We retell the story of the Exodus to remind ourselves of our slavery in Egypt and to also remember the great miracles God wrought on our behalf to redeem us from sin. Let us fill our glasses and hear the story of the Exodus. (Do not drink yet!!)
Jacob’s family came to Egypt to escape a famine in Canaan. Joseph, second in command to Pharoah, settled his family in the land of Goshen, apart from the Egyptians.
Joseph’s contribution to Egyptian society was forgotten after his death, and the new Pharaoh, feeling threatened by the success of the Israelites, enslaved them with cruel and bitter labor.
Alerted to a prophecy that the Israelites would be led to freedom by a boy yet to be born, Pharaoh ordered all newborn Israelite boys cast into the Nile River. Yocheved set her newborn son (Moses) adrift in the Nile in a basket, where he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him.
Years later, Moses came upon an Egyptian beating an Israelite. Outraged, Moses slew the Egyptian, but then fled Egypt for fear that his action would be discovered. Moses took refuge in Midian with Jethro and married Jethro's daughter, Tziporah. While shepherding Jethro’s sheep, Moses came upon a burning bush which was not consumed, from which God instructed him to go back and lead the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses and his brother Aaron then went before Pharaoh with the message of the LORD: “Let My people go...” But Pharaoh refused, and instead made the Israelite slaves work even harder by making bricks without straw. Because of the hardness of Pharaoh’s heart, God began to bring a terrible sequence of plagues upon the land, revealing the impotence of the gods of Egypt.
At this point in our story, as each plague is named in our retelling, we will spill a drop of wine from our cups, signifying that the suffering of the Egyptians lessens our joy:
So Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh in the morning, while he was washing himself. ‘So far, you have refused to let my people go,’ they said. ‘Now thus says the Lord, “By this you shall know that I am the Lord: behold, with the staff that is in my hand I will strike the water that is in the Nile, and it shall turn into blood. The fish in the Nile shall die, and the Nile will stink, and the Egyptians will grow weary of drinking water from the Nile.” Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants Aaron lifted up the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile turned into blood.
We spill a drop of wine for the plague of blood at this time and say BLOOD.
But Pharaoh was unmoved by this plague, and hardened his heart...So Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh again and said, “Let my people go, that they may serve me. But if you refuse to let them go, behold, I will plague all your country with frogs. Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants Aaron lifted up the staff and the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt.
Spill a drop of wine for the plague of the frog at this time and say FROGS.
But Pharaoh was unmoved by this plague, and hardened his heart...And because the Pharaoh refused to relent, God continued to bring terrible plagues upon the land, displaying His mighty and outstretched arm.
Now as the each plague is named, let us spill another drop of wine from our cups, signifying again that the suffering of the Egyptians lessens our joy:
After the ninth plague, God gave Moses instructions regarding the sacrificial rite of the Passover: “Tell the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month (i.e., Nisan10) every man shall take a lamb without blemish, a male a year old, and shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs in the afternoon. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they shall eat it.” “The blood shall be a sign for you...And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you,when I strike the land of Egypt” (Exod. 12:13). The blood would be a sign for the Israelites, and not for the Egyptians.
DEATH of the firstborn!
God had warned Pharaoh from the very beginning about the danger he was facing: “Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, ‘Let my son go that he may serve me,’ but if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son” (Exod. 4:22-23).
A great cry rose up from Egypt, since there was not a family among the Egyptians without one dead... In this state of utter devastation, Pharaoh finally agreed to let the Israelites go free...Early in following morning, on Nisan 15, the great Exodus began! The Israelites left in such haste that their leavened bread didn’t have time to rise. Over 600,000 adult males, along with their wives and children, left Egypt along with a wealth of gold and silver that the Egyptians had given them.
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