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Locusts

10 The Lord said to Moses:

Go back to the king.[a] I have made him and his officials stubborn, so that I could work these miracles. I did this because I want you to tell your children and your grandchildren about my miracles and about my harsh treatment of the Egyptians. Then all of you will know that I am the Lord.

Moses and Aaron went to the king and told him that the Lord God of the Hebrews had said:

How long will you stubbornly refuse to obey? Release my people so they can worship me. Do this by tomorrow, or I will cover your country with so many locusts[b] that you won’t be able to see the ground. Most of your crops were ruined by the hailstones, but these locusts will destroy what little is left, including the trees. Your palace, the homes of your officials, and all other houses in Egypt will overflow with more locusts than have ever been seen in this country.

After Moses left the palace, the king’s officials asked, “Your Majesty, how much longer is this man going to be a troublemaker? Why don’t you let the people leave, so they can worship the Lord their God? Don’t you know that Egypt is a disaster?”

The king had Moses and Aaron brought back, and he said, “All right, you may go and worship the Lord your God. But first tell me who will be going.”

“Everyone, young and old,” Moses answered. “We will even take our sheep, goats, and cattle, because we want to hold a celebration in honor of the Lord.”

10 The king replied, “The Lord had better watch over you on the day I let you leave with your families! You’re up to no good. 11 Do you want to worship the Lord? All right, take only the men and go.” Then Moses and Aaron were chased out of the palace.

12 The Lord told Moses, “Stretch your arm toward Egypt. Swarms of locusts will come and eat everything left by the hail.”

13 Moses held out his walking stick, and the Lord sent an east wind that blew across Egypt the rest of the day and all that night. By morning, locusts 14 were swarming everywhere. Never before had there been so many locusts in Egypt, and never again will there be so many. 15 The ground was black with locusts, and they ate everything left on the trees and in the fields. Nothing green remained in Egypt—not a tree or a plant.

16 At once the king sent for Moses and Aaron. He told them, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Forgive me one more time and ask the Lord to stop these insects from killing every living plant.”

18 Moses left the palace and prayed. 19 Then the Lord sent a strong west wind[c] that swept the locusts into the Red Sea.[d] Not one locust was left anywhere in Egypt, 20 but the Lord made the king so stubborn that he still refused to let the Israelites go.

Darkness

21 The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch your arm toward the sky, and everything will be covered with darkness thick enough to touch.” 22 Moses stretched his arm toward the sky, and Egypt was covered with darkness for three days. 23 During that time, the Egyptians could not see each other or leave their homes, but there was light where the Israelites lived.

24 The king[e] sent for Moses and told him, “Go worship the Lord! And take your families with you. Just leave your sheep, goats, and cattle.”

25 “No!” Moses replied. “You must let us offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, 26 and we won’t know which animals we will need until we get there. That’s why we can’t leave even one of them here.”

27 This time the Lord made the king so stubborn 28 that he said to Moses, “Get out and stay out! If you ever come back, you’re dead!”

29 “Have it your way,” Moses answered. “You won’t see me again.”

Moses Warns the Egyptians That the Lord Will Kill Their First-Born Sons

11 The Lord said to Moses:

I am going to punish the king[f] of Egypt and his people one more time. Then the king will gladly let you leave his land, so that I will stop punishing the Egyptians. He will even chase you out. Now go and tell my people to ask their Egyptian neighbors for gold and silver jewelry.

So the Lord made the Egyptians greatly respect the Israelites, and everyone, including the king and his officials, considered Moses an important leader.

Moses went to the king and said:

I have come to let you know what the Lord is going to do. About midnight he will go through the land of Egypt, and wherever he goes, the first-born son in every family will die. Your own son will die, and so will the son of the lowest slave woman. Even the first-born males of cattle will die. Everywhere in Egypt there will be loud crying. Nothing like this has ever happened before or will ever happen again.

But there won’t be any need for the Israelites to cry. Things will be so quiet that not even a dog will be heard barking. Then you Egyptians will know that the Lord is good to the Israelites, even while he punishes you. Your leaders will come and bow down, begging me to take my people and leave your country. Then we will leave.

Moses was very angry; he turned and left the king.

What the Lord had earlier said to Moses came true. He had said, “The king of Egypt won’t listen. Then I will perform even more miracles.” 10 So the king of Egypt saw Moses and Aaron work miracles, but the Lord made him stubbornly refuse to let the Israelites leave his country.

The Passover

12 Some time later the Lord said to Moses and Aaron:

This month [g] is to be the first month of the year for you. Tell the people of Israel that on the tenth day of this month the head of each family must choose a lamb or a young goat for his family to eat. 4-5 If any family is too small to eat the whole animal, they must share it with their next-door neighbors. Choose either a sheep or a goat, but it must be a one-year-old male that has nothing wrong with it. And it must be large enough for everyone to have some of the meat.

Each family must take care of its animal until the evening of the fourteenth day of the month, when the animals are to be killed. Some of the blood must be put on the two doorposts and above the door of each house where the animals are to be eaten. That night the animals are to be roasted and eaten, together with bitter herbs and thin bread made without yeast. Don’t eat the meat raw or boiled. The entire animal, including its head, legs, and insides, must be roasted. 10 Eat what you want that night, and the next morning burn whatever is left. 11 When you eat the meal, be dressed and ready to travel. Have your sandals on, carry your walking stick in your hand, and eat quickly. This is the Passover Festival in honor of me, your Lord.

12 That same night I will pass through Egypt and kill the first-born son in every family and the first-born male of all animals. I am the Lord, and I will punish the gods of Egypt. 13 The blood on the houses will show me where you live, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. Then you won’t be bothered by the terrible disasters I will bring on Egypt.

14 Remember this day and celebrate it each year as a festival in my honor. 15 For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. And on the first of these seven days, you must remove all yeast from your homes. If you eat anything made with yeast during this festival, you will no longer be part of Israel. 16 Meet together for worship on the first and seventh days of the festival. The only work you are allowed to do on either of these two days is that of preparing the bread.

17 Celebrate this Festival of Thin Bread as a way of remembering the day that I brought your families and tribes out of Egypt. And do this each year. 18 Begin on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month by eating bread made without yeast. Then continue this celebration until the evening of the twenty-first day. 19 During these seven days no yeast is allowed in anyone’s home, whether they are native Israelites or not. If you are caught eating anything made with yeast, you will no longer be part of Israel. 20 Stay away from yeast, no matter where you live. No one is allowed to eat anything made with yeast!

21 Moses called the leaders of Israel together and said:

Each family is to pick out a sheep and kill it for Passover. 22 Make a brush from a few small branches of a hyssop plant and dip the brush in the bowl that has the blood of the animal in it. Then brush some of the blood above the door and on the posts at each side of the door of your house. After this, everyone is to stay inside.

23 During that night the Lord will go through the country of Egypt and kill the first-born son in every Egyptian family. He will see where you have put the blood, and he will not come into your house. His angel that brings death will pass over and not kill your first-born sons.

24-25 After you have entered the country promised to you by the Lord, you and your children must continue to celebrate Passover each year. 26 Your children will ask you, “What are we celebrating?” 27 And you will answer, “The Passover animal is killed to honor the Lord. We do these things because on that night long ago the Lord passed over the homes of our people in Egypt. He killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians, but he saved our children from death.”

After Moses finished speaking, the people of Israel knelt down and worshiped the Lord. 28 Then they left and did what Moses and Aaron had told them to do.

Death for the First-Born Sons

29 At midnight the Lord killed the first-born son of every Egyptian family, from the son of the king[h] to the son of every prisoner in jail. He also killed the first-born male of every animal that belonged to the Egyptians.

30 That night the king, his officials, and everyone else in Egypt got up and started crying bitterly. In every Egyptian home, someone was dead.

The People of Israel Escape from Egypt

31 During the night the king[i] sent for Moses and Aaron and told them, “Get your people out of my country and leave us alone! Go and worship the Lord, as you have asked. 32 Take your sheep, goats, and cattle, and get out. But ask your God to be kind to me.”

33 The Egyptians did everything they could to get the Israelites to leave their country fast. They said, “Please hurry and leave. If you don’t, we will all be dead.” 34 So the Israelites quickly made some bread dough and put it in pans. But they did not mix any yeast in the dough to make it rise. They wrapped cloth around the pans and carried them on their shoulders.

35 The Israelites had already done what Moses had told them to do. They had gone to their Egyptian neighbors and asked for gold and silver and for clothes. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians friendly toward the people of Israel, and they gave them whatever they asked for. In this way they carried away the wealth of the Egyptians when they left Egypt.

37 The Israelites walked from the city of Rameses to the city of Succoth. There were about six hundred thousand of them, not counting women and children. 38 Many other people went with them as well, and there were also a lot of sheep, goats, and cattle. 39 They left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not have time to prepare any food except the bread dough made without yeast. So they baked it and made thin bread.

40-41 The Lord’s people left Egypt exactly four hundred thirty years after they had arrived. 42 On that night the Lord kept watch for them, and on this same night each year Israel will always keep watch in honor of the Lord.

Instructions for Passover

43 The Lord gave Moses and Aaron the following instructions for celebrating Passover:

No one except Israelites may eat the Passover meal.

44 Your slaves may eat the meal if they have been circumcised, 45 but no foreigners who work for you are allowed to have any.

46 The entire meal must be eaten inside, and no one may leave the house during the celebration.

No bones of the Passover lamb may be broken. 47 And all Israelites must take part in the meal.

48 If anyone who isn’t an Israelite wants to celebrate Passover with you, every man and boy in that family must first be circumcised. Then they may join in the meal, just like native Israelites. No uncircumcised man or boy may eat the Passover meal! 49 This law applies both to native Israelites and to those foreigners who live among you.

50 The Israelites obeyed everything the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron to tell them. 51 And on that same day the Lord brought Israel’s families and tribes out of Egypt.

Footnotes

  1. 10.1 the king: See the note at 1.11.
  2. 10.4 locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to crops.
  3. 10.19 west wind: The Hebrew text has “wind from the sea,” referring to the Mediterranean Sea (see verse 13).
  4. 10.19 Red Sea: Hebrew yam suph, here referring to the Gulf of Suez, since the term is extended to include the northwestern arm of the Red Sea (see also the note at 13.18).
  5. 10.24; 11.1 The king: See the note at 1.11.
  6. 12.2 This month: Abib (also called Nisan), the first month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-March to mid-April.
  7. 2.15 the king: See the note at 1.11.
  8. 12.29,31 the king: See the note at 1.11.
  9. 12.29,31 the king: See the note at 1.11.

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