Passover also known as Pesach (in Hebrew) has its origins from the accounts in the Book of Exodus. Its timing in the month of Nisan (15) allows for a Lunar Eclipse to occur during or very close to this feast. The events leading to the creation of this festival took place around the fourteenth century BC.
The most significant aspect about Passover today is that it was the time when the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, became the sacrificial Lamb for all of humanity for all time.
The affliction and bondage the Israelites would suffer at the hands of the Egyptians was first revealed to Abraham. It would be an incubator of sorts for the nation and they would emerge from captivity with great substance:
13 And He said to Abram, Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
In the course of things, Abraham had a son named Isaac; he in turn had twins, Esau and Jacob. Although Esau was the first born, Jacob was able to acquire the birthright from Esau:
30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray you, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day your birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he swore to him: and he sold his birthright to Jacob.
Further to this, Isaac was blind in his later years, and being deceived blessed Jacob instead of Esau:
28 Therefore God give you of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29 Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you: be lord over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you: cursed be every one that curses you, and blessed be he that blesses you. 30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
Jacob had two wives, Leah and Rachael. However initially Rachel did not bear Jacob any children, but God hearkened unto her prayers and opened her womb:
22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bore him a son, and said, God has taken away my reproach: 24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add me another son. 25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, Send me away, that I may go to my own place, and to my country.
Joseph was loved by Jacob (who was renamed Israel in Genesis 35:10) more than all of his other children. He therefore gave him a coat of many colors. This caused a rift between Joseph and his brethren. To further exacerbate matters, he began having dreams in which he was exalted above his parents as well as his brethren.
9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. 10 And he told it to his father, and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said to him, What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to you to the earth?
These dreams caused Joseph’s brothers to hate him even more, to the point that they considered slaying him. But instead they took him and sold him as a slave for twenty pieces of silver to merchants who were heading for Egypt. His brethren went home and told Israel that Joseph was slain by a wild beast.
In Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard. The LORD was with Joseph and everything began to prosper at his hand. Eventually Joseph was made the overseer of his house. Then Potiphar’s wife continually tried to seduce Joseph, to the point where one day she grabbed hold of his garment, but he left his garment in her hand and fled from her. She then accused him of trying to rape her.
As a result, Joseph was then cast into prison; there he met other prisoners who served Pharaoh. Two of these prisoners had worked directly with Pharaoh, the chief butler and the chief baker. Both of them had dreams, which Joseph was able to accurately interpret.
Pharaoh some time later had a dream, for which he needed the interpretation, the chief butler who was reinstated into his position then told Pharaoh about Joseph, since his wise men were not able to interpret the dream. Joseph then interpreted the dreams warning of a famine to come, and advised Pharaoh of the action that he should take. Joseph was then promoted to manage the affairs of Egypt.
38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? 39 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, Forasmuch as God has showed you all this, there is none so discreet and wise as you are: 40 You shall be over my house, and according to your word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than you.
In the years to come, the seven year famine came, but due to the management skills of Joseph, Egypt had sufficient food supplies warehoused. Eventually Jacob instructed his sons with the exception of Benjamin to go down to Egypt to purchase corn.
Joseph eventually made himself known to his brethren, and Israel and his entire house, being seventy persons journeyed down to dwell in Egypt when two years of the famine were past.
3 And He said, I am God, the God of your father: fear not to go down into Egypt; for I will there make of you a great nation: 4 I will go down with you into Egypt; and I will surely bring you up again: and Joseph shall put his hand upon your eyes.
As generations past on, the children of Israel grew and multiplied, and a new king of Egypt who did not know about Joseph reigned. This king feared that the Israelites would join with their enemies and cause them to be overthrown. Therefore the Egyptians made them to serve with hard rigor and made their lives bitter with hard bondage.
To prevent the Israelites’ population from expanding, the king of the Egyptians further instructed the midwives to kill the male babies that were born of the Hebrews. But when Moses was born, he was hidden, when he was three months old and could no longer be hid; he was placed into a small ark and sent down the river. Pharaoh’s daughter found him and raised him as her own.
When Moses was an adult he saw an Egyptian smiting one of the Hebrews and he slew the Egyptian. When this matter became known abroad, he fled from the face of Pharaoh who then sought to slay him. He then dwelt in the land of Midian, until the LORD called and commissioned him.
9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come to Me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt.
There were 10 signs and wonders that were done in the land of Egypt before the Israelites were allowed to leave. While the first nine plagues required no action on the part of the Israelites to be made exempt from them, the tenth one was different. In this case a male lamb in the first year that was without blemish had to be selected in the tenth day of the first month. On the fourteenth day of that month the lamb was to be slain and its blood was to be smeared on the two side door posts and the upper door post of the house where they would roast the flesh of the lamb and then consume it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. The remains were to be burnt with fire by the next morning.
11 And thus shall you eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’s Passover.
12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
It should be noted that the time the sacrifice was killed was 3:00 PM in the afternoon of the fourteenth day of Nisan. Then at midnight of Nisan 15 (remember Jewish days change in the evening) was when all the firstborns in the land of Egypt were slain.
29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
Hence the feast of Passover was established and celebrated on Nisan 15 as a memorial for all generations. This was a type of foreshadow of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.