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Exodus 4:1-12:31 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Miraculous Signs for Moses

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

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

“A staff,” he replied.

Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” He threw it on the ground, and it became a snake. Moses ran from it, but the Lord told him, “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 they will believe that Yahweh, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”

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, white as snow.[a] Then He said, “Put your hand back inside your cloak.” He put his hand back inside his cloak, and when he took it out,[b] it had again become like the rest of his skin. “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.”

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[c]—because I am slow and hesitant in speech.”[d]

11 Yahweh said to him, “Who made the human mouth? Who makes him mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, Yahweh? 12 Now go! I will help[e] you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

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

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 will help[g] both you and him to speak and will teach you both what to do. 16 He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him. 17 And take this staff in your hand that you will perform the signs with.”

Moses’ 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.” 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 in his hand.

21 The Lord instructed Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, make sure you do all the wonders before Pharaoh that I have put within your power. But I will harden his heart[h] so that he won’t let the people go. 22 Then you will say to Pharaoh: This is what Yahweh says: Israel is My firstborn son. 23 I told you: Let My son go so that he may worship Me, but you refused to let him go. Now I will kill your firstborn son!”

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

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. 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 to them and that He had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Moses Confronts Pharaoh

Later, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: Let My people go, so that they may hold a festival for Me in the wilderness.”

But Pharaoh responded, “Who is Yahweh that I should obey Him by letting Israel go? I do not know anything about Yahweh, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”

Then 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 Yahweh 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 work!” Pharaoh also said, “Look, the people of the land are so numerous, and you would stop them from working.”

Further Oppression of Israel

That day Pharaoh commanded the overseers 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, ‘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: ‘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 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 in front of Pharaoh and his officials—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!”

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? 23 Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in Your name he has caused trouble for this people, and You haven’t delivered Your people at all.” But the Lord replied to Moses, “Now you are going to see what I will do to Pharaoh: he will let them go because of My strong hand; he will drive them out of his land because of My strong hand.”

God Promises Freedom

Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am Yahweh. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I did not reveal My name Yahweh to them. I also established My covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as foreigners. Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered My covenant.

“Therefore tell the Israelites: I am Yahweh, and I will deliver you from the forced labor of the Egyptians and free you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am Yahweh your God, who delivered you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you to the land that I swore[k] to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am Yahweh.” Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen 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?”[l] 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, the firstborn of Israel:
Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
These are the clans of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon:
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 genealogy:
Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
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
according to their genealogy.
20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed,
and she bore him Aaron and Moses.
Amram lived 137 years.
21 The sons of Izhar:
Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri.
22 The sons of Uzziel:
Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23 Aaron married Elisheba,
daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon.
She bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah:
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.
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 divisions.” 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 Yahweh; 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,[m] 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 and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put My hand on Egypt and bring the divisions of My people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I stretch out My hand 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 80 years old and Aaron 83 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.’” 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 of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. 13 However, Pharaoh’s heart hardened, 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. 16 Tell him: Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let My people go, so that they may worship[n] Me in the wilderness, but so far you have not listened. 17 This is what Yahweh says: Here is how you will know that I am Yahweh. Watch. I will 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 over the waters of Egypt—over their rivers, canals,[o] 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. 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 hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned around, went into his palace, and didn’t even take 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

[p]Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him: This is what Yahweh says: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me. But if you refuse to let them go, then I will plague all your territory with frogs. 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.”

[q]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.” When Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, the frogs 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, “Ask Yahweh to remove the frogs from me and my people. Then I will let the people go and they can sacrifice to Yahweh.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “You make the choice rather than me. When should I ask 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 you may know there is no one like Yahweh our God, 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[r] 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 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 earth, and it will become gnats[s] 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 earth, gnats were on man and beast. All the dust of the earth 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 man and beast.

19 “This is the finger of God,” the magicians said to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart hardened, 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 Yahweh says: Let My people go, so that they may worship[t] Me. 21 But if you will not let My people go, then I will send swarms of flies[u] against you, your officials, your people, and your houses. The Egyptians’ houses will swarm with flies, and so will the land where they live.[v] 22 But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where My people are living; no flies will be there. This way you will know that I, Yahweh, am in the land. 23 I will make a distinction[w] 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. 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[x] to do that, because what we will sacrifice to the Lord our God is detestable to the Egyptians. 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 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 Yahweh, 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.” The Lord did this the next day. All the Egyptian livestock died, 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 hardened, 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 on man and beast 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 man and beast. 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. 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart 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 Yahweh, the God of the Hebrews says: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me. 14 Otherwise, I am going to send all My plagues against you,[y] your officials, and your people. Then you will know there is no one like Me in all the 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. 16 However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you My power and to make My name known in all the earth. 17 You are still acting arrogantly against[z] My people by not letting them go. 18 Tomorrow at this time I will rain down the worst hail 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 the Lord’s word seriously 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 man and beast 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. Lightning struck the earth, 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 man and beast. 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.

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

29 Moses said to him, “When I have left the city, I will extend my hands to Yahweh. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know the earth belongs to Yahweh. 30 But as for you and your officials, I know that you still do not fear Yahweh our God.”

31 The flax and the barley were destroyed because the barley was ripe[aa] and the flax was budding, 32 but the wheat and the spelt were not destroyed since they are later crops.[ab]

33 Moses went out from Pharaoh and the city, and extended 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 hardened, 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,[ac] and so that you may tell[ad] your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am Yahweh.”

So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and told him, “This is what Yahweh, 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. But if you refuse to let My people go, then tomorrow I will bring locusts 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 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 ancestors 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 to us? Let the men go, so that they may worship Yahweh their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is devastated?”

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

Moses replied, “We will go with our young and our old; we will go with our sons and daughters and with our flocks and herds because we must hold Yahweh’s festival.”

10 He said to them, “May Yahweh be with you if I ever let you and your families go![ae] Look out—you are planning evil. 11 No, only the men may go and worship Yahweh, for that is what you have been asking for.” 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. 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.

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

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

25 Moses responded, “You must also let us have[ag] sacrifices and burnt offerings to prepare for Yahweh 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 Yahweh our God. We will not know what we will use to worship Yahweh until we get there.”

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, 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.”

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

11 The Lord said[ah] 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,[ai] 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 jewelry.” The Lord gave[aj] the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. And the man Moses was highly regarded[ak] in the land of Egypt by[al] Pharaoh’s officials and the people.

So Moses said, “This is what Yahweh 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 behind the millstones, 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 man or beast, not even a dog will snarl,[am] so that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come down to me and bow before me, saying: Leave, you and all the people who follow you.[an] After that, I will leave.’” And he left Pharaoh’s presence in fierce anger.

The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen 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, 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. 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’ households, one animal per household. 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 person[ao] will eat. You must have an unblemished 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. 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. Do not eat any of it raw or cooked in boiling[ap] water, but only roasted over fire—its head as well as its legs and inner organs. 10 Do not let any of it remain until morning; you must burn up any part of it that does remain before morning. 11 Here is how you must eat it: you must be dressed for travel,[aq] 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.

12 “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night and strike every firstborn male in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. I am Yahweh; I will execute judgments against all the gods of Egypt. 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. 15 You must eat unleavened bread for seven days. On the first day you must remove yeast from your houses. Whoever eats what is leavened from the first day through the seventh day must be cut off from Israel. 16 You are to hold a sacred assembly 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 divisions out of the land of Egypt. You must observe this day throughout your generations as a permanent statute. 18 You are to eat unleavened bread in the first month, 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 foreign resident 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.”[ar]

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. 22 Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it in the blood 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.

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 ritual. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ritual mean to you?’ 27 you are to reply, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and spared our homes.’” So the people bowed down 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. 30 During the night Pharaoh got up, he along with all his officials and all the Egyptians, and there was a loud wailing throughout Egypt because there wasn’t a house without someone dead. 31 He summoned Moses and Aaron during the night and said, “Get up, leave my people, both you and the Israelites, and go, worship Yahweh as you have asked.

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 4:6 A reference to whiteness or flakiness of the skin
  2. Exodus 4:7 Lit out of his cloak
  3. Exodus 4:10 = Moses
  4. Exodus 4:10 Lit heavy of mouth and heavy of tongue
  5. Exodus 4:12 Lit will be with you
  6. Exodus 4:13 Lit send by the hand of whom You will send
  7. Exodus 4:15 Lit be with
  8. Exodus 4:21 Or will make him stubborn
  9. Exodus 4:25 Some interpret “feet” as a euphemism for genitals.
  10. Exodus 4:26 Zipporah appeased God on Moses’ behalf by circumcising Gershom.
  11. Exodus 6:8 Lit raised My hand
  12. Exodus 6:12 Lit I have uncircumcised lips
  13. Exodus 6:30 Lit I have uncircumcised lips
  14. Exodus 7:16 Or serve; Ex 4:23
  15. Exodus 7:19 The Hb word refers specifically to the various branches and canals of the Nile River; Ex 8:5.
  16. Exodus 8:1 Ex 7:26 in Hb
  17. Exodus 8:5 Ex 8:1 in Hb
  18. Exodus 8:12 Or frogs, as he had agreed with
  19. Exodus 8:16 Perhaps sand fleas or mosquitoes
  20. Exodus 8:20 Or serve
  21. Exodus 8:21 Or insects
  22. Exodus 8:21 Lit are
  23. Exodus 8:23 LXX, Syr, Vg; MT reads will place deliverance
  24. Exodus 8:26 Or allowable
  25. Exodus 9:14 Lit your heart
  26. Exodus 9:17 Or still obstructing
  27. Exodus 9:31 Lit was ears of grain
  28. Exodus 9:32 Lit are late
  29. Exodus 10:1 Lit Mine in his midst
  30. Exodus 10:2 Lit tell in the ears of
  31. Exodus 10:10 Pharaoh’s reply is sarcastic.
  32. Exodus 10:19 Lit sea
  33. Exodus 10:25 Lit also give in our hand
  34. Exodus 11:1 Or had said
  35. Exodus 11:1 Or go, it will be finished
  36. Exodus 11:3 Or had given
  37. Exodus 11:3 Lit was very great
  38. Exodus 11:3 Or in the eyes of
  39. Exodus 11:7 Lit point its tongue
  40. Exodus 11:8 Lit people at your feet
  41. Exodus 12:4 Or household
  42. Exodus 12:9 Or or boiled at all in
  43. Exodus 12:11 Lit it: with your loins girded
  44. Exodus 12:20 Or settlements

Exodus 14:11 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

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

Exodus 14:21-22 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

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, 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.

Numbers 14:22 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

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 10 times and did not obey Me,

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