This story is featured in a collection of Bible stories for kids called Take and Eat: Bible Stories for Kids about the Eucharist.
The Jewish Passover feast celebrates God freeing the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. This is the feast that Jesus commemorated with his disciples at the Last Supper when he instituted the Eucharist.
As you read this story, pay attention to the way God tells the Israelites to prepare the bread.
Moses had tried to convince Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, to free the Israelites without success. So God sent many plagues against Egypt to convince Pharaoh to free them. The plagues caused people to get sick or lose their crops and livestock. Each time, Moses tried to warn Pharaoh that there would be more plagues, but he did not listen.
Finally, God said to Moses, “I will send one more plague, and afterward Pharaoh will finally let you go. Not only that, but he will force you to leave.”
Moses tried to warn Pharaoh one last time, saying, “Every firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, including your son who sits on the throne, if you do not let us go.” The king would not listen.
The Lord gave Moses instructions to share with the people: “Each family must sacrifice a lamb and eat of it. The lamb must be a year-old male without any blemishes. Then they shall take the blood and spread it across the doorways to their homes. The blood shall be a sign, and I will pass over your homes when I see it. No plague shall destroy you. Cook the lamb, and eat all of it that night or burn what is left.”
God also told Moses how they were to celebrate to remember this night in the years ahead. He told him they would eat unleavened bread for seven days. Unleavened bread is like a flat cracker. Normally, bread takes time to rise before it is cooked, because of the leaven, which is also called yeast.
The unleavened bread served to remind the people of what happened during the Passover. The firstborn in Egypt were killed, but the Israelites were spared. Pharaoh woke up in the middle of the night and cried out in fear and sorrow. He immediately summoned Moses and his brother Aaron. “Go away, both you and the Israelites! Go worship your God! Be gone and bring a blessing on me, too!”
Then the Egyptians urged the Israelites to leave immediately. This is why the Lord commanded them to celebrate with unleavened bread. They left so quickly that they could not even give their bread enough time to rise before packing it for their trip. With that, the Israelites went in haste out of the land of Egypt.
- What did the Israelites eat to commemorate the Passover feast, and why?
- In what ways is our paschal feast during Mass similar to the Passover feast commanded by God in the Old Testament?
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