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Exodus - Bible

The Exodus - Intervention from the Gods

The story of Exodus in the Bible is well known. It is described in the second book of the Bible and tells of the departure of the Jewish people from Egypt. More or less, the Exodus gives birth to Israel as a nation.

For 400 years the Jews, according to The Bible, were oppressed by the Egyptians while living in Egypt. This event was prophesized by ‘God’ in Genesis, where he revealed to Abraham what they were going to go through in Egypt, and how he would later punish the Egyptians.

When the sun went down, Abram fell sound asleep. Then great terror overwhelmed him. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country. They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years. 14 But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve. Afterward they will come out with many possessions.  Genesis 15

God promised Abraham’s descendant’s possessions. Abraham, Joseph, and many other Hebrews become very wealthy in Egypt, even owning Egyptian servants. The Jewish population in this era must have exceeded 3 million.

It is Moses who fulfilled the last part of the prophecy, the departure of the Jews from Egypt. According to The Bible, Moses was raised as a son of the pharaoh, and according to the High Priest and most famous Egyptian historian, Manetho, his real name was Osarseph. Osarseph was a son of the tribe of Levi and received the teachings of Pharaoh Akhnaton at Heliopolis, the ‘rebel’ pharaoh who gave birth to monotheism with sun god Aton. Coincidence?

It is clearly mentioned in the scripture that Moses had direct and literal contact with God, following his instructions step by step. A prime incident is when he received the Ten Commandments from God himself on Mount Sinai. During the account in Genesis, God explains to Moses exactly what to do, how the Exodus would take place, and how he would deliberately punish the Egyptians, forcing them to expel the Jewish people from Egypt. It becomes clear that God did not want a peaceful resolution to the situation and lead many Egyptians to their own demise:

But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.  Exodus 9:12

The result was meant to show God’s power and so his people would fear him and follow him without question:

I've also done it so you can tell your children and grandchildren about how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and about the signs I displayed among them--and so you will know that I am the LORD.  Exodus 10:2

God commanded Moses to go to the Pharaoh and ask him for Jewish freedom, each time hardening the pharaoh so that the answer would be no, and in response God sent the ten Egyptian plagues, one by one. The first one was to convert the water to blood:

And the LORD spoke unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and upon their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in vessels of wood, and in vessels of stone. Exodus 7:19

The second plague involved frogs:

And the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneading troughs. And the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.  Exodus: 8:3-4

The Gnats of lice followed as the third plague:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.  Exodus 8:16

The fourth and fifth plagues were the swarms of flies and the sickening of the livestock:

Else, if thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thy houses: and the houses of the Egyptians shall be full of swarms of flies, and also the ground whereon they are.  Exodus 8:21

Behold, the hand of the LORD is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.  Exodus 9:3

The sixth plague involved boils:

Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land.  Exodus 9:8-9

Thunders and Locusts followed as the seventh and eight plagues:

Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.  Exodus 9:18

And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field.  Exodus 10:5

The final two plagues were all-encompassing darkness and the death of all the Egyptian firstborn. It couldn’t get harsher than that, showing once more the contradicting actions of an ‘all loving’ God. Angels enacted the final plague.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. Exodus 10:21-22

And Moses said, Thus saith the LORD, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt. And all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first born of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.  Exodus 11:4-11:5

At the end of the tenth plague, Gods again verifies that all of this was done to increase the faith of Jewish people.

Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that My wonders will be multiplied in the land of Egypt.’ Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh; yet the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the sons of Israel go out of his land.  Exodus 11:9-11:10

Finally, the pharaoh agreed to give the Jews their freedom (according to God’s plan) and they began the Exodus from Egypt under the close guidance of God:

By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.  Exodus 13:21

When the Jews reached the Red Sea, God assisted Moses in opening a passage through the sea so that the Jews could travel through it. This is where—for the last time—God hardens the heart of the pharaoh so that he would pursue the Israelites into the sea and be destroyed by the hand of God:

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots and their horsemen.” So Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state at daybreak, while the Egyptians were fleeing right into it; then the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. The waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even Pharaoh’s entire army that had gone into the sea after them; not even one of them remained. But the sons of Israel walked on dry land through the midst of the sea, and the waters were like a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.” Exodus 14:26-14:29

The Exodus is one of the largest and most detailed parts of The Bible, describing the direct and bloodthirsty interference of God and his angels. Is it possible that all of this truly happened? Recent scientific evidence shows that the Exodus did happen and is connected with a natural disaster that occurred in the 15th century BCE.

By John Black

Related Links

Moses and the Exodus - Bible

Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plagues

Exodus

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