The Second and Third Journeys in the Wilderness

Exodus 13:20-14:18 (cf. Numbers 33:6-7)

Highlights from this Passage

  • The Lord went before them in a pillar of cloud and of fire.
  • Pharaoh’s heart is hardened and pursues the Israelites.
  • The Israelites are stricken with fear and murmur against Moses
  • Moses encourages them.

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They took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. Yahweh went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night: the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night, didn’t depart from before the people.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn back and encamp before Pihahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal Zephon. You shall encamp opposite it by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, ‘They are entangled in the land. The wilderness has shut them in.’ I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will follow after them; and I will get honor over Pharaoh, and over all his armies; and the Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh.” They did so.

The king of Egypt was told that the people had fled; and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was changed toward the people, and they said, “What is this we have done, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” He prepared his chariot, and took his army with him; and he took six hundred chosen chariots, and all the chariots of Egypt, with captains over all of them. Yahweh hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the children of Israel; for the children of Israel went out with a high hand. The Egyptians pursued them. All the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, his horsemen, and his army overtook them encamping by the sea, beside Pihahiroth, before Baal Zephon.

When Pharaoh came near, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them; and they were very afraid. The children of Israel cried out to Yahweh. They said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you treated us this way, to bring us out of Egypt? Isn’t this the word that we spoke to you in Egypt, saying, ‘Leave us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians?’ For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”

Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of Yahweh, which he will work for you today; for you will never again see the Egyptians whom you have seen today. Yahweh will fight for you, and you shall be still.”

Yahweh said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward. Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. Then the children of Israel shall go into the middle of the sea on dry ground. Behold, I myself will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they will go in after them. I will get myself honor over Pharaoh, and over all his armies, over his chariots, and over his horsemen. The Egyptians shall know that I am Yahweh when I have gotten myself honor over Pharaoh, over his chariots, and over his horsemen.”

Wanderings in the Wilderness: The First Journey

Exodus 12:37-51; 13:1-19 (cf. Numbers 33:1-5)

Highlights from this Passage

  • The number that departs out of Egypt.
  • The firstborn are offered to God.
  • The memorial of their deliverance.
  • The institution of the Passover.
  • An exhortation to teach their children to remember this deliverance.
  • Why they are led by the wilderness.
  • The bones of Joseph.

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The children of Israel traveled from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot who were men, in addition to children. A mixed multitude went up also with them, with flocks, herds, and even very much livestock. They baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt; for it wasn’t leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt, and couldn’t wait, and they had not prepared any food for themselves. Now the time that the children of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. At the end of four hundred thirty years, to the day, all of Yahweh’s armies went out from the land of Egypt. It is a night to be much observed to Yahweh for bringing them out from the land of Egypt. This is that night of Yahweh, to be much observed by all the children of Israel throughout their generations.

Yahweh said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner shall eat of it, but every man’s servant who is bought for money, when you have circumcised him, then shall he eat of it. A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat of it. It must be eaten in one house. You shall not carry any of the meat outside of the house. Do not break any of its bones. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. When a stranger lives as a foreigner with you, and would like to keep the Passover to Yahweh, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it. He shall be as one who is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat of it. One law shall be to him who is born at home, and to the stranger who lives as a foreigner among you.” All the children of Israel did so. As Yahweh commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did. That same day, Yahweh brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Sanctify to me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is mine.”

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day, in which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. Today you go out in the month Abib. It shall be, when Yahweh brings you into the land of the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Amorite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he swore to your fathers to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, that you shall keep this service in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to Yahweh. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and no leavened bread shall be seen with you. No yeast shall be seen with you, within all your borders. You shall tell your son in that day, saying, ‘It is because of that which Yahweh did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall be for a sign to you on your hand, and for a memorial between your eyes, that Yahweh’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand Yahweh has brought you out of Egypt. You shall therefore keep this ordinance in its season from year to year.

“It shall be, when Yahweh brings you into the land of the Canaanite, as he swore to you and to your fathers, and will give it you, that you shall set apart to Yahweh all that opens the womb, and every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have. The males shall be Yahweh’s. Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and you shall redeem all the firstborn of man among your sons. It shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall tell him, ‘By strength of hand Yahweh brought us out from Egypt, from the house of bondage. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, Yahweh killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of livestock. Therefore I sacrifice to Yahweh all that opens the womb, being males; but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ It shall be for a sign on your hand, and for symbols between your eyes; for by strength of hand Yahweh brought us out of Egypt.”

When Pharaoh had let the people go, God didn’t lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, “Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt”; but God led the people around by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt. Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for he had made the children of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones away from here with you.”