Miraculous Signs for Moses

Moses answered, “What if they won’t believe me and will not obey me but say, ‘The Lord did not appear(A) to you’?”

The Lord asked him, “What is that in your hand?”

“A staff,” he replied.

“Throw it on the ground,” he said. So Moses threw it on the ground, it became a snake, and he ran from it. The Lord told Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grab it by the tail.” So he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand. “This will take place,” he continued, “so that they will believe that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”(B)

In addition the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So he put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out, his hand was diseased, resembling snow.[a](C) “Put your hand back inside your cloak,” he said. So he put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out, it had again become like the rest of his skin.(D) “If they will not believe you and will not respond to the evidence of the first sign, they may believe the evidence of the second sign. And if they don’t believe even these two signs or listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground. The water you take from the Nile will become blood on the ground.”(E)

10 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent—either in the past or recently or since you have been speaking to your servant—because my mouth and my tongue are sluggish.”[b](F)

11 The Lord said to him, “Who placed a mouth on humans? Who makes a person mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?(G) 12 Now go! I will help you speak[c] and I will teach you what to say.”(H)

13 Moses said, “Please, Lord, send someone else.”[d]

14 Then the Lord’s anger burned against Moses, and he said, “Isn’t Aaron the Levite your brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, he is on his way now to meet you. He will rejoice when he sees you. 15 You will speak with him and tell him what to say.(I) I will help both you and him to speak[e] and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will serve as a mouth for you, and you will serve as God to him. 17 And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with.”(J)

Moses’s Return to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to his father-in-law, Jethro, and said to him, “Please let me return to my relatives in Egypt and see if they are still living.”

Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.”

19 Now in Midian the Lord told Moses, “Return to Egypt, for all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”(K) 20 So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took God’s staff(L) in his hand.

21 The Lord instructed Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart[f](M) so that he won’t let the people go. 22 And you will say to Pharaoh: This is what the Lord says: Israel is my firstborn son.(N) 23 I told you: Let my son go so that he may worship me, but you refused to let him go. Look, I am about to kill your firstborn son!” (O)

24 On the trip, at an overnight campsite, it happened that the Lord confronted him and intended to put him to death. 25 So Zipporah took a flint, cut off her son’s foreskin, threw it at Moses’s feet, and said, “You are a bridegroom of blood to me!” (P) 26 So he let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood,” referring to the circumcision.

Reunion of Moses and Aaron

27 Now the Lord had said to Aaron, “Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him.(Q) 28 Moses told Aaron everything the Lord had sent him to say, and about all the signs he had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron repeated everything the Lord had said to Moses and performed the signs before the people. 31 The people believed, and when they heard that the Lord had paid attention(R) to them and that he had seen their misery,(S) they knelt low and worshiped.

Moses Confronts Pharaoh

Later, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival for me in the wilderness.”(T)

But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him by letting Israel go?(U) I don’t know[g] the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”(V)

They answered, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go on a three-day trip into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, or else he may strike us with plague or sword.”

The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you causing the people to neglect their work? Get to your labor!” Pharaoh also said, “Look, the people of the land are so numerous, and you would stop them from their labor.”(W)

Further Oppression of Israel

That day Pharaoh commanded the overseers(X) of the people as well as their foremen, “Don’t continue to supply the people with straw for making bricks, as before. They must go and gather straw for themselves. But require the same quota of bricks from them as they were making before; do not reduce it. For they are slackers—that is why they are crying out,(Y) ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Impose heavier work on the men. Then they will be occupied with it and not pay attention to deceptive words.”

10 So the overseers and foremen of the people went out and said to them, “This is what Pharaoh says:(Z) ‘I am not giving you straw. 11 Go get straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The overseers insisted, “Finish your assigned work each day, just as you did when straw was provided.” 14 Then the Israelite foremen, whom Pharaoh’s slave drivers had set over the people, were beaten(AA) and asked, “Why haven’t you finished making your prescribed number of bricks yesterday or today, as you did before?”

15 So the Israelite foremen went in and cried for help to Pharaoh: “Why are you treating your servants this way? 16 No straw has been given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look, your servants are being beaten, but it is your own people who are at fault.”

17 But he said, “You are slackers. Slackers! That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. No straw will be given to you, but you must produce the same quantity of bricks.”

19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You cannot reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who stood waiting to meet them.

21 “May the Lord take note of you and judge,” they said to them, “because you have made us reek to Pharaoh and his officials—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!” (AB)

22 So Moses went back to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people? And why did you ever send me?(AC) 23 Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has caused trouble for this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all.”

But the Lord replied to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: because of a strong hand he will let them go, and because of a strong hand he will drive them from his land.”(AD)

God Promises Freedom

Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I was not known to them by my name ‘the Lord.’[h](AE) I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as aliens.(AF) Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered(AG) my covenant.

“Therefore tell the Israelites: I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians and rescue you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm(AH) and great acts of judgment. I will take you as my people,(AI) and I will be your God. You will know(AJ) that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land that I swore[i](AK) to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen(AL) to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.

10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go from his land.”

12 But Moses said in the Lord’s presence, “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am such a poor speaker?” [j](AM) 13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them commands concerning both the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

Genealogy of Moses and Aaron

14 These are the heads of their fathers’ families:

The sons of Reuben,(AN) the firstborn of Israel:

Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.

These are the clans of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon:(AO)

Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin,

Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.

These are the clans of Simeon.

16 These are the names of the sons of Levi

according to their family records;

Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.(AP)

Levi lived 137 years.

17 The sons of Gershon:

Libni and Shimei, by their clans.

18 The sons of Kohath:

Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.

Kohath lived 133 years.

19 The sons of Merari:

Mahli and Mushi.

These are the clans of the Levites(AQ)

according to their family records.

20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed,

and she bore him Aaron and Moses.(AR)

Amram lived 137 years.

21 The sons of Izhar:(AS)

Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.

22 The sons of Uzziel:

Mishael, Elzaphan,(AT) and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba,

daughter of Amminadab(AU) and sister of Nahshon.

She bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.(AV)

24 The sons of Korah:(AW)

Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.

These are the clans of the Korahites.

25 Aaron’s son Eleazar married

one of the daughters of Putiel,

and she bore him Phinehas.(AX)

These are the heads of the Levite families by their clans.

26 It was this Aaron and Moses whom the Lord told, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt according to their military divisions.”(AY) 27 Moses and Aaron were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh

28 On the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord;(AZ) tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I am telling you.”

30 But Moses replied in the Lord’s presence, “Since I am such a poor speaker,(BA) how will Pharaoh listen to me?”

The Lord answered Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. You must say whatever I command you; then Aaron your brother must declare it to Pharaoh so that he will let the Israelites go from his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart(BB) and multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put my hand into Egypt and bring the military divisions of my people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord(BC) when I stretch out my hand(BD) against Egypt and bring out the Israelites from among them.”

So Moses and Aaron did this; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old(BE) and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh tells you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. It will become a serpent.’”(BF) 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. 11 But then Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers—the magicians(BG) of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices.(BH) 12 Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. 13 However, Pharaoh’s heart was hard,(BI) and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard: He refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. When you see him walking out to the water, stand ready to meet him by the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that turned into a snake.(BJ) 16 Tell him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let my people go, so that they may worship[k] me in the wilderness. But so far you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I am about to strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it.”

19 So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand(BK) over the waters of Egypt—over their rivers, canals, ponds, and all their water reservoirs—and they will become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.”

20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood.(BL) 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt.

22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned around, went into his palace, and didn’t take even this to heart. 24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink because they could not drink the water from the river. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.

The Second Plague: Frogs

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me.(BM) But if you refuse to let them go, then I will plague all your territory with frogs.(BN) The Nile will swarm with frogs; they will come up and go into your palace, into your bedroom and on your bed, into the houses of your officials and your people, and into your ovens and kneading bowls. The frogs will come up on you, your people, and all your officials.”

The Lord then said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, canals, and ponds, and cause the frogs to come up onto the land of Egypt.”(BO) When Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, the frogs(BP) came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians did the same thing by their occult practices and brought frogs up onto the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Appeal(BQ) to the Lord to remove the frogs from me and my people. Then I will let the people go and they can sacrifice to the Lord.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor of choosing. When should I appeal on behalf of you, your officials, and your people, that the frogs be taken away from you and your houses, and remain only in the Nile?”

10 “Tomorrow,” he answered.

Moses replied, “As you have said, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God,(BR) 11 the frogs will go away from you, your houses, your officials, and your people. The frogs will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord for help concerning the frogs that he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses had said: the frogs in the houses, courtyards, and fields died. 14 They piled them in countless heaps, and there was a terrible odor in the land. 15 But when Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart(BS) and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Third Plague: Gnats

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the land, and it will become gnats[l] throughout the land of Egypt.” 17 And they did this. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and when he struck the dust of the land, gnats were on people and animals. All the dust of the land became gnats throughout the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried to produce gnats using their occult practices, but they could not. The gnats remained on people and animals.(BT)

19 “This is the finger of God,”(BU) the magicians said to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Fourth Plague: Swarms of Flies

20 The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh when you see him going out to the water. Tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship[m] me.(BV) 21 But if you will not let my people go, then I will send swarms of flies[n] against you, your officials, your people, and your houses. The Egyptians’ houses will swarm with flies, and so will the land where they live.[o] 22 But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where my people are living;(BW) no flies will be there. This way you will know that I, the Lord, am in the land. 23 I will make a distinction[p] between my people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow.”

24 And the Lord did this. Thick swarms of flies went into Pharaoh’s palace and his officials’ houses. Throughout Egypt the land was ruined because of the swarms of flies.(BX) 25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go sacrifice to your God within the country.”

26 But Moses said, “It would not be right[q] to do that, because what we will sacrifice to the Lord our God is detestable to the Egyptians.(BY) If we sacrifice what the Egyptians detest in front of them, won’t they stone us? 27 We must go a distance of three days into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he instructs us.”

28 Pharaoh responded, “I will let you go and sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but don’t go very far. Make an appeal(BZ) for me.”

29 “As soon as I leave you,” Moses said, “I will appeal to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will depart from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. But Pharaoh must not act deceptively again by refusing to let the people go and sacrifice to the Lord.” 30 Then Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord. 31 The Lord did as Moses had said: He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people; not one was left. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also and did not let the people go.

The Fifth Plague: Death of Livestock

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in 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. But if you refuse to let them go and keep holding them, then the Lord’s hand will bring a severe plague against your livestock in the field—the horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that the Israelites own will die.” And the Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.”(CA) The Lord did this the next day. All the Egyptian livestock died,(CB) but none among the Israelite livestock died. Pharaoh sent messengers who saw that not a single one of the Israelite livestock was dead. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard,(CC) and he did not let the people go.

The Sixth Plague: Boils

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of furnace soot, and Moses is to throw it toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the entire land of Egypt. It will become festering boils(CD) on people and animals throughout the land of Egypt.” 10 So they took furnace soot and stood before Pharaoh. Moses threw it toward heaven, and it became festering boils on people and animals. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians.(CE) 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart(CF) and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had told Moses.

The Seventh Plague: Hail

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh. Tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14 For this time I am about to send all my plagues against you,[r] your officials, and your people. Then you will know there is no one like me on the whole earth. 15 By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague, and you would have been obliterated from the earth.(CG) 16 However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you my power(CH) and to make my name known on the whole earth. 17 You are still acting arrogantly against[s] my people by not letting them go. 18 Tomorrow at this time I will rain down the worst hail(CI) that has ever occurred in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Therefore give orders to bring your livestock and all that you have in the field into shelters. Every person and animal that is in the field and not brought inside will die when the hail falls on them.” 20 Those among Pharaoh’s officials who feared the word of the Lord made their servants and livestock flee to shelters, 21 but those who didn’t take to heart the Lord’s word left their servants and livestock in the field.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven and let there be hail throughout the land of Egypt—on people and animals and every plant of the field in the land of Egypt.” 23 So Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail.(CJ) Lightning struck the land, and the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 The hail, with lightning flashing through it, was so severe that nothing like it had occurred in the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25 Throughout the land of Egypt, the hail struck down everything in the field, both people and animals. The hail beat down every plant of the field and shattered every tree in the field. 26 The only place it didn’t hail was in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.(CK)

27 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned this time,” he said to them. “The Lord is the righteous(CL) one, and I and my people are the guilty ones. 28 Make an appeal to the Lord. There has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go;(CM) you don’t need to stay any longer.”

29 Moses said to him, “When I have left the city, I will spread out my hands(CN) to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know the earth[t](CO) belongs to the Lord. 30 But as for you and your officials, I know that you still do not fear the Lord God.”

31 The flax and the barley were destroyed because the barley was ripe[u] and the flax was budding,(CP) 32 but the wheat and the spelt were not destroyed since they are later crops.[v]

33 Moses left Pharaoh and the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord. Then the thunder and hail ceased, and rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his officials. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he did not let the Israelites go, as the Lord had said through Moses.

The Eighth Plague: Locusts

10 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 do these miraculous signs of mine among them,[w](CQ) and so that you may tell[x] your son and grandson(CR) how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and told 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, that they may worship me.(CS) But if you refuse to let my people go, then tomorrow I will bring locusts(CT) into your territory. They will cover the surface of the land so that no one will be able to see the land. They will eat the remainder left(CU) to you that escaped the hail; they will eat every tree you have growing in the fields. They will fill your houses, all your officials’ houses, and the houses of all the Egyptians—something your fathers and grandfathers never saw since the time they occupied the land until today.” Then he turned and left Pharaoh’s presence.

Pharaoh’s officials asked him, “How long must this man be a snare(CV) to us? Let the men go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is devastated?”

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” Pharaoh said. “But exactly who will be going?”

Moses replied, “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 because we must hold the Lord’s festival.”(CW)

10 He said to them, “The Lord would have to be with you if I would ever let you and your families go! Look out—you’re heading for trouble. 11 No, go—just able-bodied men—worship the Lord, since that’s what you want.” And they were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.

12 The Lord then said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt, and the locusts will come up over it and eat every plant in the land, everything that the hail left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord sent an east wind over the land all that day and through the night. By morning the east wind had brought in the locusts. 14 The locusts went up over the entire land of Egypt and settled on the whole territory of Egypt. Never before had there been such a large number of locusts, and there never will be again.(CX) 15 They covered the surface of the whole land so that the land was black, and they consumed all the plants on the ground and all the fruit on the trees that the hail had left. Nothing green was left on the trees or the plants in the field throughout the land of Egypt.(CY)

16 Pharaoh urgently sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to the Lord your God, so that he will just take this death away from me.” 18 Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord.(CZ) 19 Then the Lord changed the wind to a strong west[y] wind, and it carried off the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea.(DA) Not a single locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(DB) and he did not let the Israelites go.

The Ninth Plague: Darkness

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 23 One person could not see another, and for three days they did not move from where they were. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived.(DC)

24 Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your families may go with you; only your flocks and herds must stay behind.”

25 Moses responded, “You must also let us have[z] sacrifices and burnt offerings to prepare for the Lord our God. 26 Even our livestock must go with us; not a hoof will be left behind because we will take some of them to worship the Lord our God. We will not know what we will use to worship the Lord until we get there.”

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(DD) and he was unwilling to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to him, “Leave me! Make sure you never see my face again, for on the day you see my face, you will die.”

29 “As you have said,” Moses replied, “I will never see your face again.”(DE)

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

11 The Lord said[aa] to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here. When he lets you go,[ab] he will drive you out of here. Now announce to the people that both men and women should ask their neighbors for silver and gold items.” The Lord gave[ac] the people favor with the Egyptians. In addition, Moses himself was very highly regarded[ad] in the land of Egypt by[ae] Pharaoh’s officials and the people.(DF)

So Moses said, “This is what the Lord says: About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, and every firstborn male in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the servant girl who is at the grindstones, as well as every firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a great cry of anguish through all the land of Egypt such as never was before or ever will be again. But against all the Israelites, whether people or animals, not even a dog will snarl,[af] so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying: Get out, you and all the people who follow you.[ag] After that, I will get out.” And he went out from Pharaoh’s presence fiercely angry.(DG)

The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen(DH) to you, so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart,(DI) and he would not let the Israelites go out of his land.

Instructions for the Passover

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year.(DJ) Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to their fathers’ families, one animal per family. If the household is too small for a whole animal, that person and the neighbor nearest his house are to select one based on the combined number of people; you should apportion the animal according to what each will eat. You must have an unblemished(DK) animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight.(DL) They must take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses where they eat them. They are to eat the meat that night; they should eat it, roasted over the fire along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.(DM) Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling[ah] water, but only roasted(DN) over fire—its head as well as its legs and inner organs. 10 You must not leave any of it until morning;(DO) any part of it left until morning you must burn. 11 Here is how you must eat it: You must be dressed for travel,[ai] your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in a hurry; it is the Lord’s Passover.(DP)

12 “I will pass through(DQ) the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both people and animals. I am the Lord; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt.(DR) 13 The blood on the houses where you are staying will be a distinguishing mark for you; when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No plague will be among you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 “This day is to be a memorial for you, and you must celebrate it as a festival to the Lord. You are to celebrate it throughout your generations as a permanent statute.(DS) 15 You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you must remove yeast(DT) from your houses. Whoever eats what is leavened from the first day through the seventh day must be cut off(DU) from Israel. 16 You are to hold a sacred assembly(DV) on the first day and another sacred assembly on the seventh day. No work may be done on those days except for preparing what people need to eat—you may do only that.

17 “You are to observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread because on this very day I brought your military divisions out of the land of Egypt.(DW) You must observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent statute. 18 You are to eat unleavened bread in the first month,(DX) from the evening of the fourteenth day of the month until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 Yeast must not be found in your houses for seven days. If anyone eats something leavened, that person, whether a resident alien or native of the land, must be cut off from the community of Israel. 20 Do not eat anything leavened; eat unleavened bread in all your homes.”[aj]

21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, select an animal from the flock according to your families, and slaughter the Passover animal.(DY) 22 Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it in the blood(DZ) that is in the basin, and brush the lintel and the two doorposts with some of the blood in the basin. None of you may go out the door of his house until morning. 23 When the Lord passes through to strike Egypt and sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, he will pass over the door and not let the destroyer enter your houses to strike you.(EA)

24 “Keep this command permanently as a statute for you and your descendants. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord will give you as he promised, you are to observe this ceremony. 26 When your children(EB) ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ 27 you are to reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice(EC) to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians, and he spared our homes.’” So the people knelt low and worshiped. 28 Then the Israelites went and did this; they did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

The Exodus

29 Now at midnight the Lord struck every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner who was in the dungeon, and every firstborn of the livestock.(ED) 30 During the night Pharaoh got up, he along with all his officials and all the Egyptians, and there was a loud wailing(EE) throughout Egypt because there wasn’t a house without someone dead. 31 He summoned Moses and Aaron during the night and said, “Get out immediately from among my people, both you and the Israelites, and go, worship the Lord as you have said.

Footnotes

  1. 4:6 A reference to whiteness or flakiness of the skin
  2. 4:10 Lit heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue
  3. 4:12 Lit will be with your mouth
  4. 4:13 Lit send by the hand of whom you will send
  5. 4:15 Lit will be with your mouth and with his mouth
  6. 4:21 Or will make him stubborn
  7. 5:2 Or recognize
  8. 6:3 Lord (in small capitals) stands for the personal name of God, which in Hb is Yahweh. There is a long tradition of substituting “Lord” for “Yahweh” out of reverence.
  9. 6:8 Lit raised my hand
  10. 6:12 Lit I have uncircumcised lips, also in v. 30
  11. 7:16 Or serve; Ex 4:23
  12. 8:16 Perhaps sand fleas or mosquitoes
  13. 8:20 Or serve
  14. 8:21 Or insects
  15. 8:21 Lit are
  16. 8:23 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads will place redemption
  17. 8:26 Or allowable
  18. 9:14 Lit plagues to your heart
  19. 9:17 Or still obstructing
  20. 9:29 Or land
  21. 9:31 Lit was ears of grain
  22. 9:32 Lit are late
  23. 10:1 Lit mine in his midst
  24. 10:2 Lit tell in the ears of
  25. 10:19 Lit sea
  26. 10:25 Lit also give in our hand
  27. 11:1 Or had said
  28. 11:1 Or go, it will be finished
  29. 11:3 Or had given
  30. 11:3 Lit was very great
  31. 11:3 Or in the eyes of
  32. 11:7 Lit point its tongue
  33. 11:8 Lit people at your feet
  34. 12:9 Or or boiled at all in
  35. 12:11 Lit must have your waist girded
  36. 12:20 Or settlements

11 They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt?

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21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided,(A) 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.(B)

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22 none of the men who have seen my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tested me these ten times and did not obey me,

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