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The Book of Exodus
Transcript of The Book of Exodus
Moses' mother placed him a basket and floated him down the Nile in order to save him from the Egyptians who were killing all the male Israelite babies. The babies were being killed because Pharoah feared that the Egyptians were being outnumbered and could be defeated by the Israelites. The girls were allowed to live in hopes that they would marry Egyptian boys and the land would revert back to Egypt.
Moses was taken in by Pharoah's daughter and raised in the household.He was close to both the Egyptians and the Israelites. He killed an Egyptian for beating an Israelite slave, though and had to to flee to Midian. There he married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro and lived as a shepherd until God called him to return to Egypt to free the Israelites.
Moses encountered the Burning Bush on Mt. Horeb (also called Mt. Sinai). God called to him and identified himself as "I Am Who Am" or (in Hebrew) YHWH (the tetragrammaton). In English we know this name as Yahweh. God identified himself as "The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob".
Moses was a reluctant prophet. He was afraid to return to Egypt and was afraid that he was good enough at speaking to be a prophet (God's spokesman). God allowed Aaron, the brother of Moses to be with him and speak for him, if necessary. God knew that it would not be Moses leading the people, but God leading the people through Moses.
God asked Moses to ask Pharoah to let the Israelites go into the desert for three days to sacrifice and worship. He did not ask that the Israelites be freed from slavery.
Pharoah refused and so the plagues were visited upon the Egyptian people. Most of these ten plagues symbolized the pagan beliefs of the Egyptians in some way. Through each, God showed his power over the "gods" that the Egyptians worshipped. In this way God warned against idolatry.
None of the plagues convinced Pharoah to let the Israelites go worship until the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn of man and beast. Pharoah demanded that the Israelites leave in the middle of the night.
After Moses released the Israelites, he changed his mind and began to pursue them. Guided by God as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, they came to the Sea of Reeds (the Red Sea). God sent a mighty wind to dry the sea so the Israelites could cross. Pharoah and his army followed and they drowned. Moses and the Israelites continued into the Sinai Peninsula. The parting of the Red Sea is a kind of Baptism. The waters saved the Israelites from certain death.
And finally, just for a little fun...
There are many parallels between the Passover and the Paschal Mystery (Jesus' passion, death, resurrection and ascension). The Passover Lamb is a type of the Blood of Christ who, by his Blood saved us from eternal death. By celebrating the Passover every year, the People of God would be preparing themselves to understand the Death of the Lamb of God.
The parting of the Red Sea is a type of Baptism. The waters saved the Israelites from certain death.
This manna was a type of the Eucharist. In John 6:30-35 (the Bread of Life discourse) Jesus himself says that they true Bread from heaven is from God: "I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.
Once the Exodus (the going out) was over, the Israelites were on their own. Starving and exhausted, they began to complain that Moses had led them out of Egypt only to die in the wilderness of Sinai. God sent manna from heaven (the word manna means "What is it?") to feed them.
After wandering for three months, Moses again went up Mt. Sinai where God gave him a message for all of Israel, the Ten Commandments (also called the Decalogue - meaning the ten words).
Moses built an altar and the people sealed the covenant with a sacrifice. Moses threw half the blood against the altar and sprinkled the other half on the people, uniting them and God in the same covenant.
These were the basis of the moral code of the Hebrews. The first three Commandments concern our relationship with God. The next seven concern our relationship with our neighbor. (You shall love your God with all your heart, your mind and your strength. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.)
This made the nation of Israel a priestly nation. God would use the Israelites as models of behavior and relationship for the rest of the world.
Now the elders of Israel could ascend the mountain and speak directly to God rather than having Moses speak for them. God was keeping his covenant: they were a nation of priests speaking directly to God.
God often chose reluctant prophets, men who appear to be weak so that people will understand that it is God who is working, not his agent.
The passage of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt to freedom
This Passover (the sacrifice of the lamb and the blood on the doorposts) saved the firstborn of the Israelites lasted for seven days.
The first three plagues were blood, frog and gnats. The next three plagues were flies, cattle and boils. The next three were hail, locusts and darkness.