Scripture: Exodus 5-10
5 Later, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharaoh, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival for me in the wilderness.”
2 But Pharaoh responded, “Who is the Lord that I should obey him by letting Israel go? I don’t know[a] the Lord, and besides, I will not let Israel go.”
3 They answered, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us go on a three-day trip into the wilderness so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God, or else he may strike us with plague or sword.”
4 The king of Egypt said to them, “Moses and Aaron, why are you causing the people to neglect their work? Get to your labor!” 5 Pharaoh also said, “Look, the people of the land are so numerous, and you would stop them from their labor.”
6 That day Pharaoh commanded the overseers of the people as well as their foremen: 7 “Don’t continue to supply the people with straw for making bricks, as before. They must go and gather straw for themselves. 8 But require the same quota of bricks from them as they were making before; do not reduce it. For they are slackers—that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ 9 Impose heavier work on the men. Then they will be occupied with it and not pay attention to deceptive words.”
10 So the overseers and foremen of the people went out and said to them, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I am not giving you straw. 11 Go get straw yourselves wherever you can find it, but there will be no reduction at all in your workload.’” 12 So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt to gather stubble for straw. 13 The overseers insisted, “Finish your assigned work each day, just as you did when straw was provided.” 14 Then the Israelite foremen, whom Pharaoh’s slave drivers had set over the people, were beaten and asked, “Why haven’t you finished making your prescribed number of bricks yesterday or today, as you did before?”
15 So the Israelite foremen went in and cried for help to Pharaoh: “Why are you treating your servants this way? 16 No straw has been given to your servants, yet they say to us, ‘Make bricks!’ Look, your servants are being beaten, but it is your own people who are at fault.”
17 But he said, “You are slackers. Slackers! That is why you are saying, ‘Let us go sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. No straw will be given to you, but you must produce the same quantity of bricks.”
19 The Israelite foremen saw that they were in trouble when they were told, “You cannot reduce your daily quota of bricks.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who stood waiting to meet them.
21 “May the Lord take note of you and judge,” they said to them, “because you have made us reek to Pharaoh and his officials—putting a sword in their hand to kill us!”
22 So Moses went back to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why have you caused trouble for this people? And why did you ever send me? 23 Ever since I went in to Pharaoh to speak in your name he has caused trouble for this people, and you haven’t rescued your people at all.”
6 But the Lord replied to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: because of a strong hand he will let them go, and because of a strong hand he will drive them from his land.”
2 Then God spoke to Moses, telling him, “I am the Lord. 3 I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as God Almighty, but I was not known to them by my name ‘the Lord.’[b] 4 I also established my covenant with them to give them the land of Canaan, the land they lived in as aliens. 5 Furthermore, I have heard the groaning of the Israelites, whom the Egyptians are forcing to work as slaves, and I have remembered my covenant.
6 “Therefore tell the Israelites: I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians and rescue you from slavery to them. I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and great acts of judgment. 7 I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. You will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the forced labor of the Egyptians. 8 I will bring you to the land that I swore[c] to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” 9 Moses told this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their broken spirit and hard labor.
10 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, 11 “Go and tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the Israelites go from his land.”
12 But Moses said in the Lord’s presence: “If the Israelites will not listen to me, then how will Pharaoh listen to me, since I am such a poor speaker?” [d] 13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them commands concerning both the Israelites and Pharaoh king of Egypt to bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt.
14 These are the heads of their fathers’ families:
The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel:
Hanoch and Pallu, Hezron and Carmi.
These are the clans of Reuben.
15 The sons of Simeon:
Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin,
Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman.
These are the clans of Simeon.
16 These are the names of the sons of Levi
according to their family records;
Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Levi lived 137 years.
17 The sons of Gershon:
Libni and Shimei, by their clans.
18 The sons of Kohath:
Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
Kohath lived 133 years.
19 The sons of Merari:
Mahli and Mushi.
These are the clans of the Levites
according to their family records.
20 Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed,
and she bore him Aaron and Moses.
Amram lived 137 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.
She bore him Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
24 The sons of Korah:
Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph.
These are the clans 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 Levite families by their clans.
26 It was this Aaron and Moses whom the Lord told, “Bring the Israelites out of the land of Egypt according to their military divisions.” 27 Moses and Aaron were the ones who spoke to Pharaoh king of Egypt in order to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
28 On the day the Lord spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt, 29 he said to him, “I am the Lord; tell Pharaoh king of Egypt everything I am telling you.”
30 But Moses replied in the Lord’s presence, “Since I am such a poor speaker, how will Pharaoh listen to me?”
7 The Lord answered Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. 2 You must say whatever I command you; then Aaron your brother must declare it to Pharaoh so that he will let the Israelites go from his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart and multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put my hand into Egypt and bring the military divisions of my people the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring out the Israelites from among them.”
6 So Moses and Aaron did this; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.
8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 “When Pharaoh tells you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. It will become a serpent.’” 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. 11 But then Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers—the magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron’s staff swallowed their staffs. 13 However, Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
14 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard: He refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. When you see him walking out to the water, stand ready to meet him by the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Tell him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let my people go, so that they may worship[e] me in the wilderness, but so far you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I am about to strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it.”
19 So the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over their rivers, canals, ponds, and all their water reservoirs—and they will become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.”
20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt.
22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned around, went into his palace, and didn’t take even this to heart. 24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink because they could not drink the water from the river. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, then I will plague all your territory with frogs. 3 The Nile will swarm with frogs; they will come up and go into your palace, into your bedroom and on your bed, into the houses of your officials and your people, and into your ovens and kneading bowls. 4 The frogs will come up on you, your people, and all your officials.”
5 The Lord then said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, canals, and ponds, and cause the frogs to come up onto the land of Egypt.” 6 When Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same thing by their occult practices and brought frogs up onto the land of Egypt.
8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Appeal to the Lord to remove the frogs from me and my people. Then I will let the people go and they can sacrifice to the Lord.”
9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor of choosing. When should I appeal on behalf of you, your officials, and your people, that the frogs be taken away from you and your houses, and remain only in the Nile?”
10 “Tomorrow,” he answered.
Moses replied, “As you have said, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God, 11 the frogs will go away from you, your houses, your officials, and your people. The frogs will remain only in the Nile.” 12 After Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord for help concerning the frogs that he had brought against Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses had said: the frogs in the houses, courtyards, and fields died. 14 They piled them in countless heaps, and there was a terrible odor in the land. 15 But when Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron: Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the land, and it will become gnats[f] throughout the land of Egypt.” 17 And they did this. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and when he struck the dust of the land, gnats were on people and animals. All the dust of the land became gnats throughout the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried to produce gnats using their occult practices, but they could not. The gnats remained on people and animals.
19 “This is the finger of God,” the magicians said to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
20 The Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh when you see him going out to the water. Tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship[g] me. 21 But if you will not let my people go, then I will send swarms of flies[h] against you, your officials, your people, and your houses. The Egyptians’ houses will swarm with flies, and so will the land where they live.[i] 22 But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where my people are living; no flies will be there. This way you will know that I, the Lord, am in the land. 23 I will make a distinction[j] between my people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow.”
24 And the Lord did this. Thick swarms of flies went into Pharaoh’s palace and his officials’ houses. Throughout Egypt the land was ruined because of the swarms of flies. 25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go sacrifice to your God within the country.”
26 But Moses said, “It would not be right[k] to do that, because what we will sacrifice to the Lord our God is detestable to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what the Egyptians detest in front of them, won’t they stone us? 27 We must go a distance of three days into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as he instructs us.”
28 Pharaoh responded, “I will let you go and sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but don’t go very far. Make an appeal for me.”
29 “As soon as I leave you,” Moses said, “I will appeal to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will depart from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. But Pharaoh must not act deceptively again by refusing to let the people go and sacrifice to the Lord.” 30 Then Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord. 31 The Lord did as Moses had said: He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people; not one was left. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also and did not let the people go.
9 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him: This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go and keep holding them, 3 then the Lord’s hand will bring a severe plague against your livestock in the field—the horses, donkeys, camels, herds, and flocks. 4 But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing of all that the Israelites own will die.” 5 And the Lord set a time, saying, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this thing in the land.” 6 The Lord did this the next day. All the Egyptian livestock died, but none among the Israelite livestock died. 7 Pharaoh sent messengers who saw that not a single one of the Israelite livestock was dead. But Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he did not let the people go.
8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of furnace soot, and Moses is to throw it toward heaven in the sight of Pharaoh. 9 It will become fine dust over the entire land of Egypt. It will become festering boils on people and animals throughout the land of Egypt.” 10 So they took furnace soot and stood before Pharaoh. Moses threw it toward heaven, and it became festering boils on people and animals. 11 The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians as well as on all the Egyptians. 12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had told Moses.
13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh. Tell him: This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 14 For this time I am about to send all my plagues against you,[l] your officials, and your people. Then you will know there is no one like me on the whole earth. 15 By now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague, and you would have been obliterated from the earth. 16 However, I have let you live for this purpose: to show you my power and to make my name known on the whole earth. 17 You are still acting arrogantly against[m] my people by not letting them go. 18 Tomorrow at this time I will rain down the worst hail that has ever occurred in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 19 Therefore give orders to bring your livestock and all that you have in the field into shelters. Every person and animal that is in the field and not brought inside will die when the hail falls on them.” 20 Those among Pharaoh’s officials who feared the word of the Lord made their servants and livestock flee to shelters, 21 but those who didn’t take to heart the Lord’s word left their servants and livestock in the field.
22 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven and let there be hail throughout the land of Egypt—on people and animals and every plant of the field in the land of Egypt.” 23 So Moses stretched out his staff toward heaven, and the Lord sent thunder and hail. Lightning struck the land, and the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt. 24 The hail, with lightning flashing through it, was so severe that nothing like it had occurred in the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25 Throughout the land of Egypt, the hail struck down everything in the field, both people and animals. The hail beat down every plant of the field and shattered every tree in the field. 26 The only place it didn’t hail was in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.
27 Pharaoh sent for Moses and Aaron. “I have sinned this time,” he said to them. “The Lord is the righteous one, and I and my people are the guilty ones. 28 Make an appeal to the Lord. There has been enough of God’s thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”
29 Moses said to him, “When I have left the city, I will spread out my hands to the Lord. The thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know the earth[n] belongs to the Lord. 30 But as for you and your officials, I know that you still do not fear the Lord God.”
33 Moses left Pharaoh and the city, and spread out his hands to the Lord. Then the thunder and hail ceased, and rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain, hail, and thunder had ceased, he sinned again and hardened his heart, he and his officials. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard, and he did not let the Israelites go, as the Lord had said through Moses.
10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may do these miraculous signs of mine among them,[q] 2 and so that you may tell[r] your son and grandson how severely I dealt with the Egyptians and performed miraculous signs among them, and you will know that I am the Lord.”
3 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and told him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, that they may worship me. 4 But if you refuse to let my people go, then tomorrow I will bring locusts into your territory. 5 They will cover the surface of the land so that no one will be able to see the land. They will eat the remainder left to you that escaped the hail; they will eat every tree you have growing in the fields. 6 They will fill your houses, all your officials’ houses, and the houses of all the Egyptians—something your fathers and grandfathers never saw since the time they occupied the land until today.” Then he turned and left Pharaoh’s presence.
7 Pharaoh’s officials asked him, “How long must this man be a snare to us? Let the men go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Don’t you realize yet that Egypt is devastated?”
8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” Pharaoh said. “But exactly who will be going?”
9 Moses replied, “We will go with our young and with our old; we will go with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds because we must hold the Lord’s festival.”
10 He said to them, “The Lord would have to be with you if I would ever let you and your families go! Look out—you’re heading for trouble. 11 No, go—just able-bodied men—worship the Lord, since that’s what you want.” And they were driven from Pharaoh’s presence.
12 The Lord then said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the land of Egypt, and the locusts will come up over it and eat every plant in the land, everything that the hail left.” 13 So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the Lord sent an east wind over the land all that day and through the night. By morning the east wind had brought in the locusts. 14 The locusts went up over the entire land of Egypt and settled on the whole territory of Egypt. Never before had there been such a large number of locusts, and there never will be again. 15 They covered the surface of the whole land so that the land was black, and they consumed all the plants on the ground and all the fruit on the trees that the hail had left. Nothing green was left on the trees or the plants in the field throughout the land of Egypt.
16 Pharaoh urgently sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Please forgive my sin once more and make an appeal to the Lord your God, so that he will just take this death away from me.” 18 Moses left Pharaoh’s presence and appealed to the Lord. 19 Then the Lord changed the wind to a strong west[s] wind, and it carried off the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not a single locust was left in all the territory of Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the Israelites go.
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, and there will 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 thick darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 23 One person could not see another, and for three days they did not move from where they were. Yet all the Israelites had light where they lived.
24 Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your families may go with you; only your flocks and herds must stay behind.”
25 Moses responded, “You must also let us have[t] sacrifices and burnt offerings to prepare for the Lord our God. 26 Even our livestock must go with us; not a hoof will be left behind because we will take some of them to worship the Lord our God. We will not know what we will use to worship the Lord until we get there.”
27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was unwilling to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to him, “Leave me! Make sure you never see my face again, for on the day you see my face, you will die.”
29 “As you have said,” Moses replied, “I will never see your face again.”