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Exodus 1-35Good News Translation (GNT)

The Israelites Are Treated Cruelly in Egypt

The sons of Jacob who went to Egypt with him, each with his family, were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. The total number of these people directly descended from Jacob was seventy.[a] His son Joseph was already in Egypt. In the course of time Joseph, his brothers, and all the rest of that generation died, but their descendants, the Israelites, had many children and became so numerous and strong that Egypt was filled with them.

Then, a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his people, “These Israelites are so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. 10 In case of war they might join our enemies in order to fight against us, and might escape from[b] the country. We must find some way to keep them from becoming even more numerous.” 11 So the Egyptians put slave drivers over them to crush their spirits with hard labor. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses to serve as supply centers for the king. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the farther they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites 13-14 and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and in their fields, and they had no pity on them.

15 Then the king of Egypt spoke to Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who helped the Hebrew women. 16 “When you help the Hebrew women give birth,” he said to them, “kill the baby if it is a boy; but if it is a girl, let it live.” 17 But the midwives were God-fearing and so did not obey the king; instead, they let the boys live. 18 So the king sent for the midwives and asked them, “Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the boys live?”

19 They answered, “The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there.” 20-21 Because the midwives were God-fearing, God was good to them and gave them families of their own. And the Israelites continued to increase and become strong. 22 Finally the king issued a command to all his people: “Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live.”

The Birth of Moses

During this time a man from the tribe of Levi married a woman of his own tribe, and she bore him a son. When she saw what a fine baby he was, she hid him for three months. But when she could not hide him any longer, she took a basket made of reeds and covered it with tar to make it watertight. She put the baby in it and then placed it in the tall grass at the edge of the river. The baby's sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

The king's daughter came down to the river to bathe, while her servants walked along the bank. Suddenly she noticed the basket in the tall grass and sent a slave woman to get it. The princess opened it and saw a baby boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said.

Then his sister asked her, “Shall I go and call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby for you?”

“Please do,” she answered. So the girl went and brought the baby's own mother. The princess told the woman, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So she took the baby and nursed him. 10 Later, when the child was old enough, she took him to the king's daughter, who adopted him as her own son. She said to herself, “I pulled him out of the water, and so I name him Moses.”[c]

Moses Escapes to Midian

11 When Moses had grown up, he went out to visit his people, the Hebrews, and he saw how they were forced to do hard labor. He even saw an Egyptian kill a Hebrew, one of Moses' own people. 12 Moses looked all around, and when he saw that no one was watching, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. 13 The next day he went back and saw two Hebrew men fighting. He said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why are you beating up a fellow Hebrew?”

14 The man answered, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me just as you killed that Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said to himself, “People have found out what I have done.” 15-16 When the king heard about what had happened, he tried to have Moses killed, but Moses fled and went to live in the land of Midian.

One day, when Moses was sitting by a well, seven daughters of Jethro, the priest of Midian, came to draw water and fill the troughs for their father's sheep and goats. 17 But some shepherds drove Jethro's daughters away. Then Moses went to their rescue and watered their animals for them. 18 When they returned to their father, he asked, “Why have you come back so early today?”

19 “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they answered, “and he even drew water for us and watered our animals.”

20 “Where is he?” he asked his daughters. “Why did you leave the man out there? Go and invite him to eat with us.”

21 So Moses decided to live there, and Jethro gave him his daughter Zipporah in marriage, 22 who bore him a son. Moses said to himself, “I am a foreigner in this land, and so I name him Gershom.”[d]

23 Years later the king of Egypt died, but the Israelites were still groaning under their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry went up to God, 24 who heard their groaning and remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 He saw the slavery of the Israelites and was concerned for them.[e]

God Calls Moses

One day while Moses was taking care of the sheep and goats of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, he led the flock across the desert and came to Sinai, the holy mountain. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him as a flame coming from the middle of a bush. Moses saw that the bush was on fire but that it was not burning up. “This is strange,” he thought. “Why isn't the bush burning up? I will go closer and see.”

When the Lord saw that Moses was coming closer, he called to him from the middle of the bush and said, “Moses! Moses!”

He answered, “Yes, here I am.”

God said, “Do not come any closer. Take off your sandals, because you are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” So Moses covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have seen how cruelly my people are being treated in Egypt; I have heard them cry out to be rescued from their slave drivers. I know all about their sufferings, and so I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them out of Egypt to a spacious land, one which is rich and fertile and in which the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites now live. I have indeed heard the cry of my people, and I see how the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 Now I am sending you to the king of Egypt so that you can lead my people out of his country.”

11 But Moses said to God, “I am nobody. How can I go to the king and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

12 God answered, “I will be with you, and when you bring the people out of Egypt, you will worship me on this mountain. That will be the proof that I have sent you.”

13 But Moses replied, “When I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors sent me to you,’ they will ask me, ‘What is his name?’ So what can I tell them?”

14 God said, “I am who I am. You must tell them: ‘The one who is called I Am[f] has sent me to you.’ 15 Tell the Israelites that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have sent you to them. This is my name forever; this is what all future generations are to call me. 16 Go and gather the leaders of Israel together and tell them that I, the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to you. Tell them that I have come to them and have seen what the Egyptians are doing to them. 17 I have decided that I will bring them out of Egypt, where they are being treated cruelly, and will take them to a rich and fertile land—the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

18 “My people will listen to what you say to them. Then you must go with the leaders of Israel to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has revealed himself to us. Now allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord, our God.’ 19 I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless he is forced to do so. 20 But I will use my power and will punish Egypt by doing terrifying things there. After that he will let you go.

21 “I will make the Egyptians respect you so that when my people leave, they will not go empty-handed. 22 Every Israelite woman will go to her Egyptian neighbors and to any Egyptian woman living in her house and will ask for clothing and for gold and silver jewelry. The Israelites will put these things on their sons and daughters and carry away the wealth of the Egyptians.”

God Gives Moses Miraculous Power

Then Moses answered the Lord, “But suppose the Israelites do not believe me and will not listen to what I say. What shall I do if they say that you did not appear to me?”

So the Lord asked him, “What are you holding?”

“A walking stick,” he answered.

The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” When Moses threw it down, it turned into a snake, and he ran away from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach down and pick it up by the tail.” So Moses reached down and caught it, and it became a walking stick again. The Lord said, “Do this to prove to the Israelites that the Lord, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to you.”

The Lord spoke to Moses again, “Put your hand inside your robe.” Moses obeyed; and when he took his hand out, it was diseased, covered with white spots, like snow. Then the Lord said, “Put your hand inside your robe again.” He did so, and when he took it out this time, it was healthy, just like the rest of his body. The Lord said, “If they will not believe you or be convinced by the first miracle, then this one will convince them. If in spite of these two miracles they still will not believe you, and if they refuse to listen to what you say, take some water from the Nile and pour it on the ground. The water will turn into blood.”

10 But Moses said, “No, Lord, don't send me. I have never been a good speaker, and I haven't become one since you began to speak to me. I am a poor speaker, slow and hesitant.”

11 The Lord said to him, “Who gives man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? It is I, the Lord. 12 Now, go! I will help you to speak, and I will tell you what to say.”

13 But Moses answered, “No, Lord, please send someone else.”

14 At this the Lord became angry with Moses and said, “What about your brother Aaron, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. In fact, he is now coming to meet you and will be glad to see you. 15 You can speak to him and tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak, and I will tell you both what to do. 16 He will be your spokesman and speak to the people for you. Then you will be like God, telling him what to say. 17 Take this walking stick with you; for with it you will perform miracles.”

Moses Returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro, his father-in-law, and said to him, “Please let me go back to my relatives in Egypt to see if they are still alive.” Jethro agreed and told him good-bye.

19 While Moses was still in Midian, the Lord said to him, “Go back to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and set out with them for Egypt, carrying the walking stick that God had told him to take.

21 Again the Lord said to Moses, “Now that you are going back to Egypt, be sure to perform before the king all the miracles which I have given you the power to do. But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not let the people go. 22 Then you must tell him that I, the Lord, say, ‘Israel is my first-born son. 23 I told you to let my son go, so that he might worship me, but you refused. Now I am going to kill your first-born son.’”

24 At a camping place on the way to Egypt, the Lord met Moses and tried to kill him. 25-26 Then Zipporah, his wife, took a sharp stone, cut off the foreskin of her son, and touched Moses' feet[g] with it. Because of the rite of circumcision she said to Moses, “You are a husband of blood to me.” And so the Lord spared Moses' life.

27 Meanwhile the Lord had said to Aaron, “Go into the desert to meet Moses.” So he went to meet him at the holy mountain; and when he met him, he kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron everything that the Lord had said when he told him to return to Egypt; he also told him about the miracles which the Lord had ordered him to perform. 29 So Moses and Aaron went to Egypt and gathered all the Israelite leaders together. 30 Aaron told them everything that the Lord had said to Moses, and then Moses performed all the miracles in front of the people. 31 They believed, and when they heard that the Lord had come to them and had seen how they were being treated cruelly, they bowed down and worshiped.

Moses and Aaron before the King of Egypt

Then Moses and Aaron went to the king of Egypt and said, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can hold a festival in the desert to honor me.’”

“Who is the Lord?” the king demanded. “Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord; and I will not let Israel go.”

Moses and Aaron replied, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us. Allow us to travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God. If we don't do so, he will kill us with disease or by war.”

The king said to Moses and Aaron, “What do you mean by making the people neglect their work? Get those slaves back to work! You people have become more numerous than the Egyptians. And now you want to stop working!”

That same day the king commanded the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen: “Stop giving the people straw for making bricks. Make them go and find it for themselves. But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before, not one brick less. They don't have enough work to do, and that is why they keep asking me to let them go and offer sacrifices to their God! Make them work harder and keep them busy, so that they won't have time to listen to a pack of lies.”

10 The slave drivers and the Israelite foremen went out and said to the Israelites, “The king has said that he will not supply you with any more straw. 11 He says that you must go and get it for yourselves wherever you can find it, but you must still make the same number of bricks.” 12 So the people went all over Egypt looking for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept trying to force them to make the same number of bricks every day as they had made when they were given straw. 14 The Egyptian slave drivers beat the Israelite foremen, whom they had put in charge of the work. They demanded, “Why aren't you people making the same number of bricks that you made before?”

15 Then the foremen went to the king and complained, “Why do you do this to us, Your Majesty? 16 We are given no straw, but we are still ordered to make bricks! And now we are being beaten. It is your people that are at fault.”

17 The king answered, “You are lazy and don't want to work, and that is why you ask me to let you go and offer sacrifices to the Lord. 18 Now get back to work! You will not be given any straw, but you must still make the same number of bricks.” 19 The foremen realized that they were in trouble when they were told that they had to make the same number of bricks every day as they had made before.

20 As they were leaving, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. 21 They said to Moses and Aaron, “The Lord has seen what you have done and will punish you for making the king and his officers hate us. You have given them an excuse to kill us.”

Moses Complains to the Lord

22 Then Moses turned to the Lord again and said, “Lord, why do you mistreat your people? Why did you send me here? 23 Ever since I went to the king to speak for you, he has treated them cruelly. And you have done nothing to help them!”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you are going to see what I will do to the king. I will force him to let my people go. In fact, I will force him to drive them out of his land.”

God Calls Moses

God spoke to Moses and said, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as Almighty God, but I did not make myself known to them by my holy name, the Lord.[h] I also made my covenant with them, promising to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they had lived as foreigners. Now I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians have enslaved, and I have remembered my covenant. So tell the Israelites that I say to them, ‘I am the Lord; I will rescue you and set you free from your slavery to the Egyptians. I will raise my mighty arm to bring terrible punishment upon them, and I will save you. I will make you my own people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God when I set you free from slavery in Egypt. I will bring you to the land that I solemnly promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and I will give it to you as your own possession. I am the Lord.’” Moses told this to the Israelites, but they would not listen to him, because their spirit had been broken by their cruel slavery.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, 11 “Go and tell the king of Egypt that he must let the Israelites leave his land.”

12 But Moses replied, “Even the Israelites will not listen to me, so why should the king? I am such a poor speaker.”

13 The Lord commanded Moses and Aaron: “Tell the Israelites and the king of Egypt that I have ordered you to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.”

The Family Record of Moses and Aaron

14 Reuben, Jacob's first-born, had four sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; they were the ancestors of the clans that bear their names. 15 Simeon had six sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman; they were the ancestors of the clans that bear their names. 16 Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; they were the ancestors of the clans that bear their names. Levi lived 137 years. 17 Gershon had two sons: Libni and Shimei, and they had many descendants. 18 Kohath had four sons: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Kohath lived 133 years. 19 Merari had two sons: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of Levi with their descendants.

20 Amram married his father's sister Jochebed, who bore him Aaron and Moses. Amram lived 137 years. 21 Izhar had three sons: Korah, Nepheg, and Zichri. 22 Uzziel also had three sons: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon; she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 Korah had three sons: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; they were the ancestors of the divisions of the clan of Korah. 25 Eleazar, Aaron's son, married one of Putiel's daughters, who bore him Phinehas. These were the heads of the families and the clans of the tribe of Levi.

26 Aaron and Moses were the ones to whom the Lord said, “Lead the tribes of Israel out of Egypt.” 27 They were the men who told the king of Egypt to free the Israelites.

The Lord's Command to Moses and Aaron

28 When the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 he said, “I am the Lord. Tell the king of Egypt everything I tell you.”

30 But Moses answered, “You know that I am such a poor speaker; why should the king listen to me?”

The Lord said, “I am going to make you like God to the king, and your brother Aaron will speak to him as your prophet. Tell Aaron everything I command you, and he will tell the king to let the Israelites leave his country. 3-4 But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not listen to you, no matter how many terrifying things I do in Egypt. Then I will bring severe punishment on Egypt and lead the tribes of my people out of the land. The Egyptians will then know that I am the Lord, when I raise my hand against them and bring the Israelites out of their country.” Moses and Aaron did what the Lord commanded. At the time when they spoke to the king, Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three.

Aaron's Walking Stick

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “If the king demands that you prove yourselves by performing a miracle, tell Aaron to take his walking stick and throw it down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake.” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to the king and did as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw his walking stick down in front of the king and his officers, and it turned into a snake. 11 Then the king called for his wise men and magicians, and by their magic they did the same thing. 12 They threw down their walking sticks, and the sticks turned into snakes. But Aaron's stick swallowed theirs. 13 The king, however, remained stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

Disasters Strike Egypt

Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The king is very stubborn and refuses to let the people go. 15 So go and meet him in the morning when he goes down to the Nile. Take with you the walking stick that was turned into a snake, and wait for him on the riverbank. 16 Then say to the king, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to tell you to let his people go, so that they can worship him in the desert. But until now you have not listened. 17 Now, Your Majesty, the Lord says that you will find out who he is by what he is going to do. Look, I am going to strike the surface of the river with this stick, and the water will be turned into blood. 18 The fish will die, and the river will stink so much that the Egyptians will not be able to drink from it.’”

19 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron to take his stick and hold it out over all the rivers, canals, and pools in Egypt. The water will become blood, and all over the land there will be blood, even in the wooden tubs and stone jars.”

20 Then Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the presence of the king and his officers, Aaron raised his stick and struck the surface of the river, and all the water in it was turned into blood. 21 The fish in the river died, and it smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink from it. There was blood everywhere in Egypt. 22 Then the king's magicians did the same thing by means of their magic, and the king was as stubborn as ever. Just as the Lord had said, the king refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. 23 Instead, he turned and went back to his palace without paying any attention even to this. 24 All the Egyptians dug along the bank of the river for drinking water, because they were not able to drink water from the river.

25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the river.

Frogs

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the king and tell him that the Lord says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can worship me. If you refuse, I will punish your country by covering it with frogs. The Nile will be so full of frogs that they will leave it and go into your palace, your bedroom, your bed, the houses of your officials and your people, and even into your ovens and baking pans. They will jump up on you, your people, and all your officials.’”

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron to hold out his walking stick over the rivers, the canals, and the pools, and make frogs come up and cover the land of Egypt.” So Aaron held it out over all the water, and the frogs came out and covered the land. But the magicians used magic, and they also made frogs come up on the land.

The king called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take away these frogs, and I will let your people go, so that they can offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

Moses replied, “I will be glad to pray for you. Just set the time when I am to pray for you, your officers, and your people. Then you will be rid of the frogs, and there will be none left except in the Nile.”

10 The king answered, “Pray for me tomorrow.”

Moses said, “I will do as you ask, and then you will know that there is no other god like the Lord, our God. 11 You, your officials, and your people will be rid of the frogs, and there will be none left except in the Nile.” 12 Then Moses and Aaron left the king, and Moses prayed to the Lord to take away the frogs which he had brought on the king. 13 The Lord did as Moses asked, and the frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields died. 14 The Egyptians piled them up in great heaps, until the land stank with them. 15 When the king saw that the frogs were dead, he became stubborn again and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

Gnats

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron to strike the ground with his stick, and all over the land of Egypt the dust will change into gnats.” 17 So Aaron struck the ground with his stick, and all the dust in Egypt was turned into gnats, which covered the people and the animals. 18 The magicians tried to use their magic to make gnats appear, but they failed. There were gnats everywhere, 19 and the magicians said to the king, “God has done this!” But the king was stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

Flies

20 The Lord said to Moses, “Early tomorrow morning go and meet the king as he goes to the river, and tell him that the Lord says, ‘Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 21 I warn you that if you refuse, I will punish you by sending flies on you, your officials, and your people. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and the ground will be covered with them. 22 But I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live, so that there will be no flies there. I will do this so that you will know that I, the Lord, am at work in this land. 23 I will make a distinction[i] between my people and your people. This miracle will take place tomorrow.’” 24 The Lord sent great swarms of flies into the king's palace and the houses of his officials. The whole land of Egypt was brought to ruin by the flies.

25 Then the king called for Moses and Aaron and said, “Go and offer sacrifices to your God here in this country.”

26 “It would not be right to do that,” Moses answered, “because the Egyptians would be offended by our sacrificing the animals that we offer to the Lord our God. If we use these animals and offend the Egyptians by sacrificing them where they can see us, they will stone us to death. 27 We must travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he commanded us.”

28 The king said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the desert, if you do not go very far. Pray for me.”

29 Moses answered, “As soon as I leave, I will pray to the Lord that tomorrow the flies will leave you, your officials, and your people. But you must not deceive us again and prevent the people from going to sacrifice to the Lord.”

30 Moses left the king and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did as Moses asked. The flies left the king, his officials, and his people; not one fly remained. 32 But even this time the king became stubborn, and again he would not let the people go.

Death of the Animals

The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the king and tell him that the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you again refuse to let them go, I will punish you by sending a terrible disease on all your animals—your horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep, and goats. I will make a distinction between the animals of the Israelites and those of the Egyptians, and no animal that belongs to the Israelites will die. I, the Lord, have set tomorrow as the time when I will do this.’”

The next day the Lord did as he had said, and all the animals of the Egyptians died, but not one of the animals of the Israelites died. The king asked what had happened and was told that none of the animals of the Israelites had died. But he was stubborn and would not let the people go.

Boils

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take a few handfuls of ashes from a furnace; Moses is to throw them into the air in front of the king. They will spread out like fine dust over all the land of Egypt, and everywhere they will produce boils that become open sores on the people and the animals.” 10 So they got some ashes and stood before the king; Moses threw them into the air, and they produced boils that became open sores on the people and the animals. 11 The magicians were not able to appear before Moses, because they were covered with boils, like all the other Egyptians. 12 But the Lord made the king stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron.

Hail

13 The Lord then said to Moses, “Early tomorrow morning meet with the king and tell him that the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14 This time I will punish not only your officials and your people, but I will punish you as well, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the world. 15 If I had raised my hand to strike you and your people with disease, you would have been completely destroyed. 16 But to show you my power I have let you live so that my fame might spread over the whole world. 17 Yet you are still arrogant and refuse to let my people go. 18 This time tomorrow I will cause a heavy hailstorm, such as Egypt has never known in all its history. 19 Now give orders for your livestock and everything else you have in the open to be put under shelter. Hail will fall on the people and animals left outside unprotected, and they will all die.’” 20 Some of the king's officials were afraid because of what the Lord had said, and they brought their slaves and animals indoors for shelter. 21 Others, however, paid no attention to the Lord's warning and left their slaves and animals out in the open.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand toward the sky, and hail will fall over the whole land of Egypt—on the people, the animals, and all the plants in the fields.” 23 So Moses raised his stick toward the sky, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning struck the ground. The Lord sent 24 a heavy hailstorm, with lightning flashing back and forth. It was the worst storm that Egypt had ever known in all its history. 25 All over Egypt the hail struck down everything in the open, including all the people and all the animals. It beat down all the plants in the fields and broke all the trees. 26 The region of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was the only place where there was no hail.

27 The king sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and my people and I are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the Lord! We have had enough of this thunder and hail! I promise to let you go; you don't have to stay here any longer.”

29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I go out of the city, I will lift up my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. 30 But I know that you and your officials do not yet fear the Lord God.”

31 The flax and the barley were ruined, because the barley was ripe, and the flax was budding. 32 But none of the wheat was ruined, because it ripens later.

33 Moses left the king, went out of the city, and lifted up his hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder, the hail, and the rain all stopped. 34 When the king saw what had happened, he sinned again. He and his officials remained as stubborn as ever 35 and, just as the Lord had foretold through Moses, the king would not let the Israelites go.

Locusts

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go and see the king. I have made him and his officials stubborn, in order that I may perform these miracles among them and in order that you may be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I made fools of the Egyptians when I performed the miracles. All of you will know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to the king and said to him, “The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you keep on refusing, then I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. There will be so many that they will completely cover the ground. They will eat everything that the hail did not destroy, even the trees that are left. They will fill your palaces and the houses of all your officials and all your people. They will be worse than anything your ancestors ever saw.’” Then Moses turned and left.

The king's officials said to him, “How long is this man going to give us trouble? Let the Israelite men go, so that they can worship the Lord their God. Don't you realize that Egypt is ruined?”

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to the king, and he said to them, “You may go and worship the Lord your God. But exactly who will go?”

Moses answered, “We will all go, including our children and our old people. We will take our sons and daughters, our sheep and goats, and our cattle, because we must hold a festival to honor the Lord.”

10 The king said, “I swear by the Lord that I will never let you take your women and children! It is clear that you are plotting to revolt. 11 No! Only the men may go and worship the Lord if that is what you want.” With that, Moses and Aaron were driven out of the king's presence.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Raise your hand over the land of Egypt to bring the locusts. They will come and eat everything that grows, everything that has survived the hail.” 13 So Moses raised his stick, and the Lord caused a wind from the east to blow on the land all that day and all that night. By morning it had brought the locusts. 14 They came in swarms and settled over the whole country. It was the largest swarm of locusts that had ever been seen or that ever would be seen again. 15 They covered the ground until it was black with them; they ate everything that the hail had left, including all the fruit on the trees. Not a green thing was left on any tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.

16 Then the king hurriedly called Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Now forgive my sin this one time and pray to the Lord your God to take away this fatal punishment from me.” 18 Moses left the king and prayed to the Lord. 19 And the Lord changed the east wind into a very strong west wind, which picked up the locusts and blew them into the Gulf of Suez.[j] Not one locust was left in all of Egypt. 20 But the Lord made the king stubborn, and he did not let the Israelites go.

Darkness

21 The Lord then said to Moses, “Raise your hand toward the sky, and a darkness thick enough to be felt will cover the land of Egypt.” 22 Moses raised his hand toward the sky, and there was total darkness throughout Egypt for three days. 23 The Egyptians could not see each other, and no one left his house during that time. But the Israelites had light where they were living.

24 The king called Moses and said, “You may go and worship the Lord; even your women and children may go with you. But your sheep, goats, and cattle must stay here.”

25 Moses answered, “Then you would have to provide us with animals for sacrifices and burnt offerings to offer to the Lord our God. 26 No, we will take our animals with us; not one will be left behind. We ourselves must select the animals with which to worship the Lord our God. And until we get there, we will not know what animals to sacrifice to him.”

27 The Lord made the king stubborn, and he would not let them go. 28 He said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Don't let me ever see you again! On the day I do, you will die!”

29 “You are right,” Moses answered. “You will never see me again.”

Moses Announces the Death of the First-Born

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will send only one more punishment on the king of Egypt and his people. After that he will let you leave. In fact, he will drive all of you out of here. Now speak to the people of Israel and tell all of them to ask their neighbors for gold and silver jewelry.” The Lord made the Egyptians respect the Israelites. Indeed, the officials and all the people considered Moses to be a very great man.

Moses then said to the king, “The Lord says, ‘At about midnight I will go through Egypt, and every first-born son in Egypt will die, from the king's son, who is heir to the throne, to the son of the slave woman who grinds grain. The first-born of all the cattle will die also. There will be loud crying all over Egypt, such as there has never been before or ever will be again. But not even a dog will bark at the Israelites or their animals. Then you will know that I, the Lord, make a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites.’” Moses concluded by saying, “All your officials will come to me and bow down before me, and they will beg me to take all my people and go away. After that, I will leave.” Then in great anger Moses left the king.

The Lord had said to Moses, “The king will continue to refuse to listen to you, in order that I may do more of my miracles in Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these miracles before the king, but the Lord made him stubborn, and he would not let the Israelites leave his country.

The Passover

12 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Egypt: “This month is to be the first month of the year for you. Give these instructions to the whole community of Israel: On the tenth day of this month each man must choose either a lamb or a young goat for his household. If his family is too small to eat a whole animal, he and his next-door neighbor may share an animal, in proportion to the number of people and the amount that each person can eat. You may choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male without any defects. Then, on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, the whole community of Israel will kill the animals. The people are to take some of the blood and put it on the doorposts and above the doors of the houses in which the animals are to be eaten. That night the meat is to be roasted, and eaten with bitter herbs and with bread made without yeast. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled, but eat it roasted whole, including the head, the legs, and the internal organs. 10 You must not leave any of it until morning; if any is left over, it must be burned. 11 You are to eat it quickly, for you are to be dressed for travel, with your sandals on your feet and your walking stick in your hand. It is the Passover Festival to honor me, the Lord.

12 “On that night I will go through the land of Egypt, killing every first-born male, both human and animal, and punishing all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood on the doorposts will be a sign to mark the houses in which you live. When I see the blood, I will pass over you and will not harm you when I punish the Egyptians. 14 You must celebrate this day as a religious festival to remind you of what I, the Lord, have done. Celebrate it for all time to come.”

The Festival of Unleavened Bread

15 The Lord said, “For seven days you must not eat any bread made with yeast—eat only unleavened bread. On the first day you are to get rid of all the yeast in your houses, for if anyone during those seven days eats bread made with yeast, he shall no longer be considered one of my people. 16 On the first day and again on the seventh day you are to meet for worship. No work is to be done on those days, but you may prepare food. 17 Keep this festival, because it was on this day that I brought your tribes out of Egypt. For all time to come you must celebrate this day as a festival. 18 From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month to the evening of the twenty-first day, you must not eat any bread made with yeast. 19-20 For seven days no yeast must be found in your houses, for if anyone, native-born or foreign, eats bread made with yeast, he shall no longer be considered one of my people.”

The First Passover

21 Moses called for all the leaders of Israel and said to them, “Each of you is to choose a lamb or a young goat and kill it, so that your families can celebrate Passover. 22 Take a sprig of hyssop, dip it in the bowl containing[k] the animal's blood, and wipe the blood on the doorposts and the beam above the door of your house. Not one of you is to leave the house until morning. 23 When the Lord goes through Egypt to kill the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the beams and the doorposts and will not let the Angel of Death enter your houses and kill you. 24 You and your children must obey these rules forever. 25 When you enter the land that the Lord has promised to give you, you must perform this ritual. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ritual mean?’ 27 you will answer, ‘It is the sacrifice of Passover to honor the Lord, because he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt. He killed the Egyptians, but spared us.’”

The Israelites knelt down and worshiped. 28 Then they went and did what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

The Death of the First-Born

29 At midnight the Lord killed all the first-born sons in Egypt, from the king's son, who was heir to the throne, to the son of the prisoner in the dungeon; all the first-born of the animals were also killed. 30 That night, the king, his officials, and all the other Egyptians were awakened. There was loud crying throughout Egypt, because there was not one home in which there was not a dead son. 31 That same night the king sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “Get out, you and your Israelites! Leave my country; go and worship the Lord, as you asked. 32 Take your sheep, goats, and cattle, and leave. Also pray for a blessing on me.”

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hurry and leave the country; they said, “We will all be dead if you don't leave.” 34 So the people filled their baking pans with unleavened dough, wrapped them in clothing, and carried them on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses had said, and had asked the Egyptians for gold and silver jewelry and for clothes. 36 The Lord made the Egyptians respect the people and give them what they asked for. In this way the Israelites carried away the wealth of the Egyptians.

The Israelites Leave Egypt

37 The Israelites set out on foot from Rameses for Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 men, not counting women and children. 38 A large number of other people and many sheep, goats, and cattle also went with them. 39 They baked unleavened bread from the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for they had been driven out of Egypt so suddenly that they did not have time to get their food ready or to prepare leavened dough.

40 The Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years. 41 On the day the 430 years ended, all the tribes of the Lord's people left Egypt. 42 It was a night when the Lord kept watch to bring them out of Egypt; this same night is dedicated to the Lord for all time to come as a night when the Israelites must keep watch.

Regulations about Passover

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the Passover regulations: No foreigner shall eat the Passover meal, 44 but any slave that you have bought may eat it if you circumcise him first. 45 No temporary resident or hired worker may eat it. 46 The whole meal must be eaten in the house in which it was prepared; it must not be taken outside. And do not break any of the animal's bones. 47 The whole community of Israel must celebrate this festival, 48 but no uncircumcised man may eat it. If a foreigner has settled among you and wants to celebrate Passover to honor the Lord, you must first circumcise all the males of his household. He is then to be treated like a native-born Israelite and may join in the festival. 49 The same regulations apply to native-born Israelites and to foreigners who settle among you.” 50 All the Israelites obeyed and did what the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 On that day the Lord brought the Israelite tribes out of Egypt.

Dedication of the First-Born

13 The Lord said to Moses, “Dedicate all the first-born males to me, for every first-born male Israelite and every first-born male animal belongs to me.”

The Festival of Unleavened Bread

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day—the day on which you left Egypt, the place where you were slaves. This is the day the Lord brought you out by his great power. No leavened bread is to be eaten. You are leaving Egypt on this day in the first month, the month of Abib. The Lord solemnly promised your ancestors to give you the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. When he brings you into that rich and fertile land, you must celebrate this festival in the first month of every year. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread and on the seventh day there is to be a festival to honor the Lord. For seven days you must not eat any bread made with yeast; there must be no yeast or leavened bread anywhere in your land. When the festival begins, explain to your sons that you do all this because of what the Lord did for you when you left Egypt. This observance will be a reminder, like something tied on your hand or on your forehead; it will remind you to continue to recite and study the Law of the Lord, because the Lord brought you out of Egypt by his great power. 10 Celebrate this festival at the appointed time each year.

The First-Born

11 “The Lord will bring you into the land of the Canaanites, which he solemnly promised to you and your ancestors. When he gives it to you, 12 you must offer every first-born male to the Lord. Every first-born male of your animals belongs to the Lord, 13 but you must buy back from him every first-born male donkey by offering a lamb in its place. If you do not want to buy back the donkey, break its neck. You must buy back every first-born male child of yours. 14 In the future, when your son asks what this observance means, you will answer him, ‘By using great power the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place where we were slaves. 15 When the king of Egypt was stubborn and refused to let us go, the Lord killed every first-born male in the land of Egypt, both human and animal. That is why we sacrifice every first-born male animal to the Lord, but buy back our first-born sons. 16 This observance will be a reminder, like something tied on our hands or on our foreheads; it will remind us that the Lord brought us out of Egypt by his great power.’”

The Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire

17 When the king of Egypt let the people go, God did not take them by the road that goes up the coast to Philistia, although it was the shortest way. God thought, “I do not want the people to change their minds and return to Egypt when they see that they are going to have to fight.” 18 Instead, he led them in a roundabout way through the desert toward the Red Sea.[l] The Israelites were armed for battle.

19 Moses took the body of Joseph with him, as Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly promise to do. Joseph had said, “When God rescues you, you must carry my body with you from this place.”

20 The Israelites left Sukkoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the desert. 21 During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day. 22 The pillar of cloud was always in front of the people during the day, and the pillar of fire at night.

Crossing the Red Sea

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the Red Sea, near Baal Zephon. The king will think that the Israelites are wandering around in the country and are closed in by the desert. I will make him stubborn, and he will pursue you, and my victory over the king and his army will bring me honor. Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” The Israelites did as they were told.

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had escaped, he and his officials changed their minds and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites escape, and we have lost them as our slaves!” The king got his war chariot and his army ready. He set out with all his chariots, including the six hundred finest, commanded by their officers. The Lord made the king stubborn, and he pursued the Israelites, who were leaving triumphantly.[m] The Egyptian army, with all the horses, chariots, and drivers, pursued them and caught up with them where they were camped by the Red Sea near Pi Hahiroth and Baal Zephon.

10 When the Israelites saw the king and his army marching against them, they were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. 11 They said to Moses, “Weren't there any graves in Egypt? Did you have to bring us out here in the desert to die? Look what you have done by bringing us out of Egypt! 12 Didn't we tell you before we left that this would happen? We told you to leave us alone and let us go on being slaves of the Egyptians. It would be better to be slaves there than to die here in the desert.”

13 Moses answered, “Don't be afraid! Stand your ground, and you will see what the Lord will do to save you today; you will never see these Egyptians again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and all you have to do is keep still.”

15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out for help? Tell the people to move forward. 16 Lift up your walking stick and hold it out over the sea. The water will divide, and the Israelites will be able to walk through the sea on dry ground. 17 I will make the Egyptians so stubborn that they will go in after them, and I will gain honor by my victory over the king, his army, his chariots, and his drivers. 18 When I defeat them, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.”

19 The angel of God, who had been in front of the army of Israel, moved and went to the rear. The pillar of cloud also moved until it was 20 between the Egyptians and the Israelites. The cloud made it dark for the Egyptians, but gave light to the people of Israel,[n] and so the armies could not come near each other all night.

21 Moses held out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind. It blew all night and turned the sea into dry land. The water was divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides. 23 The Egyptians pursued them and went after them into the sea with all their horses, chariots, and drivers. 24 Just before dawn the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. 25 He made the wheels of their chariots get stuck, so that they moved with great difficulty. The Egyptians said, “The Lord is fighting for the Israelites against us. Let's get out of here!”

26 The Lord said to Moses, “Hold out your hand over the sea, and the water will come back over the Egyptians and their chariots and drivers.” 27 So Moses held out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the water returned to its normal level. The Egyptians tried to escape from the water, but the Lord threw them into the sea. 28 The water returned and covered the chariots, the drivers, and all the Egyptian army that had followed the Israelites into the sea; not one of them was left. 29 But the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on both sides.

30 On that day the Lord saved the people of Israel from the Egyptians, and the Israelites saw them lying dead on the seashore. 31 When the Israelites saw the great power with which the Lord had defeated the Egyptians, they stood in awe of the Lord; and they had faith in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

The Song of Moses

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

“I will sing to the Lord, because he has won a glorious victory;
    he has thrown the horses and their riders into the sea.
The Lord is my strong defender;
    he is the one who has saved me.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father's God, and I will sing about his greatness.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.

“He threw Egypt's army and its chariots into the sea;
    the best of its officers were drowned in the Red Sea.
The deep sea covered them;
    they sank to the bottom like a stone.

“Your right hand, Lord, is awesome in power;
    it breaks the enemy in pieces.
In majestic triumph you overthrow your foes;
    your anger blazes out and burns them up like straw.
You blew on the sea and the water piled up high;
    it stood up straight like a wall;
    the deepest part of the sea became solid.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue them and catch them;
    I will divide their wealth and take all I want;
    I will draw my sword and take all they have.’
10 But one breath from you, Lord, and the Egyptians were drowned;
    they sank like lead in the terrible water.

11 Lord, who among the gods is like you?
    Who is like you, wonderful in holiness?
    Who can work miracles and mighty acts like yours?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
    and the earth swallowed our enemies.
13 Faithful to your promise, you led the people you had rescued;
    by your strength you guided them to your sacred land.
14 The nations have heard, and they tremble with fear;
    the Philistines are seized with terror.
15 The leaders of Edom are terrified;
    Moab's mighty men are trembling;
    the people of Canaan lose their courage.
16 Terror and dread fall upon them.
They see your strength, O Lord,
    and stand helpless with fear
    until your people have marched past—
    the people you set free from slavery.
17 You bring them in and plant them on your mountain,
    the place that you, Lord, have chosen for your home,
    the Temple that you yourself have built.
18 You, Lord, will be king forever and ever.”

The Song of Miriam

19 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. But when the Egyptian chariots with their horses and drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought the water back, and it covered them.

20 The prophet Miriam, Aaron's sister, took her tambourine, and all the women followed her, playing tambourines and dancing. 21 Miriam sang for them:

“Sing to the Lord, because he has won a glorious victory;
    he has thrown the horses and their riders into the sea.”

Bitter Water

22 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea into the desert of Shur. For three days they walked through the desert, but found no water. 23 Then they came to a place called Marah, but the water there was so bitter that they could not drink it. That is why it was named Marah.[o] 24 The people complained to Moses and asked, “What are we going to drink?” 25 Moses prayed earnestly to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood, which he threw into the water; and the water became fit to drink.

There the Lord gave them laws to live by, and there he also tested them. 26 He said, “If you will obey me completely by doing what I consider right and by keeping my commands, I will not punish you with any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the Lord, the one who heals you.”

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

The Manna and the Quails

16 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim, and on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, they came to the desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. There in the desert they all complained to Moses and Aaron and said to them, “We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt. There we could at least sit down and eat meat and as much other food as we wanted. But you have brought us out into this desert to starve us all to death.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Now I am going to cause food to rain down from the sky for all of you. The people must go out every day and gather enough for that day. In this way I can test them to find out if they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to bring in twice as much as usual and prepare it.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “This evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt. In the morning you will see the dazzling light of the Lord's presence. He has heard your complaints against him—yes, against him, because we are only carrying out his instructions.” Then Moses said, “It is the Lord who will give you meat to eat in the evening and as much bread as you want in the morning, because he has heard how much you have complained against him. When you complain against us, you are really complaining against the Lord.”

Moses said to Aaron, “Tell the whole community to come and stand before the Lord, because he has heard their complaints.” 10 As Aaron spoke to the whole community, they turned toward the desert, and suddenly the dazzling light of the Lord appeared in a cloud. 11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the Israelites. Tell them that at twilight they will have meat to eat, and in the morning they will have all the bread they want. Then they will know that I, the Lord, am their God.”

13 In the evening a large flock of quails flew in, enough to cover the camp, and in the morning there was dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew evaporated, there was something thin and flaky on the surface of the desert. It was as delicate as frost. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they didn't know what it was and asked each other, “What is it?”

Moses said to them, “This is the food that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 The Lord has commanded that each of you is to gather as much of it as he needs, two quarts for each member of his household.”

17 The Israelites did this, some gathering more, others less. 18 When they measured it, those who gathered much did not have too much, and those who gathered less did not have too little. Each had gathered just what he needed. 19 Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it for tomorrow.” 20 But some of them did not listen to Moses and saved part of it. The next morning it was full of worms and smelled rotten, and Moses was angry with them. 21 Every morning each one gathered as much as he needed; and when the sun grew hot, what was left on the ground melted.

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, four quarts for each person. All the leaders of the community came and told Moses about it, 23 and he said to them, “The Lord has commanded that tomorrow is a holy day of rest, dedicated to him. Bake today what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Whatever is left should be put aside and kept for tomorrow.” 24 As Moses had commanded, they kept what was left until the next day; it did not spoil or get worms in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat this today, because today is the Sabbath, a day of rest dedicated to the Lord, and you will not find any food outside the camp. 26 You must gather food for six days, but on the seventh day, the day of rest, there will be none.”

27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather food, but they did not find any. 28 Then the Lord said to Moses, “How much longer will you people refuse to obey my commands? 29 Remember that I, the Lord, have given you a day of rest, and that is why on the sixth day I will always give you enough food for two days. Everyone is to stay where he is on the seventh day and not leave his home.” 30 So the people did no work on the seventh day.

31 The people of Israel called the food manna.[p] It was like a small white seed, and tasted like thin cakes made with honey. 32 Moses said, “The Lord has commanded us to save some manna, to be kept for our descendants, so that they can see the food which he gave us to eat in the desert when he brought us out of Egypt.” 33 Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, put two quarts of manna in it, and place it in the Lord's presence to be kept for our descendants.” 34 As the Lord had commanded Moses, Aaron put it in front of the Covenant Box, so that it could be kept. 35 The Israelites ate manna for the next forty years, until they reached the land of Canaan, where they settled. (36 The standard dry measure then in use equaled twenty quarts.)

Water from the Rock

17 The whole Israelite community left the desert of Sin, moving from one place to another at the command of the Lord. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water there to drink. They complained to Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses answered, “Why are you complaining? Why are you putting the Lord to the test?”

But the people were very thirsty and continued to complain to Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? To kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”

Moses prayed earnestly to the Lord and said, “What can I do with these people? They are almost ready to stone me.”

The Lord said to Moses, “Take some of the leaders of Israel with you, and go on ahead of the people. Take along the stick with which you struck the Nile. I will stand before you on a rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it for the people to drink.” Moses did so in the presence of the leaders of Israel.

The place was named Massah and Meribah,[q] because the Israelites complained and put the Lord to the test when they asked, “Is the Lord with us or not?”

War with the Amalekites

The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Pick out some men to go and fight the Amalekites tomorrow. I will stand on top of the hill holding the stick that God told me to carry.” 10 Joshua did as Moses commanded him and went out to fight the Amalekites, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his arms, the Israelites won, but when he put his arms down, the Amalekites started winning. 12 When Moses' arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for him to sit on, while they stood beside him and held up his arms, holding them steady until the sun went down. 13 In this way Joshua totally defeated the Amalekites.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write an account of this victory, so that it will be remembered. Tell Joshua that I will completely destroy the Amalekites.” 15 Moses built an altar and named it “The Lord is my Banner.” 16 He said, “Hold high the banner of the Lord![r] The Lord will continue to fight against the Amalekites forever!”

Jethro Visits Moses

18 Moses' father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, heard about everything that God had done for Moses and the people of Israel when he led them out of Egypt. So he came to Moses, bringing with him Moses' wife Zipporah, who had been left behind, and Gershom and Eliezer, her two sons. (Moses had said, “I have been a foreigner in a strange land”; so he had named one son Gershom.[s] He had also said, “The God of my father helped me and saved me from being killed by the king of Egypt”; so he had named the other son Eliezer.[t]) Jethro came with Moses' wife and her two sons into the desert where Moses was camped at the holy mountain. He had sent word to Moses that they were coming, so Moses went out to meet him, bowed before him, and kissed him. They asked about each other's health and then went into Moses' tent. Moses told Jethro everything that the Lord had done to the king and the people of Egypt in order to rescue the Israelites. He also told him about the hardships the people had faced on the way and how the Lord had saved them. When Jethro heard all this, he was happy 10 and said, “Praise the Lord, who saved you from the king and the people of Egypt! Praise the Lord, who saved his people from slavery! 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods, because he did this when the Egyptians treated the Israelites with such contempt.” 12 Then Jethro brought an offering to be burned whole and other sacrifices to be offered to God; and Aaron and all the leaders of Israel went with him to eat the sacred meal as an act of worship.

The Appointment of Judges

13 The next day Moses was settling disputes among the people, and he was kept busy from morning till night. 14 When Jethro saw everything that Moses had to do, he asked, “What is all this that you are doing for the people? Why are you doing this all alone, with people standing here from morning till night to consult you?”

15 Moses answered, “I must do this because the people come to me to learn God's will. 16 When two people have a dispute, they come to me, and I decide which one of them is right, and I tell them God's commands and laws.”

17 Then Jethro said, “You are not doing this right. 18 You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. 19 Now let me give you some good advice, and God will be with you. It is right for you to represent the people before God and bring their disputes to him. 20 You should teach them God's commands and explain to them how they should live and what they should do. 21 But in addition, you should choose some capable men and appoint them as leaders of the people: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They must be God-fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed. 22 Let them serve as judges for the people on a permanent basis. They can bring all the difficult cases to you, but they themselves can decide all the smaller disputes. That will make it easier for you, as they share your burden. 23 If you do this, as God commands, you will not wear yourself out, and all these people can go home with their disputes settled.”

24 Moses took Jethro's advice 25 and chose capable men from among all the Israelites. He appointed them as leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26 They served as judges for the people on a permanent basis, bringing the difficult cases to Moses but deciding the smaller disputes themselves.

27 Then Moses said good-bye to Jethro, and Jethro went back home.

The Israelites at Mount Sinai

19 1-2 The people of Israel left Rephidim, and on the first day of the third month after they had left Egypt they came to the desert of Sinai. There they set up camp at the foot of Mount Sinai, and Moses went up the mountain to meet with God.

The Lord called to him from the mountain and told him to say to the Israelites, Jacob's descendants: “You saw what I, the Lord, did to the Egyptians and how I carried you as an eagle carries her young on her wings, and brought you here to me. Now, if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own people. The whole earth is mine, but you will be my chosen people, a people dedicated to me alone, and you will serve me as priests.” So Moses went down and called the leaders of the people together and told them everything that the Lord had commanded him. Then all the people answered together, “We will do everything that the Lord has said,” and Moses reported this to the Lord.

The Lord said to Moses, “I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people will hear me speaking with you and will believe you from now on.”

Moses told the Lord what the people had answered, 10 and the Lord said to him, “Go to the people and tell them to spend today and tomorrow purifying themselves for worship. They must wash their clothes 11 and be ready the day after tomorrow. On that day I will come down on Mount Sinai, where all the people can see me. 12 Mark a boundary around the mountain that the people must not cross, and tell them not to go up the mountain or even get near it. If any of you set foot on it, you are to be put to death; 13 you must either be stoned or shot with arrows, without anyone touching you. This applies to both people and animals; they must be put to death. But when the trumpet is blown, then the people are to go up to the mountain.”

14 Then Moses came down the mountain and told the people to get ready for worship. So they washed their clothes, 15 and Moses told them, “Be ready by the day after tomorrow and don't have sexual intercourse in the meantime.”

16 On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud appeared on the mountain, and a very loud trumpet blast was heard. All the people in the camp trembled with fear. 17 Moses led them out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke, because the Lord had come down on it in fire. The smoke went up like the smoke of a furnace, and all the people trembled violently. 19 The sound of the trumpet became louder and louder. Moses spoke, and God answered him with thunder. 20 The Lord came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. Moses went up 21 and the Lord said to him, “Go down and warn the people not to cross the boundary to come and look at me; if they do, many of them will die. 22 Even the priests who come near me must purify themselves, or I will punish them.”

23 Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up, because you commanded us to consider the mountain sacred and to mark a boundary around it.”

24 The Lord replied, “Go down and bring Aaron back with you. But the priests and the people must not cross the boundary to come up to me, or I will punish them.” 25 Moses then went down to the people and told them what the Lord had said.

The Ten Commandments

20 God spoke, and these were his words: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.

“Worship no god but me.

“Do not make for yourselves images of anything in heaven or on earth or in the water under the earth. Do not bow down to any idol or worship it, because I am the Lord your God and I tolerate no rivals. I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. But I show my love to thousands of generations[u] of those who love me and obey my laws.

“Do not use my name for evil purposes, for I, the Lord your God, will punish anyone who misuses my name.

“Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy. You have six days in which to do your work, 10 but the seventh day is a day of rest dedicated to me. On that day no one is to work—neither you, your children, your slaves, your animals, nor the foreigners who live in your country. 11 In six days I, the Lord, made the earth, the sky, the seas, and everything in them, but on the seventh day I rested. That is why I, the Lord, blessed the Sabbath and made it holy.

12 “Respect your father and your mother, so that you may live a long time in the land that I am giving you.

13 “Do not commit murder.

14 “Do not commit adultery.

15 “Do not steal.

16 “Do not accuse anyone falsely.

17 “Do not desire another man's house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”

The People's Fear

18 When the people heard the thunder and the trumpet blast and saw the lightning and the smoking mountain, they trembled with fear and stood a long way off. 19 They said to Moses, “If you speak to us, we will listen; but we are afraid that if God speaks to us, we will die.”

20 Moses replied, “Don't be afraid; God has only come to test you and make you keep on obeying him, so that you will not sin.” 21 But the people continued to stand a long way off, and only Moses went near the dark cloud where God was.

Laws about Altars

22 The Lord commanded Moses to tell the Israelites: “You have seen how I, the Lord, have spoken to you from heaven. 23 Do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gold to be worshiped in addition to me. 24 Make an altar of earth for me, and on it sacrifice your sheep and your cattle as offerings to be completely burned and as fellowship offerings. In every place that I set aside for you to worship me, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stone for me, do not build it out of cut stones, because when you use a chisel on stones, you make them unfit for my use. 26 Do not build an altar for me with steps leading up to it; if you do, you will expose yourselves as you go up the steps.

The Treatment of Slaves

21 “Give the Israelites the following laws: If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve you for six years. In the seventh year he is to be set free without having to pay anything. If he was unmarried when he became your slave, he is not to take a wife with him when he leaves; but if he was married when he became your slave, he may take his wife with him. If his master gave him a wife and she bore him sons or daughters, the woman and her children belong to the master, and the man is to leave by himself. But if the slave declares that he loves his master, his wife, and his children and does not want to be set free, then his master shall take him to the place of worship. There he is to make him stand against the door or the doorpost and put a hole through his ear. Then he will be his slave for life.

“If a man sells his daughter as a slave, she is not to be set free, as male slaves are. If she is sold to someone who intends to make her his wife, but he doesn't like her, then she is to be sold back to her father; her master cannot sell her to foreigners, because he has treated her unfairly. If a man buys a female slave to give to his son, he is to treat her like a daughter. 10 If a man takes a second wife, he must continue to give his first wife the same amount of food and clothing and the same rights that she had before. 11 If he does not fulfill these duties to her, he must set her free and not receive any payment.

Laws about Violent Acts

12 “Whoever hits someone and kills him is to be put to death. 13 But if it was an accident and he did not mean to kill him, he can escape to a place which I will choose for you, and there he will be safe. 14 But when someone gets angry and deliberately kills someone else, he is to be put to death, even if he has run to my altar for safety.

15 “Whoever hits his father or his mother is to be put to death.

16 “Whoever kidnaps someone, either to sell him or to keep him as a slave, is to be put to death.

17 “Whoever curses his father or his mother is to be put to death.

18-19 “If there is a fight and someone hits someone else with a stone or with his fist, but does not kill him, he is not to be punished. If the one who was hit has to stay in bed, but later is able to get up and walk outside with the help of a cane, the one who hit him is to pay for his lost time and take care of him until he gets well.

20 “If a slave owner takes a stick and beats his slave, whether male or female, and the slave dies on the spot, the owner is to be punished. 21 But if the slave does not die for a day or two, the master is not to be punished. The loss of his property is punishment enough.

22 “If some men are fighting and hurt a pregnant woman so that she loses her child, but she is not injured in any other way, the one who hurt her is to be fined whatever amount the woman's husband demands, subject to the approval of the judges. 23 But if the woman herself is injured, the punishment shall be life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

26 “If someone hits his male or female slave in the eye and puts it out, he is to free the slave as payment for the eye. 27 If he knocks out a tooth, he is to free the slave as payment for the tooth.

The Responsibility of Owners

28 “If a bull gores someone to death, it is to be stoned, and its flesh shall not be eaten; but its owner is not to be punished. 29 But if the bull had been in the habit of attacking people and its owner had been warned, but did not keep it penned up—then if it gores someone to death, it is to be stoned, and its owner is to be put to death also. 30 However, if the owner is allowed to pay a fine to save his life, he must pay the full amount required. 31 If the bull kills a boy or a girl, the same rule applies. 32 If the bull kills a male or female slave, its owner shall pay the owner of the slave thirty pieces of silver, and the bull shall be stoned to death.

33 “If someone takes the cover off a pit or if he digs one and does not cover it, and a bull or a donkey falls into it, 34 he must pay for the animal. He is to pay the money to the owner and may keep the dead animal. 35 If someone's bull kills someone else's bull, the two of them shall sell the live bull and divide the money; they shall also divide up the meat from the dead animal. 36 But if it was known that the bull had been in the habit of attacking and its owner did not keep it penned up, he must make good the loss by giving the other man a live bull, but he may keep the dead animal.

Laws about Repayment

22 “If someone steals a cow or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he must pay five cows for one cow and four sheep for one sheep. 2-4 He must pay for what he stole. If he owns nothing, he shall be sold as a slave to pay for what he has stolen. If the stolen animal, whether a cow, a donkey, or a sheep, is found alive in his possession, he shall pay two for one.

“If a thief is caught breaking into a house at night and is killed, the one who killed him is not guilty of murder. But if it happens during the day, he is guilty of murder.

“If someone lets his animals graze in a field or a vineyard and they stray away and eat up the crops[v] growing in someone else's field, he must make good the loss with the crops from his own fields or vineyards.

“If someone starts a fire in his own field and it spreads through the weeds to someone else's field and burns up grain that is growing or that has been cut and stacked, the one who started the fire is to pay for the damage.

“If anyone agrees to keep someone else's money or other valuables for him and they are stolen from his house, the thief, if found, shall repay double. But if the thief is not found, the one who was keeping the valuables is to be brought to the place of worship and there he must take an oath that he has not stolen the other one's property.

“In every case of a dispute about property, whether it involves cattle, donkeys, sheep, clothing, or any other lost object, the two people claiming the property shall be taken to the place of worship. The one whom God declares to be guilty shall pay double to the other one.

10 “If anyone agrees to keep someone else's donkey, cow, sheep, or other animal for him, and the animal dies or is injured or is carried off in a raid, and if there was no witness, 11 the man must go to the place of worship and take an oath that he has not stolen the other man's animal. If the animal was not stolen, the owner shall accept the loss, and the other man need not repay him; 12 but if the animal was stolen, the man must repay the owner. 13 If it was killed by wild animals, the man is to bring the remains as evidence; he need not pay for what has been killed by wild animals.

14 “If anyone borrows an animal from someone else and it is injured or dies when its owner is not present, he must pay for it. 15 But if that happens when the owner is present, he need not repay. If it is a rented animal, the loss is covered by the rental price.

Moral and Religious Laws

16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, he must pay the bride price for her and marry her. 17 But if her father refuses to let him marry her, he must pay the father a sum of money equal to the bride price for a virgin.

18 “Put to death any woman who practices magic.

19 “Put to death any man who has sexual relations with an animal.

20 “Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any god except to me, the Lord.

21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner; remember that you were foreigners in Egypt. 22 Do not mistreat any widow or orphan. 23 If you do, I, the Lord, will answer them when they cry out to me for help, 24 and I will become angry and kill you in war. Your wives will become widows, and your children will be fatherless.

25 “If you lend money to any of my people who are poor, do not act like a moneylender and require him to pay interest. 26 If you take someone's cloak as a pledge that he will pay you, you must give it back to him before the sun sets, 27 because it is the only covering he has to keep him warm. What else can he sleep in? When he cries out to me for help, I will answer him because I am merciful.

28 “Do not speak evil of God,[w] and do not curse a leader of your people.

29 “Give me the offerings from your grain, your wine, and your olive oil when they are due.

“Give me your first-born sons. 30 Give me the first-born of your cattle and your sheep. Let the first-born male stay with its mother for seven days, and on the eighth day offer it to me.

31 “You are my people, so you must not eat the meat of any animal that has been killed by wild animals; instead, give it to the dogs.

Justice and Fairness

23 “Do not spread false rumors, and do not help a guilty person by giving false testimony. Do not follow the majority when they do wrong or when they give testimony that perverts justice. Do not show partiality to a poor person at his trial.

“If you happen to see your enemy's cow or donkey running loose, take it back to him. If his donkey has fallen under its load, help him get the donkey to its feet again; don't just walk off.

“Do not deny justice to a poor person when he appears in court. Do not make false accusations, and do not put an innocent person to death, for I will condemn anyone who does such an evil thing. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe makes people blind to what is right and ruins the cause of those who are innocent.

“Do not mistreat a foreigner; you know how it feels to be a foreigner, because you were foreigners in Egypt.

The Seventh Year and the Seventh Day

10 “For six years plant your land and gather in what it produces. 11 But in the seventh year let it rest, and do not harvest anything that grows on it. The poor may eat what grows there, and the wild animals can have what is left. Do the same with your vineyards and your olive trees.

12 “Work six days a week, but do no work on the seventh day, so that your slaves and the foreigners who work for you and even your animals can rest.

13 “Listen to everything that I, the Lord, have said to you. Do not pray to other gods; do not even mention their names.

The Three Great Festivals

14 “Celebrate three festivals a year to honor me. 15 In the month of Abib, the month in which you left Egypt, celebrate the Festival of Unleavened Bread in the way that I commanded you. Do not eat any bread made with yeast during the seven days of this festival. Never come to worship me without bringing an offering.

16 “Celebrate the Harvest Festival when you begin to harvest your crops.

“Celebrate the Festival of Shelters in the autumn, when you gather the fruit from your vineyards and orchards. 17 Every year at these three festivals all your men must come to worship me, the Lord your God.

18 “Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. The fat of animals sacrificed to me during these festivals is not to be left until the following morning.

19 “Each year bring to the house of the Lord your God the first grain that you harvest.

“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.

Promises and Instructions

20 “I will send an angel ahead of you to protect you as you travel and to bring you to the place which I have prepared. 21 Pay attention to him and obey him. Do not rebel against him, for I have sent him, and he will not pardon such rebellion. 22 But if you obey him and do everything I command, I will fight against all your enemies. 23 My angel will go ahead of you and take you into the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and I will destroy them. 24 Do not bow down to their gods or worship them, and do not adopt their religious practices. Destroy their gods and break down their sacred stone pillars. 25 If you worship me, the Lord your God, I will bless you with food and water and take away all your sicknesses. 26 In your land no woman will have a miscarriage or be without children. I will give you long lives.

27 “I will make the people who oppose you afraid of me; I will bring confusion among the people against whom you fight, and I will make all your enemies turn and run from you. 28 I will throw your enemies into panic;[x] I will drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites as you advance. 29 I will not drive them out within a year's time; if I did, the land would become deserted, and the wild animals would be too many for you. 30 Instead, I will drive them out little by little, until there are enough of you to take possession of the land. 31 I will make the borders of your land extend from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea and from the desert to the Euphrates River. I will give you power over the inhabitants of the land, and you will drive them out as you advance. 32 Do not make any agreement with them or with their gods. 33 Do not let those people live in your country; if you do, they will make you sin against me. If you worship their gods, it will be a fatal trap for you.”

The Covenant Is Sealed

24 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up the mountain to me, you and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the leaders of Israel; and while you are still some distance away, bow down in worship. You alone, and none of the others, are to come near me. The people are not even to come up the mountain.”

Moses went and told the people all the Lord's commands and all the ordinances, and all the people answered together, “We will do everything that the Lord has said.” Moses wrote down all the Lord's commands. Early the next morning he built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stones, one for each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men, and they burned sacrifices to the Lord and sacrificed some cattle as fellowship offerings. Moses took half of the blood of the animals and put it in bowls; and the other half he threw against the altar. Then he took the book of the Covenant, in which the Lord's commands were written, and read it aloud to the people. They said, “We will obey the Lord and do everything that he has commanded.”

Then Moses took the blood in the bowls and threw it on the people. He said, “This is the blood that seals the covenant which the Lord made with you when he gave all these commands.”

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the leaders of Israel went up the mountain 10 and they saw the God of Israel. Beneath his feet was what looked like a pavement of sapphire, as blue as the sky. 11 God did not harm these leading men of Israel; they saw God, and then they ate and drank together.

Moses on Mount Sinai

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up the mountain to me, and while you are here, I will give you two stone tablets which contain all the laws that I have written for the instruction of the people.” 13 Moses and his helper Joshua got ready, and Moses began[y] to go up the holy mountain. 14 Moses said to the leaders, “Wait here in the camp for us until we come back. Aaron and Hur are here with you; and so whoever has a dispute to settle can go to them.”

15 Moses went up Mount Sinai, and a cloud covered it. 16-17 The dazzling light of the Lord's presence came down on the mountain. To the Israelites the light looked like a fire burning on top of the mountain. The cloud covered the mountain for six days, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from the cloud. 18 Moses went on up the mountain into the cloud. There he stayed for forty days and nights.

Offerings for the Sacred Tent

25 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites to make an offering to me. Receive whatever offerings anyone wishes to give. These offerings are to be: gold, silver, and bronze; fine linen; blue, purple, and red wool; cloth made of goats' hair; rams' skin dyed red; fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense; carnelians and other jewels to be set in the ephod[z] of the High Priest and in his breastpiece. The people must make a sacred Tent for me, so that I may live among them. Make it and all its furnishings according to the plan that I will show you.

The Covenant Box

10 “Make a Box out of acacia wood, 45 inches long, 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high. 11 Cover it with pure gold inside and out and put a gold border all around it. 12 Make four carrying rings of gold for it and attach them to its four legs, with two rings on each side. 13 Make carrying poles of acacia wood and cover them with gold 14 and put them through the rings on each side of the Box. 15 The poles are to be left in the rings and must not be taken out. 16 Then put in the Box the two stone tablets that I will give you, on which the commandments are written.

17 “Make a lid of pure gold, 45 inches long and 27 inches wide. 18 Make two winged creatures[aa] of hammered gold, 19 one for each end of the lid. Make them so that they form one piece with the lid. 20 The winged creatures are to face each other across the lid, and their outspread wings are to cover it. 21 Put the two stone tablets inside the Box and put the lid on top of it. 22 I will meet you there, and from above the lid between the two winged creatures I will give you all my laws for the people of Israel.

The Table for the Bread Offered to God

23 “Make a table out of acacia wood, 36 inches long, 18 inches wide, and 27 inches high. 24 Cover it with pure gold and put a gold border around it. 25 Make a rim 3 inches wide around it and a gold border around the rim. 26 Make four carrying rings of gold for it and put them at the four corners, where the legs are. 27 The rings to hold the poles for carrying the table are to be placed near the rim. 28 Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with gold. 29 Make plates, cups, jars, and bowls to be used for the wine offerings. All of these are to be made of pure gold. 30 The table is to be placed in front of the Covenant Box, and on the table there is always to be the sacred bread offered to me.

The Lampstand

31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold. Make its base and its shaft of hammered gold; its decorative flowers, including buds and petals, are to form one piece with it. 32 Six branches shall extend from its sides, three from each side. 33 Each of the six branches is to have three decorative flowers shaped like almond blossoms with buds and petals. 34 The shaft of the lampstand is to have four decorative flowers shaped like almond blossoms with buds and petals. 35 There is to be one bud below each of the three pairs of branches. 36 The buds, the branches, and the lampstand are to be a single piece of pure hammered gold. 37 Make seven lamps for the lampstand and set them up so that they shine toward the front. 38 Make its tongs and trays of pure gold. 39 Use seventy-five pounds of pure gold to make the lampstand and all this equipment. 40 Take care to make them according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

The Tent of the Lord's Presence[ab]

26 “Make the interior of the sacred Tent, the Tent of my presence, out of ten pieces of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool. Embroider them with figures of winged creatures. Make each piece the same size, 14 yards long and 2 yards wide. Sew five of them together in one set, and do the same with the other five. Make loops of blue cloth on the edge of the outside piece in each set. Put fifty loops on the first piece of the first set and fifty loops matching them on the last piece of the second set. Make fifty gold hooks with which to join the two sets into one piece.

“Make a cover for the Tent out of eleven pieces of cloth made of goats' hair. Make them all the same size, 15 yards long and 2 yards wide. Sew five of them together in one set, and the other six in another set. Fold the sixth piece double over the front of the Tent. 10 Put fifty loops on the edge of the last piece of one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the other set. 11 Make fifty bronze hooks and put them in the loops to join the two sets so as to form one cover. 12 Hang the extra half piece over the back of the Tent. 13 The extra half yard on each side of the length is to hang over the sides of the Tent to cover it.

14 “Make two more coverings, one of rams' skin dyed red and the other of fine leather, to serve as the outer cover.

15 “Make upright frames for the Tent out of acacia wood. 16 Each frame is to be 15 feet long and 27 inches wide, 17 with two matching projections, so that the frames can be joined together. All the frames are to have these projections. 18 Make twenty frames for the south side 19 and forty silver bases to go under them, two bases under each frame to hold its two projections. 20 Make twenty frames for the north side of the Tent 21 and forty silver bases, two under each frame. 22 For the back of the Tent on the west, make six frames, 23 and two frames for the corners. 24 These corner frames are to be joined at the bottom and connected all the way to the top. The two frames that form the two corners are to be made in this way. 25 So there will be eight frames with their sixteen silver bases, two under each frame.

26 “Make fifteen crossbars of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of the Tent, 27 five for the frames on the other side, and five for the frames on the west end, at the back. 28 The middle crossbar, set halfway up the frames, is to extend from one end of the Tent to the other. 29 Cover the frames with gold and fit them with gold rings to hold the crossbars, which are also to be covered with gold. 30 Set up the Tent according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

31 “Make a curtain of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool. Embroider it with figures of winged creatures. 32 Hang it on four posts of acacia wood covered with gold, fitted with hooks, and set in four silver bases. 33 Place the curtain under the row of hooks in the roof of the Tent, and put behind the curtain the Covenant Box containing the two stone tablets. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. 34 Put the lid on the Covenant Box. 35 Outside the Most Holy Place put the table against the north side of the Tent and the lampstand against the south side.

36 “For the entrance of the Tent make a curtain of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool and decorated with embroidery. 37 For this curtain make five posts of acacia wood covered with gold and fitted with gold hooks; make five bronze bases for these posts.

The Altar

27 “Make an altar out of acacia wood. It is to be square, 7½ feet long and 7½ feet wide, and it is to be 4½ feet high. Make projections at the top of the four corners. They are to form one piece with the altar, and the whole is to be covered with bronze. Make pans for the greasy ashes, and make shovels, bowls, hooks, and fire pans. All this equipment is to be made of bronze. Make a bronze grating and put four bronze carrying rings on its corners. Put the grating under the rim of the altar, so that it reaches halfway up the altar. Make carrying poles of acacia wood, cover them with bronze, and put them in the rings on each side of the altar when it is carried. Make the altar out of boards and leave it hollow, according to the plan that I showed you on the mountain.

The Enclosure for the Tent of the Lord's Presence

“For the Tent of my presence make an enclosure out of fine linen curtains. On the south side the curtains are to be 50 yards long, 10 supported by twenty bronze posts in twenty bronze bases, with hooks and rods made of silver. 11 Do the same on the north side of the enclosure. 12 On the west side there are to be curtains 25 yards long, with ten posts and ten bases. 13 On the east side, where the entrance is, the enclosure is also to be 25 yards wide. 14-15 On each side of the entrance there are to be 7½ yards of curtains, with three posts and three bases. 16 For the entrance itself there is to be a curtain 10 yards long made of fine linen woven with blue, purple, and red wool, and decorated with embroidery. It is to be supported by four posts in four bases. 17 All the posts around the enclosure are to be connected with silver rods, and their hooks are to be made of silver and their bases of bronze. 18 The enclosure is to be 50 yards long, 25 yards wide, and 2½ yards high. The curtains are to be made of fine linen and the bases of bronze. 19 All the equipment that is used in the Tent and all the pegs for the Tent and for the enclosure are to be made of bronze.

Taking Care of the Lamp

20 “Command the people of Israel to bring you the best olive oil for the lamp, so that it can be lit each evening. 21 Aaron and his sons are to set up the lamp in the Tent of my presence outside the curtain which is in front of the Covenant Box. There in my presence it is to burn from evening until morning. This command is to be kept forever by the Israelites and their descendants.

Garments for the Priests

28 “Summon your brother Aaron and his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Separate them from the people of Israel, so that they may serve me as priests. Make priestly garments for your brother Aaron, to provide him with dignity and beauty. Call all the skilled workers to whom I have given ability, and tell them to make Aaron's clothes, so that he may be dedicated as a priest in my service. Tell them to make a breastpiece, an ephod, a robe, an embroidered shirt, a turban, and a sash. They are to make these priestly garments for your brother Aaron and his sons, so that they can serve me as priests. The skilled workers are to use blue, purple, and red wool, gold thread, and fine linen.

“They are to make the ephod of blue, purple, and red wool, gold thread, and fine linen, decorated with embroidery. Two shoulder straps, by which it can be fastened, are to be attached to the sides. A finely woven belt made of the same materials is to be attached to the ephod so as to form one piece with it. Take two carnelian stones and engrave on them the names of the twelve sons of Jacob, 10 in the order of their birth, with six on one stone and six on the other. 11 Have a skillful jeweler engrave on the two stones the names of the sons of Jacob, and mount the stones in gold settings. 12 Put them on the shoulder straps of the ephod to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. In this way Aaron will carry their names on his shoulders, so that I, the Lord, will always remember my people. 13 Make two gold settings 14 and two chains of pure gold twisted like cords, and attach them to the settings.

The Breastpiece

15 “Make a breastpiece for the High Priest to use in determining God's will. It is to be made of the same materials as the ephod and with similar embroidery. 16 It is to be square and folded double, 9 inches long and 9 inches wide. 17 Mount four rows of precious stones on it; in the first row mount a ruby, a topaz, and a garnet; 18 in the second row, an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; 19 in the third row, a turquoise, an agate, and an amethyst; 20 and in the fourth row, a beryl, a carnelian, and a jasper. These are to be mounted in gold settings. 21 Each of these twelve stones is to have engraved on it the name of one of the sons of Jacob, to represent the tribes of Israel. 22 For the breastpiece make chains of pure gold, twisted like cords. 23 Make two gold rings and attach them to the upper corners of the breastpiece, 24 and fasten the two gold cords to the two rings. 25 Fasten the other two ends of the cords to the two settings, and in this way attach them in front to the shoulder straps of the ephod. 26 Then make two rings of gold and attach them to the lower corners of the breastpiece on the inside edge next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings and attach them to the lower part of the front of the two shoulder straps of the ephod, near the seam and above the finely woven belt. 28 Tie the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod with a blue cord, so that the breastpiece rests above the belt and does not come loose.

29 “When Aaron enters the Holy Place, he will wear this breastpiece engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel, so that I, the Lord, will always remember my people. 30 Put the Urim and Thummim[ac] in the breastpiece, so that Aaron will carry them when he comes into my holy presence. At such times he must always wear this breastpiece, so that he can determine my will for the people of Israel.

The Other Priestly Garments

31 “The robe that goes under the ephod is to be made entirely of blue wool. 32 It is to have a hole for the head, and this hole is to be reinforced with a woven binding to keep it from tearing. 33-34 All around its lower hem put pomegranates of blue, purple, and red wool, alternating with gold bells. 35 Aaron is to wear this robe when he serves as priest. When he comes into my presence in the Holy Place or when he leaves it, the sound of the bells will be heard, and he will not be killed.

36 “Make an ornament of pure gold and engrave on it ‘Dedicated to the Lord.’ 37 Tie it to the front of the turban with a blue cord. 38 Aaron is to wear it on his forehead, so that I, the Lord, will accept all the offerings that the Israelites dedicate to me, even if the people commit some error in offering them.

39 “Weave Aaron's shirt of fine linen and make a turban of fine linen and also a sash decorated with embroidery.

40 “Make shirts, sashes, and caps for Aaron's sons, to provide them with dignity and beauty. 41 Put these clothes on your brother Aaron and his sons. Then ordain them and dedicate them by anointing them with olive oil, so that they may serve me as priests. 42 Make linen shorts for them, reaching from the waist to the thighs, so that they will not expose themselves. 43 Aaron and his sons must always wear them when they go into the Tent of my presence or approach the altar to serve as priests in the Holy Place, so that they will not be killed for exposing themselves. This is a permanent rule for Aaron and his descendants.

Instructions for Ordaining Aaron and His Sons as Priests

29 “This is what you are to do to Aaron and his sons to dedicate them as priests in my service. Take one young bull and two rams without any defects. Use the best wheat flour, but no yeast, and make some bread with olive oil, some without it, and some in the form of thin cakes brushed with oil. Put them in a basket and offer them to me when you sacrifice the bull and the two rams.

“Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of my presence, and have them take a ritual bath. Then dress Aaron in the priestly garments—the shirt, the robe that goes under the ephod, the ephod, the breastpiece, and the belt. Put the turban on him and tie on it the sacred sign of dedication engraved ‘Dedicated to the Lord.’ Then take the anointing oil, pour it on his head, and anoint him.

“Bring his sons and put shirts on them; put sashes around their waists and tie caps on their heads. That is how you are to ordain Aaron and his sons. They and their descendants are to serve me as priests forever.

10 “Bring the bull to the front of the Tent of my presence and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 11 Kill the bull there in my holy presence at the entrance of the Tent. 12 Take some of the bull's blood and with your finger put it on the projections of the altar. Then pour out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar. 13 Next, take all the fat which covers the internal organs, the best part of the liver, and the two kidneys with the fat on them, and burn them on the altar as an offering to me. 14 But burn the bull's flesh, its skin, and its intestines outside the camp. This is an offering to take away the sins of the priests.

15 “Take one of the rams and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 16 Kill it, and take its blood and throw it against all four sides of the altar. 17 Cut the ram in pieces; wash its internal organs and its hind legs, and put them on top of the head and the other pieces. 18 Burn the whole ram on the altar as a food offering. The odor of this offering pleases me.

19 “Take the other ram—the ram used for dedication—and tell Aaron and his sons to put their hands on its head. 20 Kill it, and take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Throw the rest of the blood against all four sides of the altar. 21 Take some of the blood that is on the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his clothes and on his sons and their clothes. He, his sons, and their clothes will then be dedicated to me.

22 “Cut away the ram's fat, the fat tail, the fat covering the internal organs, the best part of the liver, the two kidneys with the fat on them, and the right thigh. 23 From the basket of bread which has been offered to me, take one loaf of each kind: one loaf made with olive oil and one made without it and one thin cake. 24 Put all this food in the hands of Aaron and his sons and have them dedicate it to me as a special gift. 25 Then take it from them and burn it on the altar, on top of the burnt offering, as a food offering to me. The odor of this offering pleases me.

26 “Take the breast of this ram and dedicate it to me as a special gift. This part of the animal will be yours.

27 “When a priest is ordained, the breast and the thigh of the ram being used for the ordination are to be dedicated to me as a special gift and set aside for the priests. 28 It is my unchanging decision that when my people make their fellowship offerings, the breast and the thigh of the animal belong to the priests. This is the people's gift to me, the Lord.

29 “Aaron's priestly garments are to be handed on to his sons after his death, for them to wear when they are ordained. 30 The son of Aaron who succeeds him as priest and who goes into the Tent of my presence to serve in the Holy Place is to wear these garments for seven days.

31 “Take the meat of the ram used for the ordination of Aaron and his sons and boil it in a holy place. 32 At the entrance of the Tent of my presence they are to eat it along with the bread left in the basket. 33 They shall eat what was used in the ritual of forgiveness at their ordination. Only priests may eat this food, because it is sacred. 34 If some of the meat or some of the bread is not eaten by morning, it is to be burned; it is not to be eaten, for it is sacred.

35 “Perform the rites of ordination for Aaron and his sons for seven days exactly as I have commanded you. 36 Each day you must offer a bull as a sacrifice, so that sin may be forgiven. This will purify the altar. Then anoint it with olive oil to make it holy. 37 Do this every day for seven days. Then the altar will be completely holy, and anyone or anything that touches it will be harmed by the power of its holiness.[ad]

The Daily Offerings

38 “Every day for all time to come, sacrifice on the altar two one-year-old lambs. 39 Sacrifice one of the lambs in the morning and the other in the evening. 40 With the first lamb offer two pounds of fine wheat flour mixed with one quart of pure olive oil. Pour out one quart of wine as an offering. 41 Sacrifice the second lamb in the evening, and offer with it the same amounts of flour, olive oil, and wine as in the morning. This is a food offering to me, the Lord, and its odor pleases me. 42 For all time to come, this burnt offering is to be offered in my presence at the entrance of the Tent of my presence. That is where I will meet my people and speak to you. 43 There I will meet the people of Israel, and the dazzling light of my presence will make the place holy. 44 I will make the Tent and the altar holy, and I will set Aaron and his sons apart to serve me as priests. 45 I will live among the people of Israel, and I will be their God. 46 They will know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.

The Altar for Burning Incense

30 “Make an altar out of acacia wood, for burning incense. It is to be square, 18 inches long and 18 inches wide, and it is to be 36 inches high. Its projections at the four corners are to form one piece with it. Cover its top, all four sides, and its projections with pure gold, and put a gold border around it. Make two gold carrying rings for it and attach them below the border on two sides to hold the poles with which it is to be carried. Make these poles of acacia wood and cover them with gold. Put this altar outside the curtain which hangs in front of the Covenant Box. That is the place where I will meet you. Every morning when Aaron comes to take care of the lamps, he is to burn sweet-smelling incense on it. He must do the same when he lights the lamps in the evening. This offering of incense is to continue without interruption for all time to come. Do not offer on this altar any forbidden incense, any animal offering, or any grain offering, and do not pour out any wine offering on it. 10 Once a year Aaron is to perform the ritual for purifying the altar by putting on its four projections the blood of the animal sacrificed for sin. This is to be done every year for all time to come. This altar is to be completely holy, dedicated to me, the Lord.”

The Tax for the Tent of the Lord's Presence

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “When you take a census of the people of Israel, each man is to pay me a price for his life, so that no disaster will come on him while the census is being taken. 13 Everyone included in the census must pay the required amount of money, weighed according to the official standard. Everyone must pay this as an offering to me. 14 Everyone being counted in the census, that is, every man twenty years old or older, is to pay me this amount. 15 The rich man is not to pay more, nor the poor man less, when they pay this amount for their lives. 16 Collect this money from the people of Israel and spend it for the upkeep of the Tent of my presence. This tax will be the payment for their lives, and I will remember to protect them.”

The Bronze Basin

17 The Lord said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze basin with a bronze base. Place it between the Tent and the altar, and put water in it. 19 Aaron and his sons are to use the water to wash their hands and feet 20 before they go into the Tent or approach the altar to offer the food offering. Then they will not be killed. 21 They must wash their hands and feet, so that they will not die. This is a rule which they and their descendants are to observe forever.”

The Anointing Oil

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Take the finest spices—12 pounds of liquid myrrh, 6 pounds of sweet-smelling cinnamon, 6 pounds of sweet-smelling cane, 24 and 12 pounds of cassia (all weighed according to the official standard). Add one gallon of olive oil, 25 and make a sacred anointing oil, mixed like perfume. 26 Use it to anoint the Tent of my presence, the Covenant Box, 27 the table and all its equipment, the lampstand and its equipment, the altar for burning incense, 28 the altar for burning offerings, together with all its equipment, and the washbasin with its base. 29 Dedicate these things in this way, and they will be completely holy, and anyone or anything that touches them will be harmed by the power of its holiness.[ae] 30 Then anoint Aaron and his sons, and ordain them as priests in my service. 31 Say to the people of Israel, ‘This holy anointing oil is to be used in my service for all time to come. 32 It must not be poured on ordinary men, and you must not use the same formula to make any mixture like it. It is holy, and you must treat it as holy. 33 Whoever makes any like it or uses any of it on anyone who is not a priest will no longer be considered one of my people.’”

The Incense

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Take an equal part of each of the following sweet spices—stacte, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense. 35 Use them to make incense, mixed like perfume. Add salt to keep it pure and holy. 36 Beat part of it into a fine powder, take it into the Tent of my presence, and sprinkle it in front of the Covenant Box. Treat this incense as completely holy. 37 Do not use the same formula to make any incense like it for yourselves. Treat it as a holy thing dedicated to me. 38 If anyone makes any like it for use as perfume, he will no longer be considered one of my people.”

Craftsmen for the Tent of the Lord's Presence

31 The Lord said to Moses, “I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, from the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with my power.[af] I have given him understanding, skill, and ability for every kind of artistic work— for planning skillful designs and working them in gold, silver, and bronze; for cutting jewels to be set; for carving wood; and for every other kind of artistic work. I have also selected Oholiab son of Ahisamach, from the tribe of Dan, to work with him. I have also given great ability to all the other skilled workers, so that they can make everything I have commanded to be made: the Tent of my presence, the Covenant Box and its lid, all the furnishings of the Tent, the table and its equipment, the lampstand of pure gold and all its equipment, the altar for burning incense, the altar for burnt offerings and all its equipment, the washbasin and its base, 10 the magnificent priestly garments for Aaron and his sons to use when they serve as priests, 11 the anointing oil, and the sweet-smelling incense for the Holy Place. In making all these things, they are to do exactly as I have commanded you.”

Sabbath, the Day of Rest

12 The Lord commanded Moses 13 to tell the people of Israel, “Keep the Sabbath, my day of rest, because it is a sign between you and me for all time to come, to show that I, the Lord, have made you my own people. 14 You must keep the day of rest, because it is sacred. Whoever does not keep it, but works on that day, is to be put to death. 15 You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is a solemn day of rest dedicated to me. Whoever does any work on that day is to be put to death. 16 The people of Israel are to keep this day as a sign of the covenant. 17 It is a permanent sign between the people of Israel and me, because I, the Lord, made heaven and earth in six days, and on the seventh day I stopped working and rested.”

18 When God had finished speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, he gave him the two stone tablets on which God himself had written the commandments.

The Gold Bull-Calf

32 When the people saw that Moses had not come down from the mountain but was staying there a long time, they gathered around Aaron and said to him, “We do not know what has happened to this man Moses, who led us out of Egypt; so make us a god[ag] to lead us.”

Aaron said to them, “Take off the gold earrings which your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took the earrings, melted them, poured the gold into a mold, and made a gold bull-calf.

The people said, “Israel, this is our god, who led us out of Egypt!”

Then Aaron built an altar in front of the gold bull-calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to honor the Lord.” Early the next morning they brought some animals to burn as sacrifices and others to eat as fellowship offerings. The people sat down to a feast, which turned into an orgy of drinking and sex.

The Lord said to Moses, “Hurry and go back down, because your people, whom you led out of Egypt, have sinned and rejected me. They have already left the way that I commanded them to follow; they have made a bull-calf out of melted gold and have worshiped it and offered sacrifices to it. They are saying that this is their god, who led them out of Egypt. I know how stubborn these people are. 10 Now, don't try to stop me. I am angry with them, and I am going to destroy them. Then I will make you and your descendants into a great nation.”

11 But Moses pleaded with the Lord his God and said, “Lord, why should you be so angry with your people, whom you rescued from Egypt with great might and power? 12 Why should the Egyptians be able to say that you led your people out of Egypt, planning to kill them in the mountains and destroy them completely? Stop being angry; change your mind and do not bring this disaster on your people. 13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Remember the solemn promise you made to them to give them as many descendants as there are stars in the sky and to give their descendants all that land you promised would be their possession forever.” 14 So the Lord changed his mind and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened.

15 Moses went back down the mountain, carrying the two stone tablets with the commandments written on both sides. 16 God himself had made the tablets and had engraved the commandments on them.

17 Joshua heard the people shouting and said to Moses, “I hear the sound of battle in the camp.”

18 Moses said, “That doesn't sound like a shout of victory or a cry of defeat; it's the sound of singing.”

19 When Moses came close enough to the camp to see the bull-calf and to see the people dancing, he became furious. There at the foot of the mountain, he threw down the tablets he was carrying and broke them. 20 He took the bull-calf which they had made, melted it, ground it into fine powder, and mixed it with water. Then he made the people of Israel drink it. 21 He said to Aaron, “What did these people do to you, that you have made them commit such a terrible sin?”

22 Aaron answered, “Don't be angry with me; you know how determined these people are to do evil. 23 They said to me, ‘We don't know what has happened to this man Moses, who brought us out of Egypt; so make us a god to lead us.’ 24 I asked them to bring me their gold ornaments, and those who had any took them off and gave them to me. I threw the ornaments into the fire and out came this bull-calf!”

25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get out of control and make fools of themselves in front of their enemies. 26 So he stood at the gate of the camp and shouted, “Everyone who is on the Lord's side come over here!” So all the Levites gathered around him, 27 and he said to them, “The Lord God of Israel commands every one of you to put on your sword and go through the camp from this gate to the other and kill your brothers, your friends, and your neighbors.” 28 The Levites obeyed, and killed about three thousand men that day. 29 Moses said to the Levites, “Today you have consecrated yourselves[ah] as priests in the service of the Lord by killing your sons and brothers, so the Lord has given you his blessing.”

30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin. But now I will again go up the mountain to the Lord; perhaps I can obtain forgiveness for your sin.” 31 Moses then returned to the Lord and said, “These people have committed a terrible sin. They have made a god out of gold and worshiped it. 32 Please forgive their sin; but if you won't, then remove my name from the book in which you have written the names of your people.”

33 The Lord answered, “It is those who have sinned against me whose names I will remove from my book. 34 Now go, lead the people to the place I told you about. Remember that my angel will guide you, but the time is coming when I will punish these people for their sin.”

35 So the Lord sent a disease on the people, because they had caused Aaron to make the gold bull-calf.

The Lord Orders Israel to Leave Mount Sinai

33 The Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought out of Egypt, and go to the land that I promised to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and to their descendants. I will send an angel to guide you, and I will drive out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. You are going to a rich and fertile land. But I will not go with you myself, because you are a stubborn people, and I might destroy you on the way.”

When the people heard this, they began to mourn and did not wear jewelry any more. For the Lord had commanded Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn people. If I were to go with you even for a moment, I would completely destroy you. Now take off your jewelry, and I will decide what to do with you.” So after they left Mount Sinai, the people of Israel no longer wore jewelry.

The Tent of the Lord's Presence

Whenever the people of Israel set up camp, Moses would take the sacred Tent and put it up some distance outside the camp. It was called the Tent of the Lord's presence, and anyone who wanted to consult the Lord would go out to it. Whenever Moses went out there, the people would stand at the door of their tents and watch Moses until he entered it. After Moses had gone in, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the door of the Tent, and the Lord would speak to Moses from the cloud. 10 As soon as the people saw the pillar of cloud at the door of the Tent, they would bow down. 11 The Lord would speak with Moses face-to-face, just as someone speaks with a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But the young man who was his helper, Joshua son of Nun, stayed in the Tent.

The Lord Promises to Be with His People

12 Moses said to the Lord, “It is true that you have told me to lead these people to that land, but you did not tell me whom you would send with me. You have said that you know me well and are pleased with me. 13 Now if you are, tell me your plans, so that I may serve you and continue to please you. Remember also that you have chosen this nation to be your own.”

14 The Lord said, “I will go with you, and I will give you victory.”

15 Moses replied, “If you do not go with us, don't make us leave this place. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with your people and with me if you do not go with us? Your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth.”

17 The Lord said to Moses, “I will do just as you have asked, because I know you very well and I am pleased with you.”

18 Then Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.”

19 The Lord answered, “I will make all my splendor pass before you and in your presence I will pronounce my sacred name. I am the Lord, and I show compassion and pity on those I choose. 20 I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive, 21 but here is a place beside me where you can stand on a rock. 22 When the dazzling light of my presence passes by, I will put you in an opening in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will take my hand away, and you will see my back but not my face.”

The Second Set of Stone Tablets

34 The Lord said to Moses, “Cut two stone tablets like the first ones, and I will write on them the words that were on the first tablets, which you broke. Get ready tomorrow morning, and come up Mount Sinai to meet me there at the top. No one is to come up with you; no one is to be seen on any part of the mountain; and no sheep or cattle are to graze at the foot of the mountain.” So Moses cut two more stone tablets, and early the next morning he carried them up Mount Sinai, just as the Lord had commanded.

The Lord came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and pronounced his holy name, the Lord.[ai] The Lord then passed in front of him and called out, “I, the Lord, am a God who is full of compassion and pity, who is not easily angered and who shows great love and faithfulness. I keep my promise for thousands of generations[aj] and forgive evil and sin; but I will not fail to punish children and grandchildren to the third and fourth generation for the sins of their parents.”

Moses quickly bowed down to the ground and worshiped. He said, “Lord, if you really are pleased with me, I ask you to go with us. These people are stubborn, but forgive our evil and our sin, and accept us as your own people.”

The Covenant Is Renewed

10 The Lord said to Moses, “I now make a covenant with the people of Israel. In their presence I will do great things such as have never been done anywhere on earth among any of the nations. All the people will see what great things I, the Lord, can do, because I am going to do an awesome thing for you. 11 Obey the laws that I am giving you today. I will drive out the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, as you advance. 12 Do not make any treaties with the people of the country into which you are going, because this could be a fatal trap for you. 13 Instead, tear down their altars, destroy their sacred pillars, and cut down their symbols of the goddess Asherah.

14 “Do not worship any other god, because I, the Lord, tolerate no rivals. 15 Do not make any treaties with the people of the country, because when they worship their pagan gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you to join them, and you will be tempted to eat the food they offer to their gods. 16 Your sons might marry those foreign women, who would lead them to be unfaithful to me and to worship their pagan gods.

17 “Do not make gods of metal and worship them.

18 “Keep the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As I have commanded you, eat unleavened bread for seven days in the month of Abib, because it was in that month that you left Egypt.

19 “Every first-born son and first-born male domestic animal belongs to me, 20 but you are to buy back every first-born donkey by offering a lamb in its place. If you do not buy it back, break its neck. Buy back every first-born son.

“No one is to appear before me without an offering.

21 “You have six days in which to do your work, but do not work on the seventh day, not even during plowing time or harvest.

22 “Keep the Harvest Festival when you begin to harvest the first crop of your wheat, and keep the Festival of Shelters in the autumn when you gather your fruit.

23 “Three times a year all of your men must come to worship me, the Lord, the God of Israel. 24 After I have driven out the nations before you and extended your territory, no one will try to conquer your country during the three festivals.

25 “Do not offer bread made with yeast when you sacrifice an animal to me. Do not keep until the following morning any part of the animal killed at the Passover Festival.

26 “Each year bring to the house of the Lord the first grain that you harvest.

“Do not cook a young sheep or goat in its mother's milk.”

27 The Lord said to Moses, “Write these words down, because it is on the basis of these words that I am making a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 Moses stayed there with the Lord forty days and nights, eating and drinking nothing. He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Moses Goes Down from Mount Sinai

29 When Moses went down from Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, his face was shining because he had been speaking with the Lord; but he did not know it. 30 Aaron and all the people looked at Moses and saw that his face was shining, and they were afraid to go near him. 31 But Moses called them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the community went to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32 After that, all the people of Israel gathered around him, and Moses gave them all the laws that the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. 33 When Moses had finished speaking with them, he covered his face with a veil. 34 Whenever Moses went into the Tent of the Lord's presence to speak to the Lord, he would take the veil off. When he came out, he would tell the people of Israel everything that he had been commanded to say, 35 and they would see that his face was shining. Then he would put the veil back on until the next time he went to speak with the Lord.

Regulations for the Sabbath

35 Moses called together the whole community of the people of Israel and said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded you to do: You have six days in which to do your work, but the seventh day is to be sacred, a solemn day of rest dedicated to me, the Lord. Anyone who does any work on that day is to be put to death. Do not even light a fire in your homes on the Sabbath.”

Offerings for the Sacred Tent

Moses said to all the people of Israel, “This is what the Lord has commanded: Make an offering to the Lord. Everyone who wishes to do so is to bring an offering of gold, silver, or bronze; fine linen; blue, purple, and red wool; cloth made of goats' hair; rams' skin dyed red; fine leather; acacia wood; oil for the lamps; spices for the anointing oil and for the sweet-smelling incense; carnelians and other jewels to be set in the High Priest's ephod and in his breastpiece.

Articles for the Tent of the Lord's Presence

10 “All the skilled workers among you are to come and make everything that the Lord commanded: 11 the Tent, its covering and its outer covering, its hooks and its frames, its crossbars, its posts, and its bases; 12 the Covenant Box, its poles, its lid, and the curtain to screen it off; 13 the table, its poles, and all its equipment; the bread offered to God; 14 the lampstand for the light and its equipment; the lamps with their oil;

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 1:5 One ancient translation seventy-five (see Ac 7.14).
  2. Exodus 1:10 escape from; or take control of.
  3. Exodus 2:10 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “pull out.”
  4. Exodus 2:22 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “foreigner.”
  5. Exodus 2:25 was concerned for them; one ancient translation revealed himself to them.
  6. Exodus 3:14 I am who I am … I Am; or I will be who I will be … I Will Be. “I am” sounds like the Hebrew name Yahweh traditionally transliterated as Jehovah. This name is represented in this translation by “the Lord” in capital letters, following a usage which is widespread in English versions.
  7. Exodus 4:25 This reference to “feet” is thought by some to be a euphemism for the genitals.
  8. Exodus 6:3 See 3.14.
  9. Exodus 8:23 Some ancient translations a distinction; Hebrew redemption.
  10. Exodus 10:19 See Red Sea in 13.18.
  11. Exodus 12:22 dip it in the bowl containing; or put it on the threshold covered with.
  12. Exodus 13:18 (in Hebrew literally “Sea of Reeds”) evidently referred to (1) a series of lakes and marshes between the head of the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean, the region generally regarded as the site of the events described in Exodus 13, and was also used to designate (2) the Gulf of Suez, and (3) the Gulf of Aqaba.
  13. Exodus 14:8 triumphantly; or under the protection of the Lord.
  14. Exodus 14:20 Probable text The cloud … Israel; Hebrew unclear.
  15. Exodus 15:23 This name in Hebrew means “bitter.”
  16. Exodus 16:31 This word sounds like the Hebrew for “what is it?” (see verse 15).
  17. Exodus 17:7 These names in Hebrew mean “testing” and “complaining.”
  18. Exodus 17:16 Probable text Hold … Lord; Hebrew unclear.
  19. Exodus 18:3 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “foreigner.”
  20. Exodus 18:4 This name sounds like the Hebrew for “God helps me.”
  21. Exodus 20:6 thousands of generations; or thousands.
  22. Exodus 22:5 If … crops; or If someone burns off a field or a vineyard, and lets the fire get out of control and burn up the crops.
  23. Exodus 22:28 God; or the judges.
  24. Exodus 23:28 I will … panic; or I will send hornets among your enemies.
  25. Exodus 24:13 Moses began; one ancient translation they began.
  26. Exodus 25:7 In most contexts the term ephod refers to a type of shoulder garment, in certain respects resembling a vest. It was made of costly and colorful cloth and to it was attached a kind of pouch containing the Urim and Thummim, two objects used in determining God's will.
  27. Exodus 25:18 See Word List.
  28. Exodus 26:1 tent of the Lord's presence: See Word List
  29. Exodus 28:30 Two objects used by the priest to determine God's will; it is not known precisely how they were used.
  30. Exodus 29:37 It was believed that ordinary people or things would be harmed by touching something holy.
  31. Exodus 30:29 See 29.37.
  32. Exodus 31:3 power; or spirit.
  33. Exodus 32:1 a god; or some gods.
  34. Exodus 32:29 Some ancient translations Today you have consecrated yourselves; Hebrew Consecrate yourselves today; or You have been consecrated today.
  35. Exodus 34:5 See 3.14, and Word List.
  36. Exodus 34:7 thousands of generations; or thousands.
Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Exodus 1-19New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

These are the names of the sons of Israel who came to Egypt with Jacob, each with his household: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin, Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher. The total number of people born to Jacob was seventy. Joseph was already in Egypt. Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and that whole generation. But the Israelites were fruitful and prolific; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.

The Israelites Are Oppressed

Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. 10 Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” 11 Therefore they set taskmasters over them to oppress them with forced labor. They built supply cities, Pithom and Rameses, for Pharaoh. 12 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread, so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. 13 The Egyptians became ruthless in imposing tasks on the Israelites, 14 and made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and brick and in every kind of field labor. They were ruthless in all the tasks that they imposed on them.

15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was named Shiphrah and the other Puah, 16 “When you act as midwives to the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, she shall live.” 17 But the midwives feared God; they did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but they let the boys live. 18 So the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and said to them, “Why have you done this, and allowed the boys to live?” 19 The midwives said to Pharaoh, “Because the Hebrew women are not like the Egyptian women; for they are vigorous and give birth before the midwife comes to them.” 20 So God dealt well with the midwives; and the people multiplied and became very strong. 21 And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families. 22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people, “Every boy that is born to the Hebrews[a] you shall throw into the Nile, but you shall let every girl live.”

Birth and Youth of Moses

Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,” she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Yes.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10 When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses,[b] “because,” she said, “I drew him out[c] of the water.”

Moses Flees to Midian

11 One day, after Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and saw their forced labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his kinsfolk. 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one he killed the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 When he went out the next day, he saw two Hebrews fighting; and he said to the one who was in the wrong, “Why do you strike your fellow Hebrew?” 14 He answered, “Who made you a ruler and judge over us? Do you mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought, “Surely the thing is known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses.

But Moses fled from Pharaoh. He settled in the land of Midian, and sat down by a well. 16 The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came to draw water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 But some shepherds came and drove them away. Moses got up and came to their defense and watered their flock. 18 When they returned to their father Reuel, he said, “How is it that you have come back so soon today?” 19 They said, “An Egyptian helped us against the shepherds; he even drew water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man? Invite him to break bread.” 21 Moses agreed to stay with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah in marriage. 22 She bore a son, and he named him Gershom; for he said, “I have been an alien[d] residing in a foreign land.”

23 After a long time the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery, and cried out. Out of the slavery their cry for help rose up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God looked upon the Israelites, and God took notice of them.

Moses at the Burning Bush

Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian; he led his flock beyond the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush; he looked, and the bush was blazing, yet it was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I must turn aside and look at this great sight, and see why the bush is not burned up.” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Come no closer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” He said further, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

Then the Lord said, “I have observed the misery of my people who are in Egypt; I have heard their cry on account of their taskmasters. Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. The cry of the Israelites has now come to me; I have also seen how the Egyptians oppress them. 10 So come, I will send you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.” 11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12 He said, “I will be with you; and this shall be the sign for you that it is I who sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God on this mountain.”

The Divine Name Revealed

13 But Moses said to God, “If I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.”[e] He said further, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord,[f] the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:

This is my name forever,
and this my title for all generations.

16 Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and say to them, ‘The Lord, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me, saying: I have given heed to you and to what has been done to you in Egypt. 17 I declare that I will bring you up out of the misery of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey.’ 18 They will listen to your voice; and you and the elders of Israel shall go to the king of Egypt and say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; let us now go a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’ 19 I know, however, that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless compelled by a mighty hand.[g] 20 So I will stretch out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will perform in it; after that he will let you go. 21 I will bring this people into such favor with the Egyptians that, when you go, you will not go empty-handed; 22 each woman shall ask her neighbor and any woman living in the neighbor’s house for jewelry of silver and of gold, and clothing, and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters; and so you shall plunder the Egyptians.”

Moses’ Miraculous Power

Then Moses answered, “But suppose they do not believe me or listen to me, but say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’” The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” He said, “A staff.” And he said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw the staff on the ground, and it became a snake; and Moses drew back from it. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand, and seize it by the tail”—so he reached out his hand and grasped it, and it became a staff in his hand— “so that they may 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.”

Again, the Lord said to him, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” He put his hand into his cloak; and when he took it out, his hand was leprous,[h] as white as snow. Then God said, “Put your hand back into your cloak”—so he put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out, it was restored like the rest of his body— “If they will not believe you or heed the first sign, they may believe the second sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or heed you, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”

10 But Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor even now that you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” 11 Then the Lord said to him, “Who gives speech to mortals? Who makes them mute or deaf, seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you are to speak.” 13 But he said, “O my Lord, please send someone else.” 14 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “What of your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he can speak fluently; even now he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you his heart will be glad. 15 You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do. 16 He indeed shall speak for you to the people; he shall serve as a mouth for you, and you shall serve as God for him. 17 Take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”

Moses Returns to Egypt

18 Moses went back to his father-in-law Jethro and said to him, “Please let me go back to my kindred in Egypt and see whether they are still living.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 The Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt; for all those who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons, put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt; and Moses carried the staff of God in his hand.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders that I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go. 22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son. 23 I said to you, “Let my son go that he may worship me.” But you refused to let him go; now I will kill your firstborn son.’”

24 On the way, at a place where they spent the night, the Lord met him and tried to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’[i] feet with it, and said, “Truly you are a bridegroom of blood to me!” 26 So he let him alone. It was then she said, “A bridegroom of blood by circumcision.”

27 The Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went; and he met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which he had sent him, and all the signs with which he had charged him. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron spoke all the words that the Lord had spoken to Moses, and performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 The people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had given heed to the Israelites and that he had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.

Bricks without Straw

Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should heed him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and I will not let Israel go.” Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has revealed himself to us; let us go a three days’ journey into the wilderness to sacrifice to the Lord our God, or he will fall upon us with pestilence or sword.” But the king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their work? Get to your labors!” Pharaoh continued, “Now they are more numerous than the people of the land[j] and yet you want them to stop working!” That same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people, as well as their supervisors, “You shall no longer give the people straw to make bricks, as before; let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you shall require of them the same quantity of bricks as they have made previously; do not diminish it, for they are lazy; that is why they cry, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifice to our God.’ Let heavier work be laid on them; then they will labor at it and pay no attention to deceptive words.”

10 So the taskmasters and the supervisors of the people went out and said to the people, “Thus says Pharaoh, ‘I will not give you straw. 11 Go and get straw yourselves, wherever you can find it; but your work will not be lessened in the least.’” 12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt, to gather stubble for straw. 13 The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, the same daily assignment as when you were given straw.” 14 And the supervisors of the Israelites, whom Pharaoh’s taskmasters had set over them, were beaten, and were asked, “Why did you not finish the required quantity of bricks yesterday and today, as you did before?”

15 Then the Israelite supervisors came to Pharaoh and cried, “Why do you treat your servants like this? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look how your servants are beaten! You are unjust to your own people.”[k] 17 He said, “You are lazy, lazy; that is why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Go now, and work; for no straw shall be given you, but you shall still deliver the same number of bricks.” 19 The Israelite supervisors saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You shall not lessen your daily number of bricks.” 20 As they left Pharaoh, they came upon Moses and Aaron who were waiting to meet them. 21 They said to them, “The Lord look upon you and judge! You have brought us into bad odor with Pharaoh and his officials, and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

22 Then Moses turned again to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you mistreated this people? Why did you ever send me? 23 Since I first came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has mistreated this people, and you have done nothing at all to deliver your people.”

Israel’s Deliverance Assured

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh: Indeed, by a mighty hand he will let them go; by a mighty hand he will drive them out of his land.”

God also spoke to Moses and said to him: “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty,[l] but by my name ‘The Lord[m] I did not make myself known to them. I also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they resided as aliens. I have also heard the groaning of the Israelites whom the Egyptians are holding as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant. Say therefore to the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord, and I will free you from the burdens of the Egyptians and deliver you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You shall know that I am the Lord your God, who has freed you from the burdens of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land that I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; I will give it to you for a possession. I am the Lord.’” Moses told this to the Israelites; but they would not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and their cruel slavery.

10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go out of his land.” 12 But Moses spoke to the Lord, “The Israelites have not listened to me; how then shall Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?”[n] 13 Thus the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, and gave them orders regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, charging them to free the Israelites from the land of Egypt.

The Genealogy of Moses and Aaron

14 The following are the heads of their ancestral houses: the sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi; these are the families of Reuben. 15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul,[o] the son of a Canaanite woman; these are the families of Simeon. 16 The following are the names of the sons of Levi according to their genealogies: Gershon,[p] Kohath, and Merari, and the length of Levi’s life was one hundred thirty-seven years. 17 The sons of Gershon:[q] Libni and Shimei, by their families. 18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel, and the length of Kohath’s life was one hundred thirty-three years. 19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their genealogies. 20 Amram married Jochebed his father’s sister and she bore him Aaron and Moses, and the length of Amram’s life was one hundred thirty-seven 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, and she bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph; these are the families 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 ancestral houses of the Levites by their families.

26 It was this same Aaron and Moses to whom the Lord said, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company.” 27 It was they who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of Egypt, the same Moses and Aaron.

Moses and Aaron Obey God’s Commands

28 On the day when the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt all that I am speaking to you.” 30 But Moses said in the Lord’s presence, “Since I am a poor speaker,[r] why would Pharaoh listen to me?”

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron shall be your prophet. You shall speak all that I command you, and your brother Aaron shall tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his land. But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and I will multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. When Pharaoh does not listen to you, I will lay my hand upon Egypt and bring my people the Israelites, company by company, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. The Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them.” Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the Lord commanded them. Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

Aaron’s Miraculous Rod

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a wonder,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh, and it will become a snake.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did as the Lord had commanded; Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11 Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers; and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same by their secret arts. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and they became snakes; but Aaron’s staff swallowed up theirs. 13 Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would 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 hardened; he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning, as he is going out to the water; stand by at the river bank to meet him, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. 16 Say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say, “Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness.” But until now you have not listened. 17 Thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord.” See, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall be turned to blood. 18 The fish in the river shall die, the river itself shall stink, and the Egyptians shall be unable to drink water from the Nile.’” 19 The Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, and its ponds, and all its pools of water—so that they may become blood; and there shall be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in vessels of wood and in vessels of stone.’”

20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and of his officials he lifted up the staff and struck the water in the river, and all the water in the river was turned into blood, 21 and the fish in the river died. The river stank so that the Egyptians could not drink its water, and there was blood throughout the whole land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts; so Pharaoh’s heart remained hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned and went into his house, and he did not take even this to heart. 24 And all the Egyptians had to dig along the Nile for water to drink, for they could not drink the water of the river.

25 Seven days passed after the Lord had struck the Nile.

The Second Plague: Frogs

[s] Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will plague your whole country with frogs. The river shall swarm with frogs; they shall come up into your palace, into your bedchamber and your bed, and into the houses of your officials and of your people,[t] and into your ovens and your kneading bowls. The frogs shall come up on you and on your people and on all your officials.’” [u] And the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, the canals, and the pools, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’” So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. But the magicians did the same by their secret arts, and brought frogs up on the land of Egypt.

Then Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron, and said, “Pray to the Lord to take away the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.” Moses said to Pharaoh, “Kindly tell me when I am to pray for you and for your officials and for your people, that the frogs may be removed from you and your houses and be left only in the Nile.” 10 And he said, “Tomorrow.” Moses said, “As you say! So that you may know that there is no one like the Lord our God, 11 the frogs shall leave you and your houses and your officials and your people; they shall be left only in the Nile.” 12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh; and Moses cried out to the Lord concerning the frogs that he had brought upon Pharaoh.[v] 13 And the Lord did as Moses requested: the frogs died in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields. 14 And they gathered them together in heaps, and the land stank. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was a respite, he hardened his heart, and would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

The Third Plague: Gnats

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, so that it may become gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt.’” 17 And they did so; Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff and struck the dust of the earth, and gnats came on humans and animals alike; all the dust of the earth turned into gnats throughout the whole land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, but they could not. There were gnats on both humans and animals. 19 And the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

The Fourth Plague: Flies

20 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, as he goes out to the water, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21 For if you will not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you, your officials, and your people, and into your houses; and the houses of the Egyptians shall be filled with swarms of flies; so also the land where they live. 22 But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I the Lord am in this land. 23 Thus I will make a distinction[w] between my people and your people. This sign shall appear tomorrow.’” 24 The Lord did so, and great swarms of flies came into the house of Pharaoh and into his officials’ houses; in all of Egypt the land was ruined because of the flies.

25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 26 But Moses said, “It would not be right to do so; for the sacrifices that we offer to the Lord our God are offensive to the Egyptians. If we offer in the sight of the Egyptians sacrifices that are offensive to them, will they not stone us? 27 We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he commands us.” 28 So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, provided you do not go very far away. Pray for me.” 29 Then Moses said, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord that the swarms of flies may depart tomorrow from Pharaoh, from his officials, and from his people; only do not let Pharaoh again deal falsely by not letting the people go to sacrifice to the Lord.”

30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 31 And the Lord did as Moses asked: he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his officials, and from his people; not one remained. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also, and would not let the people go.

The Fifth Plague: Livestock Diseased

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you refuse to let them go and still hold them, the hand of the Lord will strike with a deadly pestilence your livestock in the field: the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing shall die of all that belongs to the Israelites.’” The Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” And on the next day the Lord did so; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the livestock of the Israelites not one died. Pharaoh inquired and found that not one of the livestock of the Israelites was dead. But the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the people go.

The Sixth Plague: Boils

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from the kiln, and let Moses throw it in the air in the sight of Pharaoh. It shall become fine dust all over the land of Egypt, and shall cause festering boils on humans and animals throughout the whole land of Egypt.” 10 So they took soot from the kiln, and stood before Pharaoh, and Moses threw it in the air, and it caused festering boils on humans and animals. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils afflicted the magicians as well as all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

The Seventh Plague: Thunder and Hail

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise up early in the morning and present yourself before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14 For this time I will send all my plagues upon you yourself, and upon your officials, and upon your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, and you would have been cut off from the earth. 16 But this is why I have let you live: to show you my power, and to make my name resound through all the earth. 17 You are still exalting yourself against my people, and will not let them go. 18 Tomorrow at this time I will cause the heaviest hail to fall that has ever fallen in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Send, therefore, and have your livestock and everything that you have in the open field brought to a secure place; every human or animal that is in the open field and is not brought under shelter will die when the hail comes down upon them.’” 20 Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried their slaves and livestock off to a secure place. 21 Those who did not regard the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the open field.

22 The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that hail may fall on the whole land of Egypt, on humans and animals and all the plants of the field in the land of Egypt.” 23 Then Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and fire came down on the earth. And the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24 there was hail with fire flashing continually in the midst of it, such heavy hail as had never fallen in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 The hail struck down everything that was in the open field throughout all the land of Egypt, both human and animal; the hail also struck down all the plants of the field, and shattered every tree in the field. 26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were, there was no hail.

27 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, and said to them, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Pray to the Lord! Enough of God’s thunder and hail! I will let you go; you need stay no longer.” 29 Moses said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will stretch out my hands to the Lord; the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30 But as for you and your officials, I know that you do not yet fear the Lord God.” 31 (Now the flax and the barley were ruined, for the barley was in the ear and the flax was in bud. 32 But the wheat and the spelt were not ruined, for they are late in coming up.) 33 So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and stretched out his hands to the Lord; then the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain no longer poured down on the earth. 34 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunder had ceased, he sinned once more and hardened his heart, he and his officials. 35 So the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had spoken through Moses.

The Eighth Plague: Locusts

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his officials, in order that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I have made fools of the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them—so that you may know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and said to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. For if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your country. They shall cover the surface of the land, so that no one will be able to see the land. They shall devour the last remnant left you after the hail, and they shall devour every tree of yours that grows in the field. They shall fill your houses, and the houses of all your officials and of all the Egyptians—something that neither your parents nor your grandparents have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.’” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long shall this fellow be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God; do you not yet understand that Egypt is ruined?” So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, worship the Lord your God! But which ones are to go?” Moses said, “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 have the Lord’s festival to celebrate.” 10 He said to them, “The Lord indeed will be with you, if ever I let your little ones go with you! Plainly, you have some evil purpose in mind. 11 No, never! Your men may go and worship the Lord, for that is what you are asking.” And they were driven out from Pharaoh’s presence.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt, so that the locusts may come upon it and eat every plant in the land, all that the hail has left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night; when morning came, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 The locusts came upon all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever shall be again. 15 They covered the surface of the whole land, so that the land was black; and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left; nothing green was left, no tree, no plant in the field, in all the land of Egypt. 16 Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God, and against you. 17 Do forgive my sin just this once, and pray to the Lord your God that at the least he remove this deadly thing from me.” 18 So he went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19 The Lord changed the wind into a very strong west wind, which lifted the locusts and drove them into the Red Sea;[x] not a single locust was left in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

The Ninth Plague: Darkness

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven so that there may 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 dense darkness in all the land of Egypt for three days. 23 People could not see one another, and for three days they could not move from where they were; but all the Israelites had light where they lived. 24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses, and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Only your flocks and your herds shall remain behind. Even your children may go with you.” 25 But Moses said, “You must also let us have sacrifices and burnt offerings to sacrifice to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock also must go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind, for we must choose some of them for the worship of the Lord our God, and we will not know what to use to worship the Lord until we arrive there.” 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take care that you do not see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.” 29 Moses said, “Just as you say! I will never see your face again.”

Warning of the Final Plague

11 The Lord said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague upon Pharaoh and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go from here; indeed, when he lets you go, he will drive you away. Tell the people that every man is to ask his neighbor and every woman is to ask her neighbor for objects of silver and gold.” The Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, Moses himself was a man of great importance in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s officials and in the sight of the people.

Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: About midnight I will go out through Egypt. Every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne to the firstborn of the female slave who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. Then there will be a loud cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as has never been or will ever be again. But not a dog shall growl at any of the Israelites—not at people, not at animals—so that you may know that the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. Then all these officials of yours shall come down to me, and bow low to me, saying, ‘Leave us, you and all the people who follow you.’ After that I will leave.” And in hot anger he left Pharaoh.

The Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, in order that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 10 Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; but the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.

The First Passover Instituted

12 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: This month shall mark for you the beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year for you. Tell the whole congregation of Israel that on the tenth of this month they are to take a lamb for each family, a lamb for each household. If a household is too small for a whole lamb, it shall join its closest neighbor in obtaining one; the lamb shall be divided in proportion to the number of people who eat of it. Your lamb shall be without blemish, a year-old male; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembled congregation of Israel shall slaughter it at twilight. They shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the lamb that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. Do not eat any of it raw or boiled in water, but roasted over the fire, with its head, legs, and inner organs. 10 You shall let none of it remain until the morning; anything that remains until the morning you shall burn. 11 This is how you shall eat it: your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it hurriedly. It is the passover of the Lord. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both human beings and animals; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague shall destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14 This day shall be a day of remembrance for you. You shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord; throughout your generations you shall observe it as a perpetual ordinance. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a solemn assembly, and on the seventh day a solemn assembly; no work shall be done on those days; only what everyone must eat, that alone may be prepared by you. 17 You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your companies out of the land of Egypt: you shall observe this day throughout your generations as a perpetual ordinance. 18 In the first month, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day, you shall eat unleavened bread. 19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether an alien or a native of the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.

21 Then Moses called all the elders of Israel and said to them, “Go, select lambs for your families, and slaughter the passover lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood in the basin. None of you shall go outside the door of your house until morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to strike down the Egyptians; when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down. 24 You shall observe this rite as a perpetual ordinance for you and your children. 25 When you come to the land that the Lord will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this observance. 26 And when your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this observance?’ 27 you shall say, ‘It is the passover sacrifice to the Lord, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck down the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” And the people bowed down and worshiped.

28 The Israelites went and did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

The Tenth Plague: Death of the Firstborn

29 At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn 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 all the firstborn of the livestock. 30 Pharaoh arose in the night, he and all his officials and all the Egyptians; and there was a loud cry in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. 31 Then he summoned Moses and Aaron in the night, and said, “Rise up, go away from my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lord, as you said. 32 Take your flocks and your herds, as you said, and be gone. And bring a blessing on me too!”

The Exodus: From Rameses to Succoth

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, “We shall all be dead.” 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.

40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.

Directions for the Passover

43 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: This is the ordinance for the passover: no foreigner shall eat of it, 44 but any slave who has been purchased may eat of it after he has been circumcised; 45 no bound or hired servant may eat of it. 46 It shall be eaten in one house; you shall not take any of the animal outside the house, and you shall not break any of its bones. 47 The whole congregation of Israel shall celebrate it. 48 If an alien who resides with you wants to celebrate the passover to the Lord, all his males shall be circumcised; then he may draw near to celebrate it; he shall be regarded as a native of the land. But no uncircumcised person shall eat of it; 49 there shall be one law for the native and for the alien who resides among you.

50 All the Israelites did just as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 That very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, company by company.

13 The Lord said to Moses: Consecrate to me all the firstborn; whatever is the first to open the womb among the Israelites, of human beings and animals, is mine.

The Festival of Unleavened Bread

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day on which you came out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, because the Lord brought you out from there by strength of hand; no leavened bread shall be eaten. Today, in the month of Abib, you are going out. When the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, which he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you shall keep this observance in this month. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a festival to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days; no leavened bread shall be seen in your possession, and no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory. You shall tell your child on that day, ‘It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.’ It shall serve for you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead, so that the teaching of the Lord may be on your lips; for with a strong hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. 10 You shall keep this ordinance at its proper time from year to year.

The Consecration of the Firstborn

11 “When the Lord has brought you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your ancestors, and has given it to you, 12 you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your livestock that are males shall be the Lord’s. 13 But every firstborn donkey you shall redeem with a sheep; if you do not redeem it, you must break its neck. Every firstborn male among your children you shall redeem. 14 When in the future your child asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall answer, ‘By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from human firstborn to the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every male that first opens the womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 It shall serve as a sign on your hand and as an emblem[y] on your forehead that by strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”

The Pillars of Cloud and Fire

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

Crossing the Red Sea

14 Then the Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites to turn back and camp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall camp opposite it, by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, “They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has closed in on them.” I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them, so that I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army; and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord. And they did so.

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, the minds of Pharaoh and his officials were changed toward the people, and they said, “What have we done, letting Israel leave our service?” So he had his chariot made ready, and took his army with him; he took six hundred picked chariots and all the other chariots of Egypt with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out boldly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his chariot drivers and his army; they overtook them camped by the sea, by Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.

10 As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the very thing we told you in Egypt, ‘Let us alone and let us serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” 13 But Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid, stand firm, and see the deliverance that the Lord will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to keep still.”

15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry out to me? Tell the Israelites to go forward. 16 But you lift up your staff, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the Israelites may go into the sea on dry ground. 17 Then I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them; and so I will gain glory for myself over Pharaoh and all his army, his chariots, and his chariot drivers. 18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained glory for myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his chariot drivers.”

19 The angel of God who was going before the Israelite army moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and took its place behind them. 20 It came between the army of Egypt and the army of Israel. And so the cloud was there with the darkness, and it lit up the night; one did not come near the other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night, and turned the sea into dry land; and the waters were divided. 22 The Israelites went into the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. 23 The Egyptians pursued, and went into the sea after them, all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and chariot drivers. 24 At the morning watch the Lord in the pillar of fire and cloud looked down upon the Egyptian army, and threw the Egyptian army into panic. 25 He clogged[aa] their chariot wheels so that they turned with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Let us flee from the Israelites, for the Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.”

The Pursuers Drowned

26 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, so that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots and chariot drivers.” 27 So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at dawn the sea returned to its normal depth. As the Egyptians fled before it, the Lord tossed the Egyptians into the sea. 28 The waters returned and covered the chariots and the chariot drivers, the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed them into the sea; not one of them remained. 29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters forming a wall for them on their right and on their left.

30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day from the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Israel saw the great work that the Lord did against the Egyptians. So the people feared the Lord and believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.

The Song of Moses

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

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
    horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and my might,[ab]
    and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
    my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior;
    the Lord is his name.

“Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
    his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.[ac]
The floods covered them;
    they went down into the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power—
    your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy.
In the greatness of your majesty you overthrew your adversaries;
    you sent out your fury, it consumed them like stubble.
At the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up,
    the floods stood up in a heap;
    the deeps congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake,
    I will divide the spoil, my desire shall have its fill of them.
    I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them;
    they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?
    Who is like you, majestic in holiness,
    awesome in splendor, doing wonders?
12 You stretched out your right hand,
    the earth swallowed them.

13 “In your steadfast love you led the people whom you redeemed;
    you guided them by your strength to your holy abode.
14 The peoples heard, they trembled;
    pangs seized the inhabitants of Philistia.
15 Then the chiefs of Edom were dismayed;
    trembling seized the leaders of Moab;
    all the inhabitants of Canaan melted away.
16 Terror and dread fell upon them;
    by the might of your arm, they became still as a stone
until your people, O Lord, passed by,
    until the people whom you acquired passed by.
17 You brought them in and planted them on the mountain of your own possession,
    the place, O Lord, that you made your abode,
    the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
18 The Lord will reign forever and ever.”

19 When the horses of Pharaoh with his chariots and his chariot drivers went into the sea, the Lord brought back the waters of the sea upon them; but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.

The Song of Miriam

20 Then the prophet Miriam, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines and with dancing. 21 And Miriam sang to them:

“Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.”

Bitter Water Made Sweet

22 Then Moses ordered Israel to set out from the Red Sea,[ad] and they went into the wilderness of Shur. They went three days in the wilderness and found no water. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink the water of Marah because it was bitter. That is why it was called Marah.[ae] 24 And the people complained against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25 He cried out to the Lord; and the Lord showed him a piece of wood;[af] he threw it into the water, and the water became sweet.

There the Lord[ag] made for them a statute and an ordinance and there he put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in his sight, and give heed to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will not bring upon you any of the diseases that I brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you.”

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

Bread from Heaven

16 The whole congregation of the Israelites set out from Elim; and Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt. The whole congregation of the Israelites complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the fleshpots and ate our fill of bread; for you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I am going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day. In that way I will test them, whether they will follow my instruction or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather on other days.” So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you shall know that it was the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, and in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your complaining against the Lord. For what are we, that you complain against us?” And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him—what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.”

Then Moses said to Aaron, “Say to the whole congregation of the Israelites, ‘Draw near to the Lord, for he has heard your complaining.’” 10 And as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the Israelites, they looked toward the wilderness, and the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. 11 The Lord spoke to Moses and said, 12 “I have heard the complaining of the Israelites; say to them, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread; then you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’”

13 In the evening quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?”[ah] For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Gather as much of it as each of you needs, an omer to a person according to the number of persons, all providing for those in their own tents.’” 17 The Israelites did so, some gathering more, some less. 18 But when they measured it with an omer, those who gathered much had nothing over, and those who gathered little had no shortage; they gathered as much as each of them needed. 19 And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over until morning.” 20 But they did not listen to Moses; some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul. And Moses was angry with them. 21 Morning by morning they gathered it, as much as each needed; but when the sun grew hot, it melted.

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much food, two omers apiece. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 he said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’” 24 So they put it aside until morning, as Moses commanded them; and it did not become foul, and there were no worms in it. 25 Moses said, “Eat it today, for today is a sabbath to the Lord; today you will not find it in the field. 26 Six days you shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is a sabbath, there will be none.”

27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, and they found none. 28 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and instructions? 29 See! The Lord has given you the sabbath, therefore on the sixth day he gives you food for two days; each of you stay where you are; do not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 The house of Israel called it manna; it was like coriander seed, white, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey. 32 Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Let an omer of it be kept throughout your generations, in order that they may see the food with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord, to be kept throughout your generations.” 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the covenant,[ai] for safekeeping. 35 The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a habitable land; they ate manna, until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36 An omer is a tenth of an ephah.

Water from the Rock

17 From the wilderness of Sin the whole congregation of the Israelites journeyed by stages, as the Lord commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” But the people thirsted there for water; and the people complained against Moses and said, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and livestock with thirst?” So Moses cried out to the Lord, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me.” The Lord said to Moses, “Go on ahead of the people, and take some of the elders of Israel with you; take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. I will be standing there in front of you on the rock at Horeb. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so that the people may drink.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah[aj] and Meribah,[ak] because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

Amalek Attacks Israel and Is Defeated

Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some men for us and go out, fight with Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.” 10 So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. 13 And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write this as a reminder in a book and recite it in the hearing of Joshua: I will utterly blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” 15 And Moses built an altar and called it, The Lord is my banner. 16 He said, “A hand upon the banner of the Lord![al] The Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.”

Jethro’s Advice

18 Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for his people Israel, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. After Moses had sent away his wife Zipporah, his father-in-law Jethro took her back, along with her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (for he said, “I have been an alien[am] in a foreign land”), and the name of the other, Eliezer[an] (for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh”). Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came into the wilderness where Moses was encamped at the mountain of God, bringing Moses’ sons and wife to him. He sent word to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, am coming to you, with your wife and her two sons.” Moses went out to meet his father-in-law; he bowed down and kissed him; each asked after the other’s welfare, and they went into the tent. Then Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardship that had beset them on the way, and how the Lord had delivered them. Jethro rejoiced for all the good that the Lord had done to Israel, in delivering them from the Egyptians.

10 Jethro said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has delivered you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because he delivered the people from the Egyptians,[ao] when they dealt arrogantly with them.” 12 And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

13 The next day Moses sat as judge for the people, while the people stood around him from morning until evening. 14 When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing for the people? Why do you sit alone, while all the people stand around you from morning until evening?” 15 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. 16 When they have a dispute, they come to me and I decide between one person and another, and I make known to them the statutes and instructions of God.” 17 Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You will surely wear yourself out, both you and these people with you. For the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me. I will give you counsel, and God be with you! You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases before God; 20 teach them the statutes and instructions and make known to them the way they are to go and the things they are to do. 21 You should also look for able men among all the people, men who fear God, are trustworthy, and hate dishonest gain; set such men over them as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 22 Let them sit as judges for the people at all times; let them bring every important case to you, but decide every minor case themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, and God so commands you, then you will be able to endure, and all these people will go to their home in peace.”

24 So Moses listened to his father-in-law and did all that he had said. 25 Moses chose able men from all Israel and appointed them as heads over the people, as officers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. 26 And they judged the people at all times; hard cases they brought to Moses, but any minor case they decided themselves. 27 Then Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went off to his own country.

The Israelites Reach Mount Sinai

19 On the third new moon after the Israelites had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day, they came into the wilderness of Sinai. They had journeyed from Rephidim, entered the wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness; Israel camped there in front of the mountain. Then Moses went up to God; the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 1:22 Sam Gk Tg: Heb lacks to the Hebrews
  2. Exodus 2:10 Heb Mosheh
  3. Exodus 2:10 Heb mashah
  4. Exodus 2:22 Heb ger
  5. Exodus 3:14 Or I am what I am or I will be what I will be
  6. Exodus 3:15 The word “Lord” when spelled with capital letters stands for the divine name, YHWH, which is here connected with the verb hayah, “to be”
  7. Exodus 3:19 Gk Vg: Heb no, not by a mighty hand
  8. Exodus 4:6 A term for several skin diseases; precise meaning uncertain
  9. Exodus 4:25 Heb his
  10. Exodus 5:5 Sam: Heb The people of the land are now many
  11. Exodus 5:16 Gk Compare Syr Vg: Heb beaten, and the sin of your people
  12. Exodus 6:3 Traditional rendering of Heb El Shaddai
  13. Exodus 6:3 Heb YHWH; see note at 3.15
  14. Exodus 6:12 Heb me? I am uncircumcised of lips
  15. Exodus 6:15 Or Saul
  16. Exodus 6:16 Also spelled Gershom; see 2.22
  17. Exodus 6:17 Also spelled Gershom; see 2.22
  18. Exodus 6:30 Heb am uncircumcised of lips; see 6.12
  19. Exodus 8:1 Ch 7.26 in Heb
  20. Exodus 8:3 Gk: Heb upon your people
  21. Exodus 8:5 Ch 8.1 in Heb
  22. Exodus 8:12 Or frogs, as he had agreed with Pharaoh
  23. Exodus 8:23 Gk Vg: Heb will set redemption
  24. Exodus 10:19 Or Sea of Reeds
  25. Exodus 13:16 Or as a frontlet; meaning of Heb uncertain
  26. Exodus 13:18 Or Sea of Reeds
  27. Exodus 14:25 Sam Gk Syr: MT removed
  28. Exodus 15:2 Or song
  29. Exodus 15:4 Or Sea of Reeds
  30. Exodus 15:22 Or Sea of Reeds
  31. Exodus 15:23 That is Bitterness
  32. Exodus 15:25 Or a tree
  33. Exodus 15:25 Heb he
  34. Exodus 16:15 Or “It is manna” (Heb man hu, see verse 31)
  35. Exodus 16:34 Or treaty or testimony; Heb eduth
  36. Exodus 17:7 That is Test
  37. Exodus 17:7 That is Quarrel
  38. Exodus 17:16 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  39. Exodus 18:3 Heb ger
  40. Exodus 18:4 Heb Eli, my God; ezer, help
  41. Exodus 18:11 The clause because . . . Egyptians has been transposed from verse 10
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Exodus 1-19Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Parashah 13: Sh’mot (Names) 1:1–6:1

These are the names of the sons of Isra’el who came into Egypt with Ya‘akov; each man came with his household: Re’uven, Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, Yissakhar, Z’vulun, Binyamin, Dan, Naftali, Gad and Asher. All told, there were seventy descendants of Ya‘akov; Yosef was already in Egypt.

Yosef died, as did all his brothers and all that generation. The descendants of Isra’el were fruitful, increased abundantly, multiplied and grew very powerful; the land became filled with them.

Now there arose a new king over Egypt. He knew nothing about Yosef but said to his people, “Look, the descendants of Isra’el have become a people too numerous and powerful for us. 10 Come, let’s use wisdom in dealing with them. Otherwise, they’ll continue to multiply; and in the event of war they might ally themselves with our enemies, fight against us and leave the land altogether.”

11 So they put slavemasters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built for Pharaoh the storage cities of Pitom and Ra‘amses. 12 But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more they multiplied and expanded, until the Egyptians came to dread the people of Isra’el 13 and worked them relentlessly, 14 making their lives bitter with hard labor — digging clay, making bricks, all kinds of field work; and in all this toil they were shown no mercy.

15 Moreover, the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives, one of whom was called Shifrah and the other Pu‘ah. 16 “When you attend the Hebrew women and see them giving birth,” he said, “if it’s a boy, kill him; but if it’s a girl, let her live.” 17 However, the midwives were God-fearing women, so they didn’t do as the king of Egypt ordered but let the boys live. (ii) 18 The king of Egypt summoned the midwives and demanded of them, “Why have you done this and let the boys live?” 19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “It’s because the Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women — they go into labor and give birth before the midwife arrives.” 20 Therefore God prospered the midwives, and the people continued to multiply and grow very powerful. 21 Indeed, because the midwives feared God, he made them founders of families. 22 Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every boy that is born, throw in the river; but let all the girls live.”

A man from the family of Levi took a woman also descended from Levi as his wife. When she conceived and had a son, upon seeing what a fine child he was, she hid him for three months. When she could no longer hide him, she took a papyrus basket, coated it with clay and tar, put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the riverbank. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the river while her maids-in-attendance walked along the riverside. Spotting the basket among the reeds, she sent her slave-girl to get it. She opened it and looked inside, and there in front of her was a crying baby boy! Moved with pity, she said, “This must be one of the Hebrews’ children.” At this point, his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Would you like me to go and find you one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?” Pharaoh’s daughter answered, “Yes, go.” So the girl went and called the baby’s own mother. Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will pay you for doing it.” So the woman took the child and nursed it. 10 Then, when the child had grown some, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter; and she began to raise him as her son. She called him Moshe [pull out], explaining, “Because I pulled him out of the water.”

(iii) 11 One day, when Moshe was a grown man, he went out to visit his kinsmen; and he watched them struggling at forced labor. He saw an Egyptian strike a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen. 12 He looked this way and that; and when he saw that no one was around, he killed the Egyptian and hid his body in the sand. 13 The next day, he went out and saw two Hebrew men fighting with each other. To the one in the wrong he said, “Why are you hitting your companion?” 14 He retorted, “Who appointed you ruler and judge over us? Do you intend to kill me the way you killed the Egyptian?” Moshe became frightened. “Clearly,” he thought, “the matter has become known.” 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he tried to have Moshe put to death. But Moshe fled from Pharaoh to live in the land of Midyan.

One day, as he was sitting by a well, 16 the seven daughters of the priest of Midyan came to draw water. They had filled the troughs to water their father’s sheep, 17 when the shepherds came and tried to drive them away. But Moshe got up and defended them; then he watered their sheep. 18 When they came to Re‘u’el their father, he said, “How come you’re back so soon today?” 19 They answered, “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds; more than that, he drew water for us and watered the sheep.” 20 He asked his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave the man there? Invite him to have something to eat.”

21 Moshe was glad to stay on with the man, and he gave Moshe his daughter Tzipporah in marriage. 22 She gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom [foreigner there], for he said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.”

23 Sometime during those many years the king of Egypt died, but the people of Isra’el still groaned under the yoke of slavery, and they cried out, and their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. 24 God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov. 25 God saw the people of Isra’el, and God acknowledged them.

(iv) Now Moshe was tending the sheep of Yitro his father-in-law, the priest of Midyan. Leading the flock to the far side of the desert, he came to the mountain of God, to Horev. The angel of Adonai appeared to him in a fire blazing from the middle of a bush. He looked and saw that although the bush was flaming with fire, yet the bush was not being burned up. Moshe said, “I’m going to go over and see this amazing sight and find out why the bush isn’t being burned up.” When Adonai saw that he had gone over to see, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moshe! Moshe!” He answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Don’t come any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, because the place where you are standing is holy ground. I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov.” Moshe covered his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Adonai said, “I have seen how my people are being oppressed in Egypt and heard their cry for release from their slavemasters, because I know their pain. I have come down to rescue them from the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that country to a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey, the place of the Kena‘ani, Hitti, Emori, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi. Yes, the cry of the people of Isra’el has come to me, and I have seen how terribly the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Therefore, now, come; and I will send you to Pharaoh; so that you can lead my people, the descendants of Isra’el, out of Egypt.”

11 Moshe said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Isra’el out of Egypt?” 12 He replied, “I will surely be with you. Your sign that I have sent you will be that when you have led the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

13 Moshe said to God, “Look, when I appear before the people of Isra’el and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?” 14 God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or I Will Be] has sent me to you.’” 15 God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai], the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation. (v) 16 Go, gather the leaders of Isra’el together, and say to them, ‘Adonai, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov, has appeared to me and said, “I have been paying close attention to you and have seen what is being done to you in Egypt; 17 and I have said that I will lead you up out of the misery of Egypt to the land of the Kena‘ani, Hitti, Emori, P’rizi, Hivi and Y’vusi, to a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ 18 They will heed what you say. Then you will come, you and the leaders of Isra’el, before the king of Egypt; and you will tell him, ‘Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Now, please, let us go three days’ journey into the desert; so that we can sacrifice to Adonai our God.’ 19 I know that the king of Egypt will not let you leave unless he is forced to do so. 20 But I will reach out my hand and strike Egypt with all my wonders that I will do there. After that, he will let you go. 21 Moreover, I will make the Egyptians so well-disposed toward this people that when you go, you won’t go empty-handed. 22 Rather, all the women will ask their neighbors and house guests for silver and gold jewelry and clothing, with which you will dress your own sons and daughters. In this way you will plunder the Egyptians.”

Moshe replied, “But I’m certain they won’t believe me, and they won’t listen to what I say, because they’ll say, ‘Adonai did not appear to you.’” Adonai answered him, “What is that in your hand?” and he said, “A staff.” He said, “Throw it on the ground!” and he threw it on the ground. It turned into a snake, and Moshe recoiled from it. Then Adonai said to Moshe, “Put your hand out and take it by the tail.” He reached out with his hand and took hold of it, and it became a staff in his hand. “This is so that they will believe that Adonai, the God of their fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya‘akov, has appeared to you!”

Furthermore Adonai said to him, “Now put your hand inside your coat.” He put his hand in his coat; and when he took it out his hand was leprous, as white as snow. Then God said, “Now put your hand back in your coat.” He put his hand back in his coat; and when he took it out, it was as healthy as the rest of his body. “If they won’t believe you or heed the evidence of the first sign, they will be convinced by the second. But if they aren’t persuaded even by both these signs and still won’t listen to what you say, then take some water from the river, and pour it on the ground. The water you take from the river will turn into blood on the dry land.”

10 Moshe said to Adonai, “Oh, Adonai, I’m a terrible speaker. I always have been, and I’m no better now, even after you’ve spoken to your servant! My words come slowly, my tongue moves slowly.” 11 Adonai answered him, “Who gives a person a mouth? Who makes a person dumb or deaf, keen-sighted or blind? Isn’t it I, Adonai? 12 Now, therefore, go; and I will be with your mouth and will teach you what to say.”

13 But he replied, “Please, Lord, send someone else — anyone you want!” 14 At this, Adonai’s anger blazed up against Moshe; he said, “Don’t you have a brother, Aharon the Levi? I know that he’s a good speaker. In fact, here he is now, coming out to meet you; and he’ll be happy to see you. 15 You will speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I will be with your mouth and his, teaching you both what to do. 16 Thus he will be your spokesman to the people, in effect; for you, he will be a mouth; and for him, you will be like God. 17 Now take this staff in your hand, because you need it to perform the signs.”

(vi) 18 Moshe left, returned to Yitro his father-in-law and said to him, “I beg you to let me go and return to my kinsmen in Egypt, to see if they are still alive.” Yitro said to Moshe, “Go in peace.” 19 Adonai said to Moshe in Midyan, “Go on back to Egypt, because all the men who wanted to kill you are dead.” 20 So Moshe took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and started out for Egypt. Moshe took God’s staff in his hand. 21 Adonai said to Moshe, “When you get back to Egypt, make sure that you do before Pharaoh every one of the wonders I have enabled you to do. Nevertheless, I am going to make him hardhearted, and he will refuse to let the people go. 22 Then you are to tell Pharaoh: ‘Adonai says, “Isra’el is my firstborn son. 23 I have told you to let my son go in order to worship me, but you have refused to let him go. Well, then, I will kill your firstborn son!”’”

24 At a lodging-place on the way, Adonai met Moshe and would have killed him, 25 had not Tzipporah taken a flintstone and cut off the foreskin of her son. She threw it at his feet, saying, “What a bloody bridegroom you are for me!” 26 But then, God let Moshe be. She added, “A bloody bridegroom because of the circumcision!”

27 Adonai said to Aharon, “Go into the desert to meet Moshe.” He went, met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moshe told him everything Adonai had said in sending him, including all the signs he had ordered him to perform. 29 Then Moshe and Aharon went and gathered together all the leaders of the people of Isra’el. 30 Aharon said everything Adonai had told Moshe, who then performed the signs for the people to see. 31 The people believed; when they heard that Adonai had remembered the people of Isra’el and seen how they were oppressed, they bowed their heads and worshipped.

(vii) After that, Moshe and Aharon came and said to Pharaoh, “Here is what Adonai, the God of Isra’el, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they can celebrate a festival in the desert to honor me.’” But Pharaoh replied, “Who is Adonai, that I should obey when he says to let Isra’el go? I don’t know Adonai, and I also won’t let Isra’el go.” They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go three days’ journey into the desert, so that we can sacrifice to Adonai our God. Otherwise, he may strike us with a plague or with the sword.” The king of Egypt answered them, “Moshe and Aharon, what do you mean by taking the people away from their work? Get back to your labor! Look!” Pharaoh added, “the population of the land has grown, yet you are trying to have them stop working!”

That same day Pharaoh ordered the slavemasters and the people’s foremen, “You are no longer to provide straw for the bricks the people are making, as you did before. Let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you will require them to produce the same quantity of bricks as before, don’t reduce it, because they’re lazing around. This is why they’re crying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Give these people harder work to do. That will keep them too busy to pay attention to speeches full of lies.”

10 The people’s slavemasters went out, their foremen too, and said to the people, “Here is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will no longer give you straw. 11 You go, yourselves, and get straw wherever you can find it. But your output is not to be reduced.’” 12 So the people were dispersed throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The slavemasters kept pressing them. “Keep working! Make your daily quota, just as when straw was provided.” 14 The foremen of the people of Isra’el, whom Pharaoh’s slavemasters had appointed to be over them, were flogged and asked, “Why haven’t you fulfilled your quota of bricks yesterday and today, as you did formerly?”

15 Then the foremen of the people of Isra’el came and complained to Pharaoh: “Why are you treating your servants this way? 16 No straw is given to your servants, yet they keep telling us to make bricks. And now your servants are being flogged, but the fault lies with your own people.” 17 “Lazy!” he retorted, “You’re just lazy! That’s why you say, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to Adonai.’ 18 Get going now, and get back to work! No straw will be given to you, and you will still deliver the full amount of bricks.” 19 When they said, “You are not to reduce your daily production quota of bricks,” the foremen of the people of Isra’el could see that they were in deep trouble.

20 As they were leaving Pharaoh, they encountered Moshe and Aharon standing by the road; 21 and they said to them, “May Adonai look at you and judge accordingly, because you have made us utterly abhorrent in the view of Pharaoh and his servants, and you have put a sword in their hands to kill us!” (Maftir) 22 Moshe returned to Adonai and said, “Adonai, why have you treated this people so terribly? What has been the value of sending me? 23 For ever since I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has dealt terribly with this people! And you haven’t rescued your people at all!”

Adonai said to Moshe, “Now you will see what I am going to do to Pharaoh. With a mighty hand he will send them off; with force he will drive them from the land!”

Haftarah Sh’mot: Yesha‘yahu (Isaiah) 27:6–28:13; 29:22–23 (A); Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 1:1–2:3 (S)

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Sh’mot: Mattityahu (Matthew) 22:23–33; 41–46; Mark 12:18–27; 35–37; Luke 20:27–44; Acts 3:12–15; 5:27–32; 7:17–36; 22:12–16; 24:14–16; Messianic Jews (Hebrews) 11:23–26

Parashah 14: Va’era (I appeared) 6:2–9:35

God spoke to Moshe; he said to him, “I am Adonai. I appeared to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai]. Also with them I established my covenant to give them the land of Kena‘an, the land where they wandered about and lived as foreigners. Moreover, I have heard the groaning of the people of Isra’el, whom the Egyptians are keeping in slavery; and I have remembered my covenant.

“Therefore, say to the people of Isra’el: ‘I am Adonai. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am Adonai your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land which I swore to give to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov — I will give it to you as your inheritance. I am Adonai.’”

Moshe said this to the people of Isra’el. But they wouldn’t listen to him, because they were so discouraged, and their slavery was so cruel.

10 Adonai said to Moshe, 11 “Go in; and tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to let the people of Isra’el leave his land.” 12 Moshe said to Adonai, “Look, the people of Isra’el haven’t listened to me; so how will Pharaoh listen to me, poor speaker that I am?” 13 But Adonai spoke to Moshe and Aharon and gave them orders concerning both the people of Isra’el and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, to bring the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt.

(ii) 14 These were the heads of their families: the sons of Re’uven the firstborn of Isra’el were Hanokh, Pallu, Hetzron and Karmi. These were the families of Re’uven.

15 The sons of Shim‘on were Y’mu’el, Yamin, Ohad, Yakhin, Tzochar and Sha’ul the son of a Kena‘ani woman. These were the families of Shim‘on.

16 These are the names of the sons of Levi with their descendants: Gershon, K’hat and M’rari. Levi lived to be 137 years old. 17 The sons of Gershon were Livni and Shim‘i, with their families. 18 The sons of K’hat were ‘Amram, Yitz’har, Hevron and ‘Uzi’el. K’hat lived to be 133 years old. 19 The sons of M’rari were Machli and Mushi. These were the families of Levi with their descendants.

20 ‘Amram married Yokheved his father’s sister, and she bore him Aharon and Moshe. ‘Amram lived to be 137 years old. 21 The sons of Yitz’har were Korach, Nefeg and Zikhri. 22 The sons of ‘Uzi’el were Misha’el, Eltzafan and Sitri. 23 Aharon married Elisheva daughter of ‘Amminadav and sister of Nachshon, and she bore him Nadav, Avihu, El‘azar and Itamar. 24 The sons of Korach were Asir, Elkanah and Avi’asaf. These were the Korchi families. 25 El‘azar the son of Aharon married one of the daughters of Puti’el, and she bore him Pinchas. These were the heads of the families of Levi, family by family.

26 These are the Aharon and Moshe to whom Adonai said, “Bring the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt, division by division,” 27 and who told Pharaoh king of Egypt, to let the people of Isra’el leave Egypt. These are the same Moshe and Aharon.

28 On the day when Adonai spoke to Moshe in the land of Egypt, (iii) 29 he said, “I am Adonai. Tell Pharaoh, king of Egypt, everything I say to you.”

30 Moshe answered Adonai, “Look, I’m such a poor speaker that Pharaoh won’t listen to me.”

But Adonai said to Moshe, “I have put you in the place of God to Pharaoh, and Aharon your brother will be your prophet. You are to say everything I order you, and Aharon your brother is to speak to Pharaoh and tell him to let the people of Isra’el leave his land. But I will make him hardhearted. Even though I will increase my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and bring my armies, my people the sons of Isra’el, out of the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. Then, when I stretch out my hand over Egypt and bring the people of Isra’el out from among them, the Egyptians will know that I am Adonai.

Moshe and Aharon did exactly what Adonai ordered them to do. Moshe was eighty years old and Aharon eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

(iv) Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ tell Aharon to take his staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, so that it can become a snake.” 10 Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and did this, as Adonai had ordered — Aharon threw down his staff in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a snake. 11 But Pharaoh in turn called for the sages and sorcerers; and they too, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing, making use of their secret arts. 12 Each one threw his staff down, and they turned into snakes. But Aharon’s staff swallowed up theirs. 13 Nevertheless, Pharaoh was made hardhearted; and he didn’t listen to them, as Adonai had said would happen.

14 Adonai said to Moshe, “Pharaoh is stubborn. He refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when he goes out to the water. Stand on the riverbank to confront him, take in your hand the staff which was turned into a snake, 16 and say to him, ‘Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you to say: “Let my people go, so that they can worship me in the desert.” But until now you haven’t listened; 17 so Adonai says, “This will let you know that I am Adonai”: I will take the staff in my hand and strike the water in the river, and it will be turned into blood. 18 The fish in the river will die, the river will stink and the Egyptians won’t want to drink water from the river.’”

19 Adonai said to Moshe, “Say to Aharon, ‘Take your staff, reach out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their rivers, canals, ponds and all their reservoirs, so that they can turn into blood. There will be blood throughout the whole land of Egypt, even in the wooden buckets and stone jars.’” 20 Moshe and Aharon did exactly what Adonai had ordered. He raised the staff and, in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants, struck the water in the river; and all the water in the river was turned into blood. 21 The fish in the river died, and the river stank so badly that the Egyptians couldn’t drink its water. There was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.

22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same with their secret arts, so that Pharaoh was made hardhearted and didn’t listen to them, as Adonai had said would happen. 23 Pharaoh just turned and went back to his palace, without taking any of this to heart. 24 All the Egyptians dug around the river for water to drink, because they couldn’t drink the river water.

25 Seven days after Adonai had struck the river, 26 (8:1) Adonai said to Moshe, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Here is what Adonai says: “Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 27 (8:2) If you refuse to let them go, I will strike all your territory with frogs. 28 (8:3) The river will swarm with frogs. They will go up, enter your palace and go into your bedroom, onto your bed. They will enter the houses of your servants and your people and go into your ovens and kneading bowls. 29 (8:4) The frogs will climb all over you, your people and your servants.”’”

(5) Adonai said to Moshe, “Say to Aharon, ‘Reach out your hand with your staff over the rivers, canals and ponds; and cause frogs to come up onto the land of Egypt.’” (6) Aharon put out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. (7) But the magicians did the same with their secret arts and brought up frogs onto the land of Egypt.

(8) Then Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aharon and said, “Intercede with Adonai to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let the people go and sacrifice to Adonai.” (9) Moshe said to Pharaoh, “Not only that, but you can have the honor of naming the time when I will pray for you, your servants and your people to be rid of the frogs, both yourselves and your homes, and that they stay only in the river.” (10) He answered, “Tomorrow.” Moshe said, “It will be as you have said, and from this you will learn that Adonai our God has no equal. (v) (11) The frogs will leave you and your homes, also your servants and your people; they will stay in the river only.” (12) Moshe and Aharon left Pharaoh’s presence, and Moshe cried to Adonai about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. (13) Adonai did as Moshe had asked — the frogs died in the houses, courtyards and fields; 10 (14) they gathered them in heaps till the land stank. 11 (15) But when Pharaoh saw that he had been given some relief, he made himself hardhearted and would not listen to them, just as Adonai had said would happen.

12 (16) Adonai said to Moshe, “Say to Aharon: ‘Reach out with your staff and strike the dust on the ground; it will become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 13 (17) They did it — Aharon reached out his hand with his staff and struck the dust on the ground, and there were lice on people and animals; all the dust on the ground became lice throughout the whole land of Egypt. 14 (18) The magicians tried with their secret arts to produce lice, but they couldn’t. There were lice on people and animals. 15 (19) Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh was made hardhearted, so that he didn’t listen to them, just as Adonai had said would happen.

16 (20) Adonai said to Moshe, “Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh when he goes out to the water and say to him, ‘Here is what Adonai says: “Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 17 (21) Otherwise, if you won’t let my people go, I will send swarms of insects on you, your servants and your people, and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of swarms of insects, and likewise the ground they stand on. 18 (22) But I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people live — no swarms of insects will be there — so that you can realize that I am Adonai, right here in the land. (vi) 19 (23) Yes, I will distinguish between my people and your people, and this sign will happen by tomorrow.”’” 20 (24) Adonai did it: terrible swarms of insects went into Pharaoh’s palace and into all his servants’ houses — the insects ruined the entire land of Egypt.

21 (25) Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aharon and said, “Go, and sacrifice to your God here in the land.” 22 (26) But Moshe replied, “It would be inappropriate for us to do that, because the animal we sacrifice to Adonai our God is an abomination to the Egyptians. Won’t the Egyptians stone us to death if before their very eyes we sacrifice what they consider an abomination? 23 (27) No, we will go three days’ journey into the desert and sacrifice to Adonai our God, as he has ordered us to do.” 24 (28) Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, so that you can sacrifice to Adonai your God in the desert. Only you are not to go very far away. Intercede on my behalf.” 25 (29) Moshe said, “All right, I am going away from you, and I will intercede with Adonai; so that tomorrow, the swarms of insects will leave Pharaoh, his servants and his people. Just make sure that Pharaoh stops playing games with the people by preventing them from going and sacrificing to Adonai.”

26 (30) Moshe left Pharaoh and interceded with Adonai, 27 (31) and Adonai did what Moshe had asked: he removed the swarms of insects from Pharaoh, his servants and his people — not one remained. 28 (32) But this time, too, Pharaoh made himself stubborn and didn’t let the people go.

Then Adonai said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘Here is what Adonai, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they can worship me. If you refuse to let them go and persist in holding on to them, the hand of Adonai is on your livestock in the field — on the horses, donkeys, camels, cattle and flocks — and will make them suffer a devastating illness. But Adonai will distinguish between Egypt’s and Isra’el’s livestock — nothing belonging to the people of Isra’el will die.”’” Adonai determined the exact time by saying, “Tomorrow Adonai will do this in the land.” The following day, Adonai did it — all the livestock of Egypt died; but not one of the animals belonging to the people of Isra’el died. Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the people of Isra’el had died. Nevertheless, Pharaoh’s heart remained stubborn, and he didn’t let the people go.

Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “Take handfuls of ashes from a kiln, and let Moshe throw them in the air before Pharaoh’s eyes. They will turn into fine dust over all the land of Egypt and become infected sores on men and animals throughout Egypt.” 10 So they took ashes from a kiln, stood in front of Pharaoh and threw them in the air; and they became infected sores on men and animals. 11 The magicians couldn’t even stand in Moshe’s presence because of the sores, which were on them as well as on the other Egyptians. 12 But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, so that he didn’t listen to them — just as Adonai had said to Moshe.

13 Adonai said to Moshe, “Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Here is what Adonai says: “Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 14 For this time, I will inflict my plagues on you, yourself, and on your officials and your people; so that you will realize that I am without equal in all the earth. 15 By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with such severe plagues that you would have been wiped off the earth. 16 But it is for this very reason that I have kept you alive — to show you my power, and so that my name may resound throughout the whole earth. (vii) 17 Since you are still setting yourself up against my people and not letting them go, 18 tomorrow, about this time, I will cause a hailstorm so heavy that Egypt has had nothing like it from the day it was founded until now. 19 Therefore, send and hurry to bring indoors all your livestock and everything else you have in the field. For hail will fall on every human being and animal left in the field that hasn’t been brought home, and they will die.”’”

20 Whoever among Pharaoh’s servants feared what Adonai had said had his slaves and livestock escape into the houses; 21 but those who had no regard for what Adonai had said left their slaves and livestock in the field.

22 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach out your hand toward the sky, so that there will be hail in all the land of Egypt, falling on people, animals and everything growing in the field, throughout the land of Egypt.” 23 Moshe reached out with his staff toward the sky, and Adonai sent thunder and hail, and fire ran down to the earth. Adonai caused it to hail on the land of Egypt — 24 it hailed, and fire flashed up with the hail; it was terrible, worse than any hailstorm in all of Egypt since it became a nation. 25 Throughout all the land of Egypt, the hail struck everything in the field, people and animals; and the hail struck every plant growing in the field and broke every tree there. 26 But in the land of Goshen, where the people of Isra’el were, there was no hail.

27 Pharaoh summoned Moshe and Aharon and said to them, “This time I have sinned: Adonai is in the right; I and my people are in the wrong. 28 Intercede with Adonai — we can’t take any more of this terrible thunder and hail; and I will let you go, you will stay no longer.” 29 Moshe said to him, “As soon as I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands to Adonai; the thunder will end, and there won’t be any more hail — so that you can know that the earth belongs to Adonai. 30 But you and your servants, I know you still won’t fear Adonai, God.” 31 The flax and barley were ruined, because the barley was ripe and the flax in bud. 32 But the wheat and buckwheat were not ruined, because they come up later. (Maftir) 33 Moshe went out of the city, away from Pharaoh, and spread out his hands to Adonai. The thunder and hail ended, and the rain stopped pouring down on the earth. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail and thunder had ended, he sinned still more by making himself hardhearted, he and his servants. 35 Pharaoh was made hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el go, just as Adonai had said through Moshe.

Haftarah Va’era: Yechezk’el (Ezekiel) 28:25–29:21

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Va’era: Romans 9:14–17; 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1

Parashah 15: Bo (Go) 10:1–13:16

10 Adonai said to Moshe, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have made him and his servants hardhearted, so that I can demonstrate these signs of mine among them, so that you can tell your son and grandson about what I did to Egypt and about my signs that I demonstrated among them, and so that you will all know that I am Adonai.” Moshe and Aharon went in to Pharaoh and said to him, “Here is what Adonai, God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How much longer will you refuse to submit to me? Let my people go, so that they can worship me. Otherwise, if you refuse to let my people go, tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. One won’t be able to see the ground, so completely will the locusts cover it. They will eat anything you still have that escaped the hail, including every tree you have growing in the field. They will fill your houses and those of your servants and of all the Egyptians. It will be like nothing your fathers or their fathers have ever seen since the day they were born until today.’” Then he turned his back and left.

Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How much longer must this fellow be a snare for us? Let the people go and worship Adonai their God. Don’t you understand yet that Egypt is being destroyed?” So Moshe and Aharon were brought to Pharaoh again, and he said to them, “Go, worship Adonai your God. But who exactly is going?” Moshe answered, “We will go with our young and our old, our sons and our daughters; and we will go with our flocks and herds; for we must celebrate a feast to Adonai.” 10 Pharaoh said to them, “Adonai certainly will be with you if I ever let you go with your children! It’s clear that you are up to no good. 11 Nothing doing! Just the men among you may go and worship Adonai. That’s what you want, isn’t it?” And they were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

(ii) 12 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach out your hand over the land of Egypt, so that locusts will invade the land and eat every plant that the hail has left.” 13 Moshe reached out with his staff over the land of Egypt, and Adonai caused an east wind to blow on the land all day and all night; and in the morning the east wind brought the locusts. 14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled throughout Egypt’s territory. It was an invasion more severe than there had ever been before or will ever be again. 15 They completely covered the ground, so that the ground looked black. They ate every plant growing from the ground and all the fruit of the trees left by the hail. Not one green thing remained, not a tree and not a plant in the field, in all the land of Egypt.

16 Pharaoh hurried to summon Moshe and Aharon and said, “I have sinned against Adonai your God and against you. 17 Now, therefore, please forgive my sin just this once; and intercede with Adonai your God, so that he will at least take away from me this deadly plague!” 18 He went out from Pharaoh and interceded with Adonai. 19 Adonai reversed the wind and made it blow very strongly from the west. It took up the locusts and drove them into the Sea of Suf; not one locust remained on Egyptian soil. 20 But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el go.

21 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach out your hand toward the sky, and there will be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness so thick it can be felt!” 22 Moshe reached out his hand toward the sky, and there was a thick darkness in the entire land of Egypt for three days. 23 People couldn’t see each other, and no one went anywhere for three days. But all the people of Isra’el had light in their homes.

(iii) 24 Pharaoh summoned Moshe and said, “Go, worship Adonai; only leave your flocks and herds behind — your children may go with you.” 25 Moshe answered, “You must also see to it that we have sacrifices and burnt offerings, so that we can sacrifice to Adonai our God. 26 Our livestock will also go with us — not a hoof will be left behind — because we must choose some of them to worship Adonai our God, and we don’t know which ones we will need to worship Adonai until we get there.” 27 But Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he would not let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to them, “Get away from me! And you had better not see my face again, because the day you see my face, you will die!” 29 Moshe answered, “Well spoken! I will see your face no more.”

11 Adonai said to Moshe, “I’m going to bring still one more plague on Pharaoh and Egypt, and after that he will let you leave here. When he does let you go, he will throw you out completely! Now tell the people that every man is to ask his neighbor and every woman her neighbor for gold and silver jewelry.” Adonai made the Egyptians favorably disposed toward the people. Moreover, Moshe was regarded by Pharaoh’s servants and the people as a very great man in the land of Egypt.

(iv) Moshe said, “Here is what Adonai says: ‘About midnight I will go out into Egypt, and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the slave-girl at the handmill, and all the firstborn of the livestock. There will be a horrendous wailing throughout all the land of Egypt — there has never been another like it, and there never will be again. But not even a dog’s growl will be heard against any of the people of Isra’el, neither against people nor against animals. In this way you will realize that Adonai distinguishes between Egyptians and Isra’el. All your servants will come down to me, prostrate themselves before me and say, “Get out! — you and all the people who follow you!” and after that, I will go out!’ ” And he went out from Pharaoh in the heat of anger. Adonai said to Moshe, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that still more of my wonders will be shown in the land of Egypt.”

10 Moshe and Aharon did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but Adonai had made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he didn’t let the people of Isra’el leave his land.

12 Adonai spoke to Moshe and Aharon in the land of Egypt; he said, “You are to begin your calendar with this month; it will be the first month of the year for you. Speak to all the assembly of Isra’el and say, ‘On the tenth day of this month, each man is to take a lamb or kid for his family, one per household — except that if the household is too small for a whole lamb or kid, then he and his next-door neighbor should share one, dividing it in proportion to the number of people eating it. Your animal must be without defect, a male in its first year, and you may choose it from either the sheep or the goats.

“‘You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and then the entire assembly of the community of Isra’el will slaughter it at dusk. They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it. That night, they are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire; they are to eat it with matzah and maror. Don’t eat it raw or boiled, but roasted in the fire, with its head, the lower parts of its legs and its inner organs. 10 Let nothing of it remain till morning; if any of it does remain, burn it up completely.

11 “‘Here is how you are to eat it: with your belt fastened, your shoes on your feet and your staff in your hand; and you are to eat it hurriedly. It is Adonai’s Pesach [Passover]. 12 For that night, I will pass through the land of Egypt and kill all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both men and animals; and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; I am Adonai. 13 The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over [a] you — when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you.

14 “‘This will be a day for you to remember and celebrate as a festival to Adonai; from generation to generation you are to celebrate it by a perpetual regulation.

15 “‘For seven days you are to eat matzah — on the first day remove the leaven from your houses. For whoever eats hametz [leavened bread] from the first to the seventh day is to be cut off from Isra’el. 16 On the first and seventh days, you are to have an assembly set aside for God. On these days no work is to be done, except what each must do to prepare his food; you may do only that. 17 You are to observe the festival of matzah, for on this very day I brought your divisions out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you are to observe this day from generation to generation by a perpetual regulation. 18 From the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month until the evening of the twenty-first day, you are to eat matzah. 19 During those seven days, no leaven is to be found in your houses. Whoever eats food with hametz in it is to be cut off from the community of Isra’el — it doesn’t matter whether he is a foreigner or a citizen of the land. 20 Eat nothing with hametz in it. Wherever you live, eat matzah.’”

(v) 21 Then Moshe called for all the leaders of Isra’el and said, “Select and take lambs for your families, and slaughter the Pesach lamb. 22 Take a bunch of hyssop leaves and dip it in the blood which is in the basin, and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame. Then, none of you is to go out the door of his house until morning. 23 For Adonai will pass through to kill the Egyptians; but when he sees the blood on the top and on the two sides, Adonai will pass over the door and will not allow the Slaughterer to enter your houses and kill you. 24 You are to observe this as a law, you and your descendants forever.

25 “When you come to the land which Adonai will give you, as he has promised, you are to observe this ceremony. 26 When your children ask you, ‘What do you mean by this ceremony?’ 27 say, ‘It is the sacrifice of Adonai’s Pesach [Passover], because [Adonai] passed over the houses of the people of Isra’el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses.’” The people of Isra’el bowed their heads and worshipped. 28 Then the people of Isra’el went and did as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon — that is what they did.

(vi) 29 At midnight Adonai killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh sitting on his throne to the firstborn of the prisoner in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of livestock. 30 Pharaoh got up in the night, he, all his servants and all the Egyptians; and there was horrendous wailing in Egypt; for there wasn’t a single house without someone dead in it. 31 He summoned Moshe and Aharon by night and said, “Up and leave my people, both you and the people of Isra’el; and go, serve Adonai as you said. 32 Take both your flocks and your herds, as you said; and get out of here! But bless me, too.” 33 The Egyptians pressed to send the people out of the land quickly, because they said, “Otherwise we’ll all be dead!”

34 The people took their dough before it had become leavened and wrapped their kneading bowls in their clothes on their shoulders. 35 The people of Isra’el had done what Moshe had said — they had asked the Egyptians to give them silver and gold jewelry and clothing; 36 and Adonai had made the Egyptians so favorably disposed toward the people that they had let them have whatever they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

37 The people of Isra’el traveled from Ra‘amses to Sukkot, some six hundred thousand men on foot, not counting children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, as well as livestock in large numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked matzah loaves from the dough they had brought out of Egypt, since it was unleavened; because they had been driven out of Egypt without time to prepare supplies for themselves.

40 The time the people of Isra’el lived in Egypt was 430 years. 41 At the end of 430 years to the day, all the divisions of Adonai left the land of Egypt. 42 This was a night when Adonai kept vigil to bring them out of the land of Egypt, and this same night continues to be a night when Adonai keeps vigil for all the people of Isra’el through all their generations.

43 Adonai said to Moshe and Aharon, “This is the regulation for the Pesach lamb: no foreigner is to eat it. 44 But if anyone has a slave he bought for money, when you have circumcised him, he may eat it. 45 Neither a traveler nor a hired servant may eat it. 46 It is to be eaten in one house. You are not to take any of the meat outside the house, and you are not to break any of its bones. 47 The whole community of Isra’el is to keep it. 48 If a foreigner staying with you wants to observe Adonai’s Pesach, all his males must be circumcised. Then he may take part and observe it; he will be like a citizen of the land. But no uncircumcised person is to eat it. 49 The same teaching is to apply equally to the citizen and to the foreigner living among you.”

50 All the people of Isra’el did just as Adonai had ordered Moshe and Aharon. 51 On that very day, Adonai brought the people of Isra’el out of the land of Egypt by their divisions.

13 (vii) Adonai said to Moshe, “Set aside for me all the firstborn. Whatever is first from the womb among the people of Isra’el, both of humans and of animals, belongs to me.” Moshe said to the people, “Remember this day, on which you left Egypt, the abode of slavery; because Adonai, by the strength of his hand, has brought you out of this place. Do not eat hametz. You are leaving today, in the month of Aviv. When Adonai brings you into the land of the Kena‘ani, Hitti, Emori, Hivi and Y’vusi, which he swore to your ancestors to give you, a land flowing with milk and honey, you are to observe this ceremony in this month. For seven days you are to eat matzah, and the seventh day is to be a festival for Adonai. Matzah is to be eaten throughout the seven days; neither hametz nor leavening agents are to be seen with you throughout your territory. On that day you are to tell your son, ‘It is because of what Adonai did for me when I left Egypt.’

“Moreover, it will serve you as a sign on your hand and as a reminder between your eyes, so that Adonai’s Torah may be on your lips; because with a strong hand Adonai brought you out of Egypt. 10 Therefore you are to observe this regulation at its proper time, year after year. 11 When Adonai brings you into the land of the Kena‘ani, as he swore to you and your ancestors, and gives it to you, 12 you are to set apart for Adonai everything that is first from the womb. Every firstborn male animal will belong to Adonai. 13 Every firstborn from a donkey, you are to redeem with a lamb; but if you choose not to redeem it, you must break its neck. But from people, you are to redeem every firstborn son. (Maftir) 14 When, at some future time, your son asks you, ‘What is this?’ then say to him, ‘With a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt, out of the abode of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh was unwilling to let us go, Adonai killed all the firstborn males in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of humans and the firstborn of animals. This is why I sacrifice to Adonai any male that is first from the womb of an animal, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ 16 This will serve as a sign on your hand and at the front of a headband around your forehead that with a strong hand Adonai brought us out of Egypt.”

Haftarah Bo: Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 46:13–28

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Bo: Luke 2:22–24; Yochanan (John) 19:31–37; Acts 13:16 –17; Revelation 8:6–9:12; 16:1–21

Parashah 16: B’shallach (After he had let go) 13:17–17:16

17 After Pharaoh had let the people go, God did not guide them to the highway that goes through the land of the P’lishtim, because it was close by — God thought that the people, upon seeing war, might change their minds and return to Egypt. 18 Rather, God led the people by a roundabout route, through the desert by the Sea of Suf. The people of Isra’el went up from the land of Egypt fully armed.

19 Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for Yosef had made the people of Isra’el swear an oath when he said, “God will certainly remember you; and you are to carry my bones up with you, away from here.”

20 They traveled from Sukkot and set up camp in Etam, at the edge of the desert. 21 Adonai went ahead of them in a column of cloud during the daytime to lead them on their way, and at night in a column of fire to give them light; thus they could travel both by day and by night. 22 Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire at night went away from in front of the people.

14 Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el to turn around and set up camp in front of Pi-Hachirot, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Ba‘al-Tz’fon; camp opposite it, by the sea. Then Pharaoh will say that the people of Isra’el are wandering aimlessly in the countryside, the desert has closed in on them. I will make Pharaoh so hardhearted that he will pursue them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will realize at last that I am Adonai.” The people did as ordered.

When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his servants had a change of heart toward the people. They said, “What have we done, letting Isra’el stop being our slaves?” So he prepared his chariots and took his people with him — he took 600 first-quality chariots, as well as all the other chariots in Egypt, along with their commanders. Adonai made Pharaoh hardhearted, and he pursued the people of Isra’el, as they left boldly. (ii) The Egyptians went after them, all the horses and chariots of Pharaoh, with his cavalry and army, and overtook them as they were encamped by the sea, by Pi-Hachirot, in front of Ba‘al-Tz’fon. 10 As Pharaoh approached, the people of Isra’el looked up and saw the Egyptians right there, coming after them. In great fear the people of Isra’el cried out to Adonai 11 and said to Moshe, “Was it because there weren’t enough graves in Egypt that you brought us out to die in the desert? Why have you done this to us, bringing us out of Egypt? 12 Didn’t we tell you in Egypt to let us alone, we’ll just go on being slaves for the Egyptians? It would be better for us to be the Egyptians’ slaves than to die in the desert!” 13 Moshe answered the people, “Stop being so fearful! Remain steady, and you will see how Adonai is going to save you. He will do it today — today you have seen the Egyptians, but you will never see them again! 14 Adonai will do battle for you. Just calm yourselves down!”

(A: iii) 15 Adonai asked Moshe, “Why are you crying to me? Tell the people of Isra’el to go forward! 16 Lift your staff, reach out with your hand over the sea, and divide it in two. The people of Isra’el will advance into the sea on dry ground. 17 As for me, I will make the Egyptians hardhearted; and they will march in after them; thus I will win glory for myself at the expense of Pharaoh and all his army, chariots and cavalry. 18 Then the Egyptians will realize that I am Adonai, when I have won myself glory at the expense of Pharaoh, his chariots and his cavalry.”

19 Next, the angel of God, who was going ahead of the camp of Isra’el, moved away and went behind them; and the column of cloud moved away from in front of them and stood behind them. 20 It stationed itself between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Isra’el — there was cloud and darkness here, but light by night there; so that the one did not come near the other all night long.

21 Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and Adonai caused the sea to go back before a strong east wind all night. He made the sea become dry land, and its water was divided in two. 22 Then the people of Isra’el went into the sea on the dry ground, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left.

23 The Egyptians continued their pursuit, going after them into the sea — all Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and cavalry. 24 Just before dawn, Adonai looked out on the Egyptian army through the column of fire and cloud and threw them into a panic. 25 He caused the wheels of their chariots to break off, so that they could move only with difficulty. The Egyptians said, “Adonai is fighting for Isra’el against the Egyptians! Let’s get away from them!”

(A: iv, S: iii) 26 Adonai said to Moshe, “Reach your hand out over the sea, and the water will return and cover the Egyptians with their chariots and cavalry.” 27 Moshe reached his hand out over the sea, and by dawn the sea had returned to its former depth. The Egyptians tried to flee, but Adonai swept them into the sea. 28 The water came back and covered all the chariots and cavalry of Pharaoh’s army who had followed them into the sea — not even one of them was left. 29 But the people of Isra’el walked on dry ground in the sea, with the water walled up for them on their right and on their left.

30 On that day, Adonai saved Isra’el from the Egyptians; Isra’el saw the Egyptians dead on the shore. 31 When Isra’el saw the mighty deed that Adonai had performed against the Egyptians, the people feared Adonai, and they believed in Adonai and in his servant Moshe.

15 Then Moshe and the people of Isra’el sang this song to Adonai:

“I will sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted:
the horse and its rider he threw in the sea.

Yah is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.
This is my God: I will glorify him;
my father’s God: I will exalt him.
Adonai is a warrior;
Adonai is his name.

Pharaoh’s chariots and his army
he hurled into the sea.
His elite commanders
were drowned in the Sea of Suf.
The deep waters covered them;
they sank to the depths like a stone.

Your right hand, Adonai, is sublimely powerful;
your right hand, Adonai, shatters the foe.
By your great majesty you bring down your enemies;
you send out your wrath to consume them like stubble.

With a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up —
the waters stood up like a wall,
the depths of the sea became firm ground.
The enemy said, ‘I will pursue and overtake,
divide the spoil and gorge myself on them.
I will draw my sword; my hand will destroy them.’
10 You blew with your wind, the sea covered them,
they sank like lead in the mighty waters.

11 Who is like you, Adonai, among the mighty?
Who is like you, sublime in holiness,
awesome in praises, working wonders?

12 You reached out with your right hand:
the earth swallowed them.
13 In your love, you led the people you redeemed;
in your strength, you guided them to your holy abode.

14 The peoples have heard, and they tremble;
anguish takes hold of those living in P’leshet;
15 then the chiefs of Edom are dismayed;
trepidation seizes the heads of Mo’av;
all those living in Kena‘an are melted away.
16 Terror and dread fall on them;
by the might of your arm they are still as stone
until your people pass over, Adonai,
till the people you purchased pass over.

17 You will bring them in and plant them
on the mountain which is your heritage,
the place, Adonai, that you made your abode,
the sanctuary, Adonai, which your hands established.

18 Adonai will reign forever and ever.

19 For the horses of Pharaoh went with his chariots
and with his cavalry into the sea,
but Adonai brought the sea waters back upon them,
while the people of Isra’el walked on dry land
in the midst of the sea!”

20 Also Miryam the prophet, sister of Aharon, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with tambourines, dancing, 21 as Miryam sang to them:

“Sing to Adonai, for he is highly exalted!
The horse and its rider he threw in the sea!”

22 Moshe led Isra’el onward from the Sea of Suf. They went out into the Shur Desert; but after traveling three days in the desert, they had found no water. 23 They arrived at Marah but couldn’t drink the water there, because it was bitter. This is why they called it Marah [bitterness]. 24 The people grumbled against Moshe and asked, “What are we to drink?” 25 Moshe cried to Adonai; and Adonai showed him a certain piece of wood, which, when he threw it into the water, made the water taste good. There Adonai made laws and rules of life for them, and there he tested them. 26 He said, “If you will listen intently to the voice of Adonai your God, do what he considers right, pay attention to his mitzvot and observe his laws, I will not afflict you with any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians; because I am Adonai your healer.”

(A: v, S: iv) 27 They came to Eilim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and camped there by the water.

16 They traveled on from Eilim, and the whole community of the people of Isra’el arrived at the Seen Desert, between Eilim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after leaving the land of Egypt. There in the desert the whole community of the people of Isra’el grumbled against Moshe and Aharon. The people of Isra’el said to them, “We wish Adonai had used his own hand to kill us off in Egypt! There we used to sit around the pots with the meat boiling, and we had as much food as we wanted. But you have taken us out into this desert to let this whole assembly starve to death!”

Adonai said to Moshe, “Here, I will cause bread to rain down from heaven for you. The people are to go out and gather a day’s ration every day. By this I will test whether they will observe my Torah or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have brought in, it will turn out to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” Moshe and Aharon said to all the people of Isra’el, “This evening, you will realize that it has been Adonai who brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning, you will see Adonai’s glory. For he has listened to your grumblings against Adonai — what are we that you should grumble against us?” Moshe added, “What I have said will happen when Adonai gives you meat to eat this evening and your fill of bread tomorrow morning. Adonai has listened to your complaints and grumblings against him — what are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against Adonai.”

Moshe said to Aharon, “Say to the whole community of Isra’el, ‘Come close, into the presence of Adonai, for he has heard your grumblings.’” 10 As Aharon spoke to the whole community of the people of Isra’el, they looked toward the desert; and there before them the glory of Adonai appeared in the cloud; (A: vi, S: v) 11 and Adonai said to Moshe, 12 “I have heard the grumblings of the people of Isra’el. Say to them: ‘At dusk you will be eating meat, and in the morning you will have your fill of bread. Then you will realize that I am Adonai your God.’”

13 That evening, quails came up and covered the camp; while in the morning there was a layer of dew all around the camp. 14 When the dew had evaporated, there on the surface of the desert was a fine flaky substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 When the people of Isra’el saw it, they asked each other, “Man hu? [What is it?]” because they didn’t know what it was. Moshe answered them, “It is the bread which Adonai has given you to eat. 16 Here is what Adonai has ordered: each man is to gather according to his appetite — each is to take an ‘omer [two quarts] per person for everyone in his tent.” 17 The people of Isra’el did this. Some gathered more, some less; 18 but when they put it in an ‘omer-measure, whoever had gathered much had no excess; and whoever had gathered little had no shortage; nevertheless each person had gathered according to his appetite.

19 Moshe told them, “No one is to leave any of it till morning.” 20 But they didn’t pay attention to Moshe, and some kept the leftovers until morning. It bred worms and rotted, which made Moshe angry at them. 21 So they gathered it morning after morning, each person according to his appetite; but as the sun grew hot, it melted.

22 On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two ‘omers per person; and all the community leaders came and reported to Moshe. 23 He told them, “This is what Adonai has said: ‘Tomorrow is a holy Shabbat for Adonai. Bake what you want to bake; boil what you want to boil; and whatever is left over, set aside and keep for the morning.’” 24 They set it aside till morning, as Moshe had ordered; and it didn’t rot or have worms. 25 Moshe said, “Today, eat that; because today is a Shabbat for Adonai — today you won’t find it in the field. 26 Gather it six days, but the seventh day is the Shabbat — on that day there won’t be any.” 27 However, on the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather and found none.

28 Adonai said to Moshe, “How long will you refuse to observe my mitzvot and teachings? 29 Look, Adonai has given you the Shabbat. This is why he is providing bread for two days on the sixth day. Each of you, stay where you are; no one is to leave his place on the seventh day.” (S: vi) 30 So the people rested on the seventh day.

31 The people called the food man. It was like coriander seed, white; and it tasted like honey cakes. 32 Moshe said, “Here is what Adonai has ordered: ‘Let two quarts of man be kept through all your generations, so that they will be able to see the bread which I fed you in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.’” 33 Moshe said to Aharon, “Take a jar, put in it two quarts of man, and set it aside before Adonai to be kept through all your generations.” 34 Just as Adonai ordered Moshe, Aharon set it aside before the testimony to be kept. 35 The people of Isra’el ate man for forty years, until they came to an inhabited land. They ate man until they arrived at the borders of the land of Kena‘an. 36 (An ‘omer is one-tenth of an eifah [which is a bushel dry-measure].)

17 (vii) The whole community of the people of Isra’el left the Seen Desert, traveling in stages, as Adonai had ordered, and camped at Refidim; but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moshe, demanding, “Give us water to drink!” But Moshe replied, “Why pick a fight with me? Why are you testing Adonai?” However, the people were thirsty for water there and grumbled against Moshe, “For what did you bring us up from Egypt? To kill us, our children and our livestock with thirst?”

Moshe cried out to Adonai, “What am I to do with these people? They’re ready to stone me!” Adonai answered Moshe, “Go on ahead of the people, and bring with you the leaders of Isra’el. Take your staff in your hand, the one you used to strike the river; and go. I will stand in front of you there on the rock in Horev. You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it, so the people can drink.” Moshe did this in the sight of the leaders of Isra’el. The place was named Massah [testing] and M’rivah [quarreling] because of the quarreling of the people of Isra’el and because they tested Adonai by asking, “Is Adonai with us or not?”

Then ‘Amalek came and fought with Isra’el at Refidim. Moshe said to Y’hoshua, “Choose men for us, go out, and fight with ‘Amalek. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with God’s staff in my hand.” 10 Y’hoshua did as Moshe had told him and fought with ‘Amalek. Then Moshe, Aharon and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 When Moshe raised his hand, Isra’el prevailed; but when he let it down, ‘Amalek prevailed. 12 However, Moshe’s hands grew heavy; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Hur held up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other; so that his hands stayed steady until sunset. 13 Thus Y’hoshua defeated ‘Amalek, putting their people to the sword.

(Maftir) 14 Adonai said to Moshe, “Write this in a book to be remembered, and tell it to Y’hoshua: I will completely blot out any memory of ‘Amalek from under heaven.” 15 Moshe built an altar, called it Adonai Nissi [Adonai is my banner/miracle], 16 and said, “Because their hand was against the throne of Yah, Adonai will fight ‘Amalek generation after generation.”

Haftarah B’shallach: Shof’tim (Judges) 4:4–5:31 (A); 5:1–31 (S)

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah B’shallach: Luke 2:22–24; Yochanan (John) 6:25–35; 19:31–37; 1 Corinthians 10:1–13; 2 Corinthians 8:1–15; Revelation 15:1–4

Parashah 17: Yitro (Jethro) 18:1–20:23(26)

18 Now Yitro the priest of Midyan, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard about all that God had done for Moshe and for Isra’el his people, how Adonai had brought Isra’el out of Egypt. After Moshe had sent away his wife Tzipporah and her two sons, Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law had taken them back. The name of the one son was Gershom, for Moshe had said, “I have been a foreigner in a foreign land.” The name of the other was Eli‘ezer [my God helps], “because the God of my father helped me by rescuing me from Pharaoh’s sword.” Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law brought Moshe’s sons and wife to him in the desert where he was encamped, at the mountain of God. He sent word to Moshe, “I, your father-in-law Yitro, am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.”

Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law, prostrated himself and kissed him. Then, after inquiring of each other’s welfare, they entered the tent. Moshe told his father-in-law all that Adonai had done to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Isra’el’s sake, all the hardships they had suffered while traveling and how Adonai had rescued them. Yitro rejoiced over all the good that Adonai had done for Isra’el by rescuing them from the Egyptians. 10 Yitro said, “Blessed be Adonai, who has rescued you from the Egyptians and from Pharaoh, who has rescued the people from the harsh hand of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that Adonai is greater than all other gods, because he rescued those who were treated so arrogantly.” 12 Yitro Moshe’s father-in-law brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God, and Aharon came with all the leaders of Isra’el to share the meal before God with Moshe’s father-in-law.

(ii) 13 The following day Moshe sat to settle disputes for the people, while the people stood around Moshe from morning till evening. 14 When Moshe’s father-in-law saw all that he was doing to the people, he said, “What is this that you are doing to the people? Why do you sit there alone, with all the people standing around you from morning till evening?” 15 Moshe answered his father-in-law, “It’s because the people come to me seeking God’s guidance. 16 Whenever they have a dispute, it comes to me; I judge between one person and another, and I explain to them God’s laws and teachings.”

17 Moshe’s father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing isn’t good. 18 You will certainly wear yourself out — and not only yourself, but these people here with you as well. It’s too much for you — you can’t do it alone, by yourself. 19 So listen now to what I have to say. I will give you some advice, and God will be with you. You should represent the people before God, and you should bring their cases to God. 20 You should also teach them the laws and the teachings, and show them how to live their lives and what work they should do. 21 But you should choose from among all the people competent men who are God-fearing, honest and incorruptible to be their leaders, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 22 Normally, they will settle the people’s disputes. They should bring you the difficult cases; but ordinary matters they should decide themselves. In this way, they will make it easier for you and share the load with you. 23 If you do this — and God is directing you to do it — you will be able to endure; and all these people too will arrive at their destination peacefully.”

(iii) 24 Moshe paid attention to his father-in-law’s counsel and did everything he said. 25 Moshe chose competent men from all Isra’el and made them heads over the people, in charge of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. 26 As a general rule, they settled the people’s disputes — the difficult cases they brought to Moshe, but every simple matter they decided themselves.

27 Then Moshe let his father-in-law leave, and he went off to his own country.

19 (iv) In the third month after the people of Isra’el had left the land of Egypt, the same day they came to the Sinai Desert. After setting out from Refidim and arriving at the Sinai Desert, they set up camp in the desert; there in front of the mountain, Isra’el set up camp.

Moshe went up to God, and Adonai called to him from the mountain: “Here is what you are to say to the household of Ya‘akov, to tell the people of Isra’el: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you will pay careful attention to what I say and keep my covenant, then you will be my own treasure from among all the peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you will be a kingdom of cohanim for me, a nation set apart.’ These are the words you are to speak to the people of Isra’el.”

Footnotes:

  1. Exodus 12:13 Hebrew: pasach
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)

Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.

Exodus 1-38The Message (MSG)

1-5 These are the names of the Israelites who went to Egypt with Jacob, each bringing his family members:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah,

Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin,

Dan and Naphtali, Gad and Asher.

Seventy persons in all generated by Jacob’s seed. Joseph was already in Egypt.

6-7 Then Joseph died, and all his brothers—that whole generation. But the children of Israel kept on reproducing. They were very prolific—a population explosion in their own right—and the land was filled with them.

“A New King . . . Who Didn’t Know Joseph”

8-10 A new king came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. He spoke to his people in alarm, “There are way too many of these Israelites for us to handle. We’ve got to do something: Let’s devise a plan to contain them, lest if there’s a war they should join our enemies, or just walk off and leave us.”

11-14 So they organized them into work-gangs and put them to hard labor under gang-foremen. They built the storage cities Pithom and Rameses for Pharaoh. But the harder the Egyptians worked them the more children the Israelites had—children everywhere! The Egyptians got so they couldn’t stand the Israelites and treated them worse than ever, crushing them with slave labor. They made them miserable with hard labor—making bricks and mortar and back-breaking work in the fields. They piled on the work, crushing them under the cruel workload.

15-16 The king of Egypt had a talk with the two Hebrew midwives; one was named Shiphrah and the other Puah. He said, “When you deliver the Hebrew women, look at the sex of the baby. If it’s a boy, kill him; if it’s a girl, let her live.”

17-18 But the midwives had far too much respect for God and didn’t do what the king of Egypt ordered; they let the boy babies live. The king of Egypt called in the midwives. “Why didn’t you obey my orders? You’ve let those babies live!”

19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, “The Hebrew women aren’t like the Egyptian women; they’re vigorous. Before the midwife can get there, they’ve already had the baby.”

20-21 God was pleased with the midwives. The people continued to increase in number—a very strong people. And because the midwives honored God, God gave them families of their own.

22 So Pharaoh issued a general order to all his people: “Every boy that is born, drown him in the Nile. But let the girls live.”

Moses

1-3 A man from the family of Levi married a Levite woman. The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw there was something special about him and hid him. She hid him for three months. When she couldn’t hide him any longer she got a little basket-boat made of papyrus, waterproofed it with tar and pitch, and placed the child in it. Then she set it afloat in the reeds at the edge of the Nile.

4-6 The baby’s older sister found herself a vantage point a little way off and watched to see what would happen to him. Pharaoh’s daughter came down to the Nile to bathe; her maidens strolled on the bank. She saw the basket-boat floating in the reeds and sent her maid to get it. She opened it and saw the child—a baby crying! Her heart went out to him. She said, “This must be one of the Hebrew babies.”

Then his sister was before her: “Do you want me to go and get a nursing mother from the Hebrews so she can nurse the baby for you?”

Pharaoh’s daughter said, “Yes. Go.” The girl went and called the child’s mother.

Pharaoh’s daughter told her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me. I’ll pay you.” The woman took the child and nursed him.

10 After the child was weaned, she presented him to Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him as her son. She named him Moses (Pulled-Out), saying, “I pulled him out of the water.”

11-12 Time passed. Moses grew up. One day he went and saw his brothers, saw all that hard labor. Then he saw an Egyptian hit a Hebrew—one of his relatives! He looked this way and then that; when he realized there was no one in sight, he killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand.

13 The next day he went out there again. Two Hebrew men were fighting. He spoke to the man who started it: “Why are you hitting your neighbor?”

14 The man shot back: “Who do you think you are, telling us what to do? Are you going to kill me the way you killed that Egyptian?”

Then Moses panicked: “Word’s gotten out—people know about this.”

15 Pharaoh heard about it and tried to kill Moses, but Moses got away to the land of Midian. He sat down by a well.

16-17 The priest of Midian had seven daughters. They came and drew water, filling the troughs and watering their father’s sheep. When some shepherds came and chased the girls off, Moses came to their rescue and helped them water their sheep.

18 When they got home to their father, Reuel, he said, “That didn’t take long. Why are you back so soon?”

19 “An Egyptian,” they said, “rescued us from a bunch of shepherds. Why, he even drew water for us and watered the sheep.”

20 He said, “So where is he? Why did you leave him behind? Invite him so he can have something to eat with us.”

21-22 Moses agreed to settle down there with the man, who then gave his daughter Zipporah (Bird) to him for his wife. She had a son, and Moses named him Gershom (Sojourner), saying, “I’m a sojourner in a foreign country.”

23 Many years later the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned under their slavery and cried out. Their cries for relief from their hard labor ascended to God:

24 God listened to their groanings.

God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.

25 God saw what was going on with Israel.

God understood.

1-2 Moses was shepherding the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the west end of the wilderness and came to the mountain of God, Horeb. The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire blazing out of the middle of a bush. He looked. The bush was blazing away but it didn’t burn up.

Moses said, “What’s going on here? I can’t believe this! Amazing! Why doesn’t the bush burn up?”

God saw that he had stopped to look. God called to him from out of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

He said, “Yes? I’m right here!”

God said, “Don’t come any closer. Remove your sandals from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground.”

Then he said, “I am the God of your father: The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.”

Moses hid his face, afraid to look at God.

7-8 God said, “I’ve taken a good, long look at the affliction of my people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries for deliverance from their slave masters; I know all about their pain. And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt, get them out of that country and bring them to a good land with wide-open spaces, a land lush with milk and honey, the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite.

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship Godour God.’

19-22 “I know that the king of Egypt won’t let you go unless forced to, so I’ll intervene and hit Egypt where it hurts—oh, my miracles will send them reeling!—after which they’ll be glad to send you off. I’ll see to it that this people get a hearty send-off by the Egyptians—when you leave, you won’t leave empty-handed! Each woman will ask her neighbor and any guests in her house for objects of silver and gold, for jewelry and extra clothes; you’ll put them on your sons and daughters. Oh, you’ll clean the Egyptians out!”

Moses objected, “They won’t trust me. They won’t listen to a word I say. They’re going to say, ‘God? Appear to him? Hardly!’”

So God said, “What’s that in your hand?”

“A staff.”

“Throw it on the ground.” He threw it. It became a snake; Moses jumped back—fast!

4-5 God said to Moses, “Reach out and grab it by the tail.” He reached out and grabbed it—and he was holding his staff again. “That’s so they will trust that God appeared to you, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”

God then said, “Put your hand inside your shirt.” He slipped his hand under his shirt, then took it out. His hand had turned leprous, like snow.

He said, “Put your hand back under your shirt.” He did it, then took it back out—as healthy as before.

8-9 “So if they don’t trust you and aren’t convinced by the first sign, the second sign should do it. But if it doesn’t, if even after these two signs they don’t trust you and listen to your message, take some water out of the Nile and pour it out on the dry land; the Nile water that you pour out will turn to blood when it hits the ground.”

10 Moses raised another objection to God: “Master, please, I don’t talk well. I’ve never been good with words, neither before nor after you spoke to me. I stutter and stammer.”

11-12 God said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.”

13 He said, “Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!”

14-17 God got angry with Moses: “Don’t you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He’s good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he’s on his way to meet you. When he sees you he’s going to be glad. You’ll speak to him and tell him what to say. I’ll be right there with you as you speak and with him as he speaks, teaching you step by step. He will speak to the people for you. He’ll act as your mouth, but you’ll decide what comes out of it. Now take this staff in your hand; you’ll use it to do the signs.”

18 Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said, “I need to return to my relatives who are in Egypt. I want to see if they’re still alive.”

Jethro said, “Go. And peace be with you.”

19 God said to Moses in Midian: “Go. Return to Egypt. All the men who wanted to kill you are dead.”

20 So Moses took his wife and sons and put them on a donkey for the return trip to Egypt. He had a firm grip on the staff of God.

21-23 God said to Moses, “When you get back to Egypt, be prepared: All the wonders that I will do through you, you’ll do before Pharaoh. But I will make him stubborn so that he will refuse to let the people go. Then you are to tell Pharaoh, ‘God’s Message: Israel is my son, my firstborn! I told you, “Free my son so that he can serve me.” But you refused to free him. So now I’m going to kill your son, your firstborn.’”

24-26 On the journey back, as they camped for the night, God met Moses and would have killed him but Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off her son’s foreskin, and touched Moses’ member with it. She said, “Oh! You’re a bridegroom of blood to me!” Then God let him go. She used the phrase “bridegroom of blood” because of the circumcision.

27-28 God spoke to Aaron, “Go and meet Moses in the wilderness.” He went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. Moses told Aaron the message that God had sent him to speak and the wonders he had commanded him to do.

29-31 So Moses and Aaron proceeded to round up all the leaders of Israel. Aaron told them everything that God had told Moses and demonstrated the wonders before the people. And the people trusted and listened believingly that God was concerned with what was going on with the Israelites and knew all about their affliction. They bowed low and they worshiped.

Moses and Aaron and Pharaoh

After that Moses and Aaron approached Pharaoh. They said, “God, the God of Israel, says, ‘Free my people so that they can hold a festival for me in the wilderness.’”

Pharaoh said, “And who is God that I should listen to him and send Israel off? I know nothing of this so-called ‘God’ and I’m certainly not going to send Israel off.”

They said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can worship our God lest he strike us with either disease or death.”

4-5 But the king of Egypt said, “Why on earth, Moses and Aaron, would you suggest the people be given a holiday? Back to work!” Pharaoh went on, “Look, I’ve got all these people bumming around, and now you want to reward them with time off?”

6-9 Pharaoh took immediate action. He sent down orders to the slave-drivers and their underlings: “Don’t provide straw for the people for making bricks as you have been doing. Make them get their own straw. And make them produce the same number of bricks—no reduction in their daily quotas! They’re getting lazy. They’re going around saying, ‘Give us time off so we can worship our God.’ Crack down on them. That’ll cure them of their whining, their god-fantasies.”

10-12 The slave-drivers and their underlings went out to the people with their new instructions. “Pharaoh’s orders: No more straw provided. Get your own straw wherever you can find it. And not one brick less in your daily work quota!” The people scattered all over Egypt scrabbling for straw.

13 The slave-drivers were merciless, saying, “Complete your daily quota of bricks—the same number as when you were given straw.”

14 The Israelite foremen whom the slave-drivers had appointed were beaten and badgered. “Why didn’t you finish your quota of bricks yesterday or the day before—and now again today?”

15-16 The Israelite foremen came to Pharaoh and cried out for relief: “Why are you treating your servants like this? Nobody gives us any straw and they tell us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look at us—we’re being beaten. And it’s not our fault.”

17-18 But Pharaoh said, “Lazy! That’s what you are! Lazy! That’s why you whine, ‘Let us go so we can worship God.’ Well then, go—go back to work. Nobody’s going to give you straw, and at the end of the day you better bring in your full quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in a bad way, having to go back and tell their workers, “Not one brick short in your daily quota.”

20-21 As they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them. The foremen said to them, “May God see what you’ve done and judge you—you’ve made us stink before Pharaoh and his servants! You’ve put a weapon in his hand that’s going to kill us!”

22-23 Moses went back to God and said, “My Master, why are you treating this people so badly? And why did you ever send me? From the moment I came to Pharaoh to speak in your name, things have only gotten worse for this people. And rescue? Does this look like rescue to you?”

God said to Moses, “Now you’ll see what I’ll do to Pharaoh: With a strong hand he’ll send them out free; with a strong hand he’ll drive them out of his land.”

2-6 God continued speaking to Moses, reassuring him, “I am God. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as The Strong God, but by my name God (I-Am-Present) I was not known to them. I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the country in which they lived as sojourners. But now I’ve heard the groanings of the Israelites whom the Egyptians continue to enslave and I’ve remembered my covenant. Therefore tell the Israelites:

6-8 “I am God. I will bring you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I will rescue you from slavery. I will redeem you, intervening with great acts of judgment. I’ll take you as my own people and I’ll be God to you. You’ll know that I am God, your God who brings you out from under the cruel hard labor of Egypt. I’ll bring you into the land that I promised to give Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and give it to you as your own country. I AM God.

But when Moses delivered this message to the Israelites, they didn’t even hear him—they were that beaten down in spirit by the harsh slave conditions.

10-11 Then God said to Moses, “Go and speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt so that he will release the Israelites from his land.”

12 Moses answered God, “Look—the Israelites won’t even listen to me. How do you expect Pharaoh to? And besides, I stutter.”

13 But God again laid out the facts to Moses and Aaron regarding the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he again commanded them to lead the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.

The Family Tree of Moses and Aaron

14 These are the heads of the tribes:

The sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi—these are the families of Reuben.

15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Saul, the son of a Canaanite woman—these are the families of Simeon.

16 These are the names of the sons of Levi in the order of their birth: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Levi lived 137 years.

17 The sons of Gershon by family: Libni and Shimei.

18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. Kohath lived to be 133.

19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi.

These are the sons of Levi in the order of their birth.

20 Amram married his aunt Jochebed and she had Aaron and Moses. Amram lived to be 137.

21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri.

22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she had Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. These are the families of the Korahites.

25 Aaron’s son Eleazar married one of the daughters of Putiel and she had Phinehas.

These are the heads of the Levite families, family by family.

26-27 This is the Aaron and Moses whom God ordered: “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt clan by clan.” These are the men, Moses and Aaron, who told Pharaoh king of Egypt to release the Israelites from Egypt.

“I’ll Make You as a God to Pharaoh”

28 And that’s how things stood when God next spoke to Moses in Egypt.

29 God addressed Moses, saying, “I am God. Tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I say to you.”

30 And Moses answered, “Look at me. I stutter. Why would Pharaoh listen to me?”

1-5 God told Moses, “Look at me. I’ll make you as a god to Pharaoh and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. You are to speak everything I command you, and your brother Aaron will tell it to Pharaoh. Then he will release the Israelites from his land. At the same time I am going to put Pharaoh’s back up and follow it up by filling Egypt with signs and wonders. Pharaoh is not going to listen to you, but I will have my way against Egypt and bring out my soldiers, my people the Israelites, from Egypt by mighty acts of judgment. The Egyptians will realize that I am God when I step in and take the Israelites out of their country.”

6-7 Moses and Aaron did exactly what God commanded. Moses was eighty and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

8-9 Then God spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, “When Pharaoh speaks to you and says, ‘Prove yourselves. Perform a miracle,’ then tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh: It will turn into a snake.’”

10 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what God commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his servants, and it turned into a snake.

11-12 Pharaoh called in his wise men and sorcerers. The magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their incantations: each man threw down his staff and they all turned into snakes. But then Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs.

13 Yet Pharaoh was as stubborn as ever—he wouldn’t listen to them, just as God had said.

Strike One: Blood

14-18 God said to Moses: “Pharaoh is a stubborn man. He refuses to release the people. First thing in the morning, go and meet Pharaoh as he goes down to the river. At the shore of the Nile take the staff that turned into a snake and say to him, ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to you with this message, “Release my people so that they can worship me in the wilderness.” So far you haven’t listened. This is how you’ll know that I am God. I am going to take this staff that I’m holding and strike this Nile River water: The water will turn to blood; the fish in the Nile will die; the Nile will stink; and the Egyptians won’t be able to drink the Nile water.’”

19 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and wave it over the waters of Egypt—over its rivers, its canals, its ponds, all its bodies of water—so that they turn to blood.’ There’ll be blood everywhere in Egypt—even in the pots and pans.”

20-21 Moses and Aaron did exactly as God commanded them. Aaron raised his staff and hit the water in the Nile with Pharaoh and his servants watching. All the water in the Nile turned into blood. The fish in the Nile died; the Nile stank; and the Egyptians couldn’t drink the Nile water. The blood was everywhere in Egypt.

22-25 But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing with their incantations. Still Pharaoh remained stubborn. He wouldn’t listen to them as God had said. He turned on his heel and went home, never giving it a second thought. But all the Egyptians had to dig inland from the river for water because they couldn’t drink the Nile water.

Seven days went by after God had struck the Nile.

Strike Two: Frogs

1-4 God said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘God’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you refuse to release them, I’m warning you, I’ll hit the whole country with frogs. The Nile will swarm with frogs—they’ll come up into your houses, into your bedrooms and into your beds, into your servants’ quarters, among the people, into your ovens and pots and pans. They’ll be all over you, all over everyone—frogs everywhere, on and in everything!’”

God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Wave your staff over the rivers and canals and ponds. Bring up frogs on the land of Egypt.’”

Aaron stretched his staff over the waters of Egypt and a mob of frogs came up and covered the country.

But again the magicians did the same thing using their incantations—they also produced frogs in Egypt.

Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to God to rid us of these frogs. I’ll release the people so that they can make their sacrifices and worship God.”

Moses said to Pharaoh, “Certainly. Set the time. When do you want the frogs out of here, away from your servants and people and out of your houses? You’ll be rid of frogs except for those in the Nile.”

10-11 “Make it tomorrow.”

Moses said, “Tomorrow it is—so you’ll realize that there is no God like our God. The frogs will be gone. You and your houses and your servants and your people, free of frogs. The only frogs left will be the ones in the Nile.”

12-14 Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, and Moses prayed to God about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. God responded to Moses’ prayer: The frogs died off—houses, courtyards, fields, all free of frogs. They piled the frogs in heaps. The country reeked of dead frogs.

15 But when Pharaoh saw that he had some breathing room, he got stubborn again and wouldn’t listen to Moses and Aaron. Just as God had said.

Strike Three: Gnats

16 God said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and strike the dust. The dust will turn into gnats all over Egypt.’”

17 He did it. Aaron grabbed his staff and struck the dust of the Earth; it turned into gnats, gnats all over people and animals. All the dust of the Earth turned into gnats, gnats everywhere in Egypt.

18 The magicians tried to produce gnats with their incantations but this time they couldn’t do it. There were gnats everywhere, all over people and animals.

19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is God’s doing.” But Pharaoh was stubborn and wouldn’t listen. Just as God had said.

Strike Four: Flies

20-23 God said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes down to the water. Tell him, ‘God’s Message: Release my people so they can worship me. If you don’t release my people, I’ll release swarms of flies on you, your servants, your people, and your homes. The houses of the Egyptians and even the ground under their feet will be thick with flies. But when it happens, I’ll set Goshen where my people live aside as a sanctuary—no flies in Goshen. That will show you that I am God in this land. I’ll make a sharp distinction between your people and mine. This sign will occur tomorrow.’”

24 And God did just that. Thick swarms of flies in Pharaoh’s palace and the houses of his servants. All over Egypt, the country ruined by flies.

25 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron and said, “Go ahead. Sacrifice to your God—but do it here in this country.”

26-27 Moses said, “That would not be wise. What we sacrifice to our God would give great offense to Egyptians. If we openly sacrifice what is so deeply offensive to Egyptians, they’ll kill us. Let us go three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to our God, just as he instructed us.”

28 Pharaoh said, “All right. I’ll release you to go and sacrifice to your God in the wilderness. Only don’t go too far. Now pray for me.”

29 Moses said, “As soon as I leave here, I will pray to God that tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh, his servants, and his people. But don’t play games with us and change your mind about releasing us to sacrifice to God.”

30-32 Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God. God did what Moses asked. He got rid of the flies from Pharaoh and his servants and his people. There wasn’t a fly left. But Pharaoh became stubborn once again and wouldn’t release the people.

Strike Five: Animals

1-4 God said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, says: Release my people so they can worship me. If you refuse to release them and continue to hold on to them, I’m giving you fair warning: God will come down hard on your livestock out in the fields—horses, donkeys, camels, cattle, sheep—striking them with a severe disease. God will draw a sharp line between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. Not one animal that belongs to the Israelites will die.’”

Then God set the time: “Tomorrow God will do this thing.”

6-7 And the next day God did it. All the livestock of Egypt died, but not one animal of the Israelites died. Pharaoh sent men to find out what had happened and there it was: none of the livestock of the Israelites had died—not one death. But Pharaoh stayed stubborn. He wouldn’t release the people.

Strike Six: Boils

8-11 God said to Moses and Aaron, “Take fistfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses throw it into the air right before Pharaoh’s eyes; it will become a film of fine dust all over Egypt and cause sores, an eruption of boils on people and animals throughout Egypt.” So they took soot from a furnace, stood in front of Pharaoh, and threw it up into the air. It caused boils to erupt on people and animals. The magicians weren’t able to compete with Moses this time because of the boils—they were covered with boils just like everyone else in Egypt.

12 God hardened Pharaoh in his stubbornness. He wouldn’t listen, just as God had said to Moses.

Strike Seven: Hail

13-19 God said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh. Tell him, ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, says: Release my people so they can worship me. This time I am going to strike you and your servants and your people with the full force of my power so you’ll get it into your head that there’s no one like me anywhere in all the Earth. You know that by now I could have struck you and your people with deadly disease and there would be nothing left of you, not a trace. But for one reason only I’ve kept you on your feet: To make you recognize my power so that my reputation spreads in all the Earth. You are still building yourself up at my people’s expense. You are not letting them go. So here’s what’s going to happen: At this time tomorrow I’m sending a terrific hailstorm—there’s never been a storm like this in Egypt from the day of its founding until now. So get your livestock under roof—everything exposed in the open fields, people and animals, will die when the hail comes down.’”

20-21 All of Pharaoh’s servants who had respect for God’s word got their workers and animals under cover as fast as they could, but those who didn’t take God’s word seriously left their workers and animals out in the field.

22 God said to Moses: “Stretch your hands to the skies. Signal the hail to fall all over Egypt on people and animals and crops exposed in the fields of Egypt.”

23-26 Moses lifted his staff to the skies and God sent peals of thunder and hail shot through with lightning strikes. God rained hail down on the land of Egypt. The hail came, hail and lightning—a fierce hailstorm. There had been nothing like it in Egypt in its entire history. The hail hit hard all over Egypt. Everything exposed out in the fields, people and animals and crops, was smashed. Even the trees in the fields were shattered. Except for Goshen where the Israelites lived; there was no hail in Goshen.

27-28 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. He said, “I’ve sinned for sure this time—God is in the right and I and my people are in the wrong. Pray to God. We’ve had enough of God’s thunder and hail. I’ll let you go. The sooner you’re out of here the better.”

29-30 Moses said, “As soon as I’m out of the city, I’ll stretch out my arms to God. The thunder will stop and the hail end so you’ll know that the land is God’s land. Still, I know that you and your servants have no respect for God.”

31-32 (The flax and the barley were ruined, for they were just ripening, but the wheat and spelt weren’t hurt—they ripen later.)

33 Moses left Pharaoh and the city and stretched out his arms to God. The thunder and hail stopped; the storm cleared.

34-35 But when Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he kept right on sinning, stubborn as ever, both he and his servants. Pharaoh’s heart turned rock-hard. He refused to release the Israelites, as God had ordered through Moses.

Strike Eight: Locusts

10 1-2 God said to Moses: “Go to Pharaoh. I’ve made him stubborn, him and his servants, so that I can force him to look at these signs and so you’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren how I toyed with the Egyptians, like a cat with a mouse; you’ll tell them the stories of the signs that I brought down on them, so that you’ll all know that I am God.”

3-6 Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “God, the God of the Hebrews, says, ‘How long are you going to refuse to knuckle under? Release my people so that they can worship me. If you refuse to release my people, watch out; tomorrow I’m bringing locusts into your country. They’ll cover every square inch of ground; no one will be able to see the ground. They’ll devour everything left over from the hailstorm, even the saplings out in the fields—they’ll clear-cut the trees. And they’ll invade your houses, filling the houses of your servants, filling every house in Egypt. Nobody will have ever seen anything like this, from the time your ancestors first set foot on this soil until today.’”

Then he turned on his heel and left Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long are you going to let this man harass us? Let these people go and worship their God. Can’t you see that Egypt is on its last legs?”

So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. He said to them, “Go ahead then. Go worship your God. But just who exactly is going with you?”

Moses said, “We’re taking young and old, sons and daughters, flocks and herds—this is our worship-celebration of God.”

10-11 He said, “I’d sooner send you off with God’s blessings than let you go with your children. Look, you’re up to no good—it’s written all over your faces. Nothing doing. Just the men are going—go ahead and worship God. That’s what you want so badly.” And they were thrown out of Pharaoh’s presence.

12 God said to Moses: “Stretch your hand over Egypt and signal the locusts to cover the land of Egypt, devouring every blade of grass in the country, everything that the hail didn’t get.”

13 Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt. God let loose an east wind. It blew that day and night. By morning the east wind had brought in the locusts.

14-15 The locusts covered the country of Egypt, settling over every square inch of Egypt; the place was thick with locusts. There never was an invasion of locusts like it in the past, and never will be again. The ground was completely covered, black with locusts. They ate everything, every blade of grass, every piece of fruit, anything that the hail didn’t get. Nothing left but bare trees and bare fields—not a sign of green in the whole land of Egypt.

16-17 Pharaoh had Moses and Aaron back in no time. He said, “I’ve sinned against your God and against you. Overlook my sin one more time. Pray to your God to get me out of this—get death out of here!”

18-19 Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to God. God reversed the wind—a powerful west wind took the locusts and dumped them into the Red Sea. There wasn’t a single locust left in the whole country of Egypt.

20 But God made Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He still didn’t release the Israelites.

Strike Nine: Darkness

21 God said to Moses: “Stretch your hand to the skies. Let darkness descend on the land of Egypt—a darkness so dark you can touch it.”

22-23 Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days. Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites: they had light where they were living.

24 Pharaoh called in Moses: “Go and worship God. Leave your flocks and herds behind. But go ahead and take your children.”

25-26 But Moses said, “You have to let us take our sacrificial animals and offerings with us so we can sacrifice them in worship to our God. Our livestock has to go with us with not a hoof left behind; they are part of the worship of our God. And we don’t know just what will be needed until we get there.”

27 But God kept Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He wouldn’t agree to release them.

28 Pharaoh said to Moses: “Get out of my sight! And watch your step. I don’t want to ever see you again. If I lay eyes on you again, you’re dead.”

29 Moses said, “Have it your way. You won’t see my face again.”

Strike Ten: Death

11 God said to Moses: “I’m going to hit Pharaoh and Egypt one final time, and then he’ll let you go. When he releases you, that will be the end of Egypt for you; he won’t be able to get rid of you fast enough.

2-3 “So here’s what you do. Tell the people to ask, each man from his neighbor and each woman from her neighbor, for things made of silver and gold.” God saw to it that the Egyptians liked the people. Also, Moses was greatly admired by the Egyptians, a respected public figure among both Pharaoh’s servants and the people at large.

4-7 Then Moses confronted Pharaoh: “God’s Message: ‘At midnight I will go through Egypt and every firstborn child in Egypt will die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl working at her hand mill. Also the firstborn of animals. Widespread wailing will erupt all over the country, lament such as has never been and never will be again. But against the Israelites—man, woman, or animal—there won’t be so much as a dog’s bark, so that you’ll know that God makes a clear distinction between Egypt and Israel.’

“Then all these servants of yours will go to their knees, begging me to leave, ‘Leave! You and all the people who follow you!’ And I will most certainly leave.”

Moses, seething with anger, left Pharaoh.

God said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s not going to listen to a thing you say so that the signs of my presence and work are going to multiply in the land of Egypt.”

10 Moses and Aaron had performed all these signs in Pharaoh’s presence, but God turned Pharaoh more stubborn than ever—yet again he refused to release the Israelites from his land.

12 1-10 God said to Moses and Aaron while still in Egypt, “This month is to be the first month of the year for you. Address the whole community of Israel; tell them that on the tenth of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one lamb to a house. If the family is too small for a lamb, then share it with a close neighbor, depending on the number of persons involved. Be mindful of how much each person will eat. Your lamb must be a healthy male, one year old; you can select it from either the sheep or the goats. Keep it penned until the fourteenth day of this month and then slaughter it—the entire community of Israel will do this—at dusk. Then take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which you will eat it. You are to eat the meat, roasted in the fire, that night, along with bread, made without yeast, and bitter herbs. Don’t eat any of it raw or boiled in water; make sure it’s roasted—the whole animal, head, legs, and innards. Don’t leave any of it until morning; if there are leftovers, burn them in the fire.

11 “And here is how you are to eat it: Be fully dressed with your sandals on and your stick in your hand. Eat in a hurry; it’s the Passover to God.

12-13 “I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and strike down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, whether human or animal, and bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am God. The blood will serve as a sign on the houses where you live. When I see the blood I will pass over you—no disaster will touch you when I strike the land of Egypt.

14-16 “This will be a memorial day for you; you will celebrate it as a festival to God down through the generations, a fixed festival celebration to be observed always. You will eat unraised bread (matzoth) for seven days: On the first day get rid of all yeast from your houses—anyone who eats anything with yeast from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off from Israel. The first and the seventh days are set aside as holy; do no work on those days. Only what you have to do for meals; each person can do that.

17-20 “Keep the Festival of Unraised Bread! This marks the exact day I brought you out in force from the land of Egypt. Honor the day down through your generations, a fixed festival to be observed always. In the first month, beginning on the fourteenth day at evening until the twenty-first day at evening, you are to eat unraised bread. For those seven days not a trace of yeast is to be found in your houses. Anyone, whether a visitor or a native of the land, who eats anything raised shall be cut off from the community of Israel. Don’t eat anything raised. Only matzoth.”

21-23 Moses assembled all the elders of Israel. He said, “Select a lamb for your families and slaughter the Passover lamb. Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the bowl of blood and smear it on the lintel and on the two doorposts. No one is to leave the house until morning. God will pass through to strike Egypt down. When he sees the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, God will pass over the doorway; he won’t let the destroyer enter your house to strike you down with ruin.

24-27 “Keep this word. It’s the law for you and your children, forever. When you enter the land which God will give you as he promised, keep doing this. And when your children say to you, ‘Why are we doing this?’ tell them: ‘It’s the Passover-sacrifice to God who passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt when he hit Egypt with death but rescued us.’”

The people bowed and worshiped.

28 The Israelites then went and did what God had commanded Moses and Aaron. They did it all.

29 At midnight God struck every firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sits on his throne, right down to the firstborn of the prisoner locked up in jail. Also the firstborn of the animals.

30 Pharaoh got up that night, he and all his servants and everyone else in Egypt—what wild wailing and lament in Egypt! There wasn’t a house in which someone wasn’t dead.

31-32 Pharaoh called in Moses and Aaron that very night and said, “Get out of here and be done with you—you and your Israelites! Go worship God on your own terms. And yes, take your sheep and cattle as you’ve insisted, but go. And bless me.”

33 The Egyptians couldn’t wait to get rid of them; they pushed them to hurry up, saying, “We’re all as good as dead.”

34-36 The people grabbed their bread dough before it had risen, bundled their bread bowls in their cloaks and threw them over their shoulders. The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them; they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold things and clothing. God saw to it that the Egyptians liked the people and so readily gave them what they asked for. Oh yes! They picked those Egyptians clean.

37-39 The Israelites moved on from Rameses to Succoth, about 600,000 on foot, besides their dependents. There was also a crowd of riffraff tagging along, not to mention the large flocks and herds of livestock. They baked unraised cakes with the bread dough they had brought out of Egypt; it hadn’t raised—they’d been rushed out of Egypt and hadn’t time to fix food for the journey.

The Passover

40-42 The Israelites had lived in Egypt 430 years. At the end of the 430 years, to the very day, God’s entire army left Egypt. God kept watch all night, watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt. Because God kept watch, all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night—a watchnight.

43-47 God said to Moses and Aaron, “These are the rules for the Passover:

No foreigners are to eat it.

Any slave, if he’s paid for and circumcised, can eat it.

No casual visitor or hired hand can eat it.

Eat it in one house—don’t take the meat outside the house.

Don’t break any of the bones.

The whole community of Israel is to be included in the meal.

48 “If an immigrant is staying with you and wants to keep the Passover to God, every male in his family must be circumcised, then he can participate in the Meal—he will then be treated as a native son. But no uncircumcised person can eat it.

49 “The same law applies both to the native and the immigrant who is staying with you.”

50-51 All the Israelites did exactly as God commanded Moses and Aaron. That very day God brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt, tribe by tribe.

13 1-2 God spoke to Moses, saying, “Consecrate every firstborn to me— the first one to come from the womb among the Israelites, whether person or animal, is mine.”

Moses said to the people, “Always remember this day. This is the day when you came out of Egypt from a house of slavery. God brought you out of here with a powerful hand. Don’t eat any raised bread.

4-5 “You are leaving in the spring month of Abib. When God brings you into the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he promised to your fathers to give you, a land lavish with milk and honey, you are to observe this service during this month:

“You are to eat unraised bread for seven days; on the seventh day there is a festival celebration to God.

“Only unraised bread is to be eaten for seven days. There is not to be a trace of anything fermented—no yeast anywhere.

“Tell your child on that day: ‘This is because of what God did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

9-10 “The day of observance will be like a sign on your hand, a memorial between your eyes, and the teaching of God in your mouth. It was with a powerful hand that God brought you out of Egypt. Follow these instructions at the set time, year after year after year.

11-13 “When God brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he promised you and your fathers, and turns it over to you, you are to set aside the first birth out of every womb to God. Every first birth from your livestock belongs to God. You can redeem every first birth of a donkey if you want to by substituting a lamb; if you decide not to redeem it, you must break its neck.

13-16 “Redeem every firstborn child among your sons. When the time comes and your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you tell him, ‘God brought us out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery, with a powerful hand. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, God killed every firstborn in Egypt, the firstborn of both humans and animals. That’s why I make a sacrifice for every first male birth from the womb to God and redeem every firstborn son.’ The observance functions like a sign on your hands or a symbol on the middle of your forehead: God brought us out of Egypt with a powerful hand.”

17 It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn’t lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, “If the people encounter war, they’ll change their minds and go back to Egypt.”

18 So God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt in military formation.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear to do it, saying, “God will surely hold you accountable, so make sure you bring my bones from here with you.”

20-22 They moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness. God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people.

The Story and Song of Salvation

14 1-2 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon.

3-4 “Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are lost; they’re confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.’ Then I’ll make Pharaoh’s heart stubborn again and he’ll chase after them. And I’ll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

And that’s what happened.

5-7 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, “What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?” So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along.

8-9 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea—all Pharaoh’s horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.

10-12 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them—Egyptians! Coming at them!

They were totally afraid. They cried out in terror to God. They told Moses, “Weren’t the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? Back in Egypt didn’t we tell you this would happen? Didn’t we tell you, ‘Leave us alone here in Egypt—we’re better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.’”

13 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you’re never going to see them again.

14 God will fight the battle for you.
    And you? You keep your mouths shut!”

15-16 God said to Moses: “Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.

17-18 “Meanwhile I’ll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase—I’ll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God.”

19-20 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn’t come near each other all night.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split.

22-25 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud.

The Egyptians said, “Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!”

26 God said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen.”

27-28 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh’s army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived.

29-31 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.

15 1-8 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together,

I’m singing my heart out to God—what a victory!
    He pitched horse and rider into the sea.
God is my strength, God is my song,
    and, yes! God is my salvation.
This is the kind of God I have
    and I’m telling the world!
This is the God of my father—
    I’m spreading the news far and wide!
God is a fighter,
    pure God, through and through.
Pharaoh’s chariots and army
    he dumped in the sea,
The elite of his officers
    he drowned in the Red Sea.
Wild ocean waters poured over them;
    they sank like a rock in the deep blue sea.
Your strong right hand, God, shimmers with power;
    your strong right hand shatters the enemy.
In your mighty majesty
    you smash your upstart enemies,
You let loose your hot anger
    and burn them to a crisp.
At a blast from your nostrils
    the waters piled up;
Tumbling streams dammed up,
    wild oceans curdled into a swamp.

The enemy spoke,
        “I’ll pursue, I’ll hunt them down,
    I’ll divide up the plunder,
        I’ll glut myself on them;
    I’ll pull out my sword,
        my fist will send them reeling.”

10-11 You blew with all your might
        and the sea covered them.
    They sank like a lead weight
        in the majestic waters.
    Who compares with you
        among gods, O God?
    Who compares with you in power,
        in holy majesty,
    In awesome praises,
        wonder-working God?

12-13 You stretched out your right hand
        and the Earth swallowed them up.
    But the people you redeemed,
        you led in merciful love;
    You guided them under your protection
        to your holy pasture.

14-18 When people heard, they were scared;
        Philistines writhed and trembled;
    Yes, even the head men in Edom were shaken,
        and the big bosses in Moab.
    Everybody in Canaan
        panicked and fell faint.
    Dread and terror
        sent them reeling.
    Before your brandished right arm
        they were struck dumb like a stone,
    Until your people crossed over and entered, O God,
        until the people you made crossed over and entered.
    You brought them and planted them
        on the mountain of your heritage,
    The place where you live,
        the place you made,
    Your sanctuary, Master,
        that you established with your own hands.
    Let God rule
        forever, for eternity!

19 Yes, Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and riders went into the sea and God turned the waters back on them; but the Israelites walked on dry land right through the middle of the sea.

20-21 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron’s sister, took a tambourine, and all the women followed her with tambourines, dancing. Miriam led them in singing,

Sing to God
    what a victory!
He pitched horse and rider
    into the sea!

Traveling Through the Wilderness

22-24 Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur. They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water. They got to Marah, but they couldn’t drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That’s why they called the place Marah (Bitter). And the people complained to Moses, “So what are we supposed to drink?”

25 So Moses cried out in prayer to God. God pointed him to a stick of wood. Moses threw it into the water and the water turned sweet.

26 That’s the place where God set up rules and procedures; that’s where he started testing them.

God said, “If you listen, listen obediently to how God tells you to live in his presence, obeying his commandments and keeping all his laws, then I won’t strike you with all the diseases that I inflicted on the Egyptians; I am God your healer.”

27 They came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They set up camp there by the water.

16 1-3 On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left Egypt, the whole company of Israel moved on from Elim to the Wilderness of Sin which is between Elim and Sinai. The whole company of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron there in the wilderness. The Israelites said, “Why didn’t God let us die in comfort in Egypt where we had lamb stew and all the bread we could eat? You’ve brought us out into this wilderness to starve us to death, the whole company of Israel!”

4-5 God said to Moses, “I’m going to rain bread down from the skies for you. The people will go out and gather each day’s ration. I’m going to test them to see if they’ll live according to my Teaching or not. On the sixth day, when they prepare what they have gathered, it will turn out to be twice as much as their daily ration.”

6-7 Moses and Aaron told the People of Israel, “This evening you will know that it is God who brought you out of Egypt; and in the morning you will see the Glory of God. Yes, he’s listened to your complaints against him. You haven’t been complaining against us, you know, but against God.”

Moses said, “Since it will be God who gives you meat for your meal in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, it’s God who will have listened to your complaints against him. Who are we in all this? You haven’t been complaining to us—you’ve been complaining to God!”

Moses instructed Aaron: “Tell the whole company of Israel: ‘Come near to God. He’s heard your complaints.’”

10 When Aaron gave out the instructions to the whole company of Israel, they turned to face the wilderness. And there it was: the Glory of God visible in the Cloud.

11-12 God spoke to Moses, “I’ve listened to the complaints of the Israelites. Now tell them: ‘At dusk you will eat meat and at dawn you’ll eat your fill of bread; and you’ll realize that I am God, your God.’”

13-15 That evening quail flew in and covered the camp and in the morning there was a layer of dew all over the camp. When the layer of dew had lifted, there on the wilderness ground was a fine flaky something, fine as frost on the ground. The Israelites took one look and said to one another, man-hu (What is it?). They had no idea what it was.

15-16 So Moses told them, “It’s the bread God has given you to eat. And these are God’s instructions: ‘Gather enough for each person, about two quarts per person; gather enough for everyone in your tent.’”

17-18 The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short—each person had gathered as much as was needed.

19 Moses said to them, “Don’t leave any of it until morning.”

20 But they didn’t listen to Moses. A few of the men kept back some of it until morning. It got wormy and smelled bad. And Moses lost his temper with them.

21-22 They gathered it every morning, each person according to need. Then the sun heated up and it melted. On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, about four quarts per person.

Then the leaders of the company came to Moses and reported.

23-24 Moses said, “This is what God was talking about: Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to God. Whatever you plan to bake, bake today; and whatever you plan to boil, boil today. Then set aside the leftovers until morning.” They set aside what was left until morning, as Moses had commanded. It didn’t smell bad and there were no worms in it.

25-26 Moses said, “Now eat it; this is the day, a Sabbath for God. You won’t find any of it on the ground today. Gather it every day for six days, but the seventh day is Sabbath; there won’t be any of it on the ground.”

27 On the seventh day, some of the people went out to gather anyway but they didn’t find anything.

28-29 God said to Moses, “How long are you going to disobey my commands and not follow my instructions? Don’t you see that God has given you the Sabbath? So on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. So, each of you, stay home. Don’t leave home on the seventh day.”

30 So the people quit working on the seventh day.

31 The Israelites named it manna (What is it?). It looked like coriander seed, whitish. And it tasted like a cracker with honey.

32 Moses said, “This is God’s command: ‘Keep a two-quart jar of it, an omer, for future generations so they can see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness after I brought you out of Egypt.’”

33 Moses told Aaron, “Take a jar and fill it with two quarts of manna. Place it before God, keeping it safe for future generations.”

34 Aaron did what God commanded Moses. He set it aside before The Testimony to preserve it.

35 The Israelites ate the manna for forty years until they arrived at the land where they would settle down. They ate manna until they reached the border into Canaan.

36 According to ancient measurements, an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.

17 1-2 Directed by God, the whole company of Israel moved on by stages from the Wilderness of Sin. They set camp at Rephidim. And there wasn’t a drop of water for the people to drink. The people took Moses to task: “Give us water to drink.” But Moses said, “Why pester me? Why are you testing God?”

But the people were thirsty for water there. They complained to Moses, “Why did you take us from Egypt and drag us out here with our children and animals to die of thirst?”

Moses cried out in prayer to God, “What can I do with these people? Any minute now they’ll kill me!”

5-6 God said to Moses, “Go on out ahead of the people, taking with you some of the elders of Israel. Take the staff you used to strike the Nile. And go. I’m going to be present before you there on the rock at Horeb. You are to strike the rock. Water will gush out of it and the people will drink.”

6-7 Moses did what he said, with the elders of Israel right there watching. He named the place Massah (Testing-Place) and Meribah (Quarreling) because of the quarreling of the Israelites and because of their testing of God when they said, “Is God here with us, or not?”

8-9 Amalek came and fought Israel at Rephidim. Moses ordered Joshua: “Select some men for us and go out and fight Amalek. Tomorrow I will take my stand on top of the hill holding God’s staff.”

10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.

14 God said to Moses, “Write this up as a reminder to Joshua, to keep it before him, because I will most certainly wipe the very memory of Amalek off the face of the Earth.”

15-16 Moses built an altar and named it “God My Banner.” He said,

Salute God’s rule!
God at war with Amalek
Always and forever!

18 1-4 Jethro, priest of Midian and father-in-law to Moses, heard the report of all that God had done for Moses and Israel his people, the news that God had delivered Israel from Egypt. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, had taken in Zipporah, Moses’ wife who had been sent back home, and her two sons. The name of the one was Gershom (Sojourner) for he had said, “I’m a sojourner in a foreign land”; the name of the other was Eliezer (God’s-Help) because “The God of my father is my help and saved me from death by Pharaoh.”

5-6 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought Moses his sons and his wife there in the wilderness where he was camped at the mountain of God. He had sent a message ahead to Moses: “I, your father-in-law, am coming to you with your wife and two sons.”

7-8 Moses went out to welcome his father-in-law. He bowed to him and kissed him. Each asked the other how things had been with him. Then they went into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law the story of all that God had done to Pharaoh and Egypt in helping Israel, all the trouble they had experienced on the journey, and how God had delivered them.

9-11 Jethro was delighted in all the good that God had done for Israel in delivering them from Egyptian oppression. Jethro said, “Blessed be God who has delivered you from the power of Egypt and Pharaoh, who has delivered his people from the oppression of Egypt. Now I know that God is greater than all gods because he’s done this to all those who treated Israel arrogantly.”

12 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a Whole-Burnt-Offering and sacrifices to God. And Aaron, along with all the elders of Israel, came and ate the meal with Moses’ father-in-law in the presence of God.

13-14 The next day Moses took his place to judge the people. People were standing before him all day long, from morning to night. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he was doing for the people, he said, “What’s going on here? Why are you doing all this, and all by yourself, letting everybody line up before you from morning to night?”

15-16 Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God’s laws and instructions.”

17-23 Moses’ father-in-law said, “This is no way to go about it. You’ll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can’t do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They’ll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They’ll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they’ll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you’ll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also.”

24-27 Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. Moses picked competent men from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people who were organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They took over the everyday work of judging among the people. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but in the routine cases they were the judges. Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law who went home to his own country.

Mount Sinai

19 1-2 Three months after leaving Egypt the Israelites entered the Wilderness of Sinai. They followed the route from Rephidim, arrived at the Wilderness of Sinai, and set up camp. Israel camped there facing the mountain.

3-6 As Moses went up to meet God, God called down to him from the mountain: “Speak to the House of Jacob, tell the People of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to Egypt and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to me. If you will listen obediently to what I say and keep my covenant, out of all peoples you’ll be my special treasure. The whole Earth is mine to choose from, but you’re special: a kingdom of priests, a holy nation.’

“This is what I want you to tell the People of Israel.”

Moses came back and called the elders of Israel together and set before them all these words which God had commanded him.

The people were unanimous in their response: “Everything God says, we will do.” Moses took the people’s answer back to God.

God said to Moses, “Get ready. I’m about to come to you in a thick cloud so that the people can listen in and trust you completely when I speak with you.” Again Moses reported the people’s answer to God.

10-13 God said to Moses, “Go to the people. For the next two days get these people ready to meet the Holy God. Have them scrub their clothes so that on the third day they’ll be fully prepared, because on the third day God will come down on Mount Sinai and make his presence known to all the people. Post boundaries for the people all around, telling them, ‘Warning! Don’t climb the mountain. Don’t even touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain dies—a certain death. And no one is to touch that person, he’s to be stoned. That’s right—stoned. Or shot with arrows, shot to death. Animal or man, whichever—put to death.’

“A long blast from the horn will signal that it’s safe to climb the mountain.”

14-15 Moses went down the mountain to the people and prepared them for the holy meeting. They gave their clothes a good scrubbing. Then he addressed the people: “Be ready in three days. Don’t sleep with a woman.”

16 On the third day at daybreak, there were loud claps of thunder, flashes of lightning, a thick cloud covering the mountain, and an ear-piercing trumpet blast. Everyone in the camp shuddered in fear.

17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God. They stood at attention at the base of the mountain.

18-20 Mount Sinai was all smoke because God had come down on it as fire. Smoke poured from it like smoke from a furnace. The whole mountain shuddered in huge spasms. The trumpet blasts grew louder and louder. Moses spoke and God answered in thunder. God descended to the peak of Mount Sinai. God called Moses up to the peak and Moses climbed up.

21-22 God said to Moses, “Go down. Warn the people not to break through the barricades to get a look at God lest many of them die. And the priests also, warn them to prepare themselves for the holy meeting, lest God break out against them.”

23 Moses said to God, “But the people can’t climb Mount Sinai. You’ve already warned us well telling us: ‘Post boundaries around the mountain. Respect the holy mountain.’”

24 God told him, “Go down and then bring Aaron back up with you. But make sure that the priests and the people don’t break through and come up to God, lest he break out against them.”

25 So Moses went down to the people. He said to them:

20 1-2 God spoke all these words:

I am God, your God,
    who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
    out of a life of slavery.

No other gods, only me.

4-6 No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God, your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.

No using the name of God, your God, in curses or silly banter; God won’t put up with the irreverent use of his name.

8-11 Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Work six days and do everything you need to do. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to God, your God. Don’t do any work—not you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your servant, nor your maid, nor your animals, not even the foreign guest visiting in your town. For in six days God made Heaven, Earth, and sea, and everything in them; he rested on the seventh day. Therefore God blessed the Sabbath day; he set it apart as a holy day.

12 Honor your father and mother so that you’ll live a long time in the land that God, your God, is giving you.

13 No murder.

14 No adultery.

15 No stealing.

16 No lies about your neighbor.

17 No lusting after your neighbor’s house—or wife or servant or maid or ox or donkey. Don’t set your heart on anything that is your neighbor’s.

18-19 All the people, experiencing the thunder and lightning, the trumpet blast and the smoking mountain, were afraid—they pulled back and stood at a distance. They said to Moses, “You speak to us and we’ll listen, but don’t have God speak to us or we’ll die.”

20 Moses spoke to the people: “Don’t be afraid. God has come to test you and instill a deep and reverent awe within you so that you won’t sin.”

21 The people kept their distance while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was.

22-26 God said to Moses, “Give this Message to the People of Israel: ‘You’ve experienced firsthand how I spoke with you from Heaven. Don’t make gods of silver and gods of gold and then set them alongside me. Make me an earthen Altar. Sacrifice your Whole-Burnt-Offerings, your Peace-Offerings, your sheep, and your cattle on it. Every place where I cause my name to be honored in your worship, I’ll be there myself and bless you. If you use stones to make my Altar, don’t use dressed stones. If you use a chisel on the stones you’ll profane the Altar. Don’t use steps to climb to my Altar because that will expose your nakedness.’”

21 “These are the laws that you are to place before them:

2-6 “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he will serve six years. The

seventh year he goes free, for nothing. If he came in single he leaves single. If he came in married he leaves with his wife. If the master gives him a wife and she gave him sons and daughters, the wife and children stay with the master and he leaves by himself. But suppose the slave should say, ‘I love my master and my wife and children—I don’t want my freedom,’ then his master is to bring him before God and to a door or doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl, a sign that he is a slave for life.

7-11 “When a man sells his daughter to be a handmaid, she doesn’t go free after six years like the men. If she doesn’t please her master, her family must buy her back; her master doesn’t have the right to sell her to foreigners since he broke his word to her. If he turns her over to his son, he has to treat her like a daughter. If he marries another woman, she retains all her full rights to meals, clothing, and marital relations. If he won’t do any of these three things for her, she goes free, for nothing.

12-14 “If someone hits another and death results, the penalty is death. But if there was no intent to kill—if it was an accident, an ‘act of God’—I’ll set aside a place to which the killer can flee for refuge. But if the murder was premeditated, cunningly plotted, then drag the killer away, even if it’s from my Altar, to be put to death.

15 “If someone hits father or mother, the penalty is death.

16 “If someone kidnaps a person, the penalty is death, regardless of whether the person has been sold or is still held in possession.

17 “If someone curses father or mother, the penalty is death.

18-19 “If a quarrel breaks out and one hits the other with a rock or a fist and the injured one doesn’t die but is confined to bed and then later gets better and can get about on a crutch, the one who hit him is in the clear, except to pay for the loss of time and make sure of complete recovery.

20-21 “If a slave owner hits a slave, male or female, with a stick and the slave dies on the spot, the slave must be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he’s not to be avenged—the slave is the owner’s property.

22-25 “When there’s a fight and in the fight a pregnant woman is hit so that she miscarries but is not otherwise hurt, the one responsible has to pay whatever the husband demands in compensation. But if there is further damage, then you must give life for life—eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.

26-27 “If a slave owner hits the eye of a slave or handmaid and ruins it, the owner must let the slave go free because of the eye. If the owner knocks out the tooth of the male or female slave, the slave must be released and go free because of the tooth.

28-32 “If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox must be stoned. The meat cannot be eaten but the owner of the ox is in the clear. But if the ox has a history of goring and the owner knew it and did nothing to guard against it, then if the ox kills a man or a woman, the ox is to be stoned and the owner given the death penalty. If a ransom is agreed upon instead of death, he must pay it in full as a redemption for his life. If a son or daughter is gored, the same judgment holds. If it is a slave or a handmaid the ox gores, thirty shekels of silver is to be paid to the owner and the ox stoned.

33-34 “If someone uncovers a cistern or digs a pit and leaves it open and an ox or donkey falls into it, the owner of the pit must pay whatever the animal is worth to its owner but can keep the dead animal.

35-36 “If someone’s ox injures a neighbor’s ox and the ox dies, they must sell the live ox and split the price; they must also split the dead animal. But if the ox had a history of goring and the owner knew it and did nothing to guard against it, the owner must pay an ox for an ox but can keep the dead animal.”

22 1-3 “If someone steals an ox or a lamb and slaughters or sells it, the thief must pay five cattle in place of the ox and four sheep in place of the lamb. If the thief is caught while breaking in and is hit hard and dies, there is no bloodguilt. But if it happens after daybreak, there is bloodguilt.

3-4 “A thief must make full restitution for what is stolen. The thief who is unable to pay is to be sold for his thieving. If caught red-handed with the stolen goods, and the ox or donkey or lamb is still alive, the thief pays double.

“If someone grazes livestock in a field or vineyard but lets them loose so they graze in someone else’s field, restitution must be made from the best of the owner’s field or vineyard.

“If fire breaks out and spreads to the brush so that the sheaves of grain or the standing grain or even the whole field is burned up, whoever started the fire must pay for the damages.

7-8 “If someone gives a neighbor money or things for safekeeping and they are stolen from the neighbor’s house, the thief, if caught, must pay back double. If the thief is not caught, the owner must be brought before God to determine whether the owner was the one who took the neighbor’s goods.

“In all cases of stolen goods, whether oxen, donkeys, sheep, clothing, anything in fact missing of which someone says, ‘That’s mine,’ both parties must come before the judges. The one the judges pronounce guilty must pay double to the other.

10-13 “If someone gives a donkey or ox or lamb or any kind of animal to another for safekeeping and it dies or is injured or lost and there is no witness, an oath before God must be made between them to decide whether one has laid hands on the property of the other. The owner must accept this and no damages are assessed. But if it turns out it was stolen, the owner must be compensated. If it has been torn by wild beasts, the torn animal must be brought in as evidence; no damages have to be paid.

14-15 “If someone borrows an animal from a neighbor and it gets injured or dies while the owner is not present, he must pay for it. But if the owner was with it, he doesn’t have to pay. If the animal was hired, the payment covers the loss.

16-17 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the marriage price and marry her. If her father absolutely refuses to give her away, the man must still pay the marriage price for virgins.

18 “Don’t let a sorceress live.

19 “Anyone who has sex with an animal gets the death penalty.

20 “Anyone who sacrifices to a god other than God alone must be put to death.

21 “Don’t abuse or take advantage of strangers; you, remember, were once strangers in Egypt.

22-24 “Don’t mistreat widows or orphans. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure I’ll take them most seriously; I’ll show my anger and come raging among you with the sword, and your wives will end up widows and your children orphans.

25 “If you lend money to my people, to any of the down-and-out among you, don’t come down hard on them and gouge them with interest.

26-27 “If you take your neighbor’s coat as security, give it back before nightfall; it may be your neighbor’s only covering—what else does the person have to sleep in? And if I hear the neighbor crying out from the cold, I’ll step in—I’m compassionate.

28 “Don’t curse God; and don’t damn your leaders.

29-30 “Don’t be stingy as your wine vats fill up.

“Dedicate your firstborn sons to me. The same with your cattle and sheep—they are to stay for seven days with their mother, then give them to me.

31 “Be holy for my sake.

“Don’t eat mutilated flesh you find in the fields; throw it to the dogs.”

23 1-3 “Don’t pass on malicious gossip.

“Don’t link up with a wicked person and give corrupt testimony. Don’t go along with the crowd in doing evil and don’t fudge your testimony in a case just to please the crowd. And just because someone is poor, don’t show favoritism in a dispute.

4-5 “If you find your enemy’s ox or donkey loose, take it back to him. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you lying helpless under its load, don’t walk off and leave it. Help it up.

“When there is a dispute concerning your poor, don’t tamper with the justice due them.

“Stay clear of false accusations. Don’t contribute to the death of innocent and good people. I don’t let the wicked off the hook.

“Don’t take bribes. Bribes blind perfectly good eyes and twist the speech of good people.

“Don’t take advantage of a stranger. You know what it’s like to be a stranger; you were strangers in Egypt.

10-11 “Sow your land for six years and gather in its crops, but in the seventh year leave it alone and give it a rest so that your poor may eat from it. What they leave, let the wildlife have. Do the same with your vineyards and olive groves.

12 “Work for six days and rest the seventh so your ox and donkey may rest and your servant and migrant workers may have time to get their needed rest.

13 “Listen carefully to everything I tell you. Don’t pay attention to other gods—don’t so much as mention their names.

14 “Three times a year you are to hold a festival for me.

15 “Hold the spring Festival of Unraised Bread when you eat unraised bread for seven days at the time set for the month of Abib, as I commanded you. That was the month you came out of Egypt. No one should show up before me empty-handed.

16 “Hold the summer Festival of Harvest when you bring in the firstfruits of all your work in the fields.

“Hold the autumn Festival of Ingathering at the end of the season when you bring in the year’s crops.

17 “Three times a year all your males are to appear before the Master, God.

18 “Don’t offer the blood of a sacrifice to me with anything that has yeast in it.

“Don’t leave the fat from my festival offering out overnight.

19 “Bring the choice first produce of the year to the house of your God.

“Don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.

20-24 “Now get yourselves ready. I’m sending my Angel ahead of you to guard you in your travels, to lead you to the place that I’ve prepared. Pay close attention to him. Obey him. Don’t go against him. He won’t put up with your rebellions because he’s acting on my authority. But if you obey him and do everything I tell you, I’ll be an enemy to your enemies, I’ll fight those who fight you. When my Angel goes ahead of you and leads you to the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, I’ll clear the country of them. So don’t worship or serve their gods; don’t do anything they do because I’m going to wipe them right off the face of the Earth and smash their sacred phallic pillars to bits.

25-26 “But you—you serve your God and he’ll bless your food and your water. I’ll get rid of the sickness among you; there won’t be any miscarriages nor barren women in your land. I’ll make sure you live full and complete lives.

27 “I’ll send my Terror on ahead of you and throw those peoples you’re approaching into a panic. All you’ll see of your enemies is the backs of their necks.

28-31 “And I’ll send Despair on ahead of you. It will push the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites out of your way. I won’t get rid of them all at once lest the land grow up in weeds and the wild animals take over. Little by little I’ll get them out of there while you have a chance to get your crops going and make the land your own. I will make your borders stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Wilderness to the Euphrates River. I’m turning everyone living in that land over to you; go ahead and drive them out.

32-33 “Don’t make any deals with them or their gods. They are not to stay in the same country with you lest they get you to sin by worshiping their gods. Beware. That’s a huge danger.”

24 1-2 He said to Moses, “Climb the mountain to God, you and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. They will worship from a distance; only Moses will approach God. The rest are not to come close. And the people are not to climb the mountain at all.”

So Moses went to the people and told them everything God had said—all the rules and regulations. They all answered in unison: “Everything God said, we’ll do.”

4-6 Then Moses wrote it all down, everything God had said. He got up early the next morning and built an Altar at the foot of the mountain using twelve pillar-stones for the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he directed young Israelite men to offer Whole-Burnt-Offerings and sacrifice Peace-Offerings of bulls. Moses took half the blood and put it in bowls; the other half he threw against the Altar.

Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it as the people listened. They said, “Everything God said, we’ll do. Yes, we’ll obey.”

Moses took the rest of the blood and threw it out over the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has made with you out of all these words I have spoken.”

9-11 Then they climbed the mountain—Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel—and saw the God of Israel. He was standing on a pavement of something like sapphires—pure, clear sky-blue. He didn’t hurt these pillar-leaders of the Israelites: They saw God; and they ate and drank.

12-13 God said to Moses, “Climb higher up the mountain and wait there for me; I’ll give you tablets of stone, the teachings and commandments that I’ve written to instruct them.” So Moses got up, accompanied by Joshua his aide. And Moses climbed up the mountain of God.

14 He told the elders of Israel, “Wait for us here until we return to you. You have Aaron and Hur with you; if there are any problems, go to them.”

15-17 Then Moses climbed the mountain. The Cloud covered the mountain. The Glory of God settled over Mount Sinai. The Cloud covered it for six days. On the seventh day he called out of the Cloud to Moses. In the view of the Israelites below, the Glory of God looked like a raging fire at the top of the mountain.

18 Moses entered the middle of the Cloud and climbed the mountain. Moses was on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Instructions on the Mountain: The Offerings

25 1-9 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites that they are to set aside offerings for me. Receive the offerings from everyone who is willing to give. These are the offerings I want you to receive from them: gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet material; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned rams’ skins; dolphin skins; acacia wood; lamp oil; spices for anointing oils and for fragrant incense; onyx stones and other stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece. Let them construct a Sanctuary for me so that I can live among them. You are to construct it following the plans I’ve given you, the design for The Dwelling and the design for all its furnishings.

The Chest

10-15 “First let them make a Chest using acacia wood: make it three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide and deep. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold inside and out and make a molding of gold all around it. Cast four gold rings and attach them to its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. Make poles from acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold and insert them into the rings on the sides of the Chest for carrying the Chest. The poles are to stay in the rings; they must not be removed.

16 “Place The Testimony that I give you in the Chest.

17 “Now make a lid of pure gold for the Chest, an Atonement-Cover, three and three-quarters feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide.

18-22 “Sculpt two winged angels out of hammered gold for either end of the Atonement-Cover, one angel at one end, one angel at the other. Make them of one piece with the Atonement-Cover. Make the angels with their wings spread, hovering over the Atonement-Cover, facing one another but looking down on it. Set the Atonement-Cover as a lid over the Chest and place in the Chest The Testimony that I will give you. I will meet you there at set times and speak with you from above the Atonement-Cover and from between the angel-figures that are on it, speaking the commands that I have for the Israelites.

The Table

23-28 “Next make a Table from acacia wood. Make it three feet long, one and one-half feet wide and two and one-quarter feet high. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold. Make a molding all around it of gold. Make the border a handbreadth wide all around it and a rim of gold for the border. Make four rings of gold and attach the rings to the four legs parallel to the tabletop. They will serve as holders for the poles used to carry the Table. Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold. They will be used to carry the Table.

29 “Make plates, bowls, jars, and jugs for pouring out offerings. Make them of pure gold.

30 “Always keep fresh Bread of the Presence on the Table before me.

The Lampstand

31-36 “Make a Lampstand of pure hammered gold. Make its stem and branches, cups, calyxes, and petals all of one piece. Give it six branches, three from one side and three from the other; put three cups shaped like almond blossoms, each with calyx and petals, on one branch, three on the next, and so on—the same for all six branches. On the main stem of the Lampstand, make four cups shaped like almonds, with calyx and petals, a calyx extending from under each pair of the six branches, the entire Lampstand fashioned from one piece of hammered pure gold.

37-38 “Make seven of these lamps for the Table. Arrange the lamps so they throw their light out in front. Make the candle snuffers and trays out of pure gold.

39-40 “Use a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lampstand and its accessories. Study the design you were given on the mountain and make everything accordingly.”

The Dwelling

26 1-6 “Make The Dwelling itself from ten panels of tapestry woven from fine twisted linen, blue and purple and scarlet material, with an angel-cherubim design. A skilled craftsman should do it. The panels of tapestry are each to be forty-six feet long and six feet wide. Join five of the panels together, and then the other five together. Make loops of blue along the edge of the outside panel of the first set and the same on the outside panel of the second set. Make fifty loops on each panel. Then make fifty gold clasps and join the tapestries together so that The Dwelling is one whole.

7-11 “Next make tapestries of goat hair for a tent that will cover The Dwelling. Make eleven panels of these tapestries. The length of each panel will be forty-five feet long and six feet wide. Join five of the panels together, and then the other six. Fold the sixth panel double at the front of the tent. Now make fifty loops along the edge of the end panel and fifty loops along the edge of the joining panel. Make fifty clasps of bronze and connect the clasps with the loops, bringing the tent together.

12-14 “Hang half of the overlap of the tapestry panels over the rear of The Dwelling. The eighteen inches of overlap on either side will cover the sides of the tent. Finally, make a covering for the tapestries of tanned rams’ skins dyed red and over that a covering of dolphin skins.

15-25 “Frame The Dwelling with planks of acacia wood, each section of frame fifteen feet long and two and one-quarter feet wide, with two pegs for securing them. Make all the frames identical: twenty frames for the south side with forty silver sockets to receive the two pegs from each of the twenty frames; the same construction on the north side of The Dwelling; for the rear of The Dwelling, which faces west, make six frames with two additional frames for the rear corners. Both of the two corner frames need to be double in thickness from top to bottom and fit into a single ring—eight frames altogether with sixteen sockets of silver, two under each frame.

26-30 “Now make crossbars of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of The Dwelling, five for the other side, and five for the back side facing west. The center crossbar runs from end to end halfway up the frames. Cover the frames with a veneer of gold and make gold rings to hold the crossbars. And cover the crossbars with a veneer of gold. Then put The Dwelling together, following the design you were shown on the mountain.

31-35 “Make a curtain of blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. Have a design of angel-cherubim woven into it by a skilled craftsman. Fasten it with gold hooks to four posts of acacia wood covered with a veneer of gold, set on four silver bases. After hanging the curtain from the clasps, bring the Chest of The Testimony in behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Holy-of-Holies. Now place the Atonement-Cover lid on the Chest of The Testimony in the Holy-of-Holies. Place the Table and the Lampstand outside the curtain, the Lampstand on the south side of The Dwelling and the Table opposite it on the north side.

36-37 “Make a screen for the door of the tent. Weave it from blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. Frame the weaving with five poles of acacia wood covered with a veneer of gold and make gold hooks to hang the weaving. Cast five bronze bases for the poles.”

The Altar

27 1-8 “Make an Altar of acacia wood. Make it seven and a half feet square and four and a half feet high. Make horns at each of the four corners. The horns are to be of one piece with the Altar and covered with a veneer of bronze. Make buckets for removing the ashes, along with shovels, basins, forks, and fire pans. Make all these utensils from bronze. Make a grate of bronze mesh and attach bronze rings at each of the four corners. Put the grate under the ledge of the Altar at the halfway point of the Altar. Make acacia wood poles for the Altar and cover them with a veneer of bronze. Insert the poles through the rings on the two sides of the Altar for carrying. Use boards to make the Altar, keeping the interior hollow.

The Courtyard

9-11 “Make a Courtyard for The Dwelling. The south side is to be 150 feet long. The hangings for the Courtyard are to be woven from fine twisted linen, with their twenty posts, twenty bronze bases, and fastening hooks and bands of silver. The north side is to be exactly the same.

12-19 “For the west end of the Courtyard you will need seventy-five feet of hangings with their ten posts and bases. Across the seventy-five feet at the front, or east end, you will need twenty-two and a half feet of hangings, with their three posts and bases on one side and the same for the other side. At the door of the Courtyard make a screen thirty feet long woven from blue, purple, and scarlet stuff, with fine twisted linen, embroidered by a craftsman, and hung on its four posts and bases. All the posts around the Courtyard are to be banded with silver, with hooks of silver and bases of bronze. The Courtyard is to be 150 feet long and seventy-five feet wide. The hangings of fine twisted linen set on their bronze bases are to be seven and a half feet high. All the tools used for setting up The Holy Dwelling, including all the pegs in it and the Courtyard, are to be made of bronze.

20-21 “Now, order the Israelites to bring you pure, clear olive oil for light so that the lamps can be kept burning. In the Tent of Meeting, the area outside the curtain that veils The Testimony, Aaron and his sons will keep this light burning from evening until morning before God. This is to be a permanent practice down through the generations for Israelites.”

The Vestments

28 1-5 “Get your brother Aaron and his sons from among the Israelites to serve me as priests: Aaron and his sons Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, Ithamar. Make sacred vestments for your brother Aaron to symbolize glory and beauty. Consult with the skilled craftsmen, those whom I have gifted in this work, and arrange for them to make Aaron’s vestments, to set him apart as holy, to act as priest for me. These are the articles of clothing they are to make: Breastpiece, Ephod, robe, woven tunic, turban, sash. They are making holy vestments for your brother Aaron and his sons as they work as priests for me. They will need gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine linen.

The Ephod

6-14 “Have the Ephod made from gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen by a skilled craftsman. Give it two shoulder pieces at two of the corners so it can be fastened. The decorated band on it is to be just like it and of one piece with it: made of gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and of fine twisted linen. Next take two onyx stones and engrave the names of the sons of Israel on them in the order of their birth, six names on one stone and the remaining six on the other. Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a jeweler engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in settings of filigreed gold. Fasten the two stones on the shoulder pieces of the Ephod—they are memorial stones for the Israelites. Aaron will wear these names on his shoulders as a memorial before God. Make the settings of gold filigree. Make two chains of pure gold and braid them like cords, then attach the corded chains to the settings.

The Breastpiece

15-20 “Now make a Breastpiece of Judgment, using skilled craftsmen, the same as with the Ephod. Use gold; blue, purple, and scarlet material; and fine twisted linen. Make it nine inches square and folded double. Mount four rows of precious gemstones on it.

First row: carnelian, topaz, emerald.
Second row: ruby, sapphire, crystal.
Third row: jacinth, agate, amethyst.
Fourth row: beryl, onyx, jasper.

20-21 “Set them in gold filigree. The twelve stones correspond to the names of the Israelites, with twelve names engraved, one on each, as on a seal for the twelve tribes.

22-28 “Then make braided chains of pure gold for the Breastpiece, like cords. Make two rings of gold for the Breastpiece and fasten them to the two ends. Fasten the two golden cords to the rings at the ends of the Breastpiece. Then fasten the other ends of the two cords to the two settings of filigree, attaching them to the shoulder pieces of the Ephod in front. Then make two rings of gold and fasten them to the two ends of the Breastpiece on its inside edge facing the Ephod. Then make two more rings of gold and fasten them in the front of the Ephod to the lower part of the two shoulder pieces, near the seam above the decorated band. Fasten the Breastpiece in place by running a cord of blue through its rings to the rings of the Ephod so that it rests secure on the decorated band of the Ephod and won’t come loose.

29-30 “Aaron will regularly carry the names of the sons of Israel on the Breastpiece of Judgment over his heart as he enters the Sanctuary into the presence of God for remembrance. Place the Urim and Thummim in the Breastpiece of Judgment. They will be over Aaron’s heart when he enters the presence of God. In this way Aaron will regularly carry the Breastpiece of Judgment into the presence of God.

The Robe

31-35 “Make the robe for the Ephod entirely of blue, with an opening for the head at the center and a hem on the edge so that it won’t tear. For the edge of the skirts make pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet material all around and alternate them with bells of gold—gold bell and pomegranate, gold bell and pomegranate—all around the hem of the robe. Aaron has to wear it when he does his priestly work. The bells will be heard when he enters the Holy Place and comes into the presence of God, and again when he comes out so that he won’t die.

The Turban, Tunic, Underwear

36-38 “Make a plate of pure gold. Engrave on it as on a seal: ‘Holy to God.’ Tie it with a blue cord to the front of the turban. It is to rest there on Aaron’s forehead. He’ll take on any guilt involved in the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate, no matter what they bring. It will always be on Aaron’s forehead so that the offerings will be acceptable before God.

39-41 “Weave the tunic of fine linen. Make the turban of fine linen. The sash will be the work of an embroiderer. Make tunics, sashes, and hats for Aaron’s sons to express glory and beauty. Dress your brother Aaron and his sons in them. Anoint, ordain, and consecrate them to serve me as priests.

42-43 “Make linen underwear to cover their nakedness from waist to thigh. Aaron and his sons must wear it whenever they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the Altar to minister in the Holy Place so that they won’t incur guilt and die. This is a permanent rule for Aaron and all his priest-descendants.”

Consecration of Priests

29 1-4 “This is the ceremony for consecrating them as priests. Take a young bull and two rams, healthy and without defects. Using fine wheat flour but no yeast make bread and cakes mixed with oil and wafers spread with oil. Place them in a basket and carry them along with the bull and the two rams. Bring Aaron and his sons to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water.

5-9 “Then take the vestments and dress Aaron in the tunic, the robe of the Ephod, the Ephod, and the Breastpiece, belting the Ephod on him with the embroidered waistband. Set the turban on his head and place the sacred crown on the turban. Then take the anointing oil and pour it on his head, anointing him. Then bring his sons, put tunics on them and gird them with sashes, both Aaron and his sons, and set hats on them. Their priesthood is upheld by law and is permanent.

9-14 “This is how you will ordain Aaron and his sons: Bring the bull to the Tent of Meeting. Aaron and his sons will place their hands on the head of the bull. Then you will slaughter the bull in the presence of God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. Take some of the bull’s blood and smear it on the horns of the Altar with your finger; pour the rest of the blood on the base of the Altar. Next take all the fat that covers the innards, fat from around the liver and the two kidneys, and burn it on the Altar. But the flesh of the bull, including its hide and dung, you will burn up outside the camp. It is an Absolution-Offering.

15-18 “Then take one of the rams. Have Aaron and his sons place their hands on the head of the ram. Slaughter the ram and take its blood and throw it against the Altar, all around. Cut the ram into pieces; wash its innards and legs, then gather the pieces and its head and burn the whole ram on the Altar. It is a Whole-Burnt-Offering to God, a pleasant fragrance, an offering by fire to God.

19-21 “Then take the second ram. Have Aaron and his sons place their hands on the ram’s head. Slaughter the ram. Take some of its blood and rub it on Aaron’s right earlobe and on the right earlobes of his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Sprinkle the rest of the blood against all sides of the Altar. Then take some of the blood that is on the Altar, mix it with some of the anointing oil, and splash it on Aaron and his clothes and on his sons and their clothes so that Aaron and his clothes and his sons and his sons’ clothes will be made holy.

22-23 “Take the fat from the ram, the fat tail, the fat that covers the innards, the long lobe of the liver, the two kidneys and the fat on them, and the right thigh: this is the ordination ram. Also take one loaf of bread, an oil cake, and a wafer from the breadbasket that is in the presence of God.

24-25 “Place all of these in the open hands of Aaron and his sons who will wave them before God, a Wave-Offering. Then take them from their hands and burn them on the Altar with the Whole-Burnt-Offering—a pleasing fragrance before God, a gift to God.

26 “Now take the breast from Aaron’s ordination ram and wave it before God, a Wave-Offering. That will be your portion.

27-28 “Consecrate the Wave-Offering breast and the thigh that was held up. These are the parts of the ordination ram that are for Aaron and his sons. Aaron and his sons are always to get this offering from the Israelites; the Israelites are to make this offering regularly from their Peace-Offerings.

29-30 “Aaron’s sacred garments are to be handed down to his descendants so they can be anointed and ordained in them. The son who succeeds him as priest is to wear them for seven days and enter the Tent of Meeting to minister in the Holy Place.

31-34 “Take the ordination ram and boil the meat in the Holy Place. At the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, Aaron and his sons will eat the boiled ram and the bread that is in the basket. Atoned by these offerings, ordained and consecrated by them, they are the only ones who are to eat them. No outsiders are to eat them; they’re holy. Anything from the ordination ram or from the bread that is left over until morning you are to burn up. Don’t eat it; it’s holy.

35-37 “Do everything for the ordination of Aaron and his sons exactly as I’ve commanded you throughout the seven days. Offer a bull as an Absolution-Offering for atonement each day. Offer it on the Altar when you make atonement for it: Anoint and consecrate it. Make atonement for the Altar and consecrate it for seven days; the Altar will become soaked in holiness—anyone who so much as touches the Altar will become holy.

38-41 “This is what you are to offer on the Altar: two year-old lambs each and every day, one lamb in the morning and the second lamb at evening. With the sacrifice of the first lamb offer two quarts of fine flour with a quart of virgin olive oil, plus a quart of wine for a Drink-Offering. The sacrifice of the second lamb, the one at evening, is also to be accompanied by the same Grain-Offering and Drink-Offering of the morning sacrifice to give a pleasing fragrance, a gift to God.

42-46 “This is to be your regular, daily Whole-Burnt-Offering before God, generation after generation, sacrificed at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting. That’s where I’ll meet you; that’s where I’ll speak with you; that’s where I’ll meet the Israelites, at the place made holy by my Glory. I’ll make the Tent of Meeting and the Altar holy. I’ll make Aaron and his sons holy in order to serve me as priests. I’ll move in and live with the Israelites. I’ll be their God. They’ll realize that I am their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt so that I could live with them. I am God, your God.”

The Altar of Incense

30 1-5 “Make an Altar for burning incense. Construct it from acacia wood, one and one-half feet square and three feet high with its horns of one piece with it. Cover it with a veneer of pure gold, its top, sides, and horns, and make a gold molding around it with two rings of gold beneath the molding. Place the rings on the two opposing sides to serve as holders for poles by which it will be carried. Make the poles of acacia wood and cover them with a veneer of gold.

6-10 “Place the Altar in front of the curtain that hides the Chest of The Testimony, in front of the Atonement-Cover that is over The Testimony where I will meet you. Aaron will burn fragrant incense on it every morning when he polishes the lamps, and again in the evening as he prepares the lamps for lighting, so that there will always be incense burning before God, generation after generation. But don’t burn on this Altar any unholy incense or Whole-Burnt-Offering or Grain-Offering. And don’t pour out Drink-Offerings on it. Once a year Aaron is to purify the Altar horns. Using the blood of the Absolution-Offering of atonement, he is to make this atonement every year down through the generations. It is most holy to God.”

The Atonement-Tax

11-16 God spoke to Moses: “When you take a head count of the Israelites to keep track of them, all must pay an atonement-tax to God for their life at the time of being registered so that nothing bad will happen because of the registration. Everyone who gets counted is to give a half-shekel (using the standard Sanctuary shekel of a fifth of an ounce to the shekel)—a half-shekel offering to God. Everyone counted, age twenty and up, is to make the offering to God. The rich are not to pay more nor the poor less than the half-shekel offering to God, the atonement-tax for your lives. Take the atonement-tax money from the Israelites and put it to the maintenance of the Tent of Meeting. It will be a memorial fund for the Israelites in honor of God, making atonement for your lives.”

The Washbasin

17-21 God spoke to Moses: “Make a bronze Washbasin; make it with a bronze base. Place it between the Tent of Meeting and the Altar. Put water in it. Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet in it. When they enter the Tent of Meeting or approach the Altar to serve there or offer gift offerings to God, they are to wash so they will not die. They are to wash their hands and their feet so they will not die. This is the rule forever, for Aaron and his sons down through the generations.”

Holy Anointing Oil

22-25 God spoke to Moses: “Take the best spices: twelve and a half pounds of liquid myrrh; half that much, six and a quarter pounds, of fragrant cinnamon; six and a quarter pounds of fragrant cane; twelve and a half pounds of cassia—using the standard Sanctuary weight for all of them—and a gallon of olive oil. Make these into a holy anointing oil, a perfumer’s skillful blend.

26-29 “Use it to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony, the Table and all its utensils, the Lampstand and its utensils, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offerings and all its utensils, and the Washbasin and its base. Consecrate them so they’ll be soaked in holiness, so that anyone who so much as touches them will become holy.

30-33 “Then anoint Aaron and his sons. Consecrate them as priests to me. Tell the Israelites, ‘This will be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations.’ Don’t pour it on ordinary men. Don’t copy this mixture to use for yourselves. It’s holy; keep it holy. Whoever mixes up anything like it, or puts it on an ordinary person, will be expelled.”

Holy Incense

34-38 God spoke to Moses: “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha, galbanum—and add pure frankincense. Mix the spices in equal proportions to make an aromatic incense, the art of a perfumer, salted and pure—holy. Now crush some of it into powder and place some of it before The Testimony in the Tent of Meeting where I will meet with you; it will be for you the holiest of holy places. When you make this incense, you are not to copy the mixture for your own use. It’s holy to God; keep it that way. Whoever copies it for personal use will be excommunicated.”

Bezalel and Oholiab

31 1-5 God spoke to Moses: “See what I’ve done; I’ve personally chosen Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur of the tribe of Judah. I’ve filled him with the Spirit of God, giving him skill and know-how and expertise in every kind of craft to create designs and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to cut and set gemstones; to carve wood—he’s an all-around craftsman.

6-11 “Not only that, but I’ve given him Oholiab, son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan, to work with him. And to all who have an aptitude for crafts I’ve given the skills to make all the things I’ve commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the Chest of The Testimony and its Atonement-Cover, all the implements for the Tent, the Table and its implements, the pure Lampstand and all its implements, the Altar of Incense, the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering and all its implements, the Washbasin and its base, the official vestments, the holy vestments for Aaron the priest and his sons in their priestly duties, the anointing oil, and the aromatic incense for the Holy Place—they’ll make everything just the way I’ve commanded you.”

Sabbath

12-17 God spoke to Moses: “Tell the Israelites, ‘Above all, keep my Sabbaths, the sign between me and you, generation after generation, to keep the knowledge alive that I am the God who makes you holy. Keep the Sabbath; it’s holy to you. Whoever profanes it will most certainly be put to death. Whoever works on it will be excommunicated from the people. There are six days for work but the seventh day is Sabbath, pure rest, holy to God. Anyone who works on the Sabbath will most certainly be put to death. The Israelites will keep the Sabbath, observe Sabbath-keeping down through the generations, as a standing covenant. It’s a fixed sign between me and the Israelites. Yes, because in six days God made the Heavens and the Earth and on the seventh day he stopped and took a long, deep breath.’”

18 When he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, he gave Moses two tablets of Testimony, slabs of stone, written with the finger of God.

“Make Gods for Us”

32 When the people realized that Moses was taking forever in coming down off the mountain, they rallied around Aaron and said, “Do something. Make gods for us who will lead us. That Moses, the man who got us out of Egypt—who knows what’s happened to him?”

2-4 So Aaron told them, “Take off the gold rings from the ears of your wives and sons and daughters and bring them to me.” They all did it; they removed the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from their hands and cast it in the form of a calf, shaping it with an engraving tool.

The people responded with enthusiasm: “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up from Egypt!”

Aaron, taking in the situation, built an altar before the calf.

Aaron then announced, “Tomorrow is a feast day to God!”

Early the next morning, the people got up and offered Whole-Burnt-Offerings and brought Peace-Offerings. The people sat down to eat and drink and then began to party. It turned into a wild party!

7-8 God spoke to Moses, “Go! Get down there! Your people whom you brought up from the land of Egypt have fallen to pieces. In no time at all they’ve turned away from the way I commanded them: They made a molten calf and worshiped it. They’ve sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are the gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt!’”

9-10 God said to Moses, “I look at this people—oh! what a stubborn, hard-headed people! Let me alone now, give my anger free reign to burst into flames and incinerate them. But I’ll make a great nation out of you.”

11-13 Moses tried to calm his God down. He said, “Why, God, would you lose your temper with your people? Why, you brought them out of Egypt in a tremendous demonstration of power and strength. Why let the Egyptians say, ‘He had it in for them—he brought them out so he could kill them in the mountains, wipe them right off the face of the Earth.’ Stop your anger. Think twice about bringing evil against your people! Think of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, your servants to whom you gave your word, telling them ‘I will give you many children, as many as the stars in the sky, and I’ll give this land to your children as their land forever.’”

14 And God did think twice. He decided not to do the evil he had threatened against his people.

15-16 Moses turned around and came down from the mountain, carrying the two tablets of The Testimony. The tablets were written on both sides, front and back. God made the tablets and God wrote the tablets—engraved them.

17 When Joshua heard the sound of the people shouting noisily, he said to Moses, “That’s the sound of war in the camp!”

18 But Moses said,

Those aren’t songs of victory,
And those aren’t songs of defeat,
I hear songs of people throwing a party.

19-20 And that’s what it was. When Moses came near to the camp and saw the calf and the people dancing, his anger flared. He threw down the tablets and smashed them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. He took the calf that they had made, melted it down with fire, pulverized it to powder, then scattered it on the water and made the Israelites drink it.

21 Moses said to Aaron, “What on Earth did these people ever do to you that you involved them in this huge sin?”

22-23 Aaron said, “Master, don’t be angry. You know this people and how set on evil they are. They said to me, ‘Make us gods who will lead us. This Moses, the man who brought us out of Egypt, we don’t know what’s happened to him.’

24 “So I said, ‘Who has gold?’ And they took off their jewelry and gave it to me. I threw it in the fire and out came this calf.”

25-26 Moses saw that the people were simply running wild—Aaron had let them run wild, disgracing themselves before their enemies. He took up a position at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is on God’s side, join me!” All the Levites stepped up.

27 He then told them, “God’s orders, the God of Israel: ‘Strap on your swords and go to work. Crisscross the camp from one end to the other: Kill brother, friend, neighbor.’”

28 The Levites carried out Moses’ orders. Three thousand of the people were killed that day.

29 Moses said, “You confirmed your ordination today—and at great cost, even killing your sons and brothers! And God has blessed you.”

30 The next day Moses addressed the people: “You have sinned an enormous sin! But I am going to go up to God; maybe I’ll be able to clear you of your sin.”

31-32 Moses went back to God and said, “This is terrible. This people has sinned—it’s an enormous sin! They made gods of gold for themselves. And now, if you will only forgive their sin. . . . But if not, erase me out of the book you’ve written.”

33-34 God said to Moses, “I’ll only erase from my book those who sin against me. For right now, you go and lead the people to where I told you. Look, my Angel is going ahead of you. On the day, though, when I settle accounts, their sins will certainly be part of the settlement.”

35 God sent a plague on the people because of the calf they and Aaron had made.

33 1-3 God said to Moses: “Now go. Get on your way from here, you and the people you brought up from the land of Egypt. Head for the land which I promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel ahead of you and I’ll drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. It’s a land flowing with milk and honey. But I won’t be with you in person—you’re such a stubborn, hard-headed people!—lest I destroy you on the journey.”

When the people heard this harsh verdict, they were plunged into gloom and wore long faces. No one put on jewelry.

5-6 God said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites, ‘You’re one hard-headed people. I couldn’t stand being with you for even a moment—I’d destroy you. So take off all your jewelry until I figure out what to do with you.’” So the Israelites stripped themselves of their jewelry from Mount Horeb on.

7-10 Moses used to take the Tent and set it up outside the camp, some distance away. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone who sought God would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp. It went like this: When Moses would go to the Tent, all the people would stand at attention; each man would take his position at the entrance to his tent with his eyes on Moses until he entered the Tent; whenever Moses entered the Tent, the Pillar of Cloud descended to the entrance to the Tent and God spoke with Moses. All the people would see the Pillar of Cloud at the entrance to the Tent, stand at attention, and then bow down in worship, each man at the entrance to his tent.

11 And God spoke with Moses face-to-face, as neighbors speak to one another. When he would return to the camp, his attendant, the young man Joshua, stayed—he didn’t leave the Tent.

12-13 Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”

14 God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”

15-16 Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”

17 God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.”

18 Moses said, “Please. Let me see your Glory.”

19 God said, “I will make my Goodness pass right in front of you; I’ll call out the name, God, right before you. I’ll treat well whomever I want to treat well and I’ll be kind to whomever I want to be kind.”

20 God continued, “But you may not see my face. No one can see me and live.”

21-23 God said, “Look, here is a place right beside me. Put yourself on this rock. When my Glory passes by, I’ll put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with my hand until I’ve passed by. Then I’ll take my hand away and you’ll see my back. But you won’t see my face.”

34 1-3 God spoke to Moses: “Cut out two tablets of stone just like the originals and engrave on them the words that were on the original tablets you smashed. Be ready in the morning to climb Mount Sinai and get set to meet me on top of the mountain. Not a soul is to go with you; the whole mountain must be clear of people, even animals—not even sheep or oxen can be grazing in front of the mountain.”

4-7 So Moses cut two tablets of stone just like the originals. He got up early in the morning and climbed Mount Sinai as God had commanded him, carrying the two tablets of stone. God descended in the cloud and took up his position there beside him and called out the name, God. God passed in front of him and called out, “God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn’t ignore sin. He holds sons and grandsons responsible for a father’s sins to the third and even fourth generation.”

8-9 At once, Moses fell to the ground and worshiped, saying, “Please, O Master, if you see anything good in me, please Master, travel with us, hard-headed as these people are. Forgive our iniquity and sin. Own us, possess us.”

10-12 And God said, “As of right now, I’m making a covenant with you: In full sight of your people I will work wonders that have never been created in all the Earth, in any nation. Then all the people with whom you’re living will see how tremendous God’s work is, the work I’ll do for you. Take careful note of all I command you today. I’m clearing your way by driving out Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Stay vigilant. Don’t let down your guard lest you make covenant with the people who live in the land that you are entering and they trip you up.

13-16 “Tear down their altars, smash their phallic pillars, chop down their fertility poles. Don’t worship any other god. God—his name is The-Jealous-One—is a jealous God. Be careful that you don’t make a covenant with the people who live in the land and take up with their sex-and-religion life, join them in meals at their altars, marry your sons to their women, women who take up with any convenient god or goddess and will get your sons to do the same thing.

17 “Don’t make molten gods for yourselves.

18 “Keep the Feast of Unraised Bread. Eat only unraised bread for seven days in the month of Abib—it was in the month of Abib that you came out of Egypt.

19 “Every firstborn from the womb is mine, all the males of your herds, your firstborn oxen and sheep.

20 “Redeem your firstborn donkey with a lamb. If you don’t redeem it you must break its neck.

“Redeem each of your firstborn sons.

“No one is to show up in my presence empty-handed.

21 “Work six days and rest the seventh. Stop working even during plowing and harvesting.

22 “Keep the Feast of Weeks with the first cutting of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year.

23-24 “All your men are to appear before the Master, the God of Israel, three times a year. You won’t have to worry about your land when you appear before your God three times each year, for I will drive out the nations before you and give you plenty of land. Nobody’s going to be hanging around plotting ways to get it from you.

25 “Don’t mix the blood of my sacrifices with anything fermented.

“Don’t leave leftovers from the Passover Feast until morning.

26 “Bring the finest of the firstfruits of your produce to the house of your God.

“Don’t boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

27 God said to Moses: “Now write down these words, for by these words I’ve made a covenant with you and Israel.”

28 Moses was there with God forty days and forty nights. He didn’t eat any food; he didn’t drink any water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Words.

29-30 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two Tablets of The Testimony, he didn’t know that the skin of his face glowed because he had been speaking with God. Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, saw his radiant face, and held back, afraid to get close to him.

31-32 Moses called out to them. Aaron and the leaders in the community came back and Moses talked with them. Later all the Israelites came up to him and he passed on the commands, everything that God had told him on Mount Sinai.

33-35 When Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face, but when he went into the presence of God to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. When he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they would see Moses’ face, its skin glowing, and then he would again put the veil on his face until he went back in to speak with God.

Building the Place of Worship

35 Moses spoke to the entire congregation of Israel, saying, “These are the things that God has commanded you to do:

2-3 “Work six days, but the seventh day will be a holy rest day, God’s holy rest day. Anyone who works on this day must be put to death. Don’t light any fires in your homes on the Sabbath day.”

The Offerings

Moses spoke to the entire congregation of Israel, saying, “This is what God has commanded:

5-9 “Gather from among you an offering for God. Receive on God’s behalf what everyone is willing to give as an offering: gold, silver, bronze; blue, purple, and scarlet material; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned rams’ skins; dolphin skins; acacia wood; lamp oil; spices for anointing oils and for fragrant incense; onyx stones and other stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece.

10-19 “Come—all of you who have skills—come and make everything that God has commanded: The Dwelling with its tent and cover, its hooks, frames, crossbars, posts, and bases; the Chest with its poles, the Atonement-Cover and veiling curtain; the Table with its poles and implements and the Bread of the Presence; the Lampstand for giving light with its furnishings and lamps and the oil for lighting; the Altar of Incense with its poles, the anointing oil, the fragrant incense; the screen for the door at the entrance to The Dwelling; the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering with its bronze grate and poles and all its implements; the Washbasin with its base; the tapestry hangings for the Courtyard with the posts and bases, the screen for the Courtyard gate; the pegs for The Dwelling, the pegs for the Courtyard with their cords; the official vestments for ministering in the Holy Place, the sacred vestments for Aaron the priest and for his sons serving as priests.”

20-26 So everyone in the community of Israel left the presence of Moses. Then they came back, every one whose heart was roused, whose spirit was freely responsive, bringing offerings to God for building the Tent of Meeting, furnishing it for worship and making the holy vestments. They came, both men and women, all the willing spirits among them, offering brooches, earrings, rings, necklaces—anything made of gold—offering up their gold jewelry to God. And anyone who had blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics; fine linen; goats’ hair; tanned leather; and dolphin skins brought them. Everyone who wanted to offer up silver or bronze as a gift to God brought it. Everyone who had acacia wood that could be used in the work, brought it. All the women skilled at weaving brought their weavings of blue and purple and scarlet fabrics and their fine linens. And all the women who were gifted in spinning, spun the goats’ hair.

27-29 The leaders brought onyx and other precious stones for setting in the Ephod and the Breastpiece. They also brought spices and olive oil for lamp oil, anointing oil, and incense. Every man and woman in Israel whose heart moved them freely to bring something for the work that God through Moses had commanded them to make, brought it, a voluntary offering for God.

Bezalel and Oholiab

30-35 Moses told the Israelites, “See, God has selected Bezalel son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. He’s filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability, and know-how for making all sorts of things, to design and work in gold, silver, and bronze; to carve stones and set them; to carve wood, working in every kind of skilled craft. And he’s also made him a teacher, he and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He’s gifted them with the know-how needed for carving, designing, weaving, and embroidering in blue, purple, and scarlet fabrics, and in fine linen. They can make anything and design anything.”

36 “Bezalel and Oholiab, along with everyone whom God has given the skill and know-how for making everything involved in the worship of the Sanctuary as commanded by God, are to start to work.”

2-3 Moses summoned Bezalel and Oholiab along with all whom God had gifted with the ability to work skillfully with their hands. The men were eager to get started and engage in the work. They took from Moses all the offerings that the Israelites had brought for the work of constructing the Sanctuary. The people kept on bringing in their freewill offerings, morning after morning.

4-5 All the artisans who were at work making everything involved in constructing the Sanctuary came, one after another, to Moses, saying, “The people are bringing more than enough for doing this work that God has commanded us to do!”

6-7 So Moses sent out orders through the camp: “Men! Women! No more offerings for the building of the Sanctuary!”

The people were ordered to stop bringing offerings! There was plenty of material for all the work to be done. Enough and more than enough.

The Tapestries

8-13 Then all the skilled artisans on The Dwelling made ten tapestries of fine twisted linen and blue, purple, and scarlet fabric with an angel-cherubim design worked into the material. Each panel of tapestry was forty-six feet long and six feet wide. Five of the panels were joined together, and then the other five. Loops of blue were made along the edge of the outside panel of the first set, and the same on the outside panel of the second set. They made fifty loops on each panel, with the loops opposite each other. Then they made fifty gold clasps and joined the tapestries together so that The Dwelling was one whole.

14-19 Next they made tapestries of woven goat hair for a tent that would cover The Dwelling. They made eleven panels of these tapestries. The length of each panel was forty-five feet long and six feet wide. They joined five of the panels together, and then the other six, by making fifty loops along the edge of the end panel and fifty loops along the edge of the joining panel, then making fifty clasps of bronze, connecting the clasps to the loops, bringing the tent together. They finished it off by covering the tapestries with tanned rams’ skins dyed red, and covered that with dolphin skins.

The Framing

20-30 They framed The Dwelling with vertical planks of acacia wood, each section of frame fifteen feet long and two and a quarter feet wide, with two pegs for securing them. They made all the frames identical: twenty frames for the south side, with forty silver sockets to receive the two tenons from each of the twenty frames; they repeated that construction on the north side of The Dwelling. For the rear of The Dwelling facing west, they made six frames, with two additional frames for the rear corners. Both of the two corner frames were double in thickness from top to bottom and fit into a single ring—eight frames altogether with sixteen sockets of silver, two under each frame.

31-34 They made crossbars of acacia wood, five for the frames on one side of The Dwelling, five for the other side, and five for the back side facing west. The center crossbar ran from end to end halfway up the frames. They covered the frames with a veneer of gold, made gold rings to hold the crossbars, and covered the crossbars with a veneer of gold.

35-36 They made the curtain of blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. They wove a design of angel-cherubim into it. They made four posts of acacia wood, covered them with a veneer of gold, and cast four silver bases for them.

37-38 They made a screen for the door of the tent, woven from blue, purple, and scarlet material and fine twisted linen with embroidery. They framed the weaving with five poles of acacia wood covered with a veneer of gold, and made gold hooks to hang the weaving and five bronze bases for the poles.

The Chest

37 1-5 Bezalel made the Chest using acacia wood: He made it three and three-quarters feet long and two and a quarter feet wide and deep. He covered it inside and out with a veneer of pure gold and made a molding of gold all around it. He cast four gold rings and attached them to its four feet, two rings on one side and two rings on the other. He made poles from acacia wood, covered them with a veneer of gold, and inserted the poles for carrying the Chest into the rings on the sides.

Next he made a lid of pure gold for the Chest, an Atonement-Cover, three and three-quarters feet long and two and a quarter feet wide.

7-9 He sculpted two winged angel-cherubim out of hammered gold for the ends of the Atonement-Cover, one angel at one end, one angel at the other. He made them of one piece with the Atonement-Cover. The angels had outstretched wings and appeared to hover over the Atonement-Cover, facing one another but looking down on the Atonement-Cover.

The Table

10-15 He made the Table from acacia wood. He made it three feet long, one and a half feet wide and two and a quarter feet high. He covered it with a veneer of pure gold and made a molding of gold all around it. He made a border a handbreadth wide all around it and a rim of gold for the border. He cast four rings of gold for it and attached the rings to the four legs parallel to the tabletop. They will serve as holders for the poles used to carry the Table. He made the poles of acacia wood and covered them with a veneer of gold. They will be used to carry the Table.

16 Out of pure gold he made the utensils for the Table: its plates, bowls, jars, and jugs used for pouring.

The Lampstand

17-23 He made a Lampstand of pure hammered gold, making its stem and branches, cups, calyxes, and petals all of one piece. It had six branches, three from one side and three from the other; three cups shaped like almond blossoms with calyxes and petals on one branch, three on the next, and so on—the same for all six branches. On the main stem of the Lampstand, there were four cups shaped like almonds, with calyxes and petals, a calyx extending from under each pair of the six branches. The entire Lampstand with its calyxes and stems was fashioned from one piece of hammered pure gold. He made seven of these lamps with their candle snuffers, all out of pure gold.

24 He used a seventy-five-pound brick of pure gold to make the Lampstand and its accessories.

The Altar of Incense

25-28 He made an Altar for burning incense from acacia wood. He made it a foot and a half square and three feet high, with its horns of one piece with it. He covered it with a veneer of pure gold, its top, sides, and horns, and made a gold molding around it with two rings of gold beneath the molding. He placed the rings on the two opposing sides to serve as holders for poles by which it will be carried. He made the poles of acacia wood and covered them with a veneer of gold.

29 He also prepared with the art of a perfumer the holy anointing oil and the pure aromatic incense.

The Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering

38 1-7 He made the Altar of Whole-Burnt-Offering from acacia wood. He made it seven and a half feet square and four and a half feet high. He made horns at each of the four corners. The horns were made of one piece with the Altar and covered with a veneer of bronze. He made from bronze all the utensils for the Altar: the buckets for removing the ashes, shovels, basins, forks, and fire pans. He made a grate of bronze mesh under the ledge halfway up the Altar. He cast four rings at each of the four corners of the bronze grating to hold the poles. He made the poles of acacia wood and covered them with a veneer of bronze. He inserted the poles through the rings on the two sides of the Altar for carrying it. The Altar was made out of boards; it was hollow.

The Washbasin

He made the Bronze Washbasin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women’s work group who were assigned to serve at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.

The Courtyard

9-11 And he made the Courtyard. On the south side the hangings for the Courtyard, woven from fine twisted linen, were 150 feet long, with their twenty posts and twenty bronze bases, and fastening hooks and bands of silver. The north side was exactly the same.

The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

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