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bush: "Moses, Moses." And he said, "Here am I." The voice cried, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." Moreover he said, "I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face. And the Lord said, "I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey. Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." a

That was a great commission. And Moses said unto God, "Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" And the Lord said, "Surely I will be with thee." "But," said Moses,

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they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee." And the Lord said unto him, "What is that in thine hand?" And he said, "A rod." And the Lord said, "Cast it on the ground." And Moses cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled before it. And the Lord said, "Take it by the tail;" and he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand. And the Lord said further to him, "Put now thine hand into thy bosom." And he did so; and when he took it out, behold, it was leprous as snow. And the Lord said, “Put

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a Exod. iii. 1-10.

MOSES BEFORE PHARAOH.

thine hand into thy bosom again;" and he did so, and it became again like his other flesh. "And it shall come to pass," said the Lord, "if they will not believe these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land and the water shall become blood upon the dry land." And Moses said unto the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." And the Lord said unto him, "Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say." And the Lord said further to him, "Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and he shall be thy spokesman unto the people."

And so it happened. Moses and Aaron gathered the elders of the people of Israel together, and told them that God would bring them out of Egypt. Then they went to the king and said, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness." And Pharaoh said, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go."

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And from that day Pharaoh commanded that still heavier burdens should be laid upon the people than before. "The Hebrews are too well off," said he. "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make

b Exod. iv. 1—17.

brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves; and you shall require the same number of bricks as heretofore." c Moses indeed performed the wonders with his rod before Pharaoh; but as the Egyptian magicians performed similar things with their enchantments, it made no impression upon him. When, therefore, Pharaoh would not hearken, God caused fearful wonders to be wrought in Egypt by Moses, and he sent one plague after another upon the people.

Aaron stretched out his rod over the river Nile, and its waters were changed into blood. For seven days the mighty stream flowed along all blood; so that no one could drink the water, and all the fish in the river died. That was the first plague. But Pharaoh still refused to let the people go.

Aaron then stretched forth his hand over the waters of Egypt; and frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt, and came into their houses, into their bed chambers, and upon their beds, and into their ovens, and into their kneading troughs. Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and I will let the people go." "d And Moses prayed unto the

Lord, and the frogs all died in one day, so that they gathered them together in heaps; and the land stunk with them. But Pharaoh hardened his heart, and would not let the children of Israel go. A third plague must come.

Then Aaron stretched out his rod, and all the dust of the land became lice, which plagued both man and beast. The magicians said, "This is the

d Exod. viii. 8-15.

Exod. v. 1-9.

MOSES BEFORE PHARAOH.

finger of God." heart.

But Pharaoh still hardened his

After the lice, came other vermin upon the land, and the vermin were followed by a murrain among the beasts; camels, oxen, sheep, asses, and horses died in multitudes. But the king's heart still remained hardened.

e

Moses then filled his hands with ashes, and scattered them in the air in the presence of the king; and boils broke out upon man and beast. Upon each occasion Moses declared the hour when the plague should begin, and when it should end; but every time Pharaoh hardened his heart.

After this, Moses stretched forth his rod towards heaven, and the Lord sent a fearful storm, with thunder and hail, such as had never been seen in the land of Egypt since it became a nation. The trees were broken down, and men and cattle were killed in the fields by the hail. Then Pharaoh sent in haste for Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "I have sinned this time. Entreat the Lord that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail." And Moses went out of the city, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and the hail ceased. But Pharaoh hardened his heart again, as before.

Then locusts were brought by an east wind, which covered the land, and ate all that the hail had left : Pharaoh entreated Moses and Aaron, "Forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once." Then the Lord sent a strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red Sea. But Pharaoh remained hardened.

e Exod. viii. 19.

f Exod. ix. 27, 28.

Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days, so that no man could see another, and no one rose from the place where he was. But in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites dwelt, it was light.

Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he said to Moses, "Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more: for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.” g

22. THE DEPARTURE OUT OF EGYPT.

PHARAOH'S presumption had now reached its height. Then said the Lord to Moses, "Yet will I bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterwards he will let you go hence: yea, he shall drive you out; for I will send a destroying angel through Egypt, who shall slay their firstborn." The Israelites received a command to make all preparations for their journey, and to strengthen themselves by a feast, for which they were directed to roast a lamb one year old. "And thus shall you eat it," said the Lord: "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord's passover. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you." a

When the appointed hour came, the Israelites were all prepared for their departure. At the hour

5 Exod. x. 28..

a Exod. xii. 3-13.

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