How do I interpret Exodus 12:14?

(Wookin Panub) #1

14“This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day…

I am curious. How do I interpret this? Is this actually speaking of 24 hour days? If so, then how is this different from the book of Genesis use of days? Does anyone have a biblical answer?

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #2

You want us to tell you how you interpret it?

By Exodus, the sun had been created for a while already, and the earth was actually spinning, so you could actually count hours if you really wanted to. This wasn’t the case in the first verses of Genesis…

(This is just one difference among many… an easy one to pick off and discuss.)


First difference, this is a command that humans had to follow and thus had to have a precise definition of the times involved.

Second, day does not always mean a 24 hour period of time. See Isaiah 2:12 for “The Day of the Lord” which according to Revelation will last longer than 1 day.

(Wookin Panub) #4

By Exodus, the sun had been created for a while already, and the earth was actually spinning…

Biblically, my friend. Furthermore you do not need a sun to make a day.

(Wookin Panub) #5

What is the difference between how this verse words, ‘first day’ etc… and how Genesis words “1st day”?

Second, day does not always mean a 24 hour period of time. See Isaiah 2:12 for “The Day of the Lord” which according to Revelation will last longer than 1 day.

It doesn’t just say day. It says, “1st day” there is a number next to day. I have no clue what Isaiah has to do with the verse I gave.

(Andrew M. Wolfe) #6

So… the sun and moon were created before the first day in your Bible? Interesting…


A symbolic meal using symbolic days and symbolic stories from the Bible.

(Steve Buckley) #8

In the bible, "and the evening and the morning were…"
Jewish people take their days from sunset to sunset. Not as we take days in the west— from midnight to midnight.
Next, this is the description of the Holy days in the Jewish/hebrew calendar.

On the evening of the 10th day of the first month, they were to bring a lamb, without spot or blemish into the house, and observe it for 4 days, until the evening of the 14th day of the first month.
On the evening of the 14th day, they were to slaughter the lamb, and roast it on a fire.

In reading the text, I see no reason to take it as anything but the 24 hour day, in Jewish/Hebrew culture.
Is there some reason you feel it necessary to do otherwise?

(Lynn Munter) #9

Leaven probably includes yeast, baking soda, and any other ingredient that would add air bubbles to your baked goods. You should not have any in your house for these seven days. If you do not eat unleavened bread these seven days and feast to the LORD on this day, you are breaking his law and probably ought to be stoned or something.

Seems clear enough to me. “Throughout your generations, as a statute forever…”

(Wookin Panub) #11

Thank you. I can see that you are consistent in your theology :slight_smile:

(Wookin Panub) #12

Ok…now explain to me BIBLICALLY, why we cannot apply this to the book of Genesis as well?

(Wookin Panub) #13

I like that, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that God could have extended the food for a longer period, because the bible does not say He did or didn’t.

Does 7 days mean 7 days? and if so, why cannot we apply this verbiage to Genesis as well?

(Wookin Panub) #14

Nope, the bible is clear when the sun was created. God said, “let there be light” One only needs light as a marker for the day, and a substitute for our current light source, which is the sun.


You original question.

I knew where you were going, but the way you asked the question was how is the use of day in Exodus different from the use of day in Genesis. Which I answered. The Day of the Lord is an example of the use of day when a 24 hour period is not implied, such as in Genesis.

(James McKay) #16

One observation in particular here.

In Genesis 1, the way that “yom” is combined with a number is unique to Genesis 1. Genesis 1 says yom ehad, yom seni and so on (i.e. no definite article) whereas everywhere else in the Old Testament, it’s hayyom harison and hayyom hasseni and so on (i.e. with a definite article). Thus you can’t make any inference whatsoever about “yom with a number” in Genesis 1 on the basis of how it’s used elsewhere in Scripture, because the uses elsewhere are different. See this article for more information.

In any case, there is no rule of Hebrew grammar that says that “yom with a number” can only refer to a 24 hour day. Such a rule is a YEC fabrication and no Hebrew scholar outside of young-earth circles recognises its validity. It first cropped up in YEC literature in the 1970s, it has no precedent before then, and it is only ever cited by YECs when trying to argue for six 24 hour days.

(Steve Buckley) #17

I do apply the 24 hour period as a day in Genesis.
I know there are many who try to claim otherwise, but I think they’re mistaken.
I went through and called up a word study on day, and days, from the Hebrew.
They all use- Yom, and Yomim. The “-im” is added as a plural. So, Yomim would be the plural of day— days.

(Steve Buckley) #18

(Lynn Munter) #19

Longer than forever? I think we are talking past each other. This passage seems to clearly say everyone in an Abrahamic religion should celebrate Passover every year by not eating leavening for seven days, feasting, and sacrificing lambs. Does God not really mean forever when he says forever?

(Jay Nelsestuen) #20

I’m not at all familiar with biblical Hebrew, but looking at the translation you’ve provided here, and knowing a bit about the syntax of Genesis 1, I can say that one difference between this passage and the Genesis passage is the difference between ordinal and cardinal numbers. Here, it says, “On the first day,” which is an ordinal number. In Genesis 1, however, the Hebrew has, “evening and morning–one day,” a cardinal number. Not sure how much of a difference that makes, but I feel it is worth noting.


Yes, it is talking about 24 hour days. So is Genesis 1. The first six days of Genesis all end with “and then there was evening and then there was morning”. That means it’s a 24-hour day. Some say the seventh day is ambiguous because this formula doesn’t appear at the end. Genesis is talking about six days of creation, each taking 24 hours.

So, is Genesis wrong? No, because I think Genesis is an allegorical account. When understood in its ancient, near eastern context, it becomes quickly evident that the authors of Genesis 1-11 (the primeval history) took earlier mesopotamian/near eastern stories, such as the flood (see Epic of Atrahasis), the genealogies (Sumerian King List), and rewrote them in their own Israelite perspective in order to uniquely express their views of the archetypes of God, man, and sin. The Hebrew word for ‘Adam’ in Genesis, interestingly, is not even a proper noun, it is just the Hebrew word for ‘man’. Thus, Adam represents the archetype of man. This is the essence of the work of John Walton and other academics.