TMT 018: Exodus 12:28-12:32

abu-simbel-3389_640Lots to cover this week.  Here are the verses:

Exodus Chapter 7

1Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2You are to say everything I command you, and your brother Aaron is to tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites go out of his country. 3But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, 4he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites. 5And the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out my hand against Egypt and bring the Israelites out of it.”

6Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. 7Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.

8The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9“When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Perform a miracle,’ then say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh,’ and it will become a snake.”

10So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs. 13Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had said.

14Then the Lord said to Moses, “Pharaoh’s heart is unyielding; he refuses to let the people go. 15Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes out to the river. Confront him on the bank of the Nile, and take in your hand the staff that was changed into a snake. 16Then say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to say to you: Let my people go, so that they may worship me in the wilderness. But until now you have not listened. 17This is what the Lord says: By this you will know that I am the Lord: With the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water of the Nile, and it will be changed into blood. 18The fish in the Nile will die, and the river will stink; the Egyptians will not be able to drink its water.’ ”

19The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt—over the streams and canals, over the ponds and all the reservoirs—and they will turn to blood.’ Blood will be everywhere in Egypt, even in vesselsa of wood and stone.”

20Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt.

22But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said. 23Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart. 24And all the Egyptians dug along the Nile to get drinking water, because they could not drink the water of the river.

25Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.

 Chapter 8

1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 2If you refuse to let them go, I will send a plague of frogs on your whole country. 3The Nile will teem with frogs. They will come up into your palace and your bedroom and onto your bed, into the houses of your officials and on your people, and into your ovens and kneading troughs. 4The frogs will come up on you and your people and all your officials.’ ”

5Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.’ ”

6So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.

8Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

9Moses said to Pharaoh, “I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your officials and your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the Nile.”

10“Tomorrow,” Pharaoh said.

Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. 11The frogs will leave you and your houses, your officials and your people; they will remain only in the Nile.”

12After Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord about the frogs he had brought on Pharaoh. 13And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the courtyards and in the fields. 14They were piled into heaps, and the land reeked of them. 15But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.

16Then the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron, ‘Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the ground,’ and throughout the land of Egypt the dust will become gnats.” 17They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came on people and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.

Since the gnats were on people and animals everywhere, 19the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the Lord had said.

20Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning and confront Pharaoh as he goes to the river and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 21If you do not let my people go, I will send swarms of flies on you and your officials, on your people and into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies; even the ground will be covered with them.

22“ ‘But on that day I will deal differently with the land of Goshen, where my people live; no swarms of flies will be there, so that you will know that I, the Lord, am in this land. 23I will make a distinctiona between my people and your people. This sign will occur tomorrow.’ ”

24And the Lord did this. Dense swarms of flies poured into Pharaoh’s palace and into the houses of his officials; throughout Egypt the land was ruined by the flies.

25Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”

26But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the Lord our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? 27We must take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, as he commands us.”

28Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”

29Moses answered, “As soon as I leave you, I will pray to the Lord, and tomorrow the flies will leave Pharaoh and his officials and his people. Only let Pharaoh be sure that he does not act deceitfully again by not letting the people go to offer sacrifices to the Lord.”

30Then Moses left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord, 31and the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.

Chapter 9

1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: “Let my people go, so that they may worship me.” 2If you refuse to let them go and continue to hold them back, 3the hand of the Lord will bring a terrible plague on your livestock in the field—on your horses, donkeys and camels and on your cattle, sheep and goats. 4But the Lord will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and that of Egypt, so that no animal belonging to the Israelites will die.’ ”

5The Lord set a time and said, “Tomorrow the Lord will do this in the land.” 6And the next day the Lord did it: All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one animal belonging to the Israelites died. 7Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go.

8Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. 9It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on people and animals throughout the land.”

10So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on people and animals. 11The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians. 12But the Lordhardened Pharaoh’s heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said to Moses.

13Then the Lord said to Moses, “Get up early in the morning, confront Pharaoh and say to him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: Let my people go, so that they may worship me, 14or this time I will send the full force of my plagues against you and against your officials and your people, so you may know that there is no one like me in all the earth. 15For by now I could have stretched out my hand and struck you and your people with a plague that would have wiped you off the earth. 16But I have raised you upa for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. 17You still set yourself against my people and will not let them go. 18Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now. 19Give an order now to bring your livestock and everything you have in the field to a place of shelter, because the hail will fall on every person and animal that has not been brought in and is still out in the field, and they will die.’ ”

20Those officials of Pharaoh who feared the word of the Lord hurried to bring their slaves and their livestock inside. 21But those who ignored the word of the Lord left their slaves and livestock in the field.

22Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that hail will fall all over Egypt—on people and animals and on everything growing in the fields of Egypt.” 23When Moses stretched out his staff toward the sky, the Lord sent thunder and hail, and lightning flashed down to the ground. So the Lord rained hail on the land of Egypt; 24hail fell and lightning flashed back and forth. It was the worst storm in all the land of Egypt since it had become a nation. 25Throughout Egypt hail struck everything in the fields—both people and animals; it beat down everything growing in the fields and stripped every tree. 26The only place it did not hail was the land of Goshen, where the Israelites were.

27Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he said to them. “The Lord is in the right, and I and my people are in the wrong. 28Pray to the Lord, for we have had enough thunder and hail. I will let you go; you don’t have to stay any longer.”

29Moses replied, “When I have gone out of the city, I will spread out my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop and there will be no more hail, so you may know that the earth is the Lord’s. 30But I know that you and your officials still do not fear the Lord God.”

31(The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. 32The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)

33Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the Lord; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34When Pharaoh saw that the rain and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelites go, just as the Lord had said through Moses.

Chapter 10

1Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

3So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 4If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. 5They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. 6They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your parents nor your ancestors have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’ ” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

7Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”

8Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But tell me who will be going.”

9Moses answered, “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”

10Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil.a 11No! Have only the men go and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

12And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”

13So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.

16Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you. 17Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”

18Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea.b Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

The Plague of Darkness

21Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

24Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

25But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. 26Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”

27But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”

29“Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”

Chapter 12 

 28The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron.

29At midnight the Lord struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. 30Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead.

The Exodus

31During the night Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Up! Leave my people, you and the Israelites! Go, worship the Lordas you have requested. 32Take your flocks and herds, as you have said, and go. And also bless me.”


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  1. James Watkins thinks:


    You mentioned in this episode your understanding of the Christian concept of forgiveness, and invited some feedback, so I thought I might weigh in on it a little.

    It does often seem like Christians are out offering forgiveness to everyone for everything, and indeed so many people are carrying either the need to forgive someone, or the need to be forgiven, that it can seem like Christians hand it out when they have no authority to do so.

    You are correct that only the one who has been wronged can offer forgiveness. If we sin against a person, that person who is the one who can offer forgiveness for the wrong he suffered. And as you mentioned, this can be a problem in the case of murder when the victim is no longer there to offer forgiveness. If we sin against God, then He is the only one who can forgive the wrong done to Him. And if we sin against ourselves, we are the only ones with authority to forgive ourselves.

    You spoke about older law codes which offer tit fot tat, and the idea of an eye for an eye. One party is wronged, and the party which offered the offense can redress the crime by something like a just and equal punishment.

    But the teaching we recieve from the story of Adam and Eve tells a different story. In the beginning, it was one sin, yet it had a ripple effect, sweeping out and through time to devastating effect even still today. One sin, yes, but one redress, no.

    You used an example of someone perhaps murdering your brother or family member. The brother is gone, and can no longer offer absolution, but the sin effects everybody. There are a lot of people in this scenario who will be injured by the sin, and so it’s effect multiplies. One action creates a chain reaction.

    Christianity teaches that in a circumstance such as this, the effect is incredibly devastating and destructive, yet we do have recourse to stop the ultimate destructive power of the sin through forgiveness. If somebody murders my brother I can forgive them for the injury this causes me. But I cannot forgive someone for the hurt they caused another person.

    The recognition of the devastating pain that sin causes thoughout the community knocks the idea of retributive justice for a loop. Tit for tat doesn’t even begin to cover it. The only way to truly escape from being destroyed in the blast radius of sin is through forgiveness.

    When we make a conscious choice that it stops with us, then there is a new beginning. It takes a lot of work to find all the ways in which we have been touched by sin and bring it to an end within ourselves. If we can manage that, then it’s time to go help other people to do the same.

    What’s done is done, the sin is not reversed, but it can be stopped and brought to an end, it’s effects contained and limited.

    Thank you for these great podcasts! It’s a really enjoyable class and I would like to convey huge appreciation to you! Sincerely,

    James Watkins

    • Nahum Roman Footnick thinks:

      Thank you for another great comment. I understand your perspective and have heard similar ideas. I absolutely agree that one can forgive another for the damage they have caused secondarily. In many cases, this can be a good thing as it ends or at least mitigates victimhood. But regardless of the secondary or tertiary parties forgiveness for such acts as premeditative murder, there still must be a consequense for their action. After Cain murders Abel, HaShem makes it very clear that we are not to do that, and yet we continue to do so en mass until Noah and the flood. Right after the flood, Hashem clearly states the consequence for murder. Is it retributive? Possibly, that depends on the person. Is it preventative? Possibly, depends on the person. Is it justice? Possibly, again it all depends. When a mass murderer only experiences one death for all the death and pain he has caused, is that just?

      Independent of all these possibilities, HaShem demands death as a consequence for murder. Of course the sin is not reversed, that was never the point. The point is more likely to “remove the evil from your midst.”

      Regardless how we mortals feel about it, and irrespective of our rationalizations regarding humane treatment of 1st degree murderers, HaShem is pretty clear regarding what He demands of us…”“Whoever sheds human blood,
      by humans shall their blood be shed;for in the image of God has God made mankind.”(Gen 9:6) Meaning if convicted of 1st degree murder we are obligated to kill the murderer. And yes, the Torah distinguishes between varying degrees of murder, accidental homicide, and manslaughter. The Talmud (including Oral Torah) gives even more details.

      By the way, we can kill the murderer and still forgive him for the offense he caused us personally. They are not mutually exclusive. In fact you often hear that after the death of the murderer the family can finally find respite and forgiveness.

      God bless and thanks again for your thoughtful question and comments.

  2. Tracy Calder thinks:

    I am a new subscriber and I really love TMT! I discovered the podcasts through Podbean, wanting to find some of Dennis Prager’s shows to listen to during my daily commutes. I remembered he loved teaching Torah and I hoped I’d find his teachings (for free), but while I was unsuccessful in that, I was very pleased to have found your lessons!
    I downloaded and listened to the latest few podcasts, and became so immersed in them that I decided to start all the way at the beginning and work my way forward.
    I am Christian and very much enjoy learning more about the Old Testament. Your depth of knowledge is impressive and the lessons are fascinating. Thank you so much for taking the time to make these podcasts available to the public- I have told one friend about them already and he is also making time to enjoy them. I will also listen to your Ultimate Issues podcasts. I look forward to asking questions later as I catch up with the rest of the class. Keep up the great work!!

    • Nahum Roman Footnick thinks:

      Thank you for listening and sharing it with your friend. The popularity of the podcasts are dependent on listeners like you as I have done no marketing for it. For me it is simply a labor of love and obligation. Unfortunately, I have neglected Ultimate Issues. Life keeps happening 🙂 I will be getting back to it soon, God willing.
      Keep listening and sharing, and if you should have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I may be slow in response, and I may not know the answer… But I’ll do my best.
      God Bless and Happy New Year! (It’s just a couple days past Rosh HaShanah “Head of the Year” commemorating the beginning of Mankind.)

      • Tracy Calder thinks:

        I am sure that BECAUSE it is truly a labor of love (and obligation), people respond as they do to the podcasts and then happily tell others about them. How wonderful that you can devote more time to studying and preparing lessons instead of marketing!

        I will say also that my favorite question is “why?” and you have not failed to answer those questions any time that I have asked it in my mind while listening. You have made my daily commute (2 hrs total) a much more pleasant and constructive experience!

        God Bless and Happy New Year to you also!

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