One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his own people.
Glancing this way and that and seeing no one, he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
The next day he went out and saw two Hebrews fighting. He asked the one in the wrong, “Why are you hitting your fellow Hebrew?”
The man said, “Who made you ruler and judge over us? Are you thinking of killing me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “What I did must have become known.”
When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses, but Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian, where he sat down by a well.
Some shepherds came along and drove them away, but Moses got up and came to their rescue and watered their flock.
They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the flock.”
“And where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave him? Invite him to have something to eat.”
Moses agreed to stay with the man, who gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses in marriage.
Zipporah gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I have become an alien in a foreign land.”
During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.
Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.
So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.”
When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.”
“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.
So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”
God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, 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, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.
“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob— appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.
And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—a land flowing with milk and honey.’
“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’
But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him.
So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.
Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Let me go back to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.” Jethro said, “Go, and I wish you well.”
Now the Lord had said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”
So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey and started back to Egypt. And he took the staff of God in his hand.
The Lord said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. But I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.
Then say to Pharaoh, ‘This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son,
and I told you, “Let my son go, so he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; so I will kill your firstborn son.’ ”
At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.
But Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it. “Surely you are a bridegroom of blood to me,” she said.
So the Lord let him alone. (At that time she said “bridegroom of blood,” referring to circumcision.)
The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he met Moses at the mountain of God and kissed him.
Then Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and also about all the miraculous signs he had commanded him to perform.
Moses and Aaron brought together all the elders of the Israelites,
and Aaron told them everything the Lord had said to Moses. He also performed the signs before the people,
Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’ ”
Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”
But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!”
Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”
So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw.
When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them,
and they said, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”
Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me?
Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”
God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord.
“Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and cruel bondage.
Then the Lord said to Moses,
“Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his country.”
But Moses said to the Lord, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, why would Pharaoh listen to me, since I speak with faltering lips?”
Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he commanded them to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
These were the heads of their families: The sons of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel were Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were the clans of Reuben.
Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years.
Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she bore him Phinehas. These were the heads of the Levite families, clan by clan.
It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.”
They were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt about bringing the Israelites out of Egypt. It was the same Moses and Aaron.
Now when the Lord spoke to Moses in Egypt,
he said to him, “I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I tell you.”
But Moses said to the Lord, “Since I speak with faltering lips, why would Pharaoh listen to me?”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet.
You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country.
But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt,
he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.
And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them.
Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
“When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake.
Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts:
Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go.
Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the water. Wait on the bank of the Nile to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake.
Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the desert. But until now you have not listened.
This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood.
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs’—and they will turn to blood. Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.”
Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood.
The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.
But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ ”
So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land.
But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”
“Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said. Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God.
After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh.
And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields.
They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them.
But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.”
They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the water and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
“ ‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land.
And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials, and throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us?
Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the desert, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”
Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only be sure that Pharaoh does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord did what Moses asked: The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.”
The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.”
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh.
It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.”
So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on men and animals.
The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians.
But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me,
Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on men and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.”
When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt;
hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation.
Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both men and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong.
Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”
Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s.
But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”
Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land.
So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me.
If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.
They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’ ” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.
Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”
Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But just who will be going?”
Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”
Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.
No! Have only the men go; and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.
And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts will swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”
So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts;
they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again.
They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.
Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you.
Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”
Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord.
And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”
So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.
Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”
But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God.
Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”
“Just as you say,” Moses replied, “I will never appear before you again.”
Now the Lord had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.
Tell the people that men and women alike are to ask their neighbors for articles of silver and gold.”
(The Lord made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people, and Moses himself was highly regarded in Egypt by Pharaoh’s officials and by the people.)
So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.
Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.
There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.
All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh.
The Lord had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”
Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt,
Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
“On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn—both men and animals—and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord.
The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
“Celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because it was on this very day that I brought your divisions out of Egypt. Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come.
Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go at once and select the animals for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb.
then tell them, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.’ ” Then the people bowed down and worshiped.
The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.
At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well.
Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.
During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord as you have requested.
Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”
The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country. “For otherwise,” they said, “we will all die!”
The Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing.
With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves.
Now the length of time the Israelite people lived in Egypt was 430 years.
At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, all the Lord’s divisions left Egypt.
Because the Lord kept vigil that night to bring them out of Egypt, on this night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honor the Lord for the generations to come.
The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the regulations for the Passover: “No foreigner is to eat of it.
All the Israelites did just what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.
And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt by their divisions.
The Lord said to Moses,
“Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether man or animal.”
Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.
On that day tell your son, ‘I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’
This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that the law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.
“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed every firstborn in Egypt, both man and animal. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’
And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.”
So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt armed for battle.
Moses took the bones of Joseph with him because Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear an oath. He had said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up with you from this place.”
Then the Lord said to Moses,
“Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.
When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!”
He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them.
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly.
They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?
Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.
Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided,
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.”
Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea.