The whole assembly of the congregation . . . shall kill it.--Every head of a family belonging to the "congregation" was to make the necessary arrangements, to have the victim ready, and to kill it on the fourteenth day, the day of the full moon, at a time described as that "between the two evenings." There is some doubt as to the meaning of this phrase. According to Onkelos and Aben Ezra, the first evening was at sunset, the second about an hour later, when the twilight ended and the stars came out. With this view agrees the direction in Deuteronomy 16:6 :--"Thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun." It is objected that, according to Josephus (Bell. Jud., vi. 9, ? 3), the actual time of the sacrifice was "from the ninth to the eleventh hour"--i.e., from three o'clock to five--and that there would not have been time for the customary ceremonies during the short twilight of Palestine. The ceremonies consisted in the slaughter of the lambs at the tabernacle door, and the conveyance of the blood in basins to the altar, in order that it might be sprinkled upon it. For this operation a period of several hours' duration would seem to have been necessary: hence the time came gradually to be extended; and when this had been done, a new interpretation of the phrase "between the evenings" grew up. The first evening was explained to begin with the decline of the sun from the zenith, and the second with the sunset; but this can scarcely have been the original idea.
and the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it in the evening; that is, of the fourteenth of Nisan; not between the two suns, as the Targum of Jonathan, between the sun setting and the sun rising; nor between the setting of the sun, and the entire disappearance of its rays of light reflecting in the air and clouds after it, as Aben Ezra; so it is said in the Talmud (k), after the sun is set, all the time that the face of the east is red; others say as long as a man can walk half a mile after sun setting; and others, the twinkling of an eye; but "between the two evening's" (l), as it may be rendered; which respects that space of time after the sun begins to decline, and the entire setting of it; when the sun begins to decline, as it does after noon, that is the first evening, and when it is set, that is the second; and the middle space between the one and the other is about the nineth hour of the day, according to the Jewish computation, and, with us, about three o'clock in the afternoon, about which time the passover used to be killed; for they say (m),"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and offered at the nineth; but on the evening of the passover it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath; and if the evening of the passover happened to be on the evening of the sabbath, it was slain at six and a half, and offered up at seven and a half, and after that the passover;''which was done, that there might be time before the last evening for the slaying of the passover lamb. Josephus (n) says, at the passover they slew the sacrifice from the nineth hour to the eleventh; See Gill on Matthew 26:17, and it being at the nineth hour that our Lord was crucified, the agreement between him and the paschal lamb in this circumstance very manifestly appears, Matthew 27:46 though it may also in general denote Christ's appearing in the last days, in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: the slaying of the paschal lamb is ascribed to the "whole assembly of the congregation", because it was to be slain by their order, and in their name, for their use, and they present; and thus the crucifixion of Christ, his sufferings and death, are attributed to the men of Israel, and all the house of Israel, Acts 2:22.
(k) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 34. 2.((l) "inter duas vesperas", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth. (m) Misn. Pesach. c. 5. sect. 1.((n) De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.