The Studio in Old Jaffa, Israel/

“The Destroyer,” sent by God to kill the firstborn of Egypt, passes over a home whose lintel has been properly marked with the secret sign of lamb’s blood—thus sparing the Israelite family inside—in this 1997 painting by Israeli artist Michal Meron. According to Propp, this story—from which the Jewish holiday Passover takes its name—echoes a popular Arab rite in which a lamb’s or goat’s blood is applied to objects to protect them from demons. Yet here, as elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, demonic powers are not independent beings with their own malicious intent; they are manifestations of Yahweh’s singular will—in this case, to punish Egypt for keeping Israel enslaved.

Meron’s painting is one of a series of illustrations for his colorful Passover Haggadah. The Haggadah is the midrashic retelling of the Exodus read aloud during the holiday.