The Simple Answer
The simple answer is yes, in the context of these verses (חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֖ם), "olam" means an eternal law, forever, exactly as the ESV translation implies. There is no wiggle room.
Trust the Mainstream Translations
As a general rule, you can trust the ESV and the other commonly accepted translations. They were written by trustworthy scholars who are aware of the pitfalls of reading later doctrinal issues of whatever faith back into the text. Their differences are mostly in English style and where each translation stands on the spectrum between word-to-word literal translation and interpretive translation.
The Cambridge uses "for all time", the NLT "permanent", the NASB "perpetual", the KJ "for ever", the ISV "eternal", New Heart "forever", Darby "everlasting", the NIV uses "lasting". All of the others use one of these translations (except for the NIV's "lasting"). With the exception of the NIV, none of these translations use a word that indicates that "olam" could in any way be limited in time. Quite the opposite.
Use Dictionaries Correctly
The shorter format dictionaries such as Genesius, BDB, and Jastrow collect a range of meanings for a given word from different contexts and periods, and from Aramaic texts outside the OT. Their format does not bring to your attention that the differences in the various meanings for a word stem from particular contexts and historical periods. You need to pay attention to the citations to see that. In some instances the meaning of a word becomes inverted with the passage of time or when used as a loan word.
It is incorrect take a meaning from one context or period from one of these dictionaries and attempt to read it back into different context or period, as if the dictionary were a Websters Collegiate dictionary that provides alternative meanings for words.
Use a Concordance
There are many words in the OT that appear only once or twice and whose meaning is unclear or debated. "Olam" is not one of these words. Abraham Even-Shoshan lists 437 occurances for "olam" in thirteen different grammatical constructs in all major books of the OT:
This give us a rich source of in-text cognates to clarify the meaning.
In come contexts the meaning is "from the beginning of time", Deut 33:15, Psalms 10:16.
In some contexts the meaning is "the world, universe", Prov 10:25.
In some contexts the meaning could be either "eternal" or "universe", Genesis 21:33.
In some contexts the meaning is "forever" as in Lev 24:8 and several dozen others.
Olam in Context
In Exodus 12:14 and Leviticus 23:41, "olam" appears in the phrase חֻקַּ֥ת עוֹלָ֖ם ("hukat olam"). This appears to be a technical term that indicates conditions under which the law applies. The main classes of laws by conditions are:
- One-time commandments such as the first passover commandments in Egypt
- Commandments that apply only to a period such as the manna commandments of the wilderness period
- Commandments that apply only in the Land of Israel such as the tithes
- Commandments that apply only on condition that there is a temple in Jerusalem, such as the sacrifices and priestly purity commandments
- Commandments that apply for all time, all places, under any condition, such as the holidays
A "hukat olam" is a law of the fifth (5) category. There is no wiggle room in the manuscript texts of Exodus 12:14 or Leviticus 23:41 for any translation that would limit the time extent of "olam".
I don't know whether to vote the OP up or down or both or neither.
The argument for an up vote is that it is important to answer this type of question, especially when there is a risk of back-reading doctrinal considerations into a text.
The argument for a down vote is that a simple concordance lookup should have obviated the question.
- "A New Concordance of the Bible", edited by Abraham Even-Shoshan, "Kiryat Sefer" publishing, Jerusalem, 1988, ISBN-965-17-0098-X.
- "olam" does not appear in Song of Songs, Ruth, Ezra, Ester, Lamentations, Obadiah, Jonah Nahum or Zephaniah
- I use the term "manuscript text" rather than "original Hebrew text" because I have never seen any historical or archaeological evidence to indicate that there ever was a single original Hebrew text.