"Another layer of Genesis is that the first, the middle, and last day are all designed to show God creating structures of time. In the timing of the middle fourth day, God appoints the sun, moon and stars to rule over day and night, and they are to mark the moadim, the sacred feasts, the annual sacred feasts. So the whole sacred calendar of Israel that you’ll meet in Exodus and Leviticus is already baked into the story at the beginning of Genesis. (This is) sacred time."
Welcome to our fourth episode discussing the theme of the seventh-day rest in the Bible. In this episode, Tim and Jon look at the Passover and Exodus stories and talk about their importance to the development of this theme.
In part 1 (0-12:30), the guys quickly go over the conversation so far. Tim briefly covers the days of creation and notes how God sets up structures of time on days one, four, and seven. These structures are reflected in the Hebrew calendar.
In part 2 (12:30-19:30), Tim begins to share broadly about the Hebrew sacred calendar. Tim notes that the Jewish calendar is designed to heavily reflect symbolic “seven” imagery.
In part 3 (19:30-37:30), Tim briefly recaps the calling of Abraham that was discussed in the previous episode. Tim notes that Abraham believed that God would bring about an ultimate seventh day. A brief conversation follows about fasting in Christianity as well as a brief discussion on the differences between “hope” and “optimism.” Tim cites scholar Cornel West about the differences between optimism and Christian hope.
In part 4 (37:30-43:00), Tim starts to talk about Passover, which originates in the book of Exodus. Tim says that Passover is the most important feast on the Jewish calendar. The Exodus story is presented in cosmic terms on analogy with the Creation story of Genesis 1.
In part 5 (43:00-56:20), Tim explains the story of the Exodus and how it maps onto the Genesis story. The powers of evil destroy Israel (i.e. new humanity) through slavery (lit. “working” in Hebrew, עבדה), and through the waters of death. But God acts and rescues Israel. The famous story of the ten plagues are inversions of the ten creative words of God in Genesis 1. All of the plagues “de-create” Egypt back into chaotic darkness.
Consider these examples:
The Plague of Darkness
…and darkness (חשך) was over the surface of the deep…. Then God said, “let there be light (יהי אור)….”
Exodus 10:21, 23
…that there may be darkness (ויהי חשך) over the land of Egypt… but for all the sons of Israel, there was light (היה אור) in their dwellings.
The Plague of Frogs
And the Nile will swarm (ושרץ) with frogs…
…let the waters swarm (שרץ) with every swarming (שרץ) creature…
The Plague of Locusts
[the locusts] will eat every tree (עץ) which sprouts (צמח) for you from the field (השדה).
…fruit of the tree…all vegetation in the tree and green thing (ירק) in the field…
I have given to you for food all vegetation… all the tree which has the fruit of the tree… every green thing (ירק)….
…and Yahweh sprouted (צמח) from the ground every tree (עץ)…
Pharaoh sends Israel out of Egypt at night (Exod 12:29, 31, 42) and Israel flees to the edge of the Reed Sea where Pharaoh’s army chases them for a night showdown (Exod 14:20). It’s at night that God parts the waters (Exod 14:21), and during the last watch of the night (Exod 14:24), the Egyptians falter in the midst of the sea, and at sunrise (Exod 14:27) the waters destroy the Egyptians while the Israelites flourish on dry land.
Tim says that this story maps directly onto the creation narrative. The passage through the Reed Sea is all days 1-3 together in Genesis.
In part 6 (56:20-end), Tim goes to Exodus 15 to discuss the first “worship song” in the Bible.
Exodus 15:10-13, 17-18
You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;
They sank like lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like you among the gods, O Lord?
Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
Awesome in praises, working wonders?
You stretched out your right hand,
The earth swallowed them.
In your lovingkindness you have led the people whom you have redeemed;
In your strength you have guided them to your holy habitation.
You will bring them and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance,
The place of your dwelling (שבתך / shibteka / Sabbath!), which you have made,
The sanctuary, O Lord, which your hands have established.
The Lord shall reign forever and ever.
Tim notes that the English word “dwelling” in verse 17 is a wordplay on the word “sabbath,” because it is composed of the same letters.
Tim then discusses more details about the Passover and why its importance in the Bible. The Passover is on the 14th (2 x 7) and is followed by a seven day festival of unleavened bread (15th – 21st), that begins and ends with a “super sabbath” rest.
In Exodus 12:1-2, the new beginning given by God as he says, “beginning of the months, the beginning it is for you,” parallels with Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning….” Passover is compared to creation as a seven-day ritual the restarts the calendar, like a new creation.
Tim then dives back into Exodus 12:14-16, 34, 39.
Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses; for whoever eats anything leavened from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. On the first day you shall have a holy assembly, and another holy assembly on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them, except what must be eaten by every person, that alone may be prepared by you.
So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls bound up in the clothes on their shoulders.
They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread. For it had not become leavened, since they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.
Tim makes the following observations:
12:15 – “For seven days you are to put to rest (תשביתו) all leaven (שאר) from your houses.” For the resonance of “leaven” שאר with “remnant” שאר, continue reading for the comparison of Passover and the flood. 12:16 – “on the first day it is a holy convocation, and on the seventh day it is a holy convocation… all work should not be done on them.” This parallels Genesis 2:1-4. The seventh day is holy, for God finished his work. 13:6-7 – “Seven days you will eat unleavened bread (מצת) and on the seventh day it is a feast for YHWH; unleavened bread will be eaten (יאכל) for seven days, and leaven will not be seen for you for seven days.” This parallels with Genesis 1-3: There is a certain food provided (מן כל העך), and a certain food that is forbidden (the tree of knowing good and bad). Here's a quote Tim cites in his notes for this verse:
“But why require eating unleavened bread as the special focus of the exodus memorial meal, the Passover? The answer is that unleavened bread was the unique food of the original exodus, the event God wanted his people to be sure not to forget. People everywhere normally eat leavened bread. It tastes better, is more pleasant to eat, is more filling. Leavened bread was the normal choice of the Israelites in Egypt too. But on the night they ran, there was no time for the usual niceties—a fast meal had to be eaten, and hastily made bread had to be consumed. The fact that a lamb or goat kid was roasted for the meat portion of the meal or that bitter herbs were eaten as a side dish was not nearly so special or unusual as the fact that the bread was unleavened, thus essentially forming sheets of cracker. Eating it at the memorial feast intentionally recalled the original departure in haste. Eating it for a solid week tended to fix the idea in one’s consciousness.” (Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary, 283)
Consider these points:
Passover is coordinated with the “wonder” of the parting of the waters and deliverance onto dry land (Exod 14), which parallels Genesis 1 when God parts the waters so that dry land can emerge. Passover is about Israel’s liberation from “slavery” (עבדה/עב׳׳ד), which parallels Genesis 1-2 about the creation of humanity as God’s co-rulers who “work” (עב׳׳ד) the land. Passover is a reversal of humanity’s exile when Israel is “banished” (גרשו, Ex 12:39) from Egypt, which parallels Genesis 3:22-24 when humanity is banished from Eden into the wilderness. Tim concludes by saying that Passover and the Exodus are a kind of “new creation” as enslaved humanity is liberated from the realm of exile, death, and darkness and led through the waters of death into the new Eden of the promised land, marked by the celebration of a seven-day ritual (in the month of Abib on the 14th-21st). The liberation brought about at Passover is a new creation. The liberation requires that humans not try to provide their own security or provision (bread) but eat only what God allows and provides. This is clearly in preparation for the manna.
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Defender Instrumental by Tents Where Peace and Rest are Found by Beautiful Eulogy All Night by Unwritten Stories Moon by LeMMino Supporter Synth Groove The Pilgrim by Greyflood
Richard H. Lowery, Sabbath and Jubilee
Douglas K. Stuart, Exodus, vol. 2, The New American Commentary
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