by Don R. Richards
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Exodus Chapter 11
Beginning the 11th chapter of Exodus, we find the Lord telling Moses that He will bring one more plague upon Egypt. The first nine plagues have had major impact upon the land and its people as a demonstration of the Lord’s power. Still, Pharaoh has his heart hardened and he has continued to enslave the Israelites to a life of hard labor.
The Israelites have continued to prosper under the oversight of the Lord, much to the chagrin of the Pharaoh. The Israelites, residing in the Land of Goshen in Egypt, have been spared the devastating impact of the first nine plagues upon Egypt.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet I will bring one plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt; afterward he will let you go hence: when he shall let you go, he shall surely thrust you out hence altogether." Exodus 11:1.
The Lord then instructed Moses for the Israelites first to speak to their Egyptian neighbors: "Let every man borrow of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold." 11:2.
The Egyptian people, including Pharaoh’s own servants, now looked with favor upon Moses and the Israelites.
The Lord then informed Moses of the upcoming devastating 10th plague. At midnight "in the midst of Egypt" "all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die." This included not only "the first-born of Pharaoh", but also the first born of every servant and the first born of every beast under Pharaoh’s rule.
"And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more." Exodus 11:6.
But the Lord told Moses that He had a plan for the people of Israel for the first-born death plague. "But against the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man nor beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." 11:7.
Moses told the Pharaoh that all the Pharaoh’s servants would bow down unto him and encourage Moses and the Israelites to leave. All the Israelite people would leave Egypt with Moses. Moses then left the Pharaoh’s palace with Pharaoh in a state of anger.
The lord told Moses and Aaron to perform all the "wonders" of the Lord in front of Pharaoh, but noted that Pharaoh’s heart would remain hardened, and that the Lord’s wonders would be multiplied throughout the land in Egypt.
The Pharaoh stood fast in refusing to let the Israelite people go, just as the Lord had told Moses and Aaron. This action set the stage for certain major events in the Bible’s historical story of the Lord’s chosen people. Three major events helped establish the historical basis of the Jewish nation, to which they largely still identify today and which still figures prominently in religious culture. We will look at these events in greater detail in upcoming articles.
First was the 10th plague involving the death of the first-born child of every Egyptian and the influencing impact it had on the Pharaoh to free the Israelites.
Second was the institution of the "passover", the plan by which the Lord spared from the death plague the first-born of the Israelites. The feast of the passover became (and remains today) a major religious event and ordinance for the Jewish faith.
Third, came the massive departure of the hundreds of thousands of Israelites from Egypt. Known historically as the "Exodus" (after which this book of the Bible derived its title), it involves the unprecedented departure of an entire nation of people on an epic and time-evolving journey back to the land of Canaan, from where Jacob (renamed "Israel" by the Lord. See Genesis 35:10) started with his 12 sons.
The Exodus included the well-known event of the Israelites crossing of the Red Sea wherein Moses parted the waters for the safe passage of his people. Thereafter, Moses led the Israelites through years of wandering in the great deserts of the Middle East. Involved in those years were numerous events and directions from the Lord about the daily life and conduct of the people.
Next: The Passover Instituted
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