The story begins in Egypt with the persecution of newborn Hebrew males, and Ptira's, the Pharaoh's daughter, discovery of the infant Moses on the Nile. Moses' youth at the Pharaoh's court ends abruptly when he is forced to flee, after he kills an Egyptian overseer to save his brother Aaron. During his years of exile, Moses meets his future wife Zipporah and her father Jethro. After Moses and Zipporah's wedding, the vision of God in the Burning Bush occurs, commanding Moses to return to Egypt with Zipporah and his brother Aaron. There, Moses and Aaron confront the Pharaoh, demanding that he free the Israelites. Only after the tenth plague - the killing of the Egyptian firstborn - does the Pharaoh allow them to depart. With the crossing of the Red Sea and God's destruction of the Egyptian army ends the first part of the story. The second part begins with the discontent of the famished Israelites with Moses. The mood changes when God nourishes Israelites with the sudden, welcome gift of manna and quails in the desert. On the slopes of Mount Sinai, God and the people of Israel enter into a Covenant, which is sealed by Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on the mountaintop. Upon his return to the camp, however, Moses is shocked to discover that the people of Israel have lost their faith in God and are now worshipping an idol: the Golden Calf. In rage, Moses smashes the tablets and severely punishes the idolizers before retreating to the mountaintop and receiving the new tablets. On the way to the Promised Land, Moses' sister, Miriam, jealous of Moses' wife Zipporah, rebels against her brother's leadership. God punishes her and makes it quite clear that Moses is the chosen leader and will remain so. Finally on the borders of the Promised Land, the Israelites send out twelve scouts. Their fearful description of the Canaanites when they return shocks the people of Israel into rebelling against Moses and Aaron, intending to kill them and return immediately to Egypt. God quickly punishes the rebels, and tells Moses that none of the adult Israelites he has led will ever see the Promised Land, and instead must wander through the desert for another 40 years. Exactly forty years later, Miriam dies. Although Moses wants to mourn the loss of his sister, the people only complain to him about the lack of water. At God's command, Moses strikes a rock and water flows from it, but he is so angry and frustrated with his people that he forgets to attribute the miracle to God, and he too is condemned to never enter the Promised Land. Moses appoints Joshua as his successor and sets off alone to the peak of Mount Nebo. As a final mark of his forgiveness and thankfulness, God grants Moses the chance to look over into the Promised Land just before his death. Finally, now under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites cross the Jordan river into the Promised Land.

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story