Book: The Christian Passover

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Let’s examine God’s commands to the children of Israel through Moses for observing the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In the book of Leviticus we read, “These are the appointed seasons of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed season.

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is the LORD’s passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work” (Lev. 23:4-8, JPSA).

This Scripture specifically states that the Passover is on the 14th day of the month “at dusk.” The Hebrew phrase that is translated “at dusk” in this passage from the JPSA version is ben ha arbayim. The same Hebrew phrase is translated “at even” in the King James Version. The use of these words by the translators of the KJV has led many to confuse the phrase ben ha arbayim with another Hebrew phrase that is also translated “at even,” or “evening.”

To show that the words “at even” do not accurately represent the Hebrew wording that is used in the Passover command, some editions of the KJV add a marginal notation with the words “between the two evenings.” This is a literal translation of the phrase ben ha arbayim. (Please note: The phrase ben ha arbayim is spelled phonetically as beyn ha’ arbayim; however, we will retain the spelling of ben ha arbayim.)

In order to understand God’s commands for observing the Passover, it is vital to understand the meaning of this key Hebrew phrase.

Relying on Strong’s Concordance Leads to Misunderstanding

It is not possible to understand the meaning of the phrase ben ha arbayim by relying solely on Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. The reason is this: Strong’s makes no distinction between the two different Hebrew phrases that are translated into the English words “at even” and “evening.” Strong’s numbers every occurrence of “even” and “evening” in the KJV as #6153, and in Strong’s Hebrew and Chaldee dictionary that word is listed and defined as ereb (also spelled erev). In all eleven passages where ben ha arbayim is used in the Scriptures, Strong’s concordance numbers and defines it as #6153, including it with ereb. The Hebrew noun ereb, or erev, which refers to the setting of the sun, is used numerous times in the Old Testament in the phrase ba erev, and is generally translated “evening” or “at even” in the KJV.

While it is acceptable to translate the phrase ba erev as “evening” or “at even,” it is NOT proper to translate ben ha arbayim in this manner. The two phrases have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT MEANINGS. We will study ba erev in detail in the next chapter of this book.

Despite the distinct difference between ba erev and ben ha arbayim, the two phrases are listed together by Strong under the single Hebrew word ereb. There are two reasons for this misleading listing in Strong’s concordance. First, concordances do not have listings for phrases. Because concordances list only single words, Strong’s does not have a listing for either ba erev or ben ha arbayim. All occurrences of the phrase ba erev are accordingly listed under the noun ereb, or erev. Second, because arbayim is formed from the root word ereb, all occurrences of arbayim are also listed under this Hebrew noun. The word ben, or beyn, which is a Hebrew preposition, is listed in Strong’s as # 996. The definite article ha is not listed by Strong.

Therefore the meaning of the phrase ben ha arbayim cannot be determined simply by consulting a Biblical concordance, such as Strong’s, or even a Hebrew lexicon, which lists only the individual words. Hebrew words may vary widely in their meaning, depending on how they are used in the Hebrew text. The structure of the Hebrew text is not explained in concordances and lexicons. This information can be found only in books on Hebrew grammar and syntax.

By numbering and defining every occurrence of the phrase ben ha arbayim under the noun ereb, Strong’s concordance has added to the confusion about the correct time for observing the Passover. Many ministers and church congregations have been led to a false understanding of the commanded time because they have relied on Strong’s word numbering and definitions. While Strong’s concordance may be a valuable tool for study, it should never be used as a determining factor in establishing doctrine, nor should it be used to define complex linguistic expressions such as the phrase that is used in the Passover command. The true meaning of the phrase ben ha arbayim cannot be determined by basing one’s understanding on Strong’s word numbering and definitions. We can arrive at a true understanding of the commanded time for the Passover by carefully studying the use of ben ha arbayim in its Scriptural context.

This Hebrew phrase, which occurs in the Passover command in Leviticus 23, is also used in the command to keep the Passover in Numbers 9: “And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying: Let the children of Israel keep [Hebrew asah] the Passover in its appointed season. In the FOURTEENTH DAY of this month, AT DUSK [Hebrew ben ha arbayim], you shall keep [Hebrew asah] it in its appointed season; according to ALL the statutes of it, and according to ALL the ordinances thereof, shall you keep it” (Num. 9:1-3, JPSA).

Notice Everett Fox’s more precise translation of the Passover command in Leviticus 23:4-6: “These are the appointed-times of YHWH, proclamations of holiness, which you are to proclaim at their appointed-times: on the first New-Moon [month], on the fourteenth after the New Moon, between the setting-times [Hebrew ben ha arbayim] (is) Passover to YHWH. On the fifteenth day after this New-Moon (is) the pilgrimagefestival of matzot [unleavened bread] to YHWH...” (The Schocken Bible: Volume I; hereafter designated as SB).

Fox’s translation of Numbers 9:2-5 also shows the precise meaning of the Hebrew text: “The Children of Israel are to sacrifice the Passover-offering at its appointed time: on the fourteenth day after this New-Moon, between the setting-times [Hebrew ben ha arbayim], you are to sacrifice it at its appointed- time; according to all its laws, according to all its regulations, you are to sacrifice it. So Moshe [Moses] spoke (instructions) to the Children of Israel, to sacrifice the Passover-offering. And they sacrificed the Passoveroffering in the first (New Moon) [month], on the fourteenth day after the New Moon, between the setting-times [Hebrew ben ha arbayim], in the Wilderness of Sinai. According to all that YHWH had commanded Moshe [Moses], thus did the Children of Israel” (SB).

Numbers 9 clearly confirms God’s command to keep the Passover on the 14th day of the first month—not on the 15th. As recorded in Numbers 9, all nine requirements of the Passover ceremony—ALL THE STATUTES and ALL THE ORDINANCES, were to be observed on the 14th. Under the Old Covenant, the Passover ceremony began with the slaying of the lambs. Exodus 12 shows the set time for slaying the Passover lambs:

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year; ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats; and ye shall keep it unto [until] the fourteenth day of the same month; and the WHOLE ASSEMBLY of the congregation of Israel shall kill it AT DUSK [Hebrew ben ha arbayim]” (Ex. 12:5-6, JPSA).

As in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 9, the phrase ben ha arbayim has been translated “at dusk” in the JPSA. In the KJV, this same Hebrew phrase has been translated “at even” in Numbers 9:3 and “in the evening” in Exodus 12:6, but with the accompanying marginal definition “between the two evenings.” Here is Fox’s translation of Exodus 12:6: “It [the Passover lamb] shall be for you in safekeeping, until [up to] the fourteenth day after this New Moon [month], and they are to slay it—the entire assembly of the community of Israel—between the setting-times [Hebrew ben ha arbayim]” (SB).

In order to understand the exact time of day on the 14th that the lambs were to be slain, we need to determine the Scriptural meaning of the phrase ben ha arbayim. This Hebrew phrase reveals the specific time of day that the Passover was to begin.

What is the meaning of the phrase ben ha arbayim, “between the two evenings” or “between the setting-times”? Does it mean the time between the evening of one day and the evening of the next day? Could the Passover lambs be slain at any time in this 24-hour period? Does it mean between noon, the point when the sun is at its zenith, and sunset, when the sun has completed its descent? Does it mean from the mid-point in the afternoon, approximately 3 PM, until sunset ending the 14th? Does it mean from sunset until dark, at the beginning of the 14th? How can we really know?

Should we rely on scholars’ interpretations of this ancient Hebrew phrase? Can they give us an accurate definition and proper understanding? Do they honestly and objectively examine the Scriptural usage? And if not, why not?

Should we accept the traditional Jewish interpretation of ben ha arbayim, which arose many centuries after the Passover was instituted, and which proclaims that it is the time from mid-afternoon to sunset? Does this interpretation fit the ordinances of the Passover that God commanded through Moses?

Are the Rabbis Correct in TheirTraditional Explanation?

What does ben ha arbayim really mean? The rabbis claim to know the answer. Let us examine their traditional rabbinical explanation of this Hebrew phrase. It would be natural to expect the rabbis to know the true meaning of ben ha arbayim because, after all, they profess to be authorities in the Hebrew text. Most certainly, they ought to be experts in the Old Testament, shouldn’t they?

Now then, since they claim to be teachers of Scripture, we will put them and their explanations of ben ha arbayim to the test, to see whether they are “rightly dividing the Word of God,” or whether they have replaced the truth of God’s Word with their own traditions.

We will first examine the works of the most renowned Jewish mystic and Kabbalist scholar, Rabbi Rashi. His work on the Old Testament Scriptures has been published in Hebrew with a Hebrew commentary and an English linear translation. His work on the Hebrew Torah is considered to be one of the best, perhaps the very best, that is available to the general public.

Here is what Rashi writes in his commentary about the usage of the term ben ha arbayim in Exodus 12:6: “At dusk—From six hours (after noon) and upward is called ben ha arbayim, when the sun declines towards the place of its setting to be darkened. And the expression ben ha arbayim appears in my sight (to refer to) those hours between the ‘evening’ of day, and the ‘evening’ of night; the ‘evening’ of day is at the beginning of the seventh hour [1 PM ] from (the time that) ‘the shadows of evening are stretched out,’ and the ‘evening’ of night is at the beginning of night” (The Pentateuch and Rashi’s Commentary, Exodus 12:6, p. 102).Rabbi Rashi states that ben ha arbayim, which literally means “between the setting-times,” refers to the time period from 1 PM, the “evening” of day, until sunset, the “evening” of night. His definition places the slaying of the Passover lambs during the afternoon of the 14th— specifically, the time from one hour after noon until sunset of the 14th, at which time the 15th day begins. This interpretation of ben ha arbayim does not allow time to complete ALL NINE ORDINANCES of the Passover— including roasting and eating the lambs, and burning the remains—ON THE 14TH, as commanded in Scripture.

Despite such obvious contradiction, Judaism has for centuries upheld this faulty definition of ben ha arbayim, teaching that the Passover lambs were slain late on the 14th and were eaten after sunset of the 14th, when the night of the 15th had begun. This traditional rabbinical interpretation of ben ha arbayim conflicts with the clear commands of God as recorded in the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers. The commands in Exodus 12 specify that the Passover lambs were to be slain, roasted and eaten on the 14th. The command in Leviticus 23:5 confirms the observance of the Passover on the 14th day, and Numbers 9:3 shows that it was absolutely mandatory to fulfill ALL the ordinances of the Passover on the 14th. There is no allowance whatsoever for even one ordinance to be omitted on the 14th day! It appears that the rabbis have blinded their eyes to these clear commands in order to justify their own traditions.

The traditional rabbinical interpretation of ben ha arbayim—the commanded time for slaying the lambs—has been used by another Kabbalist scholar for his English translation of the Scriptures. In his translation of the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan promotes the traditional definition of ben ha arbayim as the afternoon of the 14th. Here is his translation: “Hold it in safekeeping until the fourteenth day of this month. The entire community of Israel shall then slaughter [their sacrifices] in the afternoon” (Ex. 12:6, The Living Torah).

The Scriptures themselves will expose Kaplan’s translation as a distorted view of the Passover command in Exodus 12. When we examine the use of ben ha arbayim in the context of Exodus 16, it will become evident that his interpretation of ben ha arbayim is wholly incorrect. Remember, we must let the Scriptures interpret the Scriptures. Religious traditions of Judaism and personal opinions of rabbis or other religious leaders should not be inserted into the Scriptures. Interpretations should be clearly noted as interpretations, and personal opinions should be noted as personal opinions. Human rationale should never be placed above the authority of Scripture, which has been inspired by God. Those who alter or misinterpret the Scriptures in order to further their human traditions will receive the judgment of God!

Before we examine the use of ben ha arbayim in Exodus 16, let’s find out how Rabbi Alfred Edersheim, a noted Messianic rabbi, views the command to slay the Passover lambs. Although he does not define the phrase ben ha arbayim, he gives the schedule of events for the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs. In his narration of the temple and its services, he describes the daytime portion of the 14th as the “eve of the Passover,” supporting a 14/15 Passover sequence in which the Passover lambs were killed at the temple late on the 14th and were eaten on the 15th.

In his book The Temple, Its Ministry and Services, As They Were at the Time of Christ, he states the following (Note: Edersheim assumes that the disciples Peter and John, when preparing for Jesus’ last Passover, went to the temple to have the lamb sacrificed. The account of Jesus’ last Passover in the Gospel of John shows that this assumption is incorrect. However, for the sake of a complete quotation, it is included here.): “While the Saviour still tarried with the other disciples outside the city, Peter and John were completing their preparations. They followed the motley crowd, all leading their sacrificial lambs up the Temple-mount. Here they were grouped into three divisions. Already the evening sacrifice had been offered.

“Ordinarily it was slain at 2:30 PM, and offered at about 3:30. But on the eve of the Passover, as we have seen, it was killed an hour earlier; and if the 14th of Nisan fell on a Friday—or rather from Thursday at eve to Friday at eve—two hours earlier [1:30 PM], so as to avoid any needless breach of the Sabbath [According to Scripture, the days of the week are reckoned from sunset to sunset; hence the weekly Sabbath begins with Friday evening.]” (pages 222-23). The Scriptural method of reckoning the day is explained in detail in Appendix A.

In his narration, Edersheim basically concurs with the interpretation given by Rashi and Kaplan that ben ha arbayim is the time period from approximately one hour after noon to sunset. His historical narration is describing the temple sacrificing of the Passover lambs. The temple sacrifice of the lambs took place on the afternoon of the 14th, exactly as stated by Edersheim. But was this the correct time for slaying the lambs? Was the traditional temple practice in accord with the Scriptural commands for sacrificing the Passover? Were the Passover lambs always slain on the afternoon of the 14th? Is that the true meaning of the command in Exodus 12? Or does the Scriptural command differ from what has been described by Edersheim, Rashi and Kaplan?

In a noted Hebrew-Chaldee lexicon, we find this explanation of ben ha arbayim under the listing erev: “Between the two evenings, Ex. 16:12; 30:8, [is] 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. 29:30, 41; Num 28:4” (Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament).

Gesenius has correctly stated that the Passover lambs were slain during the same space of time that the evening sacrifice was offered—ben ha arbayim, or “between the two evenings.” Gesenius gives two conflicting views of the specific time of day that this phrase is designating: “...according to the opinion of the Karaites and Samaritans (which is favoured by the words of Deut. 16:6), the time between sunset and deep twilight. The Pharisees, however, and the Rabbinists considered the time when the sun began to descend to be called the first evening (Arab. ‘little evening’; when it begins to draw towards evening); and the second evening to be the real sunset” (Ibid.).

The Rabbinic and Pharisaic opinion—that ben ha arbayim is the period of time before sunset—has for centuries been honored as a fundamental teaching of Judaism. As a result of this interpretation of ben ha arbayim, until the destruction of the second temple many Jews killed their Passover lambs late on the afternoon of the 14th, participating with the priests and Levites in the traditional sacrifice of the Passover. Josephus gives the following account of the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs: “So these high priests, upon the coming of their feast, which is called Passover, when they slay their sacrifices from the ninth hour to the eleventh [approximately 3 PM to 5 PM]...” (Wars of the Jews, Bk. VI, Ch. IX, Sec. 3).

This historical record of an afternoon sacrifice relates only to the killing of the Passover lambs at the temple. Josephus is not describing the domestic sacrifice of the Passover lambs at the houses of the people, as commanded by God. It is important to understand that the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs was a LATER INSTITUTION. It was, in fact, introduced about 800 years after Israel’s first Passover.

In his narration of Israel’s first Passover, Josephus shows that the Scriptural ordinances for observing the Passover—which included the domestic sacrifice of the Passover lambs on the 14th—were still being practiced by the Jews during his lifetime. He writes, “But when the fourteenth day was come, and all were ready to depart, they offered the sacrifice, and purified their houses, using bunches of hyssop for that purpose; and when they had supped, they burnt the remainder of the flesh, as just ready to depart. Whence it is that WE DO STILL OFFER THIS SACRIFICE IN LIKE MANNER TO THIS DAY, and call this festival Pascha...” (Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. II, Ch. 14, Sec. 6, emphasis added).

Josephus is clearly referring to the Passover ordinances in Exodus 12, as he specifically names several of them in this account of how the Passover ceremony was observed. As Josephus shows in this narration, all the ordinances of God for the Passover were still being observed side by side with the temple sacrifice of the lambs during his lifetime. All the statutes and all the ordinances that were observed at Israel’s first Passover— including the domestic sacrifice of the lambs—are included in his statement: “WE DO STILL OFFER THIS SACRIFICE IN LIKE MANNER TO THIS DAY [emphasis added].”

Ignoring this plain statement by Josephus, some scholars look wholly to the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs to explain when the Passover should be observed. Their one-sided explanation makes it appear that the domestic sacrifice of the Passover lambs was no longer practiced, and that the Scriptural ordinances of the Passover were no longer in effect. This false view of history is then used to support the traditional Jewish practice of killing the lambs late on the afternoon of the 14th and eating the Passover on the 15th. Some claim that this Jewish tradition, which was introduced centuries after the Passover in Egypt, is the way the Passover has always been observed.

Many churches have been taught to rely on Jewish tradition as a guide in observing the Christian Passover ceremony. They have been told by ministers and scholars alike that the Bible supports a 15th Passover. Christians who fall prey to such teachings do not realize that these scholars are following the interpretations of men. Ignoring the clear commands of God in Exodus 12 and Numbers 9, they have accepted the Rabbinic and Pharisaic interpretation of ben ha arbayim as their authority. Their writings clearly support the traditional Jewish view. Notice: “But exactly what did the term ‘between the two evenings’ include? We know that the LATER JEWS DEFINED IT as the period between about mid-afternoon and sundown. Is this interpretation a permissible one? ONE PASSAGE certainly gives us GOOD REASON TO THINK that the term between the two evenings includes a period before sunset. Ex. 29:38-39 states: ‘This is that which you shall offer upon the altar every day on a continual basis: two yearling rams, the one in the morning and the second between the two evenings’ (JPSA). (Also in Num. 28:3-8.) These ARE APPARENTLY THE ONLY PASSAGES which give any precise information about ‘between the two evenings.’ They INDICATE that the daily offering consists of a morning offering and an offering BEFORE SUNSET when the new day began. Yet, the second offering that day was offered ‘between the two evenings,’ showing that the first evening took place before sunset” (Dr. Robert L. Kuhn and Dr. Lester L. Grabbe, The Passover in the Bible and the Church Today, p. 13, emphasis added). For a technical exegesis of the command for the daily offering, see Appendix L.

Key phrases in these scholars’ statements have been emphasized to show the weakness in their arguments. The limited perspective of their research is revealed by their words “the LATER JEWS DEFINED IT.” What about the original meaning, as revealed in Scripture? After defining ben ha arbayim as “between about mid-afternoon and sundown,” they ask, “Is this interpretation a PERMISSIBLE ONE? Their response shows a lack of conclusive evidence: “ONE PASSAGE...GOOD REASON TO THINK...ARE APPARENTLY THE ONLY PASSAGES...INDICATE.”

What a shame that this kind of slanted presentation is put forth as objective research by noted scholars! This is truly reasoning backwards— using a much later practice to define the original meaning of the ancient Hebrew phrase ben ha arbayim. Such misguided reasoning is inexcusable for scholars holding doctorates in theology and Biblical languages, reputed to be experts, when the truth is in the Bible and is clearly revealed in other passages. Those passages are not discussed by these scholars in their writings. Can it be that these other Scriptures were deliberately ignored in order to gain acceptance for the traditional Jewish interpretation?

Although they promote the later Rabbinic view, these same scholars admit that ben ha arbayim originally was understood to mean the period of time following sunset. Here is their admission: “ ‘Between the two evenings’ is usually taken to mean between sundown and dark, a period of about an hour or so....This may be correct as far as the original Passover instructions were concerned. At least some later Jewish groups interpreted the original instructions in this way, including the Karaites and Samaritans. However, such a narrow definition is possible only where a small number of animals are slain or where all can be slain at the same time as was the case with the original Passover” (Ibid., p. 12).

What a remarkable admission this is, in light of the fact that these scholars have dedicated their entire dissertation to denouncing and rejecting the definition of ben ha arbayim as the period of time between sunset and dark! They are aware that this definition fits the Passover instructions in Exodus 12, but they have rejected it because it does not fit the Jewish tradition of the temple sacrifice of the Passover lambs. They are, in effect, rejecting the ordinance of God and choosing the tradition of men.

Their position is plainly revealed in the following statement: “If there was any other legitimate way to interpret the expression [ben ha arbayim] when considerations of the time [required for the temple sacrifice] did not allow slaughter of the Passover lambs in the twilight period, WE HAVE NO RECORD OF IT” (Ibid., p. 13, emphasis added). In choosing to follow Jewish tradition and to promote the Jewish interpretation of ben ha arbayim, they are either ignoring or overlooking the plain commands of God, which were given at the institution of the Passover in Egypt, and which have been preserved in His Word.

Their challenge to any who would dare to question their position shows that their final authority is not the Word of God, but human scholarship. They boldly state, “ANY ATTEMPT to make the phrase ‘between the two evenings’ [ben ha arbayim] refer to the beginning of the 14th is CONTRARY to all ancient scholarship known and also GOES AGAINST modern scholars who have discussed the subject” (Ibid., p. 32, emphasis added).

In the following chapters of this book, we will prove that these statements are false. The definition of ben ha arbayim as the beginning of the 14th, immediately after sunset, is not “contrary to all ancient scholarship,” nor is it contrary to modern scholarship. As we will see, one of the leading authorities in Biblical Hebrew, Everett Fox, defines ben ha arbayim as the time between sunset and dark. To determine whose definition is correct, we will examine all the available evidence—both Scriptural and historical. This evidence will expose the false scholarship of men and their misinterpretations of the Word of God.

Defying the False Scholarship of Men

We do not have to kowtow in trembling fear and be intimidated by so-called scholars simply because they claim intellectual superiority. There is a legitimate, Biblically sound, chronologically defined, Scripturally documented way to determine the original meaning of ben ha arbayim, and to prove beyond any shadow of doubt whatsoever that ben ha arbayim is the time period from sunset until dark, at the beginning of the day.

With the Word of God as our authority, we can challenge the methods of these scholars and refute their conclusions. If their so-called scholarly methods are not correct, and are found wanting, and are plain wrong, they should never be accepted by anyone! God does not require it! Nor does he accept such arrogant and impious handling of His Word of truth. In fact, the Word of God will expose such teachings for what they are: the traditions of men, which have replaced the commandments of God!

The apostle Paul, when confronted by those of the circumcision party who were trying to subvert the Galatians from the truth of the gospel, did not yield or subject himself to them for one moment: “...To whom we did not yield in subjection [to their demands of circumcision for new converts], not even for one hour, so that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. But the gospel that I preach did not come from those reputed to be something. (Whatever they were does not make any difference to me; God does not accept the person of a man.)” (Gal. 2:5-6). Paul publicly withstood the apostle Peter to his face, because Peter was carried away with the politics of the circumcision party from Jerusalem (Gal. 2:11-21).

We will do as the apostle Paul! We will stand with the truth of the Word of God and withstand those who oppose God, and we will expose the false arguments and views of so-called scholars. We will prove from Scripture that the statements made by Kuhn and Grabbe are utterly false. THE WORD OF GOD WILL PROVE THEM WRONG!

The Hebrew term ben ha arbayim is of ancient origin and is found only in the Pentateuch. It is therefore imperative to let the Bible interpret itself in the use of this term, rather than reading into the Bible the opinions and interpretations of men, which attempt to justify later practices and traditions. THE BIBLE MUST INTERPRET ITSELF! That is the only way to come to the knowledge of the truth of God and to understand the true meaning of ben ha arbayim.

In this chapter, we have seen that the Scriptures specifically designate the 14th day of the first month for the Passover to be observed, and that this observance began with the slaying of the lambs at ben ha arbayim. We have read the definitions of scholars, the records of Jewish history, and the interpretations of leading Jewish authorities, offering differing views of the meaning of ben ha arbayim—some placing it immediately after sunset, and some placing it in the afternoon hours before sunset. In order to determine which definition of ben ha arbayim is correct, we must first study the Scriptural usage of the Hebrew phrase ba erev, which is used to designate the time of sunset. In Chapter Four, we will examine this Hebrew phrase.