Closely tied to the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day observance. According to Exodus 12:18, it begins on the evening of the 14th day of the first month, meaning it occurs concurrently with Passover. However, Leviticus 23:5 says that it begins on the 15th day of the first month. Due to this, some people recognize the feast beginning on the Passover and others as beginning on the day after the Passover. Either way, part of the Passover commandment is to eat unleavened bread, so the night of Passover is a natural part of the feast of unleavened bread observance.
Additionally, Exodus gives more clarity by stating that the feast lasts from the 14th evening through the 21st day of the first month at sunset. At evening on the 21st day, the feast ends, having occurred seven nights and seven days.
According to Exodus 12, all leaven is supposed to be removed from Israelite dwellings. In Leviticus, this is not specified. Rather, it focuses on what people are to do on the special Sabbaths that occur on the first and seventh day of the feast, as well as the days in between.
Interestingly, Leviticus 23:8 instructs on what is to be done during all seven days. The common translation of this verse contradicts the direct command of Moses, not to kindle a fire on the Sabbath. So we’ll investigate why this is and attain the true translation and interpretation of this verse.
Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. – Exodus 35:3
But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto Yahuwah seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. – Leviticus 23:8
So, does the bible contradict itself? Or is one of these verses mistranslated? Let’s take a look.
Below is Exodus 35:3 in Hebrew.
לא־תבערו אש בכל משבתיכם ביום השבת
From right to left it reads,
(your dwellings) משבתיכם (in all) בכל (fire) אש (not you will burn him) לא־תבערו
(the sabbath) השבת (in day) ביום
Correct Interpretation: You will not burn a fire in any of your dwellings on the sabbath day.
The key words here are the root words בער, meaning to burn and אש, meaning a fire – burn a fire.
On the other hand, in Hebrew, Leviticus 23:8 reads:
והקרבתם אשה ליהוה שבעת ימים ביום השביעי מקרא־קדש כל־מלאכת עבדה לא תעשו
From right to left this verse reads,
(seven (f)) שבעת (to Yahuwah) ליהוה (a woman (f)) אשה (and you will draw near) והקרבתם
(holy reading) מקרא־קדש (the seventh) השביעי (in day) ביום (days) ימים
(she will do him) תעשו (not) לא (her service (f)) עבדה (all business (f)) כל־מלאכת
Correct Interpretation: And you will draw near, woman to Yahuwah, seven days. On the seventh day of holy reading (referring to an instruction from verse 7) all business service (or business of serving), she will not do it.
See, esh (אש) means “fire” but eshah (אשה) could mean either “her fire” or “woman”. Additionally, the word translated to offer, karab (קרב), literally means to draw near to. Either way Israel is being told to offer or to draw near (give) their women to Yahuwah for seven days. Alternatively, He is instructing Israel to draw near her fire to Yahuwah for seven days, which simply does not make sense and is contrary to the commandment, in this verse, to do no service or work.
Further support for this is in the use of feminine forms in verse 8. These indicate that the object of this instruction is also feminine. In other words, the instruction is about something or someone feminine – in this case, a woman.
What I am saying is that the feast of unleavened bread instructs the people to allow the woman of a household to draw close to Yahuwah to meet, read, and/or call upon that which is holy and not doing anything else.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is an instruction to the men, women, and children of Israel because they are all required to play a role in making it possible for women to completely devote themselves to Yahuwah.
This isn’t a new thing… The same idea is demonstrated in the menstruation laws for women. In Leviticus 15:19-23, a woman is deemed “unclean” for a minimum of seven days, for practical purposes, such as to reduce contamination and spread of infection and disease. However, there is a deeper purpose that is the answer to why God created women to menstruate in the first place. Being the creator, he could have created the reproductive process however he wanted, but he made women to have to purge monthly as a healthy part of the reproductive process.
Each month a woman is to be given seven days to be set apart from everyone. This is often looked upon as a negative command, but is it? God gives seven days of sabbath (ceasing) to menstruating women each month, in addition to regular and special sabbaths. This is time for a woman to rest and to purge all the unfruitfulness from her womb. To completely understand this from a spiritual and scriptural perspective, study the topic from a Hebraic perspective.
For now, this is a parallel command that it is to be observed annually except it specifies what the women is to do during these seven days – draw near to Yahuwah and meet, read, or call upon the holy things.
So while the feast of unleavened bread is an observance for all of Israel, during this observance, the women of the households are specifically instructed to draw near and call upon Yahuwah; rather than to offer an offering by fire, which is the opposite of what it means to “not do work”, as is directly condemned by Moses.
The bow on the gift is that the significance of a women’s role during this festival can be found in the New Testament being demonstrated by the Messiah himself.
Recently, I have wondered why Jesus was only with women in the last days. And now at this very moment, God is revealing the answer to that question.
The following scriptures had me baffled up until this very moment.
And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him – Matthew 27:55
I wondered why were women, rather than men or just anyone, following Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem? Why women specifically?
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. – Matthew 28:5
Why were the women the only ones, besides Joseph of Arimathea, concerned with the Messiah’s burial arrangements? Where was his family and other followers?
There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. – Mark 15:40-41
Why were the women following and “ministering” unto the Messiah when he said he didn’t come to be ministered to but to minister? (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45)
And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. – Luke 23:27
Why did only the women, whom he called daughters of Jerusalem, mourn him?
And all his acquaintance, and the women that followed him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things. – Luke 23:49
Why are the women singled out as observers of the crucifixion of the Messiah?
And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. – Luke 23:55
It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. – Luke 24:10
Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. – Luke 24:22-23
Basically, I wondered why women played such a huge role in Jesus’ last days as a living human being and first days as a risen incorruptible Savior. Afterall, our English translations almost make it seem as though women’s only function was to destroy men. Suddenly, at the end of the Messiah’s life, we serve a purpose, although our purpose was not clear to me until now.
Although the writings that we have translated in English rarely depicts the role of women in the kingdom, Yahushua demonstrates that role in the company he keeps in his last days which were during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The women who were with the Messiah at the “end” of his ministry on earth, had left their homes and families and traveled with him to Jerusalem for the feast as originally commanded in the Torah. For this reason, it was women who were with him when he was crucified and the first to notice that he had been resurrected. It was the “Daughters of Jerusalem” who cried and lamented over him when he was being strung up on a cross. It was also women who spoke to the angel who told them what had happened to the body and women who were the first whom the Messiah appeared to.
It’s not a coincidence but divine order. Yahuwah ordained the Feast of Unleavened Bread and how it was to be observed – women set apart solely to the service of God for seven days. Likewise, Jeremiah 9:18 indicates that women had a special duty to lament and to wail for Israel. Yah ordained the crucifixion of the Messiah to occur during the time when he was with the wailing Daughters of Jerusalem who were devoting themselves to that which was holy, Yahushua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).
This study reminded me that God has had a perfect plan in place from the beginning. Most importantly I learned that although perhaps no one else understood this, our Messiah did. He understood what events would occur, when, how, and who would be present because it had been foretold in scripture, not only throughout prophecy but through the commandments and holy observances themselves.
Therefore, we must keep the observances forever as Yahuwah instructed that we too may observe the times and know when our season to bare the cross has come. Also, in this, the Messiah teaches us that all scripture is prophetic. Every lesson prepares us for what’s to come and teaches us how to respond to the signs of the times. The Messiah knew what he had to do when that time came because it was first written in the Word and he was the Word made flesh. We too must know and do God’s will as it is written in the Word! And if he is the word, then surely his actions at the end of his life tell us that women were in service of God during this feast. If it had not been properly observed in 1000’s of years, Yahushua ensured that it was in his day.
The next holy observance we’ll learn about is the beginning of the Feast of Firstfruits.