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    Chapter 18—Israel Leaves Egypt

    The children of Israel had followed the directions given them of God; and while the angel of death was passing from house to house among the Egyptians, they were all ready for their journey, and waiting for the rebellious king and his great men to bid them go. “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the first-born of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneading-troughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment. And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required; and they spoiled the Egyptians.”1SP 204.1

    The Lord revealed this to Abraham about four hundred years before it was fulfilled: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years. And also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge; and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”1SP 205.1

    “And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” The children of Israel went out of Egypt with their possessions, which did not belong to Pharaoh, for they had never sold them to him. Jacob and his sons took their flocks and cattle with them into Egypt. The children of Israel had become exceedingly numerous, and their flocks and herds had greatly increased. God had judged the Egyptians by sending the plagues upon them, and made them hasten his people out of Egypt, with all that they possessed.1SP 205.2

    “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt. But God led the people about, through the way of the wilderness of the Red Sea. And the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the land of Egypt. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.”1SP 205.3

    The Lord knew that the Philistines would oppose their passing through their land. They would say of them, They have stolen away from their masters in Egypt, and would make war with them. Thus God, by bringing them by the way of the sea, revealed himself a compassionate God, as well as a God of judgment. The Lord informed Moses that Pharaoh would pursue them, and he directed him just where to encamp before the sea. He told Moses that he would be honored before Pharaoh and all his host. After the Hebrews had been gone from Egypt some days, the Egyptians told Pharaoh that they had fled, and would never return to serve him again. And they mourned because they had permitted them to leave Egypt. It was a very great loss for them to be deprived of their services; and they regretted that they had consented to let them go. Notwithstanding all they had suffered from the judgments of God, they were so hardened by their continual rebellion that they decided to pursue the children of Israel, and bring them back by force into Egypt. The king took a very large army and six hundred chariots, and pursued after them, and overtook them while encamped by the sea.1SP 206.1

    “And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eyes, and, behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid; and the children of Israel cried out unto the Lord. And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? for it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not; stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will show to you today; for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”1SP 206.2

    How soon the Israelites distrusted God! They had witnessed all his judgments upon Egypt to compel the king to let Israel go; but when their confidence in God was tested, they murmured, notwithstanding they had seen such evidences of his power in their wonderful deliverance. Instead of trusting in God in their necessity, they murmured at faithful Moses, reminding him of their words of unbelief which they uttered in Egypt. They accused him of being the cause of all their distress. He encouraged them to trust in God, and withhold their expressions of unbelief, and they should see what the Lord would do for them. Moses earnestly cried to the Lord to deliver his chosen people.1SP 207.1

    “And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” God would have Moses understand that he would work for his people—that their necessity would be his opportunity. When they should go as far as they could, he must bid them still go forward; that he should use the rod God had given him to divide the waters.1SP 207.2

    “And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them; and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them, and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these. So that the one came not near the other all the night.”1SP 208.1

    The Egyptians could not see the Hebrews; for the cloud of thick darkness was before them, which cloud was all light to the Israelites. Thus did God display his power to prove his people, whether they would trust in him after giving them such tokens of his care and love for them, and to rebuke their unbelief and murmuring. “And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left.” The waters rose up and stood, like congealed walls on either side, while Israel walked in the midst of the sea on dry ground.1SP 208.2

    The Egyptian host was triumphing through that night that the children of Israel were again in their power. They thought there was no possibility of their escape; for before them stretched the Red Sea, and their large armies were close behind them. In the morning, as they came up to the sea, lo, there was a dry path, the waters were divided, and stood like a wall upon either side, and the children of Israel were half way through the sea, walking on dry land. They waited awhile to decide what course they had better pursue. They were disappointed and enraged, that, as the Hebrews were almost in their power, and they were sure of them, an unexpected way was opened for them in the sea. They decided to follow them. “And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them, to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily; so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.”1SP 209.1

    The Egyptians dared to venture in the path God had prepared for his people, and angels of God went through their host and removed their chariot wheels. They were plagued. Their progress was very slow, and they began to be troubled. They remembered the judgments that the God of the Hebrews had brought upon them in Egypt, to compel them to let Israel go, and they thought that God might deliver them all into the hands of the Israelites. They decided that God was fighting for the Israelites, and they were terribly afraid, and were turning about to flee from them, when “the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea. And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them. But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left. Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore. And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians; and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.”1SP 209.2

    As the Hebrews witnessed the marvelous work of God in the destruction of the Egyptians, they united in an inspired song of lofty eloquence and grateful praise. Miriam, the sister of Moses, a prophetess, led the women in music.1SP 210.1

    “Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously. The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation. He is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him. The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is his name. Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea. The depths have covered them; they sank into the bottom as a stone. Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power. Thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy. And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee. Thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble. And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together, the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea. The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil. My lust shall be satisfied upon them; I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them. Thou didst blow with thy wind, the sea covered them. They sank as lead in the mighty waters.1SP 210.2

    “Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? Thou stretchedst out thy right hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed; thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation. The people shall hear, and be afraid. Sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them; by the greatness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone; till thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, which thou hast purchased. Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.1SP 211.1

    “The Lord shall reign forever and ever. For the horse of Pharaoh went in with his chariots and with his horsemen into the sea, and the Lord brought again the waters of the sea upon them; but the children of Israel went on dry land in the midst of the sea.”1SP 212.1

    Pharaoh, who would not acknowledge God and bow to his authority, delighted to show his power as ruler over those whom he could control. Moses declared to Pharaoh, after he required the people to make brick without straw, that God, whom he pretended not to know, would compel him to yield to his claims, and acknowledge his authority, as supreme ruler.1SP 212.2

    The time had come when God would answer the prayers of his oppressed people, and would bring them from Egypt with such mighty displays of his power that the Egyptians would be compelled to acknowledge that the God of the Hebrews, whom they had despised, was above all gods. He would now punish them for their idolatry, and for their proud boasting of the mercies bestowed upon them by their senseless gods. God would glorify his own name, that other nations might hear of his power and tremble at his mighty acts, and that his people, by witnessing his miraculous works, should fully turn from their idolatry to render to him pure worship.1SP 212.3

    God commanded Moses to say unto Pharaoh, “For this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power.” This does not mean that God had given him an existence for that purpose; but his providence had so overruled events that such a rebellious tyrant as Pharaoh should be upon the throne of Egypt at the time God would deliver the Hebrews. For this purpose his life had been preserved, though he had justly forfeited the mercy of God by his crimes. God saw fit to spare his life, to manifest, through his stubbornness, his wonders in the land of Egypt. He would cause Pharaoh's rebellion against him to be the occasion to multiply evidences of his power for the good of his people, and that his name might be magnified before the Egyptians, and brought to the knowledge of those who should afterward live upon the earth. The disposing of events is of his providence. He could have placed a more merciful king upon the throne of Egypt, who would not have dared to persist in his rebellion with the display of God's mighty power manifested before him as it was before Pharaoh. But then the purposes of God would not have been accomplished. His people would have been deceived in regard to the sinfulness of the idolatry of the Egyptians, and would not have experienced in themselves the hard-hearted cruelty which the idolatrous Egyptians could practice. God would manifest before them that he hates idolatry, and that he will punish cruelty and oppression wherever it exists.1SP 212.4

    Although many of the Israelites had become corrupted by idolatry, yet the faithful stood firm. They had not concealed their faith, but openly acknowledged before the Egyptians that they served the only true and living God. They rehearsed the evidences of God's existence and power from creation down. The Egyptians had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the faith of the Hebrews, and their God. They had tried to subvert the faithful worshipers of the true God, and were annoyed because they had not succeeded, either by threats, the promise of rewards, or by cruel treatment.1SP 213.1

    The two last kings who had occupied the throne of Egypt had been tyrannical, and had cruelly entreated the Hebrews. The elders of Israel had endeavored to encourage the sinking faith of the Israelites, by referring to the promise made to Abraham, and the prophetic words of Joseph just before he died, foretelling their deliverance from Egypt. Some would listen and believe. Others looked at their own sad condition, and would not hope. The Egyptians had learned the expectations of the children of Israel, and derided their hopes of deliverance, and spoke scornfully of the power of their God. They pointed them to their own situation as a people, as merely a nation of slaves, and tauntingly said to them, If your God is so just and merciful, and possesses power above the Egyptian gods, why does he not make you a free people? Why not manifest his greatness and power, and exalt you? The Egyptians then called the attention of the Israelites to their own people who worshiped gods of their own choosing, which the Israelites termed false gods. They exultingly said that their gods had prospered them, and had given them food, and raiment, and great riches; and that their gods had also given the Israelites into their hands to serve them, and that they had power to oppress them, and destroy their lives, so that they should be no people. They derided the idea that the Hebrews would ever be delivered from slavery.1SP 214.1

    Pharaoh boasted that he would like to see their God deliver them from his hands. These words destroyed the hopes of many of the children of Israel. It appeared to them very much as the king and his counselors had said. They knew that they were treated as slaves, and that they must endure just that degree of oppression their taskmasters and rulers might put upon them. Their male children had been hunted and slain. Their own lives were a burden; and they were believing in, and worshiping, the God of Heaven. Then they contrasted their condition with that of the Egyptians. They did not believe at all in a living God, who had power to save or to destroy. Some of them worshiped idols, images made of wood and stone, while others chose to worship the sun, moon, and stars; yet they were prospered, and wealthy. And some of the Hebrews thought that if God was above all gods, he would not thus leave them as slaves to an idolatrous nation.1SP 215.1

    The faithful servants of God understood that it was because of their unfaithfulness to God as a people, and their disposition to intermarry with other nations, and thus being led into idolatry, that the Lord suffered them to go into Egypt. And they firmly declared to their brethren that God would soon bring them up from Egypt, and break their oppressive yoke.1SP 215.2

    In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, God plainly showed his distinguished mercy to his people, before all the Egyptians. God saw fit to execute his judgments upon Pharaoh, that he might know by sad experience, since he would not otherwise be convinced, that his power was superior to all others. That his name might be declared throughout all the earth, he would give exemplary and demonstrative proof to all nations of his divine power and justice. It was the design of God that these exhibitions of power should strengthen the faith of his people, and that their posterity should steadfastly worship Him alone who had wrought such merciful wonders in their behalf.1SP 215.3

    The miracle of the rod's becoming a serpent, and the river's being turned to blood, did not move the hard heart of Pharaoh, only to increase his hatred of the Israelites. The work of the magicians led him to believe that these miracles were performed by magic; but he had abundant evidence that this was not the case when the plague of frogs was removed. God could have caused them to disappear and return to dust in a moment; but he did not do this, lest, after they should be removed, the king and the Egyptians should say that it was the result of magic, like the work of the magicians. They died, and then they gathered them together into heaps. Their bodies they could see before them, and they corrupted the atmosphere. Here the king, and all Egypt, had evidences which their vain philosophy could not dispose of, that this work was not magic, but a judgment from the God of Heaven.1SP 216.1

    The magicians could not produce the lice. The Lord would not suffer them to make it even appear to their own sight, or to that of the Egyptians, that they could produce the plague of the lice. He would remove all excuse of unbelief from Pharaoh. He compelled even the magicians themselves to say, “This is the finger of God.”1SP 216.2

    Next came the plague of the swarms of flies. They were not such flies as harmlessly annoy us in some seasons of the year; but the flies brought upon Egypt were large and venomous. Their sting was very painful upon man and beast. God separated his people from the Egyptians, and suffered no flies to appear throughout their coasts.1SP 216.3

    The Lord then sent the plague of the murrain upon their cattle, and at the same time preserved the cattle of the Hebrews, that not one of them died. Next came the plague of the boil upon man and beast, and the magicians could not protect themselves from it. The Lord then sent upon Egypt the plague of the hail mingled with fire, with lightnings and thunder. The time of each plague was given before it came, that it might not be said to have happened by chance. The Lord demonstrated to the Egyptians that the whole earth was under the command of the God of the Hebrews—that thunder, hail, and storm, obey his voice. Pharaoh, the proud king who once inquired, “Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice?” humbled himself and said, “I have sinned. The Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” He begged of Moses to be his intercessor with God, that the terrific thunder and lightning might cease.1SP 217.1

    The Lord next sent the dreadful plague of the locusts. The king chose to receive the plagues rather than to submit to God. Without remorse, he sees his whole kingdom under the miracle of these dreadful judgments. The Lord then sent darkness upon Egypt. The people were not merely deprived of light, but the atmosphere was very oppressive, so that breathing was difficult; yet the Hebrews had a pure atmosphere, and light, in their dwellings. One more dreadful plague God brought upon Egypt, more severe than any before it. It was the king and his idolatrous priests who opposed to the last the request of Moses. The people desired that the Hebrews should be permitted to leave Egypt. Moses related to Pharaoh, and to the people of Egypt, also to the Israelites, the nature and effect of the last plague. On that night, so terrible to the Egyptians, and so glorious to the people of God, was the solemn ordinance of the passover instituted.1SP 217.2

    It was very hard for the Egyptian king and a proud and idolatrous people to yield to the requirements of the God of Heaven. Very slow was the king of Egypt to yield. While under most grievous affliction, he would yield a little; but when the affliction was removed, he would take back all he had granted. Thus, plague after plague was brought upon Egypt, and he yielded no more than he was compelled to by the dreadful visitations of God's wrath. The king even persisted in his rebellion after Egypt had been ruined. Moses and Aaron related to Pharaoh the nature and effect of each plague which should follow his refusal to let Israel go. Every time, he saw these plagues come exactly as he was told they would come; yet he would not yield. First, he would only grant them permission to sacrifice to God in the land of Egypt; then, after Egypt had suffered by God's wrath, he granted that the men alone should go. After Egypt had been nearly destroyed by the plague of the locusts, then he granted that their children and their wives might go also; but would not let their cattle go. Moses then told the king that the angel of God would slay their first-born.1SP 218.1

    Every plague had come a little closer and more severe, and this was to be more dreadful than any before it. But the proud king was exceedingly angry, and humbled not himself. And when the Egyptians saw the great preparations being made among the Israelites for that dreadful night, they ridiculed the token of blood upon their door-posts. But when the Egyptians, from the king upon his throne down to the lowliest servant, were afflicted, and their first-born were slain, then there was wailing throughout all Egypt. Then Pharaoh remembered his proud boast, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” He humbled himself, and went with his counselors and his rulers to Goshen in haste, and bowed before Moses and Aaron, and bade them go and serve their God. Their flocks and herds should go also, as they had requested. They implored them to be gone, fearing if they continued longer, they would be all as dead men. Pharaoh also entreated Moses to bless him, thinking at the time that a blessing from the servant of God would protect him from the further effects of the dreadful plague.1SP 219.1

    The Israelites left Egypt in haste, yet in order. They were divided into several bodies, and each division had its leader. The obstinacy of Pharaoh was such that, after they had buried their dead, and had seen that the dreadful judgments of God had ceased, he repented of having given Moses permission to depart. The Egyptians regretted that they had been so foolish as to think that the death of their first-born was the result of the power of God. They asked in bitterness of one another, “Why have we done this, and let Israel go from serving us?” Pharaoh prepared a well-equipped army, composed of the priests of their idol gods, and of the rulers, and of all the great men of his kingdom. They thought if their priests accompanied them, they would be more sure of success. The most mighty of Egypt were selected, that they might intimidate the Israelites with the grand display of their power and greatness. They thought that when the news should reach other nations, that they were compelled to yield to the power of the God of Israel, whom they had despised, they would be looked upon with derision. But if they should go with great pomp and bring Israel back with force, they would redeem their glory, and would also have the services of the children of Israel again. They overtook the Hebrews at the Red Sea. This place was appointed for the last display of the power of God before the infatuated Egyptians. In the morning, they came up to the Red Sea and saw the Hebrew host walking upon a dry path prepared for them in the sea, while high walls of water stood upon either side, congealed by the power of God. This exhibition of God's power only increased their feelings of rebellion; and they had so long resisted such manifestations, that they were hardened; and in their blindness, rushed into the path that God had miraculously prepared for his people. Then were fulfilled the words which the Lord spake to Moses, “And against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgment. I am the Lord.” The judgment of God was manifested in the utter destruction of the Egyptian host.1SP 219.2

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