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p. 514b

Chapter XVIII

1. PHARAOH called his chief superintendent and said unto him: As to the Hebrew brickmakers, thou shalt no longer supply them with straw, but they shall gather stubble themselves, and they shall continue to make the same number of bricks. And as to the tillers of the soil, thou shalt no longer suffer them to have cattle to draw the plows, but they shall draw the plows themselves, and they shall likewise break the same quantity of ground. And in this way the king put extra hardships upon the Israelites because he was angered at what Moses said.

2. Moses perceiving this, cried out unto Jehovih, saying: O why didst Thou send me before Pharaoh? Behold matters are worse than before. O that I had guarded my tongue and been of persuasive speech!

3. Jehovih said to Moses: Rebuke not thyself, for thou hast done My commands. And it shall come to pass now, what otherwise would not. For such Israelites as hesitated about going out of Egupt, will now decide for themselves as to what they will do. And the hardships that Pharaoh hath newly added, shall be a blessing to thy people.

4. And it came to pass that the Israelites went away from their task-masters, and the rab'bahs sent them to the Heads; and the people of Israel were stirred up from one end of Egupt to the other. And as for the Eguptians, save the courtiers and nobles, they were likewise stirred up, but without any purpose or order; so that all the great land of Egupt had no tillers nor builders; and cleanliness departed away from them; and the country stank as a dead carcass, so that insects and vermin filled all the air of heaven.

5. But of the Faithists, the flesh was good; and vermin came not upon them; nor were they stricken with fevers, or lepers, or scabs, like the Eguptians.

6. Pharaoh ordered his army of two hundred thousand men to take the field, but lo and behold, they were scattered and afflicted so that they were only as vagrants, without head or discipline.

7. Jehovih spoke to Moses, saying: Now will I show her philosophers a miracle in the air above the earth. Have they not said: All thing come p. 515b up out of the earth? for they have tried every way to put Me aside, and to explain My creation away as an idle tale. They shall look and see the sun, and declare of a truth there is no cloud; but whilst they look up, they shall see a cloud high up in the heavens, and it shall be broad as the land of Egupt, a very black cloud. And it shall descend to the earth, and it shall prove to be locusts, come without any seed; and they shall be so numerous that in three days they will eat up every green leaf of every tree and herb in all the land. Neither shall they be like any other locusts that have been on the earth or ever shall be; for man shall comprehend that they are not of the seed of the earth.

8. Moses sent with a herald this prophecy to the king, and he added thereto: Why hast thou put more hardships on my people? Seest thou not that the evil thou hadst hope to accomplish hath cured itself even before it came to pass? For the Israelites now work not at all, and their task-masters are left in the lurch. Again I call upon thee to let my people go.

9. The king replied not to this, but silently put his officers to work, drilling and equipping his armies and collecting them together; the which, when Moses beheld it, he understood to be the sign, as the Great Spirit had previously said, when the cloud would appear. And it came to pass on a very clear day, at noon, a cloud formed high up in the firmament, and it grew blacker and blacker, until it descended upon the earth; and it was locusts, and was even as a snow-storm that covereth the land of the earth; in places to the depth of the shoes and ankles. And they fell to, eating every green leaf, and herb, and grass, so that in two days there was not a leaf to be found far or near. And on the third day, the locusts being still unappeased as to hunger, fell upon the Eguptians, old and young, feeding upon their clothes, and even upon the flesh of the Eguptians.

10. And on the fourth day Jehovih caused a great wind to come, and it blew the locusts off into the sea. And again Moses sent heralds to the king, saying: Consider now my words and be wise. I have told thee that the hand of the Creator is upon this land. In thy heart thou sayest: Moses is a p. 516b fool! Only a wind-storm fetched the locusts from a far-off country.

11. But I say unto thee, O king, this is not so. And thou shalt still further behold Jehovih's power. For as the locusts came down out of the firmament, and thou hast a philosophy for the occurrence, behold, now another mirace shall come in another way: For there shall suddenly come up out of the water frogs and reptiles, and they shall likewise be so numerous on the land that man shall not find where to put his foot that it shall not come upon them. And the first day they shall be harmless; but on the second day they shall crawl upon the people, and under their clothes, and in their houses; and on the third day they shall eat the flesh of the Eguptians. But they shall not touch one Hebrew in all the land.

12. Nor shall any man find whence came so many frogs and reptiles, for they shall not be like the seed of other frogs and reptiles. And on the fifth day they shall suddenly disappear, neither by wind nor rain. But a stench, as of rotten flesh, shall strangle the Eguptians nigh unto death.

13. Again I appeal unto thee, O king, to suffer my people to depart out of Egupt in peace. This is the last time I shall solicit thee. And if thou answerest not me, then shall it come to pass in the month Abib, and on the ninth day and night thereof, Jehovih will raise His hand over Israel; but as for Egupt, thy Lord shall strike her in death. For in every family of Eguptians, far and near, on that night shall the first-born fall dead; and that thou shalt not say the prophecy killed them, behold the first-born of every beast shall die also, even of goats, and sheep, and cattle, and asses, and of dogs and cats, and of every living creature man useth. For on that night, behold, four millions of Israelites shall make with Jehovih the covenant of death. And on the morning thereafter they will rise up to not lie down again in Egupt. And this shall be the testimony of innocent blood against thyself and all thy people, for what the Hebrews have suffered.

14. The king answered not Moses; and it came to pass that Egupt was overspread with frogs and reptiles, in every particular even as Moses had prophesied. Nevertheless, Pharaoh pursued his course.

15. Jehovih spake to Moses, saying: p. 517b Moses, My son, look upon man and pity him, for he believeth not in Me, though I multiply signs and omens continually, and give him prophecies without end. One thing only turneth man's eyes inward; that is, flesh of his flesh, lying dead before him.

16. Now on the night of the passover, when the Israelites made the covenant on the blood of the lamb, a hot wind blew upon the face of the earth; and the first-born of the Eguptians fell dead, both man and beast. And Pharaoh's son died, and his brother's son; and the first-born of every courtier, and every noble's first-born, and all other people, their first-born, so that in every family there lay one dead.

17. Pharoah was now stricken, but not unto repentence, for evil was in his heart, and he cursed Moses and the Israelites, and swore an oath to destroy Israel, man, woman and child, so that never more should there be one on the earth. And such a commandment he sent to his officers, to fall to, and begin the slaughter.

18. As for the Faithists, not many of them had slept all the night, but were providing for the journey; so that when morning came, and at the time of sunrise, they every one started. From all the different regions of Egupt they went forth to Sukkoth, westward. The Heads led the way, and every commune was led by a rab'bah, and every man's family by the father of the family or by the eldest son. And at the start they spake through their leaders, saying: In thy name, O Jehovih, we depart out of the land of our birth, where we were born, and our sons and daughters were born, to return not forever! Neither shall Egupt prosper more till Thou hast subdued the whole earth unto Thee.

19. But things had changed wonderfully as to the Eguptians, for when they beheld the Israelites were indeed going, and knew the miracles that had taken place, they relented, and brought them gifts of gold and silver; and also asses and camels for the Hebrew women and children to ride upon; and gave them food to eat. But the Israelitish women said: Nay, and we take these things we will be under obligations to the Eguptians. The Israelites accept not what they can not pay for. Then the Eguptians bewailed in fear, saying: That we be not accursed by the Gods, take them, we beseech you in the name of your God also.

p. 518b

20. So the Faithist women accepted the presents of asses and camels, and of other things besides; and they mounted the asses and camels, and rode them.

21. When Moses heard of this afterwards he rebuked Israel, saying: Because ye have accepted these things it will be said, ye borrowed them and begged them so as to despoil the Eguptians.

22. When they arrived near Sukkoth, Jehovih spake to Moses and Aaron, saying: Stand ye here for twelve days that ye may behold my people as they pass, and that ye in turn may be seen by them. So Moses and Aaron pitched their tents by the way, on a high piece of ground, and remained there twelve days, and Moses showed himself before them, speaking and encouraging.

23. After this the Israelites passed through Etham, on the borders of the wilderness, and thence toward Migdol, near Baal-zephon, the place of the oracle of the God, Baal, and they encamped before Pi'hahiroth, where Moses commanded them to remain some days to rest.

24. Now as for Pharaoh he had not made any attack on the Israelites, for the Lord held his army in confusion. Pharaoh, finding that the Israelites were not injured, decided to take the field himself; and accordingly, having impressed all the chariots of Egupt, went ahead, leading his army in person. The Israelites were wearied and foot-sore, and discovering that Pharaoh was after them, many of them complained and grumbled, saying: O Moses, why broughtest thou us from home? Better was it for us to have remained in servitude to the Eguptians than to be slain.

25. Moses rebuked them, saying: Profess ye to be Faithists but yet have not faith in Jehovih? Put your trust in Him; for he will deliver ye safely, as He hath promised.

26. Jehovih spake to Moses, saying: They shall behold the salvation of My hand; for the Eguptians who pursue them this day shall pursue them not again forever. For when thou fetchest them to the sea, thou shalt lift up thy rod, and I will divide the sea, and My people shall walk across on the land of the bottom of the sea. And Pharaoh's army shall pursue, but be swallowed up in the waters. And it so came to pass.

p. 519b

27. Jehovih brought a strong wind and divided the waters of the sea and swept them back, and the Israelites went over on land. But Pharaoh's army, who were in pursuit, were caught in the flood of the tide and drowned.

28. Thus delivered Jehovih the Israelites out of Egupt; and Israel believed in Him and in Moses, his servant.

29. Now from the place Sukkoth unto the other side of the sea, a pillar of cloud preceded the Israelites by day, and a pillar of fire stood over them by night, and the people looked thereon and saw, every one, the cloud and the light. And the name of the place they reached when they crossed over was Shakelmarath; and they camped there many days.

30. From the time Moses began to put on foot the migration of Israel until he reached Shakelmarath, was four years two hundred and seven days. And the number of Israelites that thus went forth out of Egupt was three million seven hundred and fifty-thousand men, women and children. And the number of other people who accompanied them was four hundred thousand; and because they were of the uncircumcised tribes of ancients, the Hebrews named them Levites, i.e., imperfect flesh.

31. And Moses commanded the Levites to camp aside, and not to mix with the Israelites, and they obeyed him in all things; maintaining that they were the true descendents of Abraham.

32. And Moses made a song unto Jehovih, and Miriam, his sister sang it and played on the timbrel, and the women of Israel danced before Jehovih.

33. This, then, is the song of Moses:

Next: Chapter XIX