Chapter 3: Moses During a famine Jacob, who was Abraham’s grandson took his 12 sons and all their children and servants down to Egypt to live. In Egypt they multiplied like the dust of the earth. Soon the sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, outnumbered the Egyptians. Pharaoh, the ruler of Egypt, made slaves of the sons of Jacob and forced them to do cruel work making bricks. After being there over 300 years, they had forgotten the promises God made to Abraham and to their fathers. God had told Abraham that his people would go down to a strange land and be servants there. He also promised that after 400 years he would judge that nation and bring his people back into the land of promise. I tell you it’s true! Pharaoh fears we are becoming too many. He is killing all the babies. The Egyptians are weak and lazy. Our men are strong from hard work. They are afraid of us. They are not going to kill my baby. God will protect him. Ha! What can God do against the might of Pharaoh? No! Not my baby! You can’t do this. Pharaoh, fearing that the Jews were becoming too many, decided to kill all the newborn males. But Mother, what will I tell the soldiers and the neighbors when they ask where our baby is? You will just tell them the truth. His own mother threw him into the river so the soldiers wouldn’t do it. Approximately 1525 B.C. Mother, are you sure it won’t leak? It is coated with tar. It will float. Will we ever see little brother again? Oh, those mean Egyptians! God will protect him. You stay close by and watch. Pharaoh’s daughter came to the river to bathe. Look! There is a crying sound coming from that basket! Oh, isn’t he cute? He may be one of the Hebrew babies. He must be hungry. I would keep him if I could find someone who could nurse him. There is one of those Hebrew children. Maybe she knows someone who could nurse him. I will go see if I can find someone who could nurse him. I know of a Hebrew woman whose baby was thrown in the river. She still has plenty of milk. What have I done? Will I ever see my baby again? Does God care? You had no choice. You couldn’t hide him forever. Sooner or later the soldiers would find him and kill him. ￼￼You ￼￼just have to keep trusting God. Mother, Mother! Mother, the daughter of Pharaoh came to the river and found my little brother. She wants to keep him for her own, and she is looking for someone to nurse him! She is coming here now! Blessed be the Eternal God! I heard you lost your baby. I am so sorry. I found this one in the river. I will pay you to nurse him for me. When he is weaned I will come and take him to the palace where he will be raised to be pharaoh of Egypt. We will call him Moses. As Moses grew, she taught him about the true God of his fathers. God had a special purpose for this little boy. Jump in, little prince, and we will take a ride to the palace. How fast can they run? Thank you for nursing Moses. He looks so healthy. He will grow up to be rich and powerful. As the adopted son of Pharaoh’s daughter, Moses grew to become a great man in Egypt. He was destined to be rich and powerful, but he never forgot his heritage. I am telling you, Moses, the God of our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, told Abraham that his seed would multiply and that they would become strangers in a land that was not theirs. Well, here we are! Yes, and he also told Abraham that we would be afflicted in that strange land for 400 years. We have now been here 359 years; just 41 years to go. He also told Abraham that he would judge that nation for the evil they would do us, and that we would leave with great wealth and go back to the land God gave to our fathers. That seems incredible. Pharaoh would never let all of his slaves leave, and he certainly wouldn’t allow them to leave with wealth. But perhaps there is a way. Why wait 41 more years? The Hebrew children suffered under the rule of their masters. They had to work in the slime pits, making bricks. Moses could not stand to see them suffer, so he decided to do something about it. Get up, you filthy swine! Get up before he beats you to death! Eber, get up. One day Moses saw one of the Egyptians cruelly beating one of his own people. The time of deliverance has come. This must stop. No more! Moses killed the Egyptian and buried the body, but someone saw him and reported it to Pharaoh. Stop, you must stand trial for murder! It’s Moses! Oh God! What have I done? Approximately 1491 B.C. Moses left Egypt and fled into the wilderness. He was alone, without family or friends. He did not deliver his people. He couldn’t even deliver himself. Moses walked for many days. When he could go no further, he came upon a camp of shepherds. Look! A man! He looks nearly dead. Bring water. He is an Egyptian! Moses found a new life among the Midianites. He learned the ways of the wilderness, married, and became a shepherd. Forty years passed and Egypt became a distant memory. Moses had given up hope of ever seeing his people again. That is indeed strange! How did that bush catch on fire, and why does it not burn up? It just keeps on burning and burning. Moses, take your shoes off. You are standing on holy ground. I am the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I have seen the suffering and heard the prayers of my people in Egypt. It is time to deliver them from their oppression and bring them back into the land I promised their fathers. I will send you to Pharaoh and you will bring my people out of their bondage. You will tell him to let my people go, and he will refuse. Then I will show my power to Egypt. After that he will let them go. But they will not believe that you have sent me. They will just laugh. Throw your staff on the ground. What? My staff! It has become a deadly serpent! Pick up the serpent by the tail. It has turned back into my rod! Go to Egypt. I will teach you what to say and tell you what to do. Your brother Aaron will be your assistant. 1445 BC You are going back to Egypt! But what about all those who seek to kill you? It has been 40 years. All who know anything of my past are dead. No one will recognize me. How long will you be gone? Until Pharaoh lets God’s people go. Call all the elders together! The time of deliverance has come! Who are they? That is Aaron the Levite. The other one looks like us, but he is no slave. Come near, all you elders of Israel. Moses was born 80 years ago during the time of the great slaughter when Pharaoh began killing all the male babies. His mother hid him in a basket in the river. By the providence of God, Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses and he was raised as an Egyptian. Forty years ago, Moses decided that he would rather suffer with his own people than to reign as an Egyptian. He sought to deliver us by his own strength and failed. For the past 40 years, he has been living in the deserts of the land God promised to our fathers. Recently God spoke to him and showed him how to deliver us from Pharaoh! Now, Moses will show you the signs that he will use to convince Pharaoh to let us go. The God of Abraham spoke to me from a burning bush and sent me to lead you back to the land of our fathers. Here is a sign. Yikes! His rod turned into a serpent. Don’t be afraid. Watch this. God has sent a deliverer. Yes! That will show Pharaoh. It’s a miracle! Now we go to Pharaoh! God of Abraham! It hasn’t changed since I left here 40 years ago. Remember to say just what I told you. The God of Israel has spoken to Moses. God says you are to let the people go three days’ journey into the wilderness to worship and to offer sacrifices. Ha! The God of Israel? Ha ha ha ha, I don’t know your God. Who is this God that I should obey him? That’s ridiculous. I am not going to let my slaves take a three-day trip into the wilderness. I have heard how you are stirring up my people, causing them to stop working. And now they want to take a three- day trip to worship a God I don’t even know. I will see to it that they have more work to do. From now on, they will have to provide their own straw for making bricks. Now get out of my sight and go back where you came from. Can you believe the audacity? That was funny. They march in here like they were the voice of God. You’re telling us that all you accomplished was to double our work load? Some kind of deliverance. And you think God sent you? Who does he think he is? Some kind of a fanatic! I can’t believe we fell for his tricks. So you don’t have enough to do? You want to go worship your God? We’ll teach you not to be idle. Jehovah, since I have come speaking in your name, things have gotten much worse. Why do you send me here? I am Jehovah, the God of your fathers, and I have seen the suffering and heard the cries of my people Israel. It is time to fulfill my promise to Abraham and lead this people to the land of Canaan. You, Moses, will lead them.
￼￼ But I cannot speak well. Pharaoh will not listen to me. Aaron will do the talking; you just listen to me and tell him what to say. At first Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will show him greater signs until the Egyptians know that I am the only true God. Ha, Ha. What are you doing back here again? Jehovah says, “Let my people go.” Here is a sign that Jehovah has spoken. Ha-Ha-Ha, that’s just a magic trick. That doesn’t scare me. Call our magicians. He did that real smooth. It looked real, didn’t it? Wonder where he learned to do that? Come quickly and bring that magic trick where you turn your rods into serpents. Our god of serpents, Nesert, has sent us to tell you to make more bricks. Ha Ha Ha! Moses, what do we do now? We look like fools. Look! His serpent wants to fight ours. His serpent is eating one of ours! It swallowed our serpent completely! Don’t tell me it is going to try to eat another one! Our serpent god, Nesert, will be angry. I can’t believe it! His serpent has eaten every one of ours. How could this be? Jehovah is the God of creation. He says, “Let my people go.” I don’t know how you did that, but I am not going to pay for the show with a million slaves. Get out of my sight! Exodus 7:13 “And he (God) hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” Why did Jehovah send us with a sign that Pharaoh’s magicians could duplicate? For awhile there it made us look like fools. I don’t know, but God did say that He was going to harden Pharaoh’s heart. That’s certainly what happened. Did you see how mad he got when my rod ate his pet snakes? I must find a place to talk to Jehovah. I don’t know what to do next. God met with Moses again and told him what to do. The Egyptians had ridiculed Moses. His own people rejected him because Pharaoh made their bondage crueler, but Moses believed God and obeyed even though he did not understand. Jehovah says, “Because you refuse to let my people go, and so that you will know that I am the true God, all the waters of Egypt shall become blood.” Now that is impressive. How did he do that? Go get my magicians. The god of the Nile will stop this. See? My magicians can do that too. I will not be persuaded by your magic tricks. I have never in my life seen anything like it. Even the springs and little ponds have turned into blood. What did he say was the name of his God? Never heard them say. What difference does it make? We have thousands of gods. The god of the Nile River must be angry. That fellow Moses says that his God is the only god. One God? That’s ridiculous. Seven days after the waters were turned to blood, Moses again brought God’s judgments on Egypt. Let the waters bring forth frogs in abundance. The stinking blood waters suddenly produced millions of frogs. My house is full of frogs. All of Egypt is filled with frogs. The gods are angry! Where are our priests? Can’t they do something? Pharaoh, see? We magicians can make frogs too. Why are they making more frogs? Didn’t that fellow Moses give us enough? Now Pharaoh gives us more. Why don’t you let them go into the wilderness as they asked? We can’t stand much more of this. Call Moses. Tell him I want to talk. Yes, master, as you say. Ask Jehovah to take away the frogs. If he will do so, I will let your people go and do the sacrifice. You name the time you want the frogs to die and it will be so. Tomorrow morning. According to your own words so shall it be, that all may know there is no god like Jehovah God. When Pharaoh saw that the frogs died at the time he appointed, he hardened his heart and refused to let the Hebrews go. What kind of god is this Jehovah that he fills our lands with frogs? What makes you think a god did it? Maybe it is just a natural phenomenon. Then how did Moses know it was going to happen so he could predict it? And how did he know the exact hour they would all die? Oh, shut up and shovel, or we will never get finished. And Jehovah said unto Moses, “Say unto Aaron, Stretch out your hand and strike the dust of the ground that it becomes lice throughout the land of Egypt.” And all the dust in Egypt turned into lice. What do you mean you can’t make lice? The people will think that his God is more powerful than ours! Magic tricks, that’s all you can do. But sir, surely this is the work of God. No man can do the things that those two have done. We are powerless. There must be a natural explanation, but we can’t stand any more of this. Send word to Moses. Tell him that if his God will take away the lice I will let the Hebrews go to serve their God. The lice are gone, but I cannot let the slaves go. After all, what else could his god do? God has spoken to Moses. God says, “I will send swarms of flies upon Egypt. Your houses shall be filled with flies. But this time I will make a difference between the Egyptians and the Hebrews. There shall be no flies among my people. By this everyone shall know that I am God of the whole earth!” Daddy, why can’t our priests stop this man? Where is their power? I don’t know anything about religion. I just mind my own business. It is just as he said; there are no flies among the Hebrews! This must be the work of their God. Go find Moses. Go then, and sacrifice to your God, but do not leave the land of Egypt. We must go at least three days’ journey. I said you can go, but you cannot go very far. Now talk to your God and ask him to take away these stinking flies. There is not one fly left alive in all Egypt. Now that is a miracle. Shut up. You sound as if you are beginning to believe the babbler. Again Pharaoh hardened his heart refused to let the people go. God sent another plague on Egypt. All of their cows, sheep, oxen, horses, and camels all developed runny sores and died. But the animals of the Hebrews did not catch the disease. Our animals are all dead and yours are healthy. How do you explain that? Moses says it is the God of our fathers come to deliver us from your cruel bondage, but I am a simple man; I do not know about such things. Our priests are offering sacrifices to our gods. Our sacred bull will be angry and put a stop to this. Tell Pharaoh that it is too late. All our sacred bulls have died. The people will be angry when they learn that our gods could not protect themselves from this phantom God of the Hebrews. Where are the gods of the Egyptians? Have they no power? But Pharaoh hardened his heart. Again God spoke to Moses and told him to sprinkle ashes over the city and the Egyptians would be covered with boils. God says, “Because you will not let my people go, I will send terrible boils to cover you and all your animals.” Oh no, not again! Call the magicians. Tell them to summon all their powers. Sacrifice to the gods. Just put a stop to this. You called, oh Most Eminent One? You too? Have you no power against this god of Moses? Get out of my sight, you powerless bunch of frauds. You do sleights-of-hand and fool the people, but I know you are deceivers. Where are your gods? Rise up early and stand before Pharaoh and say, “The God of the Hebrews says, ‘Let my people go. For the next plague will be far worse. It will bring destruction that will kill many of your people. By this you shall know that there is no god like me. You don’t realize it but I am the one who made you to be Pharaoh. You see, I knew you would harden your heart and refuse to let my people go. Your stubbornness gives me the opportunity to manifest my power and bring judgment on Egypt for their cruel treatment of my people. You promote your own interests and resist doing my will so tomorrow at this time I will send a rain of ice and fire like the earth has never seen before.’” “I tell you so you can warn everyone to put themselves or any animals they may have indoors, for all that is outside will die.” Be it as Jehovah has said. Those who did not regard the warning and were caught outdoors died. How can such a thing happen, fire and ice mixed? Mighty god Seth, save us. Ahhhh. Father, how does that man Moses do this? Is his god more powerful than Seth, lord of chaos and storms? He claims there is only one god and that these Hebrews are his children. But no one has ever seen his god, not even the Hebrews. His god, which he claims is just a spirit, is trying to convince Pharaoh to let them into the wilderness to worship. O mighty Seth, lord of chaos and storms, we beg of you, put a stop to these terrible storms. Surely you are greater than this unseen god of Moses. It doesn’t come near us just near the Egyptians. Daddy, I am afraid. Will the fire and ice fall on us too? No child, Jehovah is punishing the Egyptians for not obeying him. He is showing them that their god of storms, Seth, is powerless to help them. It is so horrible. I have sinned against Jehovah. The God of the Hebrews is righteous and I and my people are wicked. Ask Jehovah to stop the fire and ice, and I will let your people leave immediately. As soon as I am out of the city, I will lift my hands to heaven and the plague will cease. By this you will know that the earth belongs to Jehovah, but you will not keep your word. You do not yet fear God. When Pharaoh saw that the storm was passed; he sinned yet more and hardened his heart. He did not let the people go. God sent yet another plague. Locusts came and ate every green thing that the storm had not destroyed. Then the locusts chewed their way into the houses. Mama! Mama! Take that! Geb, god of vegetation, do you not see what this god of the Hebrews does to our crops? Osiris, show yourself strong this day. Pharaoh called Moses and promised to let the people go, but when God took away the locusts, Pharaoh again hardened his heart and refused to give up his slaves. Then God caused a thick darkness to descend over Egypt. For three days it was blacker than a cloudy night, but in the Hebrew homes there was no darkness. I would have had you killed before now, but that would prove that our gods had no power against yours. Get out of my sight. I will never see your face again, for in that day you will die. You have spoken the truth for once. We will never see each other again. Ra, great god of the sun, hear us. For three days you have hidden yourself. Can you not defeat this god of the Hebrews? This is it! One final plague and Pharaoh will be glad to see us leave Egypt. Tonight at midnight, the destroyer will pass through the land of Egypt. The firstborn male child in every family will die. God will punish sin this night. But what of our firstborn? Will they also die? God has provided salvation for all who believe, even the Egyptians. Go now and take a young male lamb or goat, kill it this evening and place the blood of the lamb on either side of and over the door. Jehovah says, “As I pass through the land tonight, slaying all firstborn males, when I see the blood on the outside of your doors I will pass over that house, and the firstborn will not die. Remain in your house tonight and eat the lamb that you slay.” Tomorrow, go to your Egyptian masters and borrow their valuables, gold, jewels, and silver. God has touched their hearts. They will give freely and abundantly. Pack your things and be ready to leave tomorrow morning. You will not be coming back here again. It is good-bye to Egypt forever. This will be the beginning of time for you, your first day. Father, that is our only lamb. Couldn’t we just use red paint or something? Son, God said kill a lamb and put its blood on the doorpost. We must do exactly as he says. You have seen how he judges those who do not obey him. This lamb is to save you from death. Then this lamb has died for me? And for me also. For I too am a firstborn son. Mama, why is daddy painting our door with blood? Jehovah said, “When I see the blood on your doors, I will know that you believe me and I will not kill anyone inside the house.” Why have you not killed the lamb and placed blood on your door? Ha, you believe all that superstitious stuff? How is a little blood on a doorpost going to stop death from coming? My son is not scared. Are you, Joikim? Of course not. You think I’m a sissy? Religion is for weaklings. A good god wouldn’t kill people for just failing to put a little blood on a door. What about the people who haven’t heard? Father, why is this night different from all others? Because tonight God will send his destroyer to kill all firstborn males who do not believe him. But when he sees the blood, he will pass over that home. This is the beginning of days to us. Every year at this time we will celebrate this Passover and remember that God delivered us from the hand of Pharaoh. O Father, listen to the screams! The destroyer must be here! Do not be afraid. We have obeyed God. The blood is on the doorpost. We are eating the lamb. My son is dead! Oh God, do something. Call Moses! I am sorry, but it is too late. You were warned, but you refused to believe. I am afraid that many have died this night. Nooooo! No God! Not my baby! As the destroyer passed over the city that night, thousands died. Those who believed and applied the blood to their door lived. Our son is dead! Hurry! Bring Moses here immediately. What the…? He is the first-born of his family! Pharaoh again called for Moses. But Pharaoh did not look at Moses’ face. I have sinned. Please leave Egypt and take all the Hebrews with you. Your God, Jehovah, is more than I can bear. Bless me before you go. Just as God had promised their fathers, after 400 years they were leaving Egypt. The Egyptians gave the Hebrews gold and jewels and food, anything they wanted and could carry. It was a joyous occasion for the Hebrew children; the first day of a new nation. 600,000 men, with the women and children left Egypt to travel to the promised land. God led them during the day with a cloud, which gave them shade, and during the night with a pillar of fire, which gave them light.