all.79 On
the question of whether this narrative was composed, as Perlitt had argued,

74
This was already suggested by Kittel (Geschichte, 493); but see also ibid., 494 n. 1.
75
Halbe, Privilegrecht, 11526. For his view of the literary strata of Exod 34:1726,
see ibid., 210 ff.
76
See Hitzig, Ostern und Pfingsten, 4550; Eerdmans, Exodus, 91, 96; Pfeiffer,
Oldest Decalogue, 298307; Hlscher, Geschichtsschreibung, 321; Kutsch, Erwgun-
gen, 58; Perlitt, Bundestheologie, 220, 226232.
77
See the literature cited above, p. 37 n. 60.
78
Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage, 6566. Although Ginsberg considers vv. 1027 to be
a Deuteronomic interpolation, he reconstructs a Ritual Decalogue in Exodus 34 (on the
history of research of this theory, see above, pp. 1213 n. 3). Ginsberg designates the
decalogue in Exodus 34 as the Second Ritual Decalogue, thus distinguishing it from
the First Ritual Decalogue which he sees in Exod 23:10 ff. (see 4647). It is the latter
which is referred to, in his view, in Exod 34:28 (!). Goldstein and Cooper adopt Gins-
bergs approach, but they exchange Ginsbergs post-Deuteronomic writer (Israelian
Heritage, 46 n. 62) for a proto-Deuteronomist, whom they believe to have been a
northern redactor (RJE) responsible for combining J and E; see Goldstein Cooper,
Festivals of Israel and Judah, 1931, esp. 24 and n. 44.
79
Nicholson, Covenant and Theology, 134150; Perlitt, Bundestheologie, 203232.
42 The Festival Calendars in Exodus

by a Deuteronomic author of the Josianic period, or perhaps by a proto-


Deuteronomic author at the time of Hezekiah, as supposed by Phillips and
Zenger, who view the substance of the covenant made in Exodus 34 as the
basis for Hezekiahs reforms,80 Nicholson does not take a stand. Mean-
while Johnstone81 has launched an attack on Hossfeld for identifying both J
and JE elements in Exodus 34,82 an identification that Johnstone views as
both unconvincing and unnecessary, since, in his view, the festival cal-
endar in Exodus 34 belongs not to the JE tradition but to the Deuteronomic
stratum.83 Blum assigns vv. 1127 to a late expansion of the D-Komposi-
tion.84 Nor has the debate ended here. Both Osumi and Crsemann have
declared their allegiance to the classic view of the festival calendar in
Exodus 34 as earlier than the parallel text in Exodus 23,85 while Levin
maintains the opposite now, however, in accord with the more recent ten-
dency to assign J to a relatively late period.86 In recent scholarship, the
concept of Exod 34:1126 as a late redactional composition has gained
ground,87 though oppositional opinions are also expressed.88
I would not subscribe to the view held by the scholars mentioned above
that the covenant in Exodus 34 is Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic in its
entirety, nor would I, by the same token, assign the entire pericope to a
Priestly writer.89 Since, as I have shown, both Priestly and Deuteronomic/

80
Phillips, Criminal Law, 168, 173; idem, Sinai Pericope, 4850; Zenger, Sinai-
theophanie, 164. In Zengers view, Exodus 34 preserves J and E passages, which have
undergone three redactions, two Deuteronomic and one Priestly; see also Zenger, Tora,
265288, and compare Dohmen, Sinaibund als Neuer Bund, 64.
81
See his recent series of articles advancing the claim that the Sinai narrative in Ex-
odus 1940 has undergone two redactions, one Deuteronomic and one Priestly: John-
stone, Chronicles Analogy, 1637; idem, Decalogue and Sinai Pericope, 361385;
idem, Two Theological Versions, 160178. See also idem, Exodus, 7386.
82
Hossfeld, Dekalog, 204213; compare Cazelles, Alliance du Sinai, 5768, in
whose view Exod 34:1026 is based on a J text which has undergone Deuteronomic
redaction.
83
Johnstone, Decalogue and Sinai Pericope, 380.
84
Blum, Pentateuch, 369370; idem, Privilegrecht, 347366.
85
Osumi, Kompositionsgeschichte des Bundesbuches, 7080; Crsemann, Tora, 137;
see also Schwienhorst-Schnberger, Bundesbuch, 405.
86
Levin, Jahwist, 368369.
87
See Bar-On (Gesundheit), Calendars, 161195; for predecessors in older and
newer literature, see ibid., 162 n. 5, 184 ff. On the dating of the passage, see Blum,
Privilegrecht, 347366. Regarding recent scholarship on the subject, see Krting,
Schall des Schofar, 3438; Carr, Method, 107140; Kckert, Gesetz, 1327; H.-C.
Schmitt, Privilegrecht, 157171; Konkel, Snde, 205234. For an evaluation of Exod
34:25 and conclusions for the whole calendar, see also Levinson, Deuteronomy, 6770;
Weyde, Festivals, 4352. See also above, p. 13 n. 4.
88
Otto, Deuteronomium, 324340; Hossfeld, Privilegrecht, 3959.
89
Winnett, Mosaic Tradition, 30 ff.
Summary and Conclusions 43

Deuteronomistic connections can be detected, I have thought it best to at-


tempt to deal with the manner in which the copying, revision and redaction
has been carried out and to speak of the writer-reviser who has accom-
plished this task without affixing to him one of the conventional labels. I
have proposed a dating of the revised festival calendar only in terms of its
relation to other specific texts without reference to any of the four Penta-
teuchal documents of the classic documentary hypothesis as a whole (J, E,
D and P). The point here is to incorporate as well the fact that none of
these alleged Pentateuchal sources is a complete composition by a single
author.
In a majority of the studies mentioned, the relationship between the two
festival calendars is treated in a broader context, such as the general
question of redactional levels in the Sinai pericope or the issue of the com-
position of the Torah as a whole. In such discussions, the detailed literary
comparison of the two calendars cannot possibly receive the attention it
requires. In the examination to which they have been subjected here, I have
attempted to show that such a comparison provided it is conducted prior
to the literary-critical analysis and in a manner unencumbered by existing
scholarly hypotheses can help to arrive at a more objective view. Classic
theories, such as the idea of a ritual decalogue, have proven to be an ob-
stacle in the path of unprejudiced comparison of the two texts, while the
avoidance of such comparison, on the strength of the speculative supposi-
tion that the two texts originate, independently of each other, in a common
third source turns out to be a case of missing the most important turn on a
journey.90 As I believe the results of this study have shown, the very exist-
ence of two parallel texts should serve as the factual point of departure for
critical appraisal, and the comparative textual analysis is a reliable basis
from which discussion of larger issues may proceed. Of course, the literary
comparison must not be confined to form-critical matters of structure and
overall style, nor can it restrict itself to technical issues of the textual tradi-
tion and its transmission. Rather, in order to determine the significance of
the differences between the two texts, the primary considerations that must
be employed are hermeneutical.

90
In a more recent study, Kratz too expresses the view that the literary dependence
between the two texts must be acknowledged; see Kratz, Dekalog im Exodusbuch, 217.
2 Chapter 2

The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread


in Exod 12:128

2.1 Introduction

The Priestly laws of the Pesah and the unleavened bread in Exod 12:120
evince, for the first time, the terminology that characterizes the Priestly
festival calendars contained in the Pentateuch. The regulation in v. 16 pro-
vides a case in point:      
(And the first day shall be a sacred occasion and the seventh day
shall be a sacred occasion for you). More instructive, the end of the verse
distinguishes between work forbidden on the festival and work permitted
on it: No work at all shall be done on them; only what every
person is to eat        that alone may be prepared for
you. In Rashbams opinion,1 this distinction defines the work prohibition
for all subsequent festival calendars:
only what every person is to eat etc. And therefore it says by all the holidays, laborious
work  you shall not do,2 namely, to exclude (the preparation of) food,
whereas by the Sabbath and the Day of Atonement it says, any work .3

In other words, the formulation of the laws prohibiting work in the Priestly
calendars in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 2829 relies on the definition
established by Exod 12:16. Rashbams comment highlights that without the
information provided in this passage one cannot actually understand the
Priestly complex of ideas regarding the work prohibited on the Sabbath
and holidays. If Rashbam and those who follow him are correct, then this

1
So, too, Ibn Ezra (the expanded commentary) here and at Deut 16:8; Ramban, Lev
23:7.
2
Lev 23:7, 8, 21, 25, 35, 36; Num 28:18, 25, 26; 29:1, 12, 35.
3
Lev 23:3, 28, 31; Num 29:7; see also Exod 31:14, 15; 35:2; Lev 16:29 (regarding
Num 29:7, several textual witnesses read here, too, laborious work; see BHS). The
rationale for the injunction against any work on the Sabbath, the Creators having rested
on the seventh day from all the work He had done (Gen 2:2, 3), explains the additional
level of severity in the prohibition, and in the  (Lev 16:31; 23:32) of the Day
of Atonement as well. The story of the manna in Exodus 16, too, forbids even work
related to the preparation of food. On the injunction against burning fire on the Sabbath,
see Exod 35:3.
Introduction 45

dependence of the Priestly calendars on the groundwork laid in Exod 12:16


should have an impact on literary-critical research, which seeks to ascer-
tain early and late strata in general and to trace the literary relationships
among the texts dealing with the Sabbath and the holidays in particular.4
In contrast to the festival calendar in Exod 23:1419, the paragraph in
Exod 12:120 has the laws for the Pesah (vv. 113) and the unleavened
bread (vv. 1520) placed alongside each other.5 Broadly speaking, this ar-
rangement resembles the presentation in the Priestly calendars (Lev 23:5
8; Num 28:1625); at the same time, though, the laws in Exod 12:120
make no use of the term employed by the Priestly calendars, the Festival
of Unleavened Bread. This merely partial coordination among the Priestly
texts leaves the relationship between the Pesah and the Festival of Un-
leavened Bread, as imagined by these laws, insufficiently clear. 6
The literary-critical analysis of Exod 12:2127 poses an additional chal-
lenge. The classic approach has ascribed this pericope to the J document and
considers it an ancient witness to the Pesah rite. However, as the analysis
below will show, the ascription to the non-Priestly narrative does not stand
up to critical scrutiny; a more enduring alternative must explain the sig-
nificance of the redundancy between the pericope and its Priestly parallel.7

4
According to Fishbane (Biblical Interpretation, 197198), the word  only in
v. 16 (only what every person is to eat, that alone may be prepared for you  
   ) constitutes a technical formula of inner-biblical interpretation
that serves to limit the adjoining general prohibition (no work at all shall be done on
them    ). In any case, the consistent differentiation in the Priestly
holiday calendars (Leviticus 23; Numbers 2829) between laborious work and any
work apparently indicates an awareness of this limitation. Fishbane claims that the term
 serves in this capacity in v. 15 as well, augmenting the command to eat unleavened
bread (for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread   ) with the
injunction against eating leavened food (moreover, on the first day you shall banish
leaven from your houses, because anyone eating leavened food   
       ; see also below concerning this injunction in its context).
Correct or not, one must admit that the Priestly holiday calendars do not repeat this
prohibition. Still, this absence may result from the abbreviated form of the lists, a form
natural to holiday calendars, since such texts consolidate the information about the
annual holidays in chapter headings alone. In other topics as well, the calendars do not
provide many relevant laws. In any case, I see no philological justification for Knohls
conclusion (Sanctuary of Silence, 54) that the brevity of the laws of the Pesah and the
unleavened bread in the holiday calendars reflects a demurral against texts of a folk-
religious nature, which included the Pesah sacrifice and the laws of leavened and
unleavened foods.
5
On v. 14, see below.
6
The relationship between the Pesah and the Festival of Unleavened Bread and its
cultic and conceptual significance also constitutes a central question with regard to the
festival calendar in Deuteronomy. Chapter 4 will treat this question.
7
Compare Exod 12:7, 1213 with vv. 2223.
46 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

2.2 The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111

In the text of Exod 12:113, the speech directed at the Israelite congrega-
tion vacillates in the form of its address. Part of the text uses 3rd pl. verbs,
such as v. 3: they shall take ; v. 6b: they shall slaughter  ;
v. 7: they shall take , they shall swab , they will eat ;
and v. 8: they shall eat , shall they eat it . The other part
employs the 2nd pl. form: v. 4: shall you apportion ; v. 5: your
shall be , shall you take ; v. 6a: you shall  ;
v. 9: do not eat  ; v. 10: you shall not leave over  ,
you shall burn   ; and v. 11: you shall eat , your loins
girded, your shoes on your feet, and your walking-sticks in your hands
     , you shall eat .
Such alternations in address, referring consistently, throughout the peri-
cope, to the same subject (the Israelite congregation), demand explana-
tion. It is impossible to disentangle them along the lines of a switch in con-
tent, since the entire pericope deals with only one topic, the laws of the
Pesah. Furthermore, even verbs formed of the same root, treating the same
particular point, alternate address:

v. 3 
  they shall take each one a lamb
v. 5      Your lamb shall be From among the sheep
   or the goats shall you take (it).

The verbal address even oscillates between such similarly formed verbs
when set right beside each other:

v. 8      They shall eat the meatand unleavened


 bread; with bitter herbs shall they eat it.
v. 9       Do not eat from it raw or cooked in water

Notably, the statements in 2nd pl. address always return to a point the peri-
cope already covered in 3rd pl. form, for instance:

v. 3 
  they shall take for themselves each one a lamb
v. 5     
Your lamb shall be unblemished, a yearling
   male; from among the sheep or the goats
shall you take (it).

Such repetition, though, does not merely reduplicate the previous state-
ment; rather, it always involves expansion and explanation. In the manner
of a legal midrash, v. 5 (addressing the Israelite congregation in 2nd pl.)
expounds the necessary qualifications pertaining to the lamb mentioned
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 47

in v. 3 (which speaks of the Israelite congregation in 3rd pl.). Similarly,


v. 6a (addressing the Israelite congregation in 2nd pl.), returning to the
date set in v. 3 (which speaks of the Israelite congregation in 3rd pl.), clari-
fies that the Israelites should not slaughter the lamb on that date, the tenth
of the month, but keep watch over it instead until the fourteenth:

v. 3    on the tenth of this month that they shall


take for themselves, each one, a lamb.
v. 6a 
    You shall guard it until the fourteenth day
 of this month.

Similarly, as opposed to the bald statement, they shall eat  the meat,
in v. 8 (which speaks of the Israelite congregation in 3rd pl.), v. 11
(addressing the Israelite congregation in 2nd pl.) adds details as to how and
in what manner they should eat that meat:

v. 8
 They shall eat the meat.
v. 11    This is how you shall eat it: your loins
    girded, your shoes on your feet, and your

   walking-sticks in your hands; you shall eat
it in haste. It is the Pesah to YHWH.

A different kind of expansion occurs in v. 4. In the manner of legal mid-


rash, this verse (in 2nd pl. address) provides an answer to the practical
question left open by the law in v. 3 (in 3rd pl. address), namely, what to
do if the house is too small for an entire lamb:

v. 3 
They shall takeone lamb per house8
v. 4  
    And if the household be too small for one
    lamb, then he shall take9 along with the

   neighbor close to his house, in proportion
to the number of people; according to the
amount each one eats shall you apportion
the lamb.

8
The words  
(a lamb per household) may perhaps mean to gloss the
phrase  (one lamb per house), since the term  house or household
returns without further qualification in v. 4        (and if the
household be too smallclose to his house). The gloss recalls v. 21, which substituted
  (family) for the term  ; see below.
9
The form then he shall take , in 3rd pers. singular, does not refer to the subject,
the Israelite congregation (v. 3). The verbs referring to the Israelite congregation in 3rd
pers. appear in the plural (they shall take , they shall slaughter  , they
shall take , they shall swab , they will eat , they shall eat ,
they shall eat it ). By contrast, the form , conjugated in 3rd pers. singular,
has an indefinite subject, which perhaps relies on the distributive (each one) in v. 3
48 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

An expansion of yet another type exists in v. 10:

v. 8  
 They shall eat the meat during this night
v. 10   You shall not leave over from it until morning,

   and what has remained of it until morning you
shall burn by fire.

As opposed to the basic law in v. 8, formulated (in 3rd pl.) as a positive in-
junction to eat the meat during this night, v. 10 functions to delimit this
law by reformulating it (in 2nd pl.) as a prohibition against leaving over
any of the meat until morning. In the language of legal midrash we would
say that the midrash in v. 10 adds a negative injunction (you shall not
leave over) to the positive one in v. 8 (they shall eat the meat during this
night). Moreover, the midrash in v. 10 continues even to introduce a pro-
vision for the eventuality that someone violates the prohibition against
leaving meat over until morning: and what has remained of it until morn-
ing you shall burn by fire. In midrashic terms, this constitutes a negative
injunction transformed into a positive one.10
In the same manner, v. 9 adds a prohibition (in 2nd pl.) to redefine the
unqualified positive command (in 3rd pl.) in v. 8:

v. 8    
 They shall eat the meatroasted by fire.
v. 9       Do not eat from it raw or cooked in water,
    but rather roasted by fire, its head along
with its thighs and innards.

Further on, v. 9 also contains an additional detail with regard to the law in
v. 8 of roasting the meat; it specifies that one must roast its head along
with its thighs and innards, in other words, the entire animal.
It seems impossible to escape the conclusion that the continuous text,
when read straight through, makes for very difficult reading. Without arguing
that a single author wrote repetitiously as a way to explain himself,11 one

for its antecedent. In any case, the current sequence of the text incorporates the form he
shall take into a casuistic structure. The context of a hypothetical possibility geared only
towards a particular case (and if the household be too small for one lamb) would
actually seem to demand the indefinite subject. The other, 2nd pers. form used for the
subject (*then you [pl.] shall take, along with your [pl.] neighbors), which addresses
the Israelite congregation directly, would not suit this need.
10
On the negative injunction transformed into a positive one  appear-
ing occasionally as a secondary expansion to a primary text, see Toeg, Lawgiving, 85.
11
There is nothing against such a possibility in principle, but to the degree that the
conceptual gap between the two literary strands grows (see below), the likelihood of this
kind of assumption diminishes.
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 49

must conclude that this text has more than one layer. Indeed, disentangling
the 2nd pl. and 3rd pl. statements from each other yields two texts, one that
may be seen as the basic literary layer, and the other as a layer that always
functions to explain or expand the base layer further in the manner of legal
midrash.12 The author of the original pericope, the base layer, formulated
the text as YHWHs words to Moses, with the Israelite congregation ad-
dressed solely in 3rd pl. form;13 as if speaking in a vacuum, the midrashic-
12
For an array of examples of inner-biblical legal midrash appearing as secondary
expansions of primary texts, see Fishbane, Biblical Interpretation, 91230; Zakovitch,
Inner-Biblical Interpretation, 8896.
13
See Bar-On (Gesundheit), Analyse, 1922. For similar suggestions, see Rendtorff
(Gesetze in der Priesterschrift, 57 ff.) and, following him, Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 10 ff.;
Kohata, Jahwist, 166, 262266; Otto, ThWAT, VI, 669, 676677; Kckert, Leben in
Gottes Gegenwart, 4650; Preu, Theologie, II, 248; Grnwaldt, Exil und Identitt, 72
75; Breuer, Passover in Egypt, 919; Weimar, Problem der Entstehungsgeschichte,
117; Ahuis, Trgergruppen, 3342.
Von Rad (Die Priesterschrift im Hexateuch, 46 ff.) reconstructs two parallel literary
strands, forcing himself to assume that the process of combining the two layers and their
redaction entailed the loss and even the alteration of different parts of the text. Cf. also
Beer Galling, Exodus, 63; Wambacq, Les origines de la Pesah, 311315. Paran
(Priestly Style, 7173) dealt with the phenomenon of the alternating address in those
passages that evince the structure he has termed the circular inclusio. He divides these
instances into three groups, for each one of which he explains the alternation of address
differently. Paran includes the instance of Exodus 12 in the first group, explaining and
illustrating (72): When God addresses His words to the Israelites through Moses, and a
formula of agency, such as speak to the Israelites, precedes the verb, the author cannot
have the first verb address the Israelites directly, hence, the 3rd pers. form; however, im-
mediately afterwards he can change the address, and so he does, while including Moses
within the Israelites. Thus: Speak to the Israelites: let them bring Me a donation; from
every person so inclined shall you bring My donation (Exod 25:2).
However, Parans comments on this passage, one that he chooses as paradigmatic, seem
quite forced. The passage actually does not alternate its address at all. YHWH consistently
speaks to Moses in the 2nd pers. and refers to the Israelites in the 3rd. The key to the pass-
age exists in recognizing that it employs two different meanings of the root : (1) to
bring, and (2) to accept. In v. 2a, YHWH instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to bring dona-
tions; in v. 2b, he emphasizes that Moses should accept the donation from every Israelite
willing to bring one. In v. 3, YHWH begins to detail what materials Moses should accept
from the Israelites. In v. 8, YHWH explains the purpose of this endeavor: on account of
the Israelites willingness to donate the materials for his abode will YHWH dwell in their
midst. Finally, YHWH stresses that Moses and his company shall build the tabernacle
according to the blueprint YHWH shows him. Throughout this set of instructions, YHWH
addresses Moses directly, in 2nd pers., and speaks of the Israelites in the 3rd pers. As a
result, it cannot serve to anchor or illustrate any theory about the stylistic rules governing
the alternating address. (Thanks to S. Chavel for this reading of Exod 25:29.) As for
Exodus 12, it features the phenomenon of the alternating address far more extensively
than Parans rule can cover; in vv. 19 the address alternates no less than five times
(vv. 2, 3, 4, 6b, 9). In order to uphold his position, Paran was forced to emend the text, as
he did in vv. 16 (ibid., 9496). He did not deal with the alternation from v. 8 to v. 9.
50 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

style, expansional layer makes use only of the direct, 2nd pl. address to
Israel without adapting its midrashic supplement to the frame of the
original pericope. Based on this criterion of address, the following chart
separates the two layers in vv. 111 that contain the Pesah laws (vv. 1220
move on to discuss other issues):

Base layer Expansional layer


v. 1 



v. 2 
   


v. 3 

 
 
  


v. 4      
   
 
v. 5      
 
v. 6a    

v. 6b 
  

v. 7    
  
v. 8    


v. 9   
  
 
v. 10   

 
v. 11    
   
14

 

14
Verse 2: According to the context, the direct, 2nd pers. address in this verse refers to
Moses and Aaron, not the entire Israelite congregation as in the rest of the expansional
layer. Moreover, v. 2 interrupts the flow between vv. 1 and 3, and fractures the formula:
YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, as follows: Speak to the entire
Israelite congregation (Paran, Priestly Style, 95; see already George, Feste, 9091).
Also peculiar, the command to establish the calendar addresses only Moses and Aaron
(Baentsch, Exodus, 90). As we will see below, v. 2 does not constitute an organic part of
the chiastic structure of the expansions. Note as well that v. 2 does not delimit the first
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 51

Base layer Expansional layer


v. 1 YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron in
the land of Egypt, as follows:
v. 2 This month will be for you the first of
the months; it is the first for you among
the months of the year.
v. 3 Tell the entire Israelite congregation,
as follows, on the tenth of this month
that they shall take for themselves,
each one, a lamb per household, one
lamb per house.

month beyond its definition in the text that follows; the entire pericope refers to it simply
as this month (vv. 2, 3, 6). It emerges that v. 2 constitutes a secondary addition that
does not belong to the original complex of expansions. As we will see below (p. 87 and
n. 99 there), the author of the appendix in vv. 1820 may also have added this verse. In
any case, the verse contains information necessary to the goal of the appendix, namely, to
fix the festival within the calendar (see below).
Verse 3: Hebrew introduces indirect speech very rarely. The Priestly literature
has only one other instance, Num 9:2. Paran (Priestly Style, 9293, 95) emends the text
in both places; see already A. B. Ehrlich, Randglossen, I, 303; so, too, Beer Galling,
Exodus, 63. Perhaps the word serves here (in v. 3) as a repetitive resumption of
sorts, connected to in v. 1 in order to work in the addition of v. 2.
Relatedly, the location of the words on the tenth of this month presents a difficulty.
The Massoretic cantillation marks linking the words to the first part of the verse reflect
the Massoretes bewilderment. According to Laaf (Pascha-Feier, 1213) and Paran
(Priestly Style, 95), the words do not belong to the core of the text. If, however, the word
 does not belong to the main part of the text (see above), then the syntactical dif-
ficulties dissolve, nullifying any justification for questioning the originality of the date
(on the tenth of this month). Moreover, it is hard to imagine what would have moti-
vated the addition of this date. Furthermore, it appears that v. 6 makes reference to the
date marked here. Paran (Priestly Style, 95; compare Breuer, Passover in Egypt, 13
n. 15) goes too far when under the duress of his method he erases the date from v. 6 as
well without any textual basis.
Verse 6b: The Hebrew expression here, the community of the Israelite congregation
   , constitutes a pleonastic formulation (in the words of Hossfeld,
Volk Gottes, 140; see also Gro, Bundeszeichen, 99), which typifies the language of
editors. As opposed to the simple expression, the Israelite congregation    
in the base layer here (v. 3) and found throughout the Priestly literature, the combined
pleonasm appears elsewhere only in the editorial layer in Num 14:5 (see e.g. Knohl,
Sanctuary of Silence, 92 and n. 109; Frankel, Murmuring Stories, 116; Pola, Priester-
schrift, 93). It seems that a subsequent editor inserted this combined form in order to pro-
vide the sentence with a subject, which would then facilitate the difficult syntactic transi-
tion between the first part of the verse (the expansional layer), formulated in 2nd pl.
(You shall), and the second part (the base layer), formulated in 3rd pl. (They shall
slaughter). Cf. Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 13.
52 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Base layer Expansional layer


v. 4 And if the household be too small for
one lamb, then he shall take along with
the neighbor close to his house, in
proportion to the number of people;
according to the amount each one eats
shall you apportion the lamb.
v. 5 Your lamb shall be unblemished, a
yearling male; from among the sheep or
the goats shall you take (it).
v. 6a You shall guard it until the fourteenth
day of this month.
v. 6b They shall slaughter it, the entire
community of the Israelite congrega-
tion, at twilight.
v. 7 They shall take from the blood and
they shall swab it on the two door-
posts and on the lintel, on the houses
in which they shall eat it.
v. 8 They shall eat the meat during this
night, roasted by fire, and unleavened
bread; with bitter herbs shall they eat
it.
v. 9 Do not eat from it raw or cooked in
water, but rather roasted by fire, its head
along with its thighs and innards.
v. 10 You shall not leave over from it until
morning; and what has remained of it
until morning you shall burn by fire.
v. 11 And this is how you shall eat it: your
loins girded, your shoes on your feet,
and your walking-sticks in your hands;
you shall eat it in haste. It is the Pesah
to YHWH.

The rule or motivation behind the 2nd pl. style in the expansional layer may
be puzzling, but the synoptic presentation bears out the validity of using
this stylistic criterion to identify two separate literary strands. Moreover,
the phenomenon of the unexplained alternating address occurs elsewhere
in the Priestly literature, and in all those instances the text formulated in
2nd pl. adds details to what was said already in close proximity in 3rd pl.15
It appears that in some of these cases, perhaps even in all of them, this
feature marks the fingerprints of a later, inner-biblical hermeneutic editor.

15
See Exod 14:2; Num 9:23; 10:310; 15:3841; 35:28. On Exod 25:29, see below.
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 53

The following chart will present a summary of the Pesah laws relayed in
the base layer and their interpretations and elaborations in the expositional
material introduced by the expansional layer:

Law in Base Layer: Midrashic Expansion: Character of Expansion:


on the tenth of You shall guard it until the four- Redefines the date, or actually
this month that they teenth day of this month (v. 6) harmonizes two conflicting
shall take (v. 3a) ones.16
They shall take for Your lamb shall be unblemished, Specifies which lamb to take.
themselves, each a yearling male; from among the
one, a lamb sheep or the goats shall you take
(v. 3b) (it) (v. 5).
one lamb per house And if the household be too small Covers the implicit case not
(v. 3b). for one lamb, then he shall take addressed: what to do if the
along with the neighbor close to household is too small for
his house, in proportion to the an entire lamb.
number of people; according to
the amount each one eats shall
you apportion the lamb (v. 4).
They shall eat the And this is how you shall eat it: Specifies how to eat the Pesah
meat (v. 8a) your loins girded, your shoes on and in what circumstances.
your feet, and your walking-
sticks in your hands; you shall eat
it in haste. It is the Pesah to
YHWH (v. 11).
during this night You shall not leave over from it Delimits positive injunction of
(v. 8a) until morning, and what has re- a time-limit by reformulating
mained of it until morning you it as a prohibition (You shall
shall burn by fire (v. 10). not leave over) and adds a
proviso (you shall burn it by
fire) for its violation.
roasted by fire, and Do not eat from it raw or cooked Delimits positive injunction to
unleavened bread; in water, but rather roasted by roast by reformulating it as a
with bitter herbs fire, its head along with its thighs prohibition (You shall not
shall they eat it and innards (v. 9). eat) and specifies what to
(v. 8b). roast (its head along with its
thighs and innards).

This summary facilitates a resolution to the bewildering structure of the


pericope overall. For it suggests that one may read the text in the order of
its expositions, rather than sequentially, one verse directly after the other.
Looked at vertically, the chart reveals that v. 3 contains three elements;
looked at horizontally, the chart shows that each element in v. 3 has been
expounded by another verse: v. 3a by v. 6a; v. 3b by v. 5; v. 3b by v. 4.

16
On the problem of the date, see below.
54 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Similarly, vv. 911 comment on various elements in v. 8: v. 11 on v. 8a;


v. 10 on v. 8a; v. 9 on v. 8b. From this way of looking at the text, namely,
lemma plus midrash, it emerges that the author of the expansional layer
arranged his comments in the inverse order of those elements of the base
layer he aimed to annotate:17

Base Layer:

v. 3 (1) 

(2)   
 

(3) 

Expansions:
v. 4 (3)    
   
  
v. 5 (2)   
    

v. 6a (1) 
   

Base Layer:

vv. 6b7 (4)    


  
     
v. 8 (5)


(6)  

(7) 


Expansions:

v. 9 (7)   


  

v. 10 (6)
   
v. 11 (5)         

  
(4) ?

17
For the midrashic expansion to vv. 6b7, the slaughter of the Pesah and the blood
rite, see below.
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 55

Base Layer:

v. 3 (1) on the tenth of this month

(2) that they shall take for themselves, each one, a lamb per
household,

(3) one lamb per house.

Expansions:
v. 4 (3) And if the household be too small for one lamb then he shall
take along with the neighbor close to his house, in proportion
to the number of people; according to the amount each one
eats shall you apportion the lamb.

v. 5 (2) Your lamb shall be unblemished, a yearling male; from


among the sheep or the goats shall you take (it).

v. 6a (1) You shall guard it until the fourteenth day of this month.

Base Layer:

vv. 6b7 (4) They shall slaughter it, the entire community of the Israelite
congregation, at twilight. They shall take from the blood and
they shall swab it on the two doorposts and on the lintel, on
the houses in which they shall eat it.

v. 8 (5) They shall eat the meat

(6) during this night,

(7) roasted by fire, and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs shall
they eat it.
Expansions:

v. 9 (7) Do not eat from it raw or cooked in water, but rather roasted
by fire, its head along with its thighs and innards.

v. 10 (6) You shall not leave over from it until morning, and what has
remained of it until morning you shall burn by fire.

v. 11 (5) And this is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your shoes
on your feet, and your walking-sticks in your hands; you shall
eat it in haste. It is the Pesah to YHWH.

(4) ?
56 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Seven components of the Pesah laws in the base layer come into clear relief,
each one providing the midrashic annotator with a lemmatic catch by which
to anchor his additions in the text. Surprisingly, though, the expansional
layer does not treat the fourth component, the slaughter of the Pesah with its
related blood rite. In other words, the expansional layer ends rather abrupt-
ly, precisely before its final comment (4), the one that should interpret the
fourth element of the base layer. Further on, the analysis will demonstrate
that this interruption results from a third hand, an editor who manipulated the
expanded form of the Pesah text. Whatever the motivation behind this intru-
sion (on which, see below), it seems that the expansional layer did originally
continue with an interpretation of the blood rite, in the text currently found
at Exod 12:22. From the perspective of both content and formulation, this
verse matches the expansional layer perfectly, even to the point that it too re-
casts the passage it treats (vv. 6b7) from 3rd pl. address to the 2nd pl. form:

vv. 6b7 (4)       




v. 22 (4)           
     

vv. 6b7 (4) They shall slaughter it They shall take from the blood
and they shall swab it on the two doorposts and on the lintel,
on the houses in which they shall eat it.

v. 22 (4) You shall take a bunch of hyssop


and you shall dip it in the blood that is on the threshold,
and you shall dab the lintel and the two doorposts18
from the blood that is on the threshold.
None of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until
morning.

It is remarkable how the author of the expansional layer infers from the
apotropaic nature of the blood rite described in the base layer (v. 7) the
existence of a prohibition against leaving the house before morning (v. 22),
specifically, before the Destroyer passes by.19 Likewise, the expansional

18
Note the chiastic inversion:
(4) And they shall swabthe two doorposts and the lintel.

(4) And you shall dab the lintel and the two doorposts.
According to Seidels law (M. Seidel, Studies in Bible, 2 ff.), chiastic repetition may
indicate inner-biblical citation.
19
See Rashbam: You shall not step outside because the sign of the blood on the
doorposts will protect you.
The Structure of the Pesah Laws in Exod 12:111 57

layer specifies many practical cultic details about the performance of this
blood rite (       ).
It appears, moreover, that the entire pericope in vv. 2227a, 2820 repre-
sents the expansion that followed vv. 911, in the combined running text
created by the midrashic author. The verses in this section, too, appear in
2nd pers. address, in step with the style of the expansional layer. In terms
of their contents, these verses suit the expansional text perfectly, as well:

v. 22  
   You shall take a bunch of hyssop and you shall
    dip it in the blood that is on the threshold, and

    you shall dab the lintel and the two doorposts
   from the blood that is on the threshold. None of
 you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of
his house until morning.
v. 23   
 YHWH will pass through to attack Egypt; He will

   see the blood on the lintel and on the two door-
 
  posts; and YHWH will protect the entrance and
   not let the Destroyer enter your houses
to attack.
v. 24 
    You shall observe this matter as a law for you
 and your children forever.
v. 25   When you arrive in the land that YHWH will give
    
you, as He has promised, then shall you observe
 this rite.
v. 26     And if your children say to you, What is this
 rite you are doing?,
v. 27a  
   then you shall answer, It is the Pesah sacrifice
 
   to YHWH, because He protected the Israelite
   houses in Egypt when He attacked Egypt, and so
He saved our houses.

Exposure of the chiastic structure enables us to understand also the order


of the actions described. For example, if not for the chiastic division, it is
unclear why v. 9 repeats the law of roasted by fire and why v. 11 repeats
the laws of eating that are discussed in vv. 89, after v. 10 already refers to
the laws of the next morning. Also, v. 22 would seem to come too late, if it
did not constitute the last part of the chiastic structure. Likewise, it seems
that the detailed description of dabbing the blood on the lintel and the two
doorposts (v. 22) is purposely delayed until the end of the paragraph, in
order to base it on, and make a literary connection to, the nearby etiology,
which ends the description of the laws:

20
On v. 27b, see below.
58 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Exod 12:23 Exod 12:22


 
 
  
   
     
  

    
  
YHWH will pass through to attack Egypt; You shall take a bunch of hyssop and you
He will see the blood on the lintel and on shall dip it in the blood that is on the thresh-
the two doorposts; and YHWH will protect old, and dab the lintel and the two door-
the entrance and not let the Destroyer enter posts from the blood that is on the thresh-
your houses to attack. old. None of you, no one, shall step outside
the entrance of his house until morning.

This literary-historical analysis of 12:2127 contradicts the scholarly consen-


sus that this text belongs to the non-Priestly material, which goes back to the
classic view ascribing this pericope at least at its root to the J document.
The obligation therefore arises to re-examine this nearly universal opinion.

2.3 The Origin of Exod 12:2127

In the non-Priestly version of the plagues narrative Moses warns Pharaoh of


a plague against the first-borns (Exod 11:48). According to Moses, this
plague will strike only the Egyptian first-borns, whereas among all the
Israelites, not even a dog will wag its tongue, at (anything) from human to
animal, so that you will know that YHWH has distinguished between Egypt
and Israel (v. 7). This pericope makes no mention whatsoever of the Pesah
or the blood rite as a means for saving Israel. Throughout the entire story of
the plagues, as well, Israel need do nothing to ensure their invulnerability
from the plagues. Accordingly, when the story recounts the actual plague of
the first-born (12:29ff.), it does not refer to the Pesah at all, nor does it say
that YHWH passed over or protected the Israelite homes. This account of the
plague fulfills exactly the terms of Moses threat in 11:18, but contains no
reference whatsoever substantive or literary to the prescriptions in 12:21
27. Moreover, the two texts actually contain a recognizable conflict. Accord-
ing to 11:48, only human and animal first-borns will die, whereas according
to 12:2127, the danger posed by the Destroyer, not limited to the first-borns
only, threatens the entire household; note that the Destroyer may harm any
Israelite found outside his door before morning. On the other hand, 12:21
27 says nothing about animals; for them, it implies, no danger is lurking.21

21
Actually, the primary level of the non-Priestly story may not in fact have included
the animal first-born; see below.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 59

In addition, the non-Priestly story has the exodus taking place at night,22
whereas Exod 12:22 forbids every Israelite to exit the entrance of his
house until morning. This law actually matches the Priestly laws of the
Pesah in Egypt, according to which whatever meat remains from the Pesah
until morning must be burned (12:10). In this issue, too, then, the passage
in 12:2127 contradicts the non-Priestly version of the narrative, but
agrees with the Priestly one, in which the exodus occurs during the day.23
In fact, the common view makes Exod 12:2127 into an isolated frag-
ment, since no one has identified any links to the non-Priestly story pre-
ceding and following it, both in terms of contents and from the point of
view of literary style and diction. Indeed, certain aspects of the verse that
introduces the pericope (v. 21) make it difficult to read the verse as
continuing the non-Priestly narrative. When Moses, in this verse, com-
mands the people to slaughter the Pesah, he refers to the Pesah as some-
thing familiar (slaughter the Pesah). However, up until this point in the
story, the non-Priestly documents have not mentioned the Pesah at all.
One might be tempted to sidestep the problems in identifying the source
of the paragraph by taking the paragraph as an independent document.
However, not until v. 23 does the text provide the information necessary
for understanding the name Pesah (YHWH will protect the entrance)
and not until v. 27 does the passage coin the term Pesah presented here
as indicating a new concept for the matter and the rite mentioned in
vv. 2426. In other words, what the paragraph presumes in its opening it
then first introduces further on. Consequently, the paragraph is difficult in
its own right, not merely in terms of its larger literary context. In addition,
according to its closing, the pericope should have dealt with the Pesah rite
in its entirety (vv. 2427a), but in fact, it deals with the blood procedure all
along. This pericope, in short, has no independent existence; rather, it is
clearly a severed piece that presumes some prior text, for which, as dem-
onstrated, the non-Priestly narrative cannot provide the missing link,24 and
furthermore, it contains its own set of internal difficulties.
Despite the classic consensus attributing Exod 12:2127 to J, when it
comes to formulating the precise relationship to J, there actually exists an
impressive variety of opinions on the matter.25 This very variety should cast

22
Exod 12:30 ff.; compare also v. 42 there. See, too, the discussion on Deut 16:1 below.
23
Other Priestly texts reflect a daytime Exodus as well, such as Num 33:3: They
travelled from Ramses in the first month; on the fifteenth of the first month, the day after
the Pesah, the Israelites left with high hand, in the sight of all Egypt.
24
Mller, Pesach- und Mazzothfest, 11, has already discussed the fragmentary charac-
ter of Exod 12:2127.
25
For detailed bibliographies, see Schaefer, Das Passah-Mazzoth-Fest, 115 (chart);
Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 19; see also Blum, Pentateuch, 167.
60 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

doubt on the veracity of the classic ascription to J. Add to this that many
scholars also point out a recognizably Deuteronomistic style in the text,
especially in vv. 2427, which should prove a Deuteronomic, pre-Deutero-
nomic, or post-Deuteronomic origin.26 In light of the tensions between the
contents of vv. 2127 and Js narrative thread, several scholars identify
vv. 2127 as an ancient strand within J.27 For the very same reasons, others
explain it as a later J strand revised by the editor of JE.28 Despite the
absence of clear stylistic signs, some attribute the fragment to E.29 Con-
sistent in his theory, Fohrer attributes vv. 2123, 27b to the N document
because of their unique contents.30 Most illustrative are the comments of
Wellhausen, who straddles the fence, unable to take an unequivocal stand
on whether vv. 2127 represent a late addition to JE or a text of unknown
provenience appended to P.31 Judging by its form, he thinks the fragment
close to JE, but its contents appear Priestly to him.32
Isolated attempts made more recently to attribute the pericope to Priestly
layers generally have not merited scholarly attention,33 and in those cases
where they did, they failed to disengage the entrenched opinions.34 One of
the arguments brought against attributing the pericope to P contends that its
reduplication of the contents of the Priestly pericope in vv. 120 proves it
cannot be P.35 However, assuming that the pericopes belong to different

26
See Ahuis, Trgergruppen, 70; see also the survey of Weimar, Zusatz nachdeutero-
nomistischer Provenienz, 421430.
27
See above, and cf. Baentsch, Exodus, 100; Fohrer, berlieferung und Geschichte, 83.
28
Cf. Driver, Introduction, 29, and the more recent reiteration in Schreiner, Exodus
12,2123, 79.
29
Procksch, Elohimquelle, 76; Mowinckel, Vermeintliche Passahlegende, 81.
Against them, see Fohrer, berlieferung und Geschichte, 83.
30
Fohrer, berlieferung und Geschichte, 83.
31
Wellhausen, Composition des Hexateuchs, 75.
32
Man wird 12, 2127 entweder fr einen spteren Zusatz zu JE halten mssen, oder
aber fr einen Anhang unbekannten Ursprungs zu Q: es steht in der Mitte zwischen bei-
den, in Form und Ton etwas mehr auf seiten des Jehovisten, in der Sache fast ganz auf
seiten von Q (ibid.).
33
May, Relation of the Passover, 70 ff.; Pfeiffer, Introduction, 189; Wambacq, Les
origines de la Pesah, 208 n. 7; Van Seters, Place of the Yahwist, 172 ff. Cf. also the
initial gropings of the nineteenth-century critics: George, Feste, 88; Knobel, Exodus, 91;
de Wette Schrader, Lehrbuch, 281; Nldeke, Untersuchungen, 42; Kayser, Das vorexili-
sche Buch, 4546; Preiss, Vatkes historisch-kritische Einleitung, 328; Kuenen, Histo-
risch-kritische Einleitung, 162 ( 9, n. 4d).
34
Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 19 n. 81; Schreiner, Exodus 12,2123, 79 n. 57; Kohata, Jah-
wist, 271 n. 45; Blum, Pentateuch, 39 n. 149; Weimar, Zusatz nachdeuteronomistischer
Provenienz, 424 n. 19. Compare Grnwaldt (Exil und Identitt, 74): Da man nicht im
Ernst annehmen kann, da V. 2123 zu derselben Schicht gehren wie V. 114.
35
Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 19.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 61

traditions, how can one explain the nearly perfect topical and linguistic
parallels?

Exod 12:1213 Exod 12:23


I will pass through YHWH will pass through 
 .
when I see the blood  . He will see the blood 
I will protect/pass over you   and YHWH will protect 

so that no attack and not let the Destroyer
will destroy   you.   attack .

On the contrary, it appears impossible to escape the conclusion that the


affinity between the two texts signals some direct literary relationship. In
recent studies of Exod 12:2123, 2427a, there is a tendency to abandon the
classic approach to J and to see the section as part of a post-Deuteronomic
or post-Priestly editorial layer. 36

2.3.1 The Priestly Character of Exod 12:2227a, 28


The description of the blood rite and its role (vv. 2223), together with the
closing verses (vv. 2427a), preserves a Priestly fragment now encased in
a secondary frame (vv. 21, 27b). The responsibility for leading scholars
astray may in fact fall to the style of these editorial framing verses. Only in
the pericopes frame, and not in the main body of the text, do phrases more
or less characteristic of the classic J document exist.37 However, judging the

36
Bar-On (Gesundheit), Analyse, 1830; Ahuis, Trgergruppen, 4474; Weimar,
Zusatz nachdeuteronomistischer Provenienz, 421448; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 3856;
Wagenaar, Origin and Transformation, 97; Blum, Gesprch mit neueren Endredaktions-
hypothesen, 135; compare Dahm, Opferkult, 131139.
37
Actually, the only expression in these verses to appear exclusively in what has been
classically ascribed to J consists of the people bowed and prostrated themselves 
    (v. 27b), and in J, actually, this combination of bowing and prostrating
appears only once, in Exod 4:31 (on the use made of this expression by the author of the
redactional frame in Exod 12:21, 27b, see below). Besides this use of a J expression, the
use of the verb to slaughter in a cultic sense (they shall slaughter the Pesah,
v. 21) exists mainly in the Priestly literature and in later books (Ezekiel, Chronicles, and
Ezra). More specifically, the verb to slaughter appears an additional seven times in
connection with the Pesah, each time in the context of a Priestly or a late text (Exod 12:6;
34:25; 2 Chr 30:15; 35:1, 6, 11; Ezra 6:20). Furthermore, the author of the redactional
frame employed the term   (v. 21) rather than the term  (vv. 3, 4, 7, 22, 23, 27a)
that appears in the original Pesah pericope and resembles the later term  in v. 3
(see above). As regards the concept of the elders of Israel  (v. 21), Rof
(Introduction to Deuteronomy, 77) demonstrated that later compositions in particular
make occasional use of it, either as an archaism or because of their dependence on their
sources. Among his examples, Rof notes (ibid.) the story of the plague during Davids
time, which mentions the elders at the kings side in 1 Chr 21:16, a verse absent in the
older version of the story in 2 Sam 24:24 and clearly late (see also Rof, Israelite Belief
62 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

proverbial book by its cover, namely, identifying the fragment based on the
style of its frame rather than on its actual contents, suffers a methodo-
logical flaw. The flaw magnifies itself manifold in the case of a redactional
frame foreign to the text it encloses. The style of editors and revisers, as is
well known, is not of a purist sort; consequently, a literary-critical analysis
based on stylistic differentiation cannot rely on it. Indeed, ignoring this
editorial frame will allow the Priestly character of the pericope to come
clearly into focus:

A. Scholarship has already discerned that the use of the phrases hyssop
(v. 22), dip (ibid.), and lintel   (vv. 2223) in a cultic
context is characteristic of Priestly literature.38 Moreover it takes only a
brief survey to see plainly against the prevailing view that the ex-
pressions as a law for you and your children forever   
(v. 24)39 and when you arrive in the land that YHWH will give
you 
   (v. 25), bear the distinct Priestly
imprint.40

in Angels, 195196). For Priestly instances of the elders, see Lev 4:15 (the elders of
the congregation ); 9:1 (the elders of Israel  ).
38
See May, Relation of the Passover, 55, 77; Wambacq, Les origines de la Pesah,
317318; Van Seters, Place of the Yahwist, 173; but see also Blum, Pentateuch, 39
n. 149. However, one should not overstate the weight of this consideration, since these
amount to isolated words, not characteristic expressions. Moreover, the words hyssop,
dip, and lintel denote realia and one cannot find alternative vocabulary for them. Re-
garding the word lintel, one should reserve judgment on whether its appearance here is
characteristic to Ps style, since it does not occur again in the Pentateuch except in this
chapter (Exod 12:7, 22, 23). The word hyssop appears in Lev 14:4, 6, 49, 51, 52 and
Num 19:6, 18. The verb to dip occurs additionally in cultic context in Lev 4:6, 17; 9:9;
14:6, 16, 51; and Num 19:18.
39
See Lev 10:13 (  ), 15 (   ); see also Exod 30:21;
Lev 6:11, 15; 7:34; 24:9; Num 18:8, 11, 19. Despite Gertzs attempts (Exoduserzhlung,
40) to find a Deuteronomic or Deuteronomistic origin of this formula, it does not appear
in the legal terminology of the Deuteronomic or Deuteronomistic literature; see already
Jacob, Exodus, 340.
40
See Lev 23:10; 25:2:    . See also Lev 14:34; 19:23;
Num 15:2. The use of the 3rd pers. form (that YHWH will give you) in Exod 12:25, in
contrast with the usual 1st pers. address (that I am giving you), makes sense in light
of the secondary opening of v. 21, according to which vv. 2227a do not convey Y HWHs
words but Moses speech to the elders of Israel. This formulation, then, does not reflect
Deuteronomic or Deuteronomistic style, as general opinion holds, but Priestly style. The
Deuteronomic or Deuteronomistic formulation differs, as follows:

  Deut 6:10; 7:1; 11:29, or as follows:
 
  Deut 17:14; 26:1, or:
 
  Deut 18:9.
See also Lohfink, Hauptgebot, 122.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 63

B. As discussed above, whereas the other Pentateuchal sources tell of the


exodus occurring at night, the pericope agrees with the Priestly narra-
tive that the exodus took place during the daytime. Forbidding the
Israelite from leaving his or her home until morning (Exod 12:21), the
law in this pericope corresponds precisely with the Priestly Pesah laws
pertaining to the exodus, which consign to the fire whatever has re-
mained of the Pesah by morning (12:10). The conception of events be-
hind this law confines the Pesah to nighttime and has the Israelites exit-
ing Egypt the following day.

C. At root, the story about YHWH passing through Egypt to attack it and
defending the Israelite homes (12:23) assumes that the Israelites lived
among the Egyptians. This assumption agrees with the Priestly story
(12:13), but contradicts the premise of the non-Priestly narrative that the
Israelites lived separately, in the land of Goshen (8:18; 9:26).

D. Wellhausen notes that, according to Exod 12:27, saving Israel from the
Destroyer constitutes the event worthy of commemoration by generations
to come, which fits with the idea of the Pesah in the Priestly passage of
Exod 12:12ff., whereas in the non-Priestly plagues narrative, YHWH dis-
tinguishes between Egypt and Israel (8:18; 9:4; 11:7), with no threat at
all to Israel and no need for them to engage in any apotropaic activity.41

E. As mentioned above, there exist conspicuous literary parallels between


the passage under discussion and the Priestly Pesah pericope:

Exod 12:1213 Exod 12:23


I will pass through YHWH will pass through 
 .
when I see the blood  . He will see the blood 
I will protect/pass over you   and YHWH will protect 

so that no attack and not let the Destroyer
will destroy   you.   attack .

The nearly identical contents and formulations in these two texts have
no explanation under the assumption that they belong to two different
traditions. To the contrary, they prove that a close literary relationship

41
See Wellhausen, Composition des Hexateuchs, 73: Das Gleiche erhellt daraus, dass
hier (wie in Q) die Verschonung Israels von Seiten des Wrgengels als der Feier zu Grun-
de liegende Faktum betrachtet wird. In J und E wird daran nicht gedacht, dass die Plage
auch Israel htte treffen knnen, es gilt als selbstverstndliche und an keine weitere Be-
dingung geknpfte Voraussetzung, dass Gott einen Unterschied macht, aller Nachdruck
ruht auf dem ttlichen (sic!) Schlage der starken Hand selbst, dieser Schlag und nicht die
Verschonung davon wird gefeiert.
64 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

exists between them and since all agree that vv. 1213 belong to the
Priestly literature, then so does v. 23.

F. The non-Priestly story about the plagues against Egypt comes to an ab-
rupt halt at Exod 11:8 and has its natural continuation in Exod 12:29ff.
This fact, too, indicates that Exod 12:2127a has no part in the non-
Priestly story, but belongs to the intervening Priestly material.42

G. The pericope under discussion employs the term house as a dominant


motif:

v. 22 None of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until
morning.
v. 23 and not let the Destroyer enter your houses to attack.
v. 27a because He protected the Israelite houses in Egypt when He attacked
Egypt, and so He saved our houses .

This usage makes palpable its close relationship to the Priestly Pesah
passage:

v. 3 each one, a lamb per household  , one lamb per house .


v. 4 And if the household be too small
then he shall take along with the neighbor close to his house
v. 7 and swabon the houses

H. As stated above, the original flow of the Pesah laws has been inter-
rupted. In the current form of the text, the Pesah laws lack a proper con-
clusion.43 The formal conclusion in vv. 2427a, though, actually fits the
Pesah laws in this regard perfectly:44

42
Wellhausen (Composition des Hexateuchs, 73) already discerned as much, even
though he could not come to a decision on the Priestly attribution of Exod 12:2127 (see
above, n. 32): Schon der direkte Anschluss von 12, 29 an 11, 8 beweist, dass 12, 2127,
wenn es berhaupt zu JE gehrt, doch jedenfalls ein jngerer Zusatz zu der Erzhlung der
ursprnglichen Quellen ist.
43
On the nature of v. 14, see below.
44
Note that it is not certain that the same hand wrote all of Exod 12:2227a. Indeed, a
certain redundancy may exist between v. 24 and v. 25, which could indicate a second
hand. Perhaps the motif of the childrens question and the parents reply (vv. 2527a) in
fact constitutes a midrashic development of v. 24:
v. 24: You shall observe this  matter as a law for you and your children
  forever.
vv. 2527a: then shall you observe this  rite. And if your children
say to you
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 65

v. 24 You shall observe this matter as a law for you and your children forever.
v. 25 When you arrive in the land that YHWH will give you, as He has promised,
then shall you observe this rite.
v. 26 And if your children say to you, What is this rite you are doing?,
v. 27a then you shall answer, It is the Pesah sacrifice to YHWH, because He
protected the Israelite houses in Egypt when He attacked Egypt, and so He
saved our houses.

This dislodged discussion of the Pesah, lacking all connection to its liter-
ary surroundings if attributed, as generally done, to the non-Priestly narra-
tive, now (re)attaches itself organically to the Priestly Pesah laws. Conse-
quently, those theories about the original Pesah rite as only a blood ritual
with no sacrificial meal45 now fall by the wayside. The scholars propound-
ing these theories base themselves on the mistaken assumption that Exod
12:2124 comprises an independent passage stemming from a document
other than the source that contains the main section about the Pesah at the
beginning of the chapter. Since, in the current form of the chapter, this
smaller passage describes only the blood ritual, these theorists inferred that
according to this source generally thought to be quite old the Pesah
consists solely of a blood ceremony with no sacrificial meal.
Scholars have always recognized that v. 28 actually refers back to the
Priestly Pesah pericope (the Pesah in Egypt). This fact accords well with
the contention that vv. 2227a, 28 in fact represent the original continu-
ation to the Priestly Pesah pericope.
Recognizing the verses enclosing the passage (vv. 21, 27b) as a revi-
sional frame also removes the problem that had arisen because of the pre-
vailing perception of the passage as non-Priestly, namely, that v. 21 refers
to the Pesah as a familiar entity (they shall slaughter the Pesah) although
prior to this point the non-Priestly document had made no allusion at all to
it and the name Pesah itself is first introduced in v. 27.46 The proposed
analysis eliminates the difficulty, since we have here an editorial frame.
The editor felt constrained somehow to link the text in vv. 2227a, which
had become detached from its organic context, to the topic of performing

Many scholars take the presence of this motif as proof of a relationship to the Deu-
teronomic literature, but Lohfink rebuts this view, finding in Exod 12:2427a language
characteristic in fact of the Priestly literature; see Lohfink, Hauptgebot, 121 ff. Similarly,
Lohfink (ibid., 122, g) rejects the consensus that regards the motif (Exod 12:2627; see
also 13:[8,] 14) as a telltale Deuteronomic trait. Note that this motif appears only once in
Deuteronomy (6:20; see also Josh 4:6, 21; 22:24 [in a Priestly styled context!]); see also
Fabry, Spuren des Pentateuchredaktors, 351356.
45
See already Marti, Geschichte der israelitischen Religion, 40 ff., and recently
Levinson, Deuteronomy, 61, 87.
46
See, for example, Rost, Weidewechsel, 209.
66 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

the Pesah. Since the editor utilized the Priestly texts (Exod 12:1113),
which mention the term Pesah and its significance, he used the term, tak-
ing it for granted as something well known.47

2.3.2 The Redactional Frame in vv. 21, 27b


The description of the blood rite (vv. 2223) and the original conclusion to
the Priestly Pesah section (vv. 2427a, 28) suffered dislocation but not
elimination. Apparently, a pious attitude towards a text already considered
holy kept it preserved until its eventual reattachment at the end of the para-
graph containing the laws of the Pesah and the unleavened bread, so that it
now appears in vv. 2227a, 28. A secondary, redactional frame (vv. 21,
27b) facilitated the integration of this appended material into its new liter-
ary environs by presenting it (vv. 2227a) as the words of Moses to the
elders of Israel (v. 21). This move helped avoid a grating redundancy with
the main Pesah passage, which already addressed all Israel. At the same
time, however, this forced solution created further roughness in the text,
since the body of the passage, like the main Pesah pericope (vv. 111),
clearly and unquestionably sees the people as the addressees, not the elders.
Apparently, the one who created the frame (vv. 21, 27b) sensed this dis-
crepancy himself; in the frames concluding half (v. 27b), he mentions the
people although the redactional introduction (v. 21) does not, and the
elders of Israel, to whom the redactional introduction does in fact refer
(v. 21), he ignores: the people bowed and prostrated themselves (v. 27b).

v. 21 Moses called all the elders of Israel and he said to them: Grab hold and take
you now sheep for your families and slaughter the Pesah.
v. 27b The people bowed and prostrated themselves  .

This constitutes the sole instance within the Pentateuch in which the people
bow and prostrate themselves in response to a law they receive. Conceivably,
the redactor meant to bring closure to the narrative cycle about the subjuga-
tion in Egypt, which opens with this very reaction on the part of the people,
when they first hear the news of their coming redemption (Exod 4:31):

47
Gertz (Exoduserzhlung, 50) explains the use of the definite article ( ) as a case
of the rule described by Gesenius: employment of the article to denote a single person
or thing (primarily one which is as yet unknown, and therefore not capable of being
defined) as being present to the mind under given circumstances (GKC, 126q). But
this is not convincing, since Pesah is a name that only in v. 27 is first introduced and
explained. Moreover, proper nouns are inherently determined; therefore, even without the
definite article, the appearance of the yet unknown name Pesah in v. 21 would be diffi-
cult if this verse is not recognized as editorial.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 67

The people believed  when they heard that YHWH had recalled the Israelites
and seen their plight, and they bowed and prostrated themselves .
The shaping of the last divine speech prior to the redemption (12:2128),
then, provides a sort of closure with regard to the first speech in the land of
Egypt, in which Israel first heard of its redemption (4:2931).48
In sum, the expansions together with the base layer originally encom-
passed vv. 1, 311, 2227a, 28. The structure of the expansions with
respect to the base layer and the structure of the combined whole partake
of several principles quintessentially biblical: chiastic repetition within a
given paragraph, palistrophic layout to a paragraph overall (otherwise
known as introversions), composing a text based on the number seven, and
dividing the seven elements into two groups of three and four.49

2.3.3 The Revision of vv. 23 and 27 in vv. 11b13


Analysis of the structure given to the Pesah laws revealed a break in the
expansional layer of the text. Immediately prior to its interruption, this layer
addressed the dramatic manner in which one eats the Pesah in v. 11. The pali-
strophic structure of the topics covered by the expansional layer determines
that the exposition on the blood rite should follow directly after that of the
dramatized eating. However, two additional expositions now defer the blood
rite until v. 22, the laws of the unleavened bread (vv. 1420) and, preceding
these laws, two verses that, in both language and contents, parallel v. 23:

Exod 12:1213 Exod 12:23


I will pass through YHWH will pass through
the land of to attack
Egypt Egypt;
on that night, smiting every first-born in the land
of Egypt, from human to animal. And to all the
gods of Egypt I will mete out punishment.
I am YHWH. The blood on the houses you are in
will be a sign for you;
when I see the blood He will see the blood
on the lintel and on the two doorposts;
I will protect/pass over you and YHWH will protect 
 the
entrance
so that no attack will destroy   and not let the Destroyer  
you when I smite the land of Egypt. enter your houses to attack .

48
There, too, the speech addresses the elders of Israel (Exod 4:29).
49
On the compositional use of chiasm, palistrophes and the number seven in Priestly
texts in particular, see Milgrom, Leviticus 1727, 13191325. On the three-four pattern
throughout the Bible, see Zakovitch, Pattern of Three-Four.
68 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

The editor who interrupted the text after v. 11 may have dispensed with the
discourse on the blood rite (v. 22) and with the Pesah pericopes original
conclusion (vv. 2427a), but he did not forego v. 23 entirely. Instead, he
revised it to serve as a conclusion to the interrupted Pesah pericope. The
editor understandably viewed v. 23 as a vital text worthy of reuse, since it
provides the etiological basis for the entire law of the Pesah, but he took the
opportunity to refashion it with his own ideas, in line with his own world-
view:

A. The final clause of v. 23 testifies to an (angelic) Destroyer attacking


Egypt.50 The rewritten text, conversely, no longer speaking of the De-
stroyer as an independent entity, emphasizes instead that YHWH Himself
strikes down Egypt:51

v. 23 and not let52 the Destroyer enter your houses to attack.


v. 13 so that no attack will destroy you,53 when I smite the land of Egypt.

The recast passage, particularly in its new elements, lays repeated stress
on precisely this point (vv. 1213):54

50
Tg. Pseudo-Jonathan renders the Destroyer by destroying angel ;
see also 2 Sam 24:16 (He said to the angel destroying  the people).
51
See Mller, Pesach- und Mazzothfest, 10; the commentaries of Dillmann Ryssel,
Holzinger, Baentsch, Driver, and Noth; so, too, M. V. Fox, Sign of the Covenant, 575;
Otto, ThWAT, VI, 671672; and especially Rof (Israelite Belief in Angels, 160; but cf.
Simpson, Early Traditions of Israel, 179, and more recently Norin, Auszugsberlieferung,
175176; Ahuis, Trgergruppen, who hold that the reference to the Destroyer in v. 23
derives from a late addition; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 4950, is ambivalent). According
to Rof, the words YHWH will pass through to attack Egypt (v. 23a) also reflect this
more magical conception; in his opinion the passage intends to say that Y HWH passed
through Egypt to attack it accompanied by the Destroyer who would enter the houses
(Israelite Belief in Angels, 160).
In v. 27, the concept of the Destroyer apparently has not survived. Does the awk-
ward syntax in the transition between speakers (the Israelite houses as opposed to our
houses) hint at some editorial work in the verse? If indeed the verse has undergone a
revision meant to blur the role of the Destroyer if indeed the original verse explicitly
mentioned the activity of the Destroyer then it explains the use of the phrase and so
He saved our houses, namely, Y HWH saved them from the Destroyer.
52
The subject of the verse consists of Y HWH (YHWH will pass through YHWH
will protect), so the verse means, YHWH will not let the Destroyer enter your houses; see
Rashi and Ibn Ezra and compare Gen 20:6; 31:7.
53
The participial form of Hebrew   functions here as a gerund, as in Ezek 5:16;
9:6; see Joon, Grammaire, 206, 88m.
54
See Rof, Israelite Belief in Angels, 160, and compare also M. Greenbergs com-
ment on the words I am YHWH (ibid., n. 20, cited as an oral communication). Note
NJPS, which renders 
 as an appositive, I, the Lord, and not as a separate sentence,
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 69

I will smite every first-bornAnd to all the gods of Egypt I will mete out punish-
ment. I am YHWHwhen I smite the land of Egypt.

B. The clause added by the editor prior to the words when I see the blood
clearly discloses a desire to refine the apotropaic aspect of the blood
rite: The blood on the houses you are in will be a sign for you
(v. 13). In contrast to the original form of the verse, the revision reduces
the blood on the houses to a simple sign, denying the blood its latent,
magical power to ward off the Destroyer; the blood now serves merely
as an inanimate sign55 meant to identify the houses of the Israelites so
that YHWH will not allow any harm to come to them.56 Note, indeed,

I am the Lord. The following midrash brought in the Pesah Haggadah also reflects the
rejection of the angelic-Destroyer tradition: I will pass through Egypt I and no angel; I
will smite every first-born I and no seraph; To all the gods of Egypt I will mete out
punishment I and not a messenger; I am YHWH I am the one, and no other. (Trans-
lated from Goldschmidts edition of the Haggadah, 122. For parallels to this version of
the midrash see Goldschmidts introduction, 35 n. 29.)
55
M. V. Fox (Sign of the Covenant, 575) grasped the idea of the sign in this context
properly: The blood rite itself belongs to the realm of magic. It was probably an apo-
tropaic device meant to protect a house against inimical demons or divinities (the
maht?) In Ex., XII, 13 P is using an ancient concept, but for him it no longer belongs
to the realm of magic, but to theology. Instead of functioning automatically to ward off
demons i.e., as magic the blood serves as a cognition sign that affects Ys will.
A similar process occurred with regard to circumcision, which, too, originally served
as an unquestionably apotropaic act (Exod 4:2426). The Priestly literature replaced the
apotropaic function with circumcisions role as a sign of the covenant (Gen 17:11).
Loewenstamm (Exodus Tradition, 202203) correctly noted the parallel between the orig-
inally apotropaic origins of the Pesah and circumcision (but he failed to notice their par-
allel development into signs of the covenant): circumcision, like the paschal sacri-
fice itself, has a distinctly apotropaic significance. For even though in the Bible this has
been obscured by the theological idea that circumcision is the sign of the Covenant
The ancient significance of circumcision is contained in the narrative of the Bloody
Bridegroom (Exod 4:2426), the antiquity of which is not disputed. While scholars may
differ on the interpretation of some of the details of the story, it is universally agreed that
the purpose of circumcision in the narrative is to protect against some mortal danger.
A certain similarity seems to obtain regarding the rainbow as a sign of the covenant
(Gen 9:1217). There, too, when YHWH will see (v. 16) the sign (vv. 1213), He
will recall his covenant and refrain from destroying the world in a flood (vv. 11, 15).
56
Post-biblical homilies, having felt the need to refine the sense of sign even further,
take the next step and clarify that even without the sign Y HWH can differentiate between
those who deserve destruction and those who do not. They, therefore, reinterpret the
verse, pinning the need for a sign on Israel by using the original dativus commodi of the
blood will be a sign for you and reinterpreting it as a regular dative. See Mekhilta, Pis-
cha, 7 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 2425): The blood will be a sign for you a sign for you,
but not for me I will see the blood R. Ishmael would say, Doesnt He know every-
thing? What does the phrase I will see the blood teach? That because of the merit of the
commandment you perform I am revealed and so moved to protect you. Alternatively,
70 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

how the sign itself suffices;57 the cultic swabbing of the blood specifical-
ly on the lintel and doorposts has no significance. Therefore the editor
wrote on the houses without stipulating the lintel and doorposts: The
blood on the houses you are in will be a sign for you (v. 13). Further
on, the text makes no mention at all of the cultic objects used in the
apotropaic act, namely, the lintel, the doorposts, the entrance, and
your houses. Instead it highlights their replacement, the object of
immediate, direct salvation Israel:

Exod 12:23 Exod 12:13


He will see the blood when I see the blood
on the lintel and on the two doorposts;
and YHWH will protect the entrance I will protect/pass over you58
and not let the Destroyer so that no attack will destroy
enter your houses you
to attack. when I smite the land of Egypt.59

I will see the blood I see the blood of Isaacs sacrifice. Similarly, Pseudo-Jonathan
translates the words I will see the blood as follows: I will see the merit of the blood.
57
It appears that the description in Ezek 9:46 took its cue from the terms of Israels
protection from the Destroyer in Exod 12:7, 1213. Reflecting the same refined theologi-
cal outlook that stands behind the revision in Exod 12:1213, Ezekiel makes salvation
dependent on a simple indication of the people worthy of it (see Greenberg, Ezekiel,
177). Note that here, instead of putting blood, the man with the scribes writing case at
his waist suffices with a non-descript mark on the foreheads of the people.
58
The theological refinement in this verse may have foiled a deliberate word play in
the original formulation: YHWH will protect the entrance .
59
The following post-biblical homily, employing the terms of unmediated salvation
that characterize the revised text in v. 13 and severing the salvation of Israel absolutely
from the technical act of the blood rite, takes this tendency to the extreme (Mekhilta, Pis-
cha, 7; edn Horovitz Rabin, 25): I will pass over you R. Yochanan says, I will
pass over you you I will be moved to spare, but I will not be moved to spare the
Egyptians. In the case where an Egyptian was in an Israelites house, shall I infer that he
(the Egyptian) will be saved on his (the Israelites) account? The text says, I will pass
over you, to teach, you I will be moved to spare, but not the Egyptians. In the case where
an Israelite was in an Egyptians house, shall I infer that he (the Israelite) will suffer on
his (the Egyptians) account? The text says, no attack will destroy you when I smite the
land of Egypt, to teach, you He will not be against, but He will be against the Egyptians.
Against this homily, the Mekhilta also evinces the opposite tendency, closer to the
Bibles plain meaning (Pischa, 11; edn Horovitz Rabin, 38): As for you, you shall
not exit, anyone, through the entrance of his house until morning this indicates that once
the Destroyer had permission to attack, it did not discern between righteous and wicked.
These two contradictory conceptions in the Mekhilta actually stem from the contradic-
tion between the two competing layers in the biblical Pesah text: according to the expan-
sional layer (vv. 22 ff.), the Destroyer attacks Egypt without differentiating the right-
eous from the wicked; in the revision (vv. 1213), though, Y HWH, not the angel, strikes
Egypt, and YHWH does discern between the righteous and the wicked.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 71

C. The literary-historical analysis is also likely to solve an ancient interpre-


tive semantic problem: Is the meaning of the root to skip, to pass
over (for example in 1 Kgs 18:21) or to save, to protect (for example
in Isa 31:5)?60 In the light of the analysis, it emerges that only in the ex-
pansional layer of v. 13 is the meaning of skipping possible (though not
necessary), because here it is God himself who is smiting Egypt. Thus,
skipping over the houses of Israel while smiting Egypt is a form of res-
cue. On the other hand, in v. 23, this interpretation is not possible, since
here, it is the destroying angel who attacks Egypt. As a result, skipping
over the houses of Israel is not a form of rescue but abandonment to the
destroying angel. Here, must be interpreted as protecting.61 This is
an example of how the literary-historical analysis is likely to contribute
to the interpretive linguistic analysis.

D. Originally, the verse did not specify the first-borns, but said generally
that YHWH would smite Egypt, namely, all Egypt. The editor, though,
deleted the phrase to attack and preceded Egypt with the words the
land of, in order to facilitate the incorporation of the main addition, the
issue of the first-borns:

Exod 12:23 Exod 12:12


YHWH will pass through I will pass through
to attack
Egypt. the land of Egypt
smiting every first-born in the land of Egypt, from
human to animal.

In the revised verse, YHWH will not smite all Egypt, but pass through
the land of Egypt in order to kill the first-born as in the non-Priestly
story (classically, J) and most likely under its influence. The original
text of the verse, though, made no such specification.
Accordingly, the etiology of the name Pesah in v. 27 does not
allude to the first-borns either:
Then you shall answer, It is the Pesah sacrifice to YHWH, because He protected
the Israelite houses in Egypt when He attacked Egypt, and so He saved our houses.

60
See Otto, ThWAT, VI, 664668; Bchner, , 1417; Dahm, Opferkult, 117119.
61
The literary-historical analysis also reveals an additional semantic transition between
v. 23 and the revised v. 12. It seems that the meaning of the root in v. 23 ( 

) is to go. This meaning is very common in later layers of biblical language,
but it is also documented in classical Hebrew (HALOT, II, 779). On the other hand, in the
revised v. 12, the root (    ) is apparently to be interpreted according
to the common meaning of to pass through.
72 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Loewenstamm put it well, when he said:62


the Pesah story itself states simply that the Lord saved our houses (Exod 12:27)
not our firstborn. Nor is this mere hair-splitting, since the implication of the injunc-
tion None of you shall you go outside the door of his house on the night of the
Pesah is that whoever does so and not just the firstborn will be slain by the
destructive power which is afoot.
The analysis of the differences between the original expansion and its
revision, then, confirms Loewenstamms argument that the Pesah has its
own roots in tradition, and only at a later stage did it unite with the issue
of the killing of the first-borns.63

E. In an equally possible example of the reuse of vv. 23 and 27 in


vv. 11b13, the expression it is the Pesah to YHWH at the end of
v. 11 may simply repeat the source-text, v. 27:64
Exod 12:27 Exod 12:11
Then you shall answer, You shall eat it in haste.
It is the Pesah sacrifice to YHWH, It is the Pesah to YHWH.
because He protected the Israelite houses in Egypt
when He attacked Egypt, and so He saved our
houses.

Indeed, the expression it is the Pesah to YHWH appears identically in


the two versions.65 And yet, note how the change in context leads to a
new, entirely different midrash on the name Pesah. The interpretation
of the name in v. 27 falls right in with the apotropaic function of the
sacrifice ( = protected). The editor, though, true to his outlook and

62
Loewenstamm, Exodus Tradition, 191.
63
Ibid., 8494.
64
However, one need not conclude that the editor copied the words out of the expan-
sional layer (v. 27); rather, the words themselves may have belonged to the original, base
layer, while only their current location is secondary. In this case, the base layer originally
concluded in v. 8 as follows: They will eat the meat during this night, roasted by fire,
and unleavened bread; with bitter herbs shall they eat it. It is the Pesah (sacrifice?) to
YHWH.
So holds Laaf (Pascha-Feier, 1314), following Elliger (Leviticus, 26 ff.), on the basis
of generic-critical considerations; see also Rendtorff, Gesetze in der Priesterschrift, 56;
Otto, ThWAT, VI, 669. Moreover, the conclusion It is the Pesah to YHWH may have
moved to the end of v. 11 as the result of the midrashic interpolation regarding the Pesah
sacrifice in vv. 911b.
In any case, this question has no bearing on the import of the expression, it is the
Pesah to YHWH, in its current context in v. 11, an import that differs from the one that
emerges from the context of the same words in v. 27 and fits the temperament of this
editor (see below).
65
On the deletion of the word sacrifice , see below, section F.
The Origin of Exod 12:2127 73

consistent in his method of suppressing this magical dimension, had to


reinterpret the name to fit its new, non-magical context, so he derived it
from the Hebrew root in in haste, , through a contrived combination
of metathesis and assonance.66 Even if this etymology seems forced, it
is difficult to escape the impression that the juxtaposition of the two
concluding sentences does in fact intend it: You shall eat it in haste
; it is the Pesah to YHWH. In any case, the expression it is
the Pesah to YHWH explains, or at least supports, the dictate to eat the
Pesah hurriedly, and is not explained by the protective action of the
sacrifice.

F. Given the editors use of vv. 23 and 27 in vv. 11b13 and the various
tendentious changes this reuse and recontextualization entailed, it seems
that the editor also deliberately avoided the term sacrifice that ap-
peared next to Pesah in v. 27. Apparently, the description of the Pesah
as a domestic sacrifice, namely, as an extra-temple sacrifice, did not suit
the temperament of this later editor.67 Notably in this regard, other pass-
ages describing the Pesah as a sacrifice with the terms or al-
ready see it in the context of a single cultic sanctuary. This certainly
holds true for D (Deut 16:18), which employs the root with refer-
ence to the Pesah. The premise stands also for the Priestly pericope of
the Second Pesah (Num 9:114) based, in its present form,68 on the as-
sumption that one may not simply perform the sacrifice of YHWH
(vv. 7, 13) in any place; therefore, the person far away requires and
receives a second opportunity to bring the Pesah.69

66
Cf. George, Feste, 93; Holzinger, Exodus, 37. The editor did preserve the etiologi-
cal basis of the previous homily on the name (  , v. 13), but he did not make
use of it to expound the name Pesah.
67
The continuation of the expansional layer in the Pesah pericope (Exod 12:2227a)
may offer additional support for the extra-temple character of the Pesah as a domestic
sacrifice. Rof argues (Israelite Belief in Angels, 159; Introduction to Deuteronomy,
41; see also Levinson, Deuteronomy, 5960, and see already Oort, Paaschfeest, 489,
498) that one should take the word with lintel and the two doorposts according to
the context, and interpret it as the threshold of the house (the Septuagint agrees: SDUD?
WK? Q TX UDQ, the Vulgate similarly has in limine, and so holds R. Ishmael against R.
Akiba who interprets it as a vessel in Mekhilta, Pischa, 11; edn Horovitz Rabin,
37). If correct, then this detail, too, confirms the quality of the original Pesah as a
domestic sacrifice slaughtered in the entrance of the house outside the temple.
68
See Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 17.
69
The Pesah pericope in Num 9:114 also differs from that in Exodus 12 in that it
does not refer to the blood rite and in the very fact that the Pesah takes place in the
wilderness, against the text of Exod 12:2527: When you arrive in the landthen shall
you observe this riteit is the Pesah sacrifice to YHWH.
74 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

2.4 Schematic Summary of the Literary Layers in Exod 12:128

Key to the literary layers, graphically illustrated:

The reconstructed original flow of the Pesah laws, including the expansions
The revisional frame
Revised elements

(1) YHWH spoke to Moses and Aaron in the


land of Egypt, as follows: (2) This month
will be for you the first of the months; it is
the first for you among the months of the
year. (3) Tell the entire Israelite congrega-
tion, as follows, on the tenth of this month
that they shall take for themselves, each one,
a lamb per household, one lamb per house.
(4) And if the household be too small for
one lamb, then he shall take along with the
neighbor close to his house, in proportion to
the number of people; according to what
each one eats shall you apportion the lamb.
(5) Your lamb shall be unblemished, a year-
ling male; from among the sheep or the goats
shall you take (it). (6) You shall guard it
until the fourteenth day of this month. They
shall slaughter it, the entire community of the
Israelite congregation, at twilight. (7) They
shall take from the blood and they shall
swab it on the two doorposts and on the
lintel, on the houses in which they will eat
it. (8) They shall eat the meat during this
night, roasted by fire, and unleavened
bread; with bitter herbs shall they eat it. (9)
Do not eat from it raw or cooked in water,
but rather roasted by fire, its head along
with its thighs and innards. (10) You shall
not leave over from it until morning, and
what has remained of it until morning you
shall burn by fire.
(11) And this is how you shall eat it: your
loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and
your walking-sticks in your hands. You
shall eat it in haste. It is the Pesah to
YHWH.
(21) Moses called all the elders of
Israel and he said to them: Grab hold
and take you now sheep for your
families and slaughter the Pesah.
Schematic Summary of the Literary Layers 75

(22) You shall take a bunch of hyssop


and you shall dip it in the blood that is
on the threshold, and you shall dab the
lintel and the two doorposts from the
blood that is on the threshold. None of
you, no one, shall step outside the en-
trance of his house until morning.
(12) I will pass through the land of Egypt (23) YHWH will pass through to attack
on that night, smiting every first-born in the Egypt;
land of Egypt, from human to animal. And
to all the gods of Egypt I will mete out pun-
ishment. I am YHWH.
(13) The blood on the houses you are in will He will see the blood on the lintel and
be a sign for you; when I see the blood I on the two doorposts;
will protect/pass over you so that no attack and YHWH will protect the entrance and
will destroy you when I smite the land of not let the Destroyer enter your houses
Egypt. to attack.
(14) And this day shall be a remembrance (24) You shall observe this matter as a
for you; you shall celebrate it as a festival law for you and your children forever.
for YHWH, throughout your generations, as
an eternal law, you shall celebrate it.
(25) When you arrive in the land that
YHWH will give you, as He has promised,
then shall you observe this rite. (26) And
if your children say to you, What is
this rite you are doing?, (27) then you
shall answer, It is the Pesah sacrifice
to YHWH, because He protected the Isra-
elite houses in Egypt when He attacked
Egypt, and so He saved our houses.
And the people bowed and
prostrated themselves.

(28) And the Israelites went and did as
YHWH commanded Moses and Aaron,
so indeed they did.
76 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

2.5 The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah


and the Unleavened Bread Pericopes

Having recognized that the Pesah laws break off at v. 11, with their orig-
inal continuation now appearing in vv. 2227a, 28, and that vv. 1213
comprise a revised version of vv. 23, 27, the analysis to this point has ac-
counted for the current shape of the Pesah pericope. The next step entails
examining the present combination between the Pesah pericope (vv. 111,
1213) and the laws of the unleavened bread (vv. 1520). The artificial
nature of this combination in all likelihood will lend further support to the
presumed natural and original character of the contiguity between the
Pesah texts in vv. 111 and vv. 2227a, 28.
In the present form of the text, vv. 15 and on clearly center on eating
unleavened bread. However, v. 14 presents a crux: does it function as a
conclusion to the Pesah pericope, or as an introduction to the topic of un-
leavened bread?
This day shall be a remembrance for you; you shall celebrate it as a festival for YHWH,
throughout your generations, as an eternal law, you shall celebrate it.

To which day does the phrase this day refer? Presumably, the deictic
particle this refers back to an antecedent, the day mentioned above in
vv. 6, 13, the day on which the Israelites will perform the Pesah. The
verses literary form, which imitates that of the immediately preceding
verse (13) perfectly, also indicates this connection:

v. 13 ()   ()  
v. 14 ()   ( )  

v. 13 The blood on the houses you are in will be a sign for you.
v. 14 This day shall be a remembrance for you.

In addition, the rest of the passage, with its chiastic structure, surely has
the character of a conclusion:70

70
On chiasm as a way of indicating the closure of a topical unit, see Mirsky, ,
1124. Cf. also Paran, Priestly Style, 221222.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 77

A. You shall celebrate it as a festival for YHWH,


B. throughout your generations,
B. as an eternal law,
A. you shall celebrate it.71

However, against the natural inclination to read v. 14 as the continuation to


v. 13, namely, as the current conclusion to the Pesah pericope, note that
v. 14 characterizes this day as a festival, whereas the Pesah is not a
festival, but a sacrifice;72 the festival in v. 14 is rather the Festival of
Unleavened Bread.73 Furthermore, even though this day does indeed
point backward, still it seems to bear the same meaning as the identical
phrase this day in the unleavened bread pericope (vv. 1520), which
rather has in mind the day of the exodus, namely, the day after the Pesah:74

Exod 12:14 Exod 12:17


This day shall be a remembrance for you because on this very day I took your
hosts out of the land of Egypt;
throughout your generations, as an eternal you shall observe this day throughout your
law, you shall celebrate it. generations, as an eternal law.

One cannot sever v. 14, then, from what follows. As a result, v. 14 presents
an ambivalent passage: in terms of its placement and its literary shape, it
seems to conclude the Pesah pericope, but from the point of view of its
contents, it belongs to the unleavened bread pericope.
The confusion in understanding v. 14 has persisted throughout the his-
tory of interpretation, beginning with the Rabbis and continuing on down
to todays critical commentaries.75 Following the Mekhilta, Rashi writes:76

71
This division of the verse does not match up with the pause in the chant apparatus.
72
So writes Haran (Ages, 129) regarding Exod 34:25; see also Nicolsky, Pascha im
Kulte, 172; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 16.
73
Haran, Ages, 120.
74
Compare also v. 41: On this very day all the hosts of YHWH left the land of Egypt.
And compare v. 51 as well: On this very day YHWH took the Israelites, in all their hosts,
out of the land of Egypt.
75
For recent instances, see R. Schmitt (Exodus und Passah, 8081 n. 253) and Breuer
(Holidays, 9495) who have argued to defend the opinion that v. 14 concludes the Pesah
pericope. However, against them, one should note, for example, Dillmann (Exodus, 109,
122), Baentsch (Exodus, 97), and Nicolsky (Pascha im Kulte, 172), who hold that v. 14
introduces the unleavened bread pericope.
76
See Mekhilta, Pischa, 7 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 25); compare also Mekhilta de-
Rashbi, 16 (edn Epstein Melamed). According to y. Pes. 1:4, 27c, the tannas R. Meir
and R. Yehuda already debated how to understand v. 14.
78 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

You shall celebrate it the day that is a commemorative one for you you shall make into
a festival. But we have not yet heard which is the commemorative day! Scripture says,
Remember this day on which you left (Exod 13:3). [From here] we have learned that the
day of the exodus is the day of commemoration

According to this interpretation, the reader must have recourse to a verse


from another chapter (Exod 13:3) in order to establish the meaning of this
day in Exod 12:14. And this external verse, argues the Mekhilta, settles it
that 12:14 does not continue what had preceded it, but refers to the day of
the exodus, namely, the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Against this view,
Ibn Ezra, in his longer commentary, does not see v. 14 as unconnected to
the previous verses and holds that this day refers to the day of the Pesah
(14 Nissan). And yet in his brief commentary he writes that it has
15 Nissan in mind, the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
The interpretive crux regarding the status of v. 14 amounts to a literary-
critical one as well, since the Pesah pericope (vv. 113) and the laws of the
unleavened bread (vv. 1520) do not comprise a synchronically produced
piece.77 The text portrays the Pesah laws as a series of commandments
given in the land of Egypt and meant to be carried out on this night
(v. 12), during which Egypts first-borns will die. The Rabbis labelled this
set of laws, The Pesah in Egypt.78 The unleavened bread laws (vv. 15
20), by contrast, refer to the exodus retrospectively, as an event of the past:
You shall observe (the laws of) the unleavened bread because on this very day I took
your hosts out of the land of Egypt (v. 17).

Accordingly, the unleavened bread pericope overlooks the narrative pre-


supposition of the Pesah pericope that the Israelites are still in Egypt:
because anyone eating leavened food that person will be cut off from the Israelite
congregation, among the resident aliens as well as the citizens of the land. No leavened
food shall you eat; in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread (vv. 1920).

In contrast to the laws of the Pesah in Egypt (vv. 113), the laws of
unleavened bread demand eternal observance:
You shall observe (the laws of) the unleavened breadthroughout your generations, as
an eternal law (v. 17).

77
Compare George, Feste, 94; Jlicher, Quellen von Exodus, 107 ff.; Kuenen, Histo-
risch-kritische Einleitung, 67; Dillmann, Exodus, 110; Cornill, Einleitung, 57; Holzinger,
Exodus, 34; Baentsch, Exodus, 97; Eerdmans, Exodus, 3435; Driver, Exodus, 93; Smend,
Erzhlung des Hexateuch, 137; von Rad, Priesterschrift im Hexateuch, 47; Rudolph,
Elohist, 275; Beer Galling, Exodus, 6566; Elliger, Sinn und Ursprung, 121;
Eissfeldt, Einleitung, 271; Greenberg, Notes, 12; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 16; R. Schmitt,
Exodus und Passah, 201; Kohata, Jahwist, 266.
78
See, for example, Mekhilta, Pischa, 3 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 1011); m. Pes. 9:5.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 79

In the light of the analysis above, this distinction contradicts vv. 2427a,
which make the Pesah rite an eternal observance.
In addition, the text sets up the Pesah in Egypt as a story that relates
all the commandments the Israelites had to fulfill that night. The text of the
laws of unleavened bread, conversely, has no narrative at all, only law.
This legal text could have found its way into any Priestly law collection
dealing with the holidays, since it does not belong to the exodus story.

2.5.1 Exod 12:1417


Given that, from an interpretive point of view, v. 14 constitutes a crux, it also
defies ascription to either of the two literary layers. Its literary shape depends
on the preceding Pesah pericope, but its contents rely on the following
unleavened bread pericope. In other words, it is neither an organic part of
the Pesah laws (vv. 113) nor of the laws of unleavened bread (vv. 1520).
Rather, v. 14 appears to have come from the editor, who wished to create a
transitional verse to move from the topic of the Pesah to the matter of the
unleavened bread.79 Despite its problematic nature, one can discern in this
transition the desire to patch over the conflicts between the two different
texts, to facilitate the flow between the Pesah laws given in anticipation of
the slaying of the first-borns during the coming night and the laws of the
unleavened bread given to memorialize the exodus as a past event. One
word in particular serves to facilitate this synthetic transition, remem-
brance :
This day shall be a remembrance for you; you shall celebrate it as a festival for YHWH,
throughout your generations, as an eternal law, you shall celebrate it (v. 14).

By discussing a remembrance to be enacted in the future, the verse


moves to a retrospective view of the exodus as an event of the past that
requires memorializing.80 In addition, by using the phrase this day the
transitional verse artificially identifies this night (v. 12), the night of the
Pesah, with this day (v. 17), the day of the exodus.81 Put differently in

79
See Greenberg, Notes, 11; Grnwaldt, Exil und Identitt, 8889; Bar-On (Gesund-
heit), Analyse, 2526; Weimar, Problem der Entstehungsgeschichte, 11 n. 48; idem,
Ex 12,114, 213 n. 80.
80
Dillmann actually felt it inappropriate to give the command for a commemorative
when the event meant to be commemorated has not yet come to pass; see Dillmann
Ryssel, Exodus, 122.
81
See Greenberg, Notes, 11: Verse 14 is the conclusion of this section, or, if you
wish, the transition to the next; it does not matter what we call it. What is important is its
central point, this day. This day is to become a remembrance; not the rite, but the
day It is the mention of this day in v. 14 which enables this day in v. 17 (the Feast
of Unleavened Bread) to be identified with the date of the Pessach sacrifice. So it is the
date which links vv. 113 with vv. 1517.
80 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

practical terms the continuity between the two pericopes achieved by the
transitional verse effectively implies that for all future generations the first
day of the festival for eating unleavened bread will occur on the day the
Pesah in Egypt had taken place. This inference also explains the use of the
term festival in the transitional v. 14 as an attempt to yoke together
the day of the Pesah and the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Moreover, the continuity established between the Pesah (vv. 113) and un-
leavened bread (vv. 1517) pericopes creates the impression that the festi-
val of unleavened bread functions as the commemoration (v. 14) of the
Pesah that took place in Egypt.82 Specifically, eating the unleavened bread
forever recalls the Pesah in Egypt, which the Israelites had eaten with
unleavened bread and bitter herbs.83 Of the existence of a Pesah observed
in perpetuity, by contrast, the text in Exod 12:120 says nothing.

82
Knobel (Exodus, 101) holds this as the true plain meaning of v. 14. Rather, it
appears to be the plain meaning according to the editor.
83
But herein lies the catch, for the phrase and unleavened bread does not fit into the
syntactical structure of v. 8: 
    

They shall eat the meat during this night, roasted by fire (and unleavened bread); with
bitter herbs shall they eat it. The phrase and unleavened bread connects neither with
the preceding statement, they shall eat the meat during this night, roasted by fire, nor
with what follows, with bitter herbs shall they eat it. Specifically, in contrast to the
syntactic role played by roasted by fire, the phrase and unleavened bread does not
serve to modify the meat. At the same time, were the phrase and unleavened bread
tied to with bitter herbs shall they eat it with a syntactic role like that of bitter herbs,
then the preposition with should have preceded it. Sensing this problem, the Mas-
soretes placed a major pause at the phrase and unleavened bread; they grasped and
unleavened bread either as an expansion of the modifying roasted by fire or as a new
object of they shall eat. Obviously, both possibilities are unlikely. Paran (Priestly Style,
9697) proposes deleting the phrase roasted by fire, but this suggestion, which has no
real basis, does not solve the syntactical difficulty in the verse.
The parallel passage in Num 9:11 is free of all syntactic difficulty: with unleavened
bread and bitter herbs shall they eat it. This situation calls for one of the following two
conclusions: either Num 9:11 testifies to the original form of the verse in Exod 12:8,
which suffered a scribal mishap, or the difficult reading in Exod 12:8 came first and Num
9:11 corrected it. According to the second possibility, the editor who added the un-
leavened bread pericope to the Pesah pericope may have implanted the phrase and
unleavened bread into the Pesah pericope at v. 8 (see Weimar, Problem der Entste-
hungsgeschichte, 7, and compare already Kutsch, Erwgungen, 18 n. 2). In creating a
link between the Pesah and the seven days of unleavened bread, he laid the groundwork
for the interpretation that eating unleavened bread forever recalls the Pesah in Egypt,
which the Israelites ate with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (compare Greenberg,
Notes, 10). In favor of this possibility, note that the Priestly literature nowhere brings an
alternative explanation for the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 81

A similar situation exists in the current form of Ezekiels law (Ezek


45:21):84
In the first (month), on the fourteenth day of the month, you will have the Pesah, a fes-
tival of seven (MT  ) days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.

This law, too, speaks of a festival beginning on the day of the Pesah, the
fourteenth day of the first month,85 and in fact it calls the festival by the
name Pesah, although it does not mention the paschal sacrifice, only the
obligation to eat unleavened bread for seven days.86

84
On the question of the unity of the verse, see Gese, Verfassungsentwurf des Eze-
chiel, 8081; Zimmerli, Ezechiel, 1162.
85
Deut 16:18 also identifies the day of the Pesah with the first day of the Festival of
Unleavened Bread; see further the discussion below on the Pesah and the unleavened
bread in the Deuteronomic festival calendar. Remarkably, this conception, which contra-
dicts the date system established in the Priestly calendars (Lev 23:56; Num 28:1617),
reappears from time to time even in later sources; see, for instance, Mark 14:12: .DL? WY
SUZ WY KP H U WZ Q D ]XPZQ R WH WR? SD V[D H T XRQ OHJRXVLQ DX W RL PDTKWDL? DX WRX : SRX
THO HLM D SHOTRQ WHM H WRLPD VZPHQ L  QD IDJM WR? SDV[D (And the first day of Unleavened
Bread, when they sacrificed the Pesah, his disciples said to him, Where would you like
us to go and prepare that you may eat the Pesah? .). Compare also Matt 26:16. Some
New Testament commentators attempted to correct this reading (see Jeremias, Abend-
mahlsworte Jesu, 12 n. 1; compare also Black, Gospels and Acts, 100 n. 3), but Biller-
beck (Strack Billerbeck, Kommentar zum NT, I, 987988; II, 812815) and Pesch
(Markusevangelium, II, 342) uphold that the current reading appears correct.
Several legal midrashim also identify the day of the Pesah with the first day of the
Festival of Unleavened Bread, for example, b. Pes. 5a: In R. Ishmaels school they
taught: We have found the fourteenth (i.e., of Nissan) called the first (i.e., day of the Fes-
tival of Unleavened Bread), for it says, On the first, on the fourteenth day of the month
(Exod 12:18). To clarify, instead of taking as in the first, i.e., month, R.
Ishmael takes it as on the first, i.e., day, which can only refer to the festival, such that
the verse dates the first day of the festival to the fourteenth of the month.
See also Josephus, Jewish War, V iii. 1 (transl. by Thackeray): .DL? WK M WZQ D ]XPZQ
HQ VWD VKM K PH UDM WHVVDUHVNDLGHND WY &DQTLNRX PKQRM HQ Y GRNRX VLQ
,RXGDL RL WR?Q
SUZ WRQ D SDOODJK QDL NDLUR ?Q $LJXSWLZQ (When the time of Unleavened Bread came
round on the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [i.e., Nissan], theanniversary of
the Jewsliberation from Egypt).
86
It is difficult to know whether the institution of the paschal sacrifice exists in
Ezekiels law or whether all that has remained is the name Pesah marking the fourteenth
day of the first month. It stands to reason that the extra-temple character of the paschal
sacrifice did not fit the conception of a centralized cult presupposed in Ezekiels law.
Furthermore, the text immediately preceding Ezek 45:21 (vv. 1820) describes a temple
blood rite that bears a certain resemblance to the paschal blood rite, the KD Wtt blood rite
that purges the temple. Similar to the paschal blood, this blood is dabbed on the door-
posts of the houseand on the doorposts of the gate of the inner courtyard (45:19). This
rite, too, takes place in the first month (and also in the seventh, according to the Septua-
gint). If these two blood rites share some connection (see Vlter, Passah und Mazzoth,
2627; compare also Gray, Sacrifice, 358359; May, Relation of the Passover, 69 n. 19),
82 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Might the editorial work in Exod 12:120 intend to negate altogether


the existence of a paschal sacrifice subsequent to the Pesah in Egypt and to
replace it with a festival during which one eats unleavened bread? Recall
that the original conclusion to the Pesah pericope, which makes the Pesah
a law for all time (vv. 2425), was dislocated then replaced by v. 14, which
presents this day as the festival for YHWH, throughout your generations,
an eternal law. This day, in short, will be the festival for the future
generations. But what will the requirements of this day include? Will
they really feature no paschal sacrifice? Note the undeniable fact that the
revised pericope makes no mention whatsoever of the paschal sacrifice for
subsequent ages, while the only requirement for the day consists of eating
unleavened bread. Possibly, then, this festival that comprises eating
unleavened bread replaces the Pesah. Indeed, according to v. 14, this
festival will forever constitute the remembrance of this day, the day
of the Pesah.
Still, even if the editor may indeed have meant to neutralize the Pesah
for subsequent generations and replace it by the festival of eating unleav-
ened bread, his intentions clearly never came to fruition. In fact, the Pesah
is firmly anchored in the Priestly literature as an institution for subsequent
generations, appearing in the Priestly holiday calendars (Lev 23:5; Num
28:16), in the law of the Pesah in Exod 12:4349, and in the Second Pe-
sah pericope in Num 9:114. Admittedly, though, the editor did succeed
in altering the Pesah for subsequent generations from its original format,
that of the Pesah in Egypt. The laws detailed in Exod 12:113 now appear
applicable only to the Pesah in Egypt, irrelevant to future generations.
The very distinction between a Pesah in Egypt and a Pesah for sub-
sequent generations derives from the editing of the text.87 The original
Pesah pericope (vv. 111, 2227a, 28) conceived of the Pesah in Egypt as
identical with the Pesah to be observed for all time:

then perhaps they offer evidence of the transfer of a domestic, extra-temple sacrifice to
the temple. Also, as opposed to the apotropaic character of the blood meant to protect the
Israelite homes from the Destroyer, the blood rite in Ezek 45:1820 purges the temple.
87
The Rabbis accepted the distinction between the Pesah in Egypt and subsequent
Pesah observance as practical law; see Mekhilta, Pischa, 3 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 10
11); m. Pes. 9:5.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 83

v. 24     You shall observe this matter as a law for you


  and your children forever.
v. 25   When you arrive in the land that YHWH will
   
 give you, as He has promised, then shall you
  observe this rite.
v. 26    And if your children say to you, What is this
  rite you are doing?,
v. 27a 
   then you shall answer, It is the Pesah sacrifice

    to YHWH, because He protected the Israelite
   houses in Egypt when He attacked Egypt, and
  so He saved our houses.
v. 28    The Israelites went and did as YHWH com-

   manded Moses and Aaron, so indeed they did.


The original conclusion to the Pesah pericope (vv. 2427a, 28), which
enjoins performing this rite, the one performed in Egypt, throughout all
future generations, allows for no divergence from the laws in force that
night. Not so the revised conclusion in v. 14, which, speaking only of this
day, avoids mentioning the Pesah altogether:
This day shall be a remembrance for you; you shall celebrate it as a festival for YHWH,
throughout your generations, as an eternal law, you shall celebrate it.

Since the revised conclusion to the Pesah in Egypt pericope has no explicit
commandment concerning the Pesah sacrifice for the future, it opens the
way to establish anew the status of the Pesah among the laws of the festi-
val impressed upon future generations.88 Indeed, nowhere does the Priest-
ly literature enjoin future generations to sacrifice the Pesah at home and
dab its blood on the doorposts and lintel. To the contrary, the current form
of the Second Pesah pericope (Num 9:114)89 takes it for granted that
one cannot bring the Pesah while far away  (vv. 10, 13),
meaning, if one finds himself at an unbridgeable distance from the one and
only legitimate temple.90

88
The Rabbis, too, established what, in their view, comprised the Pesah for subse-
quent generations in contrast with the Pesah in Egypt; see m. Pes. 9:5 (What distin-
guishes between the Pesah in Egypt and the Pesah in subsequent generations?).
89
See Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 17; Chavel, Second Passover, 1421.
90
The law of the Pesah in Exod 12:4349, too, recognizably knows a distinction be-
tween the future observance of the Pesah and the requirements of the Pesah in Egypt. The
original prohibition, None of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house
until morning (v. 22) appears differently here: Do not take any of the meat outside of
the house (v. 46). This variance apparently reflects the shift that took place regarding the
significance of the sacrifice, which in this reformulation retains none of its original
84 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Removing the original conclusion to the Pesah pericope (vv. 24ff.) from
its organic location, then, in effect has created a distinction between the
Pesah performed in Egypt and the Pesah enjoined upon following gener-
ations. The house as the locus of the Pesah rite and similarly the blood rite
pertain to the Pesah in Egypt alone. True, vv. 2227a, which describe the
swabbing of the blood on the lintel and doorposts, conclude that rite with
the words You shall observe this matter as a law for you and your children
forever (v. 24), but disjoining them from their organic context neutralized
any further impact they may have had, so that for generations the halakhah
has ruled against them.91

2.5.2 Exod 12:1820 and the Priestly Calendars


The first editorial stage (vv. 1417), as said, hints at some kind of confla-
tion between the day of the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread, but it
provides no system of dates for the new combination. Dates do not appear
until v. 18, which actually begins a new paragraph, since the previous
verse (v. 17) has the character of a conclusion:92
You shall observe (the laws of) the unleavened bread
because on this very day I took your hosts out of the land of Egypt;
you shall observe this day throughout your generations, as an eternal law.

The paragraph that begins in v. 18 and continues on until v. 20 seemingly


repeats what the preceding verses had just said about the Festival of
Unleavened Bread (vv. 1417). However, the passage (vv. 1820), with
neither introduction nor conclusion, does not represent an independent unit.
As a matter of fact, it does not even amount to a passage on the Festival of
Unleavened Bread,93 since it fails to mention festival, Festival of
Unleavened Bread, the work prohibition, or even the phrase a sacred
occasion  . Rather, the passage focuses entirely on the laws of
leavened and unleavened food. From this perspective, although in some
measure it does repeat the laws of leavened and unleavened food given in
the previous paragraph (vv. 1417), nevertheless, as further analysis will
show, it actually diverges and adds in several respects. In other words, this

apotropaic character. Consequently, the house no longer serves to protect Israel or to


recall the protection of times gone by from the Destroyer.
91
It stands to reason that whoever removed the text (vv. 2227a) meant to do away
with it altogether and only at a later stage did the text return to the canonical Pentateuch,
apparently as the result of a propensity to preserve fragmentary texts endowed with holi-
ness. The fact that an alternative text (vv. 1214; see above) replaced the removed verses
makes this conjecture plausible.
92
See Baentsch, Exodus, 9799; Beer Galling, Exodus, 67; Rendtorff, Gesetze in
der Priesterschrift, 57; Kohata, Jahwist, 266; Knohl, Sanctuary of Silence, 19.
93
As Knohl (Sanctuary of Silence, 19) would have it.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 85

section appears to provide an appendix elucidating the laws of leavened


and unleavened food in the previous paragraph.
Among those editorial strokes connected to the combination of the
Pesah with the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the dates in v. 18 call for
special attention:94
In the first (month), on the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you shall eat un-
leavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month, in the evening.

First of all, in contrast to all parallel contexts including the immediately


preceding verses devoted to the days of unleavened bread (vv. 1417) the
period of seven days does not serve to define the duration of the festival,
but rather the time during which one must eat unleavened bread. Secondly,
as opposed to the description of the Festival of Unleavened Bread every-
where else, the dates do not apply to days generally speaking, but to
specific parts of the days. The time for eating unleavened bread receives a
distinct definition here, from one particular point to another, namely, from
the evening of the fourteenth of the month to the evening of the twenty-
first. And note that against the opinion accepted generally among schol-
ars95 under the influence of the Rabbis the text offers no justification
for assuming that the verse presumes or reflects a dating system in which a
day begins in the evening. To the contrary, this very verse provides the
proof that the calendrical day does not begin in the evening; otherwise, the

94
The other additions to the laws formulated in the appendix include:
A. anyone eating leavened food that person will be cut off from the Israelite congre-
gation, among the resident aliens as well as the citizens of the land (v. 19) as opposed to
anyone eating leavened food that person shall be cut off from Israel (v. 15);
B. in all your dwellings you shall eat unleavened bread (v. 20) as opposed to you
shall eat unleavened bread (v. 15);
C. (vv. 19, 20) as opposed to (v. 15) as the term for leavened foodstuffs;
D. For seven days leaven shall not be found in your houses (v. 19) as opposed to on
the first day you shall banish leaven from your houses (v. 15).
The words from the first day to the seventh day at the end of v. 15 have no connec-
tion to the syntactic structure in the verse. Baentsch (Exodus, 98) raised the possibility
that they comprise a gloss. A glossator may indeed have felt the need to clarify that al-
though the verse only says, on the first day you shall banish leaven from your houses,
still the prohibition against eating leavened food continues to be in force from the first
day to the seventh day. In light of this possibility, it stands to reason that the author of
the appendix reworded the original injunction, on the first day you shall banish leaven
from your houses (v. 15), in accordance with the gloss, to read, for seven days leaven
shall not be found in your houses (v. 19). In other words, removing all leavening agents
and leavened foods means to ensure that throughout the entire festival the houses will not
contain any leavened foods.
95
See Talmon, Reckoning of the Day, 116 ff.; contrast Cassuto, Genesis, I, 16.
86 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

evening of the fourteenth should have been called (the evening of) the
fifteenth day.96
The dates designated in vv. 1820, then, do not define the Festival of
Unleavened Bread, but rather mark calendrically the time during which
one must eat unleavened bread. The topic of the unleavened bread belongs
to both the Pesah and the Festival of Unleavened Bread, since one must eat
it on the evening of the Pesah as well (v. 8).97 The result of juxtaposing
these two holidays created a continuous stretch of time for the obligation
to eat unleavened bread (v. 18), extending from the evening of the four-
teenth until the evening of the twenty-first, namely, a period of seven com-
plete days. This analysis makes it clear why here, and only here, the dates
for eating unleavened bread refer to specific parts of the days, not com-
plete ones:98 the evening of the fourteenth day of the month  
(v. 6), the hour of the Pesah, served as the starting point for the continuous
flow of time created by the author of the appendix in order to subsume the
Pesah and the days of unleavened bread under the single rubric of seven
days in which one eats unleavened bread. In this way, he attempted to con-
tinue and complete the trend of merging the day of the Pesah with the days
of unleavened bread.
The author of the appendix wished to add to the text a framework fixing
the dates, which necessarily required establishing explicitly the month con-
taining the seven days of the consumption of unleavened bread. The postu-
late that this period begins In the first (month), on the fourteenth day of the
month (v. 18) links up with the statement in v. 2 at the beginning of the
chapter: This monthis the first for you among the months of the year.99
Similar to other examples in the Pentateuch of abbreviated dates, meaning,
dates without the word month next to the ordinal, this instance, too,

96
See Hartom Licht, , EM, III, 601602.
97
In this stage, too, in the development of the text, the phrase and unleavened bread
(v. 8) serves to help fuse together the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread. On
the supposition that and unleavened bread comes from the editor responsible for v. 14,
see above, p. 80 n. 83.
98
Only the Day of Purgation (Lev 23:32) features a parallel phenomenon, and there,
too, the phenomenon occurs in connection with eating (in this case, not eating a fast);
therefore, the passage emphasizes that the observance pertains to the night as well, although
nighttime is not the time for activity; see Hartom Licht, , EM, III, 602.
99
The author of the appendix may also have been the one who added v. 2 at the begin-
ning of the chapter. Verse 2 neither belongs to the base layer of the pericope, nor does it
fit into the chiastic structure of the expansional layer (see above, p. 50 n. 14). But it does
fill a critical role in the context establishing a binding framework of dates to obligate
future generations, and such a dating system only occurs in the pericopes appendix. In
sum, since v. 2 comprises a secondary interpolation into the expanded form of the text
and displays a strong bond to vv. 1819, themselves a secondary addition, one may
reasonably assume that a single hand added them both.
The Problem of the Combination of the Pesah 87

depends on a fuller notation mentioned already in the text, specifically,


that in v. 2.100
The Priestly holiday calendars feature the first instance of the name, the
Festival of Unleavened Bread,101 the first system of dates directly referring
to this festival, and a beginning date of the fifteenth none of which
appeared in Exodus 12 at all:
And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month: Pesah to YHWH. And on the
fifteenth day of this month: a festival seven days long; unleavened bread shall be eaten
(Num 28:1617; cf. Lev 23:56).

At the same time that the calendars introduce these elements, they follow
the expansional and subsequent layers in Exodus 12 in presenting the four-
teenth of the first month as the day of the Pesah. This date for the Pesah
presupposes the transfer from the tenth (12:3 = base layer) to the four-
teenth (12:6a = expansion) effected in Exodus 12.
In what follows we plot the identifiable stages in the process by which
the day of the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread merged (Exod
12:1820; Ezek 45:21) or were juxtaposed (Lev 23:56; Num 28:1617) in
the Priestly literature. The order follows Exodus 12, then turns to the other

100
See also Gen 8:5b, 13 (compare v. 5a); 9:5 (compare v. 1), and see Ibn Ezra on
Exod 12:18. According to Knohl, the abbreviated date form signals a relatively later text,
as the abbreviated dating notation ( instead of ) is found, outside the
Pentateuch, only in Ezekiel and in the early postexilic prophetic books (Sanctuary of
Silence, 19; see also n. 29 there). Knohl relies partly on the abbreviated date to establish
when the Second Pesah pericope in Num 9:114 (see ibid., 22) was composed. In my
opinion, the following reasons militate against these philological conclusions:
First of all, the very method of dating by numbered months whether in expanded or
abbreviated form exists outside the Pentateuch only in later texts. Secondly, as Knohl
himself remarks, the two methods for dating, the fuller and the abbreviated, appear
jointly, alongside each other. (Regarding the method employed in Ezekiel, Knohl missed
an additional full date in 32:1.) Thirdly, with regard to the practice within the Pentateuch,
the abbreviated notations depend on the fuller forms preceding them.
101
Indeed, the concept of the Festival of Unleavened Bread does not appear at any
stage in Exodus 12. Remarkably, even in Exod 12:17, which begs the concept, it does not
appear; note the language: You shall observe the unleavened bread  
because on this very day I took your hosts out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this
day throughout your generations, as an eternal law.
The verse reads, You shall observe the unleavened bread, not You shall observe
the Festival of Unleavened Bread. If the verse has not suffered textual corruption
(compare BHS), then it may reflect an intention to avoid identifying this day with the
Festival of Unleavened Bread in line with the editors plan to include the day of the
Pesah under the rubric of this day.
88 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

treatments, primarily to offer a logical or conceptual scheme illustrating


the development of an explicit, consolidated dating system.102

A. At first, the day of the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread were
perceived as two distinct events. The base layer of the Pesah pericope in
Exodus 12 has the Israelites performing the Pesah on the tenth of the
month (v. 3), and it neglects the Festival of Unleavened Bread entirely.

B. The expansional layer transfers the Pesah from the tenth of the month to
the fourteenth (Exod 12:6).103

C. Editorial work substitutes Exod *12:1317, a text about the festival


during which one eats unleavened bread, for the original verses conclud-
ing the Pesah pericope (now in vv. 2227a, 28). It does so by rewriting
the text it replaces. The juxtaposition of v. 14 with the preceding Pesah-
day pericope implies that this seven-day festival incorporates the day
of the Pesah as its first day.

D. The appendix in Exod 12:1820 formulates a system of dates to define


the period during which one eats unleavened bread, without making any
explicit reference to the Pesah or the seven-day festival. It takes the
time of the Pesah, namely, the evening of the fourteenth day of the first
month, as its starting point and it ends on the twenty-first of the month.

E. Ezekiel (45:21) offers an alternate attempt to extrapolate a dating system


from vv. 1417. He establishes a holiday named Pesah that begins on
the fourteenth of the first month and continues for seven days. He
makes no mention of the Pesah rite, only of the eating of unleavened
bread.

F. The Priestly holiday calendars, which may represent yet a third option
regarding the meaning of vv. 1417, introduce the name the Festival of
Unleavened Bread (Lev 23:56; Num 28:1617) and a calendrical
framework defining the relationship between the Pesah and the Festival
of Unleavened Bread. In this framework, the calendars recognize the
Pesah and the Festival of Unleavened Bread as successive but independ-
ent of each other.

102
However, various considerations make the chronological order among the texts
difficult to ascertain. Among other possible permutations, Ezek 45:21 and the calendar
could have preceded Exod 12:1820 as interpretations of Exod 12:1417.
103
For the possible motivations for this transfer, see below.
Summary and Conclusions 89

The consolidated form of the information in the Priestly holiday calendars


signals the end of the process. The fact that what appears in explicit form
in the calendars took shape gradually throughout different stages of literary
activity indicates that the calendars represent (independent) compositions
aware of the fully edited product in Exodus 12. Indeed, one may discern in
Exodus 12 the actual process that juxtaposed the Pesah and the days of un-
leavened bread; the editors in this section work with preexisting material.
This material, though, does not include a text defining the relationship be-
tween the day of the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread in an explicit
fashion. Had the editors possessed the information formulated by the holi-
day calendars, it would have been impossible to comprehend their attempts
to merge the day of the Pesah with the days of unleavened bread (Exod
12:14) or to begin the period during which one eats unleavened bread on
the fourteenth of the month (v. 18), since such attempts would contradict
the system of dates set by the holiday calendars. Additionally, the date of
the fifteenth and the name the Festival of Unleavened Bread do not ap-
pear in Exodus 12. The name the Festival of Unleavened Bread and the
date of the fifteenth do not appear in Ezekiels law either (45:21), accord-
ing to which the festival occurs in the first, on the fourteenth day of the
month. The Priestly holiday calendars, on the other hand, offer a fully
integrated, systematized set of dates, but because of their summary nature
they contain no information regarding the character of the Pesah other than
the mentioning of the very name Pesah as something already known to
the reader (Lev 23:5; Num 28:16). Clearly, the holiday calendars base
themselves on information detailed in other, presupposed texts. It appears
that their consistent distinction between the prohibitions against laborious
work  and any work  also depends on the defini-
tion provided in Exod 12:16.104

2.6 Summary and Conclusions

2.6.1 The Literary Complexity of the Pesah Pericope


In contrast to those scholars who peel off and strip away later expansions
and interpolations from the Pesah laws in Exod 12:111,105 this study has
attempted to reveal the hermeneutical value of the additions and show how
their details combine to form a complete literary layer. This layer stands
out in its stylistic uniformity and in its midrashic agenda of explaining or

104
See pp. 4445 above.
105
Such as Paran (Priestly Style, 9497), who emends the existing text, forcing upon
it literary forms he regularly finds in the Priestly style; see above, p. 49 n. 13.
90 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

expanding the base layer on which it rests. Recognizing the chiastic struc-
ture of the expansional layer with respect to the base layer, as well as its
stylistic distinctiveness, prepared a foundation for the philological analysis.
Additional examples of Priestly texts displaying these same substantive
and literary characteristics were indicated, too. The analysis of the Pesah
pericope led to the conclusion that Exod 12:2227a in fact constitutes the
original continuation to the Priestly Pesah pericope (vv. 111). This reali-
zation offered a solution to an unsolved riddle in the literary criticism of
the Pentateuch, locating the organic, late Priestly context for this isolated
fragment (Exod 12:2227a), whose origin has been the subject of debate
since the beginning of the modern critical approach. In addition, the anal-
ysis suggested an explanation for the difficulty felt already by the
Septuagint and the Mekhilta in the current form of the transition from the
Pesah pericope to the laws of unleavened bread. On the one hand, recon-
structing the texts presumed original flow created a natural context for the
isolated fragment in Exod 12:2227a; on the other, it freed the original
Pesah pericope from the current, secondary continuation. This explanation
shed light on the redundant contents and lemmatic parallels characterizing
vv. 1213 with respect to vv. 23, 27. According to the assumption accepted
in the scholarly literature that these two texts devolved from different ori-
gins, such extensive literary resemblance defies explanation. By contrast,
the suggestion that the redundancy results from the editorial process makes
the outstanding similarity between the two texts easily comprehensible.
Moreover, it also explains the changes and extra elements in vv. 1213 as
the result of a programmatic revision intended to refine the original text
theologically, anchor it in the literary complex of the plague story, and
adjust it to match the later conception of the cult.106

2.6.2 The Programmatic Redaction in Exod 12:128


The differences among the various editorial stages make the development
of a specific impulse proceeding through them particularly discernible,

106
Knohl (Sanctuary of Silence, 52) has argued that Exod 12:120 in its entirety rep-
resents the late creation of the Holiness School. However, Knohl did not note the liter-
ary complexity within the Pesah pericope (vv. 113) and the tension in the combination
of this pericope with that of the unleavened bread. His philological position that the
Pesah pericope (vv. 113) comes from the Holiness School bases itself on the phrase I
am YHWH in v. 12. However, this verse (and v. 13), a revision of vv. 23, 27a, does not
belong to the original part of the pericope. The same situation holds for v. 14, which, in
Knohls opinion, has language typical of the Holiness School; recall, though, that the
editor who added the laws of unleavened bread (vv. 1517) to the Pesah laws added this
verse, too.
Summary and Conclusions 91

namely, to bring the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread into proxim-
ity with one another, even to conflate them.

2.6.2.1 The Expansional Layer


One can recognize the beginning of the process already in the layer that
midrashically explains and expands the original Pesah laws: although the
base layer posits that one must take a sheep on the tenth of the month and
slaughter it in the evening, the expansional layer teaches that one must
watch it until the fourteenth of the month, to wit, the slaughter discussed in
v. 6b will not take place until the fourteenth. It stands to reason that the
date of the tenth has a hold in tradition, since it is hard to imagine a
Priestly author inventing this date without some such legacy in hand.107
The commandment to watch the sheep until the fourteenth day of the
month (v. 6a) transparently attempts to bridge the gap between the older
tradition of the tenth of the month and the date of the fourteenth. After all,
the text provides no explanation or justification for this commandment to
watch the sheep.108

107
Note that in the seventh month, too, the tenth holds a special place (Lev 16:29;
23:27; Num 29:7). For extra-biblical parallels to the tenth of the month as a day of spe-
cial sacrifices, see already Dillmann Ryssel, Exodus, 114; see also Wellhausen, Reste
arabischen Heidentums, 80; Holzinger, Exodus, 35; Dalman, Arbeit und Sitte, I, ii, 445
(cf. ibid., 27); Fglister, Heilsbedeutung des Passa, 253254. Without sensing the pres-
ence of an independent literary strand that preserves the tenth of the month as the day of
the Pesah, Ewald (Alterthmer, 397) discerned the existence of an ancient tradition ac-
cording to which the Pesah took place on the tenth of the month: Dass es (= das Pascha)
ursprnglich nach dem Sinne des Gesetzes am 10ten des Monates gehalten werden sollte
ist unverkennbar: das entsprechende Shnfest im Herbstmonate ward auf den 10ten fest-
gesetzt; und noch das B. der Urspp. (= Buch der Ursprnge = P) befiehlt wenigstens das
Pascha-Opferthier solle am 10ten ausgesucht und bereitgehalten werden. Allein wie bei
diesem Opfer berhaupt die huslichen und volksthmlichen Sitten sich am zhesten be-
haupteten, so erhielt sich bei ihm insbesondre die Sitte einer mglichst nahen Verbindung
mit der Feier des Ungesuerten. Erst am 14tenward das Opferthier geschlachtet und
verzehrt.
It is worth noting that several scholars posit yet another date for the Pesah, the first of
the springtime month. A. B. Ehrlich (Randglossen, I, 312) and those following him inter-
pret the word month in Exod 13:4 as the new moon (as in 1 Sam 20:5). Ehrlich holds
the same for month in Exod 23:15; 34:18; and Deut 16:1, as well. A further tradition
may perhaps stand in the background of Ezekiels law (45:1820), according to which the
blood rite which resembles the Pesah blood rite is performed on the first and the
seventh of the first month; see above, p. 81 n. 86.
108
The Rabbis sensed this lacuna and attempted to fill it in creative ways; see Mekhil-
ta, Pischa, 5 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 1416). See further on this topic Albertz, Reli-
gionsgeschichte, II, 427; Ahuis, Trgergruppen, 3536.
92 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

Transferring the date from the tenth to the fourteenth allows the Pesah
to fall out immediately prior to the days of unleavened bread, as reflected
in the Priestly holiday calendars:
And in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month: Pesah to YHWH.
And on the fifteenth day of this month: a festival seven days long; unleavened bread shall
be eaten.109

However, it is difficult to know whether this secondary association consti-


tuted the purpose behind transferring the date from the tenth to the four-
teenth, since there exists no evidence that the author of the expansions had
a written or oral tradition about a Festival of Unleavened Bread beginning
on the fifteenth of the month. In none of its layers and revisions does
Exodus 12 mention the date of the fifteenth.110 Had the editors of Exodus
12 known the tradition given final formulation in the Priestly holiday cal-
endars, that the Pesah occurs on the fourteenth (Lev 23:5; Num 28:16) and
the Festival of Unleavened Bread begins on the fifteenth (Lev 23:6; Num
28:17), it would be difficult to fathom how they ignored that tradition and
folded the day of the Pesah into the first of the seven days of unleavened
bread.111

2.6.2.2 Verses 1417


The editor responsible for the present shape of vv. 1417 did not create an
entirely new text, as did the author of the expansional layer. Rather, he rent
an already complete text, the dual-layered Pesah pericope, and attached to
it another pre-prepared text, the unleavened bread pericope (vv. 1517),
which, from the way it ignores the narrative premise of the Pesah pericope,
clearly had not been written for its present context. The artificial transition,
v. 14, which the editor created to move from one text to the next, expresses
the idea that celebrating the festival described in the following verses
will commemorate the day of the Pesah. By implication, eating the
unleavened bread serves as a symbol for remembering the Pesah in Egypt,
which the Israelites had eaten with unleavened bread (v. 8). The phrase

109
Num 28:1617 and, parallel to it, Lev 23:56.
110
Ezek 45:21 does not mention the date of the fifteenth either.
111
Indeed, what did motivate the author of the expansional layer to change the day of
the Pesah from the tenth to the fourteenth, if linking the Pesah to the days of unleavened
bread was not part of his heritage? Gese (Verfassungsentwurf des Ezechiel, 81) under-
stands the date of the fourteenth as parallel to the date of the Festival of Tabernacles, the
fifteenth. He ties both holidays to the day or night in which the full moon appears: the
Pesah, a nocturnal feast, is celebrated the night in which the full moon appears, the night
after the fourteenth day (for night following day when it comes to the date, see above,
p. 8586), whereas the Festival of Tabernacles is celebrated on the day after the full
moon actually appears, the fifteenth of the month.
Summary and Conclusions 93

this day in v. 14 identifies the day of the Pesah with the first day of un-
leavened bread. However, the text does not spell out the character of this
conflated festival. In other words, the combination of the Pesah and the
seven days of unleavened bread resulting from the juxtaposition of the
texts but not existing independently in either one of them is a product of
the editor. In addition, the text does not specify the date of this merged
festival, but only indirectly implies it by identifying the first day of unleav-
ened bread with the day of the Pesah, which occurs on the fourteenth of the
month (v. 6). This combined festival in fact remarkably resembles the fes-
tival described in the current form of Ezek 45:21. Both texts have the day
of the Pesah co-opted by the seven days of unleavened bread. However,
whereas Ezekiels law calls this festival Pesah, the festival described in
Exod 12:1517 goes unnamed. The editor in v. 14 calls it by the generic
name Festival to YHWH.112

2.6.2.3 Verses 1820


The appendix in vv. 1820 adds an interpretive point to the laws of leavened
and unleavened foods, inferring that one must eat unleavened bread from the
evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first. The
combination of the Pesah and the days of unleavened bread has coalesced
here into a period of seven days during which one must eat unleavened
bread.
The analysis of the editorial processes in Exodus 12 may also illuminate
the motivation behind the attempt to juxtapose or merge the Pesah with the
days of unleavened bread. In the present form of the text, the laws of the
Pesah appear limited to the Pesah in Egypt rather than directed at you
and your children forever (v. 24), as the original conclusion to the Pesah
laws had enjoined (vv. 2427a, 28). The close look taken at the revisional
material in vv. 11b13113 adds information about the motivation for this
rupture in the standing of the Pesah for future generations. The verses
reflect the desire to minimize the extra-temple character of the Pesah as a
domestic sacrifice and to refine the magical significance and apotropaic
etiology of the Pesah. Similarly, a retreat from the image of the De-
stroyer as an independent agent comes into focus. The postponement of the
original conclusion to the Pesah laws (vv. 2427a, 28) demonstrates the
determination of the editor to change the status of the Pesah for the genera-

112
The same expression appears regarding the festival described in Lev 23:41: You
shall make it a festival to YHWH. Perhaps this instance, too, reflects an attempt to cre-
ate a generic expression that will cover two holidays combined into one, the Festival of
Ingathering and the Festival of Tabernacles.
113
Recall that these verses represent a revision of the original continuation to the
Pesah pericope, a continuation now relegated to the far reaches of the text, in vv. 2227a.
94 Chapter 2: The Pesah and the Unleavened Bread

tions following the actual exodus. The fact that this editor actually replaced
the rejected original (vv. 2227a) by its revision (vv. 11b13) may indicate
that he intended to forego these original verses entirely. In the final run,
though, the displacement of the verses from their organic context did not
lead to their erasure, only to their concealment. Nevertheless, all the biblical
evidence reflects the severing of all future Pesah observance from the orig-
inal form attributed to the Pesah in Egypt; likewise, it has had a decisive
impact on the history of the Pesah in the post-biblical literature. One could
say that the actions of the editor, who sundered the dual-layered Pesah
pericope (vv. *111, 2227a, 28) by eliminating from it the description of
the blood rite and the definition of the extra-temple Pesah rite as a law for
you and your children forever (v. 24), determined the fate of the Pesah ever
after. Aside from the original Pesah laws of Exodus 12 (the reconstructed
text in vv. *111, 2227a, 28), the status of the Pesah as an extra-temple
sacrifice has not one biblical witness. Even the domestic blood rite, which
constituted a central part of the Pesah rite, did not pass into the corpus of
laws regarding the post-exodus Pesah anywhere else in the Bible.114 At the
same time, the juxtaposition of the Pesah with the days of unleavened
bread made its way into the Priestly holiday calendars,115 the festival
calendar in Deuteronomy 16,116 and the later biblical literature.117
From the conclusion regarding the identification of the source of Exod
12:2227a, combined with that regarding the Pesah in Exod 34:25, it
emerges, against classic scholarly opinion, that these two texts do not be-
long to J. Exod 34:25, as demonstrated in the previous chapter, constitutes
a midrashic revision of Exod 23:18, while Exod 12:2227a proves to be a
secondary Priestly pericope. As a result, the classic J document contains no
evidence of the Pesah. At the same time, the different editorial stages in
Exod 12:128 display a struggle with an early tradition about the Pesah

114
In 2 Chr 30:16; 35:11, the priests toss the blood of the Pesah onto the single, legit-
imate altar; cf. Jub. 49:20; m. Pes. 5:6.
115
Num 28:1617 (and likewise Lev 23:56): And in the first month, on the four-
teenth day of the month: Pesah to YHWH. And on the fifteenth day of the month: a festi-
val seven days long; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
116
See vv. 23: You shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your god, (of) sheep or cattle,
at the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name. You shall not eat with it
leavened food; for seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread. See the detailed
discussion below, in the chapter on the Pesah and unleavened bread in the festival
calendar in Deuteronomy.
117
So in the descriptions of Hezekiahs Pesah in 2 Chr 30:127, Josiahs Pesah in
2 Chr 35:119 (for the assumption that here, too, the notice regarding the Festival of Un-
leavened Bread namely, v. 17b entered at a later stage, see Wambacq, Les origines
de la Pesah, 36), and Ezras Pesah in Ezra 6:1922 (for the assumption that here as well
the reference to the Festival of Unleavened Bread namely, v. 22 constitutes an inter-
polation, see Wambacq, Les origines de la Pesah, 218219).
Summary and Conclusions 95

and its rites. Consistent with the Priestly literature generally, the base layer
of the Pesah pericope in Exodus 12 preserves, as far as one can see, an
ancient tradition.118 The expansional layer, too, which weaves the original
passage into the story of the exodus, still displays the early magical
elements. Surprisingly perhaps, both the revision of the salvation of the
house as the salvation of the first-born and the revision of the performative
aspect from a blood rite to the eating of unleavened bread come from
earlier, non-Priestly traditions.
The complete picture regarding the history of the Pesah in the Penta-
teuch will emerge after the discussion of the festival calendar in Deuteron-
omy.

118
Wellhausen, Israelitische und jdische Geschichte, 172. It is worth emphasizing
that Wellhausen never denied the fact that the Priestly literature, despite its lateness, pre-
serves very ancient traditions; see, for example, Prolegomena, 60, 404; Israelitische und
jdische Geschichte, 166171 (see also ibid., 171 n. 1).
3 Chapter 3

The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar (Deut 16:117)

3.1 Introduction

The special relationship between the calendars in Exodus 23 and 34 a


text and its midrashic revision taken both as a fact and as indicating a
method of analysis, raises with particular force the question of how to un-
derstand the relationship between the calendar in Deuteronomy 16 and
those in Exodus 23 and Exodus 34.
Like the festival calendars in Exodus 23 and 34, the calendar in Deuter-
onomy 16 contains three festivals: one involving the eating of unleavened
bread; a harvest festival; and a festival of ingathering. However, with regard
to the Pesah, whereas Exodus 23 speaks exclusively of a Festival of Un-
leavened Bread and Exodus 34 simply mentions the Pesah and only loosely
intimates any connection between it and the Festival of Unleavened Bread,
Deut 16:18 highlights the Pesah as the main component and treats the
eating of unleavened bread as of secondary importance. Indeed, the word
 festival does not even appear in it.
The major part of the study below will be devoted to the paragraph on
the Pesah and unleavened bread. First of all, scholarship has consistently
treated it as the central problem in the literary-critical analysis of the cal-
endar. Secondly, it numbers more verses than the text with the remaining
two festivals combined. Thirdly, in recent years, the paragraph on the
Pesah and unleavened bread represents one of the most discussed topics in
the literary-critical study of the laws in Deuteronomy.

3.2 The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic


Festival Calendar (Deut 16:18)

In its present form, the paragraph in vv. 18 has identifiable literary con-
nections to the other Pentateuchal documents. The statements, You shall
not eat with it leavened food (v. 3a) and and none of the meattill
morning (v. 4b), have clear literary links to Exod 23:181 as well as to
1
You shall not sacrifice with leavened food My sacrificial blood; and My festal fat
shall not remain overnight until morning.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 97

34:25,2 which I have argued represents a midrashic revision of Exod 23:18,


though the classic documentary hypothesis attributes the two to J and E
respectively. In v. 8, the term and the expression you shall not do
work seem to bear a Priestly signature.3 Most scholars agree that the para-
graph breaks down into at least two main literary sources, one that con-
tained only the laws of the Pesah sacrifice and another that dealt exclu-
sively with the laws of unleavened bread. However, scholars have not been
able to reach a consensus as to which source belonged to the core of the
Deuteronomic festival calendar and which entered the text secondarily.4
From the analysis below it will emerge that, despite the long history of
attempts to explain the paragraph on the Pesah and unleavened bread in the
Deuteronomic festival calendar, scholarship has not yet exhausted the liter-
ary-critical means for making sense of it.5 It seems that here, too, after first

2
You shall not sacrifice with leavened food My sacrificial blood; and the Pesah-fes-
tival sacrifice shall not remain overnight till morning.
3
See Lev 23:36; Num 29:35.
4
Without going into detail about their differences, the following scholars make up the
group that holds the relative priority of the Pesah source: Steuernagel, Deuteronomium, 59;
Bertholet, Deuteronomium, 5051; Hempel, Die Schichten, 199206; Guthe, Das Passah-
fest, 219; Hlscher, Komposition und Ursprung, 186 n. 3; Horst, Das Privilegrecht Jahwes,
106119; Gray, Passover and Unleavened Bread, 252253; von Rad, Deuteronomium,
7980; Auerbach, Die Feste, 34; Kutsch, Erwgungen, 10 ff.; Eichrodt, Theologie,
70; Seitz, Redaktionsgeschichtliche Studien, 197; Nielsen, Deuteronomium, 168; Veijola,
History of the Passover, 56. Those holding the relative priority of the unleavened bread
text include: Nicolsky, Pascha im Kulte, 182183; Plger, Untersuchungen, 7475;
Caloz, Exode XIII, 5558; Merendino, Das deuteronomische Gesetz, 137144; Laaf,
Pascha-Feier, 7384; Halbe, Passa-Massot, 156158; Mayes, Deuteronomy, 255; Otto,
ThWAT, VI, 675; Reuter, Kultzentralisation, 255258; Morrow, Scribing, 149150; Gertz,
Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung, 7879; Krting, Schall des Schofar, 4243, 50; Weimar,
Pascha und Massot, 68.
5
Recent treatments have attempted to offer alternative methods for explaining the text
by maintaining its literary-historical unity. Gertz applied a tradition-historical approach,
which sees the text as a unified literary product that represents the final step in the co-
alescence of various traditions (Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung, 5680). However, Gertzs
approach led him more to posit and speculate about an unattested text than to grapple
with the texts currently extant. He takes for granted the existence of an ancient tradition
in the matter of a pre-Deuteronomic festival calendar, and in order to reconstruct its
precise shape from the present text, he deletes a significant portion of the existing text
and replaces it by another, hypothetical one.
Levinson argued that the complex character of the paragraph defies accepted literary-
historical methods of analysis, making it impossible to isolate the discrete documents
melded in the current, composite text (Deuteronomy, 5456). He laid out a hermeneutic
approach that sees the various problems in the text as the product of a single author
attempting to walk the fine line between tradition and innovation, working from previous
texts and their formulations to generate a text with radical new ideas (7289). However,
the central crux in Deut 16:18 the fusion of the Pesah with the Festival of Unleavened
98 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

putting aside the fundamental theories in Pentateuchal criticism with re-


gard to this particular passage, an argument made through a close reading
of the text will help promote its comprehensibility and draw out the liter-
ary and ideological motives buried in its different layers.

3.2.1 The Difficulties in the Literary Flow of the Paragraph


Reading the paragraph in vv. 18, one senses its uneven flow, its structural
problems, and its substantial inner tensions. This perception arises particu-
larly at the following points:

1. The statement in v. 1, Keep the month of Abib and perform the Pesah,
seems strange, since the performance of the Pesah does not require an
entire month.6

2. The date in the continuation of v. 1, because in the month of Abib


YHWH your God took you out of Egypt, at night, untenably combines
the month (the month of Abib) with a particular part of the day (at
night) without the necessary mediation of the specific day within that
month.

3. After v. 2, which speaks about the Pesah, vv. 34 shift the discussion,
first to the ancillary laws of the sacrifice, such as the prohibitions
against leavened food and leaving the meat overnight, and then to the
laws of the seven days during which one eats unleavened bread. Verses
57 unexpectedly return to providing additional ancillary laws regard-
ing the sacrifice, and v. 8 switches yet again, to laws of the seven days.
This structure, in which the topic swings back and forth seemingly with-
out rhyme or reason, requires explanation.

4. In the statement in v. 3, You shall not eat with it leavened food. For
seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, meager bread, the
prepositional phrase with it appears twice. The first time, the
pronoun it refers to the Pesah. However, the second time, it cannot
have the same antecedent, since the Pesah is not eaten over the course

Bread in vv. 34 is so severe as to resist his best hermeneutic attempts and throw him,
willy-nilly, back upon a diachronic literary-critical model (85). He goes so far as to
describe the present text as incoherent (86) or as displaying textual disorder (84), to
isolate interpolations (85), and to consider the possibility of inadvertent contamination of
the text (88).
6
Compare Deut 5:11, Keep the holiness of the Sabbath, as YHWH your God has com-
manded you. In this statement, the holiness of the Sabbath that one must mind encom-
passes the entire day. On the possibility that the month of Abib means the first day of
the month, see below, pp. 129130, n. 71.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 99

of a seven-day period. To what, then, does the pronoun refer and what
does the phrase mean?

5. The statement in v. 7, and in the morning you may turn and go to your
tents, seems to signal a conclusion, making the continuation in v. 8,
which describes the six days and the solemn gathering of the seventh
day, rather surprising.

6. The beginning of v. 8, For six days you shall eat unleavened bread,
seems to contradict the law in v. 3, for seven days you shall eat with it
unleavened bread. Moreover, the end of v. 8, too, implies a unit of
seven days: and on the seventh day, a solemn gathering to YHWH your
God; you shall not do work.

The literary-critical analysis to follow will suggest a solution to these diffi-


culties. A comparison between the Pesah paragraph in vv. 18 and parallel
texts in the Pentateuch provides the point for departure.

3.2.2 The Text and its Parallels


Deut 16:18 Exod 12:15, 16 Exod 13:3, 6, 7 Exod 34:18, 25/
23:15, 18
v. 1  
 
 

 
 
 

 


v. 2 

 
   
  

v. 3      

   
    
 
  
   
    
 
100 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

Deut 16:18 Exod 12:15, 16 Exod 13:3, 6, 7 Exod 34:18, 25/


23:15, 18
v. 4  
    
     

      
 
 
v. 5  
  
 

v. 6   
 

  
 
 

v. 7   

 
  
 
v. 8  

    

 
   

    

3.2.3 The Original Deuteronomic Pesah Law Underlying the Paragraph


The comparison of parallel texts in the chart above brings out that Deut
16:2, 57 have parallel material within Deuteronomy, but none outside of
it. The remaining verses, by contrast, vv. 1, 34, 8 manifest the inverse
scenario: all parallels come exclusively from beyond Deuteronomy, none
from within. Specifically, the style in vv. 2, 57 bears the distinct imprint
of Deuteronomy, which a comparison between these verses and Deuteron-
omy suffices to demonstrate:7

7
The following chart serves to highlight the stylistic and topical similarities between
the two texts, not to establish their historical relationship. For a literary stratigraphy of
the centralization laws (11:3112:7; 12:812) and their corollaries (12:1319, 2028),
see Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 1018, which was developed further by Simeon
Chavel, The Literary Development of Deuteronomy 12: Between Religious Ideal and
Social Reality, in: The Pentateuch: International Perspectives on Current Research
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 101

Deuteronomy 12 Deut 16:2, 57



 
(v. 14)8

  
  
(v. 5)9
   (v. 2)  
  
(v. 17)

  (v. 5) 
 
  
(v. 18)10

     
   
         
 
    (v. 6) 
(vv. 514) 
(v. 7)11 
    
    

(v. 7)  

And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to


YHWH your God, sheep or cattle,
Rather, at the place that YHWH will choose at the place that YHWH will choose
(v. 14)
there to place His name, to endwell it (v. 5). there to endwell His name (v. 2).
You may not eat You may not sacrifice the Pesah
in your cities the grain tithe (v. 17). in any of your cities (v. 5).
Rather, before YHWH your God Rather,
shall you eat it,
at the place that YHWH your God will at the place that YHWH your God will
choose (v. 18) choose to endwell His name,
you shall come there. And you shall bring there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the
there And you shall eat there There evening, come sunset, the time when you
shall you bring There shall you offer up left Egypt (v. 6).
your burnt offerings and there shall you do
all that I command you (vv. 514).
And you shall eat there And you shall cook and eat at the place
before YHWH your God (v. 7). that YHWH your God will choose,
and in the morning you may turn and go
to your tents (v. 7).

(FAT 78), eds.: T. Dozeman K. Schmid B. J. Schwartz, Tbingen 2011, 303326. For
the purposes of this study, the neologism endwell has been coined in place of the cum-
bersome expression cause to dwell.
8
See, too, Deut 12:5.
9
This reading of is inspired by Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 13 n. 9.
10
See, too, Deut 12:5, 14.
11
See, too, Deut 12:18: Rather, before YHWH your God shall you eat it, at the place
that YHWH your God will choose.
102 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

Conversely, vv. 1, 34, 8 do not contain any Deuteronomic formulations.12


To the contrary, the chart above demonstrates their links with other literary
strands in the Pentateuch. Likewise, in terms of contents, vv. 2, 57 serve
not so much to instruct one to do the Pesah as to do it in the one place
chosen by YHWH; this subject constitutes their common denominator. As is
well known, the same centralization of the cult that drives vv. 2, 57 sits at
the heart of the Deuteronomic worldview. In the remaining verses (1, 34,
8), by contrast, the topic disappears entirely. Finally, when set off by them-
selves, vv. 2, 57 clearly make up a continuous text:
And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or cattle, at the place that
YHWH will choose there to endwell His name. You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of
your cities that Y HWH your God gives you. Rather, at the place13 that YHWH your God
will choose14 to endwell His name, there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening,
come sunset, the time when you left Egypt. And you shall cook and eat at the place that
YHWH your God will choose, and in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.15

In this respect, too, the verses that remain, vv. 1, 34, 8, differ, for when
aligned sequentially without vv. 2, 57 they issue in no such flow and do
not make up an independent unit that reads even remotely like a continu-
ous text.
In sum, the paragraph of Deut 16:18 rests on a Deuteronomic base that
limits the location of the Pesah to the place of YHWHs choosing.16 This
base comprises vv. 2, 57, which have a definite Deuteronomic style, are

12
Except for the phrase Y HWH your God (vv. 1, 8). Out of 244 instances of this
phrase in the Bible, 234 occur in Deuteronomy. One of the characteristics of this phrase
in D consists of its direct, 2nd sgl. formulation, addressing Israel.
13
On the textual witnesses that read here   in the place, instead of MT 
  , see BHS.
14
The word there  , which, in the Hebrew text, appears at the end of the clause,
may have fallen out due to haplography; compare v. 2 and see BHS.
15
Regarding the opening for this set of verses, see below.
16
The first step towards a critical analysis that matches the literary complexity of the
passage was taken by Steuernagel in his pioneering work on the Deuteronomic law (Ent-
stehung, 4547). He discerned correctly that the base of the law did not include regula-
tions for eating unleavened bread. But he did not delve into the hermeneutical signifi-
cance of the process of expansion and revision underwent by the passage. He simply de-
termined that one should erase the verses mentioning unleavened bread as late additions.
He repeated this conclusion in both editions of his commentary to Deuteronomy. As
illustrated above (n. 4), Steuernagels position did not create a consensus among scholars,
and at the same time a school coalesced around the opposite position, which sees the
laws of unleavened bread as the original kernel of the law. Current-day scholars who
follow Steuernagel include in their number Veijola, who puts forward an historical-
literary breakdown of the text and notes several of the points of hermeneutical signifi-
cance in the process of literary growth. The drawback of his analysis is the absence of
philological justification; see above, p. 6 n. 35.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 103

anchored in the law of cultic centralization in Deut 11:31ff., and make up a


continuous text.17
As observed above, then, the original Deuteronomic Pesah applies the
law of centralization to the known Pesah tradition. It does not aim to
provide instruction about the performance of the Pesah and its related
customs, but rather to take the existing Pesah practices and make them
conform to Deuteronomic thinking, specifically, to establish the location of
the Pesah at the place designated by YHWH.18 Note how the Deuteronomic
Pesah legislation polemicizes against the Pesah taking place somewhere
other than YHWHs chosen site (vv. 56):
You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that Y HWH your God gives you.
Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name, there shall
you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening.19
Even certain details that do appear to address the preparation of the Pesah,
in fact, only function to buttress the centralization principle. So, for ex-
ample, with regard to sacrificing the Pesah during the evening, cooking it
and eating it (vv. 67):
Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name, there shall
you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening And you shall cook and eat at the place that
YHWH your God will choose, and in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

The tone in these verses does not stress, as if enjoining for the first time, that
the sacrifice take place in the evening and that one must cook the Pesah
and eat it. Rather, the verses emphasize that these activities must take place
at the location appointed by YHWH.20 The passage elaborates that it does not
suffice merely to slaughter the Pesah at that location; one must also cook it
and eat it there. Moreover, in order to close off any possible loophole in the
centralization principle and prevent any divergence from it, the text obligates

17
One should note that the account of Josiahs centralized Pesah in 2 Kgs 23:21 does
not mention any of the elements found in Deut 16:1, 34, 8, but accords quite well with
the Deuteronomic base identified in vv. 2, 57. See further on this below.
18
Contrast, for instance, Levinson, Deuteronomy, 8283.
19
The emphasis in this law lies in a polemic against an existing practice, but the pass-
age offers no further information regarding its details. One cannot tell as well whether
the polemic is directed against a prevalent popular custom or some legal tradition. If the
latter, then it remains unknown whether or not the polemic has in mind Pesah laws such
as those in Exod 12:114, 2128, 4349, since the decisive fact is that it is difficult to
point to a literary relationship with those laws (see below).
20
Dillmann already perceived this aim of the Deuteronomic Pesah law (Deuterono-
mium, 310; see also idem, Hexateuch, 608). Steuernagel recognized this same focus with
regard to the Deuteronomic law of the first-born; he writes in his comments to Deut
15:1923 (Deuteronomium, 111, and see also Dillmann, Deuteronomium, 310): Unser
Gesetzwill also kein vollstndiges Gesetz ber die Erstgeburten sein, sondern nur die
in Folge der Kultuskonzentration auftauchenden Fragen regeln.
104 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

the offerer to stay at YHWHs designated site for the entire time during which
one could sacrifice, from the beginning of the evening, when one slaugh-
tered, through the night, when one cooked and ate.21 Only in the morning,
once the time for the Pesah has passed, may the worshipper leave YHWHs
place. So intends v. 7, and in the morning you may turn and go to your
tents: only once morning has arrived and the time is no longer appropriate
for the sacrifice may you turn away from the site and head to your tents.22
Note how the phrase and in the morning in v. 7 serves as a framing device

21
Rof (Introduction to Deuteronomy, 42) holds that in forcing the Israelite to remain
at YHWHs chosen place, D transferred to the single sanctuary Js injunction in Exod
12:22 against leaving the building of the sacrifice the houses until morning. However,
in Exod 12:2223, no one may step outside the entrance of his house until morning
because the houses provide safety against the Destroyer outside: YHWH will protect the
entrance and not let the Destroyer enter your houses to attack. Since this apotropaic ration-
ale does not appear in the Deuteronomic law, it seems preferable to explain the com-
mandment to remain at YHWHs chosen site with reference to the idea of centralization.
22
See Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 42. Conversely, Levinson (Deuteronomy,
89) reads the words 
   (v. 7) as a commandment to leave the
Temple in order to celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread at home (see already
Halbe, Passa-Massot, 165166). According to Levinson, this obligation to leave rep-
resents the innovative method of the Deuteronomic authors for secularizing the local
temples: they empty the Festival of Unleavened Bread of its cultic content by severing it
from the Temple and the altar (Deuteronomy, 69, 7980, 89, 9394). The Festival of Un-
leavened Bread, then, has ceased to function as a festival hence the lack of reference
to it as such in Deut 16:18 turning instead into precisely the opposite, a seven-day
period of unleavened bread in which one is actually prohibited from spending time at the
Temple (93): Unleavened Bread becomes nearly an antipilgrimage festival. The evasion
points straight to the repression, as the pilgrim to the Temple for Passover is commanded
immediately, on the morrow, to undertake a reverse pilgrimage to the home precincts,
there to observe Unleavened Bread (Deut 16:7).
In his opinion, this method of transformation exemplifies the hermeneutic innovative-
ness of the Deuteronomic authors, in that they do not merely change and innovate texts
and laws, but even create a new religious and social reality (see especially, 9394).
However, first of all, Levinsons approach leaves unclear why the term Festival of
Unleavened Bread reappears in the conclusion to the festival calendar (v. 16; see his
comments, ibid., 94). I also do not understand why the same process did not take place
with regard to the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles; see ibid., 80, 94.
Similarly, it remains unclear why the Pesah, which in Levinsons opinion in line with
scholarly consensus has graduated to a classic temple sacrifice, is not called a festival
in the language of Deuteronomy; see ibid., 8081, 94.
Secondly, to my mind, one should exercise caution before drawing historical conclu-
sions about religious and social reality on the basis of the analysis of texts. Such caution
appears particularly pertinent in this case, when the alleged change in historical reality
depends mainly on the interpretation of just a few words,    (v. 7).
If diachronic analysis reveals that these words signify nothing more than the conclusion
to the original law and that v. 8 represents a late addition, again, no basis exists for
historical implications regarding the secularization of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 105

with its counterpart, in the evening, in v. 6. Together, the two phrases suit-
ably bound the time during which one must stay at YHWHs chosen site.23
Given the original laws focus on centralizing the Pesah, not on enjoin-
ing its performance per se, one should hesitate before drawing historical
conclusions from the absence of certain ritual aspects mentioned in Exod
12:114, 2128, 4349. To draw conclusions on the basis of an argument
from silence, one must assume that, by design, the text should mention cer-
tain details and leaves them out deliberately. However, if it should emerge
that the original law does not intend to teach about the performance of the

23
In light of this structural symmetry, one should entertain the possibility that the
three-fold qualification of the specific part of the day during which one slaughters the
Pesah, in the evening, come sunset, the time when you left Egypt, testifies to multiple
additions to the text (compare, for example, Veijola, History of the Passover, 65). As
seen above, the phrase in the evening belongs to the original text. The clauses come
sunset, the time when you left Egypt, though, complicate the verse somewhat, and it
would not require an unreasonable stretch to presume their affinity to the expression in
v. 1, because in the month of Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt, at night.
Above it has been indicated and below it will be demonstrated that v. 1 along with
vv. 34, 8 does not belong to the original base of the paragraph. In this case, the clauses
come sunset, the time when you left Egypt may possibly represent a secondary inter-
polation. Indeed, they serve to further pin down the time of the sacrifice, not the time in
which one must stay at YHWHs place. This diachronic suggestion, then, rests on three
considerations, the syntactic awkwardness in the triple time-designation, the affinity of
the words come sunset, the time when you left Egypt to v. 1, and the frame comprised
by the evening and the morning. As a result of the interpolation, the text digresses
from its main point, which, as said, does not consist of enjoining one to perform the
Pesah, but rather of making the Pesah conform to the demands of cultic centralization.
Similarly, one should also entertain the possibility that the words sheep or cattle do
not belong to the primary form of v. 2 (compare Merendino, Das deuteronomische Gesetz,
129 and n. 19; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 75; Weimar, Pascha und Massot, 6667; contrast
Nielsen, Deuteronomium, 171; Levinson, Deuteronomy, 72 n. 68). Here, too, the verse
shows some syntactic roughness. Furthermore, the order of the elements, sheep, then cattle,
appears only in this instance, against all the various expressions with cattle and sheep
throughout Deuteronomy (8:13; 12:6, 17, 21; 14:23, 26; 15:19; 32:14). Moreover, like the
problematic clauses in v. 6, the words sheep or cattle have no connection to the central-
ization of the cult. This expression, too, then, may represent an interpolation, intending,
perhaps, to subordinate the Pesah tradition to the Deuteronomic cultic norms, in which
both sheep and cattle may serve for any sacrifice (see Deut 12:6, 17, 21; 14:23, 26; 15:19).
For comparisons sake, note the Priestly sacrificial laws, which scrupulously distinguish
between sheep and cattle (as in Lev 1:3, 10; 3:1, 6) and limit the Pesah specifically to the
flock (Exod 12:5). Perhaps the interpolator who added sheep or cattle also meant to
refer to the Exodus story told by the non-Priestly traditions in Exodus; the story mentions
sacrifices brought from sheep and cattle in that order as the pretext given to Pharaoh
for the Israelites to leave Egypt. See Exod 10:9: with our sheep and our cattle shall we
go; 10:24: only your sheep and your cattle shall be left behind; 12:32: take along
your sheep and your cattle as well; 12:38: both sheep and cattle lots of livestock.
106 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

Pesah per se, then the expectation for a comprehensive description of the
entire complex of Pesah rituals falls away.24

3.2.4 The Additions in Verses 1, 34, 8


The Deuteronomic Pesah legislation at the core of the current paragraph
underwent revision. Various passages constructed from texts found else-
where in the Pentateuch came to supplement the Deuteronomic base text
centralizing the Pesah. The discussion below will first analyze those pass-
ages that currently interrupt the flow of the original Deuteronomic Pesah
text, vv. 34, then move to those passages that now frame it, vv. 1 and 8.

3.2.4.1 Verses 34
The analysis of vv. 2, 57 took as its point of departure the two concrete
facts that, as opposed to vv. 1, 34, 8, vv. 2, 57 have no demonstrable
parallels outside Deuteronomy and that they make up a smooth, unified text.
The analysis of vv. 34 will base itself on the fact that these verses do have
parallel material outside Deuteronomy in Exodus 13; 23; 34 and build
further upon this fact by comparing their current form with their Vorlagen:

Exod 13:67; 23:15, 18/34:18, 25 Deut 16:34


You shall not sacrifice/slaughter You shall not eat
with leavened food My sacrificial with it leavened food.
blood (23:18a/34:25a).
For seven days you shall eat For seven days you shall eat
unleavened bread with it unleavened bread,
(13:6, 7a; 23:15/34:18)
meager bread, because you left the land of Egypt
in haste, so that you remember the day you left
the land of Egypt25 all the days of your life.

24
Even though the original law does not function to teach one how to perform the Pesah,
it does contain details that recognizably differ from those enjoined in the Priestly laws in
Exodus 12. Deuteronomy 16 mentions cooking the Pesah (v. 7), whereas Exod 12:8 has
roasting. Also, the Priestly law limits the Pesah to animals taken specifically from the flock
(Exod 12:5), whereas Deuteronomy 16 mentions sheep or cattle (v. 2, on the questionable
originality of which see n. 23). Consequently, the Deuteronomic Pesah appears as a temple
sacrifice, no different from the rest of the temple sacrifices, which are cooked (1 Sam
2:1316; also: Exod 29:31; Lev 6:21; 8:31; Num 6:19; Ezek 46:20, 24; Zech 14:2021) and
brought from both sheep and cattle. See also below for the argument that the revision in
v. 1 intends to assimilate the Pesah further to standard sacrificial categories and modes by
having it commemorate the exodus from Egypt, namely, as a kind of thanksgiving offering,
whereas Exod 12:27 bases the Pesah apotropaically on the protection from the Destroyer.
25
There exists here another similarity, between the rationale, so that you remember
the day you left the land of Egypt (Deut 16:3), and the commandment, remember the
day you left Egypt (Exod 13:3); see below.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 107

Exod 13:67; 23:15, 18/34:18, 25 Deut 16:34


and leavened food shall not be And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within
detectable to you, and leaven shall your entire territory, for seven days.
not be detectable to you, within your
entire territory (13:7b);
and My festal fat/the Pesah-festival And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in
sacrifice shall not remain overnight the evening on the first day shall remain
until/till morning (23:18b/34:25b). overnight till morning.

Before going into the details of the revisions themselves, note first how the
list of parallels above has brought into focus an utterly unique phenomen-
on, namely, the concentric (re)arrangement of the various Vorlagen in the
revised text. However, the use of the term concentric does not mean to
refer to the kind of sets of correlating clauses that point up deliberate art-
istry; rather, it designates sets of interrupted clauses and resumed lines of
continuity indicative of editorial activity:

v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.

v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread,


v. 3b meager bread
v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory.

v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first
day shall remain overnight till morning.

The two elements now comprising the outermost set, vv. 3a and 4b, are
currently separated from each other by vv. 3a4a, but they actually stem
from a single verse, Exod 23:18/34:25, which had the two elements situ-
ated beside each other:

Exod 23:18 Exod 34:25 Deut 16:3a + 4b


You shall not sacrifice You shall not slaughter You shall not eat
with leavened food with leavened food with it leavened food (v. 3a).
My sacrificial blood; My sacrificial blood;
and My festal fat shall and the Pesah-festival And none of the meat that you will
not remain overnight sacrifice shall not sacrifice in the evening shall
until morning. remain overnight till remain overnight till morning (v. 4b).
morning.

In the inner set as well, the two components vv. 3a and 4a now stand
apart from each other, separated by v. 3b, but in fact they too stem from a
single verse that had them aligned contiguously, Exod 13:7:
108 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

Exod 13:7 Deut 16:3a + 4a


Unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven For seven days you shall eat with it
days. unleavened bread (v. 3a).
And leavened food shall not be detectable And leaven shall not be detectable to you,
to you, and leaven shall not be detectable within your entire territory, for seven days
to you, within your entire territory. (v. 4a).

As said above, rather than demonstrating a synchronically planned struc-


ture, the text of vv. 34 amounts to a series of interrupted sentences. To
identify the sentences as such requires recognizing their parallels outside
Deuteronomy and, on that basis, reconstituting them. Once these relation-
ships have been brought to the surface, it seems difficult to avoid the
conclusion that the repeated interruptions derive from a multi-staged,
diachronic process of expansion, which serendipitously gave the text its
current concentric shape. Furthermore, recognizing the way the current
structure of vv. 34 reflects the use of Vorlagen leads to a diachronic solu-
tion to the more comprehensive problem of the thematic twists and turns
that currently make the passage of vv. 27 as a whole so difficult to follow.

A. The text in vv. 2, 57 forms the Deuteronomic base; it deals with the
performance of the Pesah at the location chosen by YHWH. These
verses made up a continuous text.26

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or cattle,27 at the
place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening, come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt.28
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and in
the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

B. The second stage sees the insertion of two prohibitions, one against
eating leavened food and the other against leaving meat over to the
next day, and these appear adjacent to each other as they do in their
Vorlage (Exod 23:18/34:25). Although they deal with the Pesah, the
laws have nothing to do with centralization and do not belong to the
Deuteronomic base.

26
On the original beginning of this passage, see below, pp. 124ff., 3 .2.4.5.
27
On the phrase sheep or cattle, see above, p. 105 n. 23.
28
On the words come sunset, the time when you left Egypt, see above, p. 105 n. 23.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 109

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or cattle, at
the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first
day29 shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening, come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt.
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and
in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

C. A third stage splits the two inserted laws by wedging in between them
another two laws, whose contiguity likewise follows their Vorlage
(Exod 13:[6]7), a commandment to eat unleavened bread for seven
days and a seven-day ban on leaven. The two newest laws share a com-
mon topic, the seven-day period. In fact, the seven-day ban of leaven
and the commandment to eat unleavened bread for those seven days
constitute two sides of the same coin.

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or cattle, at the
place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.
v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for
seven days.30
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first day
shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening, come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt.
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and in
the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

D. Spliced into these later two laws now sit entirely non-legal statements
that serve to underpin the law of eating unleavened bread. Separating
the originally adjacent laws, the statements render the prohibition
against leaven somewhat without context.

29
On the phrase on the first day, see below, pp. 118119, 3 .2.4.2.2.
30
On the phrase, for seven days, see below, pp. 118119, 3.2.4.2.2.
110 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or cattle, at the
place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread,
v. 3ab meager bread, because you left the land of Egypt in haste, so that you
remember the day you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for
seven days.
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first day
shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening, come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt.
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and in
the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

The concentric structure in vv. 27, then, reflects the diachronic stages that
produced the text as a series of interrupted passages whose original con-
tinuations now appear in the reverse order of the interruptions:

v. 2 A1. And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God, sheep or
cattle, at the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3 B 1. You shall not eat with it leavened food.
C1. For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread,
D. meager bread, because you left the land of Egypt in haste, so that
you remember the day you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life.

v. 4
C2. And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire
territory, for seven days.

B 2. And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the
first day shall remain overnight till morning.
vv. 57 A2. You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH
your God gives you

A1A2 The Deuteronomic base text: centralization applied to the Pesah (vv. 2, 57)
B 1B2 First insertion: laws regarding the Pesah sacrifice (vv. 3a, 4b)
C1C2 Second insertion: laws regarding the seven days (vv. 3a, 4a)
D Third insertion: rationales for the law to eat unleavened bread (v. 3b)
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 111

At this point, the diachronic description above stands on two pieces of evi-
dence: the use and revision of materials from the Vorlagen in Exodus and the
choppy thematic flow within the current form of the paragraph in Deuter-
onomy. The main piece of evidence, though, will only come from a detailed
analysis of the revision in each one of the stages. Such an analysis will
further verify the premise itself that the verses in Exodus did indeed serve
as Vorlagen for the successive revisions in the paragraph in Deuteronomy.
Moreover, it will elucidate the method of these revisions and their goals.
The discussion begins with the first insertion, set B, comprising vv. 3a
and 4b, and the inner-biblical interpretation reflected in it.

3.2.4.1.1 Set B The First Insertion: You Shall Not Eat with It Leavened
Food; And None of the MeatShall Remain Overnight till Morning
Comparing the three passages listed in the chart below will clarify the re-
spective stages of inner-biblical interpretation.

Exod 23:18 Exod 34:25 Deut 16:3a + 4b


You shall not sacrifice You shall not slaughter You shall not eat
with leavened food with leavened food with it leavened food.
My sacrificial blood; My sacrificial blood;
and My festal fat shall and the Pesah-festival And none of the meat that you
not remain overnight sacrifice shall not remain will sacrifice in the evening shall
until morning. overnight till morning. remain overnight till morning.

Recall, first, that Exod 23:18 does not deal with the Pesah at all, so that the
main innovation of the inner-biblical interpretation in Exod 34:25 consists
of its recasting the cultic law in 23:18 to apply specifically to the Pesah. It
appears that the author of set B (Deut 16:3a + 4b), who relied on the idea
first found in Exod 34:25, that the prohibitions against sacrificing with
leavened food and leaving parts of the sacrifice over until morning apply
specifically to the Pesah, employed in particular the text of Exod 34:25 as
his Vorlage.31 Briefly put, Exod 23:18 served as the Vorlage to Exod 34:25,
and Exod 34:25 in turn served as the Vorlage to Deut 16:3a + 4b.
The reuse of Exod 34:25 in Set B breaks down into three parts. In other
words, although the revised text appears as the two halves of Set B, Deut
16:3a and 4b, in fact, it comprises three acts of reinterpretation. These
will be analyzed in what follows.

31
True, one could claim that Exod 23:18 served as the Vorlage, which the author of
Deut 16:3a, 4b interpreted as referring to the Pesah. But there is something forced in the
argument that an identical process of inner-biblical interpretation should occur independ-
ently by two different revisers. In any case, additional points in the analysis below will
make it more likely that particularly Exod 34:25 served as the Vorlage to Deut 16:3a, 4b.
112 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

3.2.4.1.2 You Shall Not Sacrifice (Exod 23:18) You Shall Not
Slaughter   (Exod 34:25) You Shall Not Eat (Deut 16:3)
With regard to the law against sacrificing with leaven, there exists only
one distinction between Exod 23:18 and 34:25, the substitution of one sac-
rificial term,   , for another, . The analysis in chapter 1 explained
the change as a result of the impact of the Priestly lexicon, which limits the
stem to the well-being offering (   ) and uses the stem to sig-
nify any ritual slaughter. Correspondingly, Priestly texts and late passages
dealing with the Pesah employ .
The text in Exod 34:25, however, contains its own difficulties, specifical-
ly, the unclear combination of the verbal stem with the prepositional
phrase , and the highly irregular expression, my sacrificial blood
 as the object of .32 These difficulties disappear in the four-fold
Deuteronomic reworking, which (1) replaces the language of ritual slaugh-
ter, , by the stem , consume; (2) reassigns the preposition with
to refer back to the Pesah (and you shall perform the Pesah You shall
not eat with it leavened food) rather than to the leavened food itself (with
leavened food); (3) transforms leavened food from the indirect object of
the predicate you shall not slaughter ritually to the direct object of the
predicate you shall not eat; and (4) removes altogether the unusual
phrase my sacrificial blood. Free of impenetrable contents and stylistic
anomalies, the resulting statement, you shall not eat with it leavened
food, now bears one unequivocal meaning: one may not eat the Pesah
with leavened food. Moreover, delimiting the rather obscure sense of the
preposition in the Vorlage  as meaning with the Pesah (and
you shall perform the Pesah You shall not eat with it leavened food)33
helps integrate the new material into the original Pesah legislation by
having it refer back to the Pesah.

32
See Ramban to Exod 23:18: Scripture should have said, do not sacrifice with leav-
ened food my sacrifice, because the blood is not sacrificed.
33
In Exod 34:25, too, the preposition may mean with, but, even in this case, the
meaning of the passage remains murky, since and with together make an incom-
prehensible expression. It is instructive to compare the post-biblical interpretation in
the Mekhilta with the inner-biblical interpretation in Deut 16:3. Whereas Deut 16:3 takes
the prohibition against slaughtering the Pesah with leavened food (Exod 34:25) as a
prohibition against eating leavened food with the Pesah, the Rabbis remained more faith-
ful to the literal sense of the commandment, you shall not slaughter, while broadening
the meaning of the phrase with leavened food. See Mekhilta, Pischa, 8 (edn Horo-
vitz Rabin, 2728): Moreover, on the first day etc. (Exod 12:15) from the day before
the holiday. From the day before the holiday, you say, or only on the holiday itself? The
text says, You shall not slaughter with leavened food my sacrificial blood (Exod
34:25), namely, do not slaughter the Pesah while leavened food exists. So said R.
Ishmael. See there 20 (edn Horovitz Rabin, 334) as well.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 113

3.2.4.1.3 My Festal Fat (Exod 23:18) the Pesah-Festival Sacrifice


(Exod 34:25) of the Meat That You will Sacrifice in the Evening
(Deut 16:4)
In the case of the prohibition against leaving the sacrificial meal overnight,
the process of inner-biblical interpretation seems even more transparent.
It is instructive to follow the stages of development and substitution
underwent by the phrase My festal fat from the Vorlage in Exod 23:18,
through its revision in Exod 34:25, until its reformulation in Deut 16:4.
One may, first of all, get a general impression from the burgeoning itself of
the original phrase My festal fat (Exod 23:18), comprised of only two
words (  ), into the phrase the Pesah-festival sacrifice (Exod
34:25), three words (   ), and then into the phrase of the meat
that you will sacrifice in the evening (Deut 16:4), which contains at least
five words (          ).34 It would appear that this represents
one instance in which the text-critical rule about the priority of brief for-
mulations can be applied nicely to literary criticism.35
It merits emphasizing that this growth does not result from stylistic
alterations alone. Rather, it involves a change in contents. The Vorlage in
Exod 23:18b enjoins burning the fat of the festival sacrifices by morning,
and applies this law to every festival, not just the Pesah. By contrast, the
author of Exod 34:25 substitutes the term sacrifice for fat , and
the expression Pesah-festival  for my festival-meal . These
exchanges limit the law exclusively to the Pesah and remove the focal
point of the prohibition, leaving the fat overnight, to reapply it, apparently,
to the meat of the Pesah, which one must eat before morning.36

34
For the status of the words, on the first day    , see below.
35
For limitations to the rule lectio brevior potior in the field of textual criticism, see
Tov, Textual Criticism, 306.
36
The law also does not appear to prohibit leaving the fat overnight instead of burning
it, since it is doubtful that this reviser, who limited the law to the Pesah, demanded the
burning of the fat at all. Neither the domestic (Exod 12:113, 2128, 4350) nor the
Temple (Deut 16:18) conceptions of the Pesah mention burning the fat. Nowhere does
the Bible refer explicitly to burning the fat of the Pesah upon the altar. Only 2 Chr 35:13
14 could one perhaps take to refer to the fat of the Pesah: They boiled the Pesah by fire,
in accordance with the law, and the holy sacrifices they boiled in pots The Aaronide
Priests, when they offered up the burnt-offering and the fat by night.
Only in post-biblical literature does burning the fat of the Pesah appear explicitly, for
example, in Jub. 49:1920: They shall slaughter the Pesah in the evening, during the
suns descent, in the third part of the day, and offer up the blood on the ramp of the altar
and put the fat upon the fire that is on the altar.
See further m. Pes. 5:106:1 (Danby, 143): When he had slit the carcasses and re-
moved the sacrificial portions, he put them on a tray and [the priest] burned them on the
Altar These acts pertaining to the Passover-offering override the Sabbath: slaughtering
it, tossing its blood, scraping its entrails, and burning its fat pieces.
114 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

As in the case of the exegetical move in the first part of the insertion,
v. 3a, it appears that the reviser worked from the secondary formulation in
Exod 34:25, here aiming to clarify beyond all doubt that the verse speaks
not about leaving over fat, but about leaving over meat. Because of this, he
replaced the expression the Pesah-festival sacrifice in Exod 34:25, which
one could perhaps take as referring to the fat, by the phrase of the meat
    . This last phrase, then, intends to make it clear that the passage
deals with eating the meat and not with burning the fat.37 Note, in this line
of thought, how the reviser felt the need to preface the subject the meat
by the partitive of. Since the passage speaks of eating and a person natu-
rally eats piece by piece, the concern arises that the participant will leave
over of the meat, namely, some of it. This situation contrasts with someone
offering upon the altar, since such a person offers up all the fat at once,38 in
which case leaving over the fat would generally entail leaving over all of it.

3.2.4.1.4 That You will Sacrifice in the Evening (Deut 16:4)


The inner-biblical interpretation reflected in the clause that you will sacri-
fice in the evening represents an even more complicated stage. This rela-
tive clause, which refers back to the meat, has its roots in the expression
found in v. 6, which belongs to Set A, the original Deuteronomic layer:

Furthermore, any post-biblical commentators who, because of Exod 34:25, read Exod
23:18 as referring to the Pesah, held that one must sacrifice the fat of the Pesah. But
burning the fat of the Pesah on the altar originated entirely as the product of the inner-
biblical interpretation described above, as well as from the Deuteronomic view of the
Pesah as a temple sacrifice, in conjunction with Priestly law, which enjoins burning the
fat of all sacrifices alike.
37
As noted above, biblical literature nowhere explicitly mentions burning the fat of
the Pesah. Add to this that Deuteronomy does not refer to burning fat by any other sacri-
fice either. Moreover, from the sacrificial customs in Deuteronomy it emerges that one
does not offer up the fat at all. The passage in Deut 12:27 states innocently: You shall
perform your burnt offerings, the meat together with the blood, on the altar of YHWH
your God, whereas the blood of your [other] sacrifices you shall pour out on the altar of
YHWH your God, while you eat the meat.
The text implies that from the sacrifice only the blood remains to burn upon the altar;
furthermore, just as meat in the first half of the verse includes the fat, since the passage
deals with a burnt offering, so does meat in the second half of the verse.
Observe that specifically the Priestly literature, which for all sacrifices has the fat
burnt upon the altar (for example, Lev 3:3, 9, 14; 4:8, 19, 26, 31, 35; 7:3, 31) as well as a
blood rite, stringently prohibits eating the fat (see Lev 3:17; 7:2325). Conversely, Deu-
teronomy prohibits repeatedly the ingestion of blood (12:16, 2325), but never eating the
fat, which, too, demonstrates that in Deuteronomy apparently only the blood must burn
upon the altar.
38
See, for example, the description in m. Pes. 5:10: When he had slit the carcass and
removed the sacrificial portions, he put them on a tray and [the priest] burned them on
the Altar.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 115

v. 4 (revising insertion) None of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening shall
remain overnight.
v. 6 (original Pesah law) There shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening.

The revising interpolator, then, interpreted the expression the sacrifice of


the Pesah festival by using formulations found in the original Pesah law
in Set A, the very law he came to supplement. In order to incorporate the
reworked layer into the original base text, the revising interpolator took
advantage of lemmas found in the original legislation, working so it
emerges from both Exod 34:25 and Deut 16:6. Nevertheless, although
the word Pesah appears in both source-texts, he refrained from using it
and instead employed the term meat in order, as said, to make it per-
fectly clear that the prohibition against leaving overnight refers to eating
the meat and not to burning the fat.

3.2.4.2 Set C The Second Insertion: For Seven Days You Shall Eat with
It Unleavened Bread; And Leaven Shall Not Be Detectable to Youfor
Seven Days
As said already above, this revisional stage, too, made use of two elements
that originally appeared alongside each other:

Exod 13:7 Deut 16:3a + 4a


Unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven For seven days you shall eat with it
days. unleavened bread.
And leavened food shall not be detectable to And leaven shall not be detectable to
you, and leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for
you, within your entire territory. seven days.

3.2.4.2.1 For Seven Days You Shall Eat with It Unleavened Bread
(Deut 16:3a)
One of the effects of inserting Set C (vv. 3a + 4a) into Set B (vv. 3a +
4b) is that their first parts now adjacent to each other in v. 3a together
make up a parallel but opposite structure, since they amount to inversions
of each other:

v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.


v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.

This effect does not seem arbitrary or secondary, but rather points to the
fact that the positive command in Set C to eat unleavened bread has
emerged through a logical inference from the prohibition in Set B against
leaven. It is precisely this exegetical relationship that explains the current
116 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

location of Set C, situated so that its initial, positive command comes im-
mediately after the prohibition in Set B.
To formulate the positive command in Set C generated by the prohibi-
tion in Set B, the author cited the well-known law to eat unleavened, for
seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. However, the statement dif-
fers from all its parallels in the Pentateuch in that it contains an additional
phrase, with it .39 This phrase, introduced apparently by this second
interpolator, derives from part of the previous insertion, Set B, now the
opening to v. 3: you shall not eat with it leavened food. Namely, to
the positive command found elsewhere, the author has added the phrase
with it in line with the prohibition he meant to supplement and complete.
In doing so, the author of the insertion strengthened the juxtaposition of
the two statements formally: you shall not eat with it leavened food and
for seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.
In terms of contents, though, the phrase with it in the command-
ment you shall eat with it unleavened bread creates an ambiguity. In the
first part of v. 3, the prohibition against eating leavened food, the phrase
meant with the Pesah. However, the phrase cannot really have this sense in
the second part of v. 3 for seven days you shall eat with it (= the Pesah)
unleavened bread since one does not eat the Pesah over a period of
seven days, only during the night of the sacrifice; one may not even leave
it over until morning. On the assumption that the text has not suffered cor-
ruption,40 what do the phrase and the law for seven days you shall eat
unleavened bread actually mean?
Translators and commentators perceived this serious difficulty. Some
simply ignored the phrase, furnishing no translational equivalent for it
whatsoever.41 Others translated it mechanically, with the typical equival-
ent.42 And yet others, either directly or through translation, attempted to

39
Compare Exod 13:67; 23:15; 34:18.
40
One should not dismiss out of hand the possibility that the text suffered vertical dit-
tography caused by you shall eat, which occurs in both halves of the verse. The
repetition of could have mistakenly dragged along the word that follows it in the
first half of the verse, with it. See Elhorst, Jahresfeste, 143; Gray, Passover and
Unleavened Bread, 252; Halbe, Passa-Massot, 150 n. 14; Otto, ThWAT, VI, 675. How-
ever, according to this assumption as well which for the time being cannot find support
from any of the textual witnesses one must still consider why the revised addition for
seven days you shall eat unleavened bread was placed among the laws of the sacrifice
and next to the words you shall not eat with it leavened food.
41
For example, Moses Mendelssohn.
42
Namely, with it; see the Septuagint: RX IDJY HS
DX WRX
S
DX WRX ]X P KQ HS WD? KPHUDM IDJY
H S
WRX D ]XPDand Tg. Onqelos: .
DXWRX
S
DX
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 117

exposit the phrase, mounting upon it, and upon the entire law as well, vari-
ous and even strange meanings.43
While it is difficult to know precisely which sense the interpolator of
this phrase intended, it seems perfectly clear that the purpose behind add-
ing it consisted of interpreting the obligation to eat unleavened bread for
seven days as derived from the Pesah sacrifice of the first day. 44 It depicts
the unleavened bread as eaten with the Pesah in the sense that it is de-
pendent on the Pesah and subordinate to it. As noted above, this idea rests
upon that expressed in the prohibition in the first part of the verse, you
shall not eat with it leavened food. Recall, moreover, that the very idea of
an injunction against eating leavened food with the Pesah was the inno-
vation of the previous interpolator, in a continuing process of inner-bibli-
cal interpretation that began way back with Exod 23:18 (you shall not
sacrifice with leavened food my sacrificial blood), continued in
Exod 34:25 (you shall not slaughter    with leavened food my sacrifi-
cial blood), and concluded with part of the first insertion, Set B, in Deut
16:3a: you shall not eat with it leavened food. The interpolator of Set
C, who wedged apart the (revised) laws of the Pesah sacrifice (vv. 23a,
4b7)45 to interpose the positive commandment to eat unleavened bread
and the prohibition against leaven (vv. 3a, 4a), drew on the idea that the
prohibition against leavened food belongs to the Pesah laws. At the same
time, he attempted to present the obligation to eat unleavened bread for
seven days as derived from the laws pertaining to the sacrifice that takes
place on the first of those seven days.
The method of revision through interpolation reflected in the text makes
this intention clear in that it takes the given textual foundation, laws about
the Pesah sacrifice, and builds upon it additional elements that broaden the
meaning of the Pesah sacrifice. However, the elements added do not con-
stitute an independent piece; rather, they draw on the materials already
present in the received foundational layer of the text. Therefore, even after
the interpolation of the two laws, at root, nothing about the topic of the law

43
Tg. Pseudo-Jonathan:  (for seven days you shall eat
for itself unleavened bread); R. Saadyah Gaon:  (eat after it
for seven days unleavened bread); R. Hezekiah b. Manoah (Hizzequni): 
 (eat unleavened bread because of the sacrifice that com-
memorates the exodus from Egypt). Many modern commentators, knowingly or un-
awares, follow R. Saadyah Gaon, for example, Veijola, History of the Passover, 68; but
contrast Levinson, Deuteronomy, 8485.
44
Driver, Deuteronomy, 193; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 81; Cholewiski, Heiligkeitsgesetz,
182, 187.
45
Specifically, between the two statements, you shall not eat with it leavened food
and none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening shall remain overnight till
morning.
118 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

has changed; it remains a law about the Pesah sacrifice. Rather than meta-
morphosing into a law about the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the issue of
unleavened bread actually appends itself to the Pesah sacrifice as a
dependent element. Indeed, the legislation even lacks the very concept of
the Festival of Unleavened Bread altogether. Much ink has been spilled
over this omission, and many far-reaching theories about Ds objection to
unleavened bread as a festival ( ) have been built upon it. But the analysis
above makes such speculations questionable.

3.2.4.2.2 And Leaven Shall Not Be Detectable to You, Within Your Entire
Territory, for Seven Days (Deut 16:4a)
Comparison of the second part of Set C (Deut 16:4a) with the Vorlage in
Exod 13:7 reveals that the reviser did not draw the phrase for seven days
from the Vorlage:

Deut 16:4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory,
for seven days.
Exod 13:7 And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory.

The addition apparently serves to effect the smooth combination of the


statement with the one immediately following it, and none of the meat
that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first day shall remain over-
night till morning. Without the phrase for seven days, one could have
mistaken the prohibition against leaven for one of the sacrificial laws in
force only at the time of the sacrifice: *And leaven shall not be detectable
to you, within your entire territory. And none of the meat that you will sac-
rifice in the evening on the first day shall remain overnight till morning.
The interpolator added the phrase, then, in order to clarify that the prohibi-
tion applies to all seven days.
Moreover, it appears that in the next law, and none of the meat that
you will sacrifice in the evening on the first day shall remain overnight till
morning which belongs to the earlier Set B the temporal qualifier on
the first day serves the very same purpose. This clause, too, clashes with
its current context, since the ordinal number of the day has nothing to do
with the prohibition against leaving the meat overnight. Furthermore, dis-
cussing the part of the day (in the evening) prior to the day itself (on
the first day) creates a syntactical anomaly; the day itself should precede
the part of it, for example, on the fourteenth day of the month, in the
evening,until the twenty-first day of the month, in the evening (Exod
12:18). In addition, the clause itself on the first day has no meaning
without the phrase for seven days in the preceding law, which makes
the first day the first of the seven. Simply put, the phrase on the first
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 119

day currently in the earlier Set B depends on the contents of the later Set
C. There is no escaping the conclusion that the words have been added in
order to limit the prohibition against leaving the meat overnight such that it
apply exclusively to the time of the Pesah.
The temporal modifiers for seven days and on the first day, then,
share a single purpose, to clarify the distinction between the two laws in
v. 4, which address two different topics. The first one deals with the seven-
day period, and the second, with the time of the sacrifice:

v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for seven
days.
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening on the first day shall
remain overnight till morning.

The need to add these temporal clauses results from the character of the
revised text, which separated the previously adjacent sacrificial laws of Set
B (You shall not eat with it leavened food; and none of the meat) and
inserted, as Set C, the laws of the seven days (for seven days you shall eat
with it unleavened bread; and leaven shall not be detectable to you,
within your entire territory).
One may firmly conclude that the words for seven days in v. 4a and
on the first day in v. 4b did not enter the text prior to the insertion of Set
C. However, they could have entered it even after the next insertion, Set D
(the rationales introduced in the midst of the laws of the seven days:
meager bread and because you left the land of Egypt in hasteall the
days of your life), which separated somewhat the statement And leaven
shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for seven days
from its context.46

46
In either case, the presence of the words seven days in both vv. 3a and 4a in effect
makes an inclusio, offsetting the laws of the seven days. But it is important to stress this
effect has come about through an ongoing process of interruption and supplementation,
not deliberate artistry, namely, the contents were more important to the reviser than the
literary form (contrast Halbe, Passa-Massot, 150; Gertz, Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung,
59; Otto, Deuteronomium, 324); nor does the repetition of the words seven days merely
frame the insertion of the unleavened bread laws (contrast Levinson, Deuteronomy, 85).
120 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

3.2.4.3 Set D The Third Insertion: Meager Bread; Because You Left
the Land of Egypt in HasteAll the Days of Your Life
The rationales in v. 3b, meager bread47 and because you left the land of
Egypt in haste, so that you remember the day you left the land of Egypt all
the days of your life, do not appear in the Vorlage, Exod 13:7:48

Exod 13:7 Deut 16:3a4a


Unleavened Bread shall be eaten the seven For seven days you shall eat with it
days. unleavened bread,
meager bread, because you left the land
of Egypt in haste, so that you remember
the day you left the land of Egypt all the
days of your life.
And leavened food shall not be detectable to And leaven shall not be detectable to
you, and leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for
you, within your entire territory. seven days.

The Vorlage in Exod 13:7 presents the laws about the seven days as one
continuous text, unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven days; and leav-
ened food shall not be detectable to you, and leaven shall not be detectable
to you, within your entire territory. The weeklong prohibition against
leaven and the weeklong commandment to eat unleavened bread comprise
two sides of the same coin, making the natural character of the contiguity
readily apparent.
In Deut 16:34, by contrast, two non-legal clauses interrupt the flow of
the verses, the apposite meager bread and the motive because you left
the land of Egypt in haste, so that you remember the day you left the land of
Egypt all the days of your life. The statements share a common denomi-
nator in that they both provide a reason for the law of eating unleavened
bread, one implicitly (meager bread) and the other explicitly (because
you left the land of Egypt in haste, so that you remember the day you left
the land of Egypt all the days of your life). These rationales divide up a
previously contiguous text and separate the prohibition And leaven shall
not be detectable to you, within your entire territory from its context.

47
Syntactically, the expression meager bread stands in apposition; functionally, it
serves to justify the law of eating unleavened bread (see below).
48
In fact, the explanation because you left the land of Egypt in haste does not have
a parallel anywhere in the entire Bible, whereas the motive clause so that you remember
the day you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life has a parallel in Exod 13:3. In
any case, that parallel does not appear as part of the text in Exod 13:(6)7. To the con-
trary, Exod 13:5, which constitutes a kind of introduction, divides them from each other;
see further below.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 121

One may surmise, therefore, that the rationales too entered the text at a
later stage, and that originally the law of seven days they now interrupt
included no justification at all:
For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.
And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory.
The following stylistic consideration may add to the arguments for the
relative lateness of the rationales. The combination of the stem
(leave) and the land of Egypt appears twice in the rationales in v. 3:
because you left the land of Egypt in haste,49
so that you remember the day you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
The Priestly layers in the Pentateuch employ this expression exclusively.50 By
contrast, D also uses the formulation leave Egypt without the land of.51
Notably, as opposed to the formulation in v. 3, leave the land of Egypt,52

49
The phrase in haste appears only twice more in the Bible, in Exod 12:11
(Priestly) and Isa 52:12, texts scholars generally agree upon as relatively late. The fol-
lowing scholars also hold that the instance in Deut 16:3 derives from Exod 12:11:
Steuernagel, Deuteronomium, 112; Merendino, Das deuteronomische Gesetz, 133; Halbe,
Passa-Massot, 157; Veijola, History of the Passover, 69. However, one should exer-
cise caution in claiming that Deut 16:3 derives from Exod 12:11, since one could enter-
tain precisely the opposite scenario. In its ten other instances, the stem indicates
flight from some menace (Deut 20:3; 1 Sam 23:26; 2 Sam 4:4; 2 Kgs 7:15; Isa 52:12; Ps
31:23; 48:6; 104:7; 116:11; Job 40:23). In Deut 16:3, which draws on Exod 12:33 and 39
(And the Egyptians bore down upon the people to send them quickly from the land;
because they were expelled from the land), the phrase in haste fits this meaning per-
fectly. By contrast, Exod 12:11 represents the sole instance that apparently does not bear
this sense, since it no longer describes the exodus from Egypt, but rather the ritual eating
of the Pesah. Furthermore, the phrase in Exod 12:11 may actually intend to explain the
term Pesah in an alliterative pun,
            (and you shall eat it
in haste ; [therefore,] it is [called] the Pesah to YHWH); perhaps, in fact, it
does this specifically to replace the picture drawn of a fleeing Israel, chased from Egypt,
by one of an Israel leaving with high hand (Exod 14:8; Num 33:3). For further dis-
cussion of and its relationship to Exodus 12, see below.
50
The expression leave the land of Egypt appears in the Priestly literature in the
Pentateuch twenty-four times, whereas the formulation leave Egypt does not appear in
the Priestly literature at all. The sole exception, Exod 6:27 (to bring the Israelites out of
Egypt), only proves the rule: it constitutes a patently secondary resumptive repetition
(Wiederaufnahme) of Exod 6:13, which itself contains the regular Priestly formulation
(to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt).
51
Deuteronomy contains ten instances of leave the land of Egypt (1:27; 5:6; 6:12;
8:14; 9:7; 13:6, 11; 16:3 [twice]; 29:24) and thirteen of leave Egypt (4:20, 37, 45, 46;
6:21; 9:12, 26; 16:1, 6; 23:5; 24:9; 25:17; 26:8); see also Strack, Einleitung, 56; Caloz,
Exode XIII, 27, 3033.
52
It is instructive to compare Deut 16:3b with its parallel in Exod 13:3:
Deut 16:3b: so that you remember the day you left the land of Egypt.
Exod 13:3: Remember this day on which you left Egypt.
122 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

the edited text in v. 153 and the original Deuteronomic base in v. 6 have
leave Egypt. 54 This stylistic detail, then, distinguishes the rationales for
the law of eating unleavened bread from the rest of the paragraph,
including both the base text and the subsequent sets of insertion. As such,
it strengthens the supposition that the rationales in Deut 16:3 mark yet an
additional stage in the reworking of the original Pesah law. We turn, then,
to the idea behind this revision.
The very idea of justifying the law for post-exodus generations to eat
unleavened bread constitutes one of the innovations of this interpolator. In
no other Pentateuchal source does the law come with a rationale.55 The
idea of providing one for a law that otherwise goes unjustified dovetails
with the sermonic and didactic tendency of the Deuteronomic authors to
supplement the commandments enjoined upon Israel with words of encour-
agement and justification.56
Towards this end, the interpolator coined the expression meager bread
   , which has no counterpart throughout the Bible. To all appear-
ances, it serves to refer to other expressions of poverty, oppression 
mentioned in the context of the bondage in Egypt:

Gen 15:13 He said to Abram, Know that your descendants will be resident aliens
in a land not their own, where they will be enslaved and oppressed
.
Exod 1:11 They put over them taxmasters to oppress them with forced labor.
Exod 1:12 But as they would oppress them  so would they grow.
Exod 3:7 YHWH said, I have seen the oppression of my people  in Egypt,
and their cries before their oppressors I have heard, for I know their
pain.
Exod 3:17 For I have said, I will raise you out of the Egyptian oppression
to the land of the Canaanites.
Deut 26:67 The Egyptians did evil to us, oppressing us and placing upon us
hard work. So we cried out to YHWH the God of our fathers, and he
heard our voices and saw our oppression , our abuse, and our
depression.

If the author of Deut 16:3b was influenced by Exod 13:3, he in any case replaced the
formulation leave Egypt by leave the land of Egypt.
53
On the secondary nature of v. 1, see below.
54
Compare Halbe, Passa-Massot, 153; Gertz, Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung, 70.
55
See Exod 12:15, 20; 13:7; 23:15; 34:18; Lev 23:6; Num 28:17. Such a move may be
subtly implicit in Exod 23:15, which connects the Festival of Unleavened Bread with the
exodus temporally. On the question of the sources of this connection, see in chapter 1.
56
See Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 298319.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 123

Through the expression meager bread, the interpolator attempted to con-


vey the idea that the commandment to eat unleavened bread functions to
remind future generations of the subjugation the Israelites suffered in
Egypt. Put more sharply, eating unleavened bread does not recall the ex-
odus from Egypt, but rather the enslavement in Egypt.57
Oddly enough, beside the explanation for eating unleavened bread im-
plied by the expression meager bread sits an explicit alternate explana-
tion:
because you left the land of Egypt in haste, so that you remember the day you left the
land of Egypt all the days of your life.

In response to this doubling of explanations, Rashi makes the following


instructive comment:
meager bread bread that recalls the oppression that they suffered in Egypt; because
you left in haste and the dough did not have time to rise, so this will be a commemor-
ative for you.58

According to the explanation implied in the phrase meager bread, eating


unleavened bread recalls the slavery in Egypt, whereas according to the ex-
plicit explanation in the subsequent part of the verse, it recalls the exodus
from Egypt. One could infer that this double explanation did not come
from the same editor; whoever offered one did not also introduce the other.
Nevertheless, insufficient data exists to decide the case, and one may
counter, against the demand for such precision, that perhaps this editor
works precisely by providing multiple rationales.
Note that both explanations draw on information brought in other
places, in the context of either Israels slavery or the exodus. As said, the
rationale implied by the phrase meager bread refers to expressions of op-
pression mentioned in the context of the slavery. The explicit rationale in
the subsequent part of the verse bases itself on Exod 12:3334, 39:
And the Egyptians bore down upon the people to send them quickly from the land, be-
cause they were saying, We will all die. The people carried off their dough before it
rose, their kneeding bowls wrapped in their cloaks upon their shoulders And they
baked the dough that they had brought from Egypt into unleavened cakes, because it was
not leavened, since they were chased from Egypt and could not wait, nor had they
prepared food for themselves.

57
So in the Aramaic introduction to the Pesah Haggadah: This is the meager bread
that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. See also Gertz, Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung,
7071.
58
See also Ramban to Deut 16:2.
124 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

In terms of their contents, then, neither one of these rationales for the com-
mandment in Deut 16:3 to eat unleavened bread offers something new or
original. The innovative element does not exist in the contents, but rather
in the very idea of providing an explanation, for none of the other sources
containing the commandment to eat unleavened bread articulates any kind
of rationale for it.
In addition, not only do the two rationales lack any original idea; they
do not even amount to a complete and independent literary formulation of
an idea. They rely on information transmitted in other passages in the Pen-
tateuch, without which one cannot sufficiently comprehend their contents.
The rationale implied by meager bread depends on its connections to the
other expressions with oppression that appear in the context of the de-
scription of the Egyptian bondage. The same applies to the second, explicit
rationale. In this case, too, one cannot grasp the connection between eating
unleavened bread and the motif of haste without the details of the story
relayed in the book of Exodus, that they could not wait and baked the
dough that they had brought from Egypt into unleavened cakes, because it
was not leavened, since they were chased from Egypt (Exod 12:39).

3.2.4.4 Verses 1 and 8


The analysis above focused on the body of the Pesah paragraph, vv. 27.
Following its continuities and disjunctures, the analysis delineated an orig-
inal text repeatedly interpolated by outside material. Comparison of the
revisional passages with their respective Vorlagen illuminated the precise
nature of the revisions, their hermeneutic aims as well as their techniques.
The analysis will shift now to the verses that currently frame the Pesah
paragraph, vv. 1 and 8. As with vv. 34, the method will be to begin with
the parallels between the material in Deuteronomy 16 and the Vorlagen
found outside Deuteronomy.

3.2.4.5 Verse 1
Verse 1 has its parallel in Exod 23:15/34:18. It appears that the author of
v. 1 worked directly from the parallel in Exodus, revising it to fit the new
context.59

59
Regarding one detail, it seems that the author used in particular Exod 34:18, which
has the repetition at the time of the month of Abibbecause in the month of Abib that
appears also in the formulation of Deut 16:1, Keep the month of Abibbecause in the
month of Abib. The conclusion of the discussion will treat in broad detail the problem of
the relationship between the Deuteronomic festival calendar and that in Exodus 34.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 125

Exod 23:15/34:18 Deut 16:1


The Festival of Unleavened Bread
you shall keepat the time of the month of Abib, Keep the month of Abib
and perform the Pesah for YHWH
your God,
because in it/the month of Abib because in the month of Abib
you left  Egypt. YHWH your God took you out 
of Egypt, at night.

The clear dependence of Deut 16:1 on Exod 23:15/34:18 helps highlight


the differences between them as well. The Deuteronomic editor removed
the Festival of Unleavened Bread and replaced it by the statement per-
form the Pesah for YHWH your God, which has no source in the Vorlage
in Exodus. In addition, the editor took the temporal modifier in the Vor-
lage, at the time of the month of Abib, and rewrote it as the object in the
present verse: Keep the month of Abib. He also reversed the order, so
that now subject and verb precede the object; instead of The Festival of
Unleavened Bread you shall keep, he wrote Keep the month of Abib.
This switch entailed adjusting the form of the verb from the imperfect
  to the infinitive absolute  , because in biblical Hebrew it is very
unusual for the imperfect to come at the head of a command.60 The clause
because in it/the month of Abib you left Egypt, which served in the Vor-
lage as a rationale for keeping the Festival of Unleavened Bread, now, in
its revised form, serves to explain the command Keep the month of
Abib: because in the month of Abib YHWH your God took you out of
Egypt, at night.

3.2.4.5.1 Keep the Month of Abib


In contrast to the clear and concrete formulation of the law in the Vorlage,
the present, Deuteronomic version lacks in lucidity. Whereas the Vorlage
begins the verse with the specific command to keep the Festival of Unleav-
ened Bread by eating unleavened bread throughout its seven days, the
current verse bewilderingly instructs one to keep the month of Abib. What
observance can there be for the entire month? Everywhere, keeping a
particular date or time means concern to recall that time with special
practices;61 so, too, in the Vorlage: The Festival of Unleavened Bread you
shall keep (Exod 23:15/34:18). By contrast, Deut 16:1 does not enjoin one
to keep the appointed time neither of the Pesah nor of unleavened

60
See Joon, Grammaire, 123uv and n. 3.
61
See, for example, Exod 12:17; 31:14, 16; Deut 5:12.
126 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

bread but rather the entire month of Abib and it does not designate any
particular date.62
Consequently, the imperative Keep the month of Abib appears to con-
stitute a blanket instruction, totally devoid of any specific content. It func-
tions only to bring several different matters under one rubric. One cannot,
it seems, understand the editors intention in such a general formulation
without the rest of the paragraph, namely, without the rest of the revised
paragraph, in which the Pesah and unleavened bread are combined.
The text in vv. 34 adds the obligation to eat unleavened bread with the
Pesah for seven days. As the analysis above has determined, an editor has
superimposed the commandment to eat unleavened bread upon the previ-
ous Deuteronomic Pesah legislation. By adding v. 1 at the head of the base
text the Deuteronomic Pesah legislation the editor prepared the reader
for the fact that the continuation will present not only the Pesah, but also
the full complex of laws encompassing both the Pesah and the obligation
to eat unleavened bread. In other words, the month of Abib represents
the common denominator between the Pesah sacrifice, as formulated in the
Deuteronomic Pesah legislation, and the law of eating unleavened bread
for seven days, which the editor added to the earlier text. As it stands now,
v. 1 serves as the general opening to the laws of the month of Abib, during
which one sacrifices the Pesah and eats unleavened bread for seven days.63
By removing the name the Festival of Unleavened Bread in his revision
of the original verse, the editor did not intend to uproot the entire festival.64
62
Profoundly aware of this problem, the Rabbis interpreted the verse to speak about
the intercalation of the calendrical year. Namely, Keep the month of Abib take care
that this month stays in Abib by aligning the lunar and solar calendars. See Sifre Deut
127 (edn Finkelstein, 185).
63
Tigay (Deuteronomy, 153) entertains a similar understanding of the clause Keep
the month of Abib, but he goes so far as to assume that the verse even has in mind addi-
tional laws that do not appear in the present passage but rather in Priestly texts in Exodus
and Leviticus: observe the month of Abib means to observe all the ceremonies
prescribed for the month of Aviv, including the selection of the sacrificial animal on the
tenth day (Exod. 12:3), the first sheaf offering (Lev. 23:15), and the rites prescribed in
the following verses.
64
Contrast Veijola (History of the Passover, 59, 62; see also idem, Studien, 140),
who claims that the Festival of Unleavened Bread was suppressed by the Deuteronomic
legislator owing to its ancient agricultural Canaanite background, and has consequently
been replaced by the Pesah. This speculation illustrates how incorrect literary-critical
analysis can then lead to far-reaching, groundless theories in the realm of the history of
religion. In fact, Veijolas theory is not new, and already in 1975 Jrn Halbe pointedly
critiqued it: Es ist zugegebenermaen unerfindlich, was sachlich der Grund gewesen
sein sollte, Massot im israelitischen Festkreis zu liquidieren (und alsbald wieder einzu-
fhren). Denn da ausgerechnet hier der zu groe Einflu von kanaanischen Traditio-
nen den Ausschlag gegeben haben sollte, ist eine Vermutung, die nur die Ratlosigkeit
zeigt: Die durch und durch buerlichen Feste v. 915* bleiben bestehen, und einzig das
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 127

On the contrary, he sought to combine the unleavened bread with the Pesah.
Verse 1 prepares the reader for the fact that what will follow will be neither
a law about the Pesah (as in the original text) nor a law about the Festival
of Unleavened Bread (as in the Vorlage), but rather a law in which the
Pesah and unleavened bread are integrated with each other. Since the later
reviser did not compose a wholly new text, the method for creating this
combination between the Pesah and unleavened bread entailed subordi-
nating the laws of unleavened bread to the original, given text of the Pesah.
Indeed, the reviser did in fact subordinate the Festival of Unleavened
Bread to the Pesah in the verses that follow. And, as the analysis above
clarified, the central novelty regarding the obligation to eat unleavened
bread for seven days inheres in the fact that this eating occurs with it
, namely, with the Pesah and subordinated to it. Note how vv. 34, con-
cerned with the seven days of eating unleavened bread, refrain from calling
those days a festival, since the Festival of Unleavened Bread no longer
enjoys the status of an independent festival worthy of a distinct name.65
The general nature of the instruction to Keep the month of Abib also
stands behind the editors choice to reverse the order found in his Vorlage.
Whereas the Vorlage opens the sentence with an object, The Festival of
Unleavened Bread you shall keep, the revised version in v. 1 places the
verb prior to the object, Keep the month of Abib. Beginning a sentence
with an object has the effect of emphasizing the object for the audience or
reader.66 Indeed, the Festival of Unleavened Bread that one must keep
constitutes the main concern of the Vorlage in Exod 23:15/34:18. By con-
trast, keeping the month of Abib in Deut 16:1, as said, only has the charac-
ter of a general instruction whose details will first appear further on in the
paragraph, so there is no longer any reason to begin the sentence with an
object of such emphatic quality.

nirgendwo buerlich, sondern, soweit die Zeugnisse zurckfhren, heilsgeschichtlich


begrndete Massotfest soll als zu kanaanisch ausgeschieden worden sein? (Passa-
Massot, 164, without footnotes; see also Weyde, Festivals, 4041).
Indeed, Veijola does not explain why the process of displacing the Festival of Unleav-
ened Bread due to its agricultural character did not also take place with regard to the Festi-
vals of Tabernacles and Weeks. More to the point, Veijolas fundamental error stems from
his argument that v. 1 belongs to the original text about the Pesah, which then led him to
the argument that according to the conception of the Deuteronomic legislator, the Pesah
came to replace the Festival of Unleavened Bread. One should note that Veijola did not ig-
nore the fact that v. 1 constitutes mainly a revision of Exod 23:15; 34:18. But the fact that
the nature of this text differs substantively from that of the other verses, which he attrib-
utes to the original text, did not cause him to entertain any doubts about his position.
65
See further below.
66
Joon, Grammaire, 155o.
128 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

3.2.4.5.2 Because in the Month of Abib YHWH Your God Took You
out of Egypt
Taking the statement Keep the month of Abib as a general instruction
explains well the new role played by the rationale because in the month of
Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt. This clause now serves to
undergird the general prescription Keep the month of Abib, and it gives
a reason for observing the dual law about the Pesah sacrifice and eating
unleavened bread. This rationale contains a significant novelty in that it
founds both the Pesah and the unleavened bread upon the idea of the
exodus from Egypt, which they now serve to memorialize. This idea of the
exodus appears a second and even a third time in vv. 34:
For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread, meager bread, because you left the
land of Egypt in haste, so that you remember the day you left the land of Egypt all the
days of your life.

By comparison, Exod 12:13, 27 base the Pesah on the apotropaic idea of


protection from the Destroyer. The conception of the Pesah reflected here,
however, contains no connection whatsoever between the Pesah and pro-
tection from the Destroyer; rather, the Pesah serves to memorialize the ex-
odus itself from Egypt.
In sum, the clause because in it/the month of Abib you left Egypt,
which in the Vorlage had served the commandment The Festival of
Unleavened Bread you shall keep (Exod 23:15/34:18), in this text is
reapplied as a general descriptive explanation for keeping the Pesah and
eating unleavened bread. Furthermore, the formulation in the Vorlage
because in it/the month of Abib you left Egypt has undergone Deutero-
nomic restyling: because in the month of Abib Y HWH your God took you
out of Egypt (Deut 16:1).

3.2.4.5.3 And You Shall Perform    the Pesah for Y HWH Your God
The root has the general sense to do, which can carry different
nuances. In the case of the Pesah, it can refer specifically to slaughtering
the Pesah; more generally, to offering it up as a sacrifice;67 or, most
broadly, to all acts involved in the Pesah ritual, including eating the Pesah
and all the various laws.68 If the editor had only one of these meanings in
mind, then the statement and you shall perform    the Pesah for YHWH

67
See Levinson, Deuteronomy, 7879; he translates: you shall offer.
68
So have most translators and commentators understood, for example, Veijola, His-
tory of the Passover, 59 and n. 28; he translates: you shall celebrate. And so implies,
for instance, 2 Chr 35:1: And Josiah performed the Pesah to YHWH in Jerusalem;
and they slaughtered the Pesah on the fourteenth of the first month.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 129

your God serves as a transition between the general opening in v. 1,


Keep the month of Abib, and v. 2, And you shall sacrifice the Pesah.
However, the words and you shall perform    the Pesah for YHWH
your God could refer to the entire construct of Pesah-plus-unleavened
bread.69 If the editor did in fact intend this broader meaning, then the
words and you shall perform    the Pesah for YHWH your God con-
tinue the thrust of the opening as a general introduction. The editor deliber-
ately used the formulation and you shall perform for its broader meaning
than the Deuteronomic law in v. 2, And you shall sacrifice, which refers
narrowly to slaughtering the Pesah.70 In this case, the editor used the
Pesah as the general title for the whole paragraph. Accordingly, the entire
consumption of unleavened bread occurs only with it, namely, subordi-
nated to the Pesah.

3.2.4.5.4 Keep the Month of Abibbecause in the Month of Abibat Night


The foregoing analysis, which emphasizes how Deut 16:1 depends on
Exod 23:15/34:18, puts the problematic date in a new light. As remarked
above, the date in v. 1 contains an impossible combination of a certain
month (the month of Abib) and a particular part of a day (at night),
without the necessary mediation of the specific day within that month.71

69
This last sense of Pesah, as covering an entire week, resembles the way the Rab-
bis grasped it, in m. Pes. 2:2: The leavened food of a non-Jew that existed during the
Pesah, a Jew may derive benefit from it; that of a Jew is prohibited from bringing benefit,
as it says, nor shall you see leaven.
This sense reappears in the New Testament; see Luke 22:1: K JJL]HQ GH? K HRUWK? WZQ
D ] XPZQ K OHJRPHQ K SD V[D (The Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is known as
Pesah, drew near).
70
The Rabbis perceived the broad nuance of and you shall perform in contrast with
and you shall sacrifice, but saw the two terms as focused on the sacrifice; see Sifre Deut
129 (edn Finkelstein, 186): And you shall sacrifice the Pesah namely, the slaughter
should be consciously for the sake of the Pesah, because if he slaughtered not for its sake,
then it is disqualified. All the text indicates is the slaughtering; how do we know to extend
this to receiving the blood and tossing the blood? The text says, and you shall perform.
71
The position that the month of Abib     refers to the first day of the month
obviously represents a deliberate attempt to circumvent this problem; see Hitzig, Ostern
und Pfingsten, 24; A. B. Ehrlich, Randglossen, I, 312; Elhorst, Jahresfeste, 138;
Merendino, Das deuteronomische Gesetz, 128; May, Relation of the Passover, 7475;
Auerbach, Die Feste, 1; von Rad, Deuteronomium, 79; Otto, Mazzotfest in Gilgal, 182;
Braulik, Deuteronomium, 117; Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage, 44 n. 59. Most scholars do
not accept this interpretation (see the literature cited in Cholewiski, Heiligkeitsgesetz,
183184; compare also Morrow, Scribing, 139; Levinson, Deuteronomy, 68 n. 1; Krting,
Schall des Schofar, 59 n. 270; see too Wagenaar, Origin and Transformation, 30, who,
with reservations about the interpretation new moon, holds that     does not
necessarily have a calendar month in mind. The word  in this context may well have
130 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

An additional syntactical difficulty exists in the location of the adverbial


clause at night at the end of the verse.72 The problems find their explana-
tion in the recognition that the dependence of Deut 16:1 on Exod 23:15/
34:18 indicates that the text in Deut 16:1 does not constitute an original,
independent composition, but rather a revision that has altered the meaning
of the previous texts it used. Recall that the author of v. 1 tied the Pesah to
the exodus by imposing upon it the rationale provided in Exod 23:15/
34:18. Similarly, just as those passages say simply, the month of Abib, so
Deut 16:1 duly records the month of Abib without specifying a particular
day in that month. By adding the phrase at night at the end of the verse,73
the author attempted to complete the etiology of the Pesah and anchor it in
the exodus by deriving the nighttime Pesah from the nighttime exodus
(Exod 12:2939).

been used in the wider sense season, even though the word  does mean new
moon in a number of passages (for example, 1 Sam 20:6; 2 Kgs 4:23; Isa 1:14; Ezek
45:17; Hos 2:13; Neh 10:34; 2 Chr 31:3). On the other hand, no evidence points to the
possibility of this meaning in the formulation the  of X (see Levine, Numbers, 411).
In any case, in light of the analysis proposed above, Deut 16:1 draws on Exod 23:15;
34:18, and it seems doubtful that in these verses, too, which describe the seven-day
Festival of Unleavened Bread, the phrase     refers to the first of the month.
Another point against this interpretation comes from the fact that all the other festivals in
the calendars in Exodus 23; 34; Deuteronomy 16 have no precise dates either.
Finally, the impetus to understand     as referring to the first of the month
comes from the gap between the month (Abib) and the part of the day (at night)
specified in the verse, but it is not certain that the phrase at night belongs to the orig-
inal form of the text (see below).
These considerations militate against rejecting Veijolas position, that the meaning of
month has undergone a change due to additions made to the text. As Veijola sees it, the
phrase at night does not belong to the original form of the verse, in which  meant
the entire month. The one who, according to Veijola, added the temporal modifier, at
night, read  with the sense of new moon. See Veijola, History of the Passover,
6465.
72
The clause at night temporally modifies the verbal clause took you out, but ap-
pears apart from the other, broader temporal modifier, in the month of Abib. Alterna-
tively, at night could serve to modify the commandment you shall perform, but, in
this case, the even greater distance from the verb makes the modifiers location equally
problematic.
73
It is difficult to know whether the phrase at night came from the same hand as the
rest of v. 1; the verse, as pointed out, does contain syntactical problems with respect to
the phrase. I tend to attribute this stylistic flaw to the style of the author of v. 1, who re-
worked previously existing material. According to the following scholars, the phrase at
night does not belong to the original layer of the text: Merendino, Das deuteronomische
Gesetz, 127128, 141; Halbe, Passa-Massot, 153, 156; Otto, Mazzotfest in Gilgal, 181;
Mayes, Deuteronomy, 258; Preu, Deuteronomium, 53; Reuter, Kultzentralisation, 167;
Veijola, History of the Passover, 64; Weimar, Pascha und Massot, 66.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 131

The recognition that the author of v. 1 held that the exodus occurred at
night has some significance. The Pentateuchal sources debate the question
as to when the Israelites left Egypt. The Priestly passage in Exod 12:810
has the Israelites engaged in the Pesah all night, until morning:
They shall eat the meat during this night You shall not leave over from it until
morning, and what has remained of it until morning you shall burn by fire.

The text in Num 33:3 provides explicit testimony to the Priestly concep-
tion that the Israelites did not leave until the morning after the Pesah:
They embarked from Ramses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month;
the day after the Pesah, the Israelites left with high hand in the sight of all Egypt.

By contrast, according to the non-Priestly verses in Exod 12:2939, the


Egyptians bore down upon the people to send them quickly from the land,
because they were saying, We will all die, and so expelled them that
same night, for which reason the Israelites could not wait long enough
even for their dough to rise. So the text clearly indicates:
And in the middle of the night, YHWH smote every first-born in the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh got up during the night, summoned Moses and Aaron, and said, Get up and
leave my people, you and the Israelites, too, and go worship YHWH as you said. And the
Egyptians bore down upon the people to send them quickly from the land, because they
were saying, We will all die. So the people carried off their dough before it rose, their
kneeding bowls wrapped in their cloaks upon their shoulders. And they baked the dough
that they had brought from Egypt into unleavened cakes, because it was not leavened,
since they were chased from Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared food for
themselves.

According to the classic source-critical conception of these chapters, it


emerges that there even exists a contradiction within the J document itself.
Against the tradition in the above text, Exod 12:22 classically attributed
to J implies that the Israelites may not leave their homes all night, until
morning, and therefore cannot leave Egypt until the next day: None of
you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until morning.
However, literary-critical analysis of Exod 12:128 has shown that 12:22
does not belong to the J document, but rather to a late Priestly layer. As a
result, the two positions on the time of Israels departure from Egypt, dur-
ing the day or at night, divide along Priestly and non-Priestly narrative
lines. In the Priestly passages, the Israelites left during the day, whereas in
the non-Priestly sections, they exited at night.74 Because of the tradition,

74
This contradiction within the Pentateuch as to when the Israelites left Egypt en-
gaged the Rabbis and the traditional commentators. See, for example, Sifre Deut 128
(edn Finkelstein, 186): Your God took you out of Egypt at night but did they really
leave at night? Didnt they leave during the day, as it says (Num 33:3): the day after the
Pesah? Rather, it teaches (us) that they were redeemed at night.
132 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

then, that the Israelites had left during the night, the phrase at night was
placed at the end of v. 1, in effect interpreting the nocturnal Pesah as a
commemoration of the nighttime exodus.75

3.2.4.5.5 The Original Frame of the Pesah Law


Clarifying that v. 1 belongs to the revisional layer in the paragraph raises
questions about the original frame of the underlying Deuteronomic Pesah
legislation. One may suppose that the text did not begin in v. 2, with no
opening expression; it seems reasonable to assume that originally it had
some introduction.76 However, a paucity of textual clues renders it nigh

See also Tg. Onqelos on Deut 16:1: Keep the month of Abib and perform the Pesah
before YHWH your God, because in the month of Abib YHWH your God took you out of
Egypt and performed miracles for you at night.
The Rabbis also observed the clash between Exod 12:22 and 31 (Mekhilta de-Rashbi;
edn Epstein Melamed, 29): And he (Pharaoh) summoned Moses and Aaron could
they really have come to him? They had already been told, And none of you, no one,
shall step outside the entrance of his house until morning (Exod 12:22). Rather, it
teaches (us) that they peeked out through the enclosed balcony and said to him, We are
not leaving at night; we are leaving at high noon.
A particularly instructive midrash (Midr. Ps. on Psalm 113; edn S. Buber, 235) trans-
forms the debate between the Pentateuchal documents into a debate between Pharaoh and
Moses and Aaron: Pharaoh got up and went to Moses and Aaron at night, as the text
says, he summoned Moses and Aaron at night (Exod 12:31). Pharaoh was knocking at
Moses and Aarons entrance, saying to them, Get up; leave my people (ibid.). They
responded to him, Fool! We should get up at night? Are we thieves that we need to go at
night? In the morning we shall leave, for so has the Holy One Blessed Be He said, And
none of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until morning (Exod
12:22).
Rashi, too, commenting on Deut 16:1, brings an attempt to overcome this contradic-
tion (compare Ibn Ezra): From Egypt at night did they not leave during the day, as it
says, the day after the Pesah the Israelites left etc. (Num 33:3)? Rather, (it says this) be-
cause (already) by nighttime Pharaoh gave them permission to leave, as it says, he sum-
moned Moses and Aaron at night etc. (Exod 12:31).
75
Above (p. 105, n. 23), it was suggested that the words sheep or cattle, too, were
added under the influence of Exod 12:32, classically attributed to J.
76
However, one cannot discount entirely the possibility that the original law began
with v. 2, especially in light of the conclusion (see below) that the original text did not
include a festival calendar, but only a law explaining the practice of the Pesah according
to the principle of cultic centralization, similar to the law of the first-born animals imme-
diately preceding it (15:1923). Therefore, one cannot dismiss out of hand that in the
original text the law laying out the Pesah came directly after the law of first-born animals
without any introduction. Also, the fact that in this case the original law does not offer
instruction about the time of the Pesah sacrifice cannot reject this view. The description
of Josiahs Pesah (2 Kgs 23:2123) similarly does not signal the time of the Pesah sacri-
fice.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 133

impossible to reconstruct on any firm foundation, and one can say no more
than that v. 1 does not stem from the original, base layer of the Pesah law
in vv. 2, 57. Recall that, in contrast to the original Deuteronomic text in
vv. 2, 57, v. 1 does not represent an independent composition, but rather a
revision of passages from the book of Exodus, a revision made discernible
by difficult syntax, ambiguous contents, and a formulation so general in
character as to lack clear meaning altogether. Similarly, the analysis of v. 1
demonstrated the degree to which its form, contents, and purpose reflect
the revisional layer in vv. 34. These considerations make it difficult to
claim that the current form of v. 1 represents the original introduction to
the earlier Deuteronomic Pesah law.77 On the other hand, it is not im-
possible that the current form of the verse has, embedded in it, portions of
that original introduction. However, as said, the very existence of such an
introductory verse, though reasonable, amounts to no more than a con-
jecture.
By contrast with the original introduction, the original conclusion to the
Deuteronomic Pesah legislation does not seem difficult to identify. The
words 
   in v. 7 constitute a standard biblical
conclusion, meaning here no more than that everyone may return home:
and in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.78 Since
Deuteronomic law limits the location of the Pesah to YHWHs chosen site,
leaving the site necessarily signals the end of the Pesah ceremony. Indeed,
on other grounds, it will emerge in what follows that v. 8 cannot represent
an organic continuation to the original Pesah text.

3.2.4.6 Verse 8
The location of v. 8 apparently signals its purpose, particularly in the light
of the fact that the original conclusion does not suit the edited version of
the paragraph. Specifically, because of the insertion of Set C, which adds
to the Pesah sacrifice the commandment to eat unleavened bread for seven
days, the morning after the Pesah sacrifice no longer marks the conclusion
of the holiday, and the clause and in the morning you may turn and go to
your tents no longer serves to conclude the paragraph. The author who
added v. 8 clarified that the morning after the sacrifice, one should con-
tinue to eat unleavened bread for six more days.79 This understanding of

77
Scholars who did not notice the revisional character of v. 1 and mistakenly consid-
ered it the original opening of the Pesah law were led necessarily to a groundless hypoth-
esis about the Deuteronomic legislators aim to replace the Festival of Unleavened Bread
by the Pesah; see for example, Veijola, above, p. 126 n. 64.
78
See, for example, Josh 22:4; Judg 7:8; 19:9; 20:8; 1 Sam 13:2.
79
R. Saadyah Gaon: six days and after it (the Pesah) eat unleavened bread for six
days.
134 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

the role played by v. 8 resolves the problem that the law in v. 8, to eat
unleavened bread for six days, at first glance contradicts v. 3, for seven
days you shall eat with it unleavened bread. The author of v. 8 worked
from the edited version of the text, according to which the day of the Pesah
serves as the first of the seven days, as made explicit in v. 4: that you will
sacrifice in the evening on the first day. The author of v. 8 wished to fill
out the period of seven days begun with this first day by adding another
six.80
This reading explains well the placement of the addition. The text in
v. 7 has the worshipper going home the morning after the Pesah, namely,
when the first day has ended; then the new text in v. 8 adds that for the
next additional six days you shall eat unleavened bread. Together, they
fulfill the terms in v. 3, for seven days you shall eat with it unleavened
bread.
It appears, then, that v. 3 in particular provided the main conceptual out-
look for the author of v. 8, guiding the formulation of the addition. The
ordinal in the clause and on the seventh day in v. 8 relies on the lan-
guage in v. 3, for seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread. In
other words, the seventh day in v. 8 refers simultaneously to the seventh
among the seven days in v. 3 and the last of the six additional ones in
v. 8.81
The author of v. 8 only intended to supplement and update the text fur-
ther as demanded by the changes already made to it. He already knew the
commandment to eat unleavened bread for seven days inserted as part of
Set C. Similarly, he takes it as his point of departure that the day of the
sacrifice constitutes the first of the seven days, as determined by the words
on the first day added to v. 4 in response to the insertion of Set C.82
Like the editors before him, the author of v. 8 worked from a received
text serving now as a Vorlage; so illustrates the following comparison:

80
There exists no justification, then, for the popular position in scholarship that the
contradiction indicates the presence of two competing conceptions regarding the number
of days during which one must eat unleavened bread. See, for example, A. B. Ehrlich,
Randglossen, II, 298; but see, on the other hand, idem, Mikra, I, 339.
81
See Luzzatto, Pentateuch, on Exod 13:6: Since it said, and in the morning you
may turn and go to your tents, it said, for six days you shall eat unleavened bread,
namely, aside from the first day, and then added that the last (day) among them, which is
the seventh day, will be a (day of) solemn gathering.
82
This phrase was not added prior to the second insertion; see above, pp. 118119,
3.2.4.2.2.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 135

Deut 16:883 Exod 13:6


Massoretic Text Samaritan Septuagint
Greek Vorlage

For six days For seven days For six days H F KP H UDM For six days
you (sgl.) shall you (sgl.) shall you (sgl.) shall H G HVTH you (pl.)
eat unleavened eat unleavened eat unleavened D] XPD shall eat
bread bread bread unleavened
bread
and on the and on the and on the W GH ? KP HU and on the
seventh day seventh day seventh day W H EGR P  seventh day
a solemn a festival a festival H RUWK? a festival
gathering
to YHWH to YHWH to YHWH NXULRX to YHWH
your God

The chart makes it apparent that, despite several differences between the
two texts (analyzed below), Exod 13:6 served as the Vorlage for the author
of Deut 16:8. The Samaritan and Septuagint textual witnesses, which be-
gin, for six days, as opposed to MT for seven days, make the similarity
between v. 8 and the Vorlage especially perceptible. If the author of v. 8
had this other reading of Exod 13:6 (for six days),84 then, apparently, he
employed the verse as a Vorlage because it suited the idea behind his addi-
tion. The author intended to impart that the comment and in the morning
you may turn and go to your tents (v. 7) does not mark the end of the

83
On the Septuagint and Samaritan readings, see below.
84
One may raise two considerations regarding the primacy of the reading for six
days supported by the two textual witnesses. First of all, this reading is more difficult
than that of the Massoretic Text, so that it seems appropriate in this instance to apply the
principle difficilior lectio probabilior (for limitations on the applicability of this rule, see
Albrektson, Difficilior lectio probabilior, 518). Secondly, the Septuagint reading
makes clear the need for v. 7a. True, the duplication of vv. 6a and 7a in the Massoretic
Text reading is not comprehensible:
v. 6 For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread;
and on the seventh day, a solemn gathering to YHWH your God.
v. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven days,
and leavened food shall not be detectable to you, and leaven shall not be detect-
able to you, within your entire territory.
However, the Septuagint reading, for six daysand on the seventh day, makes it
clear why the author would feel it necessary to go back and clarify that one must eat un-
leavened bread for a full seven days (unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven days).
136 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

matter; rather, add another six days for eating unleavened bread.85 If,
alternately, the Massoretic Text represents the original reading of Exod
13:686 and served as the Vorlage for the author of Deut 16:8 as he rewrote
the end of the paragraph, then one could say that he deliberately altered
seven days to six days in order to convey this idea.
In either case, it remains to clarify why the author avoided using the
term festival and replaced it by solemn gathering . It appears
that once the worshipper may return home (and in the morning you may
turn and go to your tents), there is no longer any room to enjoin a festival
for the seventh day, since a festival, by Deuteronomic definition, entails
spending time at the temple.87 Possibly, this reasoning led the author of
v. 8 to refrain from using the term festival, which appears in the Vor-
lage. A solemn gathering, by contrast, seems not to require a trip to the
temple.88 Additionally, the author of v. 8 may also have conceived the term
to reflect the character of the day, on which one stops doing
work;89 such an understanding of the authors conception seems warranted
by the fact that, after denoting the , he continued with the work pro-
hibition although no such statement appeared in the Vorlage (Exod 13:6).90

85
It seems that a similar concern underlies the parallel in Exod 13:6. According to the
Septuagint reading, the passage in the context of Exod 13:36 may also attempt to add
six further days to the one mentioned explicitly (vv. 34: remember this daytoday
you are leaving Egypt), during which one does this work (v. 5).
86
So argues Levinson, Deuteronomy, 80 n. 86; for a contrasting view, see Wevers,
Notes, 197.
87
Haran, Temples, 288292.
88
Ibn Ezra to Lev 23:36; Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 100; Haran, Temples, 296297
and n. 15; Gertz, Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung, 6566.
89
So explains the Talmud in b. Hag. 9a: What is ? Stop doing work; see
Rashbam and Ibn Ezra to Lev 23:36, as well. Among the moderns, compare Elliger,
Leviticus, 321. Still, it remains questionable whether or not the author of v. 8 hit upon the
original meaning of the word . Most scholars derive it from gathering (see 1 Kgs
10:2021; Jer 9:1); see, on the other hand, Kutsch, , 5769. On the variety of inter-
pretations given to the word, see Wright Milgrom, TDOT, VI, 337. Reflecting the
confusion over its meaning, A. B. Ehrlich comments, Es ist recht demtigend, dass wir
nicht bestimmt sagen knnen, was das ziemlich hufige eigentlich bedeutet (Rand-
glossen, II, 84).
90
Veijola (History of the Passover, 71 n. 89) holds that it is also possible that the
expression you may go to your tents in v. 7 no longer marks the return home, but rather
means to signal the pilgrims to return to their tents pitched in the vicinity of YHWHs
chosen site. But as the analysis here argued, the deliberate formulation with rather
than reflects the conscious anticipation that the pilgrim will return home.
The Pesah and Unleavened Bread in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 137

Here arises the question of the connection to the Priestly style.91 The
author of v. 8 apparently knew the Priestly formulation for work prohibi-
tions (you shall not do work)92 and even used the term in conjunc-
tion with it, much as appears in the Priestly holiday calendars (Lev 23:36;
Num 29:35):

Deut 16:8 And on the seventh day, a solemn gathering to YHWH your God; you
shall not do work.
Lev 23:36 It is a solemn gathering; you shall not do any laborious work.
Num 29:35 On the eighth day you will have a solemn gathering; you shall not do
any laborious work.

However, it remains doubtful that the author of v. 8 knew these particular


passages, for, whatever the similarities, one may not overlook the follow-
ing set of differences:
First of all, v. 8 does not reflect the system of dates found in the Priestly
calendars. According to the author of v. 8, the day of the sacrifice is identi-
cal with the first of the seven days, 93 whereas the Priestly calendars date
the Pesah to the fourteenth of the month and the Festival of Unleavened
Bread to the fifteenth (Lev 23:45; Num 28:1617).
Secondly, the Priestly calendars apply the term to the day after the
seven-day Festival of Tabernacles, the eighth day (Lev 23:36; Num
29:35), whereas in v. 8 it refers to the seventh day in the week of unleav-
ened bread,94 a day qualified in the Priestly calendars only by sacred
occasion (Lev 23:8; Num 28:1617).95
Thirdly, v. 8 formulates the work prohibition simply, you shall not do
work. However, the Priestly conception and the terminology in the holi-
day calendars make an important qualification.96 The work prohibition dur-

91
Commentators who already noted the connection to Priestly style include Steuerna-
gel, Driver, and Bertholet, among others; see also Puukko, Deuteronomium, 249; Horst,
Das Privilegrecht Jahwes, 118; Kutsch, Erwgungen, 12, 17 (n. 2); Halbe, Passa-
Massot, 148 n. 7; Cholewiski, Heiligkeitsgesetz, 181; Mayes, Deuteronomy, 259; Rof,
Introduction to Deuteronomy, 42; Veijola, History of the Passover, 70; idem, Deutero-
nomium, 337. In contrast to them, see Gertz, Die Passa-Massot-Ordnung, 7375.
92
Compare with Exod 12:16; 31:14; 35:2; Lev 16:29; 23:3, 28; Num 29:7.
93
As in Ezek 45:21.
94
Several scholars hold that v. 8, too, refers to the eighth day; see Veijola, History of
the Passover, 70.
95
This is not to say that the terms and  contradict each other; in Lev
23:36 they amount to the same thing: and on the eighth day, you shall have a sacred
occasion, and you shall offer a food gift to Y HWH; it is a solemn gathering; you shall not
do any laborious work.
96
See the comments of Rashbam to Exod 12:16; so, too, Ibn Ezra (the expanded com-
mentary) on the same verse and at Deut 16:8; Ramban, to Lev 23:7.
138 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

ing the holidays excluding the Sabbath and the Day of Atonement does
not apply to all work  , only to laborious work  ;97
namely, one may engage in non-laborious work for the purpose of eating.
The text in Exod 12:16 makes this qualification explicit:
And the first day shall be a sacred occasion and the seventh day shall be a sacred
occasion for you. No work at all shall be done on them; only what every person is to eat,
that alone may be prepared for you.

For the Sabbath and the Day of Atonement, though, the calendars contain a
prohibition formulated in general terms; for example, Exod 31:15 anyone
who does work on the Sabbath day does not limit the prohibition to
laborious work.98 The blanket prohibition in Deut 16:8, with no distinction
between laborious work and other work, namely, food preparation, does
not fit the Priestly terminology. Sensing this dissonance, the Samaritan
Pentateuch and the Septuagint attempted to harmonize the texts. The
Samaritan Pentateuch adjusts the formulation in v. 8 to agree with the
Priestly formulation in the holiday texts, you shall not do any laborious
work; the Septuagint to v. 8 has an expansion in the same vein: RX
SRLKVHLM HQ DXW SDQ H UJRQ SOK?Q R VD SRLKTKVHWDL \X[ (you shall not
do on it any work, aside from that to be prepared for someone/oneself).
Apparently, the Septuagint interpreted v. 8 in line with Exod 12:16: only
what every person is to eat, that alone may be prepared for you.99 In fact,
SOK?Q R VD SRLKTKVHWDL \X[ seems to be taken directly from the Septua-
gint there.
It seems reasonable to suppose that the author of v. 8 did not know the
specific Priestly passages in the current holiday calendars, but rather the
Priestly terminology prior to its literary and calendrical fixing in the holi-
day calendars in Leviticus and Numbers.

3.3 Summation

3.3.1 The Method of the Literary-Critical Analysis and Its Results


The present analysis began with difficulties in the literary continuity
within the paragraph, difficulties in terms of an elusive structure and in
terms of contradictory contents. As its point of departure, the analysis
compared the Deuteronomic text with parallel passages in Exodus, intend-

97
Lev 23:7, 8, 21, 35, 36; Num 28:18, 25, 26; 29:1, 12, 35.
98
Lev 16:29; 23:3, 30, 31; Num 29:7.
99
Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 43 and n. 23; Luciani, Le aggiunte finali, 84
98.
Summation 139

ing to provide the subsequent analysis with a factual base. The following
facts came to light as a result of this comparison:

A. In both contents and diction, most of the text in Deut 16:18 has close
parallels in Exodus 12; 13; 23; 34. However, vv. 2, 57 do not.

B. The language in vv. 2, 57 bears classic Deuteronomic features, and


the formulations resemble those specific to the law of cultic centraliz-
ation in Deut 11:31ff., as opposed to vv. 1, 34, 8, which do not show
such features.

C. The common theme in vv. 2, 57 also sets them apart as entirely and
exclusively devoted to limiting the location of the Pesah sacrifice to the
single site that YHWH will choose. Namely, the verses do not merely
echo with the language of centralization in 11:31ff., but act to apply
the law to the Pesah. By contrast, vv. 1, 34, 8 do not treat that law at
all, but rather different topics.

D. Looked at on their own, vv. 2, 57, even without a proper introduction,


make up a smooth, continuous text, whereas vv. 1, 34, 8 cannot stand
independently at all and can in no way comprise a plausible continuous
text.

These facts led to the conclusion that vv. 2, 57 constitute the original text
of the Deuteronomic Pesah legislation.
In the next stage, the study focused on analyzing the parallels between
vv. 1, 34, 8 and passages in Exodus. The following methodological con-
siderations guided this analysis: Two parallel texts generally have a direct
relationship. One must therefore determine which text depends on the other
and what the differences between them indicate. Theories postulating some
third, shared text generally do not end up moving the study of the text for-
ward, but rather divert the discussion from the realm of textual facts to that
of pure speculation. Therefore, only as a last resort, when a direct relation-
ship between the two parallel texts seems too elusive, is it appropriate to
weigh the possibility that there existed a third text that the two parallel
texts had in common.
The comparison brought to light (a) that, indeed, vv. 1, 34, 8 have a di-
rect relationship with the parallels in Exodus; (b) that vv. 1, 34, 8 depend
on the parallels in Exodus; and (c) that their revised form serves to help in-
tegrate them into their new context in Deuteronomy. This last conclusion
provided additional confirmation for the literary-critical distinction
between the original Deuteronomic Pesah legislation in vv. 2, 57 and the
expansions in vv. 1, 34, 8. Moreover, the detailed comparison between
140 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

vv. 1, 34, 8 and their parallels in Exodus established a concrete basis for
further literary-critical distinctions within vv. 1, 34, 8. It revealed (d) that
the statements in vv. 34 interpolated into the original text resulted in a
kind of concentric pattern, but one in which one cannot really see a liter-
ary-aesthetic value, since, after all, it causes interruptions and breaks in
parts of the text that originally flowed seamlessly. Indeed, every set of pass-
ages intervenes in the set exterior to it. In addition, every set forces upon
the exterior set new meanings that stand in tension with the original ones.
All these phenomena led to the conclusion that the concentric organization
of the text points to diachronic stages in a continuous process of expansion.
The payoff from this diachronic analysis consists of the possibility of
understanding each one of the literary layers both on its own terms and in
the context of the final form of the entire text. One may summarize the
contents and aims of the literary layers that make up the final form of the
text, as follows:

A. The centralization of the cult as applied to the Pesah (the Deuteronomic


base layer): 100

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God (sheep or cattle)101 at
the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening (come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt).102
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and
in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

It seems that the opening to this original, Deuteronomic law cannot be


reconstructed in its entirety. Despite the absence of a clear and com-
plete beginning, one can still clearly perceive in the otherwise continu-
ous law a single consistent theme. The law aims to teach, regarding the
well-established Pesah, that one must slaughter it and eat it only at the
one site that YHWH will choose. Likewise, the details that seem geared
towards the actual performance of the Pesah, such as slaughtering it in
the evening, and cooking and eating it (vv. 67), in fact only serve the
goal of centralization. This law, which emphasizes time and again the

100
On the question of the original opening of the law, see above, pp. 124ff., 3.2.4.5.
101
On the phrase sheep or cattle, see above, p. 105 n. 23.
102
On the words come sunset, the time when you left Egypt, see above, p. 105
n. 23.
Summation 141

requirement to stay at YHWHs chosen place, concludes by permitting


the worshipper to leave once the period of time appropriate for the sac-
rifice comes to an end.

B. The laws of the Pesah sacrifice (the first set of insertions):

v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God (sheep or cattle) at
the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening (on the first
day)103 shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening (come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt).
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and
in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.

The original sequence of the earlier Pesah legislation breaks off at v. 2


to recommence at v. 5. In between, an editor added two sacrificial laws.
This editor did not read the original legislation as a law centralizing the
Pesah rite. Rather, he already saw it as a legal passage directly enjoin-
ing the Pesah observance itself, according to all its laws. Consequently,
he wished to round it out with two further laws whose relationship to
the Pesah he derived from Exod 34:25. This Vorlage is itself a revision
of a prior text, Exod 23:18, in which these laws did not even apply to
the Pesah. Comparing the parallel versions of the laws (Exod 23:18;
34:25; Deut 16:3a, 4b) demonstrated that the editor responsible for the
insertion took Exod 34:25 and edited it further in order that its laws fit
into their new context in Deuteronomy both literarily and conceptually.

C. The laws of the seven days (the second set of insertions):

v. 1 Keep the month of Abib and perform the Pesah for YHWH your God,
because in the month of Abib Y HWH your God took you out of Egypt, at
night.
v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God (sheep or cattle) at
the place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread.

103
On the phrase on the first day, see above, pp. 118119, 3 .2.4.2.2.
142 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory,
for seven days.104
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening (on the first
day) shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your
God gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His
name, there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening (come sunset,
the time when you left Egypt).
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and
in the morning you may turn and go to your tents.
v. 8 For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day, a
solemn gathering to YHWH your God; you shall not do work.

The text inserted in the midst of the previous insertion interrupts that
passage with laws about the seven days taken from Exod 13:67. The
interpolator of this text thereby continued the thrust of the first inser-
tion, which had taken the original Pesah legislation as aiming to pro-
vide a complete set of instructions regarding the Pesah. The interpola-
tor who added the law of unleavened bread and the prohibition against
leaven did so because, in his eyes, they belong to the same treatise on
the laws of Pesah that he found laid out before him. In this view, the
Pesah and the seven days of unleavened bread constitute one unit, and
the expression and perform the Pesah for YHWH (v. 1) may accord-
ingly mean to refer to the complete paragraph and all the various laws
and practices in it. Likewise, the rationale because in the month of
Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt (v. 1), which originally
gave the reason for the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Exod 23:15;
34:18), now also explains the Pesah. Since, according to the text, the
exodus took place at night (v. 1), the exodus is particularly well-suited
to provide the rationale for the nighttime sacrifice of the Pesah, in the
evening, come sunset, the time when you left Egypt (v. 6). According
to the secondary qualification, on the first day, in v. 4, the Pesah
takes place on the first of the seven days. The seventh day, too, has a
special status and is called a solemn gathering (v. 8).
This later set of insertions gives new meaning to the original Pesah
legislation and to the specifics of the first insertion as well. The first in-
terpolator formulated the statement you shall not eat with it leavened
food (v. 3a) with respect to the Pesah alone, namely, you shall not
eat with the Pesah (with it) leavened food. The second interpolator,
however, placed alongside this statement the law to eat unleavened

104
On the phrase for seven days, see above, pp. 118119, 3.2.4.2.2.
Summation 143

bread for seven days. Since eating unleavened bread and the prohibi-
tion against eating leavened food are each the inverse of the other, it
stands to reason that, in the opinion of this second interpolator, the pro-
hibition against leavened food no longer applies exclusively to the eat-
ing of the Pesah, but to all seven days.105 Similarly, the status of v. 7
changes. Rather than signaling the end of the entire rite, as it once did,
it now only marks the end of the Pesah ritual as one part of a larger
complex, namely, the conclusion to the first of the seven days.

D. Rationales for the law to eat unleavened bread (the third insertion):

v. 1 Keep the month of Abib and perform the Pesah for YHWH your God, because
in the month of Abib YHWH your God took you out of Egypt, at night.
v. 2 And you shall sacrifice the Pesah to YHWH your God (sheep or cattle), at the
place that YHWH will choose there to endwell His name.
v. 3a You shall not eat with it leavened food.
v. 3a For seven days you shall eat with it unleavened bread,
v. 3ab meager bread, because you left the land of Egypt in haste, so that you
remember the day you left the land of Egypt all the days of your life.
v. 4a And leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory, for
seven days.
v. 4b And none of the meat that you will sacrifice in the evening (on the first day)
shall remain overnight till morning.
v. 5 You may not sacrifice the Pesah in any of your cities that YHWH your God
gives you.
v. 6 Rather, at the place that YHWH your God will choose to endwell His name,
there shall you sacrifice the Pesah, in the evening (come sunset, the time
when you left Egypt).
v. 7 You shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose, and in
the morning you may turn and go to your tents.
v. 8 For six days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day, a
solemn gathering to YHWH your God; you shall not do work.

The unit of adjacent laws about the seven days in the center of the para-
graph itself inserted into the previous insertion has been split in two
by statements meant to provide rationales for the commandment to eat
unleavened bread. These motive clauses may not comprise uniform
material, since the first one, the appositive meager bread, glosses the

105
This summary helps bring out that the word in the statement  
may now bear the same meaning as in the statement     (see
above), since it seems that the two statements now interpret the laws of leavened and un-
leavened bread as derived from the law of the Pesah sacrifice, but not as limited to the
single day of the Pesah.
144 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

unleavened bread as the bread of slavery, which the Israelites ate while
enslaved in Egypt, whereas the second one (because you left the land
of Egypt in haste, so that you remember) explains the unleavened bread
as the bread of freedom, namely, as recalling the speedy exit from
Egyptian bondage. In any case, the very idea of providing a rationale
for the injunction to eat unleavened bread, otherwise unexplained in the
Pentateuch, defines the innovative aspect in these interpolations.

3.3.2 Implications of the Literary-Critical Analysis

3.3.2.1 The Alleged Replacement of the Festival of Unleavened Bread


by the Pesah in Deuteronomy
Recognizing that the original law aims specifically to instruct the worship-
per where to sacrifice the Pesah, rather than establish the obligation itself
to perform the Pesah, removes any justification for seeing in this law an
attempt to reject the Festival of Unleavened Bread.106 The absence of the
Festival of Unleavened Bread in the original piece of legislation cannot be
taken as evidence that the Festival of Unleavened Bread did not exist as
part of the heritage of the Deuteronomic author.107 The appreciation for
this point will gain strength in the light of the conclusion, reached below,
that originally Deuteronomy 16 did not contain a festival calendar, only a
law centralizing the performance of the Pesah.

3.3.2.2 Pesah and the Question of Literary Links between D and P


Likewise, one should hesitate to draw historical inferences from the ab-
sence of particular Pesah practices known from Exod 12:114, 2128, 43
49. Since the original legislation did not intend to serve as the injunction
instructing one to perform the Pesah, but rather only focused on one par-
ticular aspect of the observance, no grounds exist for expecting it to provide
a comprehensive, all-encompassing description of the entire set of Pesah
practices. The analysis has not found evidence of a literary connection to
the Pesah laws in Exod 12:114, 2128, 4349 either. Of course, there is
no denying the polemical tone that overlays the application of cultic cen-
tralization to the Pesah, chiefly in v. 5: You may not sacrifice the Pesah
in any of your cities. But one cannot know whether the polemic has some
folk practice in mind or targets some legal tradition. Without any evidence
that the Deuteronomic Pesah legislation knew the Pesah laws in Exod
12:114, 2128, 4349, the study refrained from drawing literary-critical
conclusions on the basis of the comparison between the parallel laws.

106
As does, for instance, Veijola (History of the Passover, 62).
107
As it does, for instance, for Steuernagel (Deuteronomium, 112113).
Summation 145

Nevertheless, despite not having found literary links between the orig-
inal Deuteronomic Pesah legislation and the Pesah laws in Exod 12:114,
2128, 4349, analysis did turn up possible literary links between the pass-
ages inserted into the original piece of Deuteronomic legislation and the
Priestly Pesah laws in Exodus:

A. The work prohibition in v. 8 appears to have been influenced by a


Priestly injunction similar to the one that appears in Exod 12:16. How-
ever, the language of the work prohibition in v. 8 does not match per-
fectly the standard Priestly terminology and conception, which on the
holidays forbids only laborious work.

B. The polemical tone in Exod 12:9 (You shall not eat from it raw or
cooked in water, but rather roasted by fire, its head along with its
thighs and innards) may possibly have Deut 16:7 as its target (You
shall cook and eat at the place that YHWH your God will choose).

C. The phrase in haste in v. 3 seems to have a literary connection to its


appearance in the Priestly passage, Exod 12:11. Generally in the Bible,
as in Deut 16:3, the root carries the connotation of fleeing danger,
but Exod 12:11 uses it in the unusual context of victory. In this regard,
Exod 12:11 also reflects the late tendency, attested in Exod 14:8 and
Num 33:3, to reject the tradition about the hasty, nighttime exit from
Egypt and replace it by a high-handed, daytime one. In light of these
comparative facts, the application of the expression in haste to the
eating of the Pesah in Exod 12:11 looks later than the use of the motif
of haste in the context of the exodus in Deut 16:3.

In sum, it would appear that at least parts of the Priestly Pesah laws in Ex-
odus 12 post-date the final text of Deut 16:18, and perhaps even react to
some of the ideas found in it. However, the equivocal nature of the links
between the Pesah legislation in Deuteronomy and the Priestly Pesah laws
prevents them from serving as evidence for far-reaching conclusions about
the chronological relationship between D and P. One must take into ac-
count the literary complexity of each of the two documents. It has emerged
as reasonable that the Pesah legislation in Deuteronomy and the Priestly
Pesah laws have mutually influenced each other, since the texts underwent
continuing processes of literary development.108 These considerations
make it easy to appreciate why the literary-critical analysis above refrained

108
Similarly, Rof (Introduction to Deuteronomy, 17 n. 10) writes about the compli-
cated answer to the question of Ds relationship to P: D contains different layers, some
earlier than P, some coterminus with it, and some later than it.
146 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

from attempting to establish absolute dates and instead chose to point out
relative datings, namely, literary links between different texts, layer by
layer.
Broadening the scope, it seems that one can independently confirm the
literary-critical distinction within Deut 16:18 between the Pesah law, on
one hand, and the laws of unleavened bread, on the other. For even without
the literary links, one can muster evidence from biblical historiography.
The text in 2 Kgs 23:2123 describes the Pesah performed by Josiah, but it
says nothing about the Festival of Unleavened Bread.109 Only the late
parallel version in 2 Chr 30:120 also mentions the Festival of Unleavened
Bread in v. 17.110 Likewise, the current form of Ezek 45:21 reflects
explicitly the conception found in the revised version of the law in
Deuteronomy, that the day of Pesah serves as the first of the seven days of
unleavened bread.111
The very linkage between the Pesah and the Festival of Unleavened
Bread exists only in late writings.112
The last conception noted, identifying the day of the Pesah with the first
of the seven days of unleavened bread, is implied by the revisional layer in
Exod 12:1417 and articulated explicitly in the layer in vv. 1820 there. In
this sense, too, do the revisional layers in the Pesah law of Deuteronomy
have significant correlations with the Priestly Pesah laws in Exodus 12. In
the Priestly holiday calendars, however, a different conception has taken
shape. As opposed to the editorial layers in Exodus 12 and in Deut 16:18,
the Priestly holiday calendars employ the name the Festival of Unleav-
ened Bread, which clearly designates the festival as an independent entity,
separate from the Pesah. Indeed, the calendars introduce an explicit, pre-
cise system of dates defining the chronological relationship between the
day of the Pesah, on the fourteenth of the first month, and the seven-day
Festival of Unleavened Bread, which begins on the fifteenth (Lev 23:56;
Num 28:1617).113

109
H. Spieckermann, Juda und Assur, 130137, ascribes these verses to the nomistic
editor DtrN.
110
For the assumption that here, too, the notice regarding the Festival of Unleavened
Bread namely, v. 17b entered at a later stage, see Wambacq, Les origines de la
Pesah, 36.
111
On the question of the complex nature of this verse as well, see Gese, Verfassungs-
entwurf des Ezechiel, 8081; Zimmerli, Ezechiel, 1162.
112
Such as Ezra 6:1922; for the assumption that here as well the reference to the Fes-
tival of Unleavened Bread namely, v. 22 constitutes an interpolation, see Wambacq,
Les origines de la Pesah, 218219.
113
The Pesah letter sent to the Jews of Elephantine apparently also reflects this con-
ception; see the reconstruction of Licht, Time and Holy Days, 151 (bibliography on 154;
for English translation, see Lindenberger, Aramaic and Hebrew Letters, 6567). But see,
Summation 147

3.3.2.3 Did the Festival Calendar of Exodus 34 Have Any Impact


on the Literary Development of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar?
A prevalent opinion in scholarship holds that large parts of Deuteronomic
law came about through innovative inner-biblical interpretation of the Book
of the Covenant in the spirit of the Deuteronomic reform.114 Beknownst to
them or not, present-day scholars promoting this approach hark back to the
view of Karl Heinrich Graf in his 1866 work, Die geschichtlichen Bcher
des Alten Testaments.115 However, scholars of the Graf, Wellhausen and de
Wette school also sensed the influence of other law-codes existing or pre-
sumed in the conceptual and literary crystallization of the Deuteronomic
law.116 Since scholars had thought the law-code in Exodus 34 early, they
took its impact on the growth of the Deuteronomic law almost for granted.117
The situation has changed recently among scholars who see Exod 34:1126
as a late redactional composition. As the assessment of the relative lateness
of the law-code in Exodus 34 has gained ground in the latest scholarship,
the possibility that this law-code played a role in the development of the
Deuteronomic law has generally been dismissed out of hand.118 On the
contrary, the law-code in Exodus 34 appears influenced by the Deuteronom-
ic law. Against this trend, E. Otto argues that it is specifically the festival
calendar of Exodus 34 and not that in Exodus 23 that constitutes the de-
termining factor in the literary development of the Deuteronomic festival
calendar.119 Since Otto connects his argument with his view that Exod
23:1419 depends upon Exod 34:1823, 2526,120 and this view has drawn
pointed refutation,121 his argument about the influence of Exodus 34 upon
Deuteronomy has not gained recognition. In my opinion, one cannot
categorically deny the possibility that the law-code in Exodus 34 has
influenced the festival calendar in Deuteronomy 16. On the contrary, one
should assess the possibility first by detailed comparison of literary and

on the other hand, Steuernagel, Zum Passa-Massothfest, 310; compare also Grelot, Le
papyrus paschal, 250265.
114
See summary and bibliography in Preu, Deuteronomium, 104107.
115
Ibid., 2125.
116
Ibid., 2425.
117
Today too Lohfink (Zentralisationsformel, 325 ff.; Endtextstruktur, 60) and
Braulik (Deuteronomium, 10; Gesetze, 116; Buch, 132) take this position.
118
See, for example, Levinson, Deuteronomy, 89.
119
Otto, Deuteronomium, 324340. See also Bar-On (Gesundheit), The Festival Cal-
endar of Deuteronomy, 133138; likewise, idem, Festival Legislation, 169 ff.
120
Otto, Pentateuchkomposition, 178179.
121
Blum, Privilegrecht, 358359 n. 46; Levinson, Deuteronomy, 66 n. 42; Veijola,
Studien, 136137; Kckert, Gesetz, 2526 and n. 52; H.-C. Schmitt, Privilegrecht,
166, 168. For a detailed critique of considering the Book of the Covenant as Deutero-
nomistic, see B. M. Levinson, The Right Chorale (FAT 54), Tbingen 2008, 276330.
148 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

substantive parallels without presuming a prior theoretical viewpoint. Only


at the next stage should one consider the implications of the comparison of
the parallels for the larger literary-critical conception. And indeed, the com-
parison undertaken above between the festival calendar of Deuteronomy
16 and the calendars in Exodus 23 and 34 has turned up clues that may
indicate the literary dependence of the final literary crystallization of the
calendar in Deuteronomy 16 upon the calendar in Exodus 34. For at times
the text of Deuteronomy 16 is closer to the formulation of Exodus 34 than
to that of Exodus 23:
First, in the description of the Festival of Unleavened Bread in Exod
34:18, the repetition of the time of the festival in the motive clause stands
out against the shorter formulation in Exodus 23, which has instead the
pronominal clause in it. Noteworthy in this regard is that in this detail
the formulation in Deuteronomy 16 matches that of Exodus 34:

Exod 23:1 Exod 34:18 Deut 16:1


   
 

It seems apparent that the formulation in Deuteronomy 16 draws specific-


ally on the language of Exodus 34.122 The conjecture of literary depend-
ence in the opposite direction would need to assume an extremely unlikely
editorial process: The author of Exod 34:18 rewrites Exod 23:15, but
consciously or not discerns the genetic relatedness of Deut 16:1 (which
was crafted on the basis of Exod 23:15), and even though this verse speaks
of the Pesah and not the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the author decides
to give priority to the formulation because in the month of Abib (Deut
16:1) over the formulation in his base-text, because in it (Exod 23:15).
Second, regarding the prohibitions against leaving the meat of the Pesah
overnight and against eating leavened foods with it, reliance on the text
of Exodus 34 stands out in even greater relief. The analysis above described
the inner-biblical interpretive development from the phrase My festal fat
(  , in Exod 23:18) to the expression the Pesah-festival sacrifice
( , in Exod 34:25) and finally to the usage of the meat (
,
in Deut 16:4). The language in Deuteronomy also preserves the formu-
lation of till morning ( ) in Exod 34:25 against the expression that
appears in Exod 23:18, until morning ( ):123

122
Whether Deut 16:1 needs the longer formulation   because of the
words  
  
that separate between the two parts of the verse, may be
doubted, since the wording 
   
  
 
  would not be difficult.
123
On the significance of the change in Exodus 23 and 34, see chapter 1.
Summation 149

Exod 23:18 Exod 34:25 Deut 16:4


  
        


It should be emphasized that the expression festival in Exod 34:25 is


explained as a reflex of the phrase My festal fat  in Exod 23:18.
The opposite conjecture, that the concept Pesah-festival  in Exod
34:25 derives from literary dependence on Deuteronomy has no basis in
the text, since Deuteronomy never refers to the Pesah as a festival.124
Third, the concluding verse as well contains a clue that may indicate
that literarily Deuteronomy 16 depends on Exod 34:23 and not Exod 23:17.
Deut 16:16 uses the same expression as Exod 34:23, , whereas Exod
23:17 has :125

Exod 23:17 Exod 34:23 Deut 16:16





  

 
126
 

As the argument below will make apparent, the concluding verses of the
festival calendar in Deuteronomy belong to a late layer in the text.
It emerges, then, that the latest revisional layers of Deuteronomy 16
bear signs that may indicate that the reviser drew specifically upon the fes-
tival calendar of Exodus 34. However, analysis of the paragraphs of the
Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in Deuteronomy reveals a different
situation.

124
This is not to say that the idea of combining the Pesah and the Festival of Un-
leavened Bread did not exist on the horizon of Exodus 34. But the fact is that the text of
Exodus 34 gives no articulation to it. Indeed, in Exodus 34 the Pesah and the Festival of
Unleavened Bread appear disconnected from each other.
125
According to the theory of Geiger (Urschrift, 337; see too Luzzatto, Isaiah, on
1:12), the earlier text of Exod 23:17 represents the later theological refinement, conjec-
tured to have replaced the early anthropomorphic expression to see Y HWH with the
more delicate one, to be seen by/appear before YHWH; for a possible explanation for
this phenomenon, see above, in chapter 0 , where the possibility was raised that in this
specific instance Exodus 34 preserves the earlier reading than Exodus 23.
126
I do not employ the argument that the formulation YHWH your God represents a
revision of YHWH the God of Israel, since it is a standard Deuteronomic formula.
150 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

3.4 The Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic


Festival Calendar (Deut 16:912, 1315)

The coherence of the paragraphs on the Festival of Weeks and the Festival
of Tabernacles suffers no substantive difficulties. A repetitive style does
not, in and of itself, warrant literary-critical analysis of the text, especially
in the case of the didactic, sermonic rhetoric of Deuteronomic and Deutero-
nomistic literature. This caution does not reject all possibility of literary
layering and editorial reworking as regards the paragraphs of the festivals
of Weeks and Tabernacles; it casts doubt upon the possibility of recovering
through the present textual data the process by which the text evolved.
Indeed, most of the literary-critical analyses of these paragraphs were
made on the basis of general hypotheses about editions of Deuteronomy
and not on the basis of justifications deriving from the text itself. Likewise,
no philological indications support peeling away the Deuteronomic aspects
from the current text to reconstruct an original, pre-Deuteronomic core.127
On the contrary, the Deuteronomic principle and terminology of centraliz-
ation are part and parcel of the bedrock of these paragraphs.
The idea of cultic unification makes up the heart of the Deuteronomic
festival calendar. Indeed, it represents itself in terms of a principle, pro-
grammatically, without the details of practical instructions. The directives
are written in such general terms even as to contain no evidence that they
presuppose national festivals in which everyone goes to YHWHs one
chosen place at the same time. The ideological and general character of the
text led G. Hlscher to reckon that the Deuteronomic calendar does not
represent a realistic picture, but rather inapplicable theory. 128 Likewise, E.
Otto recently described the Pesah and unleavened bread paragraph as ein
programmatisch schriftgelehrtes Unterfangen und nicht der literarische
Niederschlag einer langen kulturhistorischen Entwicklung.129
The traditional conception imagines these festivals as national events in
which the entire people comes to the site at the same time. In fact, how-
ever, no evidence from within the verses themselves warrants such a
conception. Note that, indeed, the calendar does not specify particular

127
The fact that, after peeling away Deuteronomic expressions, the remaining text
reads continuously from the point of view of syntax does not in itself provide sufficient
grounds for claiming two layers. Such an analysis can suggest the possibility of literary
growth, but it does not make it a necessary conclusion; see, for example, Rose, 5. Mose,
5258. Methodologically, philological analysis must base itself on substantive tensions
and linguistic difficulties and it must derive from the intersection of substantive, syntacti-
cal and stylistic considerations.
128
Komposition und Ursprung, 185186.
129
Deuteronomium, 334.
Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 151

dates for the festivals, but rather ties each one to an agricultural season
defined perforce by region. Just as the Pesah takes place in the month of
Abib (v. 1),130 the Festival of Weeks occurs seven weeks from when the
sickle is first put to the cornstalks (v. 9)131 and the Festival of Tabernacles
begins when you ingather from your threshing-floor and from your wine-
press (v. 13).132
The textual quality of the paragraphs on the festivals of Weeks and Tab-
ernacles differs in substantive ways from the first paragraph, which deals
with the Pesah and unleavened bread. As already stressed, the text appears
uniform, not layered like the paragraph of the Pesah and unleavened bread.
In this respect, the text resembles the original core of uniform text enjoin-
ing the application of the law of cultic centralization to the Pesah (vv. 2, 5
7). In both one recognizes the classic signature of the Deuteronomic style.
On the other hand, as opposed to the original Pesah paragraph, the para-
graphs on the festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles share a relationship with
the festival calendars in Exodus. This relationship has a complex character:
the paragraphs on the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles in
Deuteronomy 16 were influenced by the festival calendar in Exodus 23,
and in turn then influenced that in Exodus 34. As opposed to the sub-
sequent, revisional layers in the Pesah paragraph, the paragraphs on the
festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in Deuteronomy did not come about
through the revision of verses and portions of verses from the late festival
calendar in Exodus 34. Rather, they represent an earlier stage of composi-
tion, one characterized by autonomous writing. They were composed be-
fore the late festival calendar of Exodus 34 came into existence, and they
constitute the Deuteronomic response to the application of the parallel laws

130
Abib denotes the first stage in the ripening of the produce (see Exod 9:31; m. Kil.
5:7), when the growth is still green, but the seed has already thickened (see Dalman,
Arbeit und Sitte, II, 305; III, 8, 10; contrast Wagenaar, Origin and Transformation, 28
29). Because of the damp and soft state of the seeds, one cannot grind them, unless one
dries them first by roasting (see Lev 2:14 and Rashi there; Dalman, Arbeit und Sitte, I, ii,
455456; II, 245; Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage, 44 n. 60; Feliks, Agriculture, 157158).
On the question of what month means as a modifier of Abib, see above, pp. 129
130 n. 71.
131
So writes Ginsberg (Israelian Heritage, 59) regarding the Deuteronomic Festival
of Weeks: Since the day on which the first grain becomes ripe for the sickle varies from
year to year and from place to place, perhaps the intention is that the day of the start of
the count-off shall be determined for every village by its sheik or by a town meeting. But
it is not impossible that each man is guided by the day on which his own grain ripened.
132
However, Dalman (Arbeit und Sitte, I, ii, 450451) surmises that the calendar
intends for messengers to cross throughout the land proclaiming the precise date of the
festival. Brauliks sensitive synchronic reading attempts to find signs in the text that it
has in mind national festivals celebrated at a single time and place; see Braulik,
Leidensgedchtnisfeier und Freudenfest, 112.
152 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

in Exodus 23. On the contrary, their relationship to Exodus is ideational


not literary, and characterized more by subversion and innovation than
dependence. By contrast, the late festival calendar of Exodus 34 attempts
to compromise, bridge gaps and harmonize contradictions between the
laws of the festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in Exodus 23 and their
newer format in the Deuteronomic law.

3.4.1 The Festival of Weeks


The text does not make the substance of the festival sufficiently explicit,
but the qualification from when the sickle is first put to the cornstalks
shall you count seven weeks (v. 9) clearly indicates that is not in
fact an inaugural harvest festival; it takes place at the end of the grain har-
vest rather than the beginning.133 This contradicts Exod 23:16, which de-
scribes the festival as the Harvest Festival: the first-fruits of your produce
that you sow in the field. The revision in Exod 34:22 refers to the festival
as a Festival of Weeks, but connects it to the beginning of the wheat har-
vest: And a Festival of Weeks you shall do: the first-fruits of the wheat
harvest. In chapter 1, the discussion suggested that the change derives
from a desire manifest in the late inner-biblical midrash of Exodus 34 to
remove a conflict with other traditions that signal the onset of the harvest
season with the dedication of an  rather than an inaugural festival (Lev
23:910), and the end of the harvest season with the Festival of Weeks
(Deut 16:1012). In place of the general definition the first-fruits of your
produce that you sow in the field, the author of Exod 34:22 delimited the
essence of the festival as the first of the wheat harvest. In doing so, he
clarified that the festival does not mark the beginning of the harvest season
overall, but has a narrower meaning just the wheat harvest. Secondly, he
renamed the festival from the Festival of the Harvest to a Festival of
Weeks. The text and context in Exodus 34 leave the names meaning
totally unexplained, but the counting of seven weeks in Deut 16:910
makes it clear. The author of Exodus 34, then, sought to identify the Fes-
tival of the Harvest of Exodus 23 as closely as possible with the Festival
of Weeks known from Deuteronomy 16. This inner-biblical identification
has its problems, since the Festival of Weeks in Deuteronomy 16 denotes

133
Similarly, the date of the festival clearly changes from year to year along with the
beginning of the harvest in a given geographical region (see the comments by Ginsberg
above). About two weeks differentiate between the beginning of the barley and wheat
harvests (Dalman, Arbeit und Sitte, I, ii, 415). The duration of the grain harvest depends
on the size of the field and the manpower available to the farmer (ibid., 462). A period of
seven weeks matches the contents of the Gezer calendar, which fixes a month of harvest-
ing barley and a month of harvesting (wheat) and measuring (grain) (see translation
and commentary by Borowski, Agriculture, 36, 38; Renz Rllig, Handbuch, 3536).
Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 153

the end of the grain harvest seven weeks after it begins, whereas according
to the author of Exod 34:22 it inaugurates the wheat harvest.
As demonstrated, the Deuteronomic festival calendar reacts to the calen-
dar of the Book of the Covenant. It contradicts the concept of an inaugural
Festival of the Harvest of Exodus 23 and transforms the festival to a
Festival of Weeks that takes place seven weeks after the beginning of the
harvest. As explained, it therefore seems reasonable to infer that the
expression Festival of Weeks appears first in the Deuteronomic festival
calendar, then, secondarily reused, in Exod 34:22.134 The third Scriptural
passage to mention the concept of weeks in the context of the calendar ap-
pears in Num 28:26:
And the day of your first-fruits, when you offer a new cereal offering to YHWH, on your
Weeks, shall be a sacred occasion for you; you shall not do any laborious work.

The text refers to the festival here as the Day of Your First-Fruits, but
also provides a kind of cross-listing for it as the time of your Weeks,
namely, the Festival of Weeks. Clearly this verse, too, does not challenge
the original provenance of the name as Deut 16:9. It remains to explain
how this name serves the aims of the Deuteronomic festival calendar.
The move from inaugurating the harvest season with the Festival of the
Harvest to celebrating its close with the Festival of Weeks seems to de-
rive from the Deuteronomic reform plans for centralizing the cult. It is
hard to imagine the Israelite abandoning his estate for the single cultic cen-
ter, far from his home and lands, precisely as the grain harvest begins, the
most critical part of the agricultural cycle. In a world of local sanctuaries
such a festival is possible, but not in the context of a cult centralized in a
single temple. Moving the festival to the end of the harvest seven weeks
after putting sickle to stalk constitutes the inevitable resolution.135
For the same reason, apparently, the Deuteronomic Festival of Weeks no
longer includes the obligation to bring first-fruits, which the Deuteronomic
festival calendar makes no mention of at all neither your first produce
of what you sowed in your field (Exod 23:16) nor the first of the wheat
harvest (34:22). In the Deuteronomic festival calendar, the commandment
to bring first-fruits has no connection to the Festival of Weeks, and the
commandment appears in Deut 26:111 as a commandment incumbent
upon the individual, unconnected to the festival calendar. One should note
that, as a corollary of this transformation, the significance of the Festival

134
The name Festival of Weeks in Deuteronomy may derive from a known ex-
pression that described the period of the weeks-long harvest; see Jer 5:24: They did not
say to themselves, Let us fear YHWH our God who gives us rain, both the early and the
late, in season; regular weeks for harvesting he keeps for us.
135
See Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage, 59; Levine, Numbers, 415.
154 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

of Weeks in Deuteronomy does not lie in the desacralization of the first-


fruits of the new crop, but in the giving of thanks to YHWH for the gift of a
new yield. This result fits in nicely with the program of the centralization
reform to eliminate the sacral customs that supported the local temples.136
By way of summary and for the sake of clarity, note the following syn-
opsis of the three forms of the festival in Exodus and Deuteronomy:

Exod 23:16 Exod 34:22 Deut 16:10

   
   
  


   

 
   
 
 
And the Festival of the And a Festival of And you shall perform a Festival of
Harvest: the first-fruits Weeks you shall do: Weeks to YHWH your God: the votive
of your produce that the first-fruits of the gift of your hand, which you will give,
you sow in the field. wheat harvest. as YHWH your God will bless you.

The comparison makes manifest two insights, the implications of which


will be discussed further on:

A. The formulation in Deuteronomy has no literary connection to that in


Exodus 23. In terms of its contents, it contradicts that in Exodus 23,
and gives the festival a new shape in accord with the circumstances of
life under cultic centralization.

B. The formulation in Exodus 34 shares literary connections with both of


the other formulations. It attempts to harmonize the contradiction
between Exodus 23 and Deuteronomy 16, having its cake and eating it
too: on the one hand, it preserves the idea of the festival of first-fruits
harvest in its Vorlage, but at the same time it draws the name
Festival of Weeks from the formulation in Deuteronomy.137

3.4.2 The Festival of Tabernacles


The substance of the Festival of Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic festival
calendar differs from that of the Festival of the Ingathering in Exod 23:14

136
See e.g. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy 111, 33, 4344 and passim. Similarly, the Pesah
changed from an apotropaic sacrifice to a thanksgiving offering; see above.
137
Possibly, the use of the verb was influenced by the formulation in Deuteron-
omy, 
. Significantly, the Vorlage of Exod 34:22 namely Exod 23:16
has no verb at all.
Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 155

19. Whereas Exod 23:16 qualifies, and the Festival of the Ingathering, at
the end of the year, when you ingather your produce from the field, Deut
16:13 delimits, The Festival of Tabernacles you shall perform seven days,
when you ingather from your threshing-floor and from your winepress,
namely, after processing it for long-term storage and use.138 By all accounts,
the Deuteronomic centralization reform explains this transfer, too. Only
after the completion of all the seasons agricultural chores can the Israelite
take the time to go to the place of YHWHs choosing and spend seven days
there, far from his home and lands.139 Hence, the Deuteronomic Festival of
Tabernacles takes place only after the threshing of the grain in the thresh-
ing-floor and the preparation of the wine in the winepress. Consequently,
celebrating the festival gives thanks to YHWH for blessing the farmer not
only with all your crops, but also with all that your hands produced
(v. 15), namely, the farmers processed products.140
In the course of this intensive agricultural season, the farmer does not
sleep in his house, but rather by the threshing-floor (Ruth 3:67) or in a
hut (Isa 1:8) he sets up nearby, in the fields and in the vineyards, to keep
the work moving and protect the years yield.141 Hence, it would seem, the
name the Festival of Tabernacles in the Deuteronomic calendar, which
otherwise goes unexplained, apparently because it speaks for itself in an
agricultural context.142 The name Festival of Tabernacles, then, contains
a reference to the field huts put up outside the chosen city in the period
prior to the festival. The celebrations and bacchanals once the ingathering
ended, to all appearances, also took place in the vicinity of the huts and in
the vineyards (Judg 9:27), where the young women would dance (21:19
21). However, the Deuteronomic calendar disregards these agricultural fes-
tivities connected with sitting in the huts and with the local sanctuaries
(9:27). In their stead it establishes a festival at the place that YHWH will
choose, consisting only of thanks to YHWH with no mention of an attending
ritual. The transformation has emptied the name Festival of Tabernacles
of its substance, since the idea of setting up agricultural huts at the place of

138
For a description of the processes for storing grains and wine, see Borowski, Agri-
culture, 7183.
139
See Ginsberg, Israelian Heritage, 60.
140
Braulik, Studien, 112.
141
t. Suk. 1:4; b. Suk. 8b.
142
See, for instance, Rof, Introduction to Deuteronomy, 40; Braulik, Studien, 111;
Otto, Deuteronomium, 337, and the references in n. 561; so already Dalman, Arbeit und
Sitte, I, i, 161162; IV, 333334. For other explanations of the name Festival of Taber-
nacles, see the recent commentaries on Deuteronomy by Rose and Braulik; see also
Tigay, Deuteronomy, 469470 (Excursus 17: The Name of the Feast of Booths); E. L.
Ehrlich, Die Kultsymbolik, 54; Krting, Schall des Schofar, 5556; Licht, , EM,
V, 10411042; Springer, Neuinterpretation, 62.
156 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

YHWHs choosing, far from the fields and vineyards, is meaningless. Note
how it does not even contain the commandment to sit in the huts, as Lev
23:42 does.143 The Deuteronomic centralization reform, in sum, severed the
festivals character from agricultural rituals connected with the local temples.
By way of summary, note the synoptic view of the texts in question:

Deut 16:13 Exod 34:22 Exod 23:16

    
  
   
 

The Festival of the Tabernacles And the Festival of the And the Festival of the In-
you shall perform: seven days, Ingathering: the turn of gathering, at the end of the
when you ingather from your the year. year, when you ingather
threshing-floor and from your your produce from the field.
winepress.

Once again, comparison makes it apparent that the Deuteronomic legislator


does not revise the calendar in Exodus 23, but rather shapes his own calen-
dar autonomously and innovatively as a subversive response to the in-
gathering law in the Book of the Covenant, but without literary dependence
upon it. Even the name of the festival, Ingathering, he allows himself to
change to Tabernacles.
At the most, one can point to the word  in which one may recog-
nize some literary contact between the formulation of Deuteronomy 16 and
that of Exodus 23. But it is precisely this similarity that points up the dif-
ference. No longer does one gather in the raw agricultural produce from
the fields as in Exodus 23, but rather the processed goods from the mill
and the winepress kernels of grain and wine. As said in chapter 1, the
author of Exodus 34 again attempts to resist contradiction. It appears that
he sensed the tension between 
 (Exod 23:16) and
   (Deut 16:13) and avoided deciding between them. He
preserves the name Festival of the Ingathering with no further detail!
which can contain both meanings of ingathering.144

143
Lev 23:43 does cast new content for the commandment of sitting in the huts: so
that your generations will know how I put the Israelites in huts when I took them out of
the land of Egypt. The artificial application of this commandment in the time of Neh
8:16 to the building of agricultural huts in Jerusalem, each on his roof, and in their
courtyards, and in the Temple plaza, and in the public square at the Water Gate, and in
the public square at the Ephraim Gate, testifies to its own recent vintage: because the
Israelites had not done so from the days of Joshua bin Nun until that day (v. 17).
144
The author employed the same method of intentional blurring when replacing the
expression
 by the expression  in order to avoid the blatant contra-
diction between the conception of an autumn new year (Exodus 23) and the Priestly con-
ception that establishes it in the spring (Exod 12:2); see chapter 1.
The Literary Frame of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 157

3.5 The Literary Frame of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

The conclusion to the Deuteronomic festival calendar (Deut 16:1617)


reads:
On three occasions during the year all your males shall appear before YHWH your God at
the place that He will choose,
on the Festival of Unleavened Bread and on the Festival of Weeks and on the Festival of
Tabernacles;
and none shall appear before YHWH empty-handed.
Each one what he can offer, according to the blessing of YHWH your God that He has
bestowed upon you.

This passage mentions the festivals of Unleavened Bread (but not at all the
Pesah!), Weeks, and Tabernacles, the obligation to come on pilgrimage,
and the commandment to make a sacrificial offering to YHWH, Each one
what he can offer, according to the blessing of YHWH your God that He has
bestowed upon you, when he comes to present himself before YHWH.
This conclusion does not accord with the Pesah and unleavened bread
pericope in vv. 18. That paragraph does not qualify the Pesah as a festi-
val and it does not refer to the Festival of Unleavened Bread at all. It
subordinates the eating of unleavened bread to the Pesah sacrifice, and for
this reason, recall, abstains from using the term Festival of Unleavened
Bread. Furthermore, verses 18 do not allow for the very concept of a
Festival of Unleavened Bread, namely, a period of time one spends in
the temple precincts. Because merely eating unleavened bread does not
require a temple context, the worshipper may leave the holy place the
morning after the Pesah and return home (vv. 78). Moreover, nowhere do
verses 18 contain a law about bringing a sacrifice in accord with ones
means. Such a law does appear with respect to the Festivals of Weeks and
Tabernacles (vv. 1011, 14), but not in vv. 18. These observations bring
to light that the conclusion in vv. 1617 to the entire section on festivals
does not fit the Pesah paragraph, even in its expanded and revised form
not in terms of the essence of the holiday, not with regard to the pilgrimage
requirement, and not in connection with the tributary offerings.
The sections conclusion does not fit with the paragraphs containing the
other festivals either. Whereas the pericopes themselves depict a family
sacrifice that includes even the slave, maidservant, and other dependents in
a joyous feast (vv. 1112, 14), v. 16 demands pilgrimage of the males
alone145 and describes the obligation not in terms of enjoyment before
YHWH, but in terms of homage to him. Accordingly, in v. 16 the sacrifices

145
Bertholet, Deuteronomium, 52.
158 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

offered do not serve as an expression of festival joy, but of tribute (and


none shall appear before YHWH empty-handed).146
The tension between the calendar in vv. 115 and its conclusion in v. 16
results from the fact that v. 16, too, is constructed from already extant
material originally composed as part of a different text. Indeed, the base of
v. 16 also exists in Exod 23:15b, 17/34:20b, 23. Moreover, the following
comparison illustrates that these verses actually served as the Vorlage for
v. 16:

Deut 16:16 Exod 23:15b, 17 Exod 34:20b, 23


On three occasions On three occasions On three occasions
during the year during the year during the year
all your males all your males all your males
shall appear shall appear shall appear
before  before  before 
YHWH your God, the Lord, YHWH (v. 17). the Lord, YHWH
the God of Israel (v. 23).
at the place that he shall
choose, on the Festival of
Unleavened Bread and on the
Festival of Weeks and on the
Festival of Tabernacles,
and none shall And My face shall not be And My face shall not be
appear before YHWH seen seen
empty-handed. empty-handed (v. 15b). empty-handed (v. 20b).

The chart highlights that the author of v. 16 rephrased the Vorlage in Deu-
teronomic style. Instead of the Vorlages expression, the Lord, YHWH,
the author used the Deuteronomic formulation, YHWH your God, and
also added to it the quintessential Deuteronomic expression, at the place
that He will choose. After that, he designated the three festivals as the
Festival of Unleavened Bread and the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of
Tabernacles, perhaps to fashion a unifying framework for the three holi-
days in chapter 16. But precisely here the author has revealed his editorial
hand, since the name Festival of Unleavened Bread does not appear any-
where in the body of the text. It seems, therefore, that he simply followed
the Vorlage, which in Exod 23:15/34:18 did discuss the Festival of Un-
leavened Bread.
The second part of v. 16 works in an element that does not represent an
integral part of the Vorlage; the remark and My face shall not be seen
empty-handed appears in Exodus 23 and 34 in other contexts. In the con-

146
On v. 17, see below.
The Literary Frame of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 159

text of Exod 23:15, the prohibition against coming before YHWH empty-
handed means that on the Festival of Unleavened Bread one must bring a
voluntary offering to YHWH:
The Festival of Unleavened Bread you shall keep for seven days you shall eat unleav-
ened bread, as I commanded you at the time of the month of Abib, because in it you left
Egypt. And My face shall not be seen empty-handed.

The open-ended formulation, though, does not specify what the pilgrim
shall bring, and the linkage to the Festival of Unleavened Bread, to the
very beginning of the barley harvest, suggests that the farmer has no real
produce to offer. The situation may have led the author of Exod 34:1820
to perceive an informational gap, which he seems to have proceeded to fill
by applying the requirement to bring some kind of gift to the law of first-
born animals:
The Festival of Unleavened Bread you shall keep for seven days you shall eat unleav-
ened bread, which I commanded you at the time of the month of Abib, because in the
month of Abib you left Egypt. All womb-breachers are Mine,147 (both) the ox- and
sheep-breachers. But a donkey-breacher you shall redeem with a sheep, and if you do not
redeem (it) then you must break its neck. All the first-borns of your sons you shall
redeem. And My face shall not be seen empty-handed.

In an alternative interpretation, one could infer from the construction of


Exod 23:15, which places the prohibition against visiting YHWH empty-
handed next to the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the first of the three pil-
grimage festivals, that the law serves as a paradigm for the rest. Specifi-
cally, the prohibition does not function only on the Festival of Unleavened
Bread, but during all three.148 So apparently understood the editor who
revised the prohibition and placed it in the concluding verse, Deut 16:16,
which refers to all three pilgrimage festivals:
On three occasions during the year all your males shall appear before YHWH your God at
the place that He will choose, on the Festival of Unleavened Bread and on the Festival of
Weeks and on the Festival of Tabernacles; and none shall appear before YHWH empty-
handed.

In this new context, the prohibition has a single, unequivocal meaning and
will not bear any other. For comparisons sake, note that this meaning
differs from that given to the prohibition in Exod 34:20, where it applies to
the law of the womb-breachers and indicates that the pilgrim may not
appear before YHWH on the Festival of Unleavened Bread without bringing
him the first-borns or their redemption price.149 This interpretation has left

147
On the problems in the phrase  , see below, pp. 179180.
148
Detailed above, in chapter 0.
149
Argued above, p. 18.
160 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

no explicit traces in Deuteronomy,150 which, as said, applies the prohibi-


tion to all three pilgrimage festivals.
However, not only the location and context of the prohibition and none
shall appear before YHWH empty-handed differs in Deut 16:16; so does its
formulation. The original formulation reflects a blatant anthropomorphism.
YHWH is the speaker; his face, the syntactical subject of the sentence.151
The essence of the statement attends to YHWHs needs: one may not come
before him empty-handed. The statement does not concern itself with the
practical ramifications for the human participant and specify upon whom it
devolves to provide those needs. Rather, its formulation betrays an entirely
theocentric focus: it cannot be that YHWHs face will be seen to be empty-
handed.
In Deut 16:16, by contrast, the author changed the speaker with respect
to YHWH (Exod 23:15b; 34:20b), from first person (and My face shall
not be seen empty-handed) to third (and none shall appear before Y HWH
empty-handed), since Deuteronomy represents itself as Moses speech, in
which he generally speaks of YHWH in the third person. Relatedly, the syn-
tactical subject of the sentence no longer consists of YHWHs face, but
rather of the man appearing before it. The author forced the syntactical
subject of the first statement (On three occasions during the year all your
males shall appearand on the Festival of Tabernacles) upon the second
one (*and none shall appear before Me empty-handed), so that the syn-
tactical subject of the entire verse now consists of all your males. The
verse now focuses on the worshipper, and its formulation now centers on
the obligation placed upon him to appear before YHWH. To repeat, the text
here does not contain an expression of YHWHs needs, but rather of the
worshippers obligations. As opposed to the broader theocentric formula-
tion (it is forbidden for the face of YHWH to be seen as empty-handed), this
text provides a circumscribed and delimited anthropocentric formulation
upon whom the obligation to appear before YHWH falls (all your males)
and when (on three occasions during the year).
Deut 16:16, then, results from the joining of two different statements in
one continuous text.152 The revision also reflects a theological refinement
of the Vorlage, and My face shall not be seen empty-handed (Exod

150
However, one should not dismiss out of hand the possibility that the idea of a con-
nection between the Festival of Unleavened Bread or the Pesah and the law of the first-
born (as in Exod 13:1116) influenced the juxtaposition of the law of the first-born in
Deut 15:1923 with the law of the Pesah in Deut 16:18; see further below, p. 173 n. 27.
151
Discussed above, in chapter 0 .
152
The first statement: On three occasions during the year all your males shall appear
before the Lord, YHWH (Exod 23:17/34:23); the second statement: and My face shall
not be seen empty-handed (Exod 23:15b/34:20b).
The Literary Frame of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 161

23:15b; 34:20b). Similarly, the recast passage now bears the Deutero-
nomic imprint and serves as a conclusion to the present, general shape of
Deut 16:115.
Turning now to the second verse in the concluding passage, v. 17, a con-
trast emerges with v. 16. Whereas v. 16 speaks in totally other terms than
the body of the calendar, v. 17 mentions the idea of voluntary offerings,
which appears explicitly in the Festival of Weeks passage (v. 10) and im-
plicitly in the Festival of Tabernacles passage (vv. 1415). Also, the phrase
each one what he can offer, according to the blessing of Y HWH your God
that He has bestowed upon you appears to revise and interpret v. 10a:
Deut 16:17 each one what he can offer, according to the blessing of YHWH your God
that He has bestowed upon you;
Deut 16:10 the votive gift of 153 your hand, which you will give, as YHWH your God
will bless you.

Creating v. 17, which derives from the body of the paragraph, to follow
v. 16, which makes no reference to the body of the paragraph, belongs to
the art of the author, who created v. 17 specifically to follow v. 16 and cast
new light upon it. As described above, v. 16, constructed from texts in
Exodus,154 contradicts the Pesah and unleavened bread pericope and also
stands in some tension with the paragraphs of the Festival of Weeks and
the Festival of Tabernacles. Whereas the body of the calendar describes a
domestic sacrificial meal, with the slaves female as well as male par-
ticipating in the festivities (vv. 1112, 14), v. 16 enjoins a pilgrimage
observance for the males only. The terms of this obligation do not involve
joy before YHWH, but rather appearing before him. The description in v. 16
represents the sacrifices attending this occasion called by the Rabbis the
visit sacrifices   as the homage requirement of the deity,
not as an expression of festival joy.
The role of v. 17 apparently consists of mitigating these tensions.155 The
clause each one what he can offer, according to the blessing of YHWH

153
The word *, here in bound form, , is a hapax legomenon. Menahem ben
Saruk, and many following him, interpreted it along the lines of  tribute; see Menahem
Ben Saruck, Lexicon, (ed. Filipowski, 118). Wittily rejecting this interpretation To
compare  to is (to do) (violence, namely, to the language) (Donasch Ben
Librat, Recensiones, ed. Filipowski, 19) Dunash ben Labrat explained the term on the
basis of Aramaic as meaning according to; see, for example, Tg. Onqelos to Deut 15:8.
So, for instance, interpreted Driver, based on Aramaic and Syriac (Deuteronomy, 196).
See the discussion by Luzzatto (Pentateuch) in his comment to Deut 16:10. More
recently, Rof (Introduction to Deuteronomy, 44 n. 29) suggested deriving the word from
the stem, , to lift up, give tribute, in which case the expression    indi-
cates whatever a person gives, according to his free will, from his assets.
154
Exod 23:15b, 17; 34:20b, 23.
155
Driver, Deuteronomy, 199: the words explain the last clause of v. 16.
162 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

your God that He has bestowed upon you (v. 17) follows immediately
upon v. 16 in order to recolor the anomalous element, that the obligation to
visit falls upon the males alone (in v. 16), in the light of the main part of
the paragraph. It does so through the expressions for the votive sacrifices
and the blessing of YHWH that he has given you used with respect to the
family sacrifices of the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles
(vv. 1011, 1415).
To sum up, analysis of the conclusion in vv. 1617 shows that it does
not reflect independent, primary work, but rather revision of prior material
taken from Exodus. It would appear there is no escaping the conclusion
that the concluding verses were added to Deuteronomy at a later stage. Ac-
cording to the analysis above, it is even possible that they entered the text
in two stages, first v. 16, then v. 17. The method of revision and recon-
struction applied in the concluding verses recalls the method by which the
later revisional layers in the paragraph on the Pesah and unleavened bread
were constructed. Both cases involve later revision and reworking. They
do not contain an original composition, but rather the reuse of existing
texts and fragments. These editors interpolated or supplemented their work
into or at the end of the complete text they had before them. In this manner
did they mar the coherence of the text they revised and reworked. Thus
came about the irregularities and tensions in the two cases described, in the
paragraph on the Pesah and unleavened bread and in the verses that con-
clude the calendar.

3.6 The Presumed Development of the Deuteronomic


Festival Calendar

Did the Deuteronomic paragraphs on the Festival of Weeks and the Festi-
val of Tabernacles, together with the Deuteronomic layer of the Pesah para-
graph, constitute the original festival calendar in D? It appears doubtful
since the Pesah is never called a festival () in Deuteronomy.156 It seems an
unlikely pursuit, then, to reconstruct an ancient calendar in which the Pesah,
the Festival of Weeks, and the Festival of Tabernacles appeared to-
gether;157 indeed, no such grouping exists in the other Pentateuchal

156
Note the absence of the term even in the secondary revisions of the paragraph
on the Pesah and unleavened bread.
157
As attempted by Steuernagel and his followers (see his commentary to Deuteron-
omy, also Steuernagel, Zum Passa-Massothfest, 310).
The Presumed Development of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 163

sources.158 Indeed, despite the Deuteronomic style shared by the paragraph


on the Pesah and unleavened bread and that on the Festivals of Weeks and
Tabernacles, one cannot ignore the differences between them. As said
above, as opposed to the Pesah, Weeks and Tabernacles are explicitly
denoted festival (vv. 10, 1315). The notion of joy marks the classic
Deuteronomic motif of the festival (vv. 11, 1415), and it is absent from
the Pesah paragraph. An additional important element in the Deuteronomic
conception of the festival is the consideration of personae miserae speci-
fied in the paragraph on the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Taber-
nacles. The Pesah paragraph, by contrast, makes no mention of them at all.
Most striking of all is the fact that the Pesah paragraph does not actually
include a law about the Pesah, but rather the implications of cultic central-
ization upon the performance of the Pesah. As said above, the laws men-
tioned in it are not positive injunctions to perform the Pesah but rather
laws that aim at preventing its observance from undermining the principle
of a centralized cult. As opposed to that, the paragraph of the Festival of
Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles offers positive laws about the per-
formance of the festival.
It therefore appears that at first Deuteronomy 16 had no calendar what-
soever, only a law adjusting the Pesah offering to the new reality of cultic
centralization, similar to the law of the first-born (Deut 15:1923) and
other laws in D that required special attention in the light of the change in
the idea of the cult.159 Only at a later stage did the text undergo expansion
and reshaping into the present festival calendar. This expansion included
two processes, (a) one that added the paragraphs containing the Festival of
Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles and (b) one that appended laws
about leavened and unleavened bread to the original Pesah law. The first
stage saw the addition of the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Taber-
nacles. This stage has the quality of independent composition and Deutero-
nomic style. The author knows the Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles de-
scribed in the Book of the Covenant, gives them a new format and changes
their application according to the requirements of the Deuteronomic reform.
The very fact of having placed the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of
Tabernacles alongside the law of the centralization of the Pesah caused

158
In the secondary conclusion to the calendar as well based on Exod 34:23 along-
side the Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles appears the Festival of Unleavened Bread,
not the Pesah.
159
Without explaining his reasons, von Rad included only the Pesah law (vv. 12, 4
7) without the Festivals of Weeks and Tabernacles in his Urdeuteronomium. So he
wrote in a footnote to his dissertation, published in 1929 under the title Das Gottesvolk
im Deuteronomium (4 n. 1; but see also ibid., 15). To the best of my knowledge, he did
not develop this opinion in his subsequent studies.
164 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

subsequent editors to aim at turning the text into a complete festival cal-
endar. Accordingly, in an additional stage of literary development, later
editors gradually reworked the Pesah paragraph to have it include laws of
unleavened bread and to round out the law further with more texts from
Exodus. By this point, they knew the festival calendar of Exodus 34 and
made use of it. The texts of this stage are written through recycling and re-
vision not independent composition of complete passages but rather sec-
ondary interpolations into the existing text of Deuteronomy 16, interpola-
tions comprising textual fragments taken from Exodus 34 and other
sources and revised to fit their new context. By their very nature, such late
supplements do not integrate smoothly into their new context; they create
linguistic and substantive anomalies and affect the coherence of the orig-
inal text into which they have been added. In the same manner, and to all
appearances in the same chronological range, the concluding verses were
constructed as well. Insufficient data exist to establish the diachronic de-
scription with greater accuracy, but it remains clear that these concluding
verses too were intended and more radically so to transform Deuteron-
omy 16 into a complete festival calendar that includes as well laws about
unleavened bread and is familiar from the calendars in Exodus.
Examining the relationship between the festival calendar in Deuteron-
omy and the festival calendars in Exodus, then, strengthens the literary-
critical analysis offered above. The distinction between different categories
of intertextuality, namely, a fresh rewrite on one hand as opposed to intru-
sive revision on the other, emerged as having practical value for the rela-
tive diachronic explanation of the way the Deuteronomic festival calendar
came into existence.160 Others have distinguished between forms of inter-
textuality in Deuteronomy,161 but apparently have not availed themselves
of such distinctions for the purposes of literary-historical criticism.162

160
In my German article, Intertextualitt und literarhistorische Analyse der Festka-
lendar in Exodus und im Deuteronomium (in Die Festtraditionen in Israel und im Alten
Orient, ed.: E. Blum [Verffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft fr Theolo-
gie 28; Gtersloh 2006], 190220) I called these two categories Neugestaltung and Um-
gestaltung.
161
See, for example, Drivers comments on the literary relationship between the laws
of Deuteronomy and with the Book of the Covenant: In a few cases the entire law is re-
peated verbatim, or nearly so; elsewhere only particular clauses: in other cases the older
law is expanded, fresh definitions being added, or its principle extended, or parenetic
comments attached, or the law is virtually recast in the Deuteronomic phraseology
(Driver, Deuteronomy, VIII, without his footnotes). Driver then goes on to illustrate these
generalizations with detailed examples.
162
One brilliant exception to this rule is C. Steuernagel, the pioneer of literary-critical
study of Deuteronomy, who remarked already in 1896 in his book Die Entstehung des
deuteronomischen Gesetzes kritisch und biblisch-theologisch untersucht, which preceded
and laid the groundwork for his commentary on Deuteronomy: all those places in
The Presumed Development of the Deuteronomic Festival Calendar 165

We may, then, summarize the relative chronological order of the festival


calendars in Exodus and Deuteronomy as follows:

A. The festival calendar in Exodus 23.

B. Deuteronomy 16, in its first stage consisting of only the original Pesah
paragraph (vv. 2, 57) and in its second stage containing also para-
graphs on the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles, which
constitute fresh rewrites of the parallel sections in the festival calendar
in Exodus 23.

C. The festival calendar of Exodus 34, an intrusive revision of the festival


calendar in Exodus 23 influenced by the festival calendar in Deuteron-
omy 16 and Priestly traditions.163

D. Layers that rework the Pesah paragraph and the concluding verses in
the festival calendar in Deuteronomy 16, comprising textual fragments
taken from the festival calendar in Exodus 34 and other sources and
revised to fit their new context.

Despite the difference between the Pesah paragraph and the paragraphs on
the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles, as already men-
tioned, the Deuteronomic style gives the calendar in its present form the
appearance of literary unity. An additional literary phenomenon that
strengthens this impression exists in the verb perform that stands at
the head of each paragraph (vv. 1, 10, 13).164 In good biblical style, the
opening of the final paragraph reverses the order of the clauses in the
opening of the first and second paragraphs:165

Deuteronomy that match verbatim laws in the Book of the Covenant do not belong to the
original Deuteronomy, whereas substantive points of contact are found through much
of the original Deuteronomy (47 and in the note, skipping his parenthetical remarks; see
also ibid., 87). In this context one should note also Norbert Lohfinks distinction between
the model of Fortschreibung and a more radical model of textual excision, rearrange-
ment, and reformulation that obfuscates its dependence on a Vorlage (Lohfink, Fort-
schreibung?, 145). Of late, T. Krger has expanded upon the topic and delved into it in
more general terms; see his Redaktionen der grossen Erzhlwerke, 5355.
163
See above, chapter 0 .
164
Discussed in Bar-On (Gesundheit), The Festival Calendar of Deuteronomy, 134;
see Otto, Deuteronomium, 324. Otto also points to the seven-fold use of the number
seven in the Deuteronomic calendar; see also Braulik, Siebenergruppierungen, 68.
165
See Mirsky, , 1124.
166 Chapter 3: The Deuteronomic Festival Calendar

v. 1: And you shall perform the Pesah.166

v. 10: And you shall perform the Festival of Weeks.

v. 13: And the Festival of Tabernacles you shall perform.

Furthermore, the Pesah paragraph makes no mention of joy, the Festival of


Weeks mentions it once (And you shall rejoice before YHWH your God,
v. 11), and the paragraph on the Festival of Tabernacles mentions the joy
before YHWH twice, with special emphasis. Perhaps this progression with
concluding emphasis expresses the idea of climax and closure to the agri-
cultural year with extra joy: And you shall rejoice on your festivaland
shall indeed be joyous (vv. 1415).

166
Regarding the complex nature of this verse, see above, pp. 124ff.
4 Chapter 4

The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born


in Exod 13:116

4.1 Introduction

Situated between the descriptions of the exodus from Egypt and the
Israelites sojourn in the desert, the location of this pericope is surprising.1
Complicating matters further, the text, in its current format, purports to be
a festive speech delivered by Moses to the people in the midst of their
hasty departure from Egypt,2 a speech whose content will only become rel-
evant when YHWH brings you into the land of the Canaanites (vv. 5,
11). The disjunctures in the narrative flow, the many literary links between
this text and others, the phraseology similar to that of the Deuteronomic or
Deutoronomistic style, and most importantly the question of how to
explain the meaning and purpose of this pericopes laws, parallels of which
appear throughout the Bible, led the early, classic critical scholars to sug-
gest a variety of different diachronic solutions.

1
Likewise, the pericope detailing the law of the Pesah (Exod 12:4349) follows an
account of the exodus from Egypt (v. 41). However, in that case, the redactional intent of
adding the pericope as an appendix consisting of a group of laws (v. 51 acts as a Wieder-
aufnahme of v. 41) and of making the appendix appear to stem from the same chronologi-
cal period as the giving of the laws of the Pesah before the exodus (v. 50 acts as a Wie-
deraufnahme of v. 28) is clearly apparent.
2
Wellhausen expressed this in his characteristically perceptive but acerbic manner
(Composition des Hexateuchs, 73): Eine unschicklichere Stelle fr die Predigt, welche
Mose 13, 316 hlt Gedenket an den heutigen Tag u. s. w. wobei er Kap. 14 bestndig
antecipirt lsst sich nicht denken, zumal wenn der Auszug wirklich in der Verwirrung
und Eile vor sich gegangen ist, wie vorher und nachher berichtet wird. These con-
cerns were not allayed by Gertzs (Exoduserzhlung, 58) remarks that the account of the
amount of time the Israelites spent in Egypt in 12:4041 functions as a caesura allowing
the addition of further legal material.
168 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

4.2 Survey of Literary-Critical Scholarship

A review of the scholarship on Exod 13:116 reveals a bewildering profu-


sion of literary-critical approaches to analyzing this pericope.3 It seems as
if every possible solution was already offered in the early days of classic
criticism.4 Certain scholars perceived Exod 13:316 to be an ancient docu-
ment, some ascribing it to J5 and others to E.6 Other scholars believed that
this pericope was a late addition to JE stemming from a source similar in
nature to the Deuteronomic document.7 A. Kuenen was reluctant to issue a
definitive statement; however, he hypothesized that while the same circle
of scribes responsible for Deuteronomy wrote this text, it was written as an
independent tradition paralleling that of Deuteronomy.8 Similarly, certain
scholars surmised that this text was created or redacted by a redactor,
whether the redactor known as RJE, who merged the J and E documents to-
gether, or the one known as RD,9 who according to the hypothesis redacted
the other four books of the Pentateuch from a Deuteronomic perspective.
In the 1960s and 1970s a number of scholars took issue with the notion of
the Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic composition or redaction of the other
four books of the Pentateuch. They contended that the linguistic character
present in Exod 13:316 is different than that typically found in Deuteron-
omy and is in fact proto-Deuteronomic.10 Recently, other scholars have

3
Symptomatic of this confusion are Propps (Exodus, 378) prevarications, which even
extend to verses whose style is manifestly Priestly: Finally we must consider 13:12,
which might be Elohistic, Redactorial, Priestly, or even Yahwistic.
4
For a survey of nineteenth century scholarship, see Schaefer, Passah-Mazzoth-Fest,
115 (chart).
5
See, for instance, Dillmann, Exodus, 110; Gottwald, Introduction, 217.
6
See, for instance, Propp, Exodus, 381; however, see, too, 378, regarding the Deutero-
nomic/Deuteronomistic connection. Eissfeldt attributed these verses to his Laienquelle;
see Hexateuch-Synopse, 132*; however, see, too, 270*.
7
See, for instance, Holzinger, Exodus, 35 (eine Bereicherung von JE von einer dem
Dtn. nahestehenden Seite)
8
Historico-Critical Inquiry, 168.
9
Wellhausen (Composition des Hexateuchs, 74) debated the merits of these two op-
tions (Der Verfasser von 13, 316 ist, wenn nicht der Jehovist selber, ein deuteronomis-
tischer Bearbeiter desselben). Wellhausen, it should be noted, recognized a substantive
relationship (Geistesverwandtschaft) between the Jehovist (RJE) and the Deuteron-
omist; see ibid., 94 n. 2. Noth classified Exod 13:316 among the deuteronomistisch
stilisierte Zustze; see Noth, berlieferungsgeschichte, 32 n. 106; idem, Exodus, 79.
10
See especially Lohfink (Hauptgebot, 121) who described this phenomenon as
proto-deuteronomisch: Ex 13, 316 gehrt zwar in den Bereich des deuteronomischen
Stils, ist aber weder deuteronomistisch (dh. dem Rahmen des Dtn oder charakteristischen
Stellen von Jos 2 K und Jer zuzuordnen) noch im strengen Sinn deuteronomisch (dh.
Dtn 528 zuzuordnen), sondern um einen entsprechenden Ausdruck zu prgen proto-
deuteronomisch. Ex 13, 316 ist vielleicht das schlagendste Beispiel fr ein vor dem
Survey of Literary-Critical Scholarship 169

taken issue with this stance, arguing that while the phraseology used in
Exod 13:316 is distinct from that present Deuteronomy, Exod 13:316
shows signs of possessing not a proto-Deuteronomic but actually a post-
Deuteronomic style, a style which evinces certain similarities to the Priest-
ly style.11 In line with this new approach, J. C. Gertz has contended in his
comprehensive study of Exodus 11512 that the text was formulated during
the final stage of the Pentateuchs redaction.13 Even though broad scholarly
consensus has long ascribed the two introductory verses (13:12) to Priest-
ly layers, Gertz even considers them to be an integral part of his purported-
ly later text.14

jetzigen Dt liegendes, noch reineres und jngeres Stadium des typischen Stils der dt
Schule der Predigt Israels.
Independently, C. H. W. Brekelmans used the same term, proto-deuteronomic, in
the same year (1963) in a lecture given at the 15th Colloquium Biblicum Lovaniense
which was published under the title lments deutronomiques dans le Pentateuque, in:
Aux grands carrefours de la rvlation et de lexgse de lAncien Testament (Recherches
Bibliques 8; ed.: C. Hauret; Brugge 1967), 7791. For further discussion of this matter
and other pertinent literature, see Vervenne, The Question of Deuteronomic Elements,
249 n. 16. Following in the footsteps of Lohfink and Brekelmans, Caloz (Exode XIII,
562) performed his own detailed analysis. The influence of this approach on the schol-
arly discussion is still felt today; see, for instance, Levinson, Deuteronomy, 6769, 76.
Plger (Untersuchungen, 7177) and Laaf (Pascha-Feier, 2832) accepted Lohfinks
conclusions in part, but also pointed out Deuteronomic and Deuteronomistic material.
It is worth noting that scholars have long been aware of the need for a more precise
definition of the term Deuteronomic. As early as the nineteenth century scholars distin-
guished between texts classified as Deuteronomic, pre-Deuteronomic, and Deutero-
nomic revision (see Schaefer, Passah-Mazzoth-Fest, 114). Eerdmans (Exodus, 120121)
has already characterized this pericope as proto-Deuteronomic. For an unrelenting cri-
tique of the attempt to utilize style to define pre-Deuteronomic developmental strata, see
Blum (Vtergeschichte, 374375; Pentateuch, 167169). In keeping with his approach,
Blum perceives Exod 13:316 to be part of the D-Komposition (Pentateuch, 3538)
and characterizes vv. 12 as jngere priesterliche Komponenten (ibid., 37 n. 142).
11
So believes Achenbach (Israel, 200206), though he does not negate the possibility
that proto-Deuteronomic components may be discovered; see, ibid., 203, 200 n. 527.
Johnstone (Passover, 160178) has claimed that the text under question is a Deutero-
nomic one that was reworked by a Priestly redactor. Van Seters (Life of Moses, 120), in
keeping with his approach, attributes Exod 13:316 to post-exilic J.
12
J. C. Gertz, Tradition und Redaktion in der Exoduserzhlung: Untersuchungen zur
Endredaktion des Pentateuch (FRLANT 186; Gttingen 2000).
13
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 5767. Zahn recently followed in Gertzs footsteps (Re-
member; Reexamining, 3655). In fact, this approach constitutes a return to a position
popular in the nineteenth century (see George, Feste, 106; Schaefer, Passah-Mazzoth-
Fest, 115).
14
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 65.
170 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

The tendency to perceive this pericope as uniform but of later prov-


enance is understandable in light of the difficulties, especially apparent in
vv. 110. On the one hand, the pericope is rife with substantive tensions,
awkward syntax and fluctuating styles, but on the other hand, it is very dif-
ficult to reconstruct or isolate an original stratum capable of standing on its
own. Consequently, Gertz decided that while the text is uniform, its many
internal tensions testify to the fact that earlier sources were used in its
composition.15 Such an assessment appears to preemptively abandon any
attempt at reaching an understanding of the literary history of the pericope.
Indeed, B. Baentsch already expressed such a pessimistic view, judging
that the original text of the difficult verses 310 cannot be reconstructed.16
With great hesitancy, he hypothesized that beneath what seems to be a
Deuteronomistic pericope lies the infrastructure of an earlier stratum.17
Weimar and L. Schmidt recently adopted a similar stance based upon
different literary-critical assumptions.18
In this chapter, we will adopt the middle road. On the one hand, we will
not ignore the manifest lack of coherence in the final form of the text, but,
on the other hand, we will not presume to reconstruct the original text in its
entirety. Axiomatic to this chapter is the assumption that any synchronic
reading made of the final text must be based upon a preliminary diachronic
analysis. As will become clear, addressing the diachronic dimensions of
the text before us is a necessary prerequisite to understanding its underly-
ing goals. Therefore, we will attempt to delineate the developmental stages
of the text, as far as the textual evidence will allow. Above all else, we will
attempt to explain the pericopes purpose and the ideological content shap-
ing it. For it seems that notwithstanding the reams of paper dedicated to
analyzing this pericope, these fundamental points still lack clear definition.

15
Gertz (Exoduserzhlung, 62) characterizes vv. 310 as a text that is spannungs-
reich, aber einheitlich komponiert. He sums up his literary-critical appraisal of the entire
pericope (vv. 116) in the following manner (ibid., 67): Die Anweisungen zum Erst-
geburtsopfer und zum Mazzotfest erweisen sich demnach als ein geschlossen gestalteter
Abschnitt, dessen literarische Spannungen durchweg darauf zurckgehen, da der Ver-
fasser des Abschnitts Zitate aufnimmt () und seinen Vorstellungen gem in den neuen
Kontext einpat. According to this analysis, the segments linguistic character points to
a literary dependence upon both the Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic, and Priestly styles
(ibid.).
16
Der ursprngliche Wortlaut lsst sich nicht mehr reconstruiren (Baentsch, Ex-
odus, 109).
17
Ibid.; Baentsch arrived at a similar conclusion regarding the second part of the peri-
cope (ibid., 111).
18
See Weimar, Zusatz nachdeuteronomistischer Provenienz, 436441; L. Schmidt,
Vorpriesterliche Darstellung, 171188.
Survey of Literary-Critical Scholarship 171

The search for the concept underlying this pericope is especially urgent
according to the most recent position that Exod 13:116 is a uniform, post-
Priestly composition that was well aware of all or most of the texts dealing
with the laws of the first-born and the laws of the Pesah and the unleav-
ened bread contained throughout the Pentateuch. If this approach is correct,
the following questions are crucial: What is the reason for the variance
between the laws delineated in Exodus 13 and those concerning the first-
born and unleavened bread elsewhere? What new insight is this text trying
to teach us? If its provenance is indeed post-Deuteronomic, why does it
seemingly ignore the conflation between the Pesah and unleavened bread
that appears in the Deuteronomic festival calendar?19 M. M. Zahn, in her
new study, makes no reference to this issue.20 J. C. Gertz, in whose foot-
steps Zahn follows, is aware of this problem with his approach, and is
forced to explain that the author of Exod 13:116 objected to the confla-
tion of the Pesah and unleavened bread found in Deuteronomy 16, for he
supported the Priestly notion that while the Pesah and the Festival of Un-
leavened Bread are proximate to one another, they are separate holidays.21
For this reason, this author developed a separate etiology for the Festival
of Unleavened Bread, one that has no connection with the Pesah and forms
the basis for the Priestly Festival of Unleavened Bread that is not combined
with the Pesah. Note well, however, that the description of the Festival of
Unleavened Bread in Exodus 13 lacks any detail hinting at its affiliation
with the Priestly conception. No allusion is made to the system of dates
found in the Priestly calendar nor are any Priestly concepts, such as a 
 (sacred occasion) or the prohibition against performing any work,
mentioned. Of course, no mention is made of the sacrifices offered on the
Festival of the Unleavened Bread in accord with the Priestly conception.
Furthermore, the description offered of this festival is different than that
provided in the Priestly festival calendars. For instance, the pericope in
Exodus 13 only designated the final day of the seven days during which
unleavened bread is eaten as a festival. The first day lacks any special
designation; neither the term nor the term  is applied to it.22 In
contrast, according to the Priestly calendar the Festival of Unleavened
Bread begins on the fifteenth of the month and lasts seven days.23 The first

19
Deut 16:18. The question becomes stronger in the light of the previous chapter, in
which it was argued, that the laws of unleavened bread in Deut 16:18 were inserted
there on the basis of those in Exodus 13.
20
Remember; Reexamining, 3655.
21
Lev 23:56; Num 28:1617.
22
Exod 13:6.
23
Lev 23:6; Num 28:17. Even if it may be correct that the Priestly calendar limits the
festival to the first of the seven days, the contrast with Exod 13:6 is still self-evident.
172 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

and last days receive the designation of  and performing any


work on them is forbidden.24 Similarly, the prohibitions in Exodus 13
against eating bread and against any leaven being found in your entire ter-
ritory are not mentioned in the Priestly calendars. Furthermore, Gertz
fails to explain the significance of the difference between the Deutero-
nomic stance, which conflates the Pesah and the Festival of Unleavened
Bread, and the Priestly conception, which separates them as two different
appointed times and places them one after the other. His reading fails to
explain why the author of Exodus 13 bothered to invent a new etiological
text for the Festival of the Unleavened Bread.
The essential difficulty with Gertzs stance seems to derive from the
lack of specificity inherent to the extensive use of literary-critical categori-
zations such as post-Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic and post-Priestly. The
moment a scholar categorizes a text, he or she, in one fell swoop, estab-
lishes the literary and ideological relationships between that text and every
other text in the Bible, and moreover, does so without examining each of
the many points of interconnectedness on an individual basis. Compound-
ing this problem, the very notion that each of the Bibles developmental
strata is uniform is erroneous, for all the strata continued to develop over
an extended period of time, as the analysis of both Exod 12:128 and Deut
16:117 in the preceding two chapters has demonstrated. In light of this
finding, the picture becomes far more complex, as various developmental
strata may overlap chronologically. Therefore, we can only determine the
literary-critical relation between two texts whether they stem from differ-
ent strata or even from the same stratum by examining the texts them-
selves.
We will proceed with our inquiry by progressing from the simple to the
complex. Therefore, we will begin by analyzing the second part of the
passage, vv. 1116, which when read on its own seems to be characterized
by a continuous, uninterrupted, narrative flow and appears to lack any
manifest tensions.

4.3 The Law of the First-Born (Exod 13:1116)

4.3.1 The Uniqueness of the Historical Rationale for the Law


of the First-Born
The conception of the law of the first-born expressed in this segment is
unique, as it appears nowhere else in the Bible. Only here is the exodus
from Egypt presented as the rationale underlying the commandment to

24
Lev 23:78; Num 28:18, 25.
The Law of the First-Born 173

consecrate the first-born. In contrast, the laws of the first-born found in the
Book of the Covenant (Exod 22:28), in Deuteronomy (15:1923), and in
the Priestly law-codes (Lev 27:2627; Num 18:1618) provide no explana-
tion for the obligation to consecrate the first-born. Indeed, notwithstanding
the many differences between the passages dealing with the laws of the
first-born, except for Exod 13:1115 they all share the underlying assump-
tion that the obligation to consecrate the first-born requires no explanation
or justification whatsoever. It is self-evident. The language used in the
Priestly law-code in Lev 27:26 expresses this superbly: A first-born that
is born first   is YHWHs (lit. to YHWH). That is to say, the
first-born animal is intrinsically holy by virtue of its birth. However, even
in Deuteronomy, in which the first-born animal is not consecrated from
birth, but rather one is commanded to consecrate ( ) it to YHWH
(15:19),25 and even in the Book of the Covenant where the first-born ani-
mal is to be given ( ) to YHWH (Exod 22:28), the authors felt no need
to provide the reason for this. Thus, the very fact that Exod 13:1415 pro-
vides a detailed rationale for the law of the first-born in response to the
question asked by the son is unusual, a novel phenomenon that requires
investigation. One may postulate that if this historical explanation had
been widely known and generally accepted, the other law-codes would not
have alienated themselves from it.26 Furthermore, in other contexts as well,
including all the texts dealing with the Pesah and the Festival of Unleav-
ened Bread, no mention is made of any link between the first-born legisla-
tion and the exodus from Egypt, the Pesah, or the Festival of Unleavened
Bread.27 Only twice in Numbers, 3:13 and 8:18, both belonging to late lay-

25
Even after the act of consecration, the concept of this sanctity is different than the
Priestly one, for according to the Deuteronomic law the Israelites may consume the first-
born animal as a sacrifice before YHWH (15:20).
26
This assertion is especially true for Deuteronomy which often adduces the rationale
of remembering the exodus from Egypt to justify its laws (Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 71).
27
However, it does not seem to be mere coincidence that in the present-form Deuter-
onomy, the law of the first-born (15:1923) is juxtaposed with the festival calendar
which commences with the laws of the Pesah and unleavened bread (16:18; see the ear-
lier scholars, George, Feste, 8485, 223; Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 84, and many more
recent scholars, for instance, Levinson, Deuteronomy, 92). However, it is difficult to
know that the redactor was driven by this intent since an adequate explanation for the lo-
cation of the first-born segment may be provided by the internal structure of the pericope
(14:2215:23) in its present form. The pericope begins with the law of the tithe, which is
to be eaten before YHWH  every year (14:2226), and continues with the law of
the poor mans tithe set aside   every third year (14:2829), the law of
the sabbatical year to take place   every seventh year (15:16, including
the appendix of vv. 711), and the segment after it included here by association, concern-
ing the emancipation of the slave   in the seventh year (15:1218). The
pericope closes with the law of the first-born which is to be eaten before YHWH 
174 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

ers of the Priestly literature,28 does one find a link between consecrating
the first-born and the exodus from Egypt, or to be precise, between conse-
crating the first-born and the slaying of the first-born in Egypt. However,
even in Numbers this historical rationale is not adduced to justify the
Israelites obligation to consecrate the first-born to YHWH; rather, it serves
the overarching aim of the pericopes in which it appears, specifically, to
explain the source of the Levites holiness.29

4.3.2 The Law of the First-Born as an Alternative to the Apotropaic Cult


of the Pesah
We will turn now to the analysis of Exodus 13 and consider the rationale
offered for the law of the first-born there. One might have expected the
first-born legislation to justify the obligation to consecrate the first-born to
YHWH by adducing Gods salvation of the Israelite first-born during the
plague of the first-born that struck the Egyptians. However, the argument
offered in v. 15 makes no mention of Gods salvation of Israels first-
borns. The emphasis is placed entirely upon the slaying of the Egyptian

every year (15:1923), thus mirroring the tithe, mentioned at the beginning of the peri-
cope, which was to be eaten before Y HWH  every year (14:2226). The peri-
cope, in its current form, closes as it opens (see, too, Tigay, Deuteronomy, 453). The law
of the tithe, which opens the pericope, even foreshadows the law of the first-born that
closes it: You shall consume the tithes of your new grain and wine and oil and the first-
born of your herds and flocks before YHWH (14:23). Regarding the arrangement of these
laws, see too Rof, Deuteronomy, 6970.
28
See already Steuernagel, Einleitung, 160 ( 40, 5c); for further discussion, see the
next footnote.
29
Indeed, an argument can be made supporting those scholars who contend that the
description of the Levites replacement of the first-born, appearing in Num 3:1113, 40
51; 8:1618, belongs to a late Priestly stratum; see, for instance, the commentaries of
Paterson, Baentsch, Gray, and Holzinger on Num 3:1113; see also A. B. Ehrlich, Rand-
glossen, II, 117; Kellermann, Priesterschrift, 3249, 147148; Zimmerli, Erstgeborene
und Leviten, 459469; Tsevat, ThWAT, I, 649; Pola, Priesterschrift, 81. Indeed, there is
a tension between the description provided of a singular event at which time the first-
born were replaced by the Levites and the Priestly law in Num 18:15, which requires that
every new first-born be redeemed through money. The latter passage seems oblivious to
the other passages from Numbers (3:1113, 4051; 8:1618) according to which the first-
born had already been desacralized through Moses one-time act. The medieval Jewish
commentators already sensed this tension and attempted to bridge the gap between the
two positions regarding the desacralization of the first-born. See R. Yosef Bechor Shor in
his commentary on Num 3:47; Rashbam on Exod 13:13; and Nahmanides on Exod 13:11.
Baentsch (Numeri, 461) noted late linguistic and literary features present in Num 3:40
51. In keeping with his approach (Numeri, 457; see also Exodus, 47, 267; and Numeri,
496), Baentsch judged the appearance of the phrase I am Y HWH (Num 3:13, 41, 45),
characteristic of the style associated with the Holiness Code, to support the attribution of
this text to a late Priestly author.
The Law of the First-Born 175

first-born: YHWH slew every first-born in the land of Egypt, from human
first-born to animal first-born. Therefore I sacrifice to YHWH every womb-
breacher. One must not forget that the salvation of the Israelite first-
born is the etiological foundation for the apotropaic ritual of the Pesah:
when I see the blood I will pass over you so that no plague will destroy
you when I smite the land of Egyptbecause He protected the houses of
the Israelites in Egypt when he attacked the Egyptians, but saved our
houses.30 Therefore, mentioning the Israelites salvation might remind the
reader of the apotropaic belief foundational to the Pesah ritual. Perhaps
Exod 13:15 neglects mentioning the Israelites salvation precisely because
it aims to avoid raising the apotropaic belief in its readers minds. The very
essence of this novel formulation of the first-born legislation, with its inno-
vative etiological rationale, may be to provide an alternative to the law of
the Pesah, for both the law of the Pesah31 and the law of the first-born cited
in Exodus 13 are intended to commemorate the slaying of Egypts first-
born. However, while the Pesah is founded upon the Israelites salvation
and the apotropaic belief concerning the blood of the Pesah, the first-born
legislation finds its justification in the story of the exodus from Egypt and
the slaying of Egypts first-born. Pointedly, in describing the first-born
legislation, Exodus 13 neither mentions the Israelites miraculous salvation
nor the magical-apotropaic significance of the blood of the Pesah.
From this point of view, the pericopes literary formulation gives the
impression that the law of the first-born and its etiology were designed to
function as an alternative to the law of the Pesah and its etiology. The two
laws share many similarities: the first-born animal is considered a sac-
rifice32 and in the previous chapter, the Pesah was also called a .33 Cor-
responding to the childrens questions in chapter 12 regarding the meaning
of the Pesah sacrifice (And if your children say to you, What is this rite
you are doing?),34 here the child wonders about and questions the mean-
ing of the first-born sacrifice (And if, in time to come, your child asks
you, saying, What is this?).35 The fathers answer, in both texts, is predi-
cated on commemorating the same event, the slaying of Egypts first-born.
However, as mentioned above, while the Pesah sacrifices etiology is
rooted in the Israelites salvation, the first-born sacrifices etiology is
based on the slaying of Egypts first-born.

30
Exod 12:13, 27; see also, ibid., vv. 12 and 23.
31
Exod 12:27; see also, ibid., vv. 12 and 23.
32
Exod 13:15b.
33
See Exod 12:27 and also Deut 16:18.
34
Exod 12:26.
35
Exod 13:14.
176 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

A close relationship between Exod 13:1116 and the Deuteronomic


conception strengthens this impression that the text in Exod 13:1116 is
reluctant to mention the apotropaic nature of the Israelites salvation from
the slaying of Egypts first-born. Deuteronomy too avoided speaking about
the Pesah in an apotropaic fashion and refrained from mentioning the Isra-
elites salvation during the slaying of the first-born. Indeed, in the pericope
dealing with the Pesah in Deut 16:18, even the slaying of the Egyptian
first-born goes unmentioned and there is no hint whatsoever of the Isra-
elites salvation from any sort of plague. Furthermore, the text makes no
mention of the cultic application of the blood of the Pesah to the lintel and
the two doorposts of the houses as required by the verse in Exod 12:24,
You shall observe thisforever. The Deuteronomic conception com-
pletely negates this domestic ritual and the apotropaic beliefs connected
with it, for it maintains that the Pesah must not be offered as a domestic
sacrifice, outside the temple precincts.36 Furthermore, while the description
of the Pesah rite in Exodus 12 as a domestic sacrifice does not fit in with
the Deuteronomic principle of cultic unification,37 the first-born legislation
in Exodus 13 does not clash with the principle of cultic unification, as the
account of the (v. 15) does not mention where the act takes place. In
fact, the text in Exodus 13 may take it for granted that the sacrifice is of-
fered at the central sanctuary. This makes sense, in the light of the fact that
the other particulars detailing the performance of the law in Exodus 13 cor-
respond with those in the parallel legislation found in Deut 15:1923.
Indeed, the Deuteronomic first-born legislation also identifies the animal
first-born as a eaten by its owners;38 this is in contrast to the other
instances of first-born legislation in the Pentateuch, in which the animal
first-born is considered to be a gift to YHWH39 or to the priest.40
The innovative reformulation of the first-born legislation in Exodus 13
not only attempts to provide a theological response to the magical, apotro-
paic nature of the Pesah tradition deemed problematic by Exod 13:1115.
It also provides a legal-cultic solution enabling the performance of a rite
that will commemorate the slaying of Egypts first-born while at the same
time preserving the Deuteronomic principle of cultic unification. For the
Deuteronomic reform required that a change be made to the cultic tradition
of the Pesah and the apotropaic blood rite accompanying it, both of which
took place outside the temple precincts. The Deuteronomic legislation in

36
Deut 16:2, 57.
37
The rite of the blood of the Pesah is clearly established as a permanent extra-temple
ritual in Exod 12:2224 and, ibid., 2527.
38
Deut 15:2021.
39
Exod 22:29; Lev 27:26.
40
Num 18:1518.
The Law of the First-Born 177

Deut 16:18, which transformed the Pesah into a thanksgiving sacrifice to


be offered in the location that YHWH will choose and which emptied the
rite of any apotropaic content and of any connection with commemorating
the slaying of Egypts first-born, represents one possible alternative to the
tradition of performing the Pesah outside the temple precincts. The first-
born legislation in Exodus 13 provides another. Both alternatives support
disassociating the Pesah from its apotropaic beliefs, omit any mention of
the Israelites salvation from the slaying of Egypts first-born, and accom-
modate the rites legal-cultic aspects to the principle of cultic unification.
The two alternatives differ in that while in Deuteronomy these changes are
made to the cultic practices themselves and are expressed through the
novel reformulation of the very nature of the Pesah sacrifice, the author of
Exod 13:1115 chose to redesign the cultic tradition of the first-born rite to
commemorate the slaying of Egypts first-born. Choosing the law of the
first-born to commemorate this event is a logical step, for what law could
be more appropriate to commemorate the slaying of Egypts first-born than
the law consecrating the first-born to YHWH. However the rationale sup-
porting the etiological justification is not stated clearly enough in the text
because the author purposefully avoids mentioning the salvation of the Is-
raelite first-born. Having adopted this approach, the commandment to give
over the first-born to YHWH cannot be expressed as an expression of grati-
tude to YHWH for saving the first-born Israelites from the Destroyer.
Therefore, the connection between YHWH slew every first-born in the
land of Egypt and therefore, I sacrifice to YHWH every womb-breacher
the males (v. 15) remains unclear.
The thesis advanced here explains the very need for this pericope and
clarifies why it is juxtaposed to the laws of the Pesah detailed in Exodus
12. Doing so is critical because the innovativeness of the first-born legisla-
tion of Exodus 13 stems not from the law itself but from the text connect-
ing it to remembering the exodus from Egypt and the slaying of the first-
born. While the laws location in the final version of the text does not fit in
with the plot structure of the exodus from Egypt surrounding it, it does
reflect the redactorial goal fueling it, as it offers itself as a supplement to
and even a substitute for the Pesah rite to be performed in the years and
generations after the exodus, as described in the text to which it has been
juxtaposed (12:2227a).

4.3.3 The Controversy Concerning the Pesah


Presumably, the above analysis could have been introduced without reaching
the conclusion that the literary and ideological reformulation of the first-
born legislation in Exodus 13 was intended to replace or provide an alter-
native to the apotropaic Pesah that, according to Exod 12:2227a, was to
178 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

be performed every year after the exodus. Instead, the working assumption
would have been that the law in Exodus 13 reflects another tradition intend-
ed to commemorate the slaying of the first-born. However, as the analysis
demonstrated, there is a fundamental conceptual difference between the post-
exodus Pesah of Exod 12:2127 and the first-born legislation in Exodus
13. Had a literary connection between the two texts not been discovered,
we could have treated the discordance between them as the discordance
typically found between two different, independent traditions. In analyzing
the connection between the two texts, the direction of the literary dependence
will become apparent, as the author of the first-born legislation modeled
his passage on the content and structure of the post-exodus Pesah pericope
in Exod 12:2227a. But alongside this literary dependence, the first-born
legislation incorporates the theological goal of opposing the rite of the
Pesah said in Exod 12:2227a continually to be in force, from the exodus
and on. In other words, the first-born legislation is a thorough rewriting of
the Pesah cult designed to suppress the apotropaic rite of the Pesah and
establish in its place the law of the first-born as a cultic institution intended
to commemorate the slaying of the first-born and the exodus from Egypt.
This thesis is buttressed by the general scholarly consensus regarding
the existence of an inner-biblical controversy over how the Pesah rite was
to be performed. As is well known, and as was argued in detail in the pre-
ceding chapter, Deut 16:18 is one of the material witnesses to this contro-
versy. Furthermore, we cannot ignore the fact that the requirement to per-
form the Pesah as a domestic sacrifice (Exod 12:2227a) was not adopted
by Deuteronomy, the later Priestly literature, or by biblical historiography,
the Second Temple literature, or the Rabbis. The analysis of Exod 12:22
27a even demonstrates that the editor suppressed this segment so that the
rite would not be performed in perpetuity, a step that, as we have noted,
was successful.

4.3.4 The Literary Sources of the Law of the First-Born


The following analysis of the literary sources of the law of the first-born
may strengthen the suggested supposition that the text was intended to pro-
vide a replacement for the apotropaic Pesah. An investigation of the texts
links to the literary complex of narratives concerning the exodus from
Egypt and to its final redaction may clarify the goal that is reflected in the
first-born legislation. As described at the beginning of this chapter, Exod
13:316 has merited several detailed philological analyses over the last
few decades. In this study, instead of focusing on the texts linguistic style
and on the nature of the connection between this style and the Deutero-
nomic/Deuteronomistic one, the philological analyses will be utilized in
achieving a hermeneutic goal.
The Law of the First-Born 179

4.3.4.1 You Shall Transfer All Womb-Breachers to YHWH (vv. 1213, 15)
The version of the law of the first-born found in Exod 13:1213 is very
similar, and even in part identical, to the version found in Exod 34:1920.
Therefore, an investigation into the genetic relationship between the two
versions is warranted. In keeping with the methodological principle under-
lying this work,41 there is no merit to speculating about a common source
shared by two parallel versions; indeed, there is no basis for such a suppo-
sition, unless the possibility of discovering any genetic relationship
between the two versions has been ruled out. However, the following com-
parison between Exod 13:1213 and Exod 34:1920 seems compelling
enough to establish the dependence of the former on the latter.42

Exod 13:1213 Exod 34:1920


 You shall transfer
   all womb-breachers   All womb-breachers

 to YHWH. are Mine (lit. to Me).
   And all animal offspring-  And all your herds [you
   breachers that you will  shall give the male of?] the

   have, the males, to  ox- and sheep-breachers.
YHWH.
  And all donkey-breachers  And a donkey-breacher

 you shall redeem with a  you shall redeem with a
sheep. sheep.
  And if you do not (so)   And if you do not (so)
 redeem, then you must redeem, then you must
break its neck. break its neck.
 And all human first-borns  All the first-borns
  among your sons you  of your sons you shall
shall redeem. redeem.

A. The form (34:19) is difficult, and there is nothing like it anywhere


else in the Bible. Gesenius classified it as a verbal form having a nipal
stem meaning: to be born as a male.43 However, he did not explain the
appearance of the prefix of . Similar attempts to explain the form

41
See above in the introduction to this work.
42
In this I concur with Halbes conclusion (Privilegrecht, 185), even though I find his
analysis unconvincing. Zahn recently followed in his footsteps (Remember, 3439).
43
See GKC, 51g: mnnlich geboren werden; see also below.
180 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

as a verbal one are also unconvincing.44 Most ancient translations inter-


preted the word to be an adjective meaning male.45 It seems that the
word of the parallel text (13:12)46 is actually an inner-biblical
interpretation of the difficult word or phrase (34:19).47

B. The second half of Exod 34:19 (     ) seems detached from


the verses opening,48 and the verses concluding words ( )
seem entirely disconnected from the rest of the verse. Furthermore, if it
is correct to classify as an adjective modifying   , then the sec-
ond half of the verse (        ) has no predicate
whatsoever.

The author of Exod 13:12 seems to have attempted to correct these


flaws. He moves the last phrase (the ox- and sheep-breachers

), which is disconnected from the rest of the verse in Exod 34:19,
up to the beginning of the sentence and rewrites it as   .
The following are the steps he took:

44
Already Rashi attempted to identify the form as a verbal one, and sought to explain
the taw as a grammatical prefix signifying the third person, with reference to the animal
that gives birth to your herds: And all your herds that , by the breacher of ox or
sheep. [Regarding: that ] that a male (offspring) opens her womb. connotes
opening; so (Prov 17:14): The start of a quarrel is the breaching of a dam. The taw
of denotes the feminine gender and refers to the animal that gives birth.
45
For instance: the Septuagint, the Vulgate, Tg. Onqelos, and Tg. Pseudo-Jonathan.
46
In contrast to the broken plural  (Exod 23:17; 34:23; Deut 16:16; 20:13), the
plural form aside from its appearance in Exod 13:12, 15 only appears in later
passages: Josh 5:4; 17:2 (both verses are considered to belong to redactional layers; see
already Cooke, Joshua, 35, 158); Ezra 8:314 (12 times); 2 Chr 31:16; see also Caloz,
Exode XIII, 18, 39.
47
The text may be corrupted. Even Gesenius (GKC, 51g), who attempted to inter-
pret the difficult , suggested that the original reading may have been   (see also
Delitzsch, Lese- und Schreibfehler, 108, 105b). Either way, the author of Exod 13:12
seems to have been tasked with interpreting the current, problematic version of the text
which he had before him.
One even gains the impression that the author of Exod 13:12 also understood the word
 to be a verbal form in the second person, and therefore for the word he substi-
tuted a verbal clause written in the second person:     , a relative clause
dependent upon the subject of the main clause, namely,   .
48
With great difficulty, the waw of   can be read as an explicative waw (see,
for instance, Childs, Exodus, 604); and the rest of the verse (   )
can be read in apposition to  .
The Law of the First-Born 181

1.He moves the phrase to a position earlier in the verse and adds the in-
clusive word all ().49 The same addition he makes in the next
verse: instead   (34:20), he writes:  

 (13:13). In doing so, he provides the legal passage with a
unifying structure: all womb-breachersand all animal offspring-
breachersand all donkey-breachersand all human first-borns
(         ). In
terms of content, this move concretizes the generalizing nature of
the law.

2.He breaks the elliptical construct state structure, translated above


ox- and sheep-breachers (
 ), but elucidates it by adding
the missing link .50

3.To avoid the awkward convolutedness that would have resulted from
the extraordinary length of the construct state structure occasioned
by this addition (
   ), the author replaced the words

 with the inclusive term .51

The addition of the word might also have been intended to


highlight the contrast between the law of the first-born animal
(13:12) and that of the first-born human being (13:13b). Buttressing
this possibility is the fact that in the following verse the author of
Exodus 13 replaces All the first-borns of your sons you shall
redeem (   ; 34:20) with And all human first-borns
among your sons you shall redeem (      ). Here
again, it seems that the author wishes to accentuate the contrast
between a first-born animal, which must be given to YHWH, and a
first-born human, who must be redeemed. This desire seems charac-
teristic of later writers and revisers. In this context, we noted
above,52 on the one hand, the early formulation in Exod 22:28b

49
This may be viewed as a reuse of the word found at the beginning of the second
half of 34:19 ( ); see below.
50
The word appears only in our verse and in Deut 7:28; 28:4, 18, 51; however, in
Deuteronomy it is always vocalized as a construct form (  ). It should be noted
that in the three phylacteries found in Qumran (4Q130, 4Q134, 4Q155) the textual ver-
sion is slightly different. In contrast to that found in Exod 13:12 it is not formulated as a
construct state: ; see de Vaux Milik, Qumrn Grotte 4, 55, 60, 84.
51
The same phenomenon occurs in the Samaritan Pentateuchs Book of the Covenant.
There too the word replaces (or appears as an addition alongside of) ; see
Daube, Zur frhtalmudischen Rechtspraxis, 148. I am grateful to Professor A. Rof for
bringing this point to my attention.
52
See chapter 1.
182 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

29,53 which does not differentiate between first-born animals and


human beings, and, on the other hand, the later text in Num 18:15,
which puts an exceptional amount of stress on the redemption of the
first-born human being.54

The relative priority of the formulation the first-born of your sons


you shall redeem (  ; 34:20) is also supported by its
literary dependence on the language found in Exod 22:28: The
first-born of your sons you shall give to Me (   ).55


Note that in place of the simple construct state structure the first-
born of your sons (  ; 34:20), the author of 13:13 was
forced to create an exceedingly complex structure; he added the
word human () and utilized it as the nomen rectum governed
by the nomen regens first-born (). The original nomen rectum
(your sons) is forced to modify the construct state structure:
And all human first-borns among your sons you shall redeem ( 
    ). As stated, the motivating force behind these
changes was apparently the desire to highlight the contrast between
the laws of animal and human first-born.

In contrast to the formulation of the first-born legislation in Exodus 34,


which in keeping with its context presents the words of YHWH in first
person, in Exodus 13 the text was adapted to its new context and YHWH
speaks in the third person within the rubric of Moses speaking to the nation.
For this reason, the original all womb-breachers are Mine ( ; 

34:19) was reworked to become You shall transfer all womb-breachers to


YHWH (
      ; 13:12). To clarify that the statement in
Exodus is one of command, the word  (You shall transfer) was
added.56 Its appearance in a cultic context in Leviticus, Deuteronomy,
Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Chronicles corresponds with the late nature
of this pericope. In keeping with the syntactical structure found in the first
half of the verse, the author of Exod 13:12 completed the second half of
the verse which has no predicate whatsoever by adding the word

(for YHWH) as a predicate noun (dativus commodi): All animal offspring-

53
The first-born of your sons you shall give to Me (  ). So shall you
do with your oxen (and) your sheep (  
 ). For seven days it shall
remain with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to Me ( ).
54
All womb-breachers of all living things that are offered to YHWH, human or animal,
shall be yours. But you must redeem (   ) the human first-born, and the first-
born of impure animals you shall redeem.
55
See the discussion above in chapter 0 .
56
For a conjecture regarding the theological goal reflected by the meaning of this
verb, see below.
The Law of the First-Born 183

breachersto YHWH (
   ). In doing so, the author
turned the second half of the verse into a syntactically independent clause,
paralleling the structure of the first half of the verse. It is now easy to read
the waw at the beginning of the verse as an explicative waw, as the entire
verse now has the structure of a general statement followed by a particular
one:57

General statement:
You shall transfer all womb-breachers to YHWH.

  

Particular statement:
All animal offspring-breachers that you will have the males to
YHWH.

       

In summation, it seems possible to establish a genetic relationship between


the two parallel versions. Apparently, Exod 34:1920 is an earlier version
than 13:1213. The changes in Exod 13:1213s version can be explained
as the conceptual and literary reworking of the difficult text in Exod
34:1920.
It should be noted that, as demonstrated in the first chapter, the text
under discussion in Exodus 34 is itself a reformulation, in fact a rewriting,
of the parallel text in Exodus 23. Nevertheless, vv. 1213 are organically
anchored in Exodus 13;58 and, as just noted, the comparison of the two par-
allel texts in Exodus 13 and 34 shows that 34:1920 is the earlier source.
This analysis brings us to the conclusion that the relative dating of Exod
13:1116 places it even later than the late date of the composition of Exod
34:1826. This conclusion illustrates the methodological insight that to
determine the relative chronological dating of a text, one must make a
detailed comparison of the parallel passages found in the two texts.

4.3.4.2 From Human First-Born to Animal First-Born (v. 15)


The merism describing every first-born in the land of Egypt, from human
first-born to animal first-born recalls other parallel descriptions in the
non-Priestly exodus narrative:

57
Apparently, Exod 34:19 also possesses a structure essentially based upon a general
statement followed by a particular one; however, because of the many linguistic difficul-
ties, the verses syntax is not at all clear.
58
Note how v. 15b cites part of vv. 1213.
184 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

Exod 11:5 Exod 12:29 Exod 13:15



'
        
      
      

  
And every first-born in the YHWH smote every first- YHWH slew every first-
land of Egypt will die, born in the land of Egypt, born in the land of Egypt
from the first-born of from the first-born of from the first-born of
Pharaoh sitting on his throne Pharaoh sitting on his throne humans
to the first-born of to the first-born of to the first-born of
the maidservant the captive
who is behind the millstone, who is in the dungeon,
and every first-born of the and every first-born of the
animals. animals. animals.

In B. W. Bacons opinion, the words and every first-born of the animals


 in Exod 11:5 and 12:29 are a late interpolation.59 He contends
that the original account of the slaying of the first-born spoke only of the
slaying of the human first-born, as Egypts first-born cattle had already
died in the pestilence.60 Even if B. Baentsch61 may be right in claiming that
this contradiction can be resolved in several ways, I would argue that we
should still not ignore the awkward placement of the words and every
first-born of the animals  in both verses. Twice these words
occur at the end of the verse, outside the literary merism from the first-
born of Pharaohto the first-born of the maidservant/captive 

. Indeed, the slaying of the human first-born, and
not that of the animals, is central to the storys ongoing plotline; it and
only it is integral to the unfolding of events:
And Pharaoh awoke that night, with all his courtiers and all Egypt,
and there was a great cry in Egypt,
for there is no house where there is not someone dead.62

The words there is no house where there is not someone dead confirm the
readers assumption that the deaths being mourned are human, not animal.
Thus, we may conclude that in the original account of the slaying of the
first-born, the target of YHWHs wrath was the human first-born, not the
59
Triple Tradition, 56 (in the footnote). In consonance with this, the words at (any-
thing) from human to animal (11:7) are also considered as an interpolation; see Gertz,
Exoduserzhlung, 180181, and other literature cited therein.
60
Exod 9:6.
61
Exodus, 56.
62
Exod 12:30.
The Law of the First-Born 185

animal ones. The later interpolations were added to turn the story into an
etiological one providing a foundation for the historical rationale of the
first-born legislation in Exodus 13. The author of Exod 13:15 makes use of
the story of the slaying of the first-born, rewriting it to anchor the loosely
connected interpolation to the text. While he preserves the form of the lit-
erary merism, he replaces its original content by new material that pales in
comparison to the literariness of the original. Thus,   
     
   
 
(from the first-born of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the first-born of
the maidservant who is behind the millstone/of the captive who is in the
dungeon, and every first-born of the animals)63 becomes  
 (from human first-born to animal first-born).64 Unlike the
original literary merism which was designed to incorporate all the social
strata of Egyptian society, the new form was rewritten to incorporate all
the living creatures, human and animal. It is this newly rewritten text that
functions as a basis for the innovation of Exod 13:15, the slaying of the
first-born as the historical rationale for the first-born legislation.
As an addendum, we should point out that also the Priestly description of
the slaying of every first-born in the land of Egypt, from human to animal
in Exod 12:12 does not dovetail smoothly with the Priestly narrative, which
in many relevant respects matches the non-Priestly one. Just as in the original
non-Priestly account we are told that there was no house where there was
not someone dead,65 in the Priestly version of Exod 12:1213 we are told
the blood on the houses you are in will be a sign for you and in vv. 22
27a: none of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until
morning YHWH will protect the entrance and not let the Destroyer enter
your houses to attackbecause He (YHWH) protected the Israelite houses
in Egypt when he attacked Egypt, and so He saved our houses.66 In both
accounts, the story of the slaying of the first-born takes place in the house.
Furthermore, just as in the original substratum of the non-Priestly account,
the plague only targeted humans (from the first-born of Pharaoh sitting on
his throne to the first-born of the maidservant who is behind the millstones/
of the captive who is in the dungeon67), so too the Priestly account in Exod
12:1213 (except the words from human to animal), vv. 2227a reflect
an underlying conception of the plague as targeting only human beings of

63
Exod 11:5; 12:29.
64
Exod 13:15.
65
Exod 12:30.
66
Exod 12:13.
67
Exod 11:5; 12:29.
186 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

the households, that is, families.68 As mentioned, the author of Exod 13:15
needed all these changes so that he could base his novel historical rationale
for the law of the first-born upon them. They seem to serve only this purpose,
for these changes were not required by the plague narrative. They were,
therefore, apparently introduced by the author of the first-born legislation
in Exodus 13 or by a redactor who followed in his footsteps and sought to
anchor the first-born legislations etiology in the account of the plagues.

4.3.4.3 YHWH Slew () Every First-Born in the Land of Egypt (v. 15)
The choice of the verb (slay, kill) to describe the annihilation of
Egypts first-born is not an automatic one. Indeed, in contrast, the Priestly
literature consistently adopted the root strike, smite (in the hipil
stem), and I shall smite every first-born in the land of Egypt,69
while the non-Priestly account chose to use the root die in the same
context: and every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die .70 Only
Exod 4:2123, which is considered a redacted segment,71 uses the verb
in this context:72
And YHWH said to Moses, When you return to Egypt see that you perform before
Pharaoh all the marvels that I have put within your power. I, however, will harden his

68
Exod 12:13. Supporting this notion, no warning is given in connection with the
slaying of the first-born that the livestock and everything you have in the open [be]
brought under shelter (9:19), into the house, as was the case before the hail fell.
69
Exod 12:12 (see also Num 3:13; 8:17). The author of vv. 1213 seems to rely upon
the non-Priestly version of the story, and every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die
(11:5); however, he exchanged a conjugation of the verbal stem (, shall die)
for a conjugation of the verbal stem , writing and I shall smite every first-born in the
land of Egypt, so as to emphasize that YHWH would personally smite the first-born of
Egypt. This redactional aim is also evident in several other aspects of vv. 1213s rewrit-
ing, as the author is combating the notion expressed in the earlier version of the story that
the Destroyer, and not YHWH, struck the Egyptians; see the discussion of Exodus 12 in
chapter 3. It is not impossible that this same aim led to the authors tampering with the
language in 12:29, choosing to employ the verbal stem (YHWH smote very first-
born in the land of Egypt) instead of the one most readers would have expected (cf.
11:5: and every first-born in the land of Egypt shall die ). In so doing, he also re-
versed the order of the subject and the predicate ( 
instead of
 *) in order to
emphasize (see Propp, Exodus, 410) yet again that YHWH and not an angel struck the
first-born of Egypt.
70
Exod 11:5; see the previous note concerning 12:29.
71
The redacted nature of this segment was already noted by Jlicher, Quellen von
Exodus, 27; see a brief analysis of the essential philological evidence and the biblio-
graphical references in W. H. Schmidt, Exodus, 211212. Even scholars who do not
adhere to the documentary hypothesis in its classic form, still accept this appraisal; see,
for instance, Blum, Pentateuch, 28 n. 100; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 331.
72
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 66.
The Law of the First-Born 187

heart so that he will not let the people go. Then you shall say to Pharaoh, Thus says
YHWH: Israel is My first-born son. I have said to you, Let My son go, that he may wor-
ship Me, yet you refuse to let him go. Now I will slay
 your first-born son.
In addition to their common usage of the verb in the context of the
slaying of the first-born, this passage and the first-born legislation in Ex-
odus 13 also share conceptual similarities. Both texts present the slaying of
the first-born in an identical manner: rather than contrasting the slaying of
Egypts first-born with YHWHs protecting the Israelites from coming to
harm,73 these texts focus entirely upon the slaying of Egypt and Pharaohs
first-born as a means to coerce Pharaoh into releasing the Israelites. Both
texts utilize the verb release, and portray Pharaohs refusal to let the
Israelites go as the cause for the slaying of the first-born:74

Exod 4:23 Exod 13:15


Yet you refuse When Pharaoh stubbornly refused
to release him . to release us
Now I will slay  YHWH slew
your first-born son  . every first-born .

What is more: only these two texts explicitly contrast the first-born Israel-
ites with Pharaoh and Egypts first-born.75
The redactional aim expressed in the addition of Exod 4:2123 is that of
painting the prolonged struggle between Pharaoh and Moses in theological
colors. This passage, in particular, takes on the form of a theological fore-
cast. The narrator transcends the flow of the narrative according to its plot
sequence and already at its beginning looks towards its end.76 The idea ex-
pressed here is not made apparent to all the figures taking part in the plot,
but it is conveyed to the main character, Moses, as part of the substance of
his mission to redeem the Israelites. The struggle to take the people of Israel
out of Egypt is couched in mythological terms in this passage, as a confron-
tation between YHWH and Pharaoh. The first-born being fought over are no
longer mere mortals but rather the first-born sons of YHWH and Pharaoh.
Notwithstanding Exod 4:2123s redactional character,77 the possibility
that an ancient tradition was used cannot be dismissed out of hand.78 This

73
As is the case in Exod 11:57; 12:1213, 23, 27.
74
Johnstone, Two Theological Versions, 175176; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 66.
75
Gertz correctly noted this, ibid.
76
Cf. Baentsch, Exodus, 34.
77
Elements of the Priestly and non-Priestly accounts of the plagues are merged in this
style; see the literature listed above in n. 71.
78
See already Meyer, Israeliten und Nachbarstmme, 37; Greenberg (Exodus, 119,
122, 192; see already Holzinger, Exodus, 9; cf. also Jacob, Exodus, 99) postulates that
vv. 2223 were originally located just before the slaying of the first-born.
188 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

tradition may have maintained that only Pharaohs first-born son, and not
all of Egypts first-born, died in a punishment designed to visit retribution
upon Pharaoh measure-for-measure.79 Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let the
Israelites YHWHs first-born son go to worship their god, so YHWH
killed his first-born son. In light of the linguistic and substantive connec-
tions, the description of the slaying of the first-born in Exodus 13 was
most likely influenced by Exod 4:2123; however, the mythological tenor
predicating a conflict between Pharaoh and YHWH is absent. As we will
shortly demonstrate, this writing style, which distances itself from mytho-
logical content, is typical of the late literary stratum of the first-born legis-
lation in Exodus 13.

4.3.4.4 With Strength of Hand () and With a Strong Hand


(  ) (vv. 3, 9, 14, 16)
The formulation  (with a strong hand) is characteristic of the
passages describing the exodus from Egypt in Deuteronomy.80 Some schol-
ars believe that the very presence of the formulations   (with
strength of hand) and  (with a strong hand) in Exodus indicates
Deuteronomistic authorship or redaction.81 The formulation of the slaying
of the first-born in Exodus 13 as the high point of all the plagues and as the
decisive plague which broke the proverbial camels back is reflected, aside
from in Exod 4:2123, both in the Priestly strata and in redacted segments
found in various other strata.82 The use of the expression  or the

Lemmelijn (Setting, 459) cites the opinion of Noth (berlieferungsgeschichte, 71)


and Fohrer (berlieferung und Geschichte, 73) that the slaying of the first-born was an
Ur-plague from which the other plagues evolved. Arguing against this position, he
maintains that the tradition of the slaying of the first-born is secondary, created through a
redactorial process intended to connect the Pesah to the plague tradition. In my opinion,
the answer to this conundrum depends on which passage is being scrutinized: Exod 4:21
23 gives the impression that it is a relatively ancient text which does not fit in smoothly
with the account of the slaying of the first-born (Meyer, Israeliten und Nachbarstmme,
37) and possesses a mythological tone. In contrast, the other passages (3:1922; 7:45;
11:13) reflect redactional strata whose goals are unification and harmonization.
79
Compare also Greenstein, Firstborn Plague, 556557.
80
Deut 4:34; 5:15; 6:21; 7:8, 19; 9:26; 26:8; see W. H. Schmidt, Exodus, 247; for
clarification of the phrases meaning, see Childs, Deuteronomic Formulae, 3039;
Martens, Strong Hand, 123141. In half of its occurrences in Deuteronomy 
(with a strong hand) appears in tandem with the parallel phrase   (and with
an outstretched arm).
81
Exod 3:19; 6:1; 13:3, 9, 14, 16; 32:11; see for instance Fuss, Deuteronomistische
Pentateuchredaktion, 5152; H. H. Schmid, Jahwist, 35; W. H. Schmidt, Exodus, 247;
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 300301; compare also Blum, Pentateuch, 33 (n. 120).
82
In the present framework, we will not attempt to clarify the diachronic links be-
tween the various redactional strata.
The Law of the First-Born 189

formula   -         in these segments


may specifically refer to the slaying of the first-born, even though the slay-
ing of the first-born is not mentioned in them.83
So in Exod 3:19, a verse commonly considered to have undergone
redaction:84
And I know that the king of Egypt will not allow you to go,
if not 85 by a strong hand 86 (  ).

Likewise for the Priestly section in Exod 7:35, which introduces the
account of the plagues:87

83
Semantic equivalents of the strong hand appear in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Amarna
Letters and Egyptian; equivalents of the outstretched hand/arm are found in Ugaritic,
Akkadian and Egyptian (Seely, Hand of God, 42; see also Roberts, Hand of Yahweh,
244251; Norin, Hand Gottes, 4963; Martens, Strong Hand, 123141). Hoffmeier
(The Arm of God Versus the Arm of Pharaoh, 378387) suggested that the strong
hand and outstretched arm are in fact Hebrew derivations or counterparts to Egyptian
expressions that symbolized Egyptian royal power.
84
See already Jlicher, Quellen von Exodus, 21; for the rationale underlying this
claim and bibliographical references, see W. H. Schmidt (Exodus, 142143) and Gertz
(Exoduserzhlung, 300301).
85
In this context, means  (if not) or  (but), as it does, for instance,
in 1 Sam 20:2; see Ska, Note, 6065 (si ce nest pas une main forte), and see already
Luzzatto, Pentateuch, 224; A. B. Ehrlich, Randglossen, I, 271. The variant in 4QExodb
reads  . The Septuagint and the Vulgate also give this phrase that meaning in their
translations.
86
This phrase refers to the hand of God (Rashi) as it usually does not to Pharaohs
hand (Rashbam, Ibn Ezra); for the various positions adopted by modern scholars, see
Houtman, Exodus, I, 378.
The words  may be a late interpolation whose purpose is to make it clear
that v. 20 is referring specifically to the decisive plague in which Gods strong hand
coerces Pharaoh into sending the Israelites forth by slaying Egypts first-born. See also
Exod 6:1:
Then YHWH said to Moses, Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh.
For by a strong hand  he will release them.
And by a strong hand  he will drive them from his land.
Gertz (Exoduserzhlung, 340) attributes this verse to the final redaction. W. H. Schmidt
(Exodus, 247) surmises that the Deuteronomistic redactors only added the two instances
of  . Instead of using the formulation  twice, the second time the Septua-
gint and the Peshitta use equivalents of   that parallel the usual formulation in
Deuteronomy (for instance, 4:34); compare, as well, Exod 6:6.
87
Some scholars view this segment, entirely or in part, to be the product of (Priestly)
redaction; see, for instance, Steingrimsson, Vom Zeichen zur Geschichte, 3031; L.
Schmidt, Studien zur Priesterschrift, 34; Knohl, Sanctuary of Silence, 61; Gertz, Exodus-
erzhlung, 252254. A similar argument has been made regarding the parallel passage
11:910, which appears just before the slaying of the first-born, and along with 7:26
frames the account of the plagues.
190 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

But I will harden Pharaohs heart,


that I may multiply My signs and marvels in the land of Egypt.
When Pharaoh does not heed you,
I will stretch My hand against Egypt 
and bring out My legions, My people, the Israelites,
from the land of Egypt
with extraordinary chastisements  .
And the Egyptians will know that I am YHWH,
when I stretch out My hand over Egypt  
and bring out the Israelites from their midst.

Like Exod 4:2123 these passages also embody the editorial aim of prepar-
ing the reader for what is to come and of explaining to him or her why the
deity does not manage to defeat Pharaoh with the first plague, and why He
apparently needs to smite Egypt with many plagues before Pharaoh is
coerced into sending forth His people. Furthermore, the segment seeks to
provide an explanation for how Pharaoh managed to remain defiant for so
long, denying the will of the deity and ignoring his many marvels. The
answer expressed in these passages is that Pharaohs stubborn ability to
defy YHWH surprisingly does not stem from strength, but rather from weak-
ness. Pharaohs stubbornness derives from the fact that YHWH hardens his
heart and does not permit him to surrender because YHWH wants to per-
form many wonders in Egypt. Therefore, Pharaohs very defiance reveals
YHWHs power, as Pharaoh has become a mere pawn in YHWHs hands, en-
abling Him to aggrandize His name. These redactional segments add a theo-
logical dimension to the text. The reader learns that by delving deeper he
can discover theological causality just beneath the plots surface: a deliber-
ate plan on the part of the deity that is hidden from many of the characters
playing a role in the story. Alluding to or explicitly mentioning the slaying
of the first-born (whether only Pharaohs son or all the first-borns of Egypt)
becomes an integral part of the theological vantage point that spans the
story from beginning to end, as this plague will bring to an end Pharaohs
stubborn defiance and reveal the mighty hand of YHWH for all to see.88
The Priestly formulation (extraordinary) chastisements   ,
which appears in Exod 7:4 cited above, distinctly alludes to the slaying of
the first-born, as indicated by Exod 12:12:

Exod 9:15 speaks of a hypothetical situation and also uses the  for-
mula. This segment is also believed to be redactional material (see the literature cited in
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 147148). Because of its linguistic similarity to the description
of the slaying of the first-born, some scholars believe that this text originally applied to
the slaying of the first-born; see the literature cited in Gertz, ibid., n. 273; and cf. Rashis
commentary on v. 14.
88
This aim is also apparent in, for instance, the late, post-exilic Psalm 136, which only
mentions the slaying of the first-born as a means to redeeming the Israelites from Egypt
with a strong hand and an outstretched arm (vv. 1012).
The Law of the First-Born 191

I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, smiting every first-born in the land of
Egypt, from human to animal; and to all the gods of Egypt I will mete out punishment
, I (am) YHWH.
As in Exod 4:2223, here too the mythological conflict between YHWH and
the gods of Egypt is explicitly described.89 The critical weight of the slay-
ing of the first-born in deciding the conflict is already alluded to in the
Priestly shaping of the account of the plagues in YHWHs first revelation to
Moses in Egypt. For in light of the parallels detailed here, apparently both
phrases used in Exod 6:6 with an outstretched arm   , which
parallels the phrase with a strong hand  , and extraordinary
chastisements  allude to the slaying of the first-born:
Say, therefore, to the Israelite people: I am YHWH. I will free you from the labors of
Egypt and deliver you from their bondage. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm
 90 and extraordinary chastisements  .
Given this, the repeated use of the phrases   (with strength of
hand) and  (with a strong hand) in Exod 13:116,91 in the peri-
cope which opens with the commandment to consecrate every first-born
human and animal among the Israelites and focuses in its second section
on commemorating the slaying of the first-born, requires no explanation.
The human hand is also mentioned twice in this pericope92 because Israel
is commanded to place a sign upon his hand that will remind him of the
hand of YHWH, for with a strong hand YHWH freed you from Egypt. From
this we may conclude that Exodus 13 is dependent upon late literary strata
of the plague narrative, and it creates the clearest and most well developed
link between the motif of the strong hand and the slaying of the first-born.
However, we must note that just as the notion of any apotropaic element to
the Israelites salvation from the slaying of the first-born was completely
absent from this pericope, so too, notwithstanding the centrality of the

89
See also Num 33:4. In both passages (Exod 12:12; Num 33:4) the slaying of the
first-born and the punishment of the gods of Egypt may be joined by an explicative waw.
Baentsch (Exodus, 96) proposed that the slaying of the first-born might, in and of itself,
be the punishment meted out to the gods of Egypt, as it revealed their impotence in the
face of YHWHs might; likewise, Houtman (Exodus, 184) has recently entertained this
idea: Apparently the idea is that the death of the firstborn manifests that YHWH exer-
cises dominion over Egypt and that its gods are powerless, unable to protect Egypt;
among others, Houtman also mentions J. G. Murphys and C. F. Keils interpretation that
the death of Pharaohs firstborn and the death of the firstborn of the animals that were
worshipped as gods was a judgment upon the gods. See, too, Propp, Exodus, 400. For
the punishment of the Egyptian gods in the prophetic literature, see Isa 19:1; Jer 43:12
13; 46:25; Ezek 30:13; cf. also, ibid., 19 (
   
).
90
W. H. Schmidt, Exodus, 247; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 243, 344.
91
Verses 3, 9, 14, 16.
92
Verses 9, 16.
192 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

slaying of the first-born in Exodus 13, this pericope makes no allusion


whatsoever to the slaying of the first-borns mythological dimensions as
the ultimate confrontation between YHWH and his first-born, Israel, and
Pharaoh and his first-born son,93 or between YHWH and the Egyptian
gods.94

4.3.4.5 And It Shall Be a Sign on Your Hand and a Mark Between


Your Eyes (v. 16)
The pericopes last verse, like many of the formulations in it, depends
upon the language found in Deuteronomy.

Exod 13:16 95 Deut 6:89 (see also 11:18)


And it shall be Bind them
a sign on your hand as a sign on your hand
and a mark and they will be a mark
between your eyes. between your eyes,
inscribe them on the doorposts of
your house and on your gates.

The difference between the two parallel passages is the verb chosen to
open the (first) verse. Exod 13:16, instead of opening with Deut 6:8s
bind them as a sign  , chooses to open with and it shall be a
sign  . This difference fits in with the different contexts the
passages find themselves in. In Deuteronomy the object of the binding is
these instructions which must be taught to ones children, spoken of,
bound as a sign on ones hand, and inscribed on the doorpost of ones
house and on the gates.96 Whether we interpret these actions literally or
figuratively,97 the verbs employed are ones demanding concrete action. In
Exod 13:16, the situation is quite different. Here the words sign and
mark can only be understood metaphorically, as the text equates the
first-born legislation itself with the sign and the mark98 that are intended to
commemorate the idea that with strength of hand Y HWH freed us from

93
Exod 4:23.
94
Exod 12:12. Perhaps the redactors use of the unique terminology with strength of
hand ( ) which occurs only in Exodus 13 (vv. 3, 14, 16) instead of the more
common form with a strong hand (  , Exod 13:9 will be discussed below), stems
from his desire to speak more abstractly, toning down the anthropomorphism, for the
more idiomatic expression with strength of hand does not necessarily imply that the
deity has a hand.
95
The parallel verse in Exod 13:9 will be discussed below.
96
Deut 6:69.
97
See Keel, Zeichen der Verbundenheit, 159240; Tigay, Deuteronomy, 441444.
98
Baentsch, Exodus, 111; Eerdmans, Exodus, 121.
The Law of the First-Born 193

Egypt. The figurative use of this law imagined to be like a sign upon the
hand and as a mark between the eyes is expressed by the verb phrase and
it shall be (-  ).
Thus, the author of Exod 13:16 apparently used the parallel verse from
Deuteronomy, but adapted it to suit his own needs. One must admit that
there seems to be something forced about this secondary use99 and about
the very idea that a law observed once a year 100 would function in the same
way as a sign constantly bound to the hand and perennially borne between
the eyes. Indeed, in Deuteronomy these objects or symbols function as
constant, daily reminders. This perpetual role fits in perfectly with the
original context of the verse in Deuteronomy that speaks about the daily
recitation and study of these instructions, when you stay at home and
when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up;101 however,
it does not fit in smoothly with Exodus 13.
To supplement this discussion, we will briefly stray from the narrow
confines of the unit under analysis, and examine v. 9, a parallel of v. 16.
The redactional trajectory takes another step forward in v. 9:

Exod 13:9 Exod 13:16


And it shall be for you a sign on And it shall be a sign on
your hand your hand
and a reminder and a mark
between your eyes between your eyes
in order that YHWHs Torah
may be in your mouth
that with a strong hand that with strength of hand
YHWH freed you from Egypt. YHWH freed us from Egypt.

In v. 9, the word mark was replaced by the word reminder .


In making this substitution, the redactor distanced himself even further from
the concreteness present in the original verse in Deuteronomy, as memory
is an abstract concept. Furthermore, the combination of sign and
reminder draws the rewritten version of v. 9 into the orbit of the
Pesah and unleavened bread: of the blood of the Pesah placed on the two
doorposts and lintel of the houses the text says, it shall be for you a sign
,102 and of the day itself the very next verse says, And this day shall

99
As observed by Achenbach, Israel, 204; Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 61.
100
The assumption being that the law conforms to the Deuteronomic conception that
the first-born animal was sacrificed and eaten every year in the place that YHWH will
choose (Deut 15:20). However, even those refusing to accept this assumption will admit
that the giving over of the first-born animal to YHWH was not a daily occurrence.
101
Deut 6:7.
102
Exod 12:13.
194 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

be to you a remembrance .103 In this way, the author of v. 9 also en-


sures that its language conforms to the Priestly terminology, which is well-
acquainted with other cognition signs,104 such as the altar-covering made
out of the censers of Korahs band,105 which were to serve as a sign and a
reminder to the Israelites. However, in the Priestly literature no mention
whatsoever is made of the sign and the reminder to be placed upon the
hand and between the eyes, and the motif is clearly dependent on Deut 6:8;
11:18. This is a perfect example of how Priestly terminology is grafted
onto a Deuteronomic or Deuteronomistic motif.106 Another characteristic
that differentiates the sign in Exod 13:9, 16 from the Priestly signs is the
level of abstraction. In the Priestly motif the sign is usually tangible,
visible to the naked eye; its purpose is to recall and commemorate a certain
idea, such as the signs of the rainbow,107 circumcision,108 and the staff.109
In stark contrast to this, in Exodus 13, the law itself (as mentioned above)
functions as a sign and as a mark/reminder.110 In light of this, Yehezkel
Kaufman made an interesting and daring proposition: they would place
blood of the sacrifice [of the Pesah] upon the lintel and the doorposts for
protection Apparently they also were accustomed to place the blood on
the hand and between the eyes these are the sign and the for
protection.111 In a footnote, he adds: from the root [drip]
they are the drops of blood, that they would put between the eyes. The

103
Perhaps the addition of the possessive pronoun,  , in v. 9 (   )
in contrast to its absence in v. 16 (  ) is a result of the influence of the
possessive pronouns presence in two verses in Exodus 12 (v. 13:   ; v. 14:
   ). The word , found at the end of the pericope in v. 9, also fits in
with the beginning of the pericope which commences with the positive injunction
 (v. 3). The wording of the injunction is also influenced by the Priestly style
(Exod 20:8; see Hossfeld, Dekalog, 41), and it directs the readers attention to  ,
that is the day on which the Israelites left Egypt, mentioned in the late Priestly strata in
the previous chapter (12:14, 17, 41, 51).
104
So designated by M. V. Fox, Sign of the Covenant, 557596.
105
Num 17:15.
106
On the literary history of Deut 6:69, 11, see Achenbach, Israel, 104115, 174
175, 390.
107
Gen 9:13.
108
Gen 17:1.
109
Num 17:22. Exod 12:14, which as argued in chapter 2 does use an abstract symbol,
the day, mentions without and is editorial rather than original composition,
and, like Exodus 13, is interested in replacing the Pesah altogether.
110
Given this, Propp wonders (Exodus, 424): So, too, Exod 13:9 may prescribe wear-
ing a visible sign to remind the Israelite of his obligation to keep Unleavened Bread. But
what might the sign be? One is surely not commanded to wear unleavened bread itself,
let alone enjoined to don animal limbs.
111
, I, 573; Kaufman repeats this proposition briefly, ibid., II, 430, 431.
The Law of the First-Born 195

custom of putting blood of the Pesah on the doorposts and on the foreheads
of the children is practiced among the Samaritans to this day Out of this
custom was born the custom of some sort of amulet, which is also referred
to as or (Isa 3:19), which they would tie between the eyes. As
a vestige of this, Deuteronomy, which abolished the ancient Pesah customs,
commands that the words of the Torah be inscribed upon the doorposts and
bound as a sign upon the hand and as between the eyes This
combination of the doorposts, the sign, and the is certainly not a
coincidence: originally these places had been marked with the blood of the
paschal lamb.112
This proposition had previously been advanced by K. Kohler in a brief
article published in 1910.113 The very nature of this supposition makes the
discovery of its textual foundations problematic as it deals with the history
of the tradition, the prehistory of the text. However, it is hard to resist the
propositions attraction, as it fits in perfectly with the Deuteronomic goals
of cultic centralization and the repression of magical rites. The rite of the
Pesah blood performed in the home is indeed absent from the Deutero-
nomic Pesah legislation, as the performance of the Pesah rite was removed
from the house to the sanctuary and as there is no place for the apotropaic
blood rite in the Deuteronomic conception. But the house and the individu-
al Israelite were provided with the commandments of the sign, the ,
and the inscription of these instructions upon the doorposts. In this way,
every house became a mini-sanctuary, 114 but without this having any cultic
significance.115 Even those who maintain that Deut 6:89; 11:18, 20

112
For a survey of the literature detailing the Arab custom of placing traces of blood
upon the forehead and on the doorposts for protection from the evil spirits, Kaufman di-
rects the reader to S. I. Curtiss, Ursemitische Religion im Volksleben des heutigen Ori-
ents: Forschungen und Funde aus Syrien und Palstina (Leipzig 1903), 216, 221, 243; A.
Musil, Arabia Petraea (Wien 19071908), III, 313; G. Jacob, Altarabische Parallelen
zum Alten Testament (Berlin 1897), 8.
113
K. Kohler, Seltsame Vorstellungen und Bruche in der biblischen und rabbini-
schen Literatur: Ein Beitrag zur vergleichenden Sagenkunde, Archiv fr Religionswis-
senschaft 13 (1910), 7584. It should also be noted that the rabbinic sages also drew a
connection between the blood of the Pesah on the doorposts and the inscription of these
instructions on the doorposts of the house mentioned in Deuteronomy; see Mekhilta,
Pischa, 11.
114
This may be compared with the Deuteronomic goal of expanding the reach of the
temple laws so that they applied to the entire nation, but without any cultic significance;
cf. Weinfeld, Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomic School, 225232.
115
Another solution may be reflected in Ezek 45:1820. Here the blood rite had not
been emptied of its cultic significance; however, instead of being performed at home, it
was performed in the temple; on this matter, see the discussion of Exodus 12.
196 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

describe tangible symbols must agree that these texts grant them absolutely
no apotropaic role.116
Kohlers supposition also fits in with the goal of the first-born section in
Exodus 13, to provide an alternative for the law of the Pesah and to free
the Israelites from the apotropaic, extra-temple rite. In light of this insight,
the omission of the following verse in Deut 6:9 (inscribe them on the
doorposts of your house and on your gates) from the parallel passage in
Exod 13:16 also makes sense.117 For as we have shown, the author of Exod
13:1116 tried as hard as he could to distance himself from the domestic
Pesah sacrifice that took place in the house protected by the blood dabbed
on the lintel and the doorposts. In its place, he designed the law of the
first-born, wherein the first-born animal was sacrificed in the temple, and
the ceremony was absolutely free of any apotropaic significance. He also
refashioned the sign on the hand and the mark between the eyes as figures
symbolizing the very essence of the first-born legislation, thereby prevent-
ing the sign and the mark from being interpreted as tangible, apotropaic
symbols. The manifest use of the motif of YHWHs strength of hand/
strong hand strengthens the readers sense of the metaphoric nature of the
sign being bound upon the human hand in Exodus 13.
The phrase in order that YHWHs Torah may be in your mouth only
appears in Exod 13:9, and is absent both from the parallel in v. 16 and
from the parallels in Deuteronomy. This change also seems to have been
instituted by the rewriter who wished to strengthen the movement toward
abstraction. The sign on the hand and the reminder between the eyes are
joined by the clearly metaphoric Torahin your mouth, thereby increas-
ing the sense that the entire verse is speaking figuratively. 118 As a group,
the three figures comprise the motor skills of action (arms), perception
(eyes), and speech (mouth).119
Thus, we may conclude that v. 9 made secondary use of its counterpart
in Deuteronomy. The movement toward abstraction visible in this second-
ary use is even more evident when v. 9 is compared with v. 16.

116
The apotropaic meaning of the inscription on the doorposts is granted new life in
rabbinic literature (e. g. Mekhilta, Pischa, 11), and becomes a matter of controversy in
the Middle Ages; for opposition to its apotropaic use, see e.g. Maimonides, Mezuza, 5:4.
117
As does its omission from Exod 13:9, which will be demonstrated shortly.
118
From a philological perspective, the construction YHWHs Torah in your mouth
attests to a late linguistic stratum of Biblical Hebrew; see Achenbach, Israel, 546. Per-
haps, the use of the prevalent formula with a strong hand (see above) in v. 9, instead of
the unique formula of with strength of hand found in Exodus 13 (vv. 3, 14, 16), points
to the rewriting and reworking process that v. 9 had undergone and, thus, to its relative
lateness in comparison to v. 16. On the question of v. 9s literary complexity, see, for
instance, M. V. Fox, Sign of the Covenant, 567568 n. 12.
119
Propp, Exodus, 425, citing E. Fox, Names, 73.
The Law of the First-Born 197

4.3.4.6 When Pharaoh Stubbornly Refused to Let Us Go (v. 15)


Throughout the account of the exodus, Pharaohs refusal to let the
Israelites go is portrayed formulaically as the hardening or stiffening of
Pharaohs heart.120 In light of this, the exceptional use made in Exod 13:15
of the unusual phrase Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go 
stands out. It is as if the author of Exodus 13 intentionally avoided
employing the motif of YHWH having hardened Pharaohs heart, so as to
distance himself from the notion that at some point Pharaoh was denied
free will; he preferred to envision Pharaoh acting with complete self-
awareness, for which he was punished. The author of Exodus 13 may also
have employed the phrase found in Exod 7:3121 a passage whose connec-
tion with Exodus 13 was discussed above altering it only to fit his needs:

Exod 7:3 Exod 13:15


   
But I will make Pharaohs heart stubborn. Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go.

While in Exod 7:3 YHWH makes Pharaohs heart stubborn, in Exodus 13,
Pharaoh himself is the subject of the verse. Moreover, the verb is em-
ployed differently in the two verses. In Exodus 7, it functions as a transi-
tive verb taking the word heart as its object; in Exodus 13, as mentioned
above, the object heart is omitted and the verb is employed as an
auxiliary verb attached to the main verb (let go). This usage is rare
in the Bible; in fact, there is no other instance of the verb being endowed
with this meaning.122
It should be noted that Deuteronomy also fails to mention the hardening
of Pharaohs heart that is so prevalent in the Exodus account.123 This simi-
larity between Deuteronomy and Exodus 13 joins other such similarities

120
This motif is common with certain linguistic variations to Priestly, non-Priestly,
and redactional strata: Exod 4:21; 7:3, 13, 22; 8:11, 15, 28; 9:7, 12, 34, 35; 10:1, 20, 27;
11:10; see also 14:4, 8, 17. On the deliberate use of the verb in the simple stem +
as a subject, as opposed to the use of the verb in the piel stem + YHWH as the
subject +  as the object, see Bar-On (Gesundheit), Splitting of the Sea, 36;
Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 83.
121
The construction +  is not found elsewhere in Exodus; however, a
similar construction appears in Deut 2:30 (in connection with Siho n the king of Hesbon:
  
  ), Prov 28:14, and Ps 95:8. In contradistinction,
the Priestly equivalent is +  and the non-Priestly strata employ the verb .
122
On the uniqueness of the verb phrase + infinitive, see Knig, Lehrgebude
der hebrischen Sprache, 399n; Joon, Grammaire, 124n. The verb is employed
as an auxiliary verb albeit with a different meaning one other time, in 2 Kgs 2:10.
123
Perhaps D/Dtr develops and stresses the strong hand  motif in contrast to
the Exodus account, where the motif of hardening Pharaohs heart  is prevalent.
198 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

between D/Dtr and Exodus 13, which repeats the motif of strength of
hand/strong hand four times and, as mentioned, apparently deliberately
avoids mentioning the motif of hardening the heart.
Furthermore, the author of Exodus 13 may have alluded to the law of
the slave found in Deut 15:1218:

Exod 13:1415 Deut 15:13, 18, 15


    
       
  
   
  
 
  
 

   
And it happened, when Pharaoh resisted And when you release him obligation-free
releasing us, from you, do not release him empty-handed.
Do not resist releasing him obligation-free
from you.
YHWH brought us out of Egypt, from the And you shall recall that you were a
house of bondage. bondman
YHWH slew every first-born in the land in the land of Egypt, and YHWH your God
of Egypt, from human first-born to redeemed you,
animal first-born,
therefore I sacrifice to YHWH. therefore I command you..

In addition to the explicit cautionary statement linking the exodus from


Egypt to the setting free of the slave (      
   ), several linguistic similarities can be pointed
out. The statement      in Deuteronomy resembles, in
meaning and usage, the rare phrase in Exodus 13. While
the verb does not function as an auxiliary verb in Deuteronomy like it
does in Exodus 13, the formulation     has a similar, if not
identical, meaning to that of the unique construction   .
There is no need even to mention that both texts have identical contents
emancipation from slavery or that the same verb, in the piel stem,
is employed by both texts. The relationship between the two texts even
seems to have given rise to an inner-biblical midrash wherein the legisla-
tion in Deuteronomy cautions the emancipator not to feel aggrieved at (or,
perhaps, not to stubbornly resist) setting his slave free as Pharaoh had when
he was told to free the Israelites from their house of bondage. The caution
against letting ones slave go empty-handed also echoes Exod 3:21:
so that when you go, you will not go away empty-handed .124

124
Greenberg (Exodus, 86) also notes the similar formulation of when you go, you
will not go away empty-handed (Exod 3:21) and when you let him go, do not let him
Consecrate to Me Every First-Born 199

In light of the many links between this text and the Deuteronomic/Deu-
teronomistic language and conception, it is reasonable to surmise that the
author of Exodus 13 was familiar with the Deuteronomic manumission
legislation. In addition to the similarities already mentioned, the formula-
tion   (Therefore, I) that appears in Exod 13:15, in the slave leg-
islation in Deut 15:15 (), and nowhere else except for Deuteron-
omy should be noted.125
Before turning our attention to the first part of Exodus 13 as a whole,
we will examine that chapters first two verses, which concern themselves
with the issue of the first-born.

4.4 Consecrate to Me Every First-Born (vv. 12)

4.4.1 The Problem


Contrary to our expectations, the opening verses of the pericope make no
reference whatsoever to the dramatic situation or context in which the peri-
cope is situated.126 This is especially noticeable because the Pesah laws in
the preceding chapter (Exodus 12) are spoken to Moses and Aaron in the
land of Egypt (12:1).127 In contrast, chapter 13 opens with the fixed for-
mula, typical of Priestly style, of YHWH speaking to Moses:

go empty-handed (Deut 15:13). For literature discussing the connection between the two
texts, see also Greenberg, ibid., 87 n. 1; Daube, Biblical Law, 4950. See also Gen 31:42
(Daube, Exodus Pattern, 6273). For a literary-critical evaluation of contemporary re-
search on Exod 3:1822, see Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 299, 305; Blum, Gesprch mit
neueren Endredaktionshypothesen, 119156.
125
Deut 15:11, 15; 19:7; 24:18, 22; cf. also Deut 5:17. In Exod 13:15  is replaced
by as one would expect in the usage of Late Biblical Hebrew. The preference for
instead of  is documented in sets of parallel texts taken from the Early Prophets and
Chronicles; compare e.g. 2 Sam 24:12 with 1 Chr 21:10; 2 Sam 24:17 with 1 Chr 21:17.
This change attests to the dependence of Exod 13:15 upon the language used in
Deuteronomy and indicates the direction of the textual dependence.
126
Additional difficulties regarding this segments narrative flow, within its present
context, were raised at the beginning of this chapter.
127
One gets the impression that vv. 3 and 4 were intended among other things to
make up for this omission by situating the pericope firmly within the plotline of the ex-
odus from Egypt surrounding it. However, note well that these two verses apparently are
not made of wholecloth: according to v. 4, the pericope was recited just before or in the
very midst of the exodus from Egypt (You go free on this day), while v. 3 represents
the exodus from Egypt as an historical event that took place in the past and which must
be commemorated in the future (Remember this day, on which you went free from
Egypt, the house of bondage, how Y HWH freed you from it with strength of hand).
200 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born



 
   
YHWH spoke to Moses, saying:
Consecrate to Me every first-born.
The breacher of every womb among the Israelites human and animal it is Mine.

Furthermore, one must wonder why the commandment to consecrate every


first-born is addressed to Moses and not to the Israelites.128 This address is
demonstrated by the language of the verse, which refers to the Israelites in
the third person. Also, the use of the singular in the command to con-
secrate shows that the address is specifically to Moses, for in the Priestly
style YHWH regularly addresses the Israelites in the plural.129 Furthermore,
if the commandment had been addressed to the Israelites, the opening for-
mula should have included the words, speak to the Israelites and (jussive
verb), since this is the fixed Priestly formula that precedes command-
ments said to the Israelites:130
plural jussive 
  

In contrast, the Priestly formula introducing commandments addressed ex-
clusively to Moses is as follows:131
singular imperative 

We may conclude, then, much to our surprise, that the commandment to
consecrate every first-born human and animal is addressed to Moses, and
not to the Israelites. Moreover, the law is formulated as if it is to be
performed immediately; that is to say, a moment after the Israelites leave
Egypt, and before they begin their sojourn in the desert. Complicating
matters, the law does not even detail how Moses is supposed to consecrate
every first-born among the Israelites. In contrast to what the Israelites were
told in v. 13, no mention whatsoever is made of the possibility of redeem-
ing the first-born, an option that is clearly not self-evident.132 In the text, as
it is currently formulated, Moses instructions to the people to consecrate
the first-born to YHWH (vv. 1115) appear to be the fulfillment of YHWHs
commandment to Mose to consecrate all the first-borns in vv. 12. How-
ever, these two sections are separated by eight verses that deal with an
entirely different topic. What is more, in contrast to the description of the

128
See Ibn Ezras commentary (the longer one) on v. 1.
129
This in contradistinction to the style adopted by the Deutoronomic legislator who
usually addresses the Israelites in the singular.
130
For example, Exod 25:12:    
 .
131
For example, Lev 8:14:   


.
132
Num 18:17; cf. also Lev 27:28 (law of the herem), 33 (the tithe of the herd).
Consecrate to Me Every First-Born 201

first-born commandment in vv. 12, in which YHWH seems to tell Moses


that the commandment is to be performed immediately, in v. 11 Moses es-
tablishes that the law is only supposed to go into effect when the Israelites
enter the land of Canaan.
The very fact that the style adopted by the opening verses (vv. 12) is
manifestly different than that of the other verses in the pericope demands
an explanation. The opening verses are indisputably written in a clear
Priestly manner. One must not ignore this fact when attempting to deter-
mine the pericopes literary history and make sense of its present form.133
Likewise, the undeniable literary connection between v. 2 and Num 3:12
13 (and 8:1617) must be factored into the equation:

Exod 13:2 Num 3:1213134


 
  

  
  
   
Consecrate to Me I consecrated to Myself
every first-born. every first-born
The breacher of every womb womb-breacher
among the Israelites of the Israelites.
human and animal it is Mine. From human to animal, they will be Mine.

The remarkable similarity between the two texts they are almost identical
obligates us to investigate the nature of the literary connection between
them.135

4.4.2 A New Reading


It seems that a comprehensive solution to the difficulties raised so far can
be offered. To do this requires revisiting the late etiology of the consecra-
tion of the first-born in Israel, spoken of in Num 3:13 (and also in 8:17).
This etiology seems to belong to the latest stages of the literary and theo-
logical development of the first-born legislation, as it is already aware of
all the first-born legislation in the Pentateuch:136

133
A blatant disregard for this perspective is evident in recent studies of Exodus 13.
134
This verse is not cited in its original order; rather, it is arranged for purposes of
comparison.
135
Contra this, see Gertz, Exoduserzhlung, 66 n. 155, who questions the existence of
a literary connection.
136
See above, p. 174, nn. 28 and 29.
202 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

For every first-born is Mine.


When I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt
I consecrated to Myself every first-born in Israel.
From human to animal, they will be Mine. I am YHWH.

Like the Priestly conception in Lev 27:26, this text perceives the first-borns
to be intrinsically sanctified from birth; their sanctity derives from their
having been born first, not from an act of consecration performed by man,
as in Deut 15:19. In contrast to the conception reflected by Lev 27:26,
however, the sanctity is not of a natural but of an historical kind,
established by the deity on a specific day in the past, and ever since then
present in every first-born. This sanctity, which is rooted in the nations
history, and not in some sort of universal taboo, applies specifically to all
the first-borns in Israel. Foundational to it is the opposition between the
first-born of Egypt and the first-born of Israel; as the verse explains explic-
itly: When I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt, I consecrated to
Myself every first-born in Israel.137 A natural corollary of the first-borns
intrinsic sanctity whether its source is natural-universal or historical-
Israelite is the law concerning the redemption of the animals. From the
Priestly perspective, this law only applies to exceptional cases because the
first-borns intrinsic sanctity cannot be redeemed unless it is intrinsically
unfit for sacrifice.138 Only the human first-born and the first-born of an
impure animal can be redeemed.139 In contrast, Deuteronomic law, which
does not include the concept of intrinsic sanctity, also lacks the notion of
redemption. While Deuteronomy is aware of the verbal stem ,140 it does
not employ it in a legal-sacral context. From its perspective, an animal
only becomes sanctified through the deliberate act of consecration by a
human being. Ipso facto, in a case where the animals consecration cannot
be effected, no one will consecrate it, and, in contrast to the Priestly law,141
there is no need for a mechanism allowing an unfit animal if it has a
defect, lameness or blindness, any serious defect142 to be redeemed.

137
Num 3:13.
138
See below.
139
Num 18:15.
140
Deut 7:8; 9:26; 13:6; 15:15; 21:8; 24:18.
141
Num 18:1516.
142
Deut 15:2122. In a case where it is inconvenient to effect consecration And
should the distance be too great for you, should you be unable to transport them, because
the place where YHWH your God has chosen to establish His name is too far from you
(Deut 14:24) the Deuteronomic law does not put into effect laws of redemption similar
to those in the Priestly law certainly not the obligation to add a fifth of the animals
value, as mandated by Lev 27:27, 31 and it does not even mention the concept of re-
demption, but simply permits the owner to effect consecration monetarily (Deut 14:25
26). In accord with this conception, the first-born animal itself never seems to have
Consecrate to Me Every First-Born 203

Likewise, the Deuteronomic law makes no mention of human first-born


since the consecration of the first-born does not apply to human beings.
What is the rationale for the novel, historical etiology introduced by
Num 3:13? Where in the account of the exodus from Egypt is it written
that YHWH consecrated all the first-borns in Israel at the time he slew the
first-born of Egypt? Note well in this regard the close formulation of Exod
13:12, in particular when seen alongside Exod 12:12:

Exod 12:12 Exod 13:2 Num 3:13


 
    

 
 
   
 



For every first-born is Mine.
I will smite every When I smote every first-born
first-born in the land in the land of Egypt,
of Egypt
Consecrate to Me every first- I consecrated to Myself every
bornamong the Israelites first-born in Israel.
from human to ani- human and animal From human to animal they
mal I am YHWH. it is Mine. will be Mine. I am YHWH.

The chart above does not mean to indicate that Num 3:13 drew on both
Exod 12:12 and Exod 13:2 and conflated them. Such a view cannot
advance the discussion since it leaves Exod 13:12 a text without context.
Rather, the chart serves merely to help bring out the fact that the author of
Num 3:13 combines two concepts, that of the consecration of the first-born
in Israel and the Priestly description of the slaying of the first-born. More-
over, the chart illustrates that just as Num 3:1213 bears an extraordinary
resemblance to Exod 13:2, as mentioned above, so do the textual compo-
nents in it:   
; ; and
 appear
quite similar to Exod 12:12.
One might further hypothesize that the unique formula in Num 3:13:
 is connected to the similar fomulation in Exod 34:19:  
. Relatedly, it will be illuminating to investigate the different uses of the
terms (first-born) and  (issue of the womb). As explained
in the first chapter of this book, aside from its usage in Exod 34:1920 (and

become intrinsically holy. Moreover, this amendment regarding the first-born, referring
in 14:23 to    prior to the law of the first-born itself in 15:1923, seems
to be a secondary addition; see Steuernagel, Deuteronomium, 107.
204 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

in its parallel in 13:1213), the term  appears only in Priestly texts.


In contrast, the ancient Book of the Covenant and the Deuteronomic legis-
lation only employ the term .143 In chapter one, the consistent use of
the term  in Exod 34:1920 (13:1213)   
 was also discussed. The ancient term only appears in
the last four words (    ) because these words are actually a
reformulation of the ancient wording in the Book of the Covenant  
 .144
In the light of all these literary data, it is time to take another look at the
parallel texts in the chart. The Priestly author of the redactional layer
found in Exod 12:12 adopted the term employed in the non-Priestly
account of the slaying of the first-born (11:5; 12:29).145 Num 3:13, whose
goal is to anchor the concept of consecrating the first-born in Israel to
YHWH in the account of the slaying of the first-born, closely follows the
language used to describe the slaying of the first-born in Exod 12:12 and
employs the term three times.146 However, in the previous verse, Num
3:12, the desire to include the legal-sacral definition  also finds
expression. Consequently, Num 3:12 employs the unique, pleonastic con-
struction  :
I hereby take the Levites from among the Israelites
in place of all first-born womb-breachers  
among the Israelites.
And the Levites shall be Mine.

The very presence of this pleonastic construction in Exod 13:2 as well is


instructive:
Consecrate to Me every first-born, the breacher of every womb    
among the Israelites.
This observation is especially telling because the contexts of each of the two
verses deal with different matters. While the verse in Exodus deals with the
consecration of the first-born, the verse in Numbers deals with the sanctity
of the Levites. This type of indirect literary influence may provide evi-
dence for the direction of the literary dependence. It should be emphasized

143
Apparently, the term  derives from a precise legal-sacral definition, while
the word has a broader meaning and appears in different contexts.
144
Exod 22:28.
145
The analysis of this chapter undertaken above suggests that Exod 12:12 is a
Priestly revision of v. 23 intended, among other things, to anchor the Priestly Pesah tradi-
tion in the non-Priestly account of the plagues. It focuses upon describing the Destroyer
smiting the first-born, a matter that goes entirely unmentioned in the description of the
Pesah and the Destroyer in 12:2127.
146
If it is true that the formula  is influenced by the similar formulation in
Exod 34:19 (  ), the author of Num 3:13 also transforms  into .
Consecrate to Me Every First-Born 205

that the pleonastic construction    is unique and there is no


construction similar to it outside these verses.147 Redundant pleonastic
constructions of this kind were usually intended to harmonize two different
conceptions or terminologies, and they are typically found in late biblical
or post-biblical texts.148 That is to say, it appears that both Num 3:12 and
13 have influenced Exod 13:2.
If the supposition that Exod 13:2 is dependent upon Num 3:1213 is
correct, then we can describe the literary-critical process in the following
manner: The late Priestly etiology in Numbers ascribes the Levites sanctity
to their replacement of the first-born, and it even describes how this one-
time redemption actually took place.149 In order to explain the Levites sanc-
tity, the author had to accept the proposition that the first-born Israelites
were inherently holy. While the belief in natural-universal (taboo) holiness
is reflected in the Bible and in the ancient Near East, there is in the Bible
no explicit expression of an intrinsic sanctity characteristic of the first-
born Israelites (close though Lev 27:26 may come to doing so). Yet the
account of the slaying of the first-born in Exodus 12 readily lent itself to
the creation and adoption of such a notion. The late, innovative etiology
which links the first-born legislation in Exod 13:1116 with the tradition
of the slaying of the first-born may have provided very fertile ground for
the notion of the Israelite first-borns inherent sanctity. For, as we have
described above, this etiology, for the first time, contrasts the first-born in
Israel with the first-born of Egypt: YHWH slew every first-born in the land
of Egypt Therefore I sacrifice to YHWH every womb-breacher. It is as if
inviting the next stage of the literary crystallization reflected in Num 3:13:
At the time that I smote every first-born in the land of Egypt, I conse-
crated to Myself every first-born in Israel.150

147
That is to say, other than in Exod 13:2 and Num 3:13. Num 8:16 (   
) incorporates a secondary variant dependent upon Num 3:13; compare already
Baentsch, Numeri, 490.
148
See for instance above, pp. 5051 n. 14.
149
Num 3:4051.
150
Presumably, it was possible to explain the holiness of the Levites as deriving from
the natural-universal holiness and not specifically the historical-Israelite holiness of
first-borns. Evidently, the idea of a one-time conversion of first-born holiness into Leviti-
cal holiness suited better the assumption regarding the conception of historical-Israelite
holiness given Israelite first-borns at a particular moment in Egypt. For it is easier to de-
scribe how this type of holiness would be converted once and forever into Levitical holi-
ness. In fact, this innovative idea stands in tension with the conception that every first-
born is in and of itself holy by virtue of having been born first. Hence the contradiction
within the Priestly literature that, on the one hand, the holiness of the first-borns was
converted once and for all time, according to Num 8:522 (see also 3:1113, 4043),
while, on the other, first-borns born after the one-time conversion continue to be holy by
virtue of being first-borns (Lev 27:26; Num 18:1518).
206 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

For this reason, the description of the Levites sanctification in Numbers


3 generated the addition of vv. 12 to Exodus 13. The interpolator sought
to lay the foundation in the exodus narrative for the Levites sanctity as
described in Num 3:13 (and 8:17), to formulate in real time what in
Numbers is, at best, only analeptically told. He thereby provided an answer
for the question which arises upon reading Num 3:13: how did YHWH
consecrate to Himself every first-born in Israel at the time He slew all the
first-borns in Egypt? His answer is that this consecration was carried out by
Moses who received a special, divine injunction to do so at that time. That is
to say, the author of Exod 13:12 understood the command to consecrate
every first-born in Israel to YHWH as a unique, one-time injunction given
to Moses at the time YHWH smote every first-born in the land of Egypt.
In light of the above, the difficulties we enumerated are resolved. Exod
13:12 possessing an authentic Priestly style is, indeed, secondary in
its present context. No new mention is made of where this injunction is
spoken because the author who added it treated it as if it belonged to the
previous chapter, the day on which YHWH slew all the first-borns in the
land of Egypt. The reason for the extraordinary resemblance between this
passage and Num 3:1213 also becomes clear in light of the literary and
programmatic connections between them.151 Befitting the nature of a com-
mand, the contents are indeed addressed exclusively to Moses, and he is
not commanded to transmit it to the Israelites. Against the conventional
interpretation of the verses, Moses instructions to the people to consecrate
the first-born to YHWH (vv. 1115) are not the fulfillment of the command
given to Moses in v. 2; the words Consecrate to Me every first-born in
v. 2 are not transmitted to the Israelites in vv. 1116. Indeed, in Moses
speech to the Israelites, the verb to sanctify, consecrate () is not men-
tioned even once. As opposed to the instructions given to the Israelites,
which are only to be carried out when they enter the land of Canaan, the
command given to Moses is supposed to be performed immediately, on the
very day YHWH slew all the first-borns in the land of Egypt.
Were vv. 12 also intended to shed a new light upon the first-born legis-
lation in vv. 1116? That is to say, did the author of those verses also
intend to interpret the obligation to transfer the first-born to YHWH as
deriving from the fact that the first-born were consecrated to YHWH on the
day YHWH slew all the first-borns in the land of Egypt? From a diachronic
perspective, this interpretation seems problematic. Further undermining the
probability of this interpretation, nowhere in the first-born legislation in
Exodus 13 is any explicit reference made to the sanctity of the first-born.
While this concept is foundational to the notion of redemption that appears
in vv. 1213 which derive from Exod 34:1920 it is doubtless not a
151
On the literary-historical complexity of Numbers 3, see already Baentsch, Numeri.
Consecrate to Me Every First-Born 207

coincidence that the first-born legislation in Exodus 13, which avoids any
mention of apotropaic beliefs (the salvation of the first-born in Israel) and
shuns mythological conceptualizations (the hardening of Pharaohs heart
by YHWH), should also avoid mentioning the inherent sanctity of the first-
born. The opposite, in fact, is true. While the notion of redemption embed-
ded in the legislation would seem to imply the presence of sanctity, the law
dictates that the reason for the obligation to transfer the first-born to YHWH
derives not from the inherent sanctity of the first-born (P), but from the de-
sire of the law-abiding individual to consecrate the first-born to YHWH (D).
This notion is certainly implied by the usage of the Deuteronomic formula-
tion: Therefore I (   ) sacrifice to YHWH every womb-breacher
(v. 15).152 This rationale certainly does not impute to the first-born an
inherent sanctity or divine ownership; rather, it describes an act of volition
stemming from the desire to express gratitude: because with strength of
hand, YHWH brought us out from Egypt. This sense is also strengthened
by the parameters of the law itself, as the individual is obligated to bring
the first-born animal as a which is to be eaten by him in accord with
the Deuteronomic law and in opposition to the Priestly law-codes accord-
ing to which the first-born is to be given to YHWH153 or to the priest.154 In
Deuteronomy the Pesah is also classified as a thanksgiving offering of this
kind and it too is offered as an expression of gratitude for the exodus from
Egypt.155 It is also possible that the rewriting of vv. 1213 from their
source in Exod 34:1920 reflects the intention to blur the concept of the
first-borns inherent sanctity and the notion of the first-born being divine
property from the moment of their birth. Note that in place of   
(all womb-breachers are Mine, lit. to Me) in Exod 34:19, the revision
in Exod 13:12 is formulated as
   (You shall transfer
all womb-breachers to YHWH).156
It seems, therefore, that the author of the first-born legislation in Exodus
13 aimed to blur the myth of the first-borns inherent sanctity and refash-
ion the law in keeping with Deuteronomy. Likewise, he sought, as men-
tioned above, to distance himself from the apotropaic concept and there-
fore avoided mentioning the miraculous salvation of the Israelite first-born
from the hands of the Destroyer. For this reason, thanksgiving is expressed
for the slaying of the first-born of Egypt, not for the salvation of the Israel-
ite first-born. Consequently, the underlying logic of the laws etiological
rationale is not expressed with great clarity. The connection between

152
See n. 125 above.
153
Lev 27:26.
154
Num 18:1518.
155
See the discussion of Deut 16:18.
156
For other evidence supporting this position, see the discussion above.
208 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

YHWH slew every first-born in the land of Egypt and Therefore I sacri-
fice to YHWH every womb-breacher157 is not entirely clear.
The lack of clarity surrounding the laws rationale seems to be an un-
avoidable consequence of the tightrope walk performed by the author of
the first-born legislation. He wished to construct a novel etiology for the
law of the first-born based on the story of the Israelite first-born in Egypt;
however, on the one hand, he avoided mentioning their miraculous salva-
tion, and, on the other, he refused to adopt a version endowing them with
inherent sanctity. His strict adherence to his theological program emptied
the etiologys rationale of any genuine meaning.
In concluding this section, let us note that notwithstanding what has
been said, one cannot rule out the possibility that over the course of inner-
biblical reception history the original meaning of 13:12 became unclear
and the first-born legislation described in vv. 1116 nevertheless was
perceived to be the fulfillment of the divine instruction in vv. 12. The
distance between these two passages in the texts present form may support
the supposition that vv. 310 were added at a later stage.158

4.5 The Unleavened Bread Section (vv. 310)

We have already noted that most of the impediments to textual coherence


occur in this section of the text. The following four are the most significant:

1. The statement you shall perform this rite     in


v. 5 recalls the similar formulation you shall observe this rite 
   in 12:25, which describes the Pesah. However, this
statement within its present context in the present form of the text
apparently refers to eating unleavened bread. The description of eating
unleavened bread as a rite  is surprising.159

2. The positioning of the injunction no leavened food shall be eaten at


the end of v. 3 is difficult, since it is situated before the introduction
provided by v. 5 (When YHWH brings you) and is separated from
the laws of leavened and unleavened bread in vv. 67. Consequently,
the laws of eating unleavened bread and ensuring that no leavened food
be found, in vv. 67, are presented as contingent upon the Israelites
entering the land of Canaan, while the prohibition in v. 3 against eating
leavened food seems to go into immediate effect. Such a situation seems

157
Verse 15.
158
For instance, Auerbach, Moses, 57; Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 31.
159
The word  is apparently used here in a cultic sense, as in Josh 22:27.
The Unleavened Bread Section 209

completely illogical. Likewise surprising is the negative injunction on


eating leavened food in v. 3, which makes no mention of its duration in
contrast to v. 7, which limits this injunction to seven days.160

3. The statement of v. 4, Today you go free, in the month of Abib,


seems superfluous, because it repeats what was already stated implicit-
ly in the previous verse. Indeed, v. 4 is an anomaly in this section. Both
literarily and syntactically it fails to connect with the text preceding
and following it. Substantively it seems to be part of a speech given in
the midst of the exodus from Egypt. This stands in contrast to the rest
of the section, the perspective of which views the exodus from Egypt as
having taken place already in the past.

4. Verse 7 repetitiously states, unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven


days, when the previous verse had just declared for seven days you
shall eat unleavened bread.

Two further surprising phenomena demand explanation even though they


do not detract from the texts coherence:

1. What is the meaning of the pronoun in the fathers response:


Because of this YHWH did for me when I went free from Egypt?
Indeed, why are so many demonstrative pronouns employed in this sec-
tion:  ;  
 ;   ;  ;  ;
 ?

2. Why are there so many parallels between the two parts of the chapter?
Of particular note is the dual repetition of a sign on your hand and a
reminder/mark between your eyes in vv. 9 and 16. Likewise, sense
must be made of the parallels (enumerated below) between this passage
and the closing verses of the Pesah section, Exod 12:2527.

Above all, an attempt must be made to understand the texts purpose and
why the term Festival of Unleavened Bread goes unmentioned in it.

4.5.1 Literary Parallels and Motifs in Exod 12:2527; 13:510, 1116


The pericope in Exod 13:116 comprises two units (vv. 510 and vv. 11
16), which, to a large extent, are parallel. Both open with the same formula,
And when YHWH brings you into the land of the Canaaniteswhich/as he

160
The Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch attempted to grapple with this prob-
lem, each in its own way; see Geiger, Urschrift, 184185.
210 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

sworeto your forefathers to give you/and has given it to you (vv. 5, 11);
both introduce a commandment that is intended to commemorate the ex-
odus from Egypt (vv. 8, 1415); both describe (a question and) an answer
elucidating for the son the meaning of the commandment (vv. 8, 14); and
both conclude with the same instruction: And it will bea sign on your
handand a reminder/mark between your eyesthat with a strong hand/
strength of hand YHWH freed you/us from Egypt (vv. 9, 16). It must be
asked: What is the meaning of the parallels from an exegetical perspective,
and what is the significance of the phenomenon from a literary-critical
perspective?
The passage in Exod 12:2527 also opens with a similar formulation,
And when you arrive in the land that YHWH will give you, as He has
promised (v. 25); this passage also introduces a commandment intended
to commemorate the redemption from Egypt (v. 27); and this passage also
describes a question and an answer given to inquisitive children who wish
to understand the commandments meaning (vv. 2627). The command-
ment spoken of in this passage is referred to as this rite  
(vv. 25, 26); the same phrase is employed in Exod 13:510 to describe the
commandment discussed therein (v. 5).
It is most extraordinary that the studies and commentaries written on
Exodus 13 even when they were cognizant of the phenomenon of the nu-
merous parallels did not attempt to explain them from exegetical or liter-
ary-critical perspectives. The analysis here will commence by presenting
the parallel passages in chart form, and then will attempt to untangle the
literary history of the text. Before concluding, it will attempt to determine
the meaning underlying the way each one of the parallel passages was
fashioned.

Exod 12:2427: Exod 13:110: Exod 13:1116:


Pesah Unleavened Bread First-Born

v. 25  v. 5 
  v. 11 
 
     
  


    
         
  
 
   

v. 24    v. 10  
     
The Unleavened Bread Section 211

Exod 12:2427: Exod 13:110: Exod 13:1116:


Pesah Unleavened Bread First-Born

v. 26   v. 8  v. 14  
  
  
v. 27 
 
  
  


      
  v. 15   
  

   

  
  

 

v. 9    v. 16  
   
 
  
    



v. 25 And when you arrive in v. 5 And when YHWH v. 11 And when Y HWH
the land brings you into the brings you into the
land of the Canaanites, land of the Canaan-
the Hittites, the Amor- ites,
ites, the Hivites, and
the Jebusites,
that YHWH will give which He swore to as He swore to you
you, as He has your forefathers to and your fore-
promised, give to you, fathers,
a land flowing with and has given it to
milk and honey, you,
then you shall observe then you shall perform
this rite. this rite in this month.
v. 24 You shall observe this v. 10 And you shall observe
matter as a law for you this law at its set time
and your children from year to year
forever.
v. 26 And if your children v. 8 And you shall recount v. 14 And if, in time to
say to you, to your child on that come, your child
day, saying: asks you, saying:
What is this rite you What is this?,
are doing?,
212 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

Exod 12:2427: Exod 13:110: Exod 13:1116:


Pesah Unleavened Bread First-Born
v. 27 then you shall answer, you shall answer
him,
It is the Pesah sacri- Because of this With strength of
fice to YHWH, because YHWH did for me hand YHWH
he protected the Israel- when I went free from brought us out of
ite houses in Egypt Egypt. Egypt, the house of
bondage.
when He attacked v. 15 When Pharaoh
Egypt, and so He saved stubbornly refused
our houses. to set us free,
YHWH slew every
first-born in the
land of Egypt, from
human first-born to
animal first-born.
Therefore, I sacri-
fice to YHWH all
womb-breachers
the males and
every first-born of
my sons I redeem.
v. 9 And it shall be a v. 16 And it shall be a
sign on your hand sign on your hand
and a reminder and a mark
between your eyes between your eyes
so that YHWHs
Torah may be in your
mouth
that with a strong hand that with strength
YHWH brought you out of hand YHWH
of Egypt. brought us out of
Egypt.

4.5.2 A Diachronic Perspective on the Unleavened Bread Section (vv. 310)


The impediments disrupting the coherence of the text that were enumerated
above seem indicative of the literary-critical complexity of the text. How-
ever, as mentioned at the outset, it is difficult to reconstruct the texts liter-
ary-critical development due to the lack of solid data. The impression
given is that present here is not the combination of two independent, dif-
ferent documents, but one basic text, which was added to the account of
the exodus from Egypt at a later stage and which may not be preserved in
its entirety, but which by all accounts appears to have undergone various
The Unleavened Bread Section 213

expansions and revisions. It appears that, just like editorial comments, the
extensive use of demonstrative pronouns illustrated above161 serves for-
cibly to position and anchor the text in its current context of the day of the
exodus from Egypt.162
We will first attempt to deal with the difficulty of interpreting the term
rite  in its current context in v. 5. Describing the act of eating un-
leavened bread as a rite  seems very problematic. Rather, we must
admit that the most natural referent for this term, as in 12:25, is the Pesah.
The similar formulations in the two chapters also support this assumption:

Exod 12:25 Exod 13:5


And when you enter the land And when YHWH brings you into the land
that YHWH will give you, as He promised, which he swore to your forefathers to give to
you
then you shall observe then you shall perform
this rite  . this rite  .

If this assumption is correct, we arrive at a text that integrates the Pesah


and unleavened bread. This integration is familiar to us from Exod 12:113
+ 1520 and Deut 16:18. In those two cases, the integration is second-
ary. 163 In light of these findings, the possibility exists that in Exodus 13 the
integration is secondary as well. In other words, perhaps vv. 310 orig-
inally spoke exclusively about the rite of the Pesah, and the topic of un-
leavened bread was only added at a secondary stage. As a result of the sec-
ondary juxtaposition of v. 5 and v. 6 the impression is given that the act of
eating the unleavened bread is this rite  .
The advantages to this supposition seem numerous, and it may allow us
to resolve the difficulties we enumerated. We will begin by presenting a
hypothetical text that contained only the Pesah sacrifice and attempt to
trace its meaning.

4.5.2.1 The Pesah as a Commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt


If we attempt to imagine the section as speaking exclusively about the
Pesah, we will have to present it without the text about the unleavened
bread approximately as follows:

161
See above, p. 209, section 1.
162
Compare, for instance, the usage of the Deuteronomic/Deuteronomistic formula at
that time; see Plger, Untersuchungen, 218225; Loewenstamm, Formula, 193198;
see also Seeligmann, Hebrische Erzhlung, 310311.
163
See the detailed discussions of those texts.
214 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

v. 3   And Moses said to the people, Remember this


    day, on which you went free from Egypt, the
  house of bondage, because with strength of
  
hand YHWH freed you from this, and leavened
food shall not be eaten.
v. 4  Today you go free, in the month of Abib.
v. 5  
  And when YHWH brings you into the land of
    the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the
     Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to
     your forefathers to give to you, a land flowing
  with milk and honey, then you shall perform
this rite in this month.
v. 6  For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread,

  and on the seventh day, a festival to Y HWH.
v. 7    Unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven
      days, and leavened food shall not be detectable
   to you, and leaven shall not be detectable to
you, within your entire territory.
v. 8   And you shall recount to your child on that day,
 

 saying, Because of this YHWH did for me when
I went free from Egypt.
v. 9     And it shall be for you a sign on your hand and

    a reminder between your eyes so that Y HWHs

    Torah will be in your mouth that with a
strong hand YHWH freed you from Egypt.
v. 10    And you shall observe this law at its set time
 from year to year.

Our analysis demonstrates that all the impediments to textual coherence


and all the difficulties with comprehending the text enumerated above are
related to the secondary interpolation of the laws of unleavened and leav-
ened bread into a section speaking about the Pesah rite ( ). As we will
show below, this analysis may also explain the developmental stages of the
text and the goal of the revision process. Furthermore, the laws original
intent can be determined. The Pesah is no longer a domestic sacrifice dedi-
cated to commemorating that YHWH protected the houses of the Israelites
in Egypt when he attacked Egypt, and so He saved our houses;164 rather, it
commemorates the exodus from Egypt exclusively, because YHWH freed
you from this with strength of hand.165 Like the Pesah of the Deutero-
nomic law, no mention is made of an apotropaic etiology presuming the

164
Exod 12:27.
165
Exod 13:3.
The Unleavened Bread Section 215

house to be the place where the sacrifice takes place, prescribing the dab-
bing of the blood on the lintel and the doorposts, or connecting it to the
slaying of the first-born.
The phrase  (because of this) in v. 8 an ancient interpretive
crux can now be read without difficulty as referring to   (this
rite; v. 5) and  (this law; v. 10), namely, to the Pesah: Be-
cause of the Pesah, YHWH did for me when I went free from Egypt.166 The
lengths to which the text went to avoid mentioning the salvation of the Is-
raelite first-born from the plague of the slaying of the first-born is obvious.
Instead of, as expected, mentioning this salvation, the verse employs the
generic, non-specific statement: YHWH did for me when I went free from
Egypt  

.
In the light of this reconstruction, the surprising positioning of this sec-
tion as well as its purpose become clear. For the goal of this legislation is
to provide an alternative to the apotropaic Pesah. This also explains the
unique linguistic usages that were taken precisely from the section that is
so theologically problematic, Exod 12:2227a. In that section, the Israel-
ites are commanded to observe this rite   when they enter the
land; that is to say, they are commanded to perform the Pesah sacrifice at
home not in the temple and they are to place the blood on the lintel
and on the two doorposts. This is a statute which is given in perpetuity
for you and your children forever and the Israelites are commanded to
teach it to their children in order to memorialize the apotropaic meaning of
the Pesah, to keep alive the memory that YHWH protected the houses of
the Israelites in Egypt when He attacked Egypt, and so He saved our
houses. This passages counterpart in Exodus 13 declares that when
YHWH brings the Israelites to the land promised their forefathers, they
must observe this rite, the Pesah. However, unlike the previous chapter,
no mention is made of the extra-temple, magical, apotropaic features. This
Pesah is promulgated here as this law which must be observed at its set
time from year to year.167 Here too, the commandment to teach ones son

166
In the context of the prevailing interpretation that a rationale is being provided
for the consumption of unleavened bread and the prohibition of leavened food Propps
rhetorical question (Exodus, 423) makes sense: Did God take Israel from Egypt because
they avoided leaven? Even if we interpret the word because as meaning for the sake
of, it is difficult to interpret the verse as referring to the consumption of unleavened
bread. Taking refuge in the classification of as a relative pronoun (Luzzatto, Dillmann,
Houtman) is also problematic because in this case the fathers recounting of the story to
the son assumes the form of an elliptical clause. Furthermore, is never employed as a
relative pronoun in prose. The textual emendations which have been offered also fail to
create a convincing text; see the commentaries of Holzinger and Houtman.
167
The temporal description in v. 10, which uses the terminology at its set time
, may have been influenced by the frequent use of this term in the law of the Sec-
216 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

about the rite is mentioned; however, the message is different. He is to be


told that as a reward for performing this rite, YHWH did for me when I
went free from Egypt. That which YHWH did in Egypt for the Israelites
and their exodus from bondage is to be recalled; no mention is to be made
of the Israelites having been saved from the Destroyer when YHWH passed
over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. The Pesah no longer commemor-
ates the fact that YHWH protected the houses of the Israelites in Egypt;
rather, it commemorates YHWHs deeds during the exodus from Egypt in
general.

4.5.2.2 The Integration of the Pesah with the Unleavened Bread


The laws of unleavened and leavened bread were added in the next stage.
The Septuagint, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and 4QphylE,I,M,Q,R all have
the following variant in v. 6: for six days you shall eat unleavened bread
( ). If this variant is the original, perhaps the author of
v. 6 meant to add six more days to the day just mentioned above (Remem-
ber this day Today you go free) on which this rite (v. 5) is
performed. A similar intent was noted in Deut 16:8.168 Adopting the vari-
ant six days also enables us to comprehend why v. 7 repeats the positive
injunction that unleavened bread shall be eaten the seven days. If v. 6
only mentioned six days, then it is understandable that v. 7 wished to re-
peat the injunction to clarify that unleavened bread should be eaten for all
seven days. Verse 7 also supplements v. 6 by adding the prohibition
against the presence of leaven which had gone unmentioned in v. 6.
Verse 7 seems to have utilized Exod 12:19 as a Vorlage. The formulation
and leaven shall not be detectable to you, within your entire territory
    (13:7) may even reflect a more stringent legal exege-
sis of the formulation leaven shall not be found in your houses 
 (12:19). The impression is given that the statement leavened
food shall not be detectable to you     (13:7), which creates
repetition and awkwardness, was added later.169 This statement is not yet
reflected in Deut 16:4 because it was probably not yet part of the text of
Exod 13:7 used by the Deuteronomic reviser.170 The words and leavened

ond Passover in Num 9:2, 3, 7, 13. As well, the use of the term in the present text
strangely referring to the eating of unleavened bread may actually originate in the
expression  (Exod 12:43; Num 9:14). If these assumptions are correct, they
support the reconstruction of the original existence of a Pesah law in this text.
168
See the discussion of Deuteronomy 16.
169
While the negative injunction prohibiting the presence of leaven ( ) appears in
Exod 12:15, 19 and Deut 16:4, the negative injunction prohibiting the presence (sight) of
leavened food ( ) only appears here in Exod 13:7.
170
See the discussion of Deuteronomy 16.
The Unleavened Bread Section 217

food shall not be eaten (   ) appended to the end of v. 3 left


hanging, detached from the context and temporal framework of seven days
were also apparently added in a secondary revision. Verse 4 (Today you
go free   ) serves as a Wiederaufnahme for the words this
day, on which you went free from Egypt (     ) in
v. 3;171 however, it adds the temporal modifier in the month of Abib
( ), which prepares the groundwork for the addition of the law
regarding eating unleavened bread, which requires the phrase in this
month (  ), at the end of v. 5. The temporal modifier month of
Abib ( ) belongs to the Festival of Unleavened Bread tradition,
and it is taken from Exod 23:15:
The Festival of Unleavened Bread you shall keep
for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you
at the time of the month of Abib ,
because in it you left Egypt.

This verse also functioned as a Vorlage for the version of the law found in
v. 6 (for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread) and for the construc-
tion went free from Egypt and month of Abib in vv. 34. Similarly, the
editorial comment as I commanded you in Exod 23:15 apparently directs
the reader to 13:6. However, the term Festival of Unleavened Bread (
) that appears in Exodus 23 is not to be found in our chapter. This
omission also occurs in Deut 16:18 and the scholars had difficulty ex-
plaining it.172 However, the solution to the problem seems to reside in how
the Pesah and the unleavened bread were integrated. For in both cases, the
laws of unleavened bread not the Festival of Unleavened Bread were
grafted onto the performance of the Pesah. That is to say, the Pesah is the
base stratum and it remains so even in the new, combined version.

4.5.3 The Text in its Present Form


What does the final form of the text say about the performance of the
Pesah? Above, we posited that the reviser who added the laws of unleav-
ened bread was not attempting to shunt the Pesah aside; rather, he was
attempting to add to the one day of the Pesah an additional six days for eat-
ing unleavened bread. He only designated the seventh day as a festival

171
Whence stems the abbreviated phrase in v. 4 Today you go free without the
words from Egypt, which contrasts with the complete phrase in v. 3, this day, on
which you went free from Egypt.
172
In Deuteronomy 16, the concept Festival of Unleavened Bread is missing from
vv. 18, the section in which the secondary integration of Pesah and unleavened bread
occurs. However, in sharp contrast, the concept appears in v. 16, the concluding verse,
which is actually a rewritten version of Exod 34:23.
218 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

because the unique quality of the first day on which the Pesah was per-
formed was taken for granted. A similar conceptualization of the Pesah,
upon which the laws of eating unleavened bread are grafted, is in evidence
in Deut 16:18. Furthermore, that passage has an extraordinary resem-
blance to this one.173 However, we should not presumptuously rule out the
possibility that in the process of revising Exodus 13, so as to arrive at the
text we have before us, an even more radical aim came to the fore. Perhaps
the text in its present form develops a new if somewhat forced interpre-
tation that deems this rite (  ) to be the eating of unleavened
bread, as the current juxtaposition of the verses seems to indicate. Perhaps,
the text in its current form intends to make the rite of the Pesah vanish en-
tirely from this institution (  ) that is to be observed at this set
time from year to year. This concept also has a parallel elsewhere in the
Bible, for this seems to be the meaning of the festival () in Ezek 45:21.
The festival is referred to as Pesah ( ) and it takes place on the four-
teenth of the month; however, it comprises seven days dedicated to eating
unleavened bread, and no mention whatsoever is made of performing the
Pesah. In the chapter on Exodus 12 we posited that this was the original
intent of the reviser responsible for the secondary interpolation of the laws
of unleavened bread into the laws of the Pesah in vv. 120. For as a result
of this editorial activity, in Exod 12:120 there is not even one verse that
commands observance of the Pesah in perpetuity. Instead, following the
laws of the Pesah to be observed in Egypt, the final version of the text pre-
sents the laws of the unleavened bread preceded by a bridging verse (v. 14)
that establishes that the remembrance () of this day (  )
that is, the day of the Pesah, which falls on the fourteenth day of this
month174 will be a   
 (a festival to
YHWH For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread).175 In other
words, the act of commemoration for the Pesah observed in Egypt will be
seven days of eating unleavened bread.
Since we cannot be certain that the substratum of the Pesah text was
preserved in its entirety, it is difficult to conclude beyond the shadow of a
doubt that in addition to adding the laws of the unleavened bread, the
reviser also wished to erase the performance of the Pesah. If we could
ascertain that the original substratum of the text contained an explicit men-
tion of the Pesah, it would be reasonable to assume that its omission from
the final version of the text attests to a deliberate attempt to erase it. Simi-
larly, we cannot ascertain whether the sons question was also left out of

173
In the analysis of Deut 16:18, it became clear that the resemblance is a result of
literary revision and the dependence of the passage in Deuteronomy upon Exodus 13.
174
See v. 6.
175
Verse 15.
The Unleavened Bread Section 219

the final text or what its contents were. Did he ask a question about the
Pesah ritual? Usually when the text provides an answer to a son or sons, a
question is also on record (Exod 12:2627; 13:14; Deut 6:2025; Josh 4:6
7, 2124).176 That a question was asked is all the more likely, since the
expression  (because of this) was used in the answer. This
expression seems to imply that the answer was being given to a question
that was asked.177
The question of the law of the unleavened breads meaning whether as
a supplement to or a substitute for the Pesah for all generations after the
exodus of course also depends upon how the author of Exod 13:310
read and understood the previous chapter, namely, Exodus 12. Given the
extensive literary links between the legal passages in Exodus 13 and those
in Exodus 12,178 there is no reason to assume that the author of Exodus 13
did not have these passages before him in their present state. As will be
recalled, there are also extensive literary links between our section and the
first-born legislation in Exodus 13, and the direction of the literary depend-
ence suggests that the first-born passage was the earlier text.179
In light of these literary data, what conclusions might the synchronic
reader of these texts, namely, the redactor of Exod 13:310, reach concern-
ing the normative character of the Pesah (after that of the exodus)? The
analysis of the complex pericope in Exod 12:120 in chapter 2 led to sev-
eral discoveries about the emphatic points within the text. First of all, it
recognized that the revision from v. 14 and on intended there to be no
Pesah rite after the exodus; in its place, the author legislated seven days of
eating unleavened bread in v. 14 as an eternal law and a remembrance
throughout your generations. Secondly, it brought out conflicting signs
regarding the passage in vv. 2227a in its current form. On the one hand, it
appears to belong to the description of the Pesah rite and appears to claim
for it annual reenactment. On the other hand, it does not presently sit
within the main command to Moses and Aaron (12:1), and another passage
within the instructions by Moses and Aaron makes larger and clearer
claims about the nature of the annual commemorative performance. As a
result, the statement within vv. 2227a about perpetuating the Pesah may
not appear so unambiguous as to resist an alternate interpretation, to wit,

176
For attempts to resolve the omission of the sons question, see Lohfink, Hauptge-
bot, 116117 n. 9.
177
Caloz, Exode XIII, 13, 47.
178
See above. The use of the phrase this law ( ) in Exodus 13 may also
stem from the last passage in Exodus 12, which opens with the formulation, this is the
law of ( ) the Pesah.
179
Such a conclusion seems likely in light of a comparison between, for instance,
vv. 9 and 16. See also Laaf, Pascha-Feier, 3132.
220 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

that one commemorates the Pesah by eating unleavened bread. One read-
ing the texts in this spirit could actually find some measure of confirmation
in the additional Pesah laws in 12:4349 against their otherwise clear as-
sumption that one continues to perform the Pesah since in point of fact
they do not make any mention of the blood rite that so characterizes it in
vv. 111 and 2227a or its other elements.180 Finally, in this chapter it was
argued that the novel design of the first-born legislation in Exodus 13
seems to be intended to offer that legislation as a substitute for the Pesah
described in 12:2227a. If the final editor of 13:310 already recognized
the thrust of 12:1420 and gave it pride of hermeneutic and normative
place, he may very well have been primed to recognize this thrust in
vv. 1116, which as argued in this chapter he knew. At the very least, the
literary history traced in this study has this editor preceded by two other
sets of authors and revisers recognizably attempting to prevent the continu-
ation of the Pesah. It is worth noting at this point that just as this final edi-
tor had a complex relationship with his predecesssors, so did the editors of
Deuteronomy 16 who, as argued in the previous chapter, borrowed from
Exod 13:310 to incorporate the unleavened bread into the Pesah but did
not attempt to use it to supplant the Pesah. For them, as possibly for the
authors of the Priestly calendars in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 2829, the
Pesah and unleavened bread would in some fashion be juxtaposed and
made continuous with each other.
At any event, the section under discussion, it emerges, cannot be under-
stood without factoring in the other passages analyzed and without consid-
ering the opposing conceptualizations surrounding the question of the
character of the Pesah after the exodus. In fact, the final form of the text
discussing both  (the rite) and the (unleavened bread) is a
product of this very controversy. Even those readers who have not yet been
convinced by the diachronic analysis of this passage offered here or in
other scholarly works may be persuaded by the conflict visible in the text
itself, even after it has attained its final edited form. Therefore, the core of
the thesis offered here does not depend upon a diachronic reconstruction of
the text. The very use by this text of terminology taken from the Pesah
pericope in Exod 12:2227a while fashioning an opposing viewpoint and
maintaining a thundering silence with respect to the Pesah itself indicates
an impulse to argue against an apotropaic, extra-temple, Pesah after the ex-
odus. Therefore, it is difficult to say that the literary formulation of vv. 3

180
What the author of Exod 12:4349 did have in mind is not readily apparent be-
cause the passage discusses laws that were not mentioned in the previous Pesah passage.
Furthermore, it should be noted that the law in v. 46a (It shall be eaten in one house: you
shall not take outside the house any of the meat) demonstrates a certain affinity to v. 22b
(None of you, no one, shall step outside the entrance of his house until morning).
The Unleavened Bread Section 221

10 is neutral on the question of the Pesah. On the contrary, the opposite is


true. The formulation of this text is a result of the position it adopted on
this question, a position similar to that apparent in the revised version of
12:120. The advantage of this claim, as mentioned, is that it rests upon
the final literary formulation of the text, but the diachronic perspective evi-
dently is also of value, for it informs us that the controversy surrounding
the Pesah was already part of the original crystallization of this text. For if
the supposition is correct that this section originally dealt exclusively with
the Pesah without the additional laws of leavened and unleavened bread
the nature of that Pesah was very different than that of 12:2227a. And if
so, the texts presentation of the Pesah as commemorating the exodus from
Egypt, and not as commemorating YHWHs protection of the Israelites
homes, is part of the same controversy.181
It does not appear to be possible to reconstruct a convincing and de-
tailed schema of the literary development of the section (vv. 310). How-
ever, the analysis has attempted to demonstrate that the Pesah topic, while
not explicitly mentioned in the final form of the text, apparently finds
expression in it, or found expression in it at an earlier stage of the sections
literary development. The advantages to this supposition are numerous.
First, in light of this we can finally contemplate the goal of this section,
both in its proposed earliest kernel and in its final literary fomulation. Sec-
ond, we can explain the underlying reason for the impediments to textual
coherence, for these were created by the secondary integration of the un-
leavened bread with the Pesah. Third, difficult phrases which are inappro-
priate in their present context are easily understood when related to the
Pesah. Fourth, the parallel phenomenon of the secondary interpolation of
the unleavened bread with the Pesah in Exodus 1213 and Deuteronomy
16 strengthens this supposition and sheds light on these passages differing
and common aims. Fifth, the surprising location of the passage and its
striking resemblance to literary parallels in 12:120 and 13:1116 can be
explained by literary revision and a grappling with the problematic charac-
ter of the apotropaic, extra-temple Pesah. Sixth, the fundamental argument
regarding the purpose of the section remains viable even without the dia-
chronic analysis, for even within the final version of the text the ongoing
controversy over the nature of the Pesah to be performed after the initial
one of the exodus is still noticeable.

181
If Kohlers daring thesis concerning the sign upon the hand and the remembrance
between the eyes (v. 9) is correct (see above, p. 194), it strengthens the supposition that
the present version of the text engages in the controversy against an apotropaic, extra-
temple Pesah.
222 Chapter 4: The Laws of Unleavened Bread and the First-Born

4.6 Summary and Conclusions (Exod 13:116)

Both the section devoted to the unleavened bread and that devoted to the
first-born grapple with the matter of the Pesah raised in the previous chap-
ter. From a literary perspective, the first-born section appears to be a uni-
form, later composition based upon various different sources. It functions
as an innovative version of the first-born legislation designed as an alterna-
tive to the post-exodus Pesah described in Exodus 12. This version appar-
ently did not yet influence the Deuteronomic first-born legislation.182 In
contrast, the unleavened bread section exhibits signs of incremental liter-
ary growth. It is influenced by the literary formulation of the Pesah found
in the previous chapter, and aims to provide an alternative to it. At the
same time, the literary dependence of the unleavened bread section upon
the first-born legislation in Exodus 13 indicates that it is also grappling
with the first-born legislation as a solution to the question of the post-
exodus Pesah. This solution, which placed the burden of commemorating
the exodus from Egypt and the slaying of the first-born exclusively upon the
first-born legislation, apparently did not satisfy the composers of the un-
leavened bread section. Therefore, they wished to return to the unleavened
bread and, apparently, also the rite ( ) of the Pesah as symbols
commemorating the exodus from Egypt. However, unlike the author of the
first-born legislation, they were forced to relinquish their aim of commem-
orating the slaying of the first-born because it conflicted with their overrid-
ing goal of distancing themselves from magical, apotropaic conceptualiza-
tions. As was demonstrated in the discussion of the previous chapter, the
final stages of the revision of the laws of the Pesah and the unleavened
bread in Deuteronomy 16 were already aware of Exod 13:310 in its later
formulation and employed several of its literary elements.
The analysis of this pericope rests upon two literary phenomena particu-
larly discernable in it: (1) its dependence upon a variety of texts derived
from different sources; and (2) the parallels between the formulation of the
Pesah section (12:2227a), the unleavened bread section (13:310), and
the first-born section (13:1116). Unlike previous studies, an attempt was
made to discover the significance of these parallels. Having recognized the
dependence of these sections upon one another, we were able to expose
their ideological motivations their respective modes of grappling with the
question of the Pesahs normative character.

182
Deut 15:1923.
5 Chapter 5

Summary and Conclusions

5.1 Results

Classic literary criticism assigned the Pentateuchs non-Priestly festival


calendars, in their presumed chronological order, to J (Exod 34:1826), E
(Exod 23:1419), and D (Deut 16:117). Each of these calendars is per-
ceived to have arisen within a particular historical milieu; therefore, they
reflect the differing realities of the cultic, religious, and societal institutions
extant at the time of their literary formulation. The literary-critical analysis
in this book attempts to present a different view, in which the festival
regulations discussed are not perceived to reflect directly particular his-
torical, cultic, and social milieus. Some of these regulations, far more than
reflecting a particular historical reality, open a window onto the midrashic
expansion of the Pentateuchal text, that is, they allow us to witness the
various stages of revision and rewriting, similar to midrashic exegesis, that
led to the Pentateuchs formation.
For instance, it became apparent that the two festival calendars in Exod
23:1419 and 34:1826 are not distinct literary formulations, which can be
ascribed to the J document and E document, but rather the latter (34:1826)
is a rewritten midrashic version of the former (23:1419). In this case,
the process of inner-biblical midrash resolved difficulties, illuminated or
eliminated obscure words and phrases, and drew conclusions based on the
juxtaposition of disparate elements in the earlier text. Archaic linguistic
usages were replaced by later ones, and discrepancies between this ancient
festival calendar and others found in the Pentateuch were harmonized.
Therefore, the festival calendar in Exod 34:1826 does not reflect an
independent tradition; rather, it is a midrashically reworked and rewritten
version of the tradition found in Exod 23:1419. This claim receives
further validation from the calendars stylistic and substantive similarity to
the Deuteronomic literature and to Priestly texts. This reappraisal of Exod
34:1826 also enables us to gain insight into the purpose of the legislation
in Exodus 34 within its present context. In contrast to the quantity and
variety of regulations which appear in the Book of the Covenant (20:22
23:19), the selection of laws found at the renewal of the covenant in
Exodus 34 is limited to only two areas of law: those laws concerning the
224 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

prohibition against idol worship and those laws concerning festivals, laws
that the Israelites had just spectacularly failed to uphold by erroneously
establishing a festival (32:5) and by sacrificing and bowing down to the
golden calf (32:6, 8). The analysis, therefore, also affects our understand-
ing of the complex narrative context of Exodus 3234 in which our text
finds itself.
Diverse reworked and rewritten literary strata are also apparent in Deut
16:117. An attempt was made to decide the fiercely debated question of
what the original kernel of this passage comprised. According to our liter-
ary-critical analysis, this constituted the centralization of the Pesah sacri-
fice. This conclusion was reached by drawing upon four different criteria:
style, syntax, substantive contents and comparison with parallel texts. The
approach enabled us to reach a new understanding of the laws purpose;
for it became apparent that the law does not aim to provide instruction
about how the Pesah should be performed, but rather solely intends to im-
part where it should be performed.
The newly determined literary boundaries and purpose of the original
legislation became the key to understanding the components of the law and
served to resolve several difficulties that had been raised concerning the
substance of the law both those elements present in it and those elements
presumed by certain scholars to have been omitted. Consequently, the basis
for certain theories was undermined, for instance, those concerning the ex-
cision of the Festival of Unleavened Bread from the original Deuteronomic
calendar because of its presumed agricultural Canaanite character.
It was only in later revisional stages that the original legislation was
subjected to midrashic expansions that supplemented and updated it. The
revisers did not perceive the original ordinance as regulating the centraliz-
ation of the Pesah sacrifice but sought to shape it into a law regulating the
proper performance of the Pesah festival as a whole. They consequently
added and appended to it ordinances relating to the way the sacrifice was to
be consumed, as well as laws concerning the eating of unleavened bread and
the reasons for which these were instituted, since in their conception, Pe-
sah and the Festival of Unleavened Bread had already become one festival.
In analyzing the ideological impulses underlying the revised strata in
Deut 16:117, the importance of viewing this text both in an all-encom-
passing fashion and in contrast with the texts of Exod 23:1419 and 34:18
26 became apparent. The comparative perspective enabled us to identify
the various stages of the inner-biblical exegesis. Several of the literary and
substantive programmatic impulses that find expression in Exod 34:1826
which is a revision of Exod 23:1419 continue in and are completed by
the revised strata in Deut 16:117. In contradistinction to the prevailing
scholarly opinion, it was found that Exod 34:1826 is an intermediate link,
Results 225

vital to comprehending the processes of revision and rewriting that con-


nects Exod 23:1419 and Deut 16:117. This fresh perspective allowed us
to resolve a number of classic scholarly difficulties and questions arising
from the combined presence of Pesah and unleavened bread legislation in
the pericope of Deut 16:18.
Our analysis of Exod 12:128 also demonstrated that the text before us
consists of various revised and rewritten strata. In order to provide a solid
basis for our literary-critical analysis, these Priestly laws were analyzed on
three separate levels: substantive, syntactic-stylistic, and structural. Each
of these analyses led to the same conclusion: the original base layer of the
text contains a description of the legislation delineating the performance of
the Pesah; this legislation, however, was in turn explained and expanded by
an inner-biblical midrashic layer interpolated into the text. The goal of this
inner-biblical midrash is astonishingly similar to that of the post-biblical
legal midrash as it completes the original text by offering those supple-
ments necessary for the practical performance of the law. These supple-
ments were interpolated into the text in an impressive chiastic structure.
The new understanding of the pericopes diachronic structural develop-
ment even led to the resolution of a literary-critical riddle concerning the
Pentateuchal law-codes that has puzzled scholars since the dawn of modern
biblical scholarship: the literary-critical appraisal of Exod 12:2127. On
the one hand, the text has an undeniable Priestly character, in terms of its
contents, concepts, and language. On the other hand, scholars have been
reticent to label this pericope a continuation of the Priestly Pesah legisla-
tion found in Exod 12:113 for two reasons: firstly, both its opening and
closing contain linguistic material that may indicate a literary-critical as-
cription to a pre-Priestly layer; secondly, Exod 12:2127 seems to be re-
dundant, as it repeats information already imparted in the parallel Priestly
Pesah laws found in Exod 12:113. The early scholars for instance,
Wellhausen and Kuenen were well aware of both the difficulty in per-
forming a literary-critical appraisal of Exod 12:2127 and of the impact
such a determination would have on the study of the religious and cultic
evolution of Israel. However, over time a scholarly consensus developed
that ascribed this text either in its entirety or, at least, in so far as its pro-
posed kernel was concerned to the J document. Even though the contents
of Exod 12:2127 do not agree with the assumptions of the non-Priestly
narrative for instance, the departure from Egypt taking place at night
most scholars accept the attribution to the J document or to a pre-Priestly
composition.
Since Exod 12:2127 contains only a description of the blood rite, and
not the entire corpus of Pesah laws, prevailing scholarly opinion concluded
that according to the J document the Pesah was not to be consumed at all,
226 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

rather the laws of the Pesah according to J dictate only the blood rite.
Upon this assumption, a host of other theories were developed concerning
Israels cultic evolution.
In contradistinction to this approach, the analysis presented in this book
demonstrated that the core text under discussion excluding the beginning
(v. 21) and the conclusion (v. 27b), which were proven to be secondary ad-
ditions is really a continuation of the inner-biblical legal midrash that
explains the original Pesah law. The repetition engendered by this text is
not merely redundant; rather, it serves to supplement those missing details
regarding the blood rite already mentioned in the original Pesah legislation
(v. 7). This process of supplementation precisely mirrors, both program-
matically and stylistically, the inner-biblical legal midrash discovered ear-
lier in Exod 12:113. Furthermore, Exod 12:2227a completes the fully
formed chiastic structure, in which the inner-biblical legal midrashic sup-
plements to the original Pesah legislation were arranged.
Our analysis also removed another obstacle to understanding the juxta-
position of the Priestly laws of Pesah and unleavened bread in Exod 12:1
28. Both in the Septuagint and in the Mekhilta, the literary discontinuity
and the difficult transition between the Pesah pericope (vv. 113) and the
laws of the unleavened bread (vv. 1617, 1820) were already felt. How-
ever, in the light of the literary-critical analysis proffered these difficulties
cease to be problematic; the organic continuation of the layer containing
the Pesah legislation is to be found in vv. 2227a, and not in the verses be-
ginning with v. 14. The original version of the text has had its textual flow
interrupted; details of the blood rite and the festive conclusion to the Pesah
legislation, found in v. 22 and vv. 2427a, 28 in the present formulation of
the text, were rejected and disjoined. The reasons for this dislocation ap-
pear to lie in the fact that the apotropaic blood rite was theologically prob-
lematic in the eyes of the midrashic reworkers, the extra-temple nature of
the Pesah sacrifice also raising difficulties from a cultic perspective. The
challenges posed by these two aspects are visible from a close examination
of v. 23 and its parallels in vv. 1213, which were created in the revision
and rewriting process.
Notwithstanding the similarity between certain elements in the revision
processes undertaken in Exod 12:128 and Deut 16:18 respectively, it
was noted that while in the Deuteronomic legislation the Pesah sacrifice is
a temple offering and no mention is made of the apotropaic blood rite, the
revisers of the Priestly Pesah legislation were forced to deal with an extant
tradition that understood the Pesah to be an extra-temple offering and
included a description of the apotropaic blood rite. Therefore, the revisers
truncated the Priestly Pesah legislation and severed it from its original con-
clusion, which demanded the Pesah sacrifice be observed in perpetuity
Results 227

(v. 24). In its current form, Exod 12:120 does not present the laws of the
Pesah as legislated for perpetuity, but rather as the laws of the Pesah per-
formed in Egypt. Instead of the Pesah to be observed in perpetuity, the text
legislates a festival to YHWH throughout the agesan institution for all
time (v. 14), a festival which will function to commemorate the Pesah
that took place in Egypt (ibid.). Indeed, in the description of this festival
(beginning with v. 15), instead of mentioning the performance of the
Pesah, the eating of unleavened bread for seven days is mentioned.
Thus it became clear that just as in Deut 16:18, in Exod 12:128 the
laws of the Pesah formed the substratum of the original text, while the laws
of unleavened bread were added at a later date. In both, the day on which
the Pesah was performed and the period during which unleavened bread
was eaten were merged. However, while in Deut 16:18, the laws of unleav-
ened bread are appended as secondary commandments to the Pesah leg-
islation, we may infer that in Exodus 12, from v. 14 and on, the laws of un-
leavened bread were introduced as a replacement for the Pesah. Ultimately,
the notion that the Pesah was to be observed in perpetuity was not entirely
rejected by the Priestly corpus, and in the Priestly festival calendars a
system of dates was established in which the day upon which the Pesah
was performed and the dates upon which the Festival of Unleavened Bread
occurred were juxtaposed, but not conflated (Lev 23:56; Num 28:1617).
At the same time, the fact that the Priestly rewriters distinguished between
the Egyptian Pesah and the Pesah to be observed in perpetuity decisively
influenced subsequent biblical writers. Indeed, apart from Exod 12:2227a,
no biblical or extra-biblical evidence now exists that an apotropaic
blood rite ever formed part of the post-exodus Pesah observance.
It was pointed out that the relationship between the Pesah legislation in
Deuteronomy and the Priestly Pesah laws cannot be used to draw far-
reaching conclusions concerning the chronological relationship between D
and the Priestly literature because of the literary complexity of both docu-
ments. Indeed, it became clear that there may very well be mutual literary
links between the reworked Pesah legislation in Deuteronomy and the
Priestly Pesah laws, given that the texts were formulated in an ongoing
process of literary shaping and reshaping.
We established by inference that the Pesah institution was not recorded
in the J document, for neither Exod 34:25 nor Exod 12:2127 could be as-
cribed to that document. The Priestly literature, throughout its many strata1
and in its many offshoots,2 often discussed the Pesah; in this very literature
the Pesah was granted the status of being YHWHs offering (Num 9:7,

1
Exod 12:113, 2227a, 28, 4350; Lev 23:5; Num 9:114; 28:16; 33:3; see also Josh
5:112 (see Cooke, Joshua, 38).
2
Ezra 6:1920; 2 Chr 30:119; 35:119.
228 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

13), an offering that can even be performed after its time has passed (ibid.,
1011).3 Nonetheless, the Priestly writers and revisers both had to grapple
with an ancient Pesah tradition predating them.4

5.2 Implications of the Methodological Approach


for the Study of the Festivals

The scholarly approach adopted by the Wellhausen school views the law-
codes generally and the laws of the festivals in particular as different
stages of religious and cultic development. Thus, each literary formulation
of the law-codes reflects a particular historical stage, one that evolved in a
linear fashion out of the stage preceding it. In contrast, Y. Kaufman
asserted that the Pentateuchal law-codes were free-standing creations, in-
dependent of one another,5 and that one should not presume a historical
dependency among them, even though they stem from a common source.6
In his opinion, both the Book of the Covenant and the Deuteronomic law
are independent crystallizations lacking any literary-critical relationship
springing from ancient Israels legal-moral literature. The common con-
tent and linguistic affinities that we find in these two legal codes only
serve to demonstrate their affinity for one another and their common
source, not a literary-historical relationship predicating dependence.7
From the literary-critical analysis undertaken in this book it emerged that
neither of these approaches adequately interprets the texts containing the
festival regulations we are discussing. On the one hand, against Kaufman, it
is clear that a literary dependence between various laws can be identified,
while on the other, we have indicated that the historical-evolutionary
perspective is too narrow to explain their extant formulation.
This latter conclusion is drawn from two principal findings. Firstly, the
literary dependence is especially evident in the secondary revisional strata,8
for instance, in the literary dependence evinced by Deut 16:1, 34 upon its
counterpart in Exodus. Furthermore, the complex literary character of the
festival laws may in fact suggest a mutual literary dependence between
various regulations. Therefore, it is impossible to establish an absolute

3
See also 2 Chr 30:119.
4
As already mentioned, neither Wellhausen nor his supporters denied that the Priestly
literature also preserved traditions of great antiquity; see also Rof, Introduction to Deu-
teronomy, 33, 36, 42, 48.
5
Kaufman, , I, 53; see also Merendino, Deuteronomisches Gesetz, 401402.
6
Kaufman, , I, 54.
7
Ibid., 58. Emphasis in original.
8
This was already noted by Steuernagel, Deuteronomium, 40.
Implications of the Methodological Approach 229

diachronic evaluation or any relative chronologic relationship between


complete law-codes. Rather, a literary-critical analysis must be carried out
independently on each textual unit in order to discover its possible literary
affinities with other passages.
Secondly, the extant form of the various festival regulations is not
merely the product of a particular historical setting but, more essentially, it
is the result of inner-biblical exegesis. In other words, we are not dealing
with the development of the Israelite cultus but with the history of cultic
literature in Israel.
Applying the term midrash to the activity of revision and rewriting
undertaken in these texts apparently suits the character and ideological
agenda underlying their reworking, for the process goes far beyond the
laws adaptation to a new reality. As in the post-biblical legal midrashim,
in the biblical texts, the process of revision and rewriting sprang to life in
the context of an attempt to study and interpret the texts under discussion.
As in the post-biblical legal midrashim, the act of revision and rewriting
was also designed to explain obscure words or bridge the differences or
contradictions arising among the various legal codes. We even discovered
among the revisional techniques inherently midrashic hermeneutics, such
as the exegesis of juxtaposed passages. The use of the term midrash was,
therefore, intended to characterize the agenda underlying the layers of revi-
sion and rewriting, not to describe the layers literary form, for revisional
activity may adopt various literary forms.9

5.2.1 Exegetical Layer


Revisional activity may take the form of a secondary layer interpolated in-
to the substratum of the original text. For an example of this, see the mid-
rashic layer found in Exod 12:128. Given that this layer adopts a chiastic
structure that informs every part of the revision, it seems likely that the en-
tire inner-biblical midrash including each and every one of its component
parts was added simultaneously. As mentioned above, this secondary
layers agenda is remarkably similar to that of the post-biblical legal mid-
rashim. The original biblical passages and their midrash appear alongside
one another, distinguished both by linguistic and literary markers.

9
Post-biblical midrash may also adopt various literary forms. Indeed, the very defini-
tion of midrash is a matter of dispute; see Portons overview, Defining Midrash, 5862.
For a more inclusive definition of midrash, see Shinan Zakovitch, Midrash within
Scripture, 258262; Zakovitch, Inner-Biblical and Extra-Biblical Midrash, 1520.
It is beyond the scope of this book to define the essence of midrash, so we will limit
ourselves to pointing out the similarities and the methodological and programmatic con-
tinuities between inner-biblical and post-biblical midrash.
230 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

5.2.2 Expansional and Supplementary Layer


A different type of literary crystallization was discovered in the interpo-
lated material present in Deut 16:18. In this instance, the supplementation
created textual disjunctures and even substantive difficulties. Furthermore,
the interpolated material seems to have been added in numerous stages of
an ongoing process rather than at one time, for each stage disrupts the text-
ual flow of its predecessor. The purpose of these revisional additions is to
expand, supplement, and complete the original text by utilizing material
borrowed from parallel laws elsewhere in Exodus. This goal is also charac-
teristic of post-biblical legal midrashim; however, it is also found in the
Samaritan Pentateuch and in the ancient biblical translations.

5.2.3 Rewriting and Replacement


Rewriting is another form adopted to give expression to the hermeneutic
activity of the later writers. For instance, the verses comprising Exod
12:1213 are in actuality a rewritten version of Exod 12:23. The results of
our literary-critical analysis even indicate that the rewriter wished to re-
place the original text with the rewritten one. Fortunately, both texts the
original and the rewritten version were preserved in the Pentateuch. This
gives us the opportunity to undertake the valuable endeavor of comparing
the two texts against each other and investigating the interpretive agenda
that is part and parcel of the act of rewriting. It became apparent that this
comparative technique provides a powerful tool for explaining the logic
behind the many discrepancies between the two parallel texts and for reveal-
ing the rewriters motivations. The comparison revealed that the rewriters
motivations corresponded to those intrinsic to midrash; some of these
motivations continued expression can even be discerned in post-biblical
midrash of both the legal and non-legal kinds.
A similar observation may be made concerning the ideological program
reflected in the festival calendar in Exod 34:1826. This text yields fruitful
results when analyzed as an inner-biblical midrash on Exod 23:1419. It
has become clear that the components of this revised version the changes,
deletions, and additions were undertaken with an inherently midrashic
goal in mind and were made in keeping with exegetical concerns related to
the study of the Vorlage in Exod 23:1419. In this case, though, the revision
was not undertaken to replace the text of the original. Its narrative frame
and current location imply that it was seen as a fuller, more precise and de-
terminative version of the original. One should note that in contradistinction
to the prevailing consensus in contemporary scholarship, the aforementioned
analysis of Exod 34:1826 presumed the entire text to be of one whole
cloth, for we did not find sufficient evidence of literary stratification in it.
Implications of the Methodological Approach 231

Similar to the way the calendar in Exod 34:1826 meant to replace that
in 23:1419 as the final word on how to perform cultic matters, without
having the calendar as formulated in 23:1419 actually excised from the
text, the passage in 13:1116 appears intended to have the first-born
practice replace the Pesah, without an attempt to eliminate verses and
pericopes from chapter 12. However, unlike the calendar in chapter 34, the
first-born law of 13:1116 has no narrative frame that weaves it into the
running text. Rather, within Exodus it appears out of chronological
sequence and as a literary unit on its own terms it begins very abruptly, so
much so that one may even wonder whether it had originally been
composed on an unconnected sheet or scroll and only subsequently was
attached. Such questions about the provenance of the original material did
arise with regard to other passages, most distinctly so in the case of the
bedrock paragraph about the Pesah within Exod 12:111. Likewise, the
passage about eating unleavened bread as the proper manner by which to
commemorate the exodus in Exod 13:310 not only lacks any clear join
with the current flow of Exodus 12, but bears indications that it once had
different contents that were explicitly about Pesah practices but possibly
different from those laid out in Exodus 12. Namely, here, too, one cannot
gainsay the possibility or even likelihood of a text that treated the same
topics as Exodus 12 and made alternate claims about them, but was not
together with Exodus 12 in the same composition, on the same scroll. The
completely disjointed form of vv. 12, which do not connect with vv. 310
or even vv. 1116, and require Num 3:1213 for their very intelligibility,
only press the point even further.
The recognition of the variety of ways, in which inner-biblical exegesis
gains expression, as revealed by the literary-critical analysis, is important
to the methodological discussion. For the investigative method chosen
must be open from the very start to the possibility of a broad range such as
this. Therefore, one literary-critical model cannot be applied to all the texts
under discussion; rather, each text must be analyzed individually.
An analysis of the inner-biblical interpretive agenda, as mentioned,
reveals the revisers and rewriters motivations for adding to and changing
the extant text. The revelation of these motivations enhances our ability to
understand the text in its final form. For this reason, much attention was
paid to this aspect. Discovering the revisers and rewriters motivations
also increases the validity of the results of their literary-critical analyses.
However, care must be taken not to reverse the procedure and base the
textual analysis on the supposed motivations of the revisers and rewriters;
the unbiased literary-critical analysis must be undertaken first, so as to
provide a firm foundation for the theoretical one.
232 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

The concepts of inner-biblical exegesis or inner-biblical midrash have


been employed widely by scholars in recent years.10 However, it must be
emphasized that the great early scholars did not find the hermeneutic
evaluation of the secondary revisional layers to be foreign to them. Al-
ready in 1862, Popper characterized the ideological motivation underlying
the description of the actual building of the tabernacle found in Exodus
3539 as diaskeuetic, namely, programmatic rewriting (from the Greek,
GLDVNHXD]HLQ).11 For Popper and, indeed, the many scholars who have

10
See, for example: H. W. Hertzberg, Die Nachgeschichte alttestamentlicher Texte
innerhalb des Alten Testaments, in: Werden und Wesen des Alten Testaments (BZAW
66), eds.: P. Volz F. Stummer J. Hempel, Berlin 1936, 110121; I. L. Seeligmann,
Voraussetzungen der Midraschexegese, SVT 1 (1953), 150181; R. Bloch, zchiel
XVI: Exemple parfait du procd midrashique dans la Bible, CS 9 (1955), 193223; G.
Fohrer, Tradition und Interpretation im Alten Testament, ZAW 73 (1961), 130 (15
16); S. Sandmel, The Haggada within Scripture, JBL 80 (1961), 105122; N. M. Sarna,
Psalm 89: A Study in Inner Biblical Exegesis, in: Biblical and Other Studies, ed.: A.
Altmann, Cambridge (Massachusetts) 1963, 2946; J. Weingreen, The Deuteronomic
Legislator A Proto-Rabbinic Type, in: Proclamation and Presence: Essays in Honor of
G. Henton Davies, eds.: F. Durham R. Porter, Richmond 1970, 7689; I. Willi-Plein,
Vorformen der Schriftexegese innerhalb des Alten Testaments (BZAW 123), Berlin/New
York 1971; B. S. Childs, Midrash and the Old Testament, in: Understanding the Sacred
Text: Essays in Honor of Morton J. Enslin, ed.: J. Reumann, Valley Forge 1972, 4559;
F. F. Bruce, The Earliest OT Interpretation, OTS 17 (1972), 3752; A. Toeg, Legal
Midrash Numbers 15:2231, Tarbiz 43 (5734), 120 (Hebrew); E. Tov, Midrash Type
Exegesis in the LXX of Joshua, RB 85 (1978), 5061; M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpreta-
tion in Ancient Israel, Oxford 1985; Y. Zakovitch, Introduction to Inner-Biblical Inter-
pretation, Even Yehudah 1992 (Hebrew); A. Rof, Elisha at Dothan (2 Kings 6:8
23): Historico-Literary Criticism Sustained by the Midrash, in: Ki Baruch Hu: Ancient
Near Eastern, Biblical, and Judaic Studies in Honor of Baruch A. Levine, eds.: R. Chazan
et al., Winona Lake (Indiana) 1999, 345353; idem, Ruth 4:11 LXX a Midrashic Dra-
matization, Textus 20 (2000), 129140; Y. Zakovitch, Book of the Covenant, in: Texts,
Temples and Traditions: A Tribute to Menahem Haran, eds.: M. V. Fox et al., Winona
Lake (Indiana) 1996, 59*64* (Hebrew); A. Rof, From Tradition to Criticism: Jewish
Sources as an Aid to the Critical Study of the Hebrew Bible, SVT 66 (1997), 235247
(see the bibliographical list at the end of the article); see also the literature cited in J. H.
Tigay, An Early Technique of Aggadic Exegesis, in: History, Historiography and Inter-
pretation: Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Literature, eds.: H. Tadmor M. Weinfeld,
Jerusalem/Leiden 1986, 170 n. 3; see also the enlightening surveys of the history of bibli-
cal scholarship: K. Schmid, Innerbiblische Schriftauslegung: Aspekte der Forschungs-
geschichte, in: Schriftauslegung in der Schrift: Festschrift fr Odil Hannes Steck zu
seinem 65. Geburtstag, eds.: R. G. Kratz T. Krger K. Schmid, Berlin/New York
2000, 122; B. M. Levinson, Legal Revision and Religious Renewal in Ancient Israel,
New York 2008, 95181; Y. Zakovitch, Inner-Biblical and Extra-Biblical Midrash and
the Relationship Between Them, Jerusalem 2009 (Hebrew).
11
J. Popper, Der biblische Bericht ber die Stiftshtte: Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der
Composition und Diaskeue des Pentateuch, Leipzig 1862. Poppers influence on
Wellhausen (see Composition des Hexateuchs, 144147) and Kuenen (see below) is well
Implications of the Methodological Approach 233

followed in his footsteps until this very day, the account of the tabernacles
actual construction (Exodus 3540) is a secondary stratum that repeats
with certain variations the details of the tabernacles construction which
were described when the command to build it was given in Exodus 25
31.12 In Poppers opinion, the changes introduced by the secondary layer
stem from the rewriting process.13 Kuenen also employed the term dia-
skeuetic to describe the ideological program fueling the secondary revi-
sional strata, and alongside the J, E, D, and P documents he discovered
midrashic layers in the Pentateuch.14 In contrast to the popular impression,
most of the scholars who bore allegiance to Wellhausens school did not
view the division of the Pentateuch into documents as a simple, mechani-
cal endeavor; rather, they were well aware of the literary complexity attest-
ed by each of the documents.15 In Wellhausens opinion, this internal liter-
ary complexity is merely an expression of the revisional activity reflected
in the Pentateuchs documents.16

known. Wellhausen held the Jewish scholar Popper in high esteem and referred to him as
the learned Rabbi; see Wellhausen, ibid., 146.
12
Hurowitz tested this supposition in light of ancient Near Eastern accounts of temple
construction; see Hurowitz, Building of the Tabernacle, 2130. In making his argu-
ment, Popper relied upon the Septuagints version of the text. For a re-examination of the
Septuagint as a textual witness on this matter, see Gooding, Tabernacle; Aejmelaeus,
Translation Techniques; see also Bogaert, Limportance de la Septante, 399428, and
the literature cited therein.
13
Wellhausen accepted Poppers conclusions and elaborated on both the substantive
differences between the two parallel accounts and the inner-biblical exegetical program
found in the revisional stratum (Exodus 3540); see Wellhausen, Composition des Hexa-
teuchs, 145.
14
See Rof, Abraham Kuenens Contribution, 111112.
15
In the introductory remarks to his Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, Wellhausen
expresses his gratitude to Kuenen for causing him to break free from the remaining el-
ements of the mechanical approach to dividing the sources that had originally been part
of his thinking; see ibid., 8 n. 2.
16
See Wellhausens remarks on the secondary revisional strata in the P document
(Composition des Hexateuchs, 178179) and in the D document (ibid., 192); see too his
remarks on the internal literary complexity of the P document (ibid., 135, 137, 184), the J
document, and the E document (ibid., 207). In this context, Wellhausen who is usually
identified with the new documentary hypothesis (neuere Urkundenhypothese) also ap-
plies the supplementary hypothesis (Ergnzungshypothese) to a certain degree: Der Ein-
fachheit wegen abstrahire ich meistens davon, dass der literarische Process in Wirksam-
keit complicirter gewesen ist und die sogenannte Ergnzungshypothese in untergeordne-
ter Weise doch ihre Anwendung findet (ibid., 207). That is to say, Wellhausen did not
apply the supplementary method in order to account for the genesis of the composition
known as the Pentateuch; rather, he adopted it in order to explain the developmental
stages in the growth of the Pentateuchal documents. Indeed, it is in the work of scholars
who championed the supplementary approach that the notion of secondary revisional lay-
ers, commenting upon and completing the substratum of the original text, is first voiced.
234 Chapter 5: Summary and Conclusions

In the analysis proffered here, an attempt has been made to integrate lit-
erary-critical study with the hermeneutic perspective on literary crystalli-
zation. This approach, it seems, can also be employed to enrich our schol-
arly understanding of the other Pentateuchal festival texts in particular and
of the Pentateuchal law-codes in general. In the light of the undeniably
Priestly elements discovered in the interpretive stratum in Exod 12:128, it
seems that further study would profitably investigate whether the same lit-
erary-critical paradigm has imprinted itself upon other texts belonging to
the Priestly corpus in the Pentateuch. Indeed, the phenomenon of unex-
plained vacillation between forms of address appears elsewhere in the
Priestly literature17 and in every case the text employing the second person
address adds details expanding upon what was just said in the third person
address. Therefore, the possibility that in some or even in all of these
texts the fingerprints of a later inner-biblical midrashic exegete are to be
found should be examined. Be that as it may, the exegetical, literary, and
aesthetic aspects of these inner-biblical midrashim which are usually ar-
ranged in artistically-designed chiastic structures should not be ignored.
In analyzing the non-Priestly law-codes, literary-critical study must also
be integrated with the hermeneutic perspective on literary crystallization.
Recently, this approach, as mentioned, has achieved recognition in various
studies. Nevertheless, the literary-critical analysis accompanying these
studies has not always been well grounded, as it fails to distinguish be-
tween original or revised texts. For not all of the legal material in Deuter-
onomy is a product of the rewriting of the Book of the Covenant. The func-
tion of literary-critical analysis is to distinguish between various materials
and attempt to ascertain the differing programmatic impulses fueling them.
In the current scholarship devoted to the biblical laws there is a lack of
persuasive literary-critical analyses upon which to construct more compre-
hensive theories regarding the genesis of the Pentateuchal law-codes and
the methods utilized to revise and edit them. At this stage in the history of
biblical scholarship, it seems that there is still a great need for solid, liter-
ary-critical analyses of the Pentateuchs legal material, so as to provide a
sounder foundation for future scholarship.

As early as 1807, long before Heinrich Ewald presented his fully-crystallized supple-
mentary hypothesis, W. M. L. de Wette expressed himself in a similar vein: Durch die
Genesis und den Anfang des Exodus zieht sich ein ursprngliches Ganzes, eine Art von
epischem Gedicht, das frher als fast alle brigen Stcke und von diesen gleichsam das
Original, der Urkundensammlung ber diesen Theil der Geschichte als Grundlage gedient
hat, auf welche die brigen als Erluterungen und Supplemente aufgetragen sind [italics
mine] (de Wette, Beitrge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 2829; compare Kraus,
Geschichte der Erforschung, 147).
17
Exod 14:2; 25:29; Num 9:23; 10:310; 15:3841; 35:28.
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