The Book of Exodus 1-40

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Runninghead: Exodus

Week 2: Exodus
Jordan Decker
Religion 111
Bethel University
03/29/12

Moses
The sons of Israel (Jacob's sons) have died, along with the Pharaoh who knew Joseph. A new king of Egypt treats the Israelites harshly; they have to make bricks. Worse, since there are too many of them, the king tells the midwives to kill the male babies as they are born. The midwives don't do it, and say in their defense that the Hebrew women give birth too quickly for them to get there. So the new law is, all male newborns are to be thrown in the Nile. (1) Moses is born, gets put carefully in an ark near the riverbank, and is found by Pharaoh's daughter, who wants to keep him. Moses' sister, watching, offers Moses' mother as a nurse, so the mother gets to raise Moses anyway. When Moses is grown, Pharaoh's daughter gets him. One day Moses sees an Egyptian striking a Hebrew, and Moses intervenes and kills the Egyptian. The next day he sees two Hebrews struggling, and tries to intervene, but he discovers that his murder of yesterday is known. So Moses flees to Midian. In Midian he befriends and then marries a daughter of the priest of Midian; they have Gershom, a son. (2) Burning Bush

God hears the complaints of Israel and tells Moses to intervene, via the burning bush on Horeb. God tells Moses that God will bring Israel to the area of Canaan out of Egypt; God will do it through Moses. Moses doubts his ability, but God reassures him that He will be with him. God names Himself "I AM." Moses is to gather the elders and tell them of God's plan: they are to get Pharaoh's permission to leave "temporarily" to sacrifice to God, three days away. (3) Moses doubts his ability, but God gives him some miraculous signs to perform: a rod that becomes a snake, a leprous and then cleansed hand, and turning the river to blood. Moses still doubts, so God, angry, appoints his brother Aaron to be the main speaker. Moses finally agrees and returns from Midian. God gives Moses a message for Pharaoh: if Pharaoh does not let Israel, God's firstborn, out of Egypt, then God will kill Pharaoh's firstborn son. On the way, Moses meets Aaron and tells him the plan. In Egypt, they tell their people, who believe after seeing the signs. (4) Moses and Aaron give Pharaoh the message. But Pharaoh doesn't believe them or care about God, and instead thinks the Hebrews are trying to slack off from making bricks. So Pharaoh makes it even harder; the Hebrews have to find their own straw for bricks, but their quotas remain as high as ever. The Israelites get mad at Moses for this, and Moses complains to God. (5) God tells Moses to reassure the Israelites, giving him the words to say, but when Moses says them, the people are too discouraged to believe him. Moses takes this as proof of his bad oratorical skills. Then there is a genealogy leading up to Moses, and a reminder that Moses had complained of his bad oratorical skills from the start. (6) God reassures Moses again, and says that He will let Pharaoh's heart remain obstinate in failing to let the Israelites go. God has Moses and Aaron do the rod/snake sign, which doesn't mean much to Pharaoh, because his magicians can do it as a trick. Ditto the river/blood sign. The river becomes putrid for a week. (7) Plagues

The plagues, which mostly affect only the Egyptians, and Pharaoh promises to let the people go, giving more ground each time, and then reneges once the plague is over: frogs; gnats; flies; livestock plague; boils; deadly hail; locusts; death of the firstborn son. The Hebrews are to perform a special Passover ritual regarding the final plague. Pharaoh comes to know the power of God, though he seems not to accept the implications. Finally, once Pharaoh's son is killed, he drives Israel away, and lets the whole people go, flocks and all. God also says that the Hebrews are to perform a special commemoration of the escape, particularly regarding the unleavened bread which they had to take with them...
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