The Exodus (part 1)
Written in Aswan, Egypt after a lecture on the subject.
Many see the bible as a book of fables to teach children, and to occasionally help adults be better people. I am not one of those people. It seems that many with the strongest anti-bible opinions know nearly nothing about it, and usually are not able to site 10 scriptures, of thousands, with which they take direct issue. I can specifically recall a student in college stating, as if it were factual, "the word 'bible' stands for best intentions but little education.' I found this intriguing. I am a person who believes strongly that everyone has the right to their opinion, and it certainly seems to be a waste of time to ever open any translation of the bible without some knowledge on its background; without valid endorsement for why some hold it as the word of God. I think any work worth its salt should be able to withstand the challenge of doubt.
In the Middle East, most of what occurred historically in the bible is taught as fact, and is backed with archaeology, and other records. As I mentioned, I'm one that regards the bible as the word of God, and since we all view things through our own ideological filters, it's only fair that I say that early in this writing. Though my goal is a decent level of subjectivity, I am not coming from a place of 'that is nonsense' in regards to scripture. The lecture I heard in Aswan on the exodus of the Jews from Egypt as penned in scripture was one of the best I've ever heard. I learned a lot. It was one of the greatest acts of salvation by the God described in the bible, and its relevance for both Jews and Christians is very interesting.
This will take multiple hubs to cover justly, but I will start this way. With the calender. In the times of the bible, the calender was lunar and began with Nisan (Abib) which coincides with about late-March to early April today. The calender was later changed by Julius Caesar, with a start of the calender being January 1st, in honor of the Roman god Janus, and based on a solar year. This political decision has held steady for most of the world today. However, the fact that the calender was originally lunar based, as recorded in the bible, is evident in our current calender. If you use the lunar month calender of the bible, with March being the first month of the year as it was then, then September is not the 9th month, but the seventh...with the appropriate prefix of Septem (Septem meaning 7 in Latin). And so it continues, Octo for October, meaning 8, Nove-nine, Dece 10. It's shows our origin in how we organized time.
The biblical instructions for Passover at first glance seem barbaric, primitive, and oddly specific. They were to choose a male sheep or goat that was a year old. It was to remain in their house from the 10th of Nisan to the 14th so that the time frame lasted for 3 and a half days. When the animal was killed for cooking, some of its blood was to be splashed upon the doorpost. They were not to boil it, no bones were to broken, and the animal was to be consumed whole on Nisan 14th. What was not consumed was to be burned completely with fire before morning. They were to eat this meal with unfermented cakes and bitter greens. This was the night before their deliverance. The observance was in recognition of the literal 'passing over' of the firstborn of those who obeyed when the 10th plague, (death of the firstborn), occurred. What really was behind the unusual instructions of their God?