Exodus 5-8 Common English Bible (CEB)
First meeting with Pharaoh
5 Afterward, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, Israel’s God, says: ‘Let my people go so that they can hold a festival for me in the desert.’”
2 But Pharaoh said, “Who is this Lord whom I’m supposed to obey by letting Israel go? I don’t know this Lord, and I certainly won’t let Israel go.”
3 Then they said, “The Hebrews’ God has appeared to us. Let us go on a three-day journey into the desert so we can offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. Otherwise, the Lord will give us a deadly disease or violence.”
4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you making the people slack off from their work? Do the hard work yourselves!” 5 Pharaoh continued, “The land’s people are now numerous. Yet you want them to stop their hard work?”
6 On the very same day Pharaoh commanded the people’s slave masters and supervisors, 7 “Don’t supply the people with the straw they need to make bricks like you did before. Let them go out and gather the straw for themselves. 8 But still make sure that they produce the same number of bricks as they made before. Don’t reduce the number! They are weak and lazy, and that’s why they cry, ‘Let’s go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ 9 Make the men’s work so hard that it’s all they can do, and they can’t focus on these empty lies.”
10 So the people’s slave masters and supervisors came out and spoke to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says, ‘I’m not giving you straw anymore. 11 Go and get the straw on your own, wherever you can find it. But your work won’t be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people spread out all through the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The slave masters drove them hard and said, “Make sure you make the same daily quota as when you had the straw.” 14 The Israelite supervisors, whom Pharaoh’s slave masters had set over them, were also beaten and asked, “Why didn’t you produce the same number of bricks yesterday and today as you did before?”
15 Then the Israelite supervisors came and pleaded to Pharaoh, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is supplied to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look at how your servants are being beaten! Your own people are to blame!”
17 Pharaoh replied, “You are lazy bums, nothing but lazy bums. That’s why you say, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to the Lord.’ 18 Go and get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you still need to make the same number of bricks.”
19 The Israelite supervisors saw how impossible their situation was when they were commanded, “Don’t reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. 21 The supervisors said to them, “Let the Lord see and judge what you’ve done! You’ve made us stink in the opinion of Pharaoh and his servants. You’ve given them a reason to kill us.”
22 Then Moses turned to the Lord and said, “My Lord, why have you abused this people? Why did you send me for this? 23 Ever since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has abused this people. And you’ve done absolutely nothing to rescue your people.”
God reassures Moses
6 The Lord replied to Moses, “Now you will see what I’ll do to Pharaoh. In fact, he’ll be so eager to let them go that he’ll drive them out of his land by force.”
2 God also said to Moses: “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty,[a] but I didn’t reveal myself to them by my name ‘The Lord.’ 4 I also set up my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan where they lived as immigrants. 5 I’ve also heard the cry of grief of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have turned into slaves, and I’ve remembered my covenant. 6 Therefore, say to the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I’ll bring you out from Egyptian forced labor. I’ll rescue you from your slavery to them. I’ll set you free with great power and with momentous events of justice. 7 I’ll take you as my people, and I’ll be your God. You will know that I, the Lord, am your God, who has freed you from Egyptian forced labor. 8 I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I’ll give it to you as your possession. I am the Lord.’” 9 Moses told this to the Israelites. But they didn’t listen to Moses, because of their complete exhaustion and their hard labor.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go and tell Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, to let the Israelites out of his land.”
12 But Moses said to the Lord, “The Israelites haven’t even listened to me. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen to me, especially since I’m not a very good speaker?” 13 Nevertheless, the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, giving them orders to let the Israelites go from the land of Egypt.
Family line of Moses and Aaron
14 These were the leaders of their households.
The descendants of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
These were Reuben’s clans. 15 The Simeonites: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, a Canaanite woman’s son. These were Simeon’s clans.
16 These were the Levites’ names by their generations: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Levi lived 137 years. 17 The Gershonites: Libni and Shimei and their clans. 18 The Kohathites: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years. 19 The Merarites: Mahli and Mushi. These were the Levite clans by their generations.
20 Amram married Jochebed, his father’s sister. She gave birth to Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years. 21 The Izharites: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 The Uzzielites: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri. 23 Aaron married Elisheba, Amminadab’s daughter and Nahshon’s sister. She gave birth to Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 The Korahites: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These were the Korahite clans. 25 Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of Putiel’s daughters. She gave birth to Phinehas. These were the leaders of Levite households by their clans.
26 It was this same Aaron and Moses whom the Lord commanded, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt in military formation.” 27 It was also this same Moses and Aaron who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
28 At the time the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 the Lord said to him, “I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh, Egypt’s king, everything that I’ve said to you.”
30 But Moses replied to the Lord, “Look, I’m not a very good speaker. How is Pharaoh ever going to listen to me?”
7 The Lord said to Moses, “See, I’ve made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You will say everything that I command you, and your brother Aaron will tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites out of his land. 3 But I’ll make Pharaoh stubborn, and I’ll perform many of my signs and amazing acts in the land of Egypt. 4 When Pharaoh refuses to listen to you, then I’ll act against Egypt and I’ll bring my people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt in military formation by momentous events of justice. 5 The Egyptians will come to know that I am the Lord, when I act against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.” 6 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was 80 years old and Aaron was 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh.
Turning rods into snakes
8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do one of your amazing acts,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your shepherd’s rod and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will turn into a cobra.’”[b]
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw down his shepherd’s rod in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it turned into a cobra. 11 Then Pharaoh called together his wise men and wizards, and Egypt’s religious experts[c] did the same thing by using their secret knowledge. 12 Each one threw down his rod, and they turned into cobras. But then Aaron’s rod swallowed up each of their rods. 13 However, Pharaoh remained stubborn. He wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
Water into blood
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh is stubborn. He still refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. As he is going out to the water, make sure you stand at the bank of the Nile River so you will run into him. Bring along the shepherd’s rod that turned into a snake. 16 Say to him, The Lord, the Hebrews’ God, has sent me to you with this message: Let my people go so that they can worship me in the desert. Up to now you still haven’t listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord. I’m now going to hit the water of the Nile River with this rod in my hand, and it will turn into blood. 18 The fish in the Nile are going to die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians won’t be able to drink water from the Nile.” 19 The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your shepherd’s rod and stretch out your hand over Egypt’s waters—over their rivers, their canals, their marshes, and all their bodies of water—so that they turn into blood. There will be blood all over the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.’”
20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. He raised the shepherd’s rod and hit the water in the Nile in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the Nile began to stink so that the Egyptians couldn’t drink water from the Nile. There was blood all over the land of Egypt. 22 But the Egyptian religious experts did the same thing with their secret knowledge. As a result, Pharaoh remained stubborn, and he wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went back to his palace. He wasn’t impressed even by this. 24 Meanwhile, all the Egyptians had to dig for drinking water along the banks of the Nile River, because they couldn’t drink the water of the Nile itself. 25 Seven days went by after the Lord had struck the Nile River.
Invasion of frogs
8 [d] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, then I’ll send a plague of frogs over your whole country. 3 The Nile will overflow with frogs. They’ll get into your palace, into your bedroom and onto your bed, into your officials’ houses, and among all your people, and even into your ovens and bread pans. 4 The frogs will crawl up on you, your people, and all your officials.” 5 And[e] the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your shepherd’s rod over the rivers, the canals, and the marshes, and make the frogs crawl up all over the land of Egypt.’” 6 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt. The frogs crawled up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 However, the Egyptian religious experts were able to do the same thing by their secret knowledge. They too made frogs crawl up onto the land of Egypt.
8 Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, “If you pray to the Lord to get rid of the frogs from me and my people, then I’ll let the people go so that they can offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “Have it your way. When should I pray for you and your officials and your people to remove the frogs from your houses, courtyards, and fields? They’ll stay only in the Nile.”
10 Pharaoh said, “Tomorrow!”
Moses said, “Just as you say! That way you will know that there is no one like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you, your houses, your officials, and your people. They’ll stay only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron had left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs that the Lord had brought on Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses asked. The frogs died inside the houses, out in the yards, and in the fields. 14 They gathered them together in big piles, and the land began to stink. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that the disaster was over, he became stubborn again and wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your shepherd’s rod and hit the land’s dirt so that lice[f] appear in the whole land of Egypt.’” 17 They did this. Aaron stretched out his hand with his shepherd’s rod, hit the land’s dirt, and lice appeared on both people and animals. All the land’s dirt turned into lice throughout the whole land of Egypt.
18 The religious experts[g] tried to produce lice by their secret knowledge, but they weren’t able to do it. There were lice on people and animals. 19 The religious experts said to Pharaoh, “This is something only God could do!” But Pharaoh was stubborn, and he wouldn’t listen to them, just as the Lord had said.
Insects fill Egypt
20 The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes out to the water. Say to him, This is what the Lord says: Let my people go so that they can worship me. 21 If you refuse to let my people go, I’ll send swarms of insects[h] on you, your officials, your people, and your houses. All Egyptian houses will be filled with swarms of insects and also the ground that they cover. 22 But on that day I’ll set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live. No swarms of insects will come there so you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23 I’ll put a barrier between my people and your people. This sign will happen tomorrow.” 24 The Lord did this. Great swarms of insects came into the houses of Pharaoh and his officials and into the whole land of Egypt. The land was ruined by the insects.
25 Then Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, offer sacrifices to your God within the land.”
26 Moses replied, “It wouldn’t be right to do that, because the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God will offend Egyptians. If we openly offer sacrifices that offend Egyptians, won’t they stone us to death? 27 We need to go for a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God as he has ordered us.”
28 So Pharaoh said, “I’ll let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the desert, provided you don’t go too far away and you pray for me.”
29 Moses said, “I’ll leave you now, and I’ll pray to the Lord. Tomorrow the swarms of insects will leave Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. Just don’t let Pharaoh lie to us again and not let the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”
30 So Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 31 The Lord did as Moses asked and removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, from his officials, and from his people. Not one insect remained. 32 But Pharaoh was stubborn once again, and he wouldn’t let the people go.