A detailed account of the institution of this feast is given in Ex. 12 and Ex. 13. It was afterwards incorporated in the ceremonial law (Lev. 23:4-8) as one of the great festivals of the nation. In after times many changes seem to have taken place as to the mode of its celebration as compared with its first celebration (comp. Dt. 16:2, 5,6; 2 Chr. 30:16; Lev. 23:10-14; Num. 9:10,11, 28:16-24). Again, the use of wine (Lk. 22:17, 20), of sauce with the bitter herbs (Jn. 13:26), and the service of praise were introduced.
There is recorded only one celebration of this feast between the Exodus and the entrance into Canaan, namely, that mentioned in Num. 9:5.
It was primarily a commemorative ordinance, reminding the children of Israel of their deliverance out of Egypt; but it was, no doubt, also a type of the great deliverance wrought by the Messiah for all his people from the doom of death on account of sin, and from the bondage of sin itself, a worse than Egyptian bondage (1 Cor. 5:7; Jn. 1:29, 19:32-36; 1 Pet. 1:19; Gal. 4:4,5). The appearance of Jerusalem on the occasion of the Passover in the time of our Lord is thus fittingly described: "The city itself and the neighbourhood became more and more crowded as the feast approached, the narrow streets and dark arched bazaars showing the same throng of men of all nations as when Jesus had first visited Jerusalem as a boy. Even the temple offered a strange sight at this season, for in parts of the outer courts a wide space was covered with pens for sheep, goats, and cattle to be used for offerings. Sellers shouted the merits of their beasts, sheep bleated, oxen lowed. Sellers of doves also had a place set apart for them. Potters offered a choice from huge stacks of clay dishes and ovens for roasting and eating the Passover lamb. Booths for wine, oil, salt, and all else needed for sacrifices invited customers. Persons going to and from the city shortened their journey by crossing the temple grounds, often carrying burdens...Stalls to change foreign money into the shekel of the temple, which alone could be paid to the priests, were numerous, the whole confusion making the sanctuary like a noisy market" (Geikie's Life of Christ).