Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Exodus 10-12 Moses spits the dummy at Pharaoh

From Exodus 10-12

Q. Ever lose your temper?

Ex 10.1-2 Story; The LORD commands Moses to go to Pharaoh again
Ex 10.3-6 Story; Moses confronts Pharaoh
Ex 10.7-11 Story; Moses called back into Pharaoh and they negotiate unsuccessfully
Ex 10.12-20 Story; Plague 8, God sends locusts, Pharaoh relents, later hardens
Ex 10.21-23 Story; Plague 9, God sends a great darkness for three days
Ex 10.24-29 Story; Moses and Pharaoh unsuccessfully negotiate, the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart
Ex 11.1-3 Story; The LORD commands Moses to prepare Israel for leaving Egypt
Ex 11.4-10 Story; Moses confronts Pharaoh predicting the LORD's last plague
Ex 12.1-13 Story; The LORD instructs Moses regarding the first Passover feast
Ex 12.14-20 Law; Passover and the Feast of Unleavened bread to remember deliverance from Egypt
Ex 12.21-28 Story; Moses instructs the people about the Passover, the people do as commanded
Ex 12.29-36 Story; Plague 10, God struck down all the unprotected firstborn, the people of Israel leave
Ex 12.37-42 Story; Israel's journey begins, summary of important facts, including 430 years in Egypt
Ex 12.43-51 Law; Passover reiterated with more detail

Passage and Comments
I quite enjoyed this story. It has interesting points to comment on, some humor and I learnt something on closer inspection of the text as well. So I would like to share it here also. Moses first confronts Pharaoh.
[4] So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: ‘About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, [5] and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. [6] There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again. [7] But not a dog shall growl against any of the people of Israel, either man or beast, that you may know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel.’ [8] And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, you and all the people who follow you.’ And after that I will go out.” And he went out from Pharaoh in hot anger. (Exodus 11:4-8)
What is interesting here is to note prior to this, the LORD had not told Moses (at least in the text) what the last Plague would be. Is Moses prophesying in hot anger? Is he in the Spirit where God is actually speaking through him in hot anger (wrath) at Pharaoh's continued hard heart? Note also Moses clearly makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel (Ex 11.7) and wants Pharaoh to know that for when the last Plague happens.
[9] Then the LORD said to Moses, “Pharaoh will not listen to you, that my wonders may be multiplied in the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 11:9)
After Moses leaves Pharaoh, the LORD predicts Pharaoh's response. Pharaoh has been instrumental in multiplying the LORD's wonders. If he had capitulated earlier, there would have been a smaller number of wonders. So the Plague goes forth and the LORD strikes down all unprotected firstborn. All the firstborn of Egypt. Pharaoh summoned Moses for the final time.
[31] Then he summoned Moses and Aaron by night and said, “Up, go out from among my people, both you and the people of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as you have said. [32] Take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone, and bless me also!” (Exodus 12.31-32)
What I found amusing about this passage amongst the more serious judgement on Egypt is that Pharaoh's last words or plea for Moses to bless him. Here Pharaoh is pleading, with all the firstborn of Egypt dead. I have this image of Pharaoh clinging to Moses legs begging for a blessing lest he die as well. Its almost comic. I can imagine later Jewish hearers of the story grinning and thinking, 'Don't mess with our God'.
[33] The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” (Exodus 12:33)
The Egyptians also are struck with fear, thinking they shall all die soon. So observe their actions.
[33] The Egyptians were urgent with the people to send them out of the land in haste. For they said, “We shall all be dead.” [34] So the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading bowls being bound up in their cloaks on their shoulders. [35] The people of Israel had also done as Moses told them, for they had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold jewelry and for clothing. [36] And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. (Exodus 12:31-36a)
The Egyptian people think they will all die unless the Hebrews leave. In order to get them to leave as soon as possible they give them lots and lots of silver and gold. They fear the Hebrews might stay longer and thus more of their people will die if they do. So they readily agree to the Hebrew request for silver and gold in order to get rid of them.

Thus they plundered the Egyptians. (Exodus 12:36)

Story of Israel
The story of the passover is remembered through most of Israel’s history. When it is recalled, they remember the saving acts of God for his people Israel.

Story of Jesus
The whole story of the Exodus and Passover is repeated again in the New Testament. This time it revolves around Jesus. Jesus is the new Passover lamb. Through his death on the cross God has called a new nation into being. Risen to new life he rules over this nation as its king. Just like the Passover meal, we Christians are called to remember his body and blood as the moment when he delivered us from slavery into his kingdom.