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The Plagues of Egypt
Exodus chapters 7 – 12
7:1 So the LORD said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 7:2 You are to speak everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh that he must release the Israelites from his land. 7:3 But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and although I will multiply my signs and my wonders in the land of Egypt, 7:4 Pharaoh will not listen to you. I will reach into Egypt and bring out my regiments, my people the Israelites, from the land of Egypt with great acts of judgment. 7:5 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the LORD, when I extend my hand over Egypt and bring the Israelites out from among them. 7:6 And Moses and Aaron did so; they did just as the LORD commanded them. 7:7 Now Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old when they spoke to Pharaoh. 7:8 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 7:9 “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Do a miracle,’ and you say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ it will become a snake.” 7:10 When Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, they did so, just as the LORD had commanded them – Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a snake. 7:11 Then Pharaoh also summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the magicians of Egypt by their secret arts did the same thing. 7:12 Each man threw down his staff, and the staffs became snakes. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 7:13 Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted.
The First Blow: Water to Blood
7:14 The LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard; he refuses to release the people. 7:15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning when he goes out to the water. Position yourself to meet him by the edge of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was turned into a snake. 7:16 Tell him, ‘The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to you to say, “Release my people, that they may serve me in the desert!” But until now you have not listened. 7:17 Thus says the LORD: “By this you will know that I am the LORD: I am going to strike the water of the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will be turned into blood. 7:18 Fish in the Nile will die, the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from the Nile.”’” 7:19 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over Egypt’s waters – over their rivers, over their canals, over their ponds, and over all their reservoirs – so that it becomes blood.’ There will be blood everywhere in the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone containers.” 7:20 Moses and Aaron did so, just as the LORD had commanded. Moses raised the staff and struck the water that was in the Nile right before the eyes of Pharaoh and his servants, and all the water that was in the Nile was turned to blood. 7:21 When the fish that were in the Nile died, the Nile began to stink, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. There was blood everywhere in the land of Egypt! 7:22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same by their secret arts, and so Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he refused to listen to Moses and Aaron – just as the LORD had predicted. 7:23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house. He did not pay any attention to this. 7:24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink, because they could not drink the water of the Nile.
The Second Blow: Frogs
7:25 Seven full days passed after the LORD struck the Nile. 8:1 (7:26) Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Release my people in order that they may serve me! 8:2 But if you refuse to release them, then I am going to plague all your territory with frogs. 8:3 The Nile will swarm with frogs, and they will come up and go into your house, in your bedroom, and on your bed, and into the houses of your servants and your people, and into your ovens and your kneading troughs. 8:4 Frogs will come up against you, your people, and all your servants.”’” 8:5 The LORD spoke to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your hand with your staff over the rivers, over the canals, and over the ponds, and bring the frogs up over the land of Egypt.’” 8:6 So Aaron extended his hand over the waters of Egypt, and frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 8:7 The magicians did the same with their secret arts and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt too. 8:8 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the LORD that he may take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will release the people that they may sacrifice to the LORD.” 8:9 Moses said to Pharaoh, “You may have the honor over me – when shall I pray for you, your servants, and your people, for the frogs to be removed from you and your houses, so that they will be left only in the Nile?” 8:10 He said, “Tomorrow.” And Moses said, “It will be as you say, so that you may know that there is no one like the LORD our God. 8:11 The frogs will depart from you, your houses, your servants, and your people; they will be left only in the Nile.” 8:12 Then Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, and Moses cried to the LORD because of the frogs that he had brought on Pharaoh. 8:13 The LORD did as Moses asked – the frogs died out of the houses, the villages, and the fields. 8:14 The Egyptians piled them in countless heaps, and the land stank. 8:15 But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted.
The Third Blow: Gnats
8:16 The LORD said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Extend your staff and strike the dust of the ground, and it will become gnats throughout all the land of Egypt.’” 8:17 They did so; Aaron extended his hand with his staff, he struck the dust of the ground, and it became gnats on people and on animals. All the dust of the ground became gnats throughout all the land of Egypt. 8:18 When the magicians attempted to bring forth gnats by their secret arts, they could not. So there were gnats on people and on animals. 8:19 The magicians said to Pharaoh, “It is the finger of God!” But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted.
The Fourth Blow: Flies
8:20 The LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and position yourself before Pharaoh as he goes out to the water, and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Release my people that they may serve me! 8:21 If you do not release my people, then I am going to send swarms of flies on you and on your servants and on your people and in your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and even the ground they stand on. 8:22 But on that day I will mark off the land of Goshen, where my people are staying, so that no swarms of flies will be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of this land. 8:23 I will put a division between my people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow.”’” 8:24 The LORD did so; a thick swarm of flies came into Pharaoh’s house and into the houses of his servants, and throughout the whole land of Egypt the land was ruined because of the swarms of flies. 8:25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God within the land.” 8:26 But Moses said, “That would not be the right thing to do, for the sacrifices we make to the LORD our God would be an abomination to the Egyptians. If we make sacrifices that are an abomination to the Egyptians right before their eyes, will they not stone us? 8:27 We must go on a three-day journey into the desert and sacrifice to the LORD our God, just as he is telling us.” 8:28 Pharaoh said, “I will release you so that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the desert. Only you must not go very far. Do pray for me.” 8:29 Moses said, “I am going to go out from you and pray to the LORD, and the swarms of flies will go away from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people tomorrow. Only do not let Pharaoh deal falsely again by not releasing the people to sacrifice to the LORD.” 8:30 So Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD, 8:31 and the LORD did as Moses asked – he removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, from his servants, and from his people. Not one remained! 8:32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also and did not release the people.
The Fifth Blow: Disease
9:1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, “Release my people that they may serve me! 9:2 For if you refuse to release them and continue holding them, 9:3 then the hand of the LORD will surely bring a very terrible plague on your livestock in the field, on the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks. 9:4 But the Lord will distinguish between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, and nothing will die of all that the Israelites have.”’” 9:5 The LORD set an appointed time, saying, “Tomorrow the LORD will do this in the land.” 9:6 And the LORD did this on the next day; all the livestock of the Egyptians died, but of the Israelites’ livestock not one died. 9:7 Pharaoh sent representatives to investigate, and indeed, not even one of the livestock of Israel had died. But Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not release the people.
The Sixth Blow: Boils
9:8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace, and have Moses throw it into the air while Pharaoh is watching. 9:9 It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt and will cause boils to break out and fester on both people and animals in all the land of Egypt.” 9:10 So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh, Moses threw it into the air, and it caused festering boils to break out on both people and animals. 9:11 The magicians could not stand be-fore Moses because of the boils, for boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. 9:12 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not listen to them, just as the LORD had predicted to Moses.
The Seventh Blow: Hail
9:13 The LORD said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, stand before Pharaoh, and tell him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: “Release my people so that they may serve me! 9:14 For this time I will send all my plagues on your very self and on your servants and your people, so that you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 9:15 For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with plague, and you would have been destroyed from the earth. 9:16 But for this purpose I have caused you to stand: to show you my strength, and so that my name may be declared in all the earth. 9:17 You are still exalting yourself against my people by not releasing them. 9:18 I am going to cause very severe hail to rain down about this time tomorrow, such hail as has never occurred in Egypt from the day it was founded until now. 9:19 So now, send instructions to gather your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person or animal caught in the field and not brought into the house – the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”’” 9:20 Those of Pharaoh’s servants who feared the word of the LORD hurried to bring their servants and livestock into the houses, 9:21 but those who did not take the word of the LORD seriously left their servants and their cattle in the field. 9:22 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sky that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, on people and on animals, and on everything that grows in the field in the land of Egypt.” 9:23 When Moses extended his staff toward the sky, the LORD sent thunder and hail, and fire fell to the earth; so the LORD caused hail to rain down on the land of Egypt. 9:24 Hail fell and fire mingled with the hail; the hail was so severe that there had not been any like it in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 9:25 The hail struck everything in the open fields, both people and animals, throughout all the land of Egypt. The hail struck everything that grows in the field, and it broke all the trees of the field to pieces. 9:26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail. 9:27 So Pharaoh sent and summoned Moses and Aaron and said to them, “I have sinned this time! The LORD is righteous, and I and my people are guilty. 9:28 Pray to the LORD, for the mighty thunderings and hail are too much! I will release you and you will stay no longer.” 9:29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city I will spread my hands to the LORD, the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 9:30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.” 9:31 (Now the flax and the barley were struck by the hail, for the barley had ripened and the flax was in bud. 9:32 But the wheat and the spelt were not struck, for they are later crops.) 9:33 So Moses left Pharaoh, went out of the city, and spread out his hands to the LORD, and the thunder and the hail ceased, and the rain stopped pouring on the earth. 9:34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder ceased, he sinned again: both he and his servants hardened their hearts. 9:35 So Pharaoh’s heart remained hard, and he did not release the Israelites, as the LORD had predicted through Moses.
The Eighth Blow: Locusts
10:1 The LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, in order to display these signs of mine before him, 10:2 and in order that in the hearing of your son and your grandson you may tell how I made fools of the Egyptians and about my signs that I displayed among them, so that you may know that I am the LORD.” 10:3 So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh and told him, “Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews: ‘How long do you refuse to humble yourself before me? Release my people so that they may serve me! 10:4 But if you refuse to release my people, I am going to bring locusts into your territory tomorrow. 10:5 They will cover the surface of the earth, so that you will be unable to see the ground. They will eat the remainder of what escaped – what is left over for you – from the hail, and they will eat every tree that grows for you from the field. 10:6 They will fill your houses, the houses of your servants, and all the houses of Egypt, such as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen since they have been in the land until this day!’” Then Moses turned and went out from Pharaoh. 10:7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him, “How long will this man be a menace to us? Release the people so that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not know that Egypt is destroyed?” 10:8 So Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh, and he said to them, “Go, serve the LORD your God. Exactly who is going with you?” 10:9 Moses said, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our sheep and our cattle we will go, because we are to hold a pilgrim feast for the LORD.” 10:10 He said to them, “The LORD will need to be with you if I release you and your dependents! Watch out! Trouble is right in front of you! 10:11 No! Go, you men only, and serve the LORD, for that is what you want.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence. 10:12 The LORD said to Moses, “Extend your hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up over the land of Egypt and eat everything that grows in the ground, everything that the hail has left.” 10:13 So Moses extended his staff over the land of Egypt, and then the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day and all night. The morning came, and the east wind had brought up the locusts! 10:14 The locusts went up over all the land of Egypt and settled down in all the territory of Egypt. It was very severe; there had been no locusts like them before, nor will there be such ever again. 10:15 They covered the surface of all the ground, so that the ground became dark with them, and they ate all the vegetation of the ground and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Nothing green remained on the trees or on anything that grew in the fields throughout the whole land of Egypt. 10:16 Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you! 10:17 So now, forgive my sin this time only, and pray to the LORD your God that he would only take this death away from me.” 10:18 Moses went out from Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD, 10:19 and the LORD turned a very strong west wind, and it picked up the locusts and blew them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the territory of Egypt. 10:20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites.
The Ninth Blow: Darkness
10:21 The LORD said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward heaven so that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, a darkness so thick it can be felt.” 10:22 So Moses extended his hand toward heaven, and there was absolute darkness throughout the land of Egypt for three days. 10:23 No one could see another person, and no one could rise from his place for three days. But the Israelites had light in the places where they lived. 10:24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD – only your flocks and herds will be detained. Even your families may go with you.” 10:25 But Moses said, “Will you also provide us with sacrifices and burnt offerings that we may present them to the LORD our God? 10:26 Our livestock must also go with us! Not a hoof is to be left behind! For we must take these animals to serve the LORD our God. Until we arrive there, we do not know what we must use to serve the LORD.” 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to release them. 10:28 Pharaoh said to him, “Go from me! Watch out for yourself! Do not appear before me again, for when you see my face you will die!” 10:29 Moses said, “As you wish! I will not see your face again.”
The Tenth Blow: Death
11:1 The LORD said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt; after that he will release you from this place. When he releases you, he will drive you out completely from this place. 11:2 Instruct the people that each man and each woman is to request from his or her neighbor items of silver and gold.” 11:3 (Now the LORD granted the people favor with the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, respected by Pharaoh’s servants and by the Egyptian people.) 11:4 Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt, 11:5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 11:6 There will be a great cry throughout the whole land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. 11:7 But against any of the Israelites not even a dog will bark against either people or animals, so that you may know that the LORD distinguishes between Egypt and Israel.’ 11:8 All these your servants will come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you,’ and after that I will go out.” Then Moses went out from Pharaoh in great anger. 11:9 The LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, so that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” 11:10 So Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not release the Israelites from his land.
The Institution of the Passover
12:1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, 12:2 “This month is to be your beginning of months; it will be your first month of the year. 12:3 Tell the whole community of Israel, ‘In the tenth day of this month they each must take a lamb for themselves according to their families – a lamb for each household. 12:4 If any household is too small for a lamb, the man and his next-door neighbor are to take a lamb according to the number of people – you will make your count for the lamb according to how much each one can eat. 12:5 Your lamb must be perfect, a male, one year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 12:6 You must care for it until the fourteenth day of this month, and then the whole community of Israel will kill it around sundown. 12:7 They will take some of the blood and put it on the two side posts and top of the doorframe of the houses where they will eat it. 12:8 They will eat the meat the same night; they will eat it roasted over the fire with bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs. 12:9 Do not eat it raw or boiled in water, but roast it over the fire with its head, its legs, and its entrails. 12:10 You must leave nothing until morning, but you must burn with fire whatever remains of it until morning. 12:11 This is how you are to eat it – dressed to travel, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. You are to eat it in haste. It is the LORD’S Passover. 12:12 I will pass through the land of Egypt in the same night, and I will attack all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both of humans and of animals, and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment. I am the LORD. 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, so that when I see the blood I will pass over you, and this plague will not fall on you to destroy you when I attack the land of Egypt. 12:14 This day will become a memorial for you, and you will celebrate it as a festival to the LORD – you will celebrate it perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 12:15 For seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. Surely on the first day you must put away yeast from your houses because anyone who eats bread made with yeast from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off from Israel. 12:16 On the first day there will be a holy convocation, and on the seventh day there will be a holy convocation for you. You must do no work of any kind on them, only what every person will eat – that alone may be prepared for you. 12:17 So you will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread, because on this very day I brought your regiments out from the land of Egypt, and so you must keep this day perpetually as a lasting ordinance. 12:18 In the first month, from the fourteenth day of the month, in the evening, you will eat bread made without yeast until the twenty-first day of the month in the evening. 12:19 For seven days yeast must not be found in your houses, for whoever eats what is made with yeast – that person will be cut off from the community of Israel, whether a foreigner or one born in the land. 12:20 You will not eat anything made with yeast; in all the places where you live you must eat bread made without yeast.’” 12:21 Then Moses summoned all the elders of Israel, and told them, “Go and select for yourselves a lamb or young goat for your families, and kill the Passover animals. 12:22 Take a branch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and apply to the top of the doorframe and the two side posts some of the blood that is in the basin. Not one of you is to go out the door of his house until morning. 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to strike Egypt, and when he sees the blood on the top of the doorframe and the two side posts, then the LORD will pass over the door, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you. 12:24 You must observe this event as an ordinance for you and for your children forever. 12:25 When you enter the land that the LORD will give to you, just as he said, you must observe this ceremony. 12:26 When your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ – 12:27 then you will say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, when he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt, when he struck Egypt and delivered our households.’” The people bowed down low to the ground, 12:28 and the Israelites went away and did exactly as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron.
The Deliverance from Egypt
12:29 It happened at midnight – the LORD attacked all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the prison, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 12:30 Pharaoh got up in the night, along with all his servants and all Egypt, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was no house in which there was not someone dead. 12:31 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron in the night and said, “Get up, get out from among my people, both you and the Israelites! Go, serve the LORD as you have requested! 12:32 Also, take your flocks and your herds, just as you have requested, and leave. But bless me also.” 12:33 The Egyptians were urging the people on, in order to send them out of the land quickly, for they were saying, “We are all dead!” 12:34 So the people took their dough before the yeast was added, with their kneading troughs bound up in their clothing on their shoulders. 12:35 Now the Israelites had done as Moses told them – they had requested from the Egyptians silver and gold items and clothing. 12:36 The LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, and they gave them whatever they wanted, and so they plundered Egypt. 12:37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 men on foot, plus their dependants. 12:38 A mixed multitude also went up with them, and flocks and herds – a very large number of cattle. 12:39 They baked cakes of bread without yeast using the dough they had brought from Egypt, for it was made without yeast – because they were thrust out of Egypt and were not able to delay, they could not prepare food for themselves either. 12:40 Now the length of time the Israelites lived in Egypt was 430 years. 12:41 At the end of the 430 years, on the very day, all the regiments of the LORD went out of the land of Egypt. 12:42 It was a night of vigil for the LORD to bring them out from the land of Egypt, and so on this night all Israel is to keep the vigil to the LORD for generations to come. 12:43 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover. No foreigner may share in eating it. 12:44 But everyone’s servant who is bought for money, after you have circumcised him, may eat it. 12:45 A foreigner and a hired worker must not eat it. 12:46 It must be eaten in one house; you must not bring any of the meat outside the house, and you must not break a bone of it. 12:47 The whole community of Israel must observe it. 12:48 “When a foreigner lives with you and wants to observe the Passover to the LORD, all his males must be circumcised, and then he may approach and observe it, and he will be like one who is born in the land – but no uncircumcised person may eat of it. 12:49 The same law will apply to the person who is native-born and to the foreigner who lives among you.” 12:50 So all the Israelites did exactly as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron. 12:51 And on this very day the LORD brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt by their regiments.
(the NET Bible)