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Exodus 13-16 Common English Bible (CEB)

13 The Lord said to Moses: Dedicate to me all your oldest children. Each first offspring from any Israelite womb belongs to me, whether human or animal.

Unleavened bread

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day which is the day that you came out of Egypt, out of the place you were slaves, because the Lord acted with power to bring you out of there. No leavened bread may be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib,[a] you are going to leave. The Lord will bring you to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. It is the land that the Lord promised your ancestors to give to you, a land full of milk and honey. You should perform this ritual in this month. You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. The seventh day is a festival to the Lord. Only unleavened bread should be eaten for seven days. No leavened bread and no yeast should be seen among you in your whole country. You should explain to your child on that day, ‘It’s because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

“It will be a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead so that you will often discuss the Lord’s Instruction, for the Lord brought you out of Egypt with great power. 10 So you should follow this regulation at its appointed time every year.

Dedication of Israel’s oldest offspring

11 “When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you as promised to you and your ancestors, 12 you should set aside for the Lord whatever comes out of the womb first. All of the first males born to your animal belong to the Lord. 13 But every first male donkey you should ransom with a sheep. If you don’t ransom it, you must break its neck. You should ransom every oldest male among your children. 14 When in the future your child asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you should answer, ‘The Lord brought us with great power out of Egypt, out of the place we were slaves. 15 When Pharaoh refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the oldest offspring in the land of Egypt, from the oldest sons to the oldest male animals. That is why I offer to the Lord as a sacrifice every male that first comes out of the womb. But I ransom my oldest sons.’ 16 It will be a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with great power.”

God leads the way

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God didn’t lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, even though that was the shorter route. God thought, If the people have to fight and face war, they will run back to Egypt. 18 So God led the people by the roundabout way of the Reed Sea[b] desert. The Israelites went up out of the land of Egypt ready for battle. 19 Moses took with him Joseph’s bones just as Joseph had made Israel’s sons promise when he said to them, “When God takes care of you, you must carry my bones out of here with you.” 20 They set out from Succoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 The Lord went in front of them during the day in a column of cloud to guide them and at night in a column of lightning to give them light. This way they could travel during the day and at night. 22 The column of cloud during the day and the column of lightning at night never left its place in front of the people.

Israel crossing the sea

14 Then the Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to turn back and set up camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea in front of Baal-zephon. You should set up camp in front of it by the sea. Pharaoh will think to himself, The Israelites are lost and confused in the land. The desert has trapped them. I’ll make Pharaoh stubborn, and he’ll chase them. I’ll gain honor at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. And they did exactly that.

When Egypt’s king was told that the people had run away, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about the people. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel go free from their slavery to us?” So he sent for his chariot and took his army with him. He took six hundred elite chariots and all of Egypt’s other chariots with captains on all of them. The Lord made Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, stubborn, and he chased the Israelites, who were leaving confidently. The Egyptians, including all of Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots, his cavalry, and his army, chased them and caught up with them as they were camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth in front of Baal-zephon.

10 As Pharaoh drew closer, the Israelites looked back and saw the Egyptians marching toward them. The Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt that you took us away to die in the desert? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt like this? 12 Didn’t we tell you the same thing in Egypt? ‘Leave us alone! Let us work for the Egyptians!’ It would have been better for us to work for the Egyptians than to die in the desert.”

13 But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand your ground, and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never ever see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you. You just keep still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to get moving. 16 As for you, lift your shepherd’s rod, stretch out your hand over the sea, and split it in two so that the Israelites can go into the sea on dry ground. 17 But me, I’ll make the Egyptians stubborn so that they will go in after them, and I’ll gain honor at the expense of Pharaoh, all his army, his chariots, and his cavalry. 18 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord, when I gain honor at the expense of Pharaoh, his chariots, and his cavalry.”

19 God’s messenger, who had been in front of Israel’s camp, moved and went behind them. The column of cloud moved from the front and took its place behind them. 20 It stood between Egypt’s camp and Israel’s camp. The cloud remained there, and when darkness fell it lit up the night. They didn’t come near each other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord pushed the sea back by a strong east wind all night, turning the sea into dry land. The waters were split into two. 22 The Israelites walked into the sea on dry ground. The waters formed a wall for them on their right hand and on their left. 23 The Egyptians chased them and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and cavalry. 24 As morning approached, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian camp from the column of lightning and cloud and threw the Egyptian camp into a panic. 25 The Lord jammed their chariot wheels so that they wouldn’t turn easily. The Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites, because the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt!”

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the water comes back and covers the Egyptians, their chariots, and their cavalry.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. At daybreak, the sea returned to its normal depth. The Egyptians were driving toward it, and the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the cavalry, Pharaoh’s entire army that had followed them into the sea. Not one of them remained. 29 The Israelites, however, walked on dry ground through the sea. The waters formed a wall for them on their right hand and on their left.

30 The Lord rescued Israel from the Egyptians that day. Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the amazing power of the Lord against the Egyptians. The people were in awe of the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

Moses’ victory song

15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

I will sing to the Lord, for an overflowing victory!
    Horse and rider he threw into the sea!
The Lord is my strength and my power;[c]
    he has become my salvation.
This is my God, whom I will praise,
    the God of my ancestors, whom I will acclaim.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he hurled into the sea;
    his elite captains were sunk in the Reed Sea.[d]
The deep sea covered them;
    they sank into the deep waters like a stone.
Your strong hand, Lord, is dominant in power;
    your strong hand, Lord, shatters the enemy!
With your great surge you overthrow your opponents;
    you send out your hot anger; it burns them up like straw.
    With the breath of your nostrils the waters swelled up,
        the floods surged up in a great wave;
        the deep waters foamed in the depths of the sea.
The enemy said, “I’ll pursue, I’ll overtake,
    I’ll divide the spoils of war.
    I’ll be overfilled with them.
    I’ll draw my sword; my hand will destroy them.”
10 You blew with your wind; the sea covered over them.
    They sank like lead in the towering waters.
11 Who is like you among the gods, Lord?
    Who is like you, foremost in holiness,
    worthy of highest praise, doing awesome deeds?
12 You raised your strong hand;
    earth swallowed them up.
13 With your great loyalty you led the people you rescued;
    with your power you guided them to your sanctuary.
14 The peoples heard, they shook in terror;
    horror grabbed hold of Philistia’s inhabitants.
15 Then Edom’s tribal chiefs were terrified;
    panic grabbed hold of Moab’s rulers;
    all of Canaan’s inhabitants melted in fear.
16 Terror and fear came over them;
    because of your great power,
    they were as still as a stone
        until your people, Lord, passed by,
        until the people you made your own passed by.
17 You brought them in and planted them on your own mountain,
    the place, Lord, that you made your home,
        the sanctuary, Lord, that your hand created.
18 The Lord will rule forever and always.

19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and cavalry went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea over them. But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

Miriam’s victory song

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand. All the women followed her playing tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang the refrain back to them:

Sing to the Lord, for an overflowing victory!
    Horse and rider he threw into the sea!

Turning bitter water sweet

22 Then Moses had Israel leave the Reed Sea[e] and go out into the Shur desert. They traveled for three days in the desert and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they couldn’t drink Marah’s water because it was bitter. That’s why it was called Marah.[f] 24 The people complained against Moses, “What will we drink?” 25 Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord pointed out a tree to him. He threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

The Lord made a regulation and a ruling there, and there he tested them. 26 The Lord said, “If you are careful to obey the Lord your God, do what God thinks is right, pay attention to his commandments, and keep all of his regulations, then I won’t bring on you any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the Lord who heals you.”

27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They camped there by the water.

Wilderness food: manna and quail

16 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Sin desert, which is located between Elim and Sinai. They set out on the fifteenth day of the second month[g] after they had left the land of Egypt. The whole Israelite community complained against Moses and Aaron in the desert. The Israelites said to them, “Oh, how we wish that the Lord had just put us to death while we were still in the land of Egypt. There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. Instead, you’ve brought us out into this desert to starve this whole assembly to death.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I’m going to make bread rain down from the sky for you. The people will go out each day and gather just enough for that day. In this way, I’ll test them to see whether or not they follow my Instruction. On the sixth day, when they measure out what they have collected, it will be twice as much as they collected on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you will see the Lord’s glorious presence, because your complaints against the Lord have been heard. Who are we? Why blame us?” Moses continued, “The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning because the Lord heard the complaints you made against him. Who are we? Your complaints aren’t against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole Israelite community, ‘Come near to the Lord, because he’s heard your complaints.’” 10 As Aaron spoke to the whole Israelite community, they turned to look toward the desert, and just then the glorious presence of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

11 The Lord spoke to Moses, 12 “I’ve heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat. And in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening a flock of quail flew down and covered the camp. And in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the desert surface were thin flakes, as thin as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What[h] is it?” They didn’t know what it was.

Moses said to them, “This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Collect as much of it as each of you can eat, one omer[i] per person. You may collect for the number of people in your household.’” 17 The Israelites did as Moses said, some collecting more, some less. 18 But when they measured it out by the omer, the ones who had collected more had nothing left over, and the ones who had collected less had no shortage. Everyone collected just as much as they could eat. 19 Moses said to them, “Don’t keep any of it until morning.” 20 But they didn’t listen to Moses. Some kept part of it until morning, but it became infested with worms and stank. Moses got angry with them. 21 Every morning they gathered it, as much as each person could eat. But when the sun grew hot, it melted away.

22 On the sixth day the people collected twice as much food as usual, two omers per person. All the chiefs of the community came and told Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. But you can set aside and keep all the leftovers until the next morning.’” 24 So they set the leftovers aside until morning, as Moses had commanded. They didn’t stink or become infested with worms. 25 The next day Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won’t find it out in the field. 26 Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be nothing to gather.”

27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather bread, but they found nothing. 28 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to obey my commandments and instructions? 29 Look! The Lord has given you the Sabbath. Therefore, on the sixth day he gives you enough food for two days. Each of you should stay where you are and not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 The Israelite people called it manna. It was like coriander seed, white, and tasted like honey wafers. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept safe for future generations so that they can see the food that I used to feed you in the desert when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”

33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put one full omer of manna in it. Then set it in the Lord’s presence, where it should be kept safe for future generations.” 34 Aaron did as the Lord commanded Moses, and he put it in front of the covenant document for safekeeping. 35 The Israelites ate manna for forty years, until they came to a livable land. They ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. (36 An omer[j] is one-tenth of an ephah.)

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 13:4 March–April, named Nisan after the exile
  2. Exodus 13:18 Or Red Sea
  3. Exodus 15:2 Or song
  4. Exodus 15:4 Or Red Sea
  5. Exodus 15:22 Or Red Sea
  6. Exodus 15:23 Or bitter
  7. Exodus 16:1 April–May, Iyar
  8. Exodus 16:15 Heb man (= What?); cf Exod 16:31
  9. Exodus 16:16 Two quarts
  10. Exodus 16:36 Two quarts
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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