[For the previous story in this series, read “The Birth and Calling of Moses” here.]
On the way back to Egypt, moses met Aaron, and they went to the Pharaoh together to convince him to let the people go. They said, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD, and moreover I will not let Israel go.”
Pharaoh went even further: he took the request to mean the Hebrews had extra time on their hands, so he made them work even harder than before. Now, they had to gather the straw, which the Egyptians had done before, and still make the same amount of bricks. The Israelite foremen accused Moses, saying that it was his fault, and Moses, in turn, accused God of doing this evil.
God responded by saying, “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob and promised to give them the land of Canaan. I will bring you out of slavery to the Egyptians with great signs, I will redeem you, and I will bring you to the land I promised your fathers.”
Then Moses and Aaron went back to Pharaoh, but his heart was hardened and he wouldn’t let them go. So God broke Pharaoh’s spirit with ten different disasters:
That was the last straw (no pun originally intended), and Pharaoh actually let them go. Here’s what happened: at midnight, God struck down all first born males, except those who had the blood of a lamb on their doorposts. That night was called Passover, because the LORD passed over their homes. While it was still night, Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and told them to leave Egypt for good.
So that day, after 430 years of slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel left Egypt to inherit the Promised Land. As you might guess, Pharaoh changed his mind yet again and came after them in the dessert, but God drowned Pharaoh’s soldiers in the Red Sea before they could catch up to the people of Israel. The people passed through the Red Sea on dry ground, because God has parted the waters for them. When they got to the other side, Moses and the people sang to the LORD a new song and made their way home.