Intercontinental Church of God - Chicago Church
Affiliated with the Garner Ted Armstrong Evangelistic Association

 
  When Did the Samaritans Sacrifice the Passover?  
 

By: Jim Josephsen

 

This study is an appendix to the Passover Study entitled: The Old Testament Passover, The Lord’s Supper and the Time of Christ’s Death.

 

One may ask, of what value is it to understand Samaritan Passover practices? Clearly, Jesus Christ told the Samaritan woman at the well, ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22). Would Jesus Christ have validated the Samaritan’s Passover practices?

 

There are individuals who think that the Passover lambs of Exodus 12:6 were sacrificed at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month. Further, these individuals believe that the Hebrew phrase beyn ha arbayim means “twilight.” In their attempt to prove that the Passover lambs were sacrificed in “the twilight, at the beginning” of the 14th day of the first month and the Passover meal was eaten on the night of the 14th, these individuals bring to our attention the Passover practices of the Samaritans.

 

Since the Samaritans are brought to our attention by these individuals, we will indulge them and seek to find any truth in their supposition. We will read the same historical materials they quote from and determine whether they understand history correctly or are confused.

 

These beginning of the 14th Passover theorists have used the following argument: to this day, the descendants of the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover at the beginning of the 14th, and the Samaritans (and Sadducees) were correct to keep the Passover when they did, at the beginning of the 14th.

 

Is the italicized statement above correct?  

 

Do the descendants of the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover at the beginning of the 14th?

 

Did the Samaritans ever sacrifice the Passover at the beginning of the 14th?

 

How would we know either way? Where would we obtain information that would inform us of the Samaritan’s Passover practices?

 

Did the Samaritans sacrifice their Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th or at the end of the 14th?

 

We will review the Passover activities of the Samaritans and review the same research materials from which these individuals have quoted. Let us learn what the Samaritans really understood, believed, and practiced and what they understand, believe, and practice today.

 

You be the judge of the following information, additional information, which will give us a background as to what the Samaritans understood.

 

Additional information regarding beyn ha arbayim

 

And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. Exodus 12:6 (KJV)

 

In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord’s Passover. Leviticus 23:5 (KJV)

 

The two scripture verses above render two different English phrases (see the highlighted bold phrases), both of which come from the one Hebrew phrase beyn ha arbayim. Let us notice how else beyn ha arbayim was translated as we read Exodus 12:6 in 8 other English version Bibles. Bold phrases are the English translations of the Hebrew phrase beyn ha arbayim.

 

“And it shall be for you to keep until four (and) ten day of month this; and shall kill it all the assembly of the congregation of Israel twixt the evenings.” (The Interlinear Bible (Masoretic Text) – Green)

 

“You shall keep watch over it until the fourteenth day of this month; and all the assembled congregation of the Israelites shall slaughter it at twilight.” (Tanakh - The Holy Scriptures Jewish Publication Society)

 

“And it shall be kept by you till the fourteenth of this month, and all the multitude of the congregation of the children of Israel shall kill it toward evening.” (Septuagint; Brenton 1851; Hendrickson Publishers 1997)

 

 “but you must keep it till the fourteenth day of the month, when every member of the community of Israel shall kill it between sunset and dark.” (The James Moffatt Translation Bible)

 

 “And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregation of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the evenings.” (Darby Bible 1890)

 

“And you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at sunset.” (Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text George M. Lamsa's Translation)

 

“Have it in safe keeping until the fourteenth day of this month, and then all the assembled community of Israel must slaughter the victims between dusk and dark.” (Revised English Bible)

 

“You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then, with the whole assembly of Israel present, it shall be slaughtered during the evening twilight.” (New American Bible)

 

Having just read Exodus 12:6 from 8 different English version Bibles, we notice 8 different English words or phrases, all of which are translated from the one Hebrew phrase: beyn ha arbayim

 

Is it correct to say that beyn ha arbayim means “twilight?” 

 

Is it correct to say that beyn ha arbayim means “between sunset and darkness?”

 

Does beyn ha arbayim mean “between dusk and dark?”

 

Is it correct to say that beyn ha arbayim means “between the evenings?”

 

You get the idea. Which one of the phrases as read above is the correct translation of the Hebrew phrase beyn ha arbayim?

 

How should we understand the meaning of this Hebrew phrase?   

 

How did generations gone by understand this Hebrew phrase?

 

How did the Samaritans understand this Hebrew phrase?

 

 “between the two evenings, Ex 16:12; 30:8; used as marking the space of time during which the Paschel lamb was slain, Ex 12:6; Lev 23:5; Num 9:3; and the evening sacrifice was offered, Ex 29:39, 41; Num 28:4; i.e. according to the opinion of the Karaites and Samaritans (which is favored by the words of Deu. 16:6) the time between sunset and deep twilight. The Pharisees, however (see Josephus Bellum Jud. vi. 9, 3), and the Rabbinists consider the time when the sun began to descend to be called the first evening, and the second evening to be the real sunset.”

 

GESENIUS' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament

6153 erev

Page 652

 

“… beyn ha arbayim …The Karaites and Samaritans, with Allen Ezra and Gesenius, and most modern commentators understand by it the space between the setting of the sun and the moment when the stars become visible or darkness sets in. But the Pharisees and the Rabbinists, including Rashi, Kimchi, Saadai, etc. make it mean the space from the afternoon (when the sun begins to decline from its vertical or noontide point toward the west) to the disappearance of the sun.”

 

Smith's Dictionary of the Bible

 1884 edition

 

 “The phrase ‘between the two evenings’ in Ex. 12:6 (also Ex. 16:12; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3,5,11) has been accorded two variant interpretations, according to the variant community practices - either between 3 p.m. and sunset, as the Pharisees maintained and practiced (cf. Pesahim 61a; Josephus, BJ 6. 423); or, as the Samaritans and others argued, between sunset and dark.”

 

NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY (Second Edition)

PASSOVER

PAGE 882

 

“One other time of the day must be mentioned, namely, "ben ha arbayim," which occurs in Exodus 12:6; 16:12; 29:39,41; 30:8; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3,5,11; 28:4,8. Its meaning must have been originally "toward evening"; for it indicates the same time that in Deu. 16:6 is called "the time of the going down of the sun." This "ben ha arbayim" is the time prescribed for the offering of the Passover lamb and the daily evening sacrifices. In the first century the evening "Tamid" was offered in the afternoon between 2:30 and 3:30 (Josephus, "Ant." 14,4,3; Mishna Pes. 5,1; compare also Acts 3:1 and 10:3, 30), while the Karaites and Samaritans continued their practice according to the old interpretation.”

 

THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA

NIGHT

PAGE 303

 

“The evening was also important because of the sacrifices, which were made at that time, and in this connection there was a discussion of exactly what period of time was meant. According to Num 28:4 the daily burnt offering called for the sacrifice of the lamb in the morning and of another “in the evening.” According to Ex 12:6 the Passover lambs were to be killed “in the evening” of the fourteenth day of the first month, and Lev 23:5 gives the same date for the “Lord's Passover.” In all three passages the Hebrew is literally “between the two evenings” (ASV margin), although in the first two cases the Septuagint translates simply, “towards evening,” and only in the Leviticus passage renders, “between the evenings.”...As the accompanying discussion in the Germara shows, this indicates that the sacrifices could begin immediately after noon. According to Josephus the Passover sacrifices were conducted from the ninth to the eleventh hour, that is from three to five o'clock in the afternoon, and this was presumably the standard practice in the first century AD. According to the foregoing passages, then, the “evening” was substantially equivalent to the entire afternoon. In Deu. 16:6, however, it is said that the Passover sacrifice is to be offered “in the evening at the going down of the sun.” The Talmudic explanation of this was the evening meant the afternoon and was the time when the Passover was to be slaughtered, and that the sunset was the time when it was to be eaten. The Sadducees and the Samaritans, however, held that the slaughtering of the lamb itself was to take place between sunset and darkness. The book of Jubilees seems to agree with this when it says about the Passover lamb: “It is not permissible to slay it during any period of light, but during the period bordering on the evening, and let them eat it at the time of the evening until the third part of night” (49:12). The Targum of Onkelos also rendered “between the two evenings” in Exodus 12:6 as “between the two suns,” and this was explained as meaning the time between sunset and the coming out of stars. In either case, however, whether it meant afternoon time up until sunset, or the time from sunset until the stars became visible, the “evening” in the sense and in the regard just discussed evidently belonged to the closing part of the day, and it was only with sunset or the appearing of the stars that the next day began.”

 

HANDBOOK OF BIBLICAL CHRONOLOGY

JACK FINEGAN

PAGES 14-15

 

These five excerpts from various research materials provide information relative to the meaning of beyn ha arbayim. We read of different interpretations rendered by different Jewish Sects and historians. 

 

For example, the Karaites and Samaritans interpreted beyn ha arbayim as a period of time between sunset and dark, or in other words, the time of twilight.

 

Then there were the Pharisees and the Rabbinists, who interpreted beyn ha arbayim as the period of time between the declining of the sun and the sunset.

 

As the Historian Josephus recorded, the Temple practice in the 1st Century AD required that the Passover lambs be sacrificed at the 9th hour or 3:00 in the afternoon of the 14th day of the first month. This was also the time of day when our Savior died.

 

Now as we have just read, the Samaritans understood beyn ha arbayim to mean the period of time between sunset and the dark. Let us now give a benefit of the doubt to the Samaritans and take their understanding of beyn ha arbayim to be correct.

 

Just When Did the Samaritans Sacrifice the Passover?

 

Do the Samaritans understand that beyn ha arbayim is the twilight, which would occur at the beginning of a day? Consequently, did the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th?

 

Or - do the Samaritans understand that beyn ha arbayim is the twilight, which would occur at the end of a day? Consequently, did the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover lamb at the end of the 14th?

 

Since the Scriptures tell us nothing about the Samaritans' Passover (past or present), all we can do is look at history and read from historical sources outside of the Scriptures to learn the answer. After all, it is to historical sources only, that some beginning of the 14th Passover theorists depend on in order to teach what they do about the Samaritans’ Passover.

                                                                                                   

Were these individuals honest with history?

 

As history confirms (we shall read), it is true that to this day, a small community of Samaritans (about 200 in total) still dwell in the city of Nablus in Palestine, and keep the Passover.

 

Knowing this to be true, we must then ask, is it also true that the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th, just after the sunset of the 13th?

 

Or did and do the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover lamb at the end of the 14th, just as the Scriptures teach us, just as Moses and the Israelites did?

 

Again, we have to review historical sources in order to learn of the Samaritans’ Passover because the Bible tells us nothing.

 

Let us first review the Samaritans’ understanding of the phrase beyn ha arbayim to help us find an answer. As we read earlier, let us recapitulate.

 

“.... between the two evenings, Ex. 16:12; 30:8; used as marking the space of time during which the paschal lamb was slain, Ex. 12:6; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3; and the evening sacrifice was offered, Ex. 29:39, 41; Num. 28:4; i.e. according to the opinion of the Karaites and Samaritans (which is favored by the words of Deut. 16:6), the time between sunset and deep twilight.”

 

Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament

"6153 ereb"

Page 652        

 

“… beyn ha arbayim …The Karaites and Samaritans, with Allen Ezra and Gesenius, and most modern commentators understand by it the space between the setting of the sun and the moment when the stars become visible or darkness sets in.”

 

Smith's Dictionary of the Bible

 1884 edition

 

 “The phrase ‘between the two evenings’ in Ex. 12:6 (also Ex. 16:12; Lev. 23:5; Num. 9:3,5,11) has been accorded two variant interpretations, according to the variant community practices - either between 3 p.m. and sunset, as the Pharisees maintained and practiced (cf. Pesahim 61a; Josephus, BJ 6. 423); or, as the Samaritans and others argued, between sunset and dark.”

 

NEW BIBLE DICTIONARY (Second Edition)

PASSOVER

PAGE 882

 

The Passover lamb was sacrificed beyn ha arbayim. Of this fact, we have no doubt. The Scriptures confirm this fact.

 

The Samaritans understand that the Passover Lamb was sacrificed beyn ha arbayim.

 

Now did the Samaritans’ understanding of the phrase beyn ha arbayim require that they sacrifice the Passover lamb during the twilight, at the beginning of the 14th day of the first month, or during the twilight at the end of the 14th day?

 

Let us read from the research materials, which contains information pertinent to the Samaritans’ Passover.

 

You be the judge of what you read.

 

“...This he shall kill on the fourteenth day, "between two evenings," an ancient and obscure term. Samaritans and Karaites understood the twilight; the Pharisees, however, according to later usage, the time between three in the afternoon and sunset. This sacrificial meal was the beginning of the seven-day festival of unleavened bread. From the fifteenth to the twenty-first day, to eat anything leavened was forbidden under penalty of being cut off from the community.”

 

The New Schaff-Herzog

Religious Encyclopedia

"Passover"

Page 369

 

“The Samaritans and Karaites slaughter the Passover lamb not earlier than about one hour and a half before dark. Accordingly, to the Samaritans, the offering can take place only on Mt. Gerizim.”

 

The Jewish Encyclopedia

"Passover"

Page 353

 

(Regarding Mt. Gerizim, the Samaritans worshipped on this mount. Refer to John 4:20 and Deuteronomy 11:29. As we will shortly read of, The Samaritans felt that Mount Gerizim was the Mount, which Yahweh blessed as the only mount for worship. The Samaritans did not accept the Temple at Jerusalem.)

 

“With the destruction of the temple, Passover ceased as a sacrificial rite; as a sacred commemoration of God's redemption, it has continued. The sacrifice still survives in the dwindling Samaritan community at Nablus, Jordan. This schismatic Jewish group separated from the temple in Jerusalem in ca. fourth century BC. The slaughter is made at sunset rather than earlier...The actual communal eating of the sacrifice does not occur until after midnight and is done in great haste (cf. Exodus 12:11, 29). Unleavened cakes are used and bitter herbs...In many respects the observance corresponds more closely to the scriptural prescriptions, notably those of Exodus 12, than was true of the observances in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus - a reminder, among other things, that, in its three thousand year or more history as an Israelite observance, Passover has never ceased to change, however imperceptible.”

 

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible

"Passover"

Page 665

 

Well now, we have something to think about. The Samaritans observe their Passover in a way that corresponds more closely to the scriptural prescriptions, notably those of Exodus 12. Let us compare the “Passover as observed by the Samaritans” and “the Passover the Jews kept in Christ’s day.”

 

The Samaritans:  - sacrifice the lamb “at sunset” or “not earlier than an hour and a half before dark.”

 

 - sacrifice the lamb on Mt. Gerizim, not in homes.

 

 - ate the meal after midnight, in haste, with unleavened cakes and bitter herbs.             

 

The Jews in Christ’s day:  - sacrificed the lamb “between the evenings,” at approximately at 3:00 in the afternoon of the 14th day of Nisan.

 

 - sacrificed the lamb at the Temple in Jerusalem, not in homes.

 

 - ate the meal after sunset of the 14th, on the night of the 15th with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, but before midnight.

 

Let us continue:

 

“The counsel to kill the lambs "in the evening" is more literally followed in the Samaritan rite; the Hebrew is properly interpreted as dusk and cannot be reconciled with the later practice of making the sacrifice in the late afternoon; it also seems probable that, as with the Samaritans, the communal meal was about midnight, rather than in the evening, as was later true in Jerusalem.”

 

  The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible

  "Passover"

  Page 666

 

Being honest with what we read, history seems to indicate that the Samaritans were more obedient to the original command than were the Jews.

 

It seems the Samaritans hold a “key” with regard to the Exodus 12 Passover.

 

Historians posit they do it, as was originally done. 

 

Many believe the Samaritans' interpretation of the phrase beyn ha arbayim is correct and most reflective of the original Passover.

 

Let us now go to the Samaritans to see when during the day, and on what day, they sacrificed the lamb.

 

Did and do the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th, or toward the end of the 14th?

 

Speaking of the Samaritans’ Passover:

 

“… the priests substituted prayers for all the sacrifices, except the Passover lamb, which we still offer on the fourteenth of Nisan … The Passover sacrifice, as celebrated at the present day, is described by Nutt ("A Sketch of Samaritan History," pp. 72,73) as follows: "The lambs must be born in the month of Tishri (October) preceding and be without any blemish. On the previous day the Samaritans pitch their tents on the lower plateau of Mount Gerizim. At sunset of the following day [the fourteenth of Nisan] or in the afternoon, if that day falls on Friday, the lambs are slain, prayers being recited meanwhile, then stripped of their wool, cleaned and sprinkled with salt, after which they are well roasted in hermetically covered trenches. In either case the lambs are eaten hastily after sunset with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, all the participants having staffs in their hands [compare. Ex. 12:9-11].”

 

   The Jewish Encyclopedia

   Sacrifices

   Pages 624-625

 

The Samaritans, who observe their Passover as close to the original as possible, did what?

 

Read it again! The Samaritans slay the lambs “at sunset of the 14th of Nisan.”

 

The Samaritans sacrifice the lambs at “sunset” or “not earlier than an hour and a half before dark,” of the 14th day of the first month, as the 14th day is nearing an end. 

 

They did not historically nor do they now, sacrifice the Passover lambs at sunset of the 13th day. Rather they sacrificed the Passover at sunset/twilight (beyn ha arbayim) of the 14th day, at the end of the day.

 

Notice also: if the 14th of Nisan, the day called by many - Passover day, occurred on a Friday, then the Samaritans sacrificed the lambs in the afternoon of the 14th. The Samaritans would change the time for slaying the Passover Lambs from the evening sunset of the 14th to the afternoon of the 14th. Both of these times fall within the limitations of beyn ha arbayim.

 

If the 14th of Nisan, the Passover day, occurred on a Friday, the Samaritans would move ahead (or make it earlier), the time of the sacrifice the Passover lambs from the evening sunset of the 14th to the afternoon of the 14th.

 

Interestingly, the Samaritans know to do (on Friday) what the Jews automatically know to do because of the meaning of the phrase beyn ha arbayim. The Samaritans also knew (just as do the Jews) that beyn ha arbayim allowed for latitude of meaning. 

 

“But in order to be within the limits defined, it was necessary that it should be begun and completed between the commencement of the first and the termination of the second evening. On the republication of the Law the time was definitely fixed at sunset (Deu. 16:6). But the Israelites did not consider themselves bound by the expression to wait until sunset and hence availed themselves of the latitude which the general term, ereb (evening) afforded, they were accustomed to kill the paschal lamb an hour or two before that period.”

 

JAMIESON, FAUSSET, BROWN COMMENTARY

VOLUME ONE - EXODUS 12

PAGE 310

 

Interestingly enough, the Samaritans have never been influenced by Jewish teachings. What they understand and practice today regarding the Passover and the timing of events was the same as they practiced since the fourth century BC. Their practices were the result of their understanding of the history of Israel and their understanding of the Scriptures.

 

The Samaritans understood the meaning of Hebrew words and they understood how, according to the Scriptures, to reckon each day. The Samaritans had their own Pentateuch, which is traced back to the same Hebrew text, which the Jews use, the same text as written by Moses.

 

“SAMARITAN PENTATEUCH: A Hebrew text of the Pentateuch preserved by the Samaritan community, characterized by several differences in spelling and wording from the MT (Masoretic Text). Most of the differences are unimportant, and others are modifications reflecting the particular beliefs of the Samaritans, most often their belief that Mt. Gerizim is the place intended by God for worship (cf. Deut. 11:29-30; 12:5-14). However, the Samaritan Pentateuch also contains agreements with the LXX and, to a lesser degree, with the Qumran Bible manuscript and quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, over against the MT. These indicate that the Hebrew text modified to produce the Samaritan Pentateuch is independent of the consonantal text that became the basis of the MT. The date of the Samaritan Pentateuch is contingent on the date assigned to the final break between the Jews and the Samaritans, since both groups possess essentially the same Pentateuch.”

 

The Erdmann’s Bible Dictionary

"Samaritan Pentateuch"

Page 906

 

From this piece of information (and again, there is more available on the subject), we can understand that the Samaritans knew and understood the narrative, the sequence of events and timing, of Exodus 12.

 

Continuing:

 

“There are, however, in our own day, groups of Jews that never came in contact with the masses of Jewish folks; they never had anything to do with those Jews who are the bearers of Jewish history and Jewish life. They, therefore, observe Pesach exactly as it was observed two to three thousand years ago. Such Jews are the Samaritans of the city of Nablus in Palestine and the Falashas of Abyssinia.

 

 ...the Samaritans of today are a small and poor remnant of an old and great Jewish sect that appeared in Palestine about the beginning of the Greek period. They form the oldest Jewish sect in existence. They were always strongly religious Jews who believed in one God and strictly observed the laws of Moses. The only religious books that they possess, however, are the Pentateuch and Joshua. They never recognized the books of the Bible beyond Joshua as holy...

 

.... These two hundred Samaritans observe Pesach to this day on Mt. Gerizim, in a manner that other Jews ceased practicing thousands of years ago. The custom of offering sacrifices has died out with the Samaritans, except on the fourteenth day of Nisan, when they offer the ceremonial Pesach sacrifice. Exactly as do other Jews, they clean the chomets out of their homes the night before Pesach eve, according to their calendar, which closely resembles the Jewish. The next day they make the pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim and there set up tents, one for each family, outfitting them with furniture and utensils. There, on the slope of the hill on whose tops once stood their temple, they observe Pesach, living there for the entire festival. A study of their ceremonies and observances during the festival is of special interest to us, because they practically duplicate the rites of the Jews of the very old days. What certain knowledge we have of Pesach and its rites date only from the last century of the second temple: of what happened before, there is no exact records. We can learn much about the holiday, however, from the observances of the Samaritans today; they are the living record and monument of the old life lived by the children of Israel on Mount of Ephraim.

 

Much of what was observed in the days of the second temple is still unknown to the present Samaritans. They know nothing of the use of wine, of the charoses, of eating the sacrificial animal comfortably from a table, of reclining at one's ease, and of many other observances, because these customs came into Judaism in the later part of the second Temple days, after the Samaritans had separated from the rest of Jewry. The main ceremonial in the Pesach observance of the Samaritans is the sacrifice of a sheep and eating it at night in great haste, together with matzos and bitter herbs. They begin their preparation for the feast late in the afternoon. The Mount of Gerizim becomes the center of activity. All the males of the sect are gathered there, dressed in white, festive clothing, stoking the fires in two huge pits, the one for the roasting of the sheep, the other for the burning of the offal and all the remains after the feast. A huge cauldron of hot water is also ready.

 

Half an hour before sunset the ceremony starts. The High Priest leads the assembled congregation in silent prayer; the worshippers fall to their knees, their faces toward the peak of the hill, the spot where their temple once stood. The High Priest raises his voice and all join him in a series of chanted prayer.

 

Exactly at sunset the High Priest faces westward and reads that portion of the Pentateuch, which orders the slaughtering of the Pesach sacrifice. About twelve to fourteen of the younger Samaritans busy themselves, meanwhile, with preparing the sacrificial animals. They form a circle about the pit of fire, holding the lambs between their legs, and as the High Priest utters the words, “And the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at dusk," they utter a benediction and throw the lambs' throats to the pit, where they are slaughtered by two ritual slaughters. Six or seven sheep are slaughtered. An extra animal is available, should a physical defect be found in one of the sacrificial animals.

The slaughtering is a signal for general rejoicing. Greetings are exchanged in the oriental manner; the participants kiss one another, first on the right shoulder, then on the left.

 

This ends the first part of the ceremony. The second part, which takes place late at night, is the roasting of the animal. First, the bodies must be cleaned and spitted and prepared for roasting. The fires made for the offal burns and smokes as the insides of the animals are cast therein.

 

At ten o'clock the High Priest issues forth from his tent and orders the roasting of the sheep. Six or seven men bear the spitted animals on their shoulders and the High Priest leads them in prayer; then all the sacrifices are cast into the pit together. The bodies are covered first with leaves and grass and then with cakes of mud. For three hours the roasting process goes on, the Samaritans meanwhile passing the time in prayer and talk. Some go to sleep; but most of them rest on their cots, for rest is needed so that the participants will feel fresh and ready for the third part of the ceremony, the eating of the sacrificed animals.

 

At one in the morning all are awake and ready. Hands and feet are washed and white garments are donned. With girded loins and staves in their hands, they gather in one assemblage. The roasted animals are in baskets and placed upon the earth. Matsos and bitter herbs, that were gathered on the Mount, are placed on the sheep and later portioned out by the High Priest. When all is ready, the Samaritans form groups about the sacrificial and, after uttering the prescribed blessing, fall upon the roasted meat, pulling it hastily into pieces with their hands. Portions are brought to the women and children in the tents. Everybody eats rapidly and in twenty minutes all that is left is a mound of bones, which are thrown into the offal pit together with the baskets and utensils that were used and with the matsos that happened to be left. Matsos is not prepared in advance for the entire festival. The Samaritans bake a fresh supply every morning. The burning of the remains does not, however, end the ceremony. The Samaritans stay awake till dawn, reciting prayers.”

 

The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to

Their History and Observance

 by: Hayyim Schauss

 Pages 60-64

 

The Samaritans begin their preparations late in the afternoon. Then the ceremony begins “half an hour before sunset.”

 

Then as we read, “exactly at sunset” the priest faces westward and begins to read the scriptures. Then “at dusk” the sacrifice is killed.

 

On what day does all this activity take place; on what day is the sacrifice offered?

 

As we have read, “on the fourteenth day of Nisan, when they offer the ceremonial Pesach sacrifice.”

 

Put all together, the ceremony begins a half an hour before sunset of the 14th day of the first month.

 

History reveals the facts as they are. Before the sunset on the 14th, the ceremony begins. Then at sunset of the 14th day, the High Priest reads the Passover instructions. Then at dusk (during the twilight or beyn ha arbayim as the Samaritans understand the phrase to mean) of the 14th, the lambs are sacrificed.

 

The Samaritans along with the Jews understood that both the sunset and twilight of a day occurred during the evening of a day, at the end of the day.

 

Since the Passover sacrifices were slain between sunset and the darkness of night, it was at the end of the 14th the sacrifices were slain.

 

The lambs are then cooked during the night (beginning) of the 15th. Then at around 1:00 am of the 15th, the lambs are eaten with unleavened bread on the First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Any leftover matzo (which was not eaten) are burnt (with the rest of the leftovers and the bones and the baskets and utensils), after the meal was eaten (just after 1:00 in the morning). A fresh supply of matzos is baked in the morning, the morning of the First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and every morning during the Feast.

 

That is how the Samaritans, who (as the beginning of the 14th Passover theorists claim) are closer to the original, kill the Passover lamb.

 

Ironically, the Samaritans prove the beginning of the 14th theorists wrong.

 

The Samaritans kill the Passover Lamb at the end of the 14th of Nisan just as the Scriptures command. The Samaritans knew and know that the Passover meal is to be correctly eaten on the First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

Finally notice the practice of another Jewish sect, not associated with the Pharisees:

 

“There is still another Jewish sect that makes the ceremonial Pesach sacrifice: the black Jews, the Falashas, of Abyssinia. Who these Falashas are we do not know for certain, nor do we know what percentage of Jewish blood flows in their veins.... Their Judaism is based on the laws and practices of the Bible, which they read in an Ethiopian translation, and they observe, therefore, only the old Biblical holidays and festivals, according to the laws laid down in the Pentateuch. They gather in their synagogue on the fourteenth day of Nisan, before sundown, and in the name of the entire community, an animal is sacrificed and eaten according to the laws of the Bible...”

 

The Jewish Festivals: A Guide to

Their History and Observance

by: Hayyim Schauss.

 Pages 64-65

 

The research material is available, clear, and consistent. The answer to the question When did the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover is obvious.

 

Contrary to what some theorize, the historical facts are clear, the Samaritans are living proof that the Passover lamb of Exodus 12 was sacrificed at the end of the 14th day.

 

Never did the Samaritans or the Jews sacrifice the Passover lamb at the beginning of the 14th after the sunset of the 13th. Never did the Samaritans or the Jews eat the Passover lamb on the night, the beginning of the 14th.

 

The Samaritans, just as the Jews did, sacrificed the Passover lamb at the end of the 14th day of the first month and they ate the Passover meal on the night of, the beginning of the 15th day of the first month.

 

The descendants of the Samaritans still do sacrifice the Passover lamb at end of the 14th day of Nisan and still eat the Passover meal on the night of the 15th day, the First Day of Unleavened Bread.

 

Those who teach the following: to this day, the descendants of the Samaritans sacrifice the Passover at the beginning of the 14th, and the Samaritans (and Sadducees) were correct to keep the Passover when they did at the beginning of the 14th teach error.

 

 

 
 

 

 
 
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