Exodus 12:15 in the King James Version reads, “Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.”
The word “first,” which appears two times in this verse, was translated from the Hebrew word “ri’shôn.” The Complete Biblical Library, by World Library Press Inc. states, “The suffix ôn makes this term an adjective or adverb as determined by context… First, the word can refer to the first of two or more items. In this capacity, it also occurs in a series as an ordinal number. Second, it functions as an adverb, ‘before,’ ‘formerly,’ and is often used with words pertaining to time.” Since the word ri’shon in Exodus 12:15 is used in the context of time, it should be translated as “previous” or “prior,” as it is translated in the Stone Edition of the Tanach, 1996.
Thus, this verse is correctly translated: “Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the previous day you shall cause leaven to cease from your houses; for whoever eats leavened bread from the previous day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.” This is how it is translated in this version.
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