Exodus 12-15: The Red Sea reddens

Exodus 12

The LORD gets Moses to get the Hebrews to do the lamb to the slaughter thing and

Verse 9 “Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire, his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof”

For the LORD is going to get all Biblical

 

Verse 12 “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt , both man and beast: and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.”

There are gods of Egypt? I thought there Could Be Only One? Is this a market consolidation exercise then? Has anyone told the Competition Commission??

Anyhow, the Hebrews are to daub their lintels:

 

Verse 13 “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, when I smite the land of Egypt.”

And sure enough, God has a pretty handy friend-foe target acquisition thing going on. Doubtless BAE Systems, purveyors of airborne smiting, would like a look-see, and America’s allies would be keen for Pentagon to take it on. As the old anecdote goes: during the Italian campaign, when the German bombers flew over the British ducked, when the British planes flew over the Germans ducked, and when the American planes flew over, everyone ducked…

So Moses tells his homies what’s gonna go down, they do as they’re told for once, and God gets down to some heavy-duty smiting.

 

Verse 29 “And it came to pass that at midnight, the LORD smote all the first born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his thrown unto the first born of the captive that was in the dungeon: and all the first born of cattle.”

Pharaoh is understandably less than gruntled, and tells Moses to get outa town

Verse 32-3 “And take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone: and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste: for they said, We be all dead men.”

So after 430 years of post-Joseph sojourning in Egypt, 600,000 leg it.

And God tells Moses and Aaron that this should be remembered.

 

Verse 48 “And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it: and he shall be one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.”

Remind me not to stay over with any of my Jewish friends round Passover…

 

Exodus 13

 

More rules about bread, with “a land of milk and honey” as a carrot. The further price is

Verse 12 “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast: the males shall be the LORD’s.”

which is where the whole “giving up your firstborn” thing comes from I guess.

So the LORD (presumably through Moses)

 

Verse 17 “… led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near: for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt.”

Not so squeamish these days, it seems…

 

Verse 18 “But God led the people about through the way of the wilderness of the Red sea: and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt.”

So they end up near Etham, in the edge of the wilderness, with a dirty great big pillar of a cloud in the day time and a pillar of fire at night.

Beats a satnav, I guess.

 

Exodus 14

So LORD tells Moses to get his people camped in a spot where Pharaoh will chase ’em. He duly does, and he duly does.

 

Verse 7 “And he took six hundred chosen chariots and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over everyone one of them.”

The fleeing Hebrews are bricking it (still without straw, one suspects)

Verse 11-12 “And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, has thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”

Nice to know that ancient revolutionaries (which is what Moses clearly is) had the same battles with reformists who’d rather cling to the scraps from the master’s table than to Be Free.

Moses says that God is on their Side.

So God puts on a show moving his pillars of cloud and fire.

Verse 21 “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea: and the LORD caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”

The Hebrews leg it along the dry land, the Egyptians follow and, oh, look, you’ve all seen the movie, yes? “You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!” No, that’s a different movie

Moses unparts the waters

Verse 28-9 “And the waters returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them: there remained no so much as one of them.” But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.”

Exodus 15

Clearly

 

Verse 3 “The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.”

None of this namby-pamby love thine enemy tosh. “Drown them all, let God sort them out.”

 

Verse 11 “Who is like unto the, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?”

Among the gods eh? What happened to the rest of them then?

 

Verse 14 “The people shall hear,and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina.”

Well, you got that much right…

Oh, there’s a victory dance, led by a woman…

 

Verse 20-1 “And Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand: and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”

Are we inhuman, or are we dancer?

Anyway, it’s the desert, and they’re short of water, and folks murmur against Moses. The LORD shows Moses a tree which, when cast into the salty waters they have, desalinates them.

God promises disease-free living in exchange for unending worship. Can’t say neuroticer than that, can you?

And they come to Elim, with its twelve wells of water…

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Below the surface...
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