The Consecration of the Firstborn
13 1 God spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Consecrate every firstborn to me - the first one to come from the womb among the Israelites, whether person or animal, is mine." 3 Moses said to the people, "Always remember this day. This is the day when you came out of Egypt from a house of slavery. God brought you out of here with a powerful hand. Don't eat any raised bread. 4 "You are leaving in the spring month of Abib. 5 When God brings you into the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, which he promised to your fathers to give you, a land lavish with milk and honey, you are to observe this service during this month: 6 "You are to eat unraised bread for seven days; on the seventh day there is a festival celebration to God. 7 "Only unraised bread is to be eaten for seven days. There is not to be a trace of anything fermented - no yeast anywhere. 8 "Tell your child on that day: 'This is because of what God did for me when I came out of Egypt.' 9 "The day of observance will be like a sign on your hand, a memorial between your eyes, and the teaching of God in your mouth. It was with a powerful hand that God brought you out of Egypt. 10 Follow these instructions at the set time, year after year after year.
11 "When God brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he promised you and your fathers, and turns it over to you, 12 you are to set aside the first birth out of every womb to God. Every first birth from your livestock belongs to God. 13 You can redeem every first birth of a donkey if you want to by substituting a lamb; if you decide not to redeem it, you must break its neck. 14 When the time comes and your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' you tell him, 'God brought us out of Egypt, out of a house of slavery, with a powerful hand. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, God killed every firstborn in Egypt, the firstborn of both humans and animals. That's why I make a sacrifice for every first male birth from the womb to God and redeem every firstborn son.' 16 The observance functions like a sign on your hands or a symbol on the middle of your forehead: God brought us out of Egypt with a powerful hand."
The Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire
17 It so happened that after Pharaoh released the people, God didn't lead them by the road through the land of the Philistines, which was the shortest route, for God thought, "If the people encounter war, they'll change their minds and go back to Egypt." 18 So God led the people on the wilderness road, looping around to the Red Sea. The Israelites left Egypt in military formation. 19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly swear to do it, saying, "God will surely hold you accountable, so make sure you bring my bones from here with you." 20 They moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness. 21 God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. 22 The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people.
Crossing the Red Sea
14 1 God spoke to Moses: 2 "Tell the Israelites to turn around and make camp at Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. Camp on the shore of the sea opposite Baal Zephon. 3 "Pharaoh will think, 'The Israelites are lost; they're confused. The wilderness has closed in on them.' 4 Then I'll make Pharaoh's heart stubborn again and he'll chase after them. And I'll use Pharaoh and his army to put my Glory on display. Then the Egyptians will realize that I am God." And that's what happened. 5 When the king of Egypt was told that the people were gone, he and his servants changed their minds. They said, "What have we done, letting Israel, our slave labor, go free?" 6 So he had his chariots harnessed up and got his army together. 7 He took six hundred of his best chariots, with the rest of the Egyptian chariots and their drivers coming along. 8 God made Pharaoh king of Egypt stubborn, determined to chase the Israelites as they walked out on him without even looking back. 9 The Egyptians gave chase and caught up with them where they had made camp by the sea - all Pharaoh's horse-drawn chariots and their riders, all his foot soldiers there at Pi Hahiroth opposite Baal Zephon.
10 As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw them - Egyptians! Coming at them! 11 They told Moses, "Weren't the cemeteries large enough in Egypt so that you had to take us out here in the wilderness to die? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? 12 Back in Egypt didn't we tell you this would happen? Didn't we tell you, 'Leave us alone here in Egypt - we're better off as slaves in Egypt than as corpses in the wilderness.'" 13 Moses spoke to the people: "Don't be afraid. Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today. Take a good look at the Egyptians today for you're never going to see them again. 14 God will fight the battle for you. And you? You keep your mouths shut!"
15 God said to Moses: "Why cry out to me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. 16 Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground. 17 "Meanwhile I'll make sure the Egyptians keep up their stubborn chase - I'll use Pharaoh and his entire army, his chariots and horsemen, 18 to put my Glory on display so that the Egyptians will realize that I am God." 19 The angel of God that had been leading the camp of Israel now shifted and got behind them. And the Pillar of Cloud that had been in front also shifted to the rear. 20 The Cloud was now between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel. The Cloud enshrouded one camp in darkness and flooded the other with light. The two camps didn't come near each other all night.
21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea and God, with a terrific east wind all night long, made the sea go back. He made the sea dry ground. The seawaters split. 22 The Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground with the waters a wall to the right and to the left. 23 The Egyptians came after them in full pursuit, every horse and chariot and driver of Pharaoh racing into the middle of the sea. 24 It was now the morning watch. God looked down from the Pillar of Fire and Cloud on the Egyptian army and threw them into a panic. 25 He clogged the wheels of their chariots; they were stuck in the mud. The Egyptians said, "Run from Israel! God is fighting on their side and against Egypt!" 26 God said to Moses, "Stretch out your hand over the sea and the waters will come back over the Egyptians, over their chariots, over their horsemen." 27 Moses stretched his hand out over the sea: As the day broke and the Egyptians were running, the sea returned to its place as before. God dumped the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. 28 The waters returned, drowning the chariots and riders of Pharaoh's army that had chased after Israel into the sea. Not one of them survived. 29 But the Israelites walked right through the middle of the sea on dry ground, the waters forming a wall to the right and to the left. 30 God delivered Israel that day from the oppression of the Egyptians. And Israel looked at the Egyptian dead, washed up on the shore of the sea, 31 and realized the tremendous power that God brought against the Egyptians. The people were in reverent awe before God and trusted in God and his servant Moses.
The Song of Moses
15 1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to God, giving voice together, I'm singing my heart out to God - what a victory! He pitched horse and rider into the sea. 2 God is my strength, God is my song, and, yes! God is my salvation. This is the kind of God I have and I'm telling the world! This is the God of my father - I'm spreading the news far and wide! 3 God is a fighter, pure God, through and through. 4 Pharaoh's chariots and army he dumped in the sea, The elite of his officers he drowned in the Red Sea. 5 Wild ocean waters poured over them; they sank like a rock in the deep blue sea. 6 Your strong right hand, God, shimmers with power; your strong right hand shatters the enemy. 7 In your mighty majesty you smash your upstart enemies, You let loose your hot anger and burn them to a crisp. 8 At a blast from your nostrils the waters piled up; Tumbling streams dammed up, wild oceans curdled into a swamp. 9 The enemy spoke, "I'll pursue, I'll hunt them down, I'll divide up the plunder, I'll glut myself on them; I'll pull out my sword, my fist will send them reeling." 10 You blew with all your might and the sea covered them. They sank like a lead weight in the majestic waters. 11 Who compares with you among gods, O God? Who compares with you in power, in holy majesty, In awesome praises, wonder-working God? 12 You stretched out your right hand and the Earth swallowed them up. 13 But the people you redeemed, you led in merciful love; You guided them under your protection to your holy pasture. 14 When people heard, they were scared; Philistines writhed and trembled; 15 Yes, even the head men in Edom were shaken, and the big bosses in Moab. Everybody in Canaan panicked and fell faint. 16 Dread and terror sent them reeling. Before your brandished right arm they were struck dumb like a stone, 17 Until your people crossed over and entered, O God, until the people you made crossed over and entered. You brought them and planted them on the mountain of your heritage, The place where you live, the place you made, Your sanctuary, Master, that you established with your own hands. 18 Let God rule forever, for eternity! 19 Yes, Pharaoh's horses and chariots and riders went into the sea and God turned the waters back on them; but the Israelites walked on dry land right through the middle of the sea. 20 Miriam the prophetess, Aaron's sister, took a tambourine, and all the women followed her with tambourines, dancing. 21 Miriam led them in singing, Sing to God - what a victory! He pitched horse and rider into the sea! Traveling Through the Wilderness
The Bitter Water at Marah
22 Moses led Israel from the Red Sea on to the Wilderness of Shur. They traveled for three days through the wilderness without finding any water. 23 They got to Marah, but they couldn't drink the water at Marah; it was bitter. That's why they called the place Marah (Bitter). 24 And the people complained to Moses, "So what are we supposed to drink?" 25 So Moses cried out in prayer to God. God pointed him to a stick of wood. Moses threw it into the water and the water turned sweet. 26 That's the place where God set up rules and procedures; that's where he started testing them. God said, "If you listen, listen obediently to how God tells you to live in his presence, obeying his commandments and keeping all his laws, then I won't strike you with all the diseases that I inflicted on the Egyptians; I am God your healer." 27 They came to Elim where there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. They set up camp there by the water.