Bible Story Of Moses And The Exodus

Bible story of Moses and the exodus. The Exodus is the birth of Israel as a people. Moses leads the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage to safety. The Passover, The Ten Commandments and the Burning Bush all happen here.

Exodus, the second book of the Bible, has as its main theme the emancipation of the Jewish nation from Egypt. In the latter part of Genesis Jacob's whole family had settled in the Goshen area of Egypt. This family of seventy people was the root of the Hebrew nation - the twelve sons of Jacob. Joseph, one of Jacob's sons, had risen to a position of prominence in Egypt and the Pharaoh had allowed his family to ride out the famine in Egypt.

Hundreds of years passed and the descendents of Jacob "were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them." (Ex.1: 7) The children of Israel had been granted land and certain freedoms because of the unique relationship Joseph had with Pharaoh. Things change rapidly in Exodus: "Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph." (Ex.1: 8)

The new king was afraid of the children of Israel. Their population was growing too large and the king ordered them to be afflicted and to make them "serve with rigor". (Ex.1: 13) They were put to work building new cities for the king. Pithom and Raamses were cities built with Jewish slave labor. The cruel work conditions did not stem the growth of the Hebrew population. "And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage"¦" (Ex.1: 14) This was a plan of extermination that wasn't working so the king got a better idea.

He ordered the midwives to kill any newborn Hebrew males that they delivered. The midwives didn't follow through and told Pharaoh that the Hebrew women were too "lively" and delivered before they arrived to help. The new decree from Pharaoh was that all male babies were to be thrown in the river.

Now comes the story of baby Moses, a Sunday school favorite. Moses' mother hid him for three months and then "when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river's bank." (Ex.2: 3) The story continues with Pharaoh's daughter finding the baby Moses and bringing him home to be raised in the palace. Moses' own mother gets to nurse him.

Moses is the key character in the story of the Exodus and the symbolism of the "ark" being the vehicle of his salvation is no accident. God's plan for Israel required Moses and so supernatural means are brought into play to insure his survival. What would Pharaoh have thought if he knew that Israel's future liberator was living in his home?



The next time we see Moses he is an adult and in an attempt to bond with his people ends up killing an Egyptian. The result is that the Hebrews are afraid of this troublemaker and Moses flees to Midian. It is not his time yet. Moses gets married and has a son. Meanwhile the king dies and God hears the groaning of the children of Israel. God remembers His promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

In a burning bush, God appears to Moses and says "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Ex.3: 10) Moses is understandably shaken with the vision and the responsibility. He stalls for time and asks God His name. Moses wants to know what to say when they ask: "What is his name?" "And God said to Moses: "˜I AM WHO I AM'" (Ex.3: 14)

Moses is still scared and so God provides him with a rod with which to perform miracles. When Moses complains of his lack of eloquence, God sends Aaron to speak for Moses. So Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh and utter the famous words: "Let my people go" (Ex. 5: 1) But things only get worse for the Israelites as Pharaoh demands a higher quota of bricks and will no longer supply the necessary straw to make them.

God sends plagues on the Egyptians to convince Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. At the same time God hardens Pharaohs heart. There are plagues of frogs, lice, flies, death of livestock, boils, and hail, locusts and darkness. All the plagues wreak havoc on the Egyptians but don't affect the Jews. Pharaoh only gets more stubborn. Finally, the Passover occurs. God vows to kill the firstborn of every family in Egypt. If the children of Israel would put the blood of a male lamb without blemish on their doorposts, God would pass over them and not kill their firstborn. All of the households in Egypt suffer the loss of one.

Pharaoh finally relents and sends Moses, Aaron and their people away to Canaan. Before they can cross the Red Sea and return, Pharaoh has a change of heart and sends the army out to stop them. The next great miracle is that the Red Sea parts enough for Moses to lead his people across to safety. When the Egyptian army attempts to cross, the sea swallows them up.

And so, the children of Israel are finally a people in their own right. They have a mission to carry God's name to the world. Their journey to the Promised Land takes forty years. They wandered the desert all through that time and often complained about their situation and about Moses' leadership. God takes care of them and provides food and water. God sends "manna" and "quail" for them to eat. Their bitter complaining would cost them the right to cross the Jordan into Israel.

During the forty-year journey, Moses would receive the Ten Commandments and many of the rituals of worship would be adopted. None of the people that crossed the Red Sea would see the Promised Land. That was reserved for a new generation. But the people of God's choosing would truly become a united people and be a presence in the Middle East for thousands of years.

Scripture quotations: The New King James Bible, Thomas Nelson, 1982

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