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Israelite of a later age could not be more effectually reminded of the oppression endured in Egypt, than by eating for a whole week such plain and tasteless food.” To this Bähr justly replies (ii. 630), “that if this had been the case, the whole seven days' festival would have been a period of fasting and mortification, whereas it was really a joyous festival, and not one of mourning and repentance. Moreover the showbread and cakes, which, according to their symbolical meaning, were intended as food for Jehovah, were ordered to be unleavened. Was Jehovah, then, to have nothing but wretched, tasteless bread offered to him ?" At the same time I am of Hofmann's opinion (i. 124 seq.), that Bähr's own explanation is inadmissible, He says that "it was called bread of affliction, because it was bread, which called to mind their sojourn in Egypt, and the suffering which they there endured ; though it did so, merely because it had been eaten on the occasion of their deliverance from that suffering." But this reminds one too much of the derivation “lucus a non lucendo." I agree with Hofmann, in thinking, that the explanation of the expression in Deuteronomy is to be found in the clause which immediately follows, " for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste (i9nn i.e., ye fled from it in a hurried and anxious manner). The departure from Egypt assumed the form of a hurried flight (519n), and therefore was always remembered as
(a tribulation, or oppression). As the Egyptians compelled the Israelites to rush out of Egypt in the greatest confusion, and allowed them no time for withdrawing quietly, or making the necessary preparations for their journey ; they still applied force to the Israelites, and Israel ate its last meal in Egypt ugya, i.e., under the oppression and affliction of Egypt. (In confirmation of this view, Hofmann very appropriately refers to Is. lii. 12 N3D JENI 5). Moreover we learn from Ex. xii. 39 (34), that the reckless and irresistible impetuosity of the Egyptians, and the consequent nature of their forced flight, compelled them, altogether irrespectively of the divine command (ver. 15), and any symbolical meaning in the ordinance, to continue for several days the eating of unleavened bread; for every particle of leaven had been removed from their houses on account of the feast of the passover, and they were obliged to fly before any fresh leaven could be prepared.
The account, which is given in Ex. xii. 39 (34), has been sometimes adduced as an evidence of discrepancy in the scriptural record ; for, according to vers. 8 and 15 sqq., the use of leaven had been altogether prohibited, not merely on the day of the passover, but for seven days afterwards. But it was not the writer's intention in ver. 39 to assign a reason for their eating unleavened bread, either at the original festival, or on the subsequent commemoration of it. The true explanation is this. The first feast of the passover was confined to one day; and on this day no leavened bread was to be eaten, for symbolical reasons. The following days were not feast days; but, as they were spent in travelling, they were days of hardship and toil. The commemorative festival, which lasted seven days, was not intended to celebrate the day of departure, and the first seven days of their journey, but the day of their departure alone. The reason why seven days were spent in commemorating the historical events of one day, is to be found in the solemn character of the festival, which was observed in honour of this one day. Seven days, neither more nor less, were required for a full realization of the character of the festival, a perfect exhibition of the idea which it embodied. But as the eating of the Paschal lamb was the one, indivisible basis of the whole festival, and did not admit of repetition, whilst the festival itself was to last for seven days; this could only be accomplished by continuing for seven days the other essential element of the Paschal meal, viz., the eating of unleavened bread. This was the sole reason, why unleavened bread was eaten for seven days, at the subsequent commemoration of the festival. At the first festival leavened bread might have been eaten on the second, third, and following days (for then the festival was confined to one single day); but the Israelites were compelled by external circumstances to continue eating unleavened bread for some days afterwards. And this is all that ver. 39 refers to. Had the writer intended to say that it was this fact, which gave rise to the future custom of eating unleavened bread for seven days, he would assuredly have referred to it in a more pointed manner, instead of omitting to make any reference to its lasting seven days. But in reality he is only speaking of the first day after the departure, and says that, on that day, they ate unleavened bread, because the dough which they had taken with them was not yet leavened. By the second, third, or fourth day it must have been leavened ; and we may confidently assume that the Israelites ate without hesitation what they had in their possession, viz., bread made of the leavened dough.
What, then, was the symbolical importance of the unleavened loaves ? They are called nisa (Sept. üçuua, Vulg. azymi panes). Hofmann has shown, in his Weissagung (i. 124), that this neither means pure, nor yet sueet, but dry loaves. The roots
and yzo convey the idea of the exclusion of moisture, hence of drying, parching. In unleavened bread the moisture of the dough is driven out by the heat. It is not really baked, but parched ; for the peculiar characteristic of baking is, that the leaven or yeast produces fermentation in the dough, which is thereby expanded and lightened, and at the same time the moisture, which is retained, re-acts against the parching and compressing force of the external heat. If, then, we would deduce any symbolical meaning from the name of the Mazzoth; it must be found in the fact that the Mazzoth were loaves, in which there was nothing but the pure meal, without any change in its nature or flavour, without the admixture of any foreign substance (the water, for example, which is driven out by the fire), and without the impartation of any foreign taste, or the least alteration by means of fermentation. There is all the more reason for adopting this interpretation, since it fully harmonizes with the course adopted in the preparation of the lamb, where (by roasting instead of boiling) every foreign substance was excluded, any change in its nature entirely prevented, and the preparation entirely effected by the pure and simple element of fire.
In the case of the Mazzoth everything depended upon the absence of leaven, and in this there was a symbolical meaning. Whether the taste of the bread was thereby improved or injured, is not taken into consideration. Leaven is dough in the course of fermentation. But fermentation is corruption, the destruction of the natural condition, the breaking up of the natural connection between the component elements. Hence from a symbolical point of view all fermentation, being an alteration of the form given to the material by the creative hand of God, is a representation of that which is ungodly in the sphere of morals, that is of moral corruption and depravity. As the lamb, which served to inipart both physical and spiritual strength, and to
restore communion with God, was pure; the bread, which was caten with it, was not allowed to contain anything impure.
With reference to the command to eat the meal in travelling costume (ver. 11), Baumgarten observes that, after the Israelites had been redeemed from the death of Egypt by the blood of the lamb, they derived new energy from eating the lamb that had been slain, solely in order that they might immediately take their departure from the land of destruction to the Mount of God. The number of persons who formed one company at the Paschal meal is not stated. It was most natural that each household should form a separate party. But as it was desirable, as far as possible, to take care that none of the lamb should be left; it was ordered that, where a family was small, it should unite with another (ver. 4). At a later period the Jews looked upon ten as the normal number of a single company. The supplementary command (ver. 44 sqq.), that no foreign servant, or associate, or hireling, should take part in the meal, and that no foreigner, who might be dwelling among the Israelites, should keep the passover with his family, unless they had been incorporated into the community of Israel by circumcision, had its external ground in the fact, that a large number of the common people of Egypt left their country with the Israelites (ver. 38, see § 35. 7). But it is a very instructive fact, that just at this time, when everything tended to show how Jehovah distinguished between Israel and Egypt (chap. xi. 7), it was made a fundamental law that non-Israelites might enter without the least difficulty into religious and national fellowship with the Israelites, and thus participate in all the blessings of the house of Israel. We have here a proof that, even when the distinction was marked between the heathen and the chosen people, the fundamental idea of the Old Testament history was never lost sight of, that in Abraham's seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed.
THE EXODUS FROM EGYPT.
$ 35 (Ex. xii. 29—xiii. 16).-While the children of Israel were eating the passover in travelling costume, the tenth plague (1) fell upon the Egyptians. At midnight the destroying angel (2) slew all the first-born of Egypt, both of men and cattle ; and there was not a house to be found, in which there was not one dead. The terror of God came upon all the Egyptians. The same night, Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron, gave them
permission to depart (3), and intreated their intercession on his behalf. The people of Egypt also urged the Israelites to depart as quickly as possible, for they said “we are all dead men.” The Israelites then did what Jehovah had previously commanded them to do: they asked the Egyptians for articles of gold and silver (trinkets and jewels) and for clothes (festal clothing). And Jehovah caused his people to find favour in the eyes of the Egyptians, so that they gave without hesitation whatever was desired (4). The instructions to repeat the Paschal meal every year were coupled with a command, to sanctify all the first-born of men and cattle to the Lord (5). Thus they departed in festal costume, as an army of Jehovah (6); for the Egyptians themselves had clothed them with festal apparel and costly ornaments. The bones of Joseph were also taken by Moses, according to the promise which had been made to him on oath by the fathers of the people (§ 4), and for the fulfilment of which the people as a body were responsible. A large number of the Egyptians of the lower classes of society, who had endured the same oppression as the Israelites, from the proud spirit of caste which prevailed in Egypt, attached themselves to the latter, and served henceforth as hewers of wood and drawers of water (7). Four hundred and thirty years had been spent in Egypt by the descendants of Jacob (§ 14. 1). There were now among them 600,000 men capable of bearing arms (8 14. 3). Raemses was the place from which the procession started ; Succoth their first resting-place (§ 37).
(1). Hengstenberg (Egypt and the Books of Moses p. 125) pronounces the tenth plague, viz., the death of all the first-born both of men and cattle, to have been the result of a pestilence, a