The Book of Exodus

by William C. Michael

The Second Book of Moses is called EXODUS, from the Greek word EXODOS, which signifies going out: because it contains the history of the going out of the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Hebrews, from the words with which it begins, call it VEELLE SEMOTH: These are the names. It contains transactions for 145 years; that is, from the death of Joseph to the erecting of the tabernacle.

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Book of Exodus, Chapter 1

The Israelites are multiplied in Egypt. They are oppressed by a new king, who commandeth all their male children to be killed.

1:1. These are the names of the children of Israel, that went into Egypt with Jacob: they went in every man with his household:

1:2. Ruben, Simeon, Levi, Juda,

1:3. Issachar, Zabulon, and Benjamin,

1:4. Dan, and Nephthali, Gad and Aser.

1:5. And all the souls that came out of Jacob’s thigh, were seventy: but Joseph was in Egypt.

1:6. After he was dead, and all his brethren, and all that generation,

1:7. The children of Israel increased, and sprung up into multitudes, and growing exceedingly strong they filled the land.

1:8. In the mean time there arose a new king over Egypt, that knew not Joseph:

1:9. And he said to his people: Behold the people of the children of Israel are numerous and stronger than we.

1:10. Come let us wisely oppress them, lest they multiply: and if any war shall rise against us, join with our enemies, and having overcome us, depart out of the land.

1:11. Therefore he set over them masters of the works, to afflict them with burdens: and they built for Pharao cities of tabernacles, Phithom, and Ramesses.

1:12. But the more they oppressed them, the more they were multiplied and increased.

1:13. And the Egyptians hated the children of Israel, and afflicted them and mocked them:

1:14. And they made their life bitter with hard works in clay and brick, and with all manner of service, wherewith they were overcharged in the works of the earth.

1:15. And the king of Egypt spoke to the midwives of the Hebrews: of whom one was called Sephora, the other Phua,

1:16. Commanding them: When you shall do the office of midwives to the Hebrew women, and the time of delivery is come: if it be a man child, kill it: if a woman, keep it alive.

1:17. But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded, but saved the men children.

1:18: And the king called for them and said: What is it that you meant to do, that you would save the men children?

1:19. They answered: The Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women: for they themselves are skilful in the office of a midwife; and they are delivered before we come to them.

1:20. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied and grew exceedingly strong.

1:21. And because the midwives feared God, he built them houses.

1:22. Pharao therefore charged all his people, saying: Whatsoever shall be born of the male sex, ye shall cast into the river: whatsoever of the female, ye shall save alive.

Book of Exodus, Chapter 2

Moses is born and exposed on the bank of the river; where he is taken up by the daughter of Pharao, and adopted for her son. He killeth an Egyptian, and fleeth into Madian; where he marrieth a wife.

2:1. After this there went a man of the house of Levi; and took a wife of his own kindred.

2:2. And she conceived, and bore a son: and seeing him a goodly child, hid him three months.

2:3. And when she could hide him no longer, she took a basket made of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and pitch: and put the little babe therein, and laid him in the sedges by the river’s brink,

2:4. His sister standing afar off, and taking notice what would be done.

2:5. And behold the daughter of Pharao came down to wash herself in the river: and her maids walked by the river’s brink. And when she saw the basket in the sedges she sent one of her maids for it: and when it was brought,

2:6. She opened it, and seeing within it an infant crying, having compassion on it, she said: This is one of the babes of the Hebrews.

2:7. And the child’s sister said to her: Shall I go, and call to thee a Hebrew woman, to nurse the babe?

2:8. She answered: Go. The maid went and called her mother.

2:9. And Pharao’s daughter said to her: Take this child, and nurse him for me: I will give thee thy wages. The woman took and nursed the child: and when he was grown up, she delivered him to Pharao’s daughter.

2:10. And she adopted him for a son, and called him Moses, saying: Because I took him out of the water.

2:11. In those days, after Moses was grown up, he went out to his brethren: and saw their affliction, and an Egyptian striking one of the Hebrews, his brethren.

2:12. And when he had looked about this way and that way, and saw no one there, he slew the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.

2:13. And going out the next day, he saw two Hebrews quarrelling: and he said to him that did the wrong: Why strikest thou thy neighbour?

2:14. But he answered: Who hath appointed thee prince and judge over us? wilt thou kill me, as thou didst yesterday kill the Egyptian? Moses feared, and said: How is this come to be known?

2:15. And Pharao heard of this word, and sought to kill Moses: but he fled from his sight, and abode in the land of Madian, and he sat down by a well.

2:16. And the priest of Madian had seven daughters, who came to draw water: and when the troughs were filled, desired to water their father’s flocks.

2:17. And the shepherds came and drove them away: and Moses arose, and defending the maids, watered their sheep.

2:18: And when they returned to Raguel their father, he said to them: Why are ye come sooner than usual?

2:19. They answered: A man of Egypt delivered us from the hands of the shepherds: and he drew water also with us, and gave the sheep to drink.

2:20. But he said: Where is he? why have you let the man go? call him that he may eat bread.

2:21. And Moses swore that he would dwell with him. And he took Sephora his daughter to wife:

2:22. And she bore him a son, whom he called Gersam, saying: I have been a stranger in a foreign country. And she bore another, whom he called Eliezer, saying: For the God of my father, my helper, hath delivered me out of the hand of Pharao.

2:23. Now after a long time the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel groaning, cried out because of the works: and their cry went up unto God from the works.

2:24. And he heard their groaning, and remembered the covenant which he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

2:25. And the Lord looked upon the children of Israel, and he knew them.

Book of Exodus, Chapter 3

God appeareth to Moses in a bush, and sendeth him to deliver Israel.

3:1. Now Moses fed the sheep of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Madian: and he drove the flock to the inner parts of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, Horeb.

3:2. And the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he saw that the bush was on fire, and was not burnt.

3:3. And Moses said: I will go, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.

3:4. And when the Lord saw that he went forward to see, he called to him out of the midst of the bush, and said: Moses, Moses. And he answered: Here I am.

3:5. And he said: Come not nigh hither, put off the shoes from thy feet; for the place, whereon thou standest, is holy ground.

3:6. And he said: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Moses hid his face: for he durst not look at God.

3:7. And the Lord said to him: I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt, and I have heard their cry because of the rigour of them that are over the works;

3:8. And knowing their sorrow, I am come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that land into a good and spacious land, into a land that floweth with milk and honey, to the places of the Chanaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite.

3:9. For the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have seen their affliction, wherewith they are oppressed by the Egyptians.

3:10. But come, and I will send thee to Pharao, that thou mayst bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.

3:11. And Moses said to God: Who am I that I should go to Pharao, and should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

3:12. And he said to him: I will be with thee; and this thou shalt have for a sign that I have sent thee: When thou shalt have brought my people out of Egypt, thou shalt offer sacrifice to God upon this mountain.

3:13. Moses said to God: Lo, I shall go to the children of Israel, and say to them: The God of your fathers hath sent me to you. If they shall say to me: What is his name? What shall I say to them?

3:14. God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.

3:15. And God said again to Moses: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: The Lord God of your fathers the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob hath sent me to you; this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.

3:16. Go and gather together the ancients of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared to me, saying: Visiting I have visited you; and I have seen all that hath befallen you in Egypt.

3:17. And I have said the word to bring you forth out of the affliction of Egypt, into the land of the Chanaanite, and Hethite, and Amorrhite, and Pherezite, and Hevite, and Jebusite, to a land that floweth with milk and honey.

3:18: And they shall hear thy voice; and thou shalt go in, thou and the ancients of Israel, to the king of Egypt, and thou shalt say to him: The Lord God of the Hebrews hath called us; we will go three days’ journey into the wilderness, to sacrifice unto the Lord our God.

3:19. But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, but by a mighty hand.

3:20. For I will stretch forth my hand, and will strike Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst of them: after these he will let you go.

3:21. And I will give favour to this people, in the sight of the Egyptians: and when you go forth, you shall not depart empty:

3:22. But every woman shall ask of her neighbour, and of her that is in her house, vessels of silver and of gold, and raiment: and you shall put them on your sons and daughters, and shall spoil Egypt.

Book of Exodus, Chapter 4

Moses is empowered to confirm his mission with miracles: his brother Aaron is appointed to assist him.

4:1. Moses answered, and said: They will not believe me, nor hear my voice, but they will say: The Lord hath not appeared to thee.

4:2. Then he said to him: What is that thou holdest in thy hand? He answered: A rod.

4:3. And the Lord said: Cast it down upon the ground. He cast it down, and it was turned into a serpent, so that Moses fled from it.

4:4. And the Lord said: Put out thy hand, and take it by the tail. He put forth his hand, and took hold of it, and it was turned into a rod.

4:5. That they may believe, saith he, that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared to thee.

4:6. And the Lord said again: Put thy hand into thy bosom. And when he had put it into his bosom, he brought it forth leprous as snow.

4:7. And he said: Put back thy hand into thy bosom. He put it back, and brought it out again, and it was like the other flesh.

4:8. If they will not believe thee, saith he, nor hear the voice of the former sign, they will believe the word of the latter sign.

4:9. But if they will not even believe these two signs, nor hear thy voice: take of the river water, and pour it out upon the dry land, and whatsoever thou drawest out of the river, shall be turned into blood.

4:10. Moses said: I beseech thee, Lord, I am not eloquent from yesterday and the day before; and since thou hast spoken to thy servant, I have more impediment and slowness of tongue.

4:11. The Lord said to him: Who made man’s mouth? or who made the dumb and the deaf, the seeing and the blind? did not I?

4:12. Go therefore, and I will be in thy mouth; and I will teach thee what thou shalt speak.

4:13. But he said: I beseech thee, Lord, send whom thou wilt send.

4:14. The Lord being angry at Moses, said: Aaron the Levite is thy brother, I know that he is eloquent: behold he cometh forth to meet thee, and seeing thee, shall be glad at heart.

4:15. Speak to him, and put my words in his mouth: and I will be in thy mouth, and in his month, and will shew you what you must do.

4:16. He shall speak in thy stead to the people, and shall be thy mouth: but thou shalt be to him in those things that pertain to God.

4:17. And take this rod in thy hand, wherewith thou shalt do the signs.

4:18: Moses went his way, and returned to Jethro his father-in-law, and said to him; I will go and return to my brethren into Egypt, that I may see if they be yet alive. And Jethro said to him: Go in peace.

4:19. And the Lord said to Moses, in Madian: Go, and return into Egypt; for they are all dead that sought thy life.

4:20. Moses therefore took his wife, and his sons, and set them upon an ass; and returned into Egypt, carrying the rod of God in his hand.

4:21. And the Lord said to him as he was returning into Egypt: See that thou do all the wonders before Pharao, which I have put in thy hand: I shall harden his heart, and he will not let the people go.

4:22. And thou shalt say to him: Thus saith the Lord: Israel is my son, my firstborn.

4:23. I have said to thee: Let my son go, that he may serve me, and thou wouldst not let him go: behold I will kill thy son, thy firstborn.

4:24. And when he was in his journey, in the inn, the Lord met him, and would have killed him.

4:25. Immediately Sephora took a very sharp stone, and circumcised the foreskin of her son, and touched his feet, and said: A bloody spouse art thou to me.

4:26. And he let him go after she had said: A bloody spouse art thou to me, because of the circumcision.

4:27. And the Lord said to Aaron: Go into the desert to meet Moses. And he went forth to meet him in the mountain of God, and kissed him.

4:28. And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord, by which he had sent him, and the signs that he had commanded.

4:29. And they came together, and they assembled all the ancients of the children of Israel.

4:30. And Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had said to Moses: and he wrought the signs before the people.

4:31. And the people believed. And they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction: and falling down they adored.

Book of Exodus, Chapter 5

Pharao refuseth to let the people go. They are more oppressed.

5:1. After these things, Moses and Aaron went in, and said to Pharao: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: Let my people go, that they may sacrifice to me in the desert.

5:2. But he answered: Who is the Lord, that I should hear his voice, and let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.

5:3. And they said: The God of the Hebrews hath called us, to go three days’ journey into the wilderness, and to sacrifice to the Lord our God; lest a pestilence or the sword fall upon us.

5:4. The king of Egypt said to them: Why do you Moses and Aaron draw off the people from their works? Get you gone to your burdens.

5:5. And Pharao said: The people of the land are numerous; you see that the multitude is increased; how much more if you give them rest from their works?

5:6. Therefore he commanded the same day the overseers of the works, and the task-masters of the people, saying:

5:7. You shall give straw no more to the people to make brick, as before; but let them go and gather straw.

5:8. And you shall lay upon them the task of bricks, which they did before; neither shall you diminish any thing thereof, for they are idle, and therefore they cry, saying: Let us go and sacrifice to our God.

5:9. Let them be oppressed with works, and let them fulfil them; that they may not regard lying words.

5:10. And the overseers of the works, and the taskmasters, went out and said to the people: Thus saith Pharao: I allow you no straw;

5:11. Go, and gather it where you can find it; neither shall any thing of your work be diminished.

5:12. And the people was scattered through all the land of Egypt to gather straw.

5:13. And the overseers of the works pressed them, saying: Fulfil your work every day, as before ye were wont to do, when straw was given you.

5:14. And they that were over the works of the children of Israel, were scourged by Pharao’s taskmasters, saying: Why have you not made up the task of bricks, both yesterday and to day, as before?

5:15. And the officers of the children of Israel came, and cried out to Pharao, saying: Why dealest thou so with thy servants?

5:16. Straw is not given us, and bricks are required of us as before; behold we, thy servants, are beaten with whips, and thy people is unjustly dealt withal.

5:17. And he said: You are idle, and therefore you say: Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.

5:18: Go therefore and work: straw shall not be given you, and you shall deliver the accustomed number of bricks.

5:19. And the officers of the children of Israel saw that they were in evil case, because it was said to them: There shall not a whit be diminished of the bricks for every day.

5:20. And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood over against them as they came out from Pharao:

5:21. And they said to them: The Lord see and judge, because you have, made our savour to stink before Pharao and his servants, and you have given him a sword, to kill us.

5:22. And Moses returned to the Lord, and said: Lord, why hast thou afflicted this people? wherefore hast thou sent me?

5:23. For since the time that I went in to Pharao to speak in thy name, he hath afflicted thy people: and thou hast not delivered them.

Book of Exodus, Chapter 6

God reneweth his promise. The genealogies of Ruben, Simon and Levi, down to Moses and Aaron.

6:1. And the Lord said to Moses: Now thou shalt see what I will do to Pharao: for by a mighty hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he cast them out of his land.

6:2. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I am the Lord

6:3. That appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty: and my name ADONAI I did not shew them.

6:4. And I made a covenant with them, to give them the land of Chanaan, the land of their pilgrimage wherein they were strangers.

6:5. I have heard the groaning of the children of Israel, wherewith the Egyptians have oppressed them: and I have remembered my covenant.

6:6. Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work-prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from bondage: and redeem you with a high arm, and great judgments.

6:7. And I will take you to myself for my people, I will be your God: and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from the work-prison of the Egyptians:

6:8. And brought you into the land, concerning which I lifted up my hand to give it to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: and I will give it you to possess: I am the Lord.

6:9. And Moses told all this to the children of Israel: but they did not hearken to him, for anguish of spirit, and most painful work.

6:10. And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

6:11. Go in, and speak to Pharao king of Egypt, that he let the children of Israel go out of his land.

6:12.

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William C. Michael

Mr. William C. Michael is the founding headmaster of the <a href=”https://classicalliberalarts.com">Classical Liberal Arts Academy</a>. He graduated from Rutge