Jehovah plagues Egypt, and Moses leads the sons of Israel out of that land. God gives Israel the Law through Moses
FOR many years, the sons of Israel lived in Egypt, prospering and multiplying. However, a new Pharaoh rose up. This ruler did not know Joseph. A vicious tyrant who feared the Israelites’ growing numbers, he turned them into slaves and ordered that all their newborn males be drowned in the Nile River. But one brave mother protected her infant son, hiding him in a basket among the reeds. Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby, named him Moses, and raised him among Egyptian royalty.
When Moses was 40 years old, he got into trouble defending an Israelite slave from an Egyptian taskmaster. Moses fled to a faraway land, where he lived in exile. When Moses was 80, Jehovah sent him back to Egypt to appear before Pharaoh and demand the release of God’s people.
Pharaoh flatly refused. So God struck Egypt with ten plagues. Each time that Moses appeared before Pharaoh to offer him an opportunity to avert the next plague, Pharaoh proved defiant, holding Moses and his God, Jehovah, in contempt. Finally, the tenth plague brought death to all the firstborn in the land—except in families who obeyed Jehovah by marking their doorposts with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. God’s angel of destruction passed over those households. The Israelites thereafter commemorated this marvelous rescue by means of an annual celebration called the Passover.
Having lost his own firstborn son, Pharaoh ordered Moses and all the Israelites to leave Egypt. They immediately organized the Exodus. But Pharaoh changed his mind. He chased after them with many warriors and chariots. The Israelites appeared to be trapped at the shore of the Red Sea. Jehovah parted the Red Sea, allowing the Israelites to pass through on a dry seabed, between walls of water! When the Egyptians rushed in behind them, God let the waters come crashing down, drowning Pharaoh and his army.
Later, as the Israelites camped by Mount Sinai, Jehovah made a covenant with them. Using Moses as mediator, God gave Israel laws to provide guidance and protection in virtually every aspect of life. As long as Israel faithfully accepted God’s rule, Jehovah would be with them and would make that nation a blessing to others.
However, most of the Israelites showed a disappointing lack of faith in God. Jehovah therefore made that generation wander in the wilderness for 40 years. Then, Moses commissioned the upright man Joshua to succeed him. Finally, Israel was poised to enter the land that God had promised to Abraham.
—Based on Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy; Psalm 136:10-15; Acts 7:17-36.