How God Made the Slaves Free

About Exodus

The book of Exodus is the second book in the Bible. The book of Genesis is the first book.

In Genesis we read about Joseph, one of the 12 sons of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave, to work in the country called Egypt. Later, there was a famine and all of Jacob’s family came to live in Egypt. Joseph forgave his brothers for what they had done to him.

God gave Jacob another name, Israel.

Exodus continues the story of Jacob’s family in Egypt. It tells us these things:

How God brought the Israelites out of Egypt.

How God led them through the desert.

How God gave his Laws to them.

How the Israelites built the tabernacle and how they worshipped God in it.

Chapter 1

1 The sons of Israel went to Egypt with Jacob. Each one went with his family. Here are their names:

2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah, 3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin, 4 Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. Joseph was already in Egypt. 5 There were 70 people in Jacob’s family.

6 After some time, Joseph died and his brothers also died. All the people who had lived during Joseph’s life died. 7 But the Israelites had lots of children and they grew into a very large family. There were so many of them that they filled the country.

8 After some more time had passed, a new king began to rule in Egypt. He did not know anything about Joseph. 9 He said to his people, ‘Look! The Israelites have become too many for us. 10 We must be very careful. If we do nothing, even more of them will be born. Then, if there is a war they will join our enemies. The enemies and the Israelites will fight against us and then the Israelites will leave the country.’

11 So the Egyptians made the Israelites work as slaves. Their masters made life difficult for the Israelites. They made the Israelites work for Pharaoh, to build cities. The names of the cities were Pithom and Rameses. They were cities in which the Egyptians stored food.

Verse 8 ‘He did not know anything about Joseph.’ The new king did not know what had happened before. He did not know how Joseph had given food to the Egyptians in a time of famine. You can read about this in Genesis, chapters 37 - 50.

12 The Egyptians made life more difficult for the Israelites but the Israelites became more in number. They had many children and they lived in every part of the country. Because of this, the Egyptians began to be afraid of them. 13 So the Egyptians made the Israelites work without any rest. 14 The Egyptians made the lives of the Israelites very sad because of their work. The Israelites worked with bricks and mortar. They also did many different jobs in the fields. The Egyptians were cruel. They made the Israelites do all this difficult work.

15 There were two Israelite women who helped the other Israelite women at the birth of their children. These two women were called Shiphrah and Puah. The King of Egypt spoke to them. He said: 16 ‘When you help the Israelite women at the birth of their children, do this:

If they have a baby boy, kill him.

If they have a baby girl, let her live.’

17 But the two women did not obey the king of Egypt. They obeyed God and they let the boys live. 18 Then the King of Egypt caused the two women to come to him. He asked them: ‘Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?’ 19 The two women answered Pharaoh. They said, ‘Israelite women are not like Egyptian women. Israelite women are very strong. Their babies are born very quickly, before we arrive at the house.’

20 Because of this, God was kind to the two women. The people grew in number and they became very strong. 21 Because the two women obeyed God, he gave them families of their own.

22 Then Pharaoh spoke to his people. He said: ‘When an Israelite boy is born, you must throw him in the river. But you can let the baby girls live.’

Chapter 2

The birth of Moses

1 At this time, there was an Israelite man who belonged to the big family of Levi. He married a woman who also belonged to that big family. 2 A baby boy was born. His mother saw that he was a very beautiful baby. So she hid him for three months. 3 Then the woman could not continue to hide him. So she took a basket that someone had made from dry river grass. She painted the basket with sticky black paint, to keep the water out of it. The mother put her baby in the basket. Then she put the basket on the edge of the river, among the river grasses.

The Israelite woman did not want her beautiful baby to die. She would not let the Egyptians throw him into the river. She believed that God would keep her baby safe.

4 The baby’s sister stood not very far away. She wanted to see what would happen to the baby.

5 Now the daughter of Pharaoh came to wash in the river. And her servant girls walked by the edge of the river. Then Pharaoh’s daughter saw the basket among the river grasses. So she sent one of her servant girls to fetch it. 6 When Pharaoh’s daughter opened the basket, she saw the baby. He was crying and she was sorry for him. She said: ‘This is one of the Israelite children.’ 7 Then the baby’s sister spoke to Pharaoh’s daughter. She said, ‘Do you want me to fetch one of the Israelite women? She can nurse this baby for you.’

8 Pharaoh’s daughter said: ‘Yes, do that.’ So the girl went and she called the baby’s mother. 9 Pharaoh’s daughter spoke to the baby’s mother. She said: ‘Take this baby away and nurse him for me. I will pay you to do this.’ So the woman took the baby and she nursed him. 10 When the baby was older, his mother brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter. He became her son and she called him Moses. She said: ‘I will call him Moses because I pulled him out of the water.’

Moses’ mother believed that God would keep her baby safe. God did not fail to do this for her. Moses became like a son to Pharaoh’s daughter. His mother nursed him at first. But later he grew to be a man in Pharaoh’s palace. God had important things for Moses to do in future times.

Moses runs away to Midian

11 Many years later, Moses grew to be a man. At that time, he went out to look at the Israelites. He knew that he was an Israelite too. He saw them as they worked without any rest. Then he saw an Egyptian who was hitting an Israelite. Yes, the Egyptian was hitting someone from Moses’ own country! 12 Moses looked in every direction. He saw nobody near. Then Moses killed the Egyptian and he hid his dead body in the sand. 13 Moses went out again the next day and he saw two Israelites. They were fighting together. Moses spoke to the man who was hurting the other man. He said to him: ‘Why are you hitting your friend?’

14 The man answered: ‘You should not be a ruler and a judge over us. Perhaps you are going to kill me, as you killed the Egyptian.’ Then Moses was afraid. He said to himself: ‘People know what I have done!’ 15 Then someone told Pharaoh about it. Pharaoh tried to kill Moses. But Moses ran away from Pharaoh. He went to the country called Midian and he stayed there. Moses sat down by a well in the country called Midian.

Moses was very angry because of what he saw. He was angry because of what the Egyptians did to the Israelites. He also saw one of his own people who was hitting another Israelite. Moses did not like it when people were not fair to each other.

The country called Midian was about 300 kilometres to the east of Egypt. It was also about 300 kilometres south from the country called Canaan (which was the same as Israel).

16 Now the priest of Midian had 7 daughters. These 7 girls came to get water out of the well. They filled the long stone dishes with water so that their father’s animals could drink. 17 But the shepherds who lived in that place arrived. They made the girls go away. So Moses stood up and he helped the 7 girls. He gave water to their animals.

The animals were sheep and goats. The shepherds were not kind to the daughters of the priest of Midian. Moses was kind to the girls. He always wanted to help weak people. That is why he had killed an Egyptian.

18 When the girls came to Reuel, their father, he asked them a question. He said: ‘Why have you come home so soon today?’

19 They answered: ‘An Egyptian saved us from the shepherds. He also took water out of the well and he gave it to the animals.’ 20 Reuel said to his daughters, ‘Where is the man? You should not have left him there. Ask him to come here so that he can eat bread with us.’ 21 Moses was happy to stay with Reuel. Reuel gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses as his wife. 22 After several months, Zipporah gave birth to a baby boy. Moses called the boy Gershom. He called him that because he said: ‘I have been a stranger in a foreign country.’

Moses called his son ‘Gershom’ which means ‘a foreign person’. Moses remembered that he (Moses) really belonged to the Israelites. He did not belong to Midian. Reuel’s daughters had thought that Moses was an Egyptian. This was because he was wearing Egyptian clothes.

God was kind to Moses because he had been kind to Reuel’s daughters. Moses was happy to have a place in Reuel’s family. He was happy to marry Zipporah. He was happy to have a son.

23 After a long time had passed, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites were very sad because they were slaves. They shouted aloud for help from God. 24 God heard them crying because they were slaves. He remembered his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 25 So God looked at the Israelites. He knew that they needed his help.

Now the king was dead. So the Israelites hoped that things would get better. They prayed that God would bring help to them. God heard them. God always hears his people when they pray.

Chapter 3

Moses and the burning bush

1 Moses fed the animals of Jethro the priest of Midian and he kept them safely. Jethro was his wife’s father (the same person as Reuel). Moses led the animals to the far side of the desert. He came to Horeb, the mountain of God.

2 There the angel of the Lord showed himself to Moses. The angel looked like a fire that was burning in the middle of a bush. Moses looked at the bush and he saw that it was on fire. The bush was burning but the fire still did not destroy it. 3 Moses said to himself: ‘I will go and see this strange thing. I want to see why the bush is not burned.’

4 Then the Lord saw that Moses came to see the bush. And God called to Moses from inside the bush: ‘Moses! Moses!’ Moses answered: ‘Here I am.’

5 God said to Moses: ‘Do not come near this place. Remove your shoes from your feet. The place where you stand is holy ground.’ 6 Then God said: ‘I am the God of your fathers. I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’ Then Moses hid his face. He was afraid to look at God.

God used an angel to show himself to Moses. The angel looked like a fire in a burning bush. Moses came near to the bush. And then he knew that it was holy. He heard God’s voice. In those days, people removed their shoes when they worshipped God. They still do this in some places today. Moses knew that he was in a very holy place. The God of his fathers spoke to him, the one, true God. ‘Fathers’ here means ancestors. Moses was very afraid. God is holy. If we could see God, we would be afraid too.

7 Then the Lord said: ‘I have certainly seen the troubles of my people in Egypt. I have heard that they cry because of their slave masters. I know how sad they are. 8 So I have come down to save them from the Egyptians. I will bring them from Egypt to another country. It will be a good country and a wide country. There will be a lot of good food and drink, enough for everyone. It is the place where all these nations live now: the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. 9 And now I have heard Israel’s people cry. I have seen how the Egyptians do bad things to them. 10 Now go! I will send you to Pharaoh. You will lead my people, the Israelites, out of Egypt.’

11 But Moses said to God: ‘I am not an important person. I cannot go to Pharaoh. I cannot lead the Israelites out of Egypt!’

12 God said to Moses: ‘I will be with you. After you have led the people out of Egypt you will worship me on this mountain. That will show people that I have sent you.’

Moses need not be afraid to do what God commands him to do. God will be with him. God will always give people help when they obey him.

13 Then Moses answered God. He said: ‘If I go to the Israelites, they will ask me a question. I shall say: “The God of your fathers has sent me to you.” But then they will ask me, “What is God’s name?” What then shall I say to them?’

14 God said to Moses: ‘I am who I am! Say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.” ’

‘I am who I am.’ These words are very difficult to understand. They are difficult to explain in the English language. The words can mean, ‘I am what I am.’ They can also mean, ‘I will be what I will be.’ God does not need anyone or anything else. He alone made all things. All things need him. Without him they would not be. He was God before he made the world. He is God now, at the present time. He will be God in the future time.

15 God also said to Moses: ‘Say this to the Israelites: “This is the God who has sent me to you. He is the Lord, the God of your fathers. He is the God of Abraham. He is the God of Isaac and Jacob.” This is my name for all time. People will always remember me by this name.

16 Go and bring together the leaders of Israel. Say to them, “God has shown himself to me. He is the Lord and the God of your fathers. He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God said to me: ‘I have watched you Israelites in Egypt. I have seen what the Egyptians have done to you. 17 I have promised that I will bring you out of your difficult life in Egypt. I will bring you into the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. It is a country with more than enough good food and drink.’ ”

18 The leaders of theIsraelites will listen to you. Then you must go with them to the king of Egypt. Say to him: “The Lord, the God of the Israelites has met with us. Please let us go on a journey of three days, into the desert. We must worship the Lord our God there.” 19 I know that the king of Egypt will not want to let you go. He will only let you go if someone more powerful than himself causes him to obey.

20 So I will show him my powerful authority. I will cause very strange and bad things to happen to Egypt. I will do great and powerful things to that country. After that, Pharaoh will let you go.

21 And I will cause the Egyptians to think good things about the Israelites. So when you go, they will give you many gifts. 22 Each Israelite woman must ask for gifts from the Egyptian women. They must ask the Egyptian women who live near them. They must also ask those who live with them in their houses. They must ask for silver things and gold things. They must also ask for expensive clothes. You must dress your sons and your daughters in these clothes. In this way, you will take everything valuable away from the Egyptians.’

Chapter 4

God shows Moses some strange things

1 Then Moses answered: ‘But perhaps the leaders of Israel will not believe me. Perhaps they will not listen to my voice. Perhaps they will say: “The Lord did not show himself to you.” ’

2 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘What is that thing in your hand?’ Moses answered: ‘It is a stick.’

3 The Lord said: ‘Throw it on the ground.’ So Moses threw it on the ground. Then the stick became a snake and Moses ran from the snake! 4 But the Lord said to Moses: ‘Put out your hand and catch the snake by the tail.’ So Moses put out his hand and he caught the snake. Then it became a stick in his hand again. 5 God said, ‘Do this, and they will believe you. They will believe that the Lord has shown himself to you. It is the Lord, who is the God of their fathers. It is the Lord, who is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.’

6 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Put your hand inside your clothes, near to your heart.’ So Moses did this. When he took his hand out again, it had become as white as snow. It was like the hand of a man who had the illness called leprosy.

7 Then God said: ‘Put your hand back inside your clothes, near to your heart.’ So Moses did that. And when he took his hand out, it was well again. It was the same as the other parts of his body.

8 God said, ‘They may not believe you. They may not think that the first sign is important. But they may still believe the second sign. 9 But if they will not believe the two signs, you can do something else. If they do not listen to you, then take some water from the River Nile. Pour it on the dry ground. The water that you take from the river will become blood on the ground.’

These signs would show the Israelites that Moses has the power of God.

10 But Moses said to the Lord: ‘Oh Master, I cannot speak well. I could not speak well before. And I cannot speak well now, since you have spoken to me. I speak slowly and I speak with difficulty.’

11 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Who has made human mouths? Who makes a person that cannot speak? Who makes a person that cannot hear? Who makes a person that cannot see? Who makes a person that can see? It is I, the Lord, who does all these things. 12 Now go! I will help you to speak. I will teach you what to say.’

13 But Moses said, ‘Oh Master, please send some other person.’

14 Then the Lord became angry with Moses. He said: ‘Aaron, the Levite, is your brother. I know that he can speak well. And he is coming to meet you. When Aaron sees you he will be very happy. 15 Then you must speak to him. You must tell him what to say. I will help both of you to speak. And I will teach you what you must do. 16 Aaron will speak to the people for you. You will be like God to him. You will tell Aaron what to say. 17 Take this stick with you. You will use this stick to do the signs.’

God gave Aaron to Moses, to give help to him.

Moses returns to Egypt

18 Then Moses went back to Jethro, his wife’s father. Moses said to Jethro: ‘Please let me return to my family in Egypt. I must see if they are still alive.’ So Jethro said to Moses: ‘Go in peace.’

‘Go in peace’ means that Jethro agreed with Moses. He thought that it was a good thing for Moses to see his family in Egypt.

19 The Lord had said to Moses while he was still in Midian: ‘Go back to Egypt. All the men who tried to kill you are now dead.’ 20 So Moses put his wife and his sons on a donkey and they started on the journey back to Egypt. And Moses carried the stick of God in his hand.

21 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘When you return to Egypt you must do the signs. Do all the signs that I gave you the power to do. Do them in front of Pharaoh. But I will make Pharaoh angry and cruel. Because of this, he will not let the people go.

22 Then you must speak to Pharaoh. You must say: “The Lord says, ‘Israel is my first son. 23 I have already said to you: “Let my son go so that he can worship me.” But if you refuse to let him go, I will kill your first son.’ ” ’

24 On the way to Egypt, there was a house where people can rest on their journey. God met Moses there and God was going to kill him. 25 But Zipporah took a sharp stone and she cut off her son’s foreskin with the stone. Then Zipporah threw the foreskin at Moses’ feet. She said: ‘You are a husband of blood to me.’ 26 So God did not do anything bad to Moses. Then Zipporah said to Moses: ‘You are a husband of blood, because of this circumcision.’

A long time before this, God had told Abraham that he must circumcise himself and every male person in his house. All the men that would be born into that family must obey this command. This was the sign of God’s promise to Abraham and his family. Because Moses had not circumcised his son, he had not obeyed God’s command. Zipporah circumcised their son because God would have killed Moses. Because she obeyed God, Moses did not die. It is very important to obey God.

27 The Lord said to Aaron: ‘Go into the desert to meet Moses.’ So Aaron went. He met Moses at the mountain of God and he kissed him. 28 Then Moses told Aaron all that the Lord had told him to say. He also told Aaron about all the special signs. God had commanded Moses to show these signs to the Israelites and to Pharaoh.

29 Then Moses and Aaron went to Egypt. They brought together all the leaders of the Israelites. 30 Aaron told them all the things that God had said to Moses. Then Moses did the signs in front of the people. 31 And the people believed Aaron and Moses. They put their heads down and they worshipped God. They had heard that God had come to his people. God had seen their hard life and he was sorry for them. That is why they worshipped God.

Chapter 5

Moses and Aaron speak to Pharaoh

1 After this, Moses and Aaron went to visit Pharaoh. They said to him: ‘Listen to what the Lord says. He is the God of Israel. He says, “Let my people go. Let them prepare a party for me in the desert.” ’

2 But Pharaoh said: ‘I do not know the Lord. I do not know why I should obey his voice. I do not know why I should let the Israelites go. I do not know the Lord. Neither will I let the Israelites go.’

3 Moses and Aaron said: ‘The God of the Israelites has met us. Please let us go. We must go on a journey of three days into the desert. There we must give gifts to the Lord our God. If we do not do this, God may attack us with illness. Or he may use soldiers to attack us.’

4 But the king of Egypt said: ‘Moses and Aaron, you must not take the people away from their work! Go back to your jobs!’ 5 And Pharaoh said: ‘Look, there are now many people in the country. But you stop them doing their work.’

6 On that day, Pharaoh gave a command to the masters of the slaves. He also gave the command to the leaders of the work. 7 This was the command: ‘Do not give the people any more straw with which to make bricks. They must find their own straw. 8 But they must still make the same number of bricks as before. Do not let the amount become smaller. They are lazy. That is why they ask to go. They say: “Let us go to give gifts to our God.” 9 So you must cause them to work harder. They will then be too busy to listen to false words.’

Verse 7 ‘straw with which to make bricks’ When they made bricks, they mixed straw with the clay. This made the bricks stronger. Pharaoh was making the Israelites work harder. Now they had to look for straw before they could use it in the bricks.

10 So the slaves’ masters and the leaders of the work went to the people. They said to them: ‘Pharaoh says: “I will not give you straw. 11 You must find your own straw, where you can. But you will still have to make the same number of bricks.” ’ 12 So the people went everywhere in the land of Egypt, to get straw from the fields. 13 The slaves’ masters made the Israelites work fast. They said: ‘Finish your work for each day, as when you had straw.’ 14 Pharaoh’s slave masters hit the leaders who had authority over the people. They said to them: ‘Why have you not made as many bricks today, as you did before?’

15 Then the Israelite leaders went to Pharaoh. They asked him: ‘Why do you do these things to us, your servants? 16 Our masters do not give us any straw. But they say “Make bricks!” Then they hit us. But it is your people that are doing wrong things.’

17 But Pharaoh said: ‘You are lazy! You are only lazy! That is why you say: “Let us go. Let us take gifts to the Lord.” 18 Now go and do your work. Nobody will give you any straw. But you must make the same number of bricks.’

19 The Israelite leaders heard Pharaoh say: ‘You must make the same number of bricks as you made before.’ Then they knew that they were in bad trouble. 20 Then the Israelite leaders met with Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron were waiting for them to return from Pharaoh. 21 And the leaders spoke to Moses and Aaron. They said: ‘We hope that the Lord will look at you. We hope that the Lord will judge you! You have made us like a bad smell to Pharaoh and to his servants. You have given them a reason to kill us.’

22 Then Moses returned to the Lord. He said: ‘Oh Master, why have you done bad things to this people? Why did you send me to them? 23 I came to speak in your name. But since I spoke to Pharaoh, he has done only bad things to the people. And you have done nothing to save your people.’

Chapter 6

God promises to save the Israelites

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. Because of my powerful signs, he will let my people go. Because of my powerful signs, he will command them to leave his country.’

2 And God said to Moses: ‘I am the Lord. 3 I showed myself to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, as God Almighty. But I did not let them know me by my name, the Lord. 4 I also made my special promise to them. I promised to give them the country of Canaan. I promised to give them the country where they had lived as foreign people. 5 And I have heard the Israelites when they cry. They cry because the Egyptians cause them to live as slaves. I have remembered my special promise. 6 So you must say this to the Israelites. “I am the Lord. I will remove you from the authority of the Egyptians. You will not be their slaves again. I will bring you back to myself by my powerful authority. I will judge the Egyptians by the great things that I will do. 7 I will make you my own people and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord. I am your God who saved you from the authority of the Egyptians. 8 And I will bring you to another country. I made a very serious promise to give that other country to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you and it will be your own country. I am the Lord.” ’

9 Moses reported these words to the Israelites. But they did not listen to him, because their Egyptian masters were so cruel to them. They refused to hope for good things. Their Egyptian masters had broken their spirits and made them very sad.

10 Then the Lord said to Moses: 11 ‘Go and speak to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Tell him that he must let the Israelites go out of his country.’ 12 But Moses said to the Lord: ‘Look! Even the Israelites have not listened to me. So why should Pharaoh listen to me? My lips are unable to speak good words from God.’

13 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron about the Israelites and about Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the Israelites out of the country called Egypt.

The Ancestors of Moses and Aaron

14 These were the leaders of the whole families:

The sons of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron and Carmi. These were Reuben’s families.

15 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar and Shaul. Shaul was the son of a Canaanite woman. These were Simeon’s families.

16 These are the names of the sons of Levi from the oldest to the youngest: Gershon, Kohath and Merari. Levi lived for 137 years.

17 The sons of Gershon and their families: Libni and Shimei.

18 The sons of Kohath: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. Kohath lived for 133 years.

19 The sons of Merari: Mahli and Mushi.

These were the families of Levi from the oldest to the youngest.

20 Amram married Jochebed, his father’s sister. Aaron and Moses were their sons. Amram lived for 137 years.

21 The sons of Izhar: Korah, Nepheg and Sithri.

22 The sons of Uzziel: Mishael, Elzaphan and Sithri.

23 Aaron married Elisheba. She was the daughter of Amminadab and the sister of Nahshon. Elisheba’s children were: Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

24 The sons of Korah: Assir, Elkanah and Abiasaph. These are the families of people from Korah.

25 Eleazar, Aaron’s son, married one of Putiel’s daughters. Phinehas was their son.

These were the leaders of the families of the Levites.

26 This Aaron and Moses are the same men to whom the Lord spoke. He said: ‘Lead the Israelites out of the country of Egypt. Lead them out as an army of people.’ 27 Yes, it was the same Moses and Aaron who spoke to Pharaoh, king of Egypt. They told him that the Israelites would leave Egypt.

Aaron will speak for Moses

28 When the Lord spoke to Moses in the country of Egypt, 29 he said, ‘I am the Lord. Tell Pharaoh, King of Egypt, everything that I tell you.’ 30 Then Moses said: ‘Look, my lips are unable to speak good words from God. Why should Pharaoh listen to me?’

Chapter 7

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Look, I have made you like God to Pharaoh. And your brother Aaron will be your prophet. 2 You must say everything that I command you. Your brother Aaron must command Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. Pharaoh must let them go out of his country.’

A prophet is a person that speaks God’s words. Aaron would be like a prophet for Moses. He would repeat Moses’ words to the people.

3 ‘But I will make Pharaoh angry and cruel. He will refuse to listen to you. I will do even more great signs and strange things in the country called Egypt. 4 But Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. Then I will show my authority to Egypt. And I will remove my army, my people the Israelites, out of the country called Egypt. I will lead them out with powerful authority. 5 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord. They will know this when I judge Egypt. They will know it when I lead the Israelites out of Egypt.’

Moses’ stick becomes a snake

6 So Moses and Aaron obeyed all the commands of the Lord. 7 Now Moses was 80 years old when he spoke to Pharaoh. And Aaron was 83 years old.

8 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said:

9 ‘Pharaoh will say: “Show me one of your special signs.” Then you must say to Aaron: “Take your stick and throw it down in front of Pharaoh. It will become a snake.” ’

10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh. They did everything that the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his stick in front of Pharaoh and his servants. And the stick became a snake! 11 Then Pharaoh commanded his clever men to come in. These men, the magicians of Egypt, did the same thing as Aaron. They did it by their bad, powerful authority. 12 Each magician threw down his stick and it became a snake. But Aaron’s stick ate their sticks! 13 But still Pharaoh felt angry and cruel. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. This was what the Lord had said would happen.

A magician does strange, powerful things with Satan’s help. What they do is called magic. The Egyptians were afraid of snakes and they worshipped them. But Aaron’s stick ate the magicians’ sticks. God was showing them that he is more powerful than magic.

Moses makes water into blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘There is no change in Pharaoh’s thoughts. He refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning as he goes to the river. Wait for him by the edge of the river. Then take in your hand the stick that became a snake. 16 Then say to him: “The Lord, the God of the Israelites has sent me to you. The Lord says: ‘Let my people go. Let them worship me in the desert.’ But until now, you have not listened. 17 So this is what the Lord says: ‘In this way, you will know that I am the Lord. Moses will hit the water with the stick that is in his hand. And the water will become blood. 18 And the fish in the water will die. And the river will have a very bad smell. Then the Egyptians will not want to drink the water from the river.’ ” ’

19 And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Say to Aaron: “Take your stick. Lift up your hand over the waters of Egypt. Lift it up over their rivers and their streams. Lift it up over their ponds and pools of water. They will all become blood. There will be blood in every part of the country called Egypt. There will be blood in all the stone pots. There will be blood also in every bucket that men have made from wood.” ’

20 Moses and Aaron obeyed the Lord. Aaron lifted up the stick in front of Pharaoh and his servants. He hit the water in the river with the stick. Then all the water in the river became blood. 21 The fish in the river died. The river became bad and the Egyptians could not drink its water. There was blood in every part of the country called Egypt.

22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their bad powerful authority. So there was no change in Pharaoh’s thoughts. He still refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. The Lord had said that this would happen. 23 Pharaoh turned and he went away into his house. He did not think about what had happened. 24 And the Egyptians dug holes near the river to find water to drink. They could not drink the water from the river itself.

The river gave the Egyptians all that they needed. It was called the River Nile. It gave water to drink and to put on food plants. At certain times the river rose over the fields and it gave food to the plants. The Egyptians needed the river Nile so that they could live.

25 Seven days went by after the Lord had made the water in the river into blood.

Chapter 8

Moses and Aaron bring frogs out of the water

1 The Lord said to Moses: ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him: “These are the words of the Lord. Let my people go. Let them worship me. 2 But if you do not let them go, I will send thousands of frogs into your country.

3 The river will be full of frogs. The frogs will come into your house. They will jump into your bed. They will come into the houses of your servants. They will come into the houses of your people. They will jump into the hot places where you cook your food. They will jump into the dishes where you mix your flour and water.

4 The frogs will jump up on you. They will jump up on your people and on all your servants.” ’

A frog is a small animal with four legs that lives in water. It can also live on the land. It can jump with its long back legs.

5 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Say to Aaron: “Take your stick in your hand. Then raise your hand. Lift it up over the rivers, the streams and the pools. You will cause frogs to come up over the whole country of Egypt.” ’

6 So Aaron lifted up his hand over the waters of Egypt. Then the frogs came up over the whole country of Egypt.

7 But the magicians did the same thing by their bad powerful authority. They also made frogs come up on the country of Egypt.

8 Then Pharaoh commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him. He said: ‘Ask the Lord to remove the frogs from me and from my people. Then I will let your people go. They can sacrifice to the Lord.’ 9 Moses said to Pharaoh: ‘You can choose the time when I will speak to God. Then I will ask God to do this for you, for your servants and for your people. I will ask God to remove the frogs from you and from your house. The frogs will remain only in the river.’

10 And Pharaoh said: ‘Do it tomorrow.’

Moses answered: ‘It will be as you say. Then you will know that there is nobody like the Lord our God. 11 The frogs will leave you and your house. They will leave the houses of your servants and your people. They will remain only in the river.’

12 So Moses and Aaron left Pharaoh. Then Moses prayed to the Lord about the frogs that he had brought on Pharaoh. 13 And the Lord did what Moses asked. The frogs died in the houses, in the yards and in the fields. 14 The people swept the frogs together and there was a very bad smell over the whole country. 15 But when Pharaoh saw that the frogs were dead, he became angry again. He refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. The Lord had said that this would happen.

The gnats arrive

16 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Say to Aaron, “Lift up your stick and hit the dirt on the ground. It will become gnats in the whole country of Egypt.” ’

17 Moses and Aaron obeyed God. Aaron lifted up his hand and he hit the dirt with his stick. Then gnats flew on to all the people and on to all the animals. The dirt on the ground became gnats through the whole country of Egypt. 18 Then the magicians tried to make gnats by their bad powerful authority. But they could not do it. And the gnats were on all the people and on all the animals.

19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh: ‘This is the work of God.’ But there was no change in Pharaoh’s thoughts. He would not listen to the magicians. God had said that this would happen.

The flies arrive

20 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Get up early in the morning. Meet Pharaoh when he goes out to the water. Then say to him: “The Lord says: ‘Let My people go. Let them worship me. 21 If you do not let my people go, I will send thousands of flies on you. I will send them on your servants and on your people. I will send them into your houses. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies. The flies will even cover the ground that the houses stand on.

22 But on that day, the country of Goshen will be separate. That is where my people live. There will be no flies there. Then you will know that I, the Lord, am in this country.

23 I will make a difference between my people and your people. This sign will happen tomorrow.’ ” ’

24 And this is what the Lord did. Great numbers of flies came into Pharaoh’s house and into his servants’ houses. The flies destroyed the whole country of Egypt.

25 Then Pharaoh commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him. He said: ‘Go! You can sacrifice to your God here, in the country of Egypt.’ 26 But Moses said: ‘It would not be right to do that. The Egyptians do not like our sacrifices of animals to the Lord our God. If we sacrifice these animals, the Egyptians will throw stones at us. They will throw them until we are dead. 27 We must go on a journey for three days, into the desert. Then we shall sacrifice to the Lord our God, as he commands us.’

28 So Pharaoh said: ‘I will let you go. You can sacrifice to the Lord your God in the desert. But do not go very far away. And pray for me too.’

29 Then Moses said: ‘I will leave you now. And I will pray to the Lord. Tomorrow, all the flies will leave the country of Egypt. They will fly away from your servants and from your people. But be careful! Do not do wrong things to us, as you did before. At that time, you did not let the people sacrifice to the Lord.’

30 So Moses left Pharaoh and Moses prayed to the Lord. 31 And the Lord did what Moses asked him. All the flies left Pharaoh and his servants and his people. Not one fly remained! 32 But again, Pharaoh refused to let the people go. There was no change in his thoughts.

Chapter 9

The animals become ill and die

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Go to Pharaoh and say to him: “The Lord, the God of the Israelites says: ‘Let my people go. Let them worship me. 2 If you refuse to let them go, you will have trouble. If you still keep them in Egypt, 3 the Lord will send a very bad illness on your animals. All your animals in the fields will become ill. The horses, the donkeys, the camels, the cows, the sheep and the goats will all become very ill.

4 But the Lord will make a difference between the animals of the Israelites and the animals of the Egyptians. None of the animals of the Israelites will die.’ ” ’

5 And God decided when this thing would happen. He said: ‘Tomorrow I will do this thing in the country of Egypt.’ 6 So on the next day, God did it! All the animals of the Egyptians died. But not one of the animals of the Israelites died. 7 Pharaoh sent men to see what had happened. And they reported that not one of the animals of the Israelites was dead! But there was no change in Pharaoh’s mind. He did not let the people go.

The illness of boils

8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: ‘Take in your hands some ashes from the fire. Throw them up in the air as Pharaoh watches. 9 They will become very small bits of dirt over the whole country of Egypt. These will cause boils to appear on the skin. Both people and animals will have these boils on their skin, through the whole country.’

10 So they took ashes from the fire and they stood in front of Pharaoh. Moses threw the ashes up in the air. And boils appeared on both people and animals. 11 Because of the boils, the magicians could not stand in front of Moses. All the Egyptians had boils, even the magicians. 12 But Pharaoh refused to listen to them. The Lord had told Moses that this would happen. The Lord himself made it happen.

Pieces of ice fall on the whole country of Egypt

13 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Get up early in the morning and go to Pharaoh. Say to him: “This is what the Lord, the God of the Israelites says: ‘Let my people go to worship me. 14 Or this time, I will send all my worst troubles against you. I will send them against your servants and against your people. I want you to know that there is nobody like me in the whole earth. That is why I am doing this. 15 Already I could have killed you and your people with one very bad trouble. I could have removed you from the earth. 16 But I have let you live, to show you my power. This is so that people will speak about my powerful name, over the whole world. 17 You still think bad thoughts about my people. You will not let them go.

18 Look! Tomorrow at this time, I will send a very great storm. Heavy pieces of ice will fall. Nobody has ever seen anything like this in Egypt. From Egypt’s first day as a country, nobody has seen a storm like this. 19 Now send your servants out. They must bring all your animals from the fields into the buildings. The ice will fall on every human and on every animal that is outside. They will all die.’ ” ’

20 Then those of Pharaoh’s servants who were afraid of the Lord’s words obeyed God. They quickly brought their slaves and animals inside the buildings. 21 But those who did not listen to the Lord’s words left their slaves and animals outside.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Lift up your hand towards the sky. Then ice will fall over all the country of Egypt. It will fall on every person and on every animal. It will fall on every plant that grows in all the fields in Egypt.’

23 When Moses lifted up his stick towards the sky, the Lord sent a great storm. And the Lord rained large pieces of ice upon the country of Egypt. Also, fire ran along the ground. 24 The ice fell and the fire burned. It was the worst storm that the country of Egypt had ever known. 25 The ice knocked down everything that was in the fields. In the whole country of Egypt it hit both people and animals. It knocked down every plant in the fields and it broke every tree. 26 But in the country of Goshen, there were no pieces of ice. That was where Israel’s people lived.

27 Then Pharaoh commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him. And Pharaoh said: ‘This time, I have done a wrong thing. The Lord is right. I and my people are wrong. 28 Pray to the Lord because we have had enough storms and ice. I will let you go! You do not need to stay here now.’

29 Then Moses said to Pharaoh: ‘When I have left the city, I will lift my hands to the Lord. I will pray to him. Then the storm will stop and there will be no more ice. Then you will know that the whole world belongs to the Lord. 30 But I know you and your servants. You still do not believe in the Lord God.’

Moses knew that Pharaoh and his servants were not really afraid of God. They only wanted their problems to go away. They wanted the bad things that were happening to stop.

31 The large pieces of ice had destroyed the flax and the barley. This was because the barley plants were ready for men to cut them. And the flax plants had buds on them. 32 But the ice had not destroyed the wheat and the spelt. This was because they appeared out of the ground later.

‘Flax’ is a plant. People make cloth from the flax plant. A ‘bud’ is a flower that has not yet opened. The ice destroyed the buds because they were weak. ‘Barley’ is a food plant. The ice destroyed the weak tops of the barley plants. ‘Wheat’ is a food plant and so is ‘spelt’. These plants had not yet grown up from the ground. So the ice did not destroy them.

33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and Moses went out of the city. Moses lifted up his hands to the Lord. Then the storms and the ice stopped. The rain also stopped falling on the earth.

34 Pharaoh saw that the rain and the ice and the storms had stopped. But he did a wrong thing again. He and his servants did not do what they had promised to do. There had been no change in his thoughts. 35 Pharaoh still refused to listen to God. He did not let the Israelites go. This is what the Lord had said would happen. Moses had told Pharaoh these words.

Chapter 10

God sends locusts to Egypt

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Go in to Pharaoh. I have caused him not to listen to me. And I have caused his servants also not to listen to me. I have done this so that I can show my signs among them. 2 You can tell your sons and your grandsons how I punished the Egyptians. You can tell them about the signs that I have done among them. In this way, you will know that I am the Lord.’

3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh. They said to him: ‘The Lord, the God of the Israelites says: “You still refuse to obey me. Let my people go. Let them worship me. 4 If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. 5 And they will cover the whole country. Nobody will be able to see the ground. They will eat everything that the ice has not destroyed. This will include every tree that is still growing in your fields.

6 They will fill your houses. They will fill your servants’ houses. And they will fill the Egyptians’ houses. It will be like nothing your father or your grandfather have ever seen. It has never happened before.” ’ Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

7 Pharaoh’s servants said to him: ‘Stop keeping this man with us, to cause problems. Let the people go, to worship the Lord their God. Surely you know now that they have destroyed Egypt!’ 8 So Pharaoh commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him again. He said: ‘Go, worship the Lord your God. But which of you will go?’

9 And Moses said: ‘We will all go, both young people and old people. We will take our sons and daughters. We will take our animals, because we must have a party for the Lord.’

10 Pharaoh said to them: ‘The Lord will certainly be with you, if ever I let you go with your women and children! I can see that you have decided to do something bad. 11 No! Only the men can go and worship the Lord. That is what you have asked for.’ And Pharaoh was angry and he sent Moses and Aaron away from him.

Verse 10 ‘The Lord will certainly be with you’. Pharaoh does not really want the Lord to be with them. If he let the families go, he would be doing a good thing to the Israelites. It would be like God was going with them. But Pharaoh does not want to do this. He does not want to do a good thing for the Israelites.

12 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Lift up your hand over the country of Egypt. Then locusts will fly over the country of Egypt. They will eat every plant in the country, all that the ice has not destroyed.’

13 So Moses lifted up his stick over the country of Egypt. And the Lord caused an east wind to blow across the country, for the whole day and the whole night. In the morning, the east wind had brought the locusts. 14 And the locusts flew into every part of the country of Egypt. They landed everywhere, thousands of locusts. There had never been so many locusts in one place before. And it will never happen again. 15 The locusts covered all the ground, until the ground became black with locusts. They ate all the plants in the country. They ate all the fruit of the trees. They ate everything that the ice had not destroyed. Not one green thing remained on tree or plant, in all the country of Egypt.

16 Then Pharaoh quickly commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him. He said: ‘I have done bad things against the Lord your God and against you. 17 Please forgive me once more for the bad things that I have done. Please ask the Lord your God to remove this cruel and dangerous trouble from me.’

18 Then Moses left Pharaoh and Moses prayed to the Lord. 19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind. This wind lifted the locusts and it carried them into the Red Sea. Not one locust remained in all the country of Egypt. 20 But the Lord caused Pharaoh to change his mind and he would not let the Israelites go.

The ‘Red Sea’ is also called the Sea of Reeds (water grasses). It is to the east of Egypt

God makes Egypt completely dark

21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘Lift up your hand towards the sky. Then it will be dark over the whole country of Egypt. It will be so dark that people will be able to feel it.’ 22 So Moses lifted up his hand towards the sky and it became completely dark through the whole country of Egypt. It was dark for three days. 23 People could not see each other. Nobody could get up and move about for three days. But all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

24 Then Pharaoh commanded Moses to come to him. He said: ‘Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and your children can go with you. Only your animals must remain.’ 25 But Moses said: ‘You must also let us take animals with us. We will sacrifice them and burn them, as gifts to the Lord our God.’

The Israelites killed animals as sacrifices. Then they burned them on a stone table as a gift to God.

26 ‘We must take our animals with us. Not one can remain behind. We will use some of them to worship the Lord our God. Until we arrive in the desert, we will not know which animals. But we will use some of them, to worship the Lord our God.’

27 But the Lord caused Pharaoh to refuse. Pharaoh would not listen. He would not let them go. 28 Then Pharaoh said to Moses: ‘Go away from me! Never appear in front of me again! On the day that you see my face, you will die!’ 29 And Moses said: ‘You are right! I will never appear in front of you again.’

Chapter 11

The death of every firstborn son in Egypt

1 The Lord said to Moses: ‘I will bring one more bad trouble on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Then Pharaoh will let you go away. He will really cause you to go out of the country completely. 2 Tell the people now what they must do. Every man must ask the Egyptians that live near him for gold and silver. Every woman must do the same thing.’ 3 And the Lord made the Egyptians think well of the Israelites. Also, Pharaoh’s servants and the Egyptian people thought very well of Moses.

4 So Moses said: ‘The Lord says this: “At about midnight, I will walk through the country of Egypt. 5 Then all the firstborn sons in the country of Egypt will die. The firstborn son of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, will die. The firstborn son of the slave, the woman who makes flour, will die. Even the firstborn of the animals will die.” ’

Verse 5 ‘the slave, the woman who makes flour’. This was very hard work. The women had to break up the food seeds with a heavy stone. When they did this, the seeds became flour.

The firstborn son of every family in Egypt would die during that night. There would be no difference between the rich family and the poor family.

6 ‘ “Everyone will be crying loudly in the whole country called Egypt. Never before have the people felt so sad or cried so loudly. It will never happen again. 7 But among the Israelites, not even a wild animal will attack any of them. Then you will know that the Lord makes a difference between Egypt and Israel.” 8 All these servants of yours will come to me. They will fall down in front of me. They will say to me: “Go! Both you and all the people who follow you.” And then, I will leave.’ Then Moses was very angry and he left Pharaoh.

9 The Lord had said to Moses: ‘Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you. But then I will do even greater signs in the country of Egypt.’ 10 Moses and Aaron did all these signs in front of Pharaoh. But the Lord made Pharaoh angry and cruel. So Pharaoh would not let the Israelites go out of his country.

Chapter 12

The Passover

1 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in the country of Egypt. 2 He said: ‘This month will be for you the first month of your year. 3 Tell the Israelites that the 10th day of this month is special. Each man must take a young sheep for his family. Take one young sheep for each home. 4 The family may be too small to eat a whole sheep. Then they must eat it with another small family. You must decide this by how much each person can eat. 5 Each young sheep must have nothing wrong with it. It must be a male that is one year old. It can be either a young sheep or a young goat.

6 Keep the young sheep safe until the 14th day of the month. Then all Israel’s people must kill the young sheep in the evening. 7 Then they must take some of the blood. They must put it on the wood that is round the door of their houses. They must do this to the houses where they will eat the young sheep. 8 That night, they must cook the meat over the fire and they must eat it. They must eat it with special plants and with bread that has no yeast in it. 9 You must cook the meat, but do not boil it in water. Cook the meat over the fire, with the head, the legs and the inside parts of the animal. 10 You must eat all of the meat before the morning comes. If you cannot eat it before the morning, then you must burn it. 11 This is how you must eat the young sheep: Fix your belt round your coat, put your shoes on your feet. Take your stick in your hand and eat the food quickly.

This meal will be called the Passover of the Lord.

12 I will pass through the country of Egypt on that night. I will kill every firstborn, both men and animals. I will punish all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. 13 The blood will be a sign for you, on all the houses where you live. When I see the blood on the house, then I will pass over you. No bad thing will touch you, when I attack the country of Egypt.’

Verse 13 ‘I will pass over you.’ This is where the English word ‘Passover’ comes from. God made a promise. He would not kill anyone in a house that had blood on the door. He would ‘pass over’ that house.

14 ‘You must remember this day as a special day every year. On this day, you must make a special party for the Lord. You must obey this rule in your families for all time. 15 For 7 days, you must eat bread with no yeast in it. On the first day, you must remove all yeast from your houses. Whoever eats bread with yeast in it, during the 7 days, he does a bad thing. You must remove him from Israel’s people. 16 On the first day, you must bring together all the people to a special meeting. And you must do the same thing on the 7th day. On these special days, you must not do any work except to prepare food. This is the only work that you can do.

17 Enjoy the meal of the bread with no yeast in it. It was on this same day that I brought your armies out of Egypt. That is why you must enjoy this day as a special day, for all time. This is a rule that you must always obey. 18 In the first month, you must eat bread without yeast in it. Do this from the evening of the 14th day until the evening of the 21st day. 19 You must not have any yeast in your houses, for 7 days. Whoever eats anything with yeast in it, he does a bad thing. You must remove that person from the rest of the Israelites. You must do this if that person is a foreign person. You must also do it if he was born in that country. 20 Eat nothing that has yeast in it. Whatever country you live in, you must eat bread without yeast in it.’

21 Then Moses commanded the leaders of the Israelites to come to him. He said to them: ‘Go and choose young sheep immediately, for your families. Then kill the animals for the Passover party. 22 Take some hyssop. Make it wet with the blood that is in the dish. Then put some of the blood on the wood that is round your door. Nobody must go out of the door of his house until the morning.’

‘Hyssop’ is a plant with lots of leaves. They held the hyssop in the hand and they used it like a paint brush. They painted some of the blood on the pieces of wood round the doors.

23 ‘The Lord will pass through the country and he will kill the Egyptians. But when the Lord sees the blood on the wood round the door, he will pass over that house. He will stop the person who kills. The Lord will not let him come into your houses. The Lord will not let him kill you.

‘The person who kills’ was a special angel.

24 You must obey these rules always, both you and your sons, for all time. 25 You will come into the country that the Lord promised to give you. Then you must obey these rules. 26 Your children may say to you: “What does this party mean to you?” 27 Then you must say to them: “It is the Lord’s Passover party. The Lord passed over the houses of the Israelites when they were in Egypt. He killed the Egyptians but he saved the people in our houses.” ’ Then the people bent their heads and they worshipped God. 28 And the Israelites did everything that the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron.

29 At midnight, the Lord killed all the firstborn sons in the country of Egypt. The firstborn son of Pharaoh, the king, died. But also, the firstborn son of any man who was in prison died. Every firstborn son in Egypt died. All the firstborn animals died also. 30 Pharaoh and all his servants got up in the middle of the night. All the Egyptians also got up in the middle of the night. Everyone was crying in Egypt because there was a dead person in every home.

The Israelites leave Egypt

31 Then Pharaoh commanded Moses and Aaron to come to him, during the night. He said: ‘Get up! Go away from my people! You and all the Israelites, go! Go. And worship the Lord, as you want to. 32 Take all your animals with you, as you have said. Go away! But ask God to do good things to me too.’

33 The Egyptians really wanted the Israelites to leave. They wanted to send them out of the country immediately. The Egyptians said: ‘If we do not send them away immediately, we will all die!’ 34 So the Israelites took their bread before they had cooked it. They had not even put the yeast into it. They put the bread in dishes and they covered it with clothes. Then they carried the dishes on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had obeyed Moses. They had asked the Egyptians for silver and gold. They had also asked them for clothes. 36 The Lord had made the Egyptians think good thoughts about the Israelites. Because of this, the Egyptians let them have all that they asked for. So the Israelites took everything that was valuable from the Egyptians.

37 Then the Israelites travelled from Rameses to Succoth. There were about 600 000 men who walked. There were also many women and children. 38 Many other people travelled with them. And they had a very large number of animals, both sheep and cows. 39 The Israelites cooked the bread that they had brought with them from Egypt. It had no yeast in it, because the Israelites left Egypt quickly. The Egyptians had pushed them out. The Israelites did not have time to make bread with yeast in it. Nor did they have time to prepare any other food.

When you make bread with yeast in it, you must wait for the bread to become light and full of air. Then you can cook it. This takes some time. The Israelites were in a hurry. They did not have time for this.

40 The Israelites had lived in Egypt for 430 years. 41 It was on the last day of the 430 years that all the Lord’s people left the country called Egypt. 42 The Lord did not sleep on that night, when he brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Because of this, all the Israelites must not sleep during this special night, every year. They and their families must remember this rule, for all time. They must do this, to thank the Lord.

‘The Lord did not sleep.’ This does not mean that God sometimes sleeps. It means that God was watching the Israelites in a special way. He was watching them, when they left Egypt. He was keeping them safe. So the Israelites must have a special party on this night, every year, to thank God.

Rules for the Passover party

43 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron: ‘These are the rules for thePassover party.

No foreign person can eat the Passover food. 44 If you buy a foreign slave, you must first circumcise him. Then he can eat the food. 45 But if you pay him money for his work, he must not eat the food. A visitor must not eat the food.

46 You must eat the meat in one house. You must not take any of the meat outside the house. You must not break any of the bones in the meat. 47 All the Israelites must enjoy the party together.

48 There may be a foreign person who lives among you. He may want to enjoy the Lord’s Passover too. But he must first circumcise himself and all the males in his house. Then he can enjoy the Passover party, like a man who is born in Israel. But no male person without circumcision can enjoy the Passover party. 49 The Israelites and the foreign people who live among you must all obey this rule.’

50 All the Israelites did everything that the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron. 51 And on the same day, the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt, like a large army of people.

Chapter 13

The firstborn males are special

1 The Lord spoke to Moses. 2 He said: ‘Keep every firstborn male separate and special for me. Every male who is the first to be born of his mother is mine. He is mine, whether he is man or animal.’

God had killed the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, but he had saved the firstborn sons of the Israelites. Because of this, the firstborn sons were special. God said: ‘They are mine.’

3 Moses said to the people: ‘Remember this day, the day when you came out of Egypt. You left the place where you were slaves. The Lord brought you out with powerful authority. Remember! Do not eat anything that that has yeast in it on this day. 4 Today you are leaving Egypt. It is the month of Abib. 5 The Lord will bring you to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. God promised your ancestors that he would give that country to you. It is a country where there is plenty to eat and to drink. When the Lord brings you in, you must enjoy the Passover party in this month. 6 For 7 days you must eat bread without yeast in it. Then on the 7th day you must have a party for the Lord. 7 Eat bread without yeast during those 7 days. There must not be anything that has yeast in it among you. Nobody must see any yeast anywhere, in the whole of your country. 8 On that day, you must tell your son the reason for this. Say to him: “I do this because of what the Lord did for me. This is because he brought me out of Egypt.” 9 This special time will be like a sign on your hand. It will be like something that you fix between your eyes. It will cause you to remember. Then you will not forget to speak always about the Law of the Lord. It is because the Lord brought you out of Egypt with great power. 10 At the same time, every year, you must obey what I have said.

11 The Lord will bring you into the country of the Canaanites. It is the country that he promised to you and to your ancestors. He will give it to you. 12 You must give to the Lord all the males that are born first. All the male animals that are born first are the Lord’s animals. 13 When a donkey is born first, you must kill a young sheep instead of the donkey. If you do not do that, then the donkey must die. You must break its neck. If your son is born first, then you must kill an animal instead of your son.

14 One day, your son may ask you a question: “What does this mean?” Then you must say to him: “The Lord brought us out of Egypt with powerful authority. He brought us from the place where we were slaves. 15 Pharaoh completely refused to let us go. But the Lord killed all the firstborn sons in the country of Egypt. He killed all the firstborn males, both people and animals. That is why I do this. I kill and I give to the Lord all the firstborn male animals. But I do not kill the firstborn sons. Instead, I kill an animal for each firstborn son and I give it to God.” 16 So, it will be like a sign on your hand and something between your eyes. It will cause you to remember. You will remember that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his powerful authority.’

The Israelites cross the Red Sea

17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them through the country of the Philistines. This was near, but God did not do that. God said: ‘If the people see war, they may change their minds. Then they may return to Egypt.’ 18 So God led the people round by the desert road. They went toward the Red Sea. When the Israelites came out of the country of Egypt, they were ready to fight.

19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him. Joseph had caused the Israelites to promise to do this. He had said: ‘God will save you and then you must carry my bones with you from this place.’

We can read about this in Genesis 50:24-25. Joseph was one of Jacob’s sons who became a ruler in Egypt. He died there. But he did not want his family to bury him in Egypt. He wanted them to bury him in the country called Canaan.

20 The Israelites moved on from Succoth. Then they stayed at Etham, on the edge of the desert. And the Lord went in front of them. 21 During the day, God led them in a cloud that went in front of them. During the night, he went in a cloud that had fire in it. This gave them light, so they could travel during the day or the night. 22 The cloud did not leave the people during the day. Nor did the fire in the cloud leave them during the night. It was always in front of them.

Chapter 14

1 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. 2 He said: ‘Tell the Israelites that they must stop. Tell them that they must stay near Pihahiroth. This is a place between Migdol and the sea. They must stay by the sea, across from Baal-zephon. 3 Then Pharaoh will think: “The Israelites are confused. They are walking round and round the country. The desert has shut them in.” 4 And I will cause Pharaoh to think cruel thoughts. He will go after the Israelites. Then I will show how great I am, by Pharaoh and his whole army. Because of this, the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.’ So the Israelites obeyed God.

5 Someone told the king of Egypt that the Israelites had run away. Then Pharaoh and his servants changed their minds about the Israelites. They said: ‘We have done a silly thing. We have let the Israelites go. We have lost our slaves!’ 6 So Pharaoh prepared his chariot and he took his army with him. 7 He took 600 of his best chariots with him. He also took all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers to drive them. 8 And the Lord made Pharaoh, king of Egypt think more cruel thoughts. So Pharaoh followed after the brave Israelites, when they marched out.

9 The Egyptians went after the Israelites. They went with all Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and soldiers. They came near to the Israelites, who were by the sea. It was near Pihahiroth, across from Baal-zephon.

10 Pharaoh was coming nearer. The Israelites looked up. They saw that the Egyptians had marched after them. Then the Israelites were afraid and they shouted aloud to the Lord. 11 They said to Moses: ‘There are many places in Egypt to bury dead people! You did not have to bring us here! Have you brought us here to die in the desert? Why did you bring us out of Egypt? 12 We said to you in Egypt: “Leave us alone. Let us work for the Egyptians.” It would have been better for us to do that. Then, anyway, we would not die in the desert!’

13 Then Moses spoke to the people. He said: ‘Do not be afraid. Stand quietly. See how the Lord will save you today. The Egyptians that you see today you will never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you. You will only have to be quiet.’

15 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Do not shout aloud to me. Command the Israelites to march on. 16 Lift up your stick. Lift up your hand over the sea. Then the water will become two separate parts. Then the Israelites can cross the sea on dry ground. 17 I will make the Egyptians angry and they will follow the Israelites into the sea. And I will show my powerful authority by Pharaoh and by his army and by all his chariots. 18 Then the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.’

19 The angel of God went in front of the army of the Israelites. Now he moved and he went behind them. The special cloud moved also and it stood behind the army. 20 It stood between the Egyptian army and the Israelite army. During the whole night, the Egyptians were in the dark, because of the cloud. But the Israelites were in the light, because there was fire in the cloud. So the Egyptians stayed away from the Israelites during the whole night.

21 Then Moses lifted up his hand over the sea. During that whole night, the Lord made the sea go back. He did this with a strong wind that made the water into two separate parts. The ground below the sea became like dry land. 22 Then the Israelites walked on the dry ground in the middle of the sea. The water was like a wall on their right side and on their left side.

23 The Egyptians went after them and followed them into the middle of the sea. All Pharaoh’s horses and his chariots did this. And so did the men who drove the chariots. 24 In the early morning, the Lord looked down, from the cloud with fire in it. He looked at the Egyptian army and he confused them. 25 Their chariots could not move easily in the sand. It became very difficult for the Egyptians to drive their chariots. So the Egyptians said: ‘Let us run away from the Israelites. It is the Lord who fights for them, against Egypt.’

26 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘Lift up your hand over the sea. Then the waters will return. They will cover the Egyptians, their chariots and the men who drive them.’ 27 So Moses lifted up his hand over the sea. And at dawn, the sea returned to its own place. The Egyptians ran away from the water, as fast as they could. But the Lord killed them. The Egyptians drowned in the middle of the sea. 28 The water returned. It covered the chariots and the men that drove them. The water covered Pharaoh’s whole army that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of those men remained alive.

29 But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea. The water was like a wall on their right side and on their left side. 30 On that day, the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. The Israelites saw the dead bodies of the Egyptians, which lay on the shore. 31 Then the Israelites saw what a great thing the Lord had done against the Egyptians. So the Israelites were afraid of the Lord. But they believed that he loved them. They also loved and obeyed Moses, the Lord’s servant.

Chapter 15

The song of Moses

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord:

I will sing to the Lord, because he is great and powerful.

He threw horses and the men who ride them into the sea.

2 The Lord makes me strong and he gives me a song. He has saved me.

He is my God and I will praise him.

He is my father’s God and I will praise him.

3 The Lord is like a great soldier. The Lord is his name.

4 He threw Pharaoh’s chariots and armies into the sea.

Pharaoh’s best officers drowned in the Red Sea.

5 The deep waters have covered them.

They fell to the floor of the sea, like a stone.

6 Your right hand, Lord, was great and very powerful.

Your right hand, Lord, killed the enemy.

7 With your powerful authority, you killed your enemies.

You were very angry with them. You killed them, like a fire burns dry grass.

8 You blew on the water and it became like a wall.

The deep waters stood up and they did not move.

9 The enemy said: ‘I will go after them. I will catch them.

I will take good things from these Israelites and I will give them to my army.

I will be very happy to do this! I will pull out my sharp knife and I will kill them.’

10 But you blew on the waters and the sea covered your enemies.

They went down like heavy metal in the great waters.

11 Oh Lord, there is nobody like you among the gods! There is nobody like you anywhere!

You are so great and so holy. You frighten us with your bright light.

You do great and powerful things.

12 You lifted up your right hand. You caused a hole to open in the ground. Your enemies fell into it.

13 Because your love never changes, you have led your people.

They are the ones that you have saved.

With your strong hand, you will be their guide to your holy home.

14 The people in other countries will hear and they will be very afraid.

You will frighten the people in Philistia with a great pain.

15 The rulers of Edom will feel weak and very afraid.

The leaders of Moab cannot stand. They are so much afraid.

All the people in Canaan will run away.

16 They are very afraid of your powerful authority.

They cannot move. They have become like stones that do not move.

And they will remain like that, until your people pass by them, Lord.

They will not move, until your own people have passed by them.

17 You will bring in your people. You will bring them to live on your own mountain.

Lord, it is the place that you have prepared for your home.

It is the holy place, Lord, that you yourself have built.

18 The Lord will rule for all time.

19 Pharaoh’s horses and his chariots had gone into the sea, with the men who drove them. Then the Lord had made the waters of the sea come back over them. But the Israelites had walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam, Aaron’s sister, who was a female prophet, took a tambourine in her hand. All the other women followed Miriam, with tambourines in their hands. They danced when Miriam sang to them.

A tambourine is a thing with which we can make music. To make a tambourine, you fix leather to a circle of wood. You hold the tambourine with one hand. With the other hand, you hit the leather, to make a sound.

21 This is the song that she sang:

‘Sing to the Lord!

He is great and powerful.

He threw into the sea

the horse and the man who rides it!’

The waters of Marah and Elim

22 Then Moses led the Israelites away from the Red Sea. They travelled into the desert called Shur. They walked into the desert for three days and they could not find any water. 23 Then, when they came to Marah, they could not drink the water there. They tasted the water, but it was bad. That is why they called that place ‘Marah’. Marah means ‘it tastes bad’. 24 Then the people were not happy and they spoke against Moses. They said: ‘What can we drink?’

25 Then Moses prayed to the Lord and the Lord showed Moses a special piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water and then the water became clean and good.

In that place, the Lord made a rule and a law for the Israelites. He checked them there, in that place. 26 He said: ‘Be careful to listen to the voice of the Lord, your God. Do what he says is right. Obey his commands and all his rules. Then I will not bring on you the illnesses that I gave to the Egyptians. I am the Lord. I make you well again.’

27 Then they came to Elim. There they found 12 wells of water and 70 palm trees. And the Israelites stayed there, by the water.

Chapter 16

God sends bread and meat

1 Then all the Israelites left Elim and they came into the desert called Sin. This is between Elim and Sinai. They arrived in the desert on the 15th day of the second month after they had left the country called Egypt. 2 When they were in the desert, all the Israelites said bad things against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them: ‘We wish that the Lord had killed us in Egypt! There, we sat round pots of meat. We ate all the food that we wanted. But now you have brought us into this desert. We shall all die, every one of us, because there is no food to eat.’

4 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘I will cause bread to fall down from the sky for you. Each day, the people must go out and pick up enough bread for that day. In this way I will discover what they are like. I will discover whether they will obey my rules. 5 And on the sixth day, they must pick up and prepare twice as much bread.’

6 So Moses and Aaron spoke to the Israelites. They said: ‘In the evening, you will know who brought you out of Egypt. It was the Lord! 7 And in the morning, you will see how great and powerful the Lord is. The Lord has heard the bad things that you have said against him. We, Moses and Aaron, are not important. You should not say bad things against us.’ 8 And Moses also said: ‘The Lord will give you meat to eat in the evening. And in the morning, he will give you all the bread that you want. He will do this because he has heard you. He has heard the bad things that you have said against him. Aaron and I are not important. You have said bad things against the Lord, not against us.’

9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron: ‘Say to all the Israelites: “Come near, in front of the Lord. He has heard the bad things that you have said against him.” ’ 10 While Aaron spoke, the Israelites looked toward the desert. And they saw the glory of the Lord! It appeared in the cloud.

11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. 12 He said: ‘I have heard the bad things that the Israelites have said against me. Tell them this: “In the evening, you will eat meat. And in the morning you will eat all the bread that you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.” ’

13 That same evening, quails flew down and they covered the whole ground.

A quail is a small bird. The Israelites caught and killed the quails. Then they cooked and ate them.

And in the morning, there was something like rain on all the ground where the Israelites were living. 14 When the ground was dry again, small white pieces of material remained on the ground in the desert. They looked like little pieces of ice. 15 When the Israelites saw these pieces, they said: ‘What is it?’ They did not understand what it was. But Moses said to them: ‘This is the bread that the Lord has given to you. It is for you to eat. 16 This is what the Lord has commanded: “Every man must pick up as much as he needs to eat. Pick up about two litres for each person who lives in your tent.” ’

17 So the Israelites did this. Some of them picked up a lot of the food. Some of them picked up a little food. 18 But when they measured the amount, everyone had the right amount of food. The person who had picked up a lot did not have too much. And the person who had picked up only a little food still had enough food. Each person had picked up what he needed.

19 Then Moses said to them: ‘Do not keep any of it until the morning.’

20 But some of them did not listen to Moses. They kept part of the food until the morning. But very small snakes appeared in it. And it began to have a bad smell. Then Moses was angry with those people.

21 Each morning, everyone picked up as much food as he needed. But when the heat of the sun became strong, the food became soft. Then it went away. 22 On the sixth day, the Israelites picked up twice as much food. They picked up four litres for each person. Then the leaders of the people reported this to Moses. 23 Moses said to them: ‘This is what the Lord commanded you to do. He said: “Tomorrow is a special day for rest. It is a Sabbath day, for the Lord. Cook the food that you want to cook. Boil the food that you want to boil. And you can keep whatever remains, until the morning.” ’

24 So they kept the food until the morning, as Moses had said. The food did not have a bad smell and there were no small snakes in it. 25 Moses said: ‘Eat it today, because this day is a Sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any food on the ground today. 26 On six days of the week, you must pick it up from the ground. But on the 7th day of the week, there will be none of this food on the ground. That is because the 7th day is the Sabbath day.’

27 But on the 7th day, some of the people went out to pick up food. And they did not find any. 28 Then the Lord spoke to Moses. He said: ‘The people always refuse to obey my commands. They always refuse to do what I say! 29 Remember that the Lord has given the Sabbath to you. That is why he gives you enough food for two days. He does this on the sixth day. Then everyone must stay at home on the 7th day. Nobody must go out on the 7th day.’ 30 So the people rested on the 7th day.

31 Now the Israelites called the special food ‘manna’. It was white, like coriander seed. When they tasted the manna, it was like thin pieces of bread with honey in it.

‘Coriander’ is a food plant. People use the seeds to make food taste good.

32 And Moses said: ‘This is what the Lord has commanded. He said: “Keep 1 omer of manna (this is equal to 2 litres) for the people in future times. Then they will see the bread that I fed to you in the desert. I gave this to you when I brought you out of the country called Egypt.” ’

33 So Moses spoke to Aaron. He said: ‘Put one omer of manna into a pot. Then put the pot in the tabernacle. We must keep it, so that our people can see it in the future times.’

34 And Aaron did what the Lord had said to Moses. He put the pot in front of the Testimony, to keep it safe.

Verse 34 tells us about something that happened at a later time. In Exodus 25:10, 16, we read that Moses made a special box called the Ark of the Covenant. In the box he put the Testimony. This was two stones on which God had written his 10 rules. After Moses had made the Ark of the Covenant, Aaron put the pot of manna into it.

35 The Israelites ate the manna for 40 years, until they had finished their journey. They ate it until they came to the country called Canaan.

36 (10 omers is equal to 1 ephah.)

Chapter 17

God gives water out of a rock

1 Then all the Israelites travelled away from the desert called Sin. They moved from one place to another, when the Lord commanded them. When they came to Rephidim, there was no water. The people had nothing to drink. 2 Because of this, the people quarrelled with Moses. They said: ‘Give us water to drink!’ And Moses said to them: ‘You should not quarrel with me! You should not try to make the Lord angry!’

3 But the people needed water very much and they said bad things against Moses. They said: ‘You should not have brought us out of Egypt! You will kill us and our children and our animals. We will die, because we have no water.’

4 Then Moses shouted aloud to the Lord. ‘What shall I do with these people? They will throw stones at me soon. Then they will throw them until I am dead.’

5 The Lord said to Moses: ‘Walk in front of the people. Bring some of the leaders of the Israelites with you. Take your stick in your hand, the stick with which you hit the River Nile. Go! 6 I will stand there, in front of you, by the rock at Horeb. Hit the rock, and water will come out of it. Then the people can drink.’ So Moses did this, while the leaders of the Israelites watched him. 7 And he called that place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarrelled there. And they tried to make the Lord angry. They said: ‘Is the Lord with us, or is he not with us?’

‘Massah’ means ‘try to make a person angry’. ‘Meribah’ means ‘a quarrel’.

The Israelites beat the Amalekites

8 At Rephidim, the Amalekites came out and they fought against the Israelites. 9 Moses said to Joshua: ‘Choose some of our men. Then go out and fight with the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill. And I will hold God’s stick in my hand.’

10 So Joshua fought against the Amalekites. He obeyed the words of Moses. Moses, Aaron and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 When Moses lifted up his hand, the Israelites were winning in the fight. But when Moses brought his hand down, the Amalekites were winning in the fight. 12 Moses hands became tired. So Aaron and Hur put a stone under Moses and he sat on the stone. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands. Aaron stood on one side of Moses and Hur stood on the other side. They held his hands up, until sunset. 13 So Joshua and his men beat the Amalekite army in the fight.

14 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Write these things on a scroll. Then you will remember them. Joshua must hear my words because I will kill all of the Amalekites. Nobody in the whole world will remember them.’

15 Then Moses built a stone table and he called it ‘The Lord is my banner’. 16 Moses said: ‘I lifted up my hands to the Lord on his seat, where he rules. I prayed to him. Now the Lord has said that he will always fight against the Amalekites.’

A ‘banner’ is a large piece of cloth that someone fixes to a stick. Soldiers carry banners when they go to fight. The banner is like a sign. It tells the enemy that you are coming.

Chapter 18

Jethro visits Moses

1 Jethro, the priest of Midian, was the father of Moses’ wife. He heard about all the things that God had done for Moses and for the Israelites. He also heard how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.

2 Moses had sent Zipporah, who was his wife, back to her home. Then her father, Jethro, brought her 3 and her two sons into his house. One son was called Gershom. Moses said about him, ‘I have become a stranger in a foreign country.’ 4 The other son was called Eliezer. Moses said about him, ‘My father’s God gave me help. He saved me from Pharaoh, when Pharaoh wanted to kill me.’

The name Gershom means ‘a foreign person’. The name Eliezer means ‘My God gives me help’.

5 Then Jethro came to Moses in the desert. Moses was staying near the mountain of God. Jethro brought with him Moses’ sons and Moses’ wife. 6 Jethro had sent a message to Moses. He said: ‘I am Jethro, your wife’s father. I am coming to you with your wife and her two sons.’

7 So Moses went out to meet his wife’s father. Moses bent his head and he kissed Jethro. They spoke together and then they went into the tent. 8 Moses told his wife’s father about all the things that the Lord had done to Pharaoh. He told him also what the Lord had done to the Egyptians because of the Israelites. He told Jethro about the troubles that had happened to them during the journey. And Moses told him how the Lord had saved his people, the Israelites.

9 Jethro was very happy to listen to Moses. Moses repeated to him how the Lord had saved the Israelites from the authority of the Egyptians. 10 Jethro said: ‘Let us thank the Lord, who saved you from the authority of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. He saved all the people also from the authority of the Egyptians. 11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all other gods. The Lord did these things to the people who were cruel towards the Israelites.’ 12 Then Jethro, the father of Moses’ wife, brought an animal, and other gifts, to God. And Aaron came, with all the leaders of the Israelites. They ate a meal together with Jethro, where God could see them.

13 The next day, Moses sat down to judge the people. They stood round him from morning until evening. 14 Jethro saw all that Moses did for the people. Then he said: ‘What is this that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone and judge the people? These people stand round you during the whole day.’

15 Moses answered Jethro: ‘The people come to me to discover God’s commands. 16 When they cannot agree, they come to me. I decide between them and I tell them about God’s laws and rules.’

17 The father of Moses’ wife replied: ‘The thing that you do is not good. 18 Both you and the people who come to you will become too tired. The work is too much for you. You cannot do it alone. 19 Now listen to me! I will give you some good ideas, and God will make you strong. You must be the person who speaks to God, for the Israelites. Bring their quarrels to him. 20 Teach them the rules and laws. Show them how they should live. Explain to them the things that they must do.

21 But you must choose wise men from all the people. They must be men who obey God. They must be good men, who will not do false things. Make these men officers over groups of the people. Some groups will be 1000 people; some groups will be 100 people. Some groups will be 50 people and some will be only 10 people. 22 Let them work as judges for the people, every day. They can decide the small problems, but they must bring the difficult problems to you. That will make your work easier, because they will work with you. 23 If God commands you to do this, please obey him. Then the work will not be too hard for you. You will keep your good health. And all these people will go home and they will be happy.’

24 Then Moses listened to Jethro. And Moses did everything that he suggested.

25 Moses chose good and wise men from all the Israelites. He made them leaders and officers of the people. Some were officers over 1000 people; some were officers over 100 people. Some were officers over 50 people and some were officers over 10 people. 26 They worked as judges for the people at all times. They told Moses about the difficult problems, but they decided the easy problems without his help.

27 Then Moses said goodbye to his wife’s father and Jethro returned to his own country.

Chapter 19

The Israelites come to Mount Sinai

1 Three whole months after the Israelites left Egypt, they came to the Desert of Sinai. 2 After they left Rephidim, they arrived in the Desert of Sinai. The Israelites put up their tents in the desert, in front of the mountain.

3 Then Moses went up the mountain to God. The Lord spoke to him from the mountain. He said: ‘This is what you must say to Jacob’s children and grandchildren and to the Israelites. 4 “You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt. You know how I carried you. I carried you like a large bird carries her young birds on her wings. And I brought you to myself. 5 Now, obey me completely and love my promises. Then I will make you my special people that I love. I have chosen you only, from all the people in other countries. The whole world is mine, 6 but you will all become my priests. You will become a special family to me, a family that I can love.” These are the words that you must speak to the Israelites.’

7 So Moses returned and he brought together all the leaders of the Israelites. He repeated to them all the words that the Lord had commanded him. 8 The people all replied together. They said: ‘We will do everything that the Lord has said.’ Then Moses repeated their answer to the Lord.

9 The Lord said to Moses: ‘I will come to you in a thick cloud. Then the people will hear me speak to you. And they will always believe everything that you say.’ Then Moses told the Lord the words that the people had said.

10 And the Lord said to Moses: ‘Go to the people. Make them ready to meet with me. Today and tomorrow they must wash their clothes. 11 They must be ready on the third day. On that day, the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai. And all the people will see him. 12 Do not let the people come too near to the mountain. Say to them: “Be careful! Do not go up the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain must die. 13 You must throw stones at him until he dies. Or you must shoot at him with arrows. Nobody must touch him. You must not let him live, whether he is a man or an animal. The people must wait until they hear a loud sound of music. Then they can go up to the mountain.” ’

14 Then Moses came down from the mountain. He commanded the people to make themselves ready for God. And the people washed their clothes. 15 Then Moses said to them: ‘Prepare yourselves for the third day. Do not have sex with anyone.’

16 On the morning of the third day, there was a great storm. The people heard loud noises and they saw bright lights. A dark cloud was there over the mountain and the people heard very loud music. They were so afraid that their bodies were shaking.

In this storm, there was thunder (very loud noises in the sky). There was also lightning (bright lights in the sky).

17 Then Moses led the people out to meet with God. And they stood at the edge of the mountain. 18 Smoke covered Mount Sinai because the Lord came down on the mountain, like a fire. The smoke rose up from the mountain, like smoke from a great fire. The whole mountain moved about, 19 and the sound of the music became louder and louder. Then Moses spoke and the voice of God answered him.

20 The Lord came down to the top of Mount Sinai. Then he told Moses that he must come to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up the mountain 21 and the Lord spoke to him. He said: ‘Go down to the people. Tell them that they must stay away from the mountain. They must not try to see the Lord. If they do, they will die. 22 Even the priests, who come near to the Lord, must make themselves ready for God. If they do not obey this word, the Lord will be very angry with them.’

23 Moses said to the Lord: ‘The people cannot come up Mount Sinai. You yourself told us that we must put things round the mountain. You told us that we must make the mountain special. You told us that we must stay away from the edge of the mountain.’

24 The Lord replied: ‘Go down. Bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must obey my command. They must not try to come up to the Lord. If they did, the Lord would be very angry with them.’

25 So Moses went down to the people and he repeated these words to them.

Chapter 20

The 10 commandments

1 Then God spoke all these words:

2 ‘I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt, out of the country where you were slaves.

3 You must not have any other gods except me.

4 You must not make any false god for yourself. Do not make a false god in the shape of anything in the sky. Do not make one in the shape of anything on the earth or in the water. 5 You must not bend down your head to a false god, nor worship it. I, the Lord your God, will be angry if you do not remember me. I will punish the children for the bad things that their fathers do. I will even punish the grandchildren and their children. I will do this to those who hate me. 6 But I will love thousands of people who love me. These are the people who obey my commandments.

7 You must not use the name of the Lord your God in a wrong way. The Lord will be angry with anyone who uses his name in a wrong way.

8 Remember the Sabbath day and keep it as a special day. 9 You must do all your work for six days. 10 But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work on that day. Your son and your daughter must not work on that day. Your male servant and your female servant must not work on that day. The stranger who lives among you and even your animals must not work on that day. 11 In six days, the Lord made the sky, the earth and the sea. He also made everything that is in them. But on the seventh day, the Lord rested. And he blessed the seventh day and he made it special.

12 Always be very kind to your father and your mother. Then you will live for many years in the country that the Lord will give to you.

13 You must not murder anyone.

14 You must not have sex with another person’s husband or wife.

15 You must not take another person’s things for yourself.

16 You must not say false things about your neighbour.

17 You must not want to take your neighbour’s house, or his wife, or his servants. You must not want to take his cow, or his donkey, or anything that your neighbour has.’

18 The people saw the very bright light and they heard the loud noises. They heard the loud music and they saw the smoke on the mountain. They were so afraid that they could not stop their bodies moving. They would not come near. 19 They said to Moses: ‘Speak to us yourself. We will listen to you. But do not let God speak to us. If he does, we will die.’

20 Moses said to the people: ‘Do not be afraid. God has only come to test you. He wants you to love him. He wants you to obey him. Then you will not want to do bad things.’

21 So the people stayed away from the mountain. But Moses walked toward the thick, dark cloud, where God was.

22 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Tell the Israelites this: “You yourselves have heard me speak to you from heaven. 23 Do not make any gods to be equal to me. Do not make for yourselves gods out of silver or out of gold. 24 Make a table out of earth for me. Burn your dead animals upon it and also your other gifts to me. I will cause people in many places to love my name. And in those places, I will come to you and I will make you happy. 25 You can make a table of stone for me also. But do not build it with stones that you have cut. If you use tools on the stones, the table will not be clean for God.

26 Do not climb up to my table on anything, because someone may see parts of your body.”

Chapter 21

Israelite slaves

1 These are the laws that you must put in front of the Israelites:

2 If you buy an Israelite slave, he must work for you for six years. But in the seventh year he is a free man. He can leave you. He does not have to pay you any money. 3 If he came to you alone, he is free to leave alone. If he came with a wife, she can leave with him. 4 But if his master gives him a wife, she is her master’s slave. And if she has had children, they are also her master’s slaves. Only the husband can leave the master.

5 But perhaps the slave may say: “I love my master, my wife and my children. I will not go away like a free man!” 6 Then his master must take him in front of the judges. He must lead him to the door, or to the edge of the door. There the master must push the sharp point of a tool through the slave’s ear. Then he will always be his master’s slave.

7 Perhaps a man may sell his daughter as a slave. She is not free to leave her master, as the male slaves are, after six years. Her master has chosen her for himself. 8 If he does not like her, he must let someone from her family buy her from him. He cannot sell her to a foreign person. He has not done what he promised to her. 9 If the man chooses the girl to be his son’s wife, she must become like his daughter.

10 If the man marries another woman, he must not forget the first woman. He must continue to give her food and clothes. He must be kind to her because she is still his wife. 11 If he does not do these three things, she can leave him. She does not have to pay him any money.

When people attack other people

12 Perhaps a person will hit another person and kill him. This is murder. The person who does it must die. 13 But perhaps he did not want to do it, but God let it happen. Then the man must run away to a place that I will show him. 14 But a man may decide to kill another man. Then you must take him away from my table and you must kill him.

15 You must kill anyone who attacks his father or his mother.

16 You must kill anyone who steals another person. He might sell him or keep him.

You must kill the bad man when you catch him.

17 You must kill anyone who curses his father or his mother.

18 Perhaps two men may quarrel. One man hits the other man with a stone or with his fist.

The second man does not die but he has to stay in bed. 19 Then he gets up and walks about outside, with his stick. Then nobody will judge the first man. But he must pay the man whom he hurt. This man cannot work until he is completely well again.

20 Perhaps a man may hit his male or female slave with a stick. If the slave dies because of this, you must punish the man. 21 But if the slave becomes well again after one or two days, do not punish the man. The slave is his own.

22 When two men fight together, perhaps one man may hit a woman. That woman may be with child. Then she gives birth to her child before the right time. If the cruel man has not hurt the child, he must pay money to her husband. He must pay the amount of money that the husband asks. A judge must agree that the amount is fair. 23 But if the man has hurt the child, you must take a life for a life. 24 You must take an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. You must take a hand for a hand or a foot for a foot. 25 You must take a burn for a burn, a wound for a wound, a bruise for a bruise.’

If the cruel man has hurt the child, they must hurt him too. If the child dies, the man must die. Every part of the child that the man has hurt, they must hurt that part of the man. A ‘burn’ is a mark on the body that fire causes. A ‘wound’ is a place where someone has cut the skin. A ‘bruise’ is a mark on the skin where someone has hit a person.

26 ‘If a man hits the eye of a male or female slave, he may destroy the eye. Then he must let the slave go away free because of his bad eye. 27 Perhaps a man may knock out the tooth of a male or female slave. Then he must let the slave go away free, because of his lost tooth.

28 Perhaps a male cow may attack a person and kill him. Then you must throw stones at the male cow until it dies. You must not eat the meat from that male cow. But do not punish the master of the male cow. 29 But perhaps that male cow has attacked people before. Perhaps someone has told his master about this, but the man has not listened. He has not kept the male cow in a safe place and the animal has killed a person. Then you must throw stones at the animal but you must also kill his master. 30 But if the dead person’s family demands money, the man can give money instead of his life. 31 This law is true if the male cow attacks a son or a daughter. 32 If it attacks a male or female slave, the animal’s master must pay 30 silver coins. He must give it to the slave’s master and he must kill the animal.

33 If a man finds a hole, he must cover it. If he digs a hole, he must cover it. If he does not do this, a cow or a donkey may fall into it. 34 Then the man who dug the hole must pay for the loss of the animal. He must pay money to the animal’s master but he can keep the dead animal for himself.

35 If one man’s male cow attacks another man’s male cow, it may die. Then they must sell the animal that is alive. Each man can have half of the money and half of the dead animal. 36 But perhaps that male cow has attacked another animal before. Someone has told the animal’s master about this, but he has not listened. He has not kept the animal in a safe place. So he must pay the other man for the loss of his animal. But he can keep the dead animal for himself.

Chapter 22

When a man takes something that is not his own

1 Perhaps a bad man may take a cow or a sheep. He may kill it or he may sell it. Then he must pay the animal’s master. He must pay five cows for the one cow that he took. And he must pay four sheep for the one sheep that he took.

2 Perhaps someone may catch a bad man, just as he goes into another man’s house. He hits the bad man and the bad man dies. This thing is not murder, if it happens at night. But if it happens during the day, it is murder.

3 A man who takes another man’s animal must certainly give it back. If he cannot do this, then someone must buy him as a slave. And he must give the money to the man whose animal he took.

4 Perhaps someone will find the animal alive, in the man’s field. Then the man must give back two animals. He must do this, whether it was a cow, or a donkey, or a sheep.

5 A man’s animals may eat grass in his field or in his garden of grapes. But perhaps he may let them go and eat grass in another man’s field. This is a wrong thing to do. So he must pay back to the other man the best food from his own field.

6 Someone may light a fire in a field and it begins to burn the bushes. Then the fire becomes bigger and hotter. It burns some of the food that is growing in the field. It may even burn the whole field. Then the person who lit the fire must pay money to the farmer. He has destroyed the farmer’s food.

7 Perhaps a man may give some silver or other things to his neighbour. He asks his neighbour to keep them safe for him. But a bad man comes and he takes the things from the neighbour’s house. If you catch the bad man, then he must pay for these things. He must pay twice the value of the things that he took. 8 But if you do not find the bad man, then take the neighbour to the judges. They must agree whether he has taken the other man’s things for himself.

9 The judges must judge when there is a quarrel between two people about things.

They may argue about an animal or some clothes or anything that is lost. If one of them says: “This is mine!” they must both come to the judges. The judges will choose which man is wrong. Then that man must pay back twice the value to his neighbour.

10 Perhaps a man may ask his neighbour to keep one of his animals for him. Then someone hurts the animal or it may die. Or perhaps a bad man takes it away while nobody sees him. 11 This problem has an answer. The neighbour can make a special promise, in front of the Lord. He can promise to say what is true. He can say that he did not take the other man’s animal for himself. The other man must believe these words. He must not ask his neighbour to pay him any money. 12 But if a bad man did take the animal, then the neighbour must pay for the loss. 13 But perhaps a wild animal killed it. Then the neighbour must show the pieces that are left. Then he will not have to pay for the loss of the animal.

14 Perhaps a man may lend an animal to his neighbour. Then the animal dies while the man is not present. Or someone may hurt the animal. The neighbour must pay for the loss of the animal. 15 But if the man is with his animal, then the neighbour does not have to pay. Perhaps the neighbour gave the man some money, so that he could use his animal. If the animal dies, then that money will pay him back for his loss.

16 Perhaps a man may have sex with a young girl. She has not yet promised to marry anyone. Then that man must marry her. He must pay the bride-price to her father. 17 Her father may completely refuse to give her to the man. But the man must still pay the bride-price for a girl who is not married.’

The ‘bride-price’ is the price that a man had to pay, if he wanted to marry a girl. He paid it to her father, who decided the price. It was often cows, sheep or donkeys.

18 ‘You must kill any woman who is a magician.

19 You must kill anyone who has sex with an animal.

20 You must kill any person who gives gifts to a false god. People must only bring gifts to the Lord.

21 Always be kind to a foreign person. Do not be cruel to him, because you were strangers in the country called Egypt.

22 Always be fair to a woman whose husband is dead. Be fair also to children whose parents are dead. 23 If you are not fair to them, they will shout aloud to me. I will certainly hear their voices 24 and I will be angry with you. I will kill you in a war. You will leave your wives and children without husbands and fathers.

25 You may lend money to one of my people who needs help. But do not be like the people in other countries. They cause poor people to pay extra money for the help. 26 If you take your neighbour’s coat as a pledge, you must return it to him by sunset. 27 He needs his coat, to keep him warm at night. It is the only warm thing that he has. When he shouts aloud to me, I will hear him. I am a kind God and I love men and women.

28 Do not use my name in a bad way and do not curse your ruler.

29 Do not refuse to offer grain or oil from olives to me. 30 You must give your firstborn sons to me.

Do the same thing with your cows and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for 7 days. But on the eighth day, you must give them to me.

31 You will be my special people. So do not eat any meat that wild animals have killed. Instead, you must throw it to the dogs. They can eat it.

Chapter 23

God’s laws for what is fair and kind

1 Do not make false reports. Do not say false words to give help to a bad man.

2 Do not follow other people, to do wrong things. When you speak in front of a judge, let your words be true. Do not speak false words, to be like everyone else. 3 But do not speak well for a poor man, only because you like him.

4 Perhaps you may find your enemy’s cow or donkey as it runs away. You must certainly return it to him. 5 Perhaps you may see your enemy’s donkey fall down. The basket on its back is too full of heavy things. Do not leave the donkey there. You must certainly give your enemy help with his animal.

6 Always be fair to your poor people when they stand in front of a judge. Do not refuse to be fair to them. 7 Refuse to listen to false words against anyone. I will not let anyone go free who has done a wrong thing. So do not kill a person who has not done a wrong thing.

8 Do not accept money as a gift, to do what is wrong. You will not be able to judge properly, because of this gift. Also, it will confuse the words of a good man.

9 Do not be cruel to a foreign person. You yourselves know what it feels like. So do not do it. Remember! You were foreign people in Egypt.

Laws about the Sabbath

10 You must plant seed in your fields for six years and bring in the harvest. 11 But during the seventh year, you must let your fields lie empty. Do not dig them and do not plant them. Then the poor people among you can get food from your fields. And the wild animals can eat any food that remains. Do the same thing with your gardens of fruit.

12 Do your work for six days, but do not work on the seventh day. Then your cow and your donkey can rest. Also, the foreign person and the slave who was born in your home can have some rest. Then they will become strong and happy.

13 Be careful to obey all my words to you. Do not ask any other gods for help. Do not let anyone hear the names of other gods from your lips.

The three parties that happen during each year

14 Three times during each year, I want you to enjoy a party with me.

15 Enjoy the party of bread that has no yeast in it. For 7 days, you must eat bread that you have made without any yeast. I have commanded you to do this. Do it at the right time during the month Abib. It was in that month that you came out of Egypt. Nobody must come to me with nothing in his hands.

16 Enjoy the party of harvest with the first food that you bring from your fields.

Enjoy another party at the end of the year. This will be when you bring in all of your food from the fields.’

The Israelites enjoyed the harvest party when they picked the first food from the fields.

The third party happened later, when they brought in the whole harvest.

17 ‘Three times during each year, all your men must appear in front of the Lord who is King.

18 If you give to me an animal as a gift, you may offer its blood. But do not offer it together with anything that has yeast in it.

Do not keep the fat from my special gifts until the next morning.

19 When you pick the first food from your fields, put the best food into a basket. Then bring it to the house of the Lord your God.

Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.

God’s angel will go in front of the Israelites

20 Look! I send an angel in front of you, to keep you safe on the journey. He will bring you to the place that I have prepared for you. 21 Be careful to watch him. Listen to what he says to you. Do not refuse to obey him because he will not forgive you. This is because he is called by my name. 22 Be careful to listen to his words. Do everything that I say to you. Then I will be an enemy to your enemies. I will fight against anyone who fights against you. 23 My angel will go in front of you. He will bring you into the country of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. I will kill all of them. 24 Do not bend your heads in front of their gods. Do not worship these gods. And do not copy the things that these people do. Destroy the gods and break their special stones into small pieces. 25 Worship me, the Lord your God, and then I will make your bread and water very good. I will remove illness from among you. 26 Your women will all have babies. None of the babies will be born before it is ready. I will give a long life to every person.

27 I will go in front of you and I will make everyone afraid of me. I will confuse the people in every country where you go. I will cause all your enemies to run away from you. 28 I will send in front of you cruel insects that fly. These will cause the Hivites, the Canaanites and the Hittites to run away from you. 29 But I will not remove these people in one year. If I did that, the country would become empty. And then there would be too many wild animals. 30 I will remove them slowly, one group after another group. Then you will become strong and you will fill the country yourselves.

31 I will decide where the edges of your country will be. The country will be from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines. And it will be from the desert to the River Euphrates. I will give to you the people who live in these countries. Then you will send them away from you. 32 Do not make any promises to them, or to their gods. 33 Do not let them live in your country. They will certainly cause you to do wrong things against me. If you worship their gods, you will become their slaves.’

Chapter 24

God repeats his covenant

1 Then God said to Moses: ‘Come up to the Lord. Come with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and 70 of the leaders of Israel. You must worship me, but do not come near. 2 Only Moses can come near to me. And the people must not come with him.’

3 Then Moses told the people all the Lord’s words and rules. And the people answered together: ‘We will do everything that the Lord has said.’ 4 Then Moses wrote down everything that the Lord had said.

The next morning, Moses got up early and he built a stone table. He built it at the lowest part of the mountain. Then he put up 12 large stones, one stone for each big family of Israel. 5 Moses sent young Israelite men to offer gifts of burnt animals and young male cows.

6 Moses took half of the blood of these animals and he put it in pots. He sprinkled the other half of the blood over the stone table. 7 Then he took the scroll of the covenant and he read it to the people. They replied: ‘We will do everything that the Lord has said. We will obey him.’

8 Then Moses took the blood in the pots and he sprinkled it on the people. He said: ‘This blood will cause you to remember the covenant that the Lord has made with you. He has made the covenant with you, with all these words on the scroll.’

9 Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the 70 Israelite leaders went up the mountain. 10 They saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a path of valuable blue stone. It shone like the sky itself. 11 God did not attack these Israelite leaders. They saw God. And they ate and drank.

12 The Lord said to Moses: ‘Come up to me on the mountain. Stay here and I will give the flat stones to you. I have written on them the Law and the rules. So now you can teach them to the people.’

13 Then Moses went up the mountain of God, with Joshua, his servant. 14 He said to the leaders: ‘Wait here for us. We will come back to you. Aaron and Hur are with you. Anyone who cannot agree with his brothers can go to them.’

15 When Moses went up the mountain, the cloud covered it. 16 The Lord’s special bright light appeared on Mount Sinai. The cloud covered the mountain for 6 days. Then on the seventh day, the Lord spoke to Moses from inside the cloud. 17 The Lord’s special bright light looked like a fire that destroyed everything. When the Israelites looked at it, they saw it like a fire. 18 Then Moses climbed the mountain and he went into the cloud. And he stayed on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights.

Chapter 25

Gifts for the tabernacle

1 The Lord said to Moses: 2 ‘Tell the Israelites that they must bring me a gift. Every person who wants to give can do so. You must receive the gifts for me. 3 These are the gifts that you must receive from the people:

            gold

            silver and bronze

            4 blue, purple and red material

            and special white material

            goat’s hair,

            5 red sheep skins and badger skins

            wood from acacia trees

            6 olive oil for the lights

            sweet powder from plants for the special oil, to make a lovely smell

            7 many different stones, all valuable, to fix on to the priest’s special clothes.’

Gold, silver and bronze are valuable metals. The blue, purple and red material would perhaps be cotton. The white material was linen. People make this from a plant called flax. Acacia wood is very strong and hard. Sweet powder comes from many different plants. The Israelites mixed it with olive oil.

8 ‘You must command the Israelites to make a special place for me. Then I will come and live among them. 9 I will show you how to make this tabernacle and everything inside it. But you must make it completely as I tell you.

The Ark

10 The Israelites must make a box of acacia wood. It must be one metre long, three quarters of a metre wide and three quarters of a metre high. 11 Cover it with gold, both inside and outside, and then build up the edges with gold. 12 Make four gold rings and fix them to the feet of the box. Fix two rings on one side and two rings on the other side. 13 Then make two sticks out of acacia wood and cover them with gold. 14 Push the sticks into the rings on the sides of the box. This is how you will carry it. 15 The sticks must remain in the rings of this Ark. You must not remove them. 16 Then put into the Ark the words of the covenant that I have written. I will give these to you.

17 Make a gold lid for the Ark. Make it one metre long and three quarters of a metre wide. 18 And make two angels from gold. Use a hammer to make them the right shape. 19 Make one angel on one end of the lid and the second angel on the other end. The two angels, one at each end, must be part of the lid. 20 The angelswings must point to the sky and they must make a shadow over the lid. Each angel’s face must look toward the other angel and toward the lid. 21 Put the lid on the top of the Ark. Put the words of the covenant that I have written into the Ark. I will give these words to you. 22 I will meet with you there, above the lid, between the two angels. The angels are over the Ark of the covenant. I will meet with you and I will give to you all my commands for the Israelites.

The table

23 Make a table out of acacia wood. Make it one metre long, half a metre wide and three quarters of a metre high. 24 Cover it with gold, and then build up the edges with gold. 25 Also, fix an extra piece of wood round it, 7 centimetres wide, and build up these edges with gold.

26 Make four gold rings for the table. Fix them to the four corners, where the four legs of the table are. 27 The rings must be very near to the extra piece of wood. They will hold the sticks that you will use to carry the table. 28 Make the sticks out of acacia wood and cover them with gold. Use them to carry the table. 29 Make the plates and the spoons out of gold, also the pots and the dishes. You will use these to pour out the gifts of drink. 30 Put the special loaves of bread on this table. They must be there in front of me always.

The lampstand

31 Make a lampstand out of gold. Use a hammer to make it the right shape. Make its cups like open almond flowers and some that are not yet open. You must make every part of the lampstand from one piece of gold. 32 Make six branches on the lampstand, three branches on each side of it. 33 Put three cups like almond flowers on one branch and three on the next branch. Make some of these flowers open and some not yet open. Put three cups on each of the six branches of the lampstand. 34 On the lampstand itself, put four cups like almond flowers, some open and some not yet open. 35 Put one flower, not yet open, under the first pair of branches. Put a second flower, not yet open, under the second pair of branches. Put the third flower, not yet open, under the third pair of branches. There are six branches on the lampstand. 36 You must make the flowers and the branches from the same piece of gold as the lampstand. Use a hammer to make the gold into the right shape.

37 Then make 7 lamps and fix them to the lampstand. Fix them so that they will light the space in front of it. 38 You must make small tools from gold, with which to clean the lamps. You must also make dishes for it. 39 You must make the lampstand and all its tools and dishes from 34 kilos of gold. 40 Be careful how you make all these things. You must copy them completely as you saw them on the mountain.

Chapter 26

The tabernacle

1 Make the tabernacle with 10 curtains of very good material, white, blue, purple and red. Tell a wise worker that he must make pictures of angels in the curtains. 2 All the curtains must be the same size, 12½ metres long and 1¾ metres wide. 3 Join five of the curtains together. Do the same with the other five curtains. 4 On the edge of the last curtain in the set, fix rings of blue material. Do the same thing on the last curtain of the other set. 5 Make 50 rings on one curtain and 50 rings on the last curtain of the other set. Make the rings on one curtain opposite to the rings on the other curtain. 6 Then make 50 small pieces of gold to fasten the curtains together. Then the tabernacle will be one piece of work.

7 Make 11 curtains from goat’s hair to cover the tabernacle. 8 All the curtains must be the same size. They must be 13½ metres long and 1¾ metres wide. 9 Fix five of the curtains together to make one set. Fix the other six curtains together to make a second set. Hang the sixth curtain over the end curtain of the first set. This will be at the front of the tent. 10 Make 50 rings of material along the edge of the last curtain in the first set. Then make 50 rings along the edge of the last curtain in the second set. 11 Then make 50 small pieces of bronze. Use them to fasten the tent together. Then the tent will be one piece of work. 12 The curtains for the tent will be longer than the curtains for the tabernacle. The extra half of the curtain will hang at the back of the tabernacle. 13 The curtains of the tent will be half a metre longer on both sides. The extra material will cover the sides of the tabernacle. 14 Use red sheep skins to cover the tent. Then use badger skins to cover the sheep skins.

15 Make boards out of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 16 Each board must be 4½ metres long and ¾ of a metre wide. 17 Make two extra pieces on each board, next to each other. Make all the boards of the tabernacle like this. 18 Make 20 boards for the south side of the tabernacle. 19 Then make 40 pieces of silver, with a hole in each piece. The boards will stand in the holes. There must be two holes for each board. The extra pieces on each board will fit into the holes. 20 Make 20 boards for the north side of the tabernacle 21 and 40 pieces of silver, two under each board. 22 Make six boards for the west end of the tabernacle. 23 Then make two boards for the corners at the back of the tabernacle. 24 You must fix them together at the lower edge and at the top. Use a ring to fix them together. Make both the corners the same. 25 So there will be 8 boards and 16 pieces of silver, two under each board.

26 You must also cut pieces of acacia wood to fix across the boards of the tabernacle. Cut five pieces for the boards on one side 27 and five pieces for the boards on the other side. Cut five pieces for the boards on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 28 The piece of wood in the centre must reach from one end to the other. Fix it at the middle of the boards. 29 Cover the boards with gold and make gold rings. These rings will hold the pieces of wood that you fix across the boards. Then cover the pieces of wood also with gold.

30 Make the tabernacle the same as the plan that I showed to you, on the mountain.

31 Make a curtain out of blue, purple, red and soft white material. A wise man must put into it a picture of angels. 32 Hang it up with gold rings from four sticks of acacia wood. Cover these sticks with gold. Then fix them on four pieces of silver that have holes in the centre. 33 Hang up the curtain and put the Ark of the Covenant behind the curtain. So the Holy Place will be separate from the Most Holy Place. The curtain will hang between them. 34 Put the special lid on the Ark of the Covenant, in the most Holy Place. 35 Put the table outside the curtain on the north side of the tabernacle. Put the lampstand on the opposite side of the tabernacle, on the south side.

36 Make a curtain for the door of the tent. Make it out of blue, purple and red material and out of special white material. Someone who can do wise work with material must make the curtain. 37 Make gold rings for this curtain and make five sticks out of acacia wood. Cover the sticks with gold and make five pieces of bronze to hold them.

Chapter 27

The altar on which to burn animals as gifts

1 Make an altar out of acacia wood. It must be 1¼ metres high and the top must be square, 2¼ metres long and wide. 2 Make four horns, one at each corner. The horns and the altar must be one piece of work. Then cover it all with bronze. 3 Make all the tools for the altar out of bronze. Make pots to remove the ashes. Make spades, dishes and forks for the meat. Make buckets out of metal to carry the fire. 4 Make a square net of bronze with a ring of bronze at each corner. 5 Fix this net under the altar, between the top of the altar and the ground. 6 Make sticks out of acacia wood for the altar, then cover them with bronze. 7 You must put the sticks into the rings when you carry the altar. There will be a stick on two sides of the altar. 8 Make the altar out of boards. You must make it like the thing that the Lord showed you on the mountain.

The yard

9 Make a yard for the tabernacle. The south side must be 46 metres long. It must have curtains of special white material. 10 Make 20 sticks for the curtains and 20 pieces of bronze with holes in them. The sticks will stand in these. Make small pieces of silver and rings of material on the sticks, to fasten the curtains. 11 The north side of the yard must also be 46 metres long. It must also have curtains, sticks, silver pieces and rings of material.

12 The west end of the yard must be 23 metres wide. Make curtains for it and 10 sticks to stand on 10 pieces of bronze. 13 The east end of the yard looks toward the sunrise. It must also be 23 metres wide. 14 Make curtains 7 metres long on one side of the open space where you go in. Make three sticks that stand on three pieces of bronze, for the curtains. 15 Make the same things for the other side.

16 Make a curtain, 9 metres long, for the open space where you go into the yard. Make it out of blue, purple and red material together with special white material. Choose a wise worker to make the curtain. Make four sticks that stand on four pieces of bronze for the curtain. 17 Make small pieces of silver to fix the curtains on all the sticks round the yard. Every stick must stand in a small piece of bronze. 18 The yard must be 46 metres long and 23 metres wide. Make the curtains out of special white material, 2¼ metres long and with pieces of bronze to stand on. 19 Make everything of bronze that you will use in the tabernacle. This includes the small sharp sticks that fix the tent and the yard to the ground.

Olive oil for the lampstand

20 Command the Israelites to bring you clean oil from fresh olives. This oil is to burn in the lamps. They must always give light. 21 Aaron and his sons must keep a light in the lamps from evening until morning. Put these lights in the Tent of Meeting. They are for the Lord to see. Put them outside the curtain that hangs in front of the Testimony. You must make this a rule for the Israelites. It is a rule also for those who are not yet born.

Chapter 28

Special clothes for the priests

1 Fetch Aaron your brother with his sons, from among the Israelites. The names of Aaron’s sons are Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. I want them to be my servants, my priests. 2 Make special clothes for your brother Aaron. These clothes will show that he is important and special to me. 3 I have made certain men very wise so that they can make these clothes. Tell them that they must make Aaron’s clothes. The clothes must be ready for the day when I make him my servant, my priest. 4 These are the clothes that the wise men must make:

            a breastpiece

            an ephod

            a robe

            a tunic

            a turban

            a long belt.

They must make these special clothes for your brother Aaron and for his sons. Then Aaron and his sons can be my servants, my priests. 5 The wise men must use beautiful material, gold, blue, purple, red and white.

The ephod

6 Make the ephod out of gold and out of blue, purple and red material. Use also special white material that a wise worker has made. 7 On two of its corners you must fix pieces for Aaron’s shoulders. Then you can fasten the ephod. 8 Make the special belt like the ephod. The belt and the ephod must be one piece of work. You must make them with gold and with blue, purple and red material and with special white material.

9 Take two onyx stones. With a sharp tool, write on them the names of the sons of Israel. 10 Begin with the name of the oldest son and finish with the name of the youngest son. Write six names on one stone and six names on the other. 11 Write these names on the two stones like a wise man draws on valuable metal. Then fix the stones to some thin gold pieces that you have made beautiful. 12 Fasten the stones on the shoulder pieces of the ephod. When the Lord sees the stones, he will remember his promises to the sons of Israel. Aaron will carry the names on his shoulders and the Lord will see them. 13 Make special pieces of thin gold 14 and two chains of gold. Fix these chains to the thin pieces of gold.

The breastpiece

15 A wise worker must make the breastpiece. This will give Aaron help when he must decide any matter. Make it like the ephod, out of gold and out of blue, purple and red material. Use special white material too. 16 Bend a piece of cloth to make a square, 22 centimetres long and 22 centimetres wide. 17 Then fix four sets of valuable stones on it. Fix a ruby, a topaz and a beryl in the first set. 18 Fix a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald in the second set. 19 Fix a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst in the third set. 20 Fix a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper in the fourth set. Fix each stone in a thin piece of gold that you have made beautiful. 21 There will be 12 stones, one stone for each of Israel’s sons. You must write their names on the stones with a sharp tool. Write one name on each stone.

22 Make thin lines out of gold and put them together. This will make a chain. 23 Then make two gold rings for the chains. Fasten them to two corners of the breastpiece. 24 Fasten the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece. 25 Fasten the other ends of the chains to the shoulder pieces of the ephod, in the front. 26 Make two gold rings and fasten them to the two other corners of the breastpiece. Put them inside, next to the ephod. 27 Make two more gold rings. Fix them to the lower edge of the shoulder pieces, on the front of the ephod. Put them just above the ephod’s belt. 28 Tie the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod with a line of blue cotton. Fix it to the belt, then the breastpiece and the belt will not become separated.

29 When Aaron goes into the Holy Place, he will wear the breastpiece over his heart. So he will carry the names of Israel’s sons over his heart. And the Lord will always remember the Israelites. 30 Put the Urim and Thummim in the breastpiece. Then they will also be over Aaron’s heart when he goes into the Lord’s home. So Aaron will always carry over his heart the help that he needs. He will always carry this help with him, to decide matters for the Israelites.

Other clothes for the priests

31 Make the robe of the ephod completely out of blue cloth. 32 Make a hole in the centre of the robe, for the priest’s head. You must make a collar round this hole, and then it will not tear. 33 Make pomegranates out of blue, purple and red material. Fix them to the lower edge of the robe, with gold bells between them. 34 Fix a bell, then a pomegranate, a bell, then a pomegranate round the whole lower edge of the robe.

35 Aaron must wear the robe when he works as the Lord’s servant. The bells will make a sound when he goes into the Holy Place. And they will make a sound when he comes out. So he will not die.

36 Make a thin plate out of gold and write on it with a sharp tool: HOLY TO THE LORD. 37 Fasten a line of blue cotton to the plate. Then fix the plate to the front of the turban. 38 Aaron will wear the turban, with the plate, on his head for a special reason. When the Israelites bring gifts to God, Aaron himself will carry any bad things in the gifts. Then the Lord will accept the gifts because of the turban on Aaron’s head. 39 Make the tunic and the turban out of good white material. A wise worker must make the long belt.

40 Make tunics, long belts and hats for Aaron’s sons. These things will make them look important and beautiful. 41 Put these clothes on your brother Aaron and on his sons. Then pour oil on their heads and give them authority. Make them separate from the other Israelites so that they can be the Lord’s priests.

42 Make trousers out of white material that will cover the lower parts of the priests’ bodies. 43 Aaron and his sons must wear them when they go into the Tent of Meeting. They must also wear them when they go near to the altar in the Holy Place. Then the Lord will not become angry with them, and they will not die. This rule is for Aaron and for all his children and grandchildren. The rule remains the same for all time.

Chapter 29

Priests must be separate from other Israelites

1 When you make the priests separate, do it in this way: Take a young male cow and two male sheep. They must not have anything wrong with them. 2 Make some bread from good flour, with no yeast in it. Use oil to make cakes and biscuits also. 3 Put these things in a basket and bring them, with the three animals. 4 Then bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the Tent of Meeting and wash them there. 5 Then take the special clothes. Dress Aaron in the tunic, the robe, the ephod and the breastpiece. Fasten the ephod on him with the special belt. 6 Put the turban on Aaron’s head and fix the holy gold plate to the turban. 7 Take the special oil and pour it on his head. 8 Bring his sons and dress them in their tunics. 9 Put the hats on their heads, then tie the long belts on Aaron and on his sons. These men and their sons and grandsons will be priests for all time. This is a special gift to them for always. This is how you must make Aaron and his sons separate:

10 Bring the male cow to the front of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on the male cow’s head. 11 Then kill the animal in front of the Lord, at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 12 Take some of the male cow’s blood. Use your finger to put some blood on the horns of the altar. Pour the blood that remains on the ground round the altar. 13 Take all the fat that is round the inside parts of the animal. Take the skin that covers the liver. Take both the kidneys with the fat that is round them. Burn all these things on the altar. 14 But burn the male cow’s body outside the camp. You have offered it because of sin.

15 Take one of the male sheep. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on its head. 16 Kill it and take the blood to the altar. Throw some of the blood on to every side of the altar. 17 Cut the male sheep in pieces and wash the inside parts and the legs. Then put them with the head and with the other pieces. 18 Burn the whole male sheep on the altar. It is a gift to the Lord and a good smell. You will offer this gift to the Lord by fire.

19 Take the second male sheep. Aaron and his sons must put their hands on its head. 20 Kill it and put some of the blood on the right ears of Aaron and his sons. Put some blood also on their right hands and on the big toes of their right feet. Then throw some blood on to every side of the altar. 21 Mix together some of the blood on the altar and some of the special oil. Put this on to Aaron and on to his clothes. Put it also on to his sons and on to their clothes. Then Aaron and his sons and their clothes will be holy.

22 Take all the fat from this male sheep. Take the fat tail, the fat round the inside parts and the skin round the liver. Take also the two kidneys with the fat round them. And take the top part of the right leg. (You will use this male sheep when you give authority to Aaron and to his sons.) 23 Take out of the basket a loaf of bread that has no yeast in it. Take also a cake with oil in it and a biscuit. These are all in the basket that is in front of the Lord. 24 Put all these things in the hands of Aaron and his sons. Then lift these things up to the Lord as a gift. 25 Now take them and burn them on the altar, with the animal as a gift. They will make a good smell, a gift to the Lord that you offer by fire.

26 Take the breast of this special male sheep. First lift it up to the Lord as a gift that you offer to him. Then you can eat it.

27 You must make holy the pieces of the sheep that are for Aaron and his sons. These are the breast and the top part of the leg. You have lifted them up first to the Lord. 28 This must always be the regular gift from the Israelites to Aaron and his sons. The Israelites must supply this food for the priests from their gifts to the Lord.

29 Aaron’s holy clothes will belong to the males in his family for all time. Those men will become separate and take authority. Then they can wear the clothes. 30 The son who becomes priest after Aaron’s death must wear his clothes. When that son comes to the Tent of Meeting, he must wear the clothes for 7 days. He must wear them while he does the Lord’s work in the Holy Place.

31 Take the male sheep that is for Aaron and his sons. Cook the meat in a holy place. 32 Aaron and his sons must eat the meat, and the bread from the basket. They must do this at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 33 They must eat these gifts, by which they have paid for their authority and special importance. No other person can eat this meat because it is holy.

34 But if any of this meat remains until the morning, you must burn it. Burn also any bread that remains. You must not eat it because it is holy.

35 Do everything that I have commanded you, for Aaron and his sons. Make them holy and give them authority during 7 days. 36 Kill a male cow each day, as a gift. This animal that you offer dies instead of you, for your sin.’

We read in Hebrews 9:22 that blood is necessary to make almost everything clean and holy. Without blood, God cannot forgive the bad things that we do. God saw the blood of the animals that the Israelites killed. He knew that one day Jesus would die for the sins of many people. When bad men killed Jesus, he bled. His holy blood washes us clean from sin, when we believe in him. He died for our sins instead of us. God punished him, instead of us. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that God put all our sins on Jesus. Jesus had no sins of his own.

‘Make the altar completely clean. Pay for it with a gift and pour oil on it. This will make it special and holy. 37 Do this to the altar for 7 days, and then it will become very holy. Anything that touches the altar will become holy too.

38 You must offer a regular gift on the altar each day. This gift must be two young sheep that are one year old. 39 Offer one in the morning and the other in the evening.

40 With the first young sheep, offer two litres of good flour. Mix this with one litre of olive oil. Offer also one litre of wine as a gift of drink. 41 Kill the other young sheep in the evening. Offer it with the same gifts of food and drink as in the morning. There will be a good smell from this gift to the Lord, by fire.

42 I give this commandment for all the Israelites who will be born in future years. You must offer this regular gift by fire, to me. Offer it at the door of the Tent of Meeting. I will meet you there and I will speak to you. 43 I will meet the Israelites there also and the place will become holy because of my glory.

44 So I will make the Tent of Meeting holy and separate. I will do the same thing to the altar and to Aaron and to his sons. They will work for me as priests. 45 Then I will live among the Israelites and I will be their God. 46 They will know that I am the Lord their God. I brought them out of Egypt so that I could live among them. I am the Lord their God.’

Chapter 30

The altar for incense

1 ‘Make an altar out of acacia wood so that you can burn incense on it. 2 The altar must be square. Make it ½ metre long, ½ metre wide and 1 metre high. The altar’s horns must be part of it, one piece of wood. 3 Cover every part of the altar with gold. Then fix an extra piece of gold round it. 4 Make two gold rings for the altar, below the extra piece of gold. These rings must be on opposite sides of the altar. They will hold the sticks with which you will carry it. 5 Make the sticks of acacia wood and cover them with gold. 6 There is a curtain in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Put the altar in front of that curtain, in front of the special lid. This lid covers the ark and I will meet you there.

7 Aaron must burn incense with a good smell on the altar every morning. He must do this when he checks the lamps. 8 He must burn incense again when he lights the lamps in the evening. Incense must burn for the Lord every day for all time. 9 Do not offer any different incense on this altar. Do not offer any animals or food plants as gifts on this altar. And do not pour a gift of drink on it. 10 Once every year, Aaron must pay the price for sin on this altar. He must pay this price with the blood of the male cow that he offers. Every year, a priest must do this, for all time. It is most holy to the Lord.’

Money that pays the price for each life

11 Then the Lord said to Moses: 12 ‘When you count the Israelites, each person must pay the Lord a price for his life. Each person must do this at the time when you count him. Then nothing bad will happen to him at that time. 13 Each person must give a silver coin when you count him. The weight of this coin is six grams and it is a gift to the Lord. 14 You must count every person who is 20 years old or more. And each person must offer his gift to the Lord. 15 Rich people must not give more than six grams of silver. Poor people must not give less when they offer this gift to the Lord. It is the price that each person must pay for his life. 16 Receive this money from the Israelites. Use it for anything that you need for the Tent of Meeting. Then the Lord will always remember that you belong to him. You have paid money for your lives.

17 Then the Lord said to Moses: 18 Make a very large dish for water out of bronze. And make something from bronze for it to stand on. Put it between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and fill it with water.

19 Aaron and his sons must wash their hands and their feet with water from the dish. 20 Every time they go into the Tent of Meeting, they must wash their hands and their feet. Then they will not die. Also, before they offer a gift by fire on the altar, they must wash. 21 Then they will not die when they offer a gift to the Lord. This is a rule for all time, for Aaron and for everyone that is born into his family.’

Special oil to make things holy

22 Then the Lord said to Moses: 23 ‘Mix together these good spices:

            6 kilos of liquid myrrh

            3 kilos of sweet cinnamon

            3 kilos of sweet cane

24      6 kilos of cassia

            4 litres of olive oil.

25 Make these into a holy oil, the special oil that makes things holy. It will be the work of a wise chemist. 26 Then pour a little oil on all of these things:

            the Tent of Meeting

            the Ark of the Covenant

27      the table and all its tools

            the lampstand and its tools

28      the two altars with their tools

            and the very large dish for water with its base.

29 You must make all these things separate so that they will be most holy. Then anything that touches them will become holy.

30 Pour some of the holy oil on Aaron’s head and on the heads of his sons. Make them separate, and then they can work for me as priests. 31 Say to the Israelites: “This will be my holy oil for all time. 32 Do not pour it on the bodies of men who are not priests. Do not make any of this oil to use for other things. It is holy and you must always think about it as holy. 33 Nobody must make a sweet smell like this oil. Nobody must put this oil on any person except on a priest. Anyone who does not obey this rule must die.” ’

Sweet incense

34 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Take sweet spices, (gum resin, onycha, galbanum and frankincense) in equal amounts. 35 Give them to a chemist and let him make them into incense, with a lovely smell. It must have salt in it and it must be clean and holy. 36 Make some of the incense into powder. Put this in front of the Ark of the Covenant, in the Tent of Meeting. I will meet you there. It will be most holy to you. 37 Do not make any incense like this for yourselves. Think about it always as holy to the Lord. 38 Whoever makes any incense like it, with a lovely smell, for himself, he must die.’

Chapter 31

Bezalel and Oholiab

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: 2 ‘Look! I have chosen Bezalel, the son of Uri, the grandson of Hur, from the big family of Judah. 3 I have filled him with the Spirit of God. I have made him very wise in many different ways. 4 He knows how to draw beautiful pictures of things. Then he makes them out of gold, silver and bronze. 5 He knows how to cut valuable stones. Then he puts them into pieces of gold or silver. He knows how to work with wood. He makes beautiful things and he always does good work.

6 And I have chosen Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, from the big family of Dan, to help Bezalel. Also, I have made all the workers very wise. They will make everything that I have commanded you. 7 They will make the Tent of Meeting and the Ark of the Covenant with its special lid. They will make all the other things in the tent too. 8 They will make the table and all the things on it. They will make the lampstand out of pure gold and the altar where you will offer incense. 9 They will make the other altar. On that other altar, you will burn the animals that are gifts to me. They will make the very large dish for water and its metal base.

10 These wise men will also make clothes. They will make the special clothes for Aaron the priest and for his sons. His sons will wear these clothes when they work as priests. 11 The wise men will also make the special oil and the incense that has a lovely smell. These are for the Holy Place. They must make them completely as I commanded you.’

The Sabbath

12 Then the Lord said to Moses: 13 ‘Say to the Israelites: “You must keep my Sabbaths as special days. This will be something special for you and for me. The children that will be born will see it. Then they will know that I am the Lord. It is I who make you holy.

14 Keep the Sabbath special because it is a holy day to you. You must kill anyone who does bad things on the Sabbath. Anyone who works on that day must die. 15 You must work for six days, but the seventh day is a Sabbath for rest. It is a holy day to the Lord. You must kill any person who does any work on the Sabbath day. 16 The Israelites must keep the Sabbath as a special day and they must enjoy it. They must do this for all time. It is a special covenant and it will always be with them.” 17 It will be something special between me and the Israelites for all time. This is because the Lord made the sky and the earth in six days. Then, on the seventh day, he did not work but he rested.’

18 The Lord finished his words to Moses on Mount Sinai. Then the Lord gave Moses the two flat stones of the Testimony. God had written on these stones with his own finger.

Chapter 32

The young cow that Aaron made out of gold

1 Moses was on the mountain for a very long time. So the Israelites went to Aaron. They said: ‘Get up! Make some gods for us who will lead us. This man, Moses, brought us up out of Egypt. But we do not know where he is now. We do not know what has happened to him.’

2 Then Aaron answered them: ‘Take the gold rings from the ears of your wives, your sons and your daughters. Then bring the rings to me.’ 3 So all the Israelites removed the rings from their ears and they brought them to Aaron.

4 Aaron took the rings and he made a false god from the gold. He used a tool to make the false god in the shape of a young cow. Then the Israelites said: ‘This is your god, Israel. He brought you up out of Egypt!’

5 When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the young cow. He shouted: ‘Tomorrow, there will be a party to the Lord.’ 6 So, on the next day, the Israelites got up early. They offered gifts of dead animals on the altar and they brought other gifts also. After this they sat down and they ate a meal. They drank and then they played bad games together.

7 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Go down the mountain. The Israelites that you brought out of Egypt have become bad people. 8 They have turned away from my commandments already. They have made for themselves a false god in the shape of a young cow. They have bent their heads to it. They have brought gifts of dead animals to it. They have said: “These are your gods, Israel, who have brought you out of Egypt.” ’

9 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘I have seen these people. They are proud and they do not obey me. 10 Now leave me, so that I can be very angry with them. I will kill them and I will make you into a great nation.’

11 But Moses asked the Lord his God to listen to him. Moses said: ‘Lord, please do not be so angry with your own family! You brought them out of Egypt with strong and powerful authority. 12 The Egyptians will say: “God led the Israelites out of Egypt so that he could kill them. He wanted to kill them in the mountains. He wanted to destroy them completely.” Please stop being angry. Please be sorry for your own people and do not kill them. 13 Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac and Israel. Remember the promise that you made to them. You said: “I will give you as many children and grandchildren as there are stars in the sky. I have promised to give this whole country to them. And it will be their country for all time.” ’ 14 Then the Lord was sorry for the people that he had chosen. He did not kill them as he had decided to.

15 Moses turned and he went down the mountain. He carried the two flat stones of the Testimony in his hands. God had written on both sides of the stones. 16 This was God’s own work. He himself had written the words on the stones.

17 The Israelites were shouting and Joshua heard the noise. He said to Moses: ‘I can hear the sound of war in the camp!’ 18 But Moses answered: ‘It is not the sound of soldiers who are beating their enemies. It is not the sound of soldiers who run away from their enemies. It is the sound of singers that I can hear.’

19 Then Moses came near to the camp. He saw the young cow and the Israelites who were dancing. He became very angry. He threw the two stones on to the ground. He broke them into pieces where he stood. 20 Then he took the young cow that they had made. He burned it in the fire. He made it into powder and he poured it into the water. Then he commanded the Israelites to drink that water.

21 Moses said to Aaron: ‘You should not have caused these people to do such a bad sin. What did they do to you?’ 22 Aaron answered: ‘Do not be angry, my lord. You know how quickly these people do bad things. 23 They said to me: “Make us some gods that will lead us. This man called Moses brought us out of Egypt. But now we do not know what has happened to him.” 24 So I said to them: “If anyone has any gold rings, he must remove them.” Then they gave the gold to me. I threw it into the fire and this young cow came out of the fire!’

25 All the Israelites were running about. And Moses saw that they were doing bad things in the camp. Aaron had let them do bad things. They would have felt ashamed if their enemies had seen them. 26 So Moses stood at the edge of the camp. He said: ‘Everyone who loves the Lord must come to me.’ Then all the Levites went to Moses.

27 Then Moses said to the Levites: ‘This is the message from the Lord, the God of Israel. “Every man must take his sword in his hand. You must go from one end of the camp to the other. And each man must kill his brother and his friend and his neighbour.” ’ 28 The Levites obeyed the command of Moses and about three thousand Israelites died on that day. 29 Then Moses said to the Levites: ‘The Lord has made you his special people today. He has blessed you today because you have punished your own sons and brothers.’

30 On the next day, Moses said to the Israelites: ‘You have done a very bad thing. But now I will go up to the Lord. Perhaps I can pay the price for your sin.’

31 So Moses returned to the Lord. He said to the Lord: ‘These people have done a very bad thing. They have made gods out of gold for themselves! 32 But now, please forgive them! And if you cannot forgive them, then take my name out of your book.’

33 The Lord answered Moses: ‘I will take out of my book the name of everyone who has sinned against me. 34 Now go! Lead the Israelites to the place that I have spoken about. My angel will go in front of you. But on the right day I will punish them for their sin.’

35 And the Lord punished the Israelites with a bad illness because of what they had done. They had done bad things with the young cow that Aaron had made.

Chapter 33

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘You and the Israelites must all leave this place. You brought them out of Egypt. You must lead them to the country that I promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I promised to give the country to their children and grandchildren, for all time. 2 I will send an angel in front of you. He will throw out the Canaanites, the Amorites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites. 3 Go to that country where there is enough food and drink for everyone. But I will not go with you because you will not obey my commandments. I might go with you. But then I might kill you as you travel.’

4 The Israelites heard the message and God’s words frightened them. They began to cry and nobody put on his beautiful stones. 5 The Lord had said to Moses: ‘Speak to the Israelites. Say to them: “You are people who will not obey me. If I go with you, even for a moment, I may kill you. I may kill you as you travel. Now remove your beautiful stones. Then I will decide what I will do with you.” ’ 6 So the Israelites threw off their beautiful stones near Mount Horeb.

The Tent of Meeting

7 Now Moses put up a special tent outside the camp, in every place where the Israelites stayed. He called it the Tent of Meeting. Anyone could go there and listen to the Lord’s words. The Tent of Meeting was outside the camp.

8 When Moses went out to the Tent of Meeting, all the people would stand at the doors of their tents. They would watch Moses until he went into the Tent of Meeting. 9 When Moses went into the tent, the special cloud would come down. The cloud would stay at the door of the tent while the Lord spoke to Moses.

10 Every time that the people saw the special cloud at the door of the Tent of Meeting, they all stood up. Then each person worshipped at the door of his tent. 11 The Lord would speak to Moses as a man speaks to his friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But Joshua, the son of Nun, stayed in the tent. He was a young man who helped Moses.

Moses wants to see God’s glory

12 Moses said to the Lord: ‘You have said to me: “Lead these people.” But whom will you send with me? You have not told me. You have said: “I know you by your name. You give me pleasure and I love you.” 13 If you love me, please tell me your thoughts. I want to understand you. I want you to love me always. Remember that the Israelites are your own family.’

14 The Lord replied: ‘I myself will go with you and I will give you rest.’

15 Then Moses said: ‘If you do not go with us, do not send us away from here. 16 If you do not go with us, nobody will know about you. Nobody will know that we give you pleasure. We will not be special people. We will be like everyone else in the world.’

17 And the Lord said to Moses: ‘I will certainly do this thing that you have asked for. This is because you give me pleasure. Also, I know you by your name.’

18 Then Moses said: ‘Please, show me your glory!’

19 And the Lord said: ‘I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you. I will tell you my name, that I am the Lord. I will be kind to anyone that I choose. I will show my love to anyone that I choose. 20 But you cannot see my face. Nobody can see my face and live.’

21 Then the Lord said: ‘There is a place near me. You can stand there upon a rock. 22 When my glory passes in front of you, I will put you in a hole in the rock. I will cover you with my hand until I have passed in front of you. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back. But nobody must see my face.’

Chapter 34

Two new flat stones

1 The Lord said to Moses: ‘Cut two flat stones like the first stones. Then I will write on them all the words that I wrote on the first stones. You broke the first stones into pieces.’

In chapter 32:19, we read how Moses threw down the first stones. He broke them because he was so angry with the Israelites. Aaron had made a young cow from gold and everyone was worshipping it.

2 ‘Make yourself ready in the morning and come up Mount Sinai. Show yourself to me there, on the top of the mountain. 3 Nobody must come with you. Nobody must be anywhere on the mountain. Even the animals must not eat grass in front of the mountain.’

4 So Moses cut two flat stones like the first ones. He went up Mount Sinai early in the morning as the Lord had commanded him. And he carried the two flat stones in his hands. 5 Then the Lord came down in the special cloud and he stood by Moses. The Lord spoke with a loud voice and he said: ‘The Lord is my name!’

6 Then the Lord passed in front of Moses. He said in a loud voice: ‘The Lord! The Lord! The kind God who loves you becomes angry very slowly. He is a God of love who does not change. 7 He loves thousands of people. He forgives the bad things that they do. He forgives many people who do not obey him. He even forgives people who do bad things against him. But he does not forget to punish bad people. He punishes children and grandchildren for the bad things that their fathers did. He continues to punish them, even the children of the grandchildren.’

8 Then Moses bent down his head immediately and he worshipped. 9 He said: ‘Lord, if you love me, please go with us! I know that we have often not obeyed you. But please forgive the bad things that we have done. Take us with you as your own family.’

10 Then the Lord said: ‘I will make a covenant with you. I will do great and special things in front of all the Israelites. Nobody has done things like these before, in any country in the world. Your neighbours will see these great things that I, the Lord, will do for you. And they will feel afraid of you. 11 Obey what I command you today. Then I will go in front of you. And I will throw out these people: the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites.

12 Do not make friends with the people in the country where you are going. If you did, they would teach you to do wrong things. 13 You must break their altars and destroy their special stones. You must cut down the tall sticks that they call holy. 14 Do not worship any other god. The Lord your God will not let you love any god except himself.

15 Be careful! Do not make friends with those people who live in that country. When they do bad things in front of their gods, they will ask you to do it with them. Then they will give you their bad food to eat. 16 Perhaps you may choose some of their daughters for your sons to marry. These daughters will still worship their gods. And they will teach your sons to do the same bad things.

17 Do not make false gods from hot metal.

18 Enjoy the party of bread that has no yeast in it. Eat this bread for 7 days, as I commanded you. Do this on the right date in the month of Abib. This is because you came out of Egypt in that month.

19 Every first child or young animal that is born is my own. You must include every first male that is born of your cows and your sheep. 20 You must pay for every first donkey that is born. You must give a young sheep to me to pay for the donkey. If you do not pay for it, you must break its neck. And you must pay for every first son that is born. Nobody must come to me without a gift in his hand.

21 You must work for six days but on the seventh day you must rest. Even when it is time to plough, you must rest on the seventh day. And when it is time to bring in your harvest, you must still rest on the seventh day.

22 Enjoy the party of weeks when you cut the first of your food plants. Enjoy the party of harvest at the end of the year. 23 Three times in the year, all your men must appear in front of the Lord. He is your king, the God of Israel. 24 He will go in front of you and he will throw out your enemies. He will give you more and more land. And when you leave it, three times in the year, nobody will take it from you.

25 Do not offer to me the blood of an animal with anything that has yeast in it. And do not keep any of the meat from the Passover party until the next morning.

26 When you cut the first of your food plants, bring the best to the Lord’s house. Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.’

27 Then the Lord said to Moses: ‘Write down these words, because I have made a covenant with you and with the Israelites. These words tell you about my covenant.’ 28 Moses was there, with the Lord, for 40 days and 40 nights. He did not eat bread or drink water. And he wrote on the flat stones the words of God’s covenant. He wrote down the ten commandments.

Moses’ face shines

29 Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two stones of the covenant in his hands. But he did not know that his face was shining. His face was shining because he had spoken with the Lord. 30 When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses’ face, they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses shouted to them. So Aaron and the leaders of the people came back to him. Then Moses talked to them. 32 After this, all the Israelites came near to Moses. And he gave them all the commands that the Lord had given to him on Mount Sinai.

33 When Moses had spoken to them, he covered his face with a thin cloth. 34 But when he spoke with the Lord in the Tent of Meeting, he removed the cloth. When he came out, he repeated God’s commands to the Israelites. 35 They saw that his face shone. So Moses would put the thin cloth over his face again. The cloth would stay there until he spoke with the Lord again.

Chapter 35

Rules about the Sabbath

1 Moses brought all the Israelites together. Then he said to them: ‘These are the Lord’s commandments to you. 2 You must work for six days but the seventh day will be your holy day. It will be a day of rest to the Lord. Anyone who works on that day must die. 3 Do not light a fire in any of your homes on the Sabbath day.’

Materials for the tabernacle

4 Moses said to all the Israelites: ‘This is what the Lord has commanded: 5 Take a gift for the Lord from the things that you have. Everyone who wants to give can bring a gift of gold, silver and bronze. 6 They can also bring blue, purple and red material, and special white cloth. 7 They can bring goats’ hair, red sheep skins, badger skins and acacia wood. 8 They can bring olive oil for the light, many different spices, 9 onyx stones and other valuable stones. And you will put these stones on the ephod and on the breastpiece.

10 Every wise person among you must make all the things that the Lord has commanded. 11 Make the tabernacle, with its tent that covers it. Make all the different parts for it, as I have described them to you. 12 Make the Ark, with its sticks, its special lid and the curtain that hangs in front of it.

13 Make the table with its sticks and all its dishes. Make the special bread that you will put on the table. 14 Make the lampstand that will give light, with the lamps and the oil. 15 Make the altar for incense with its sticks, the special oil and the incense that has a sweet smell. Make the curtain for the door of the tabernacle. 16 Make the altar where you will burn animals as gifts to the Lord. Make all the different tools for the altar, as I have described them to you. Make the very large dish for water and its base. 17 Make the curtains for the yard and for the door of the yard. Make the sticks for the curtains and the bases. 18 Make the small, sharp sticks and the strong material that fixes the tents to the ground.

19 Make the special clothes for Aaron and for his sons to wear. They are priests and they will work for the Lord. This is why they must wear special clothes.’

20 Then all the Israelites went away. 21 Many of them really wanted to give a gift to the Lord. So they each brought something to offer for the Tent of Meeting. They also brought materials for the special clothes. 22 Both men and women brought beautiful things of gold that they had worn on their bodies. They all brought their gold things as a special gift of love to the Lord. 23 Everyone who had blue, purple or red material brought it. Also, they brought special white cloth. People who had goats’ hair, red sheep skins and badger skins brought them. 24 Those who brought gifts of silver or bronze offered them to the Lord. Everyone who had acacia wood brought it for the Tent of Meeting.

25 Every wise woman worked with her hands. She brought what she had made, blue, purple and red material or special white cloth. 26 Many wise women began to work. They made the goats’ hair into cloth. 27 The leaders of the Israelites brought valuable stones to fix on the ephod and on the breastpiece. 28 They also brought spices and olive oil. These things were for the light, for the special oil and for the incense with a lovely smell. 29 Many Israelite men and women wanted to offer gifts. They were happy to bring these gifts to the Lord. Moses needed these gifts to make everything for the Lord. That was because the Lord had commanded the Israelites to make all these things.

Bezalel and Oholiab

30 Then Moses said to the Israelites: ‘Look! The Lord has chosen Bezalel, who is the son of Uri, and the grandson of Hur. He belongs to the big family of Judah. 31 The Lord has filled him with the Spirit of God and has made him very wise. He knows how to make many different things. 32 He can make beautiful things out of gold, silver and bronze. 33 He can cut and fix valuable stones. He can make things from wood. And everything that he makes is beautiful.

34 Bezalel and Oholiab are both wise men who can teach other people. Oholiab is the son of Ahisamach, from the big family of Dan. And the Lord has made them both wise teachers. 35 The Lord has given them very wise minds that are full of good ideas. They draw plans of beautiful things, and then they make them. They use many different materials to make lovely things. And they are both masters at their work.’

Chapter 36

1 Then Moses said: ‘So Bezalel and Oholiab will do the work that the Lord has commanded. And every person that the Lord has made wise will work with them. They will build the Holy Place that the Lord has commanded.’

2 Then Moses brought together Bezalel, Oholiab and every wise person who enjoyed work. These were people that the Lord had prepared. 3 They received from Moses all the gifts that the Israelites had brought. They would use these gifts to build the Holy Place. And the Israelites continued to bring gifts every morning. 4 Then the wise workers who were building the Holy Place left the work. They went to Moses and they said: 5 ‘The people are bringing more gifts than we need for the Tent of Meeting. This is what the Lord has commanded us to do.’

6 Then Moses gave a command and he sent it round the whole camp. He said: ‘No man or woman must offer anything more for the Holy Place.’ So Moses did not let the Israelites bring any more gifts. 7 The workers already had more gifts than they needed.

The tabernacle

8 All the wise workers made the tabernacle with ten curtains of soft white material. The same wise people used blue, purple and red cotton to make pictures of angels in the curtains. 9 All the curtains were the same size. They were 12½ metres long and 1¾ metres wide. 10 The workers fixed five of the curtains to make one large curtain. Then they did the same thing with the other five curtains. 11 They made 50 rings of blue material along the edge of the last curtain in each set. 12 These rings were opposite each other. 13 Then they made 50 small pieces of gold to fix each pair of rings. So they fastened the two sets of curtains each to the other and the tabernacle became one thing.

14 The workers made 11 curtains out of goats’ hair for a tent to cover the tabernacle.

15 The 11 curtains were all the same size. They were 13½ metres long and 1¾ metres wide. 16 They fastened five of the curtains into one set and six of the curtains into another set. 17 Then they made 50 rings of material along the edge of the last curtain in each set. 18 They made 50 small pieces of bronze to fasten the tent, as one thing. 19 Then they used red sheep skins to cover the tent. And they used badger skins to cover the sheep skins.

20 For the tabernacle, the workers made boards that stood up. They made them out of acacia wood. 21 Each board was 4½ metres long and ¾ of a metre wide. 22 Each board had two extra pieces at one end to join them together. They made all the boards for the tabernacle like this. 23 They made 20 boards for the south side of the tabernacle. 24 And they made 40 pieces of silver with a hole in each one. There were two pieces of silver for each board, one piece under each extra piece of wood. 25 For the north side of the tabernacle they made 20 boards 26 and 40 pieces of silver, two pieces under each board.

27 They made six boards for the west end of the tabernacle. 28 And they made two boards for the corners of the tabernacle, at the far end. 29 At these two corners, they fixed the boards each one to the next, at both ends. They used a ring to fix them. They made both corners the same. 30 So there were 8 boards and 16 pieces of silver, two pieces under each board.

31-32 They also cut pieces of acacia wood to fix across the boards of the tabernacle. They cut five pieces for the boards on one side and five pieces for the boards on the other side. Then they cut five pieces for the boards on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle. 33 They cut a piece of wood for the centre to reach from end to end of the tabernacle. Then they fixed this at the middle of the boards. 34 Then they covered the boards with gold and they made gold rings. These rings held the pieces of wood that they fixed across the boards. They also covered the pieces of wood with gold.

35 The workers made the curtain out of blue, purple, red and soft white material. A wise man put into the curtain a picture of angels. 36 They made four sticks out of acacia wood for the curtain and they covered them with gold. They made gold rings for the sticks and pieces of silver for the sticks to stand in. There was a hole in each piece of silver. 37 They made a curtain for the door of the tent. A person who could do wise work with material made the curtain. This person used blue, purple, red and soft white material. 38 They made five sticks for this curtain and they fixed gold rings to them. They covered the sticks with gold. Then they made five pieces of bronze to hold them.

Chapter 37

The Ark

1 Bezalel made the Ark out of acacia wood. It was one metre long, ¾ of a metre wide and ¾ of a metre high. 2 He covered it with gold, inside and outside, and then he built up the edges with gold. 3 He made four gold rings for it and he fastened them to its four feet. He fixed two rings on one side and two rings on the other side. 4 Then he made sticks out of acacia wood and he covered them with gold. 5 He pushed the sticks into the rings on the sides of the Ark, to carry it.

6 He made the special lid for the Ark out of gold. It was one metre long and ¾ of a metre wide. 7 Then he made two angels from gold that he had hit with a hammer. He made these at the two ends of the lid. 8 He made one angel on each end of the lid. The angels were part of the lid so it was one whole piece. 9 The angelswings pointed to the sky and they made a shadow over the lid. Each angel’s face looked toward the other angel, and toward the lid.

The table

10 They made the table out of acacia wood. It was one metre long, ½ metre wide and ¾ of a metre high. 11 They covered it with gold and they built up the edges with gold. 12 They also put an extra edge of gold round it, 7 centimetres wide. 13 Then they made four gold rings for the table. They fastened the rings to the four corners, one by each leg of the table. 14 They put the rings near to the extra edge of gold. These rings would hold the sticks to carry the table. 15 They made the sticks out of acacia wood and they covered them with gold. 16 Then they made gold things to use at the table. They made plates and spoons and dishes. And they made pots and jars to pour out gifts of drink.

The lampstand

17 The workers made the lampstand out of gold. They used a hammer to make it the right shape. They made its cups like open flowers and like flowers that are not yet open. The whole lampstand was one piece. 18 They made six branches on the lampstand, three branches on each side of it. 19 They put three cups like flowers on each of the six branches of the lampstand.

20 On the lampstand itself, they put four cups like almond flowers. Some of the flowers were open but some were not yet open. 21 They put one flower, not yet open, under the first pair of branches. They put a second flower, not yet open, under the second pair of branches. They put a third flower, not yet open, under the third pair of branches. There were six branches on the lampstand. 22 They made the flowers and the branches from the same piece of gold as the lampstand. And they used a hammer to make the gold into the right shape.

23 They made the seven lamps out of gold. They also made small tools out of gold to clean the lamps. 24 They made the lampstand and all its tools from 34 kilos of gold.

The altar for incense

25 They made the altar for incense from acacia wood. It was square, ½ a metre long, ½ a metre wide and one metre high. Its horns were part of it, one whole piece. 26 They covered every part of the altar with gold. Then they made a gold edge round it. 27 They made two gold rings for the altar, below the edge, on opposite sides. They would hold the sticks, to carry the altar. 28 They made the sticks out of acacia wood and they covered them with gold.

29 They also made the special oil that makes things holy and the incense with a lovely smell. This was the work of a wise chemist.

Chapter 38

The altar where you will burn animals as gifts

1 The workers built the altar where Israelites would burn animals as gifts. They made it out of acacia wood. It was 1¼ metres high and the top was square. The top was 2¼ metres long and 2¼ metres wide. 2 They made a horn at each corner. The four horns and the altar were all one whole piece. Then they covered the altar with bronze. 3 They made all its tools out of bronze. They made pots to remove the ashes. They made spades, dishes and forks for the meat. They made buckets out of metal, to carry the fire.

4 They made a net out of bronze and they fixed it under the altar. It was between the top and the ground. 5 They made rings out of bronze to hold the sticks for the four corners of the net. 6 They made the sticks out of acacia wood and they covered them with bronze. 7 They put the sticks into the rings on each side of the altar, to carry it. The altar was empty because the workers made it with boards.

8 Then they made a very large dish for water from bronze. And they made a special piece of bronze for the pot to stand on. They used the bronze from many small mirrors to make these things. The women who were servants at the Tent of Meeting gave these mirrors.

The yard

9 The next thing that they made was the yard. The south side of the yard was 46 metres long. It had curtains that they had made out of soft white material. 10 For these curtains, there were 20 sticks and 20 pieces of bronze with holes in them. They put the sticks in the holes. There were also small pieces of silver and rings on the sticks. These were to fasten the curtains. 11 The north side of the yard was also 46 metres long. It also had curtains with sticks, and things to fasten them, each one to the other.

12 The west end of the yard was 23 metres wide. It had curtains with 10 sticks that they put into 10 pieces of bronze. On the sticks were silver pieces and rings. 13 The east end of the yard looked toward the sunrise and it was 23 metres wide. 14 The workers made curtains, 7 metres long. They hung these on one side of the open space in front of the yard. They hung the curtains on three sticks that they put on three pieces of bronze. 15 On the other side of the open space they did the same thing. 16 They made all the curtains round the yard out of soft white material.

17 All the sticks stood on pieces of bronze. All the pieces of metal and the rings on the sticks were silver. They covered the tops of the sticks with silver also. So all the sticks in the yard had silver rings.

18 The curtain at the open space of the yard was blue, purple, red and soft white material. A person who could do wise work with cloth made the curtain. It was 9 metres long and 2¼ metres wide. The curtains of the yard were also 2¼ metres wide. 19 The curtain had four sticks that the workers put on four pieces of bronze. On the sticks were pieces of silver and rings. And they covered the tops of the sticks with silver. 20 They made small, sharp pieces of bronze to fix the tabernacle and the yard to the ground.

The workers used these materials

21 The workers used these amounts of materials when they made the tabernacle of witness. Moses commanded Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest, to write down these amounts. And Ithamar caused the Levites to write them down. 22 Bezalel, the son of Uri and grandson of Hur, made everything that the Lord commanded Moses. Bezalel was from the big family of Judah and Oholiab worked with him. 23 Oholiab was the son of Ahisamach, from the big family of Dan. He was a very wise worker who could draw good plans. He also made beautiful pictures on cloth, with blue, purple and red materials. And he worked with soft white material.

24 The workers used 994½ kilos of gold to do all the work of the Holy Place. This gold was offered as a gift by the Israelites.

25 All those Israelites that Moses had counted had given gifts of silver. They had given about 3600 kilos of silver. 26 Each person who was 20 years old or more had given about 6 grams. Moses had counted the people and there were 603 550 men.

27 The workers used much of the silver to make the bases for the Holy Place and for the curtains. They needed 34 kilos of silver to make each base. 28 Then they used the silver that they had not used before. With this, they made the pieces and the rings to fasten the curtains to the sticks. They also used this silver to cover the tops of the sticks.

29 The amount of bronze that the Israelites gave was about 2500 kilos. 30 The workers used it to make the bases for the open space in the Tent of Meeting. They also used the bronze to make the bronze altar, the net and all the tools. 31 They made the bases for the yard that was round the Tent of Meeting and for its open space. They made the small sharp pieces of metal to fix the tabernacle and the yard to the ground. They made all these things out of bronze that the Israelites had given.

Chapter 39

The clothes for the priests

1 The workers made clothes from blue, purple and red material. These clothes were for the priests. They would wear them when they worked in the Holy Place. The workers also made holy clothes for Aaron, as the Lord commanded Moses.

The ephod

2 The workers made the ephod out of gold and out of blue, purple and red material. They also used soft white material. 3 They used a hammer to make gold into very thin pieces. Then they cut the thin pieces into long, thin pieces like hairs. A wise man took these gold hairs and he put them into the special material for the ephod. 4 The workers made pieces for the shoulders of the ephod. They fixed these to two of its corners, to fasten it.

5 They made the beautiful belt for the ephod completely out of the same materials. The belt and the ephod were one whole piece, as the Lord commanded Moses.

6 The workers fixed the onyx stones into thin circles of gold. They used a sharp tool to write on them the names of the sons of Israel. 7 Then they fastened them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod. They would cause all the people to remember the sons of Israel. The Lord had commanded Moses to do this.

The breastpiece

8 A very wise worker made the breastpiece. He made it like the ephod, out of the same materials. 9 They bent the cloth to make it a square, 22 centimetres long and 22 centimetres wide. 10 Then they fixed four sets of valuable stones on it. The first set was a ruby, a topaz and a beryl. 11 The second set was a turquoise, a sapphire and an emerald. 12 The third set was a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst. 13 The fourth set was a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. They fixed each stone in a thin piece of gold that they had made beautiful. 14 They used 12 stones, one for each of Israel’s sons. On each stone, they used a sharp tool to write the name of one son.

Verses 10-13 Ruby, topaz, beryl, turquoise, sapphire, emerald, jacinth, agate, amethyst, chrysolite, onyx and jasper are all valuable stones. Each stone is a different colour.

15 For the breastpiece, they made thin lines of gold and they put them together. They made two chains of gold like this. 16 Then they made two gold rings and two thin pieces of gold that they made beautiful. They fastened the rings to two corners of the breastpiece. 17 And they fastened the two gold chains to the rings at the corners of the breastpiece. 18 They fastened the other ends of the chains to the beautiful gold pieces. They tied them to the shoulder pieces of the ephod, at the front.

19 They made two more gold rings and they fixed them to the other corners of the breastpiece. These were on the inside edge, next to the ephod. 20 Then they made two more gold rings. They fixed these to the edge of the shoulder pieces, on the front of the ephod. They put the rings near to the ephod’s belt, a short way above it. 21 They tied the rings of the breastpiece to the rings of the ephod with a line of blue cotton. They fastened the breastpiece to the belt so that they would not become separate. The workers made all these things as the Lord had commanded Moses.

The other clothes for the priests

22 The workers made the robe of the ephod completely out of blue cloth. A man who made many different materials made this cloth. 23 There was a hole in the centre of the robe, like the hole of a collar. The worker fixed a piece of material round the hole so that it would not tear. 24 They made pomegranates out of blue, purple and red materials and out of soft white material. Then they fixed them to the lower edge of the robe. 25 And they made bells out of gold and they fixed them between the pomegranates. 26 So there was a bell and a pomegranate, another bell and another pomegranate, round the whole lower edge of the robe. The priest must wear this robe when he worked for the Lord. This was the Lord’s command to Moses.

27 The workers made tunics out of soft white material for Aaron and his sons. This cloth was the work of a man who made many different materials. 28 They made a turban out of the same material and they made hats and trousers also. 29 A wise worker made the long belt. He put blue, purple and red lines of cloth on soft white material to make the long belt. The Lord told Moses that he must do this.

30 The workers made a thin plate, a holy thing, out of gold. They wrote on it with a sharp tool these words: HOLY TO THE LORD. 31 Then they fastened a line of blue cotton to the plate, to tie it to the turban. The Lord told Moses that he must do this.

Moses checks the tabernacle

32 So the workers finished making everything for the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting. The Israelites made everything completely as the Lord commanded Moses. 33 Then they brought the tabernacle to Moses. They brought the tent and all the things that were in it. They brought the boards, the sticks, the bases and all the things that fastened it together. 34 They brought the different things that covered the tent and also the curtains. 35 They brought the Ark of the Covenant with its sticks and its special gold lid. 36 They brought the table with all its tools and the special bread. This bread showed that God was with the Israelites.

37 They brought the gold lampstand with its lamps and all its tools and the oil for the light. 38 They brought the gold altar, the special oil, the incense and the curtain for the door of the tent. 39 They brought the bronze altar with all its tools and its sticks. They brought the very large dish for water and its base. 40 They brought all the curtains that they had made for the yard and for its open space. They brought all the tools to fasten the yard to the ground. They brought everything that they had made for the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting.

41 They also brought the clothes that they had made for the priests. There were the holy clothes that Aaron the priest would wear and the clothes for his sons. They would wear these clothes when they worked as servants of the Lord.

42 The Israelites had done all the work completely as the Lord had commanded Moses. 43 Moses was careful to check all the work. And they had done it completely as the Lord had commanded. Moses saw this and he blessed the Israelites.

Chapter 40

Moses erects the tabernacle

1 Then the Lord said to Moses: 2Erect the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the first month. 3 Put the Ark of the Covenant in the tabernacle and hide the Ark behind its curtain. 4 Bring in the table and put its own things on it. Then bring in the lampstand and fix its lamps on it. 5 Put the gold altar for incense in front of the Ark of the Covenant. Fix the curtain as a door to the tabernacle.

6 Put the altar, where you will burn animals as gifts, in front of the door. 7 Put the very large dish for water between the Tent of Meeting and the altar and put water in it. 8 Erect the yard round the tent and fix the curtain as a door to the yard.

9 Take the special oil and pour a little of it on the tabernacle and on everything in it. Offer the tabernacle to the Lord with all its things, and then it will be holy. 10 Then pour a little of the special oil on the altar where you will burn animals. Do the same thing to all its tools. Offer it all to the Lord, and then it will be very holy. 11 Pour a little oil on the very large dish for water and on its base and offer them to the Lord.

12 Bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the Tent of Meeting and wash them with water. 13 Then dress Aaron in the holy clothes and pour a little oil on his head. Bring him then to me so that he can work for me as a priest. 14 Bring his sons and dress them in tunics. 15 Pour a little oil on their heads as you did to their father. Then they too can work for me as priests. This special work will be their own for their whole lives. Their sons and grandsons will also be priests. This is a special gift to the family of Aaron for all time.’ 16 Moses did everything that the Lord commanded him.

17 So they erected the tabernacle on the first day of the first month. This happened in the second year of the Israelites’ journey through the desert. 18 When Moses erected the tabernacle, he put all the different parts in the right places. 19 Then he covered the tabernacle with the tent. He covered the tent also, as the Lord commanded him.

20 Moses took the Testimony and he put it in the Ark. He fastened the sticks to the Ark and he put the special lid over it. 21 Then he brought the Ark into the tabernacle and put the curtain in front of it. So he hid the Ark of the Covenant, as the Lord commanded him.

22 Moses put the table in the Tent of Meeting, on the north side, outside the curtain. 23 He put the bread on the table in front of the Lord, as the Lord commanded him.

24 He put the lampstand in the Tent of Meeting. He put it on the south side, on the opposite side to the table. 25 He erected the lamps in front of the Lord, as the Lord commanded him.

26 Moses put the gold altar in the Tent of Meeting, in front of the curtain. 27 He burned sweet incense on it, as the Lord commanded him. 28 Then he fixed the curtain as a door for the tabernacle.

29 He put the altar, where they would burn animals as gifts, by the door of the tabernacle. He offered on it animals and food as gifts, as the Lord had commanded him.

30 Moses put the very large dish for water between the Tent of Meeting and the altar. He put water in it. 31 Then Moses and Aaron and Aaron’s sons used it to wash their hands and their feet. 32 They washed themselves each time that they went into the Tent of Meeting. They also washed themselves before they went to the altar. The Lord had commanded Moses about this.

33 Then Moses erected the yard round the tabernacle and round the altar. He fixed the curtain to make a door for the yard. And so Moses finished the work.

The glory of the Lord

34 Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. 35 Moses could not go into the Tent of Meeting because the cloud covered it. And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.

36 The Israelites followed the cloud during all their journeys. Every time that the cloud rose up from the tabernacle, they would begin their journey again. 37 But if the cloud remained on the tabernacle, the Israelites did not move. They stayed where they were. They stayed there until the day when the cloud rose up. 38 So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle during the day. During the night, there was fire in the cloud. And all the Israelites could see the cloud during all their journeys.

Word List

acacia
a tree with strong, hard wood.
agate
a valuable stone.
almighty
has the power to beat all his enemies; is better than everyone else; the Lord of everything; all powerful.
almond
small, hard fruit.
altar
a table that someone has made out of stone or wood; people offer sacrifices to God on it.
Amalekite
a person who came from the family of Amalek (Genesis 36:12, 16). The Amalekites were enemies of the Jews.
amethyst
a valuable stone.
Amorite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
ancestor
a person that your parents came from in past years.
angel
God’s servant. He lives with God and brings messages to us.
Ark
special box that contained God’s Law.
arrow
a thin stick with sharp metal point.
badger
a wild animal with four legs.
banner
a piece of cloth fixed to a stick.
barley
a food plant. People make it into flour.
base
the lowest part of something.
beryl
a valuable stone.
bless
ask God to be good to someone; when God is good to people; say good things about something.
boil
a red place on the skin that hurts.
breast
this part of a sheep is under it and behind the front legs.
breastpiece
part of Aaron’s special clothes as high priest.
brick
people make these stones and then they build houses with them.
bronze
a strong kind of metal.
camel
an animal to carry people or things. It can walk for a long time without needing a drink.
camp
a place to stay, in tents.
Canaanites
people who lived in Canaan. This was the country that God gave to Israel.
cane
a long stick that comes from a plant.
cassia
a powder with a sweet smell.
chain
thin rings of metal fixed together to make a line.
chariot
a large chair with two wheels that a horse can pull.
chrysolite
a valuable stone.
cinnamon
a powder with a sweet smell.
circumcise, circumcision
to cut off the skin from the end of the sex part of a boy or man; for Israelites it was a mark to show that a man agreed to obey God.
clay
wet dirt that is hard when it is dry.
collar
part of your clothes that goes round your neck.
command
to say that a person must do something or a rule that a person must obey.
commandment
a rule that a person must obey.
coriander
a herb.
covenant
two people have agreed what each will do (here, God and his people).
curse
to say bad words against someone else.
date
a sweet fruit that is very good food.
desert
a dry place with much sand and little water.
donkey
animal like a small horse.
Egyptian
a word that describes someone from Egypt or anything from Egypt.
emerald
a valuable stone.
ephod
a piece of cloth for a priest to wear.
erect
to put in the proper place.
famine
a time when food plants do not grow.
fat
white meat that covers parts of an animal’s body.
firstborn
the first child or animal to be born to a female.
flax
a plant. You can make the dry plant into special white material.
foreskin
skin at the end of the sex part of a man or boy.
forgive
when someone stops being angry with another person who has done bad things
frankincense
a powder with a sweet smell.
frog
small animal that swims under water and jumps on land.
galbanum
the name of a spice.
glory
the bright, beautiful light that shines where God is.
gnat
small insect that can hurt when it bites you.
goodness
this causes people do good things.
grain
a hard seed that you can eat or make into bread.
gram
there are 1000 grams in one kilo.
grape
a fruit. People make a drink with alcohol from grapes.
gum resin
sticky material that keeps water out; it comes from a tree called a gum tree.
harvest
a time when you pick all the plants and fruits that are ready to eat.
heaven
the place where God lives.
herb
small green plant that is good to eat.
Hittite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
Hivite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
holy
all good with nothing bad in it.
Holy Place
the special inside room in the tabernacle.
honey
sweet food that an insect makes.
horn
the hard, pointed bone that grows on an animal’s head.
hyssop
a bush.
incense
sweet powders mixed together.
Israel
the big family that God chose and made special.
Israelite
a Jewish person.
jacinth
a valuable stone.
jasper
a valuable stone.
Jebusite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
Jew
a person who is born from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their children.
Jewish
a word that describes a Jew or anything that belongs to a Jew.
judge
a person who decides any important thing.
judge
to decide between two people or things.
kidney
internal part of the body.
lamp
a light that burns oil.
lampstand
a thing to hold a lamp.
Law
the rules that God gave to Moses for the Israelites.
leprosy
a bad illness of the skin and bones.
Levite
person from the big family of Levi.
linen
special white material that people make out of flax.
liquid *myrrh
powder with a sweet smell, mixed with oil.
liver
part of an animal that is inside it.
locust
insect that eats all green plants.
Lord
a name for God or Jesus in the Bible.
magic
when people cause bad spirits to do things for them; the spirits do things that people cannot usually do; to cause strange things to happen to surprise people. These things are not usual. Magic is very bad and is not from God.
magician
someone who seems to do something impossible.
manna
special bread that God fed to the Israelites in the desert.
mortar
it fixes stones together when you build a house (see clay).
Mount
a short word for mountain; a small mountain.
murder
to do a murder.
myrrh
it comes from a plant; it smells nice.
nation
people who live together in the same country.
neighbour
anyone who lives near to you.
net
thin lines of metal or material fixed, each to the other.
nurse
to feed a baby from the breast.
olive
small black fruit full of good oil.
olive oil
oil from olive fruits.
omer
they used it to measure dry things.
onycha
a sweet spice.
onyx
a valuable stone.
opposite
something that looks toward.
palace
large house where a king or ruler lives.
palm tree
a tree that has fruit called dates.
Passover
special party to remember how God saved the Israelites.
Perizzite
one of a group of people who had lived in Canaan before the Jews lived there.
Pharaoh
name of all the kings of Egypt.
Philistines
they lived near Canaan; they were usually enemies of the Jews.
pledge
something that you give to show that you have made a promise.
pomegranate
a fruit full of seeds.
praise
say how great somebody is; or, words that say how great someone is.
priest
a man who had Aaron for his ancestor; a man who gave gifts and burned animals as a sacrifice to God for the Jews; a man whom God chose to do things for him.
prophet
a person who speaks for God to other people.
proud
when someone thinks that he is better than other people.
punish
to hurt someone for the wrong things that they have done.
pure
contains only one material.
purple
a colour.
quail
small bird.
Red Sea
the sea between Egypt and the desert.
robe
a big coat.
ruby
a valuable stone.
Sabbath
seventh day of the week. God made it a day for rest.
sacrifice
to bring a valuable gift to God.
sapphire
a valuable stone.
Satan
God’s greatest enemy; the captain of all the bad spirits.
scroll
a long piece of material like paper; people wrote on it.
shake
move from one side to another and back again very fast many times.
shepherd
a man who works with sheep.
sign
it shows you what you should do.
silver
a valuable metal like gold.
sin
when we refuse to obey God’s rules.
skin
the material that covers an animal’s body.
spice
a powder with a sweet smell; people make it from plants.
spirit
spirits are alive, but we cannot see them. There are good spirits usually called angels. Bad spirits (also called evil spirits, or demons) live in the air round us. Satan is their leader; or, part of a living person, which we cannot see.
sprinkle
to throw drops of water or blood on to something.
steal
to take something that is not yours.
straw
grass that has become dry.
sword
a long, sharp knife that people use in war, to kill the enemy.
tabernacle
the special tent that was the Israelites’ church in the desert.
tambourine
shake it and knock it to make music.
tent
a small home for sandy places. Make it from skins of animals.
test
to see if a person will do the right thing.
Testimony
two stones on which God had written his 10 rules.
Thummim
something special on the breastpiece. Thummim means ‘completely good’.
topaz
a valuable stone.
tunic
a shirt.
turban
a hat for a priest to wear.
turquoise
a valuable stone.
Urim
something special on the breastpiece. The word means ‘lights’.
wheel
chariots and cars all need these to move.
wine
a drink that has alcohol in it; people make it from small, sweet fruit called grapes.
wing
a bird or an angel uses its wings to fly.
wise
wise people know what to do; they know what is good and right; and they do it.
witness
someone who sees what happens; someone who has seen or heard something. Then they tell other people about it.
worship
to tell God how great he is; to tell him how much we love him.
yeast
a living plant that causes bread to rise.

Book List

Robert Lee ~ The Outlined Bible ~ Pickering & Inglis

Dr J. Vernon McGee ~ Thru' the Bible Commentary Series ~ Thomas Nelson

Alexander Cruden ~ Complete Concordance to the Bible ~ Lutterworth Press

Bibles - N.I.V, N.E.B, Darby Translation from the original languages

Info

© Wycliffe Associates (UK), 1997-2006

This version published October 2006

The translated Bible text has been through Advanced Checking.