3.9 Passover

In unit 3.1.4, it was observed that the different aspects of God's work are sometimes intermingled in the book of Exodus.  So here, in the midst of the Deliverance event itself are several passages which are belong to the theme of Identity:    


          a. Ex 12:2Ex 12:14-27   Part of the chapter is an explanation of the centrality of Passover in the new Israelite community.  It was to be the first month of the year for Israel, and a memorial day for all generations.

          b. Ex 12:43-49  No foreigners or slaves could share the Passover, unless circumcised first.

           c. Ex 13:1-16  Passover was to be celebrated with 7 days of unleavened bread. The firstborn (males) of men and animals belonged to the Lord.  


So we see that a mark of Distinction from outsiders is at the same time a structure of cohesion of the faith community itself.  Circumcision is mentioned as one such sign, and the feast of Passover too.  It is remarkable that in our time the extraordinary emphasis on particularity and differentiation in the Old Testament has been swept away in a tide of universalism and "multi-culturalism" -- in which every local cultural expression is of equal value with all other cultures' values.  In this view, the religious practices of the ancient Canaanites, involving child sacrifice and cult prostitution, were of equal validity to Israelite monotheism.  This is, of course, nonsense, and destroys any ability to make moral judgments about human behavior.  This is why moral relativists are at bottom moral nihilists. Professing to advocate tolerance and compassion, they end up espousing barbarism -- the inability to articulate any consistent ethic of morality, or to define good and evil actions.