Tuesday, December 12

Exodus 1-5

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The Exodus (Going Out)

The Israelites in Egypt

     1[1-6] These are the names of the children of Israel who came to Egypt, each with his family: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher. So Jacob had 70 descendants in all in Egypt, counting Joseph, who was already there. Later, Joseph, all of his brothers, and that generation all died.

     [7-10] But the children of Israel had many descendants, becoming so great that they became very powerful and filled the land. Then a new ruler came to power in Egypt who didn’t know Joseph. And he said to his people, “Look, the people of the children of Israel are more than us and are stronger than we are. Let us deal with them quickly before they grow more. If war breaks out, they may join our enemies and fight against us, and leave the country.”

     [11-14] So the Egyptians put bosses over them to make them be their workers. They forced them to build for the ruler of Egypt the supply cities of Pithom and Rameses. But the more the Egyptians made them work, the more children the Israelites had, and the Egyptians worried about them becoming too strong. So the Egyptians made the people of Israel work very hard. They made their lives very hard with all the work, making them mix mortar and make bricks and do all kinds of work in the fields. They made them work very hard.      

     [15-17] Then the ruler of Egypt told the Israelite midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, “When you help the Israelite women and see them having their babies, if it’s a boy, kill him; but if it’s a girl, let her live.” But the midwives loved God, so they didn’t do what he told them to, and let the boys live, too.

     [18-22] So the ruler of Egypt called the midwives, asking, “Why did you do this and let the boys live?” So they said, “The Israelite women aren’t like the Egyptian women. They’re stronger and have their babies before we get there.” So God was good to the midwives, and the Israelites kept growing more and more powerful. And because the midwives loved God, they were given families of their own. Then the ruler of Egypt told all his people, “Throw every Israelite baby boy into the Nile River, but let the girls live.”

The Birth of Moses

     2[1-4] Then a man and woman from the family of Levi got married. Later, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw how beautiful he was, she kept him hidden for three months. But when she couldn’t hide him any more, she got a basket made of reeds and coated it with tar to waterproof it. Then she put the baby in the basket and put it in the reeds on the bank of the Nile River. The baby’s older sister stood a little way off, watching to see what would happen to him.

     [5-10] Soon the ruler of Egypt’s daughter came down to bathe in the river. Her helpers were walking along the riverbank, and when the princess saw the basket among the reeds, she sent one of them to get it for her. When she opened it, she saw the baby was crying and felt sorry for him, saying, “This is one of the Israelite children.” Then the baby’s sister came to the princess and asked, “Should I go and find one of the Israelite women to nurse the baby for you?” So the princess said, “Yes, go.” So the girl went and called the baby’s mother. So the princess told the baby’s mother, “Take this baby and nurse him for me and I’ll pay you.” So the woman took her baby home and nursed him. Then later, when the boy was weaned, his mother brought him back to the ruler of Egypt’s daughter, who adopted him as her own son. The princess named him Moses, saying, “Because I took him out of the water.”

Moses Kills a Man

     [11-15] When Moses was grown he went out to visit his own people, the Israelites, and he saw how hard they had to work. Then he saw an Egyptian beating one of the Israelites. After looking around and seeing that no one was watching, Moses killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. The next day, when Moses went out again, he saw two Israelite men fighting with each other. So Moses said to the one who had done the wrong, “Why are you hitting your friend?” Then the man said, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?” Then Moses was scared and said, “What I did is known for sure.” Then when the ruler of Egypt heard what had happened, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses ran away from him and went to live in the land of Midian. And when Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well.

     [16-20] Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters who came to draw water and fill the water troughs for their father’s flocks. But some shepherds came and tried to chase them away, so Moses stood up and helped the girls and watered their flocks. When the girls went home to Reuel, their father, he asked, “Why are you back so soon today?” And they said, “An Egyptian saved us from the shepherds, and then drew water for us and watered our flocks.” So he asked his daughters, “Where is he? Why did you leave him there? Go tell him to come and eat with us.”

     [21-25] Then Moses decided to settle there and live with him. Then he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah to be his wife. Later she gave birth to a son, and Moses named him Gershom, saying, “I’ve been a stranger in a foreign land.” As time passed, the ruler of Egypt died. But the Israelites groaned because of their hard work. They prayed for help, and their cry came up to God because of their work. God heard their groaning, and remembered the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. So God looked down on the people of Israel and paid attention to them.

Moses and the Burning Bush

     3[1-3] One day Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and led the flock far into the desert and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. Then the Angel of Yahweh appeared to him in a flaming fire from the middle of a bush. Moses looked, and the bush was burning with fire, but it wasn’t burnt up. So Moses said, “I’ve got to go see this amazing thing, and see why the bush isn’t burnt up.”  

     [4-6] When Yahweh saw that Moses came to take a look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, saying, “Moses! Moses!” Then Moses said, “Here I am!”  Then Yahweh warned, “Don’t come any closer. Take your sandals off from your feet. You’re standing on holy ground. I Am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses covered his face because he was afraid to look at God.

     [7-10] Then Yahweh told him, “I’ve seen the suffering of My people in Egypt. I’ve heard their cries because of those who make them work so hard. I know their sorrows. So I’ve come down to save them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into a good and large land. It’s a land full of milk and honey, the land where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live. Look! The cry of the people of Israel has come to Me, and I’ve seen how badly the Egyptians abuse them. So come, I’m sending you to the ruler of Egypt so that you may bring My people Israel out of Egypt.”

     [11-15] But Moses argued with God, asking, “Who am I that I should go to the ruler of Egypt, and that I should bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?” Then God answered, “I’ll be with you, with a doubt. And this will be the sign that I’ve sent you: When you’ve brought the people out of Egypt, you’ll worship God on this very mountain.” But Moses argued, “If I go to the people of Israel and tell them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ they’ll ask me, ‘What’s God’s name?’ Then what should I tell them?” So God told Moses, “I Am Who I Am. Say this to the people of Israel: I Am has sent me to you.” Then God said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, 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 My Name is to be remembered by all generations.

     [16-18] “Now go and call together all the leaders of Israel and tell them, ‘Yahweh, God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has appeared to me and told me, “I’ve visited you, without a doubt, and seen what’s been done to you in Egypt. And I’ve said that I’d bring you out of the suffering of Egypt to the land, where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites now live, to a land full of milk and honey. Then the leaders of Israel will listen to you, and you and the leaders will go to the ruler of Egypt and tell him, ‘Yahweh, God of the Israelites, has met with us. So please let us take a three-day journey into the countryside to offer sacrifices to Yahweh, our God.’

     [19-22] “But I know that the ruler of Egypt won’t let you go, no, not even by great strength. So I’ll raise My hand and hit Egypt with all the amazing things I will do. Then, after that, he’ll let you go. And I’ll cause the Egyptians to show kindness toward you. Then when you go, you won’t go empty-handed. Tell every Israelite woman to ask her Egyptian neighbors, namely, the women near their houses because things of silver and gold and fine clothing. You’ll put them on your sons and daughters, taking the Egyptians riches.”

Signs of God’s Power

     4[1-5] But Moses argued again, “What if they won’t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, ‘Yahweh hasn’t appeared to you’?” So Yahweh asked him, “What’s that in your hand?” And Moses said, “A walking stick.” Then Yahweh told him, “Throw it down on the ground.” So Moses threw it down, and it turned into a snake and Moses ran from it. Then Yahweh told Moses, “Reach out and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and caught it, and it became a walking stick in his hand again. Do this so they’ll believe that Yahweh, the God of their ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, really has appeared to you.”

     [6-9] Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Now put your hand in your coat.” So Moses put his hand in his coat, and when he took it out again, his hand had a severe skin disease and was as white as snow. Then Yahweh said, “Now put your hand back in your coat.” So Moses put his hand back in his coat, and when he took it out again, it was healed just like the rest of his body. Then Yahweh said to Moses, “If they don’t believe you and won’t pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second sign. And if they don’t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will turn to blood on the dry land.”

     [10-13] But Moses begged Yahweh, “But God, I’m not very good with words, neither before, nor since You spoke to me. I’m slow with words, and my tongue gets tied.” Then Yahweh asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who makes people not speak, not hear, see or not see? Is it not I, Yahweh? Now go! I’ll be with you when you speak, and I’ll tell you what to say.” But Moses begged again, “But God, please, can’t You send someone else, anyone but me.”

     [14-17] Then Yahweh became angry with Moses and God said, “Isn’t Aaron, the Levite, your brother? I know he speaks well. He’ll come out to meet you. When he sees you, he’ll be vey happy. Talk to him, and tell him what to say. I’ll be with both of you when you speak, and I’ll tell you what to do. Aaron will speak to the people for you. He’ll speak for you, and you’ll be like God to him. And take your walking stick with you, which you’ll use to do the signs.”

Moses Goes back to Egypt

     [18-20] So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law and said to him, “Please let me go back to my relatives in Egypt, and see if they’re still alive.” So Jethro said, “Go in peace.” Then Yahweh said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt because all those who wanted to kill you are dead.” So Moses took his wife and sons, and put them on a donkey, and went back to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the walking stick of God in his hand.

     [21-23] And Yahweh told Moses, “When you get to Egypt, make sure to do all the amazing things I’ve given you power to do in front of the ruler of Egypt. But I’ll harden his heart so he won’t let the people go. Then you’ll tell him, ‘Yahweh says: Israel is like My firstborn. So I tell you, “Let My people go, so they can worship Me.” But if you don’t let them go, I’ll kill your child, your firstborn!’”

     [24-26] On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, Yahweh met him and tried to kill him. But Moses’ wife, Zipporah, took a sharp stone and cut off the foreskin of her son and threw it at Moses feet and said, “Now, you’re a husband with blood on your hands!”  So Yahweh let him go. Then Zipporah said, “You’re a husband with blood on your hands!” because she had to cut the foreskin off her son.

     [27-31] Now Yahweh said to Aaron, “Go out into the countryside to meet Moses.” So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and kissed him. So Moses told Aaron all the words of Yahweh who had sent him, and all the signs Yahweh had told him. Then Moses and Aaron went and called all the leaders of the people of Israel together. And Aaron told them everything Yahweh had told Moses, and Moses did the signs as they watched. So the people of Israel believed and when they heard that Yahweh had visited them and had seen their suffering, they bowed their heads and worshiped.

Moses and Aaron Speak to the Ruler of Egypt

     5[1-5] After this, Moses and Aaron went and told the ruler of Egypt, “This is what Yahweh, God of Israel, says: ‘Let My people go so they may hold a feast to Me in the countryside.” And the ruler of Egypt said, “And who is Yahweh that I should do this and let Israel go? I don’t know Yahweh, and I won’t let Israel go.” But they said, “The God of the Israelites has met with us, so please let us take a three-day journey into the countryside so we can offer sacrifices to Yahweh our God or we’ll be killed with a disease or murdered.” But the ruler of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people from their work? Get back to your work! Look, there are many people in the land now, and you’re making them rest from their work.”

Making Bricks Without Straw

     [6-9] That same day the ruler of Egypt told the Egyptian bosses and the Israelite bosses: “Don’t give them any more straw for making bricks. Let them go and get it for themselves! But make them bring the same number of bricks as before. Don’t take anything less. They’re lazy, so they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.’ Give them more work and make them work harder so they won’t listen to these lies!”

     [10-14] So the Egyptian bosses and the Israelite bosses went out and told the people: “This is what the ruler of Egypt says: I won’t give you any more straw. Go and get the straw wherever you can find it, but you’ll make as many bricks as before!” So the people went all over the land of Egypt in search of stubble for straw. And the bosses made them hurry, saying, “Get your work done, just as you did when there was straw!” Then the Israelite bosses that they had put in charge of the workers, were beaten and were asked, “Why haven’t you gotten your work done either yesterday or today?”

     [15-18] So the Israelite bosses went to the ruler of Egypt and begged him, saying, “Why are you doing this to us? We’re given no straw, but the bosses still tell us, ‘Make bricks!’ We’re being beaten, but it’s your own people’s fault!” But the ruler of Egypt shouted, “You people are lazy! Lazy! So you say, ‘Let us go and offer sacrifices to Yahweh.’ Now go to work! No straw will be given to you, but you’ll still make the full number of bricks.”

     [19-23] The Israelite bosses saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You’ll still make the full number of bricks each day.” Then as they left the ruler of Egypt, they met Moses and Aaron, who were waiting for them. They said to them, “May Yahweh judge you for making the ruler of Egypt and our Egyptian bosses hate us. You’ve given them a reason to kill us!” Then Moses went back to Yahweh and argued, “God, why have You brought all this trouble on Your people? Why did You send me? Ever since I came to the ruler of Egypt to speak in Your Name, he’s been worse to Your people, and You haven’t saved Your people at all!”

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