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The Pillars of Cloud and Fire

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer, for God thought, “If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.”(A) 18 So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness bordering the Red Sea.[a] The Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt prepared for battle. 19 And Moses took with him the bones of Joseph, who had required a solemn oath of the Israelites, saying, “God will surely come to you, and then you must carry my bones with you from here.”(B) 20 They set out from Succoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the wilderness.(C) 21 The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and in a pillar of fire by night, to give them light, so that they might travel by day and by night.(D) 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.

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  1. 13.18 Or Sea of Reeds

The Faith of Other Israelite Heroes

29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.(A) 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.(B) 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient,[a] because she had received the spies in peace.(C)

32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,(D) 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.(E) 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection.(F) 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment.(G) 37 They were stoned to death; they were sawn in two;[b] they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented(H) 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and holes in the ground.(I)

39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.(J)

The Example of Jesus

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[c] and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,(K) looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of[d] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.(L)


  1. 11.31 Or unbelieving
  2. 11.37 Other ancient authorities add they were tempted
  3. 12.1 Other ancient authorities read sin that easily distracts
  4. 12.2 Or who instead of