The Ninth and Tenth Plagues

Exodus 10:21-27; 11:1-8; 10:28-29; 11:9-10; 12:21-30

Highlights from this Passage

  • Darkness is sent.
  • God promises their departure.
  • He wills them to borrow their neighbors’ jewels. 
  • Moses was esteemed by all except Pharaoh.
  • The fathers must teach their children the mystery of the Passover.
  • The firstborn of Egypt are slain.

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Yahweh said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.” Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. They didn’t see one another, and nobody rose from his place for three days; but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

Pharaoh called to Moses, and said, “Go, serve Yahweh. Only let your flocks and your herds stay behind. Let your little ones also go with you.”

Moses said, “You must also give into our hand sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh our God. Our livestock also shall go with us. Not a hoof shall be left behind, for of it we must take to serve Yahweh our God; and we don’t know with what we must serve Yahweh, until we come there.”

But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he wouldn’t let them go. 

Yahweh said to Moses, “I will bring yet one more plague on Pharaoh, and on Egypt; afterwards he will let you go. When he lets you go, he will surely thrust you out altogether. Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man ask of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.” Yahweh gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.

Moses said, “This is what Yahweh says: ‘About midnight I will go out into the middle of Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the mill, and all the firstborn of livestock. There will be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has not been, nor will be any more. But against any of the children of Israel a dog won’t even bark or move its tongue, against man or animal, that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. All these servants of yours will come down to me, and bow down themselves to me, saying, “Get out, with all the people who follow you;” and after that I will go out.’” He went out from Pharaoh in hot anger.

Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Be careful to see my face no more; for in the day you see my face you shall die!”

Moses said, “You have spoken well. I will see your face again no more.”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Pharaoh won’t listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go out of his land.

Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said to them, “Draw out, and take lambs according to your families, and kill the Passover. You shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two door posts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. For Yahweh will pass through to strike the Egyptians; and when he sees the blood on the lintel, and on the two door posts, Yahweh will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to strike you. You shall observe this thing for an ordinance to you and to your sons forever. It shall happen when you have come to the land which Yahweh will give you, as he has promised, that you shall keep this service. It will happen, when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Yahweh’s Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians, and spared our houses.’”

The people bowed their heads and worshiped. The children of Israel went and did so; as Yahweh had commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did.

At midnight, Yahweh struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon and all the firstborn of livestock. Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

The Passover

Exodus 12:1-20

Highlight from this Passage

  • The Lord institutes the Passover.
  • The Passover foreshadows Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

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Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, “This month shall be to you the beginning of months. It shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth day of this month, they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household; and if the household is too little for a lamb, then he and his neighbor next to his house shall take one according to the number of the souls. You shall make your count for the lamb according to what everyone can eat. Your lamb shall be without defect, a male a year old. You shall take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at evening. They shall take some of the blood, and put it on the two door posts and on the lintel, on the houses in which they shall eat it. They shall eat the meat in that night, roasted with fire, with unleavened bread. They shall eat it with bitter herbs. Don’t eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted with fire; with its head, its legs and its inner parts. You shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; but that which remains of it until the morning you shall burn with fire. This is how you shall eat it: with your belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste: it is Yahweh’s Passover. For I will go through the land of Egypt in that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and animal. I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. I am Yahweh. The blood shall be to you for a token on the houses where you are. When I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. This day shall be a memorial for you. You shall keep it as a feast to Yahweh. You shall keep it as a feast throughout your generations by an ordinance forever.

“‘Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; even the first day you shall put away yeast out of your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. In the first day there shall be to you a holy convocation, and in the seventh day a holy convocation; no kind of work shall be done in them, except that which every man must eat, only that may be done by you. You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this same day I have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance forever. In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty first day of the month at evening. There shall be no yeast found in your houses for seven days, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is a foreigner, or one who is born in the land. You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.’”

The Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth Plagues

Exodus 9:1-10:20

Highlight from this Passage

  • More plagues come upon Egypt: the death of Egyptian livestock, boils, hail, and locusts.
  • Pharaoh confesses his wickedness. Moses prays for him, yet he is obstinate.

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Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For if you refuse to let them go, and hold them still, behold, Yahweh’s hand is on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks with a very grievous pestilence. Yahweh will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt; and nothing shall die of all that belongs to the children of Israel.”’” Yahweh appointed a set time, saying, “Tomorrow Yahweh shall do this thing in the land.” Yahweh did that thing on the next day; and all the livestock of Egypt died, but of the livestock of the children of Israel, not one died. Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not so much as one of the livestock of the Israelites dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was stubborn, and he didn’t let the people go.

Yahweh said to Moses and to Aaron, “Take handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the sky in the sight of Pharaoh. It shall become small dust over all the land of Egypt, and shall be boils and blisters breaking out on man and on animal, throughout all the land of Egypt.”

They took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward the sky; and it became boils and blisters breaking out on man and on animal. The magicians couldn’t stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken to Moses.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, that they may serve me. For this time I will send all my plagues against your heart, against your officials, and against your people; that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. For now I would have stretched out my hand, and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth; but indeed for this cause I have made you stand: to show you my power, and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth, because you still exalt yourself against my people, that you won’t let them go. Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as has not been in Egypt since the day it was founded even until now. Now therefore command that all of your livestock and all that you have in the field be brought into shelter. The hail will come down on every man and animal that is found in the field, and isn’t brought home, and they will die.”’”

Those who feared Yahweh’s word among the servants of Pharaoh made their servants and their livestock flee into the houses. Whoever didn’t respect Yahweh’s word left his servants and his livestock in the field.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on man, and on animal, and on every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.”

Moses stretched out his rod toward the heavens, and Yahweh sent thunder and hail; and lightning flashed down to the earth. Yahweh rained hail on the land of Egypt. So there was very severe hail, and lightning mixed with the hail, such as had not been in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The hail struck throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and animal; and the hail struck every herb of the field, and broke every tree of the field. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail.

Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “I have sinned this time. Yahweh is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. Pray to Yahweh; for there has been enough of mighty thunderings and hail. I will let you go, and you shall stay no longer.”

Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to Yahweh. The thunders shall cease, and there will not be any more hail; that you may know that the earth is Yahweh’s. But as for you and your servants, I know that you don’t yet fear Yahweh God.”

The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley had ripened and the flax was blooming. But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they had not grown up. Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to Yahweh; and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured on the earth. When Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders had ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants. The heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go, just as Yahweh had spoken through Moses.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these my signs among them; and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your son’s son, what things I have done to Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am Yahweh.”

Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and said to him, “This is what Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may serve me. Or else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country, and they shall cover the surface of the earth, so that one won’t be able to see the earth. They shall eat the residue of that which has escaped, which remains to you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which grows for you out of the field. Your houses shall be filled, and the houses of all your servants, and the houses of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your fathers’ fathers have seen, since the day that they were on the earth to this day.’” He turned, and went out from Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve Yahweh, their God. Don’t you yet know that Egypt is destroyed?”

Moses and Aaron were brought again to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve Yahweh your God; but who are those who will go?”

Moses said, “We will go with our young and with our old. We will go with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds; for we must hold a feast to Yahweh.”

He said to them, “Yahweh be with you if I let you go with your little ones! See, evil is clearly before your faces. Not so! Go now you who are men, and serve Yahweh; for that is what you desire!” Then they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up on the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail has left.” Moses stretched out his rod over the land of Egypt, and Yahweh brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts. The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the borders of Egypt. They were very grievous. Before them there were no such locusts as they, nor will there ever be again. For they covered the surface of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened, and they ate every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. There remained nothing green, either tree or herb of the field, through all the land of Egypt. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste, and he said, “I have sinned against Yahweh your God, and against you. Now therefore please forgive my sin again, and pray to Yahweh your God, that he may also take away from me this death.”

Moses went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh sent an exceedingly strong west wind, which took up the locusts, and drove them into the Red Sea. There remained not one locust in all the borders of Egypt. But Yahweh hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he didn’t let the children of Israel go.

The First Four Plagues

Exodus 7:14-8:32

Highlights from this Passage

  • The waters of Egypt are turned to blood.
  • Frogs, lice, and flies are sent.

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Yahweh said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is stubborn. He refuses to let the people go. Go to Pharaoh in the morning. Behold, he is going out to the water. You shall stand by the river’s bank to meet him. You shall take the rod which was turned to a serpent in your hand. You shall tell him, ‘Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you, saying, “Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness. Behold, until now you haven’t listened.” Yahweh says, “In this you shall know that I am Yahweh. Behold: I will strike with the rod that is in my hand on the waters which are in the river, and they shall be turned to blood. The fish that are in the river will die and the river will become foul. The Egyptians will loathe to drink water from the river.”’” Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, over their streams, and over their pools, and over all their ponds of water, that they may become blood. There will be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

Moses and Aaron did so, as Yahweh commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and struck the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish that were in the river died. The river became foul. The Egyptians couldn’t drink water from the river. The blood was throughout all the land of Egypt. The magicians of Egypt did the same thing with their enchantments. So Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken. Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he didn’t even take this to heart. All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink; for they couldn’t drink the river water. Seven days were fulfilled, after Yahweh had struck the river.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh says, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. If you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your borders with frogs. The river will swarm with frogs, which will go up and come into your house, and into your bedroom, and on your bed, and into the house of your servants, and on your people, and into your ovens, and into your kneading troughs. The frogs shall come up both on you, and on your people, and on all your servants.”’” Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your rod over the rivers, over the streams, and over the pools, and cause frogs to come up on the land of Egypt.’” Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up, and covered the land of Egypt. The magicians did the same thing with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “Entreat Yahweh, that he take away the frogs from me and from my people; and I will let the people go, that they may sacrifice to Yahweh.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “I give you the honor of setting the time that I should pray for you, and for your servants, and for your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, and remain in the river only.”

Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow.”

Moses said, “Let it be according to your word, that you may know that there is no one like Yahweh our God. The frogs shall depart from you, and from your houses, and from your servants, and from your people. They shall remain in the river only.”

Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to Yahweh concerning the frogs which he had brought on Pharaoh. Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and the frogs died out of the houses, out of the courts, and out of the fields. They gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your rod, and strike the dust of the earth, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’” They did so; and Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and struck the dust of the earth, and there were lice on man, and on animal; all the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their enchantments to produce lice, but they couldn’t. There were lice on man, and on animal. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s finger;” but Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh; behold, he comes out to the water; and tell him, ‘This is what Yahweh says, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. Else, if you will not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies on you, and on your servants, and on your people, and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground they are on. I will set apart in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, to the end you may know that I am Yahweh on the earth. I will put a division between my people and your people. This sign shall happen by tomorrow.”’” Yahweh did so; and there came grievous swarms of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses. In all the land of Egypt the land was corrupted by reason of the swarms of flies.

Pharaoh called for Moses and for Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God in the land!”

Moses said, “It isn’t appropriate to do so; for we shall sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians to Yahweh our God. Behold, if we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, won’t they stone us? We will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh our God, as he shall command us.”

Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to Yahweh your God in the wilderness, only you shall not go very far away. Pray for me.”

Moses said, “Behold, I am going out from you. I will pray to Yahweh that the swarms of flies may depart from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people, tomorrow; only don’t let Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to Yahweh.” Moses went out from Pharaoh, and prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh did according to the word of Moses, and he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. There remained not one. Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and he didn’t let the people go.

Early Events in Moses’ Mission

Exodus 4:29-7:13

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses and Aaron deliver God’s message to Pharaoh, who oppresses the people of Israel more and more.
  • The people of Israel cry out upon Moses and Aaron, and Moses complains to God.
  • God renews his promise to deliver the Israelites.
  • Moses speaks to the Israelites, but they do not believe him.
  • Moses and Aaron are sent to Pharaoh again.
  • God hardens Pharaoh’s heart.
  • Moses and Aaron perform the miracles of the serpent and the blood. Pharaoh’s sorcerers do the same.

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Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel. Aaron spoke all the words which Yahweh had spoken to Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. The people believed, and when they heard that Yahweh had visited the children of Israel, and that he had seen their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Afterward Moses and Aaron came, and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don’t know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”

They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to Yahweh, our God, lest he fall on us with pestilence, or with the sword.”

The king of Egypt said to them, “Why do you, Moses and Aaron, take the people from their work? Get back to your burdens!” Pharaoh said, “Behold, the people of the land are now many, and you make them rest from their burdens.” The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make brick, as before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. You shall require from them the number of the bricks which they made before. You shall not diminish anything of it, for they are idle. Therefore they cry, saying, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on the men, that they may labor in it. Don’t let them pay any attention to lying words.”

The taskmasters of the people went out with their officers, and they spoke to the people, saying, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you straw. Go yourselves, get straw where you can find it, for nothing of your work shall be diminished.’” So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. The taskmasters were urgent saying, “Fulfill your work quota daily, as when there was straw!” The officers of the children of Israel, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota both yesterday and today, in making brick as before?”

Then the officers of the children of Israel came and cried to Pharaoh, saying, “Why do you deal this way with your servants? No straw is given to your servants, and they tell us, ‘Make brick!’ and behold, your servants are beaten; but the fault is in your own people.”

But Pharaoh said, “You are idle! You are idle! Therefore you say, ‘Let’s go and sacrifice to Yahweh.’ Go therefore now, and work; for no straw shall be given to you; yet you shall deliver the same number of bricks!”

The officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in trouble when it was said, “You shall not diminish anything from your daily quota of bricks!”

They met Moses and Aaron, who stood along the way, as they came out from Pharaoh. They said to them, “May Yahweh look at you and judge, because you have made us a stench to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to kill us!”

Moses returned to Yahweh, and said, “Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it that you have sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble on this people. You have not rescued your people at all!”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh, for by a strong hand he shall let them go, and by a strong hand he shall drive them out of his land.”

God spoke to Moses, and said to him, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Yahweh I was not known to them. I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their travels, in which they lived as aliens. Moreover I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage, and I have remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the children of Israel, ‘I am Yahweh, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments. I will take you to myself for a people. I will be your God; and you shall know that I am Yahweh your God, who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it to you for a heritage: I am Yahweh.’”

Moses spoke so to the children of Israel, but they didn’t listen to Moses for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Go in, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.”

Moses spoke before Yahweh, saying, “Behold, the children of Israel haven’t listened to me. How then shall Pharaoh listen to me, when I have uncircumcised lips?” Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a command to the children of Israel, and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

These are the heads of their fathers’ houses. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, and Jamin, and Ohad, and Jachin, and Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. These are the names of the sons of Levi according to their generations: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari; and the years of the life of Levi were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Gershon: Libni and Shimei, according to their families. The sons of Kohath: Amram, and Izhar, and Hebron, and Uzziel; and the years of the life of Kohath were one hundred thirty-three years. The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their generations. Amram took Jochebed his father’s sister to himself as wife; and she bore him Aaron and Moses. The years of the life of Amram were one hundred thirty-seven years. The sons of Izhar: Korah, and Nepheg, and Zichri. The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. Aaron took Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab, the sister of Nahshon, as his wife; and she bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families of the Korahites. Eleazar Aaron’s son took one of the daughters of Putiel as his wife; and she bore him Phinehas. These are the heads of the fathers’ houses of the Levites according to their families. These are that Aaron and Moses to whom Yahweh said, “Bring out the children of Israel from the land of Egypt according to their armies.” These are those who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring out the children of Israel from Egypt. These are that Moses and Aaron.

On the day when Yahweh spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, Yahweh said to Moses, “I am Yahweh. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I tell you.”

Moses said before Yahweh, “Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh listen to me?”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I have made you as God to Pharaoh; and Aaron your brother shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you; and Aaron your brother shall speak to Pharaoh, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land. I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt. But Pharaoh will not listen to you, so I will lay my hand on Egypt, and bring out my armies, my people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt by great judgments. The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out my hand on Egypt, and bring the children of Israel out from among them.”

Moses and Aaron did so. As Yahweh commanded them, so they did. Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, “When Pharaoh speaks to you, saying, ‘Perform a miracle!’ then you shall tell Aaron, ‘Take your rod, and cast it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’”

Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded. Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing with their enchantments. For they each cast down their rods, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he didn’t listen to them, as Yahweh had spoken.

Moses and the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-4:28

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses keeps sheep, and God appears to him in a bush.
  • God sends him to deliver the children of Israel.
  • God reveals his personal name to Moses.

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Now Moses was keeping the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the back of the wilderness, and came to God’s mountain, to Horeb. Yahweh’sangel appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the middle of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. Moses said, “I will go now, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.”

When Yahweh saw that he came over to see, God called to him out of the middle of the bush, and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Here I am.”

He said, “Don’t come close. Take off your sandals, for the place you are standing on is holy ground.” Moreover he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.

Yahweh said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters, for I know their sorrows. I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and large land, to a land flowing with milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to me. Moreover I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

He said, “Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what should I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God said moreover to Moses, “You shall tell the children of Israel this, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and tell them, ‘Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, “I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt. I have said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ They will listen to your voice. You shall come, you and the elders of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and you shall tell him, ‘Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now please let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to Yahweh, our God.’ I know that the king of Egypt won’t give you permission to go, no, not by a mighty hand. I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do among them, and after that he will let you go. I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and it will happen that when you go, you shall not go empty-handed. But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her who visits her house, jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and clothing. You shall put them on your sons, and on your daughters. You shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Moses answered, “But, behold, they will not believe me, nor listen to my voice; for they will say, ‘Yahweh has not appeared to you.’”

Yahweh said to him, “What is that in your hand?”

He said, “A rod.”

He said, “Throw it on the ground.”

He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses ran away from it.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand, and take it by the tail.”

He stretched out his hand, and took hold of it, and it became a rod in his hand.

“This is so that they may believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.” Yahweh said furthermore to him, “Now put your hand inside your cloak.”

He put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous, as white as snow.

He said, “Put your hand inside your cloak again.”

He put his hand inside his cloak again, and when he took it out of his cloak, behold, it had turned again as his other flesh.

“It will happen, if they will not believe you or listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. It will happen, if they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, that you shall take of the water of the river, and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take out of the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Moses said to Yahweh, “O Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”

Yahweh said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn’t it I, Yahweh? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak.”

Moses said, “Oh, Lord, please send someone else.”

Yahweh’s anger burned against Moses, and he said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he is coming out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. He will be your spokesman to the people. It will happen that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God. You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”

Moses went and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go and return to my brothers who are in Egypt, and see whether they are still alive.”

Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, “Go, return into Egypt; for all the men who sought your life are dead.”

Moses took his wife and his sons, and set them on a donkey, and he returned to the land of Egypt. Moses took God’s rod in his hand. Yahweh said to Moses, “When you go back into Egypt, see that you do before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your hand, but I will harden his heart and he will not let the people go. You shall tell Pharaoh, ‘Yahweh says, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and I have said to you, “Let my son go, that he may serve me;” and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your firstborn son.’”

On the way at a lodging place, Yahweh met Moses and wanted to kill him. Then Zipporah took a flint, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet; and she said, “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me.”

So he let him alone. Then she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” because of the circumcision.

Yahweh said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.”

He went, and met him on God’s mountain, and kissed him. Moses told Aaron all Yahweh’s words with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had instructed him.

Psalm 88

A Song. A Psalm by the sons of Korah. For the Chief Musician. To the tune of “The Suffering of Affliction.” A contemplation by Heman, the Ezrahite.

Yahweh, the God of my salvation,
    I have cried day and night before you.
Let my prayer enter into your presence.
    Turn your ear to my cry.
For my soul is full of troubles.
    My life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down into the pit.
    I am like a man who has no help,
    set apart among the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave,
    whom you remember no more.
    They are cut off from your hand.
You have laid me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me.
    You have afflicted me with all your waves. Selah.
You have taken my friends from me.
    You have made me an abomination to them.
    I am confined, and I can’t escape.
My eyes are dim from grief.
    I have called on you daily, Yahweh.
    I have spread out my hands to you.
Do you show wonders to the dead?
    Do the departed spirits rise up and praise you? Selah.
Is your loving kindness declared in the grave?
    Or your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are your wonders made known in the dark?
    Or your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?
But to you, Yahweh, I have cried.
    In the morning, my prayer comes before you.
Yahweh, why do you reject my soul?
    Why do you hide your face from me?
I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up.
    While I suffer your terrors, I am distracted.
Your fierce wrath has gone over me.
    Your terrors have cut me off.
They came around me like water all day long.
    They completely engulfed me.
You have put lover and friend far from me,
    and my friends into darkness.

The Birth and Early Life of Moses

Exodus 2

Highlights from this Passage

  • Moses is born and rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter.
  • Moses kills an Egyptian.
  • Moses flees and marries a wife.
  • The Israelites cry to the Lord.

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A man of the house of Levi went and took a daughter of Levi as his wife. The woman conceived and bore a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him three months. When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket for him, and coated it with tar and with pitch. She put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank. His sister stood far off, to see what would be done to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe at the river. Her maidens walked along by the riverside. She saw the basket among the reeds, and sent her servant to get it. She opened it, and saw the child, and behold, the baby cried. She had compassion on him, and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.”

Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Should I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.”

The young woman went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away, and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages.”

The woman took the child, and nursed it. The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

In those days, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his brothers and saw their burdens. He saw an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, one of his brothers. He looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no one, he killed the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

He went out the second day, and behold, two men of the Hebrews were fighting with each other. He said to him who did the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow?”

He said, “Who made you a prince and a judge over us? Do you plan to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian?”

Moses was afraid, and said, “Surely this thing is known.” Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and lived in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.

Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. The shepherds came and drove them away; but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock. When they came to Reuel, their father, he said, “How is it that you have returned so early today?”

They said, “An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and moreover he drew water for us, and watered the flock.”

He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why is it that you have left the man? Call him, that he may eat bread.”

Moses was content to dwell with the man. He gave Moses Zipporah, his daughter. She bore a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land.”

In the course of those many days, the king of Egypt died, and the children of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the children of Israel, and God was concerned about them.

The Oppression of the Israelites after Joseph’s Death

Exodus 1

Highlights from this Passage

  • A new Pharaoh oppresses the children of Jacob who came into Egypt.
  • The providence of God toward them.
  • The sons of the Hebrews are commanded to be cast into the river.

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Now these are the names of the sons of Israel, who came into Egypt (every man and his household came with Jacob): Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. All the souls who came out of Jacob’s body were seventy souls, and Joseph was in Egypt already. Joseph died, as did all his brothers, and all that generation. The children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who didn’t know Joseph. He said to his people, “Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let’s deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it happen that when any war breaks out, they also join themselves to our enemies and fight against us, and escape out of the land.” Therefore they set taskmasters over them to afflict them with their burdens. They built storage cities for Pharaoh: Pithom and Raamses. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and the more they spread out. They started to dread the children of Israel. The Egyptians ruthlessly made the children of Israel serve, and they made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and in brick, and in all kinds of service in the field, all their service, in which they ruthlessly made them serve.

The king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, of whom the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah, and he said, “When you perform the duty of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birth stool, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God,and didn’t do what the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the baby boys alive. The king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said to them, “Why have you done this thing and saved the boys alive?”

The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.”

God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied, and grew very mighty. Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “You shall cast every son who is born into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.”

Jacob’s Funeral and Joseph’s Death

Genesis 50

Highlights from this Passage

  • Jacob is buried.
  • Joseph forgives his brothers.
  • He sees his grandchildren.
  • He dies and is buried.

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Joseph fell on his father’s face, wept on him, and kissed him. Joseph commanded his servants, the physicians, to embalm his father; and the physicians embalmed Israel. Forty days were used for him, for that is how many the days it takes to embalm. The Egyptians wept for Israel for seventy days.

When the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spoke to Pharaoh’s staff, saying, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, please speak in the ears of Pharaoh, saying, ‘My father made me swear, saying, “Behold, I am dying. Bury me in my grave which I have dug for myself in the land of Canaan.” Now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father, and I will come again.’”

Pharaoh said, “Go up, and bury your father, just like he made you swear.”

Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharaoh, the elders of his house, all the elders of the land of Egypt, all the house of Joseph, his brothers, and his father’s house. Only their little ones, their flocks, and their herds, they left in the land of Goshen. Both chariots and horsemen went up with him. It was a very great company. They came to the threshing floor of Atad, which is beyond the Jordan, and there they lamented with a very great and severe lamentation. He mourned for his father seven days. When the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, “This is a grievous mourning by the Egyptians.” Therefore its name was called Abel Mizraim, which is beyond the Jordan. His sons did to him just as he commanded them, for his sons carried him into the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, which Abraham bought with the field, as a possession for a burial site, from Ephron the Hittite, near Mamre. Joseph returned into Egypt—he, and his brothers, and all that went up with him to bury his father, after he had buried his father.

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us, and will fully pay us back for all the evil which we did to him.” They sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father commanded before he died, saying, ‘You shall tell Joseph, “Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also went and fell down before his face; and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to save many people alive, as is happening today. Now therefore don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your little ones.” He comforted them, and spoke kindly to them.

Joseph lived in Egypt, he, and his father’s house. Joseph lived one hundred ten years. Joseph saw Ephraim’s children to the third generation. The children also of Machir, the son of Manasseh, were born on Joseph’s knees. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am dying, but God will surely visit you, and bring you up out of this land to the land which he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.” Joseph took an oath from the children of Israel, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” So Joseph died, being one hundred ten years old, and they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt.