From the Red Sea to Sinai
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Verses 1-2: The order to turn back meant a change in direction. That was probably a surprise to them all. But they obeyed the *LORDs instruction. They camped near Pi-hahiroth. We do not know any of the places that the *LORD mentioned here. Migdol may have been near Succoth. However, other ruins might be the remains of Migdol. Migdol was the name of more than one *Egyptian town. However, the camp was not far from the Red Sea. Baal-Zephon was on the other side of the sea.
Verse 3: *Pharaoh would think that the *Israelites were afraid in the *desert. There seemed to be no escape from this *desert. And they could not cross the sea.
Verse 4: *Pharaoh would become *stubborn again. He would regret that he had let the *Israelites go. But they had nowhere to go. He could see that. So he would chase after them and he would bring them back. However, the *LORD took the *Israelites on this impossible route. He wanted to show again to *Pharaoh and to the *Egyptians that he is God. That was why he took them that way. The *LORD would ruin the *Egyptian army that had chased the *Israelites.
Verse 5: People told *Pharaoh that the *Israelites had gone away. He and his officials changed their minds. They had recovered from the shock of the deaths of their oldest sons. The decision to let the *Israelites go had been a bad one. That was what they thought. The slaves had run away from their masters. They had lost all these workers. The *Israelites had been cheap labour for the *Egyptians. It would be a wise decision to bring the *Israelites back.
Verses 6-7: Therefore, *Pharaoh organised his army to go after the *Israelites. He chose 600 of his best *chariots and other *chariots came with them. With this large army, he should be able to arrest all the *Israelites. He could bring them back again as slaves in Egypt.
The *Egyptians first used *chariots in the Hyksos period (1720-1550 *BC). They had two wheels and they carried a driver and a soldier with a bow. Some *chariots had two horses and maybe they had a driver and two soldiers.
Verse 8: As in the past, *Pharaoh became *stubborn. The *LORD was using this. The *Israelites were marching out confidently. However, *Pharaoh and his army pursued them.
Verse 9: The *Egyptians knew where the *Israelites were. The army came in *chariots and on horses. They came towards the *Israelites camp near Pi-hahiroth.
Verse 10: When they saw the *Egyptian army, the *Israelites cried out in despair to the *LORD. In front of them was the sea. Behind them was the *Egyptian army. They cried to the *LORD for protection. However, they did not expect a favourable answer.
The *Israelites had arms for battle and they could fight. But they had the women and children with them. And they would not be strong enough to oppose the powerful *Egyptian army.
Verse 11: Then they complained to Moses. All of this was his fault, they said. He had led them from the safety that they had in Egypt. He had brought them to the *desert. And there was nowhere for them to go. The army would catch them and the *Egyptians would kill them. It would be better to die in Egypt than here in the *desert. They would have graves in Egypt. They did not think that the *Egyptians wanted to take them back to Egypt.
Verse 12: They had told Moses that this would happen. They had said, You have made us become like a very bad smell to *Pharaoh and to his servants. You have given to them an excuse to kill us with their swords. (See Exodus 5:21.) Even the hard labour as slaves in Egypt would be better than this situation.
Verses 13-14: Moses was quite calm. He did not answer their protest. He did not agree that he was the cause of their situation. He believed that God was in control. He answered them with this advice. Do not be afraid. Stand firm. Be still.
He told them that the *LORD would save them. The *LORD would fight for them. He would remove the *Egyptian army. The *Israelites did not need to do anything.
Verse 15: God had promised to bring the *Israelites out of Egypt. He had promised to give *Canaan to them. Therefore, the *Israelites should not at this time cry for help. They should know that the *LORD would deliver them. So they should move ahead straight to the sea.
Verse 16: The *LORD told Moses to raise the stick over the sea. That would divide the water. It would make a path for the *Israelites to cross over the sea. The path through the sea would be dry or solid ground. It would not be wet mud.
Verses 17-18: The *LORD would cause the *Egyptians to be *stubborn. They would follow the *Israelites to cross the sea on that dry path. But they would not reach the other side. News of this would reach other nations round about. Then the people in those nations would give honour to God. That would include the *Egyptians. Then they would know that he is the *LORD.
Verses 19-20: The *LORDs *angel who had led them until then moved behind the *Israelites. Also, the cloud that had led them in the day went to the back. So, the *angel and the cloud were between the *Israelites and the *Egyptian army. The cloud stood like a wall in front of the *Egyptians. In the night, the cloud made it very dark for the *Egyptians. But the cloud made it light like the day for the *Israelites. The *Israelites with their children and animals could move further from the *Egyptians.
Verses 21-22: Moses raised his stick over the sea. All that night, the *LORD used a strong east wind to blow the sea back. The effect was to form a path between walls of water on both sides. Also, the wind made the path become dry ground. This was a powerful act of God. He made the waters form a wall on the left and a wall on the right.
The *Israelites crossed the sea by this path. This would have been a very wide path. So it would allow all the *Israelites and their animals to go through quickly. They all went through before the dawn.
Verses 23-24: The *Egyptian *chariots and horses followed the *Israelites on the path through the sea. In the morning before the dawn, the *LORD looked down from the fire and the cloud. The fire and the cloud were the *signs to the *Israelites that the *LORD was there. God is everywhere. But Moses wrote this as we speak about ourselves. God saw the *Egyptians and he caused confusion among them.
Verse 25: The wheels of the *chariots stuck in the sand. The *LORD was causing the *chariots to stop.
The *Egyptians had had enough. And they were willing to forget about the *Israelites. They realised that the *LORD was fighting against them. The *LORD fought on behalf of the *Israelites. The *Egyptians tried to go back but it was too late.
Verse 26: At dawn, the *Israelites were safely across the sea. Then the *LORD told Moses to reach out over the sea. He did so and the water flowed back. It covered all the *Egyptians that had gone into the sea. None of those who had gone into the sea escaped. They all drowned.
Probably the poetry in Psalm 77:16-19 is about this event. It says that at the same time there was rain, *thunder and lightning.
All *Pharaohs *chariots and horsemen went into the sea. (See verse 28.) But those men who did not go into the sea did not die. Among those was the *Pharaoh. Thutmose 3rd ruled in Egypt for about another 20 years.
Psalm 136 says that the *LORD shook off *Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. It does not say that *Pharaoh died. There is no record that any *Pharaoh died in that way. However, the waters drowned all those soldiers and horsemen who did go into the sea.
Verses 29-31: All the *Israelites and their animals had gone through the sea on dry ground. They had a wall of water on the left and a wall of water on the right. They saw that the *LORD by his great power had saved them from the *Egyptian army. The *Israelites could see the *Egyptians dead bodies at the edge of the sea. The *LORD did all this in one day.
So now, the *Israelites had a great fear of the *LORD. They knew that the *LORD was God. And they trusted Moses as the *LORDs servant.
Verse 1: *Hebrew songs in those days usually had short sentences and they repeated things. This is a song to praise the *LORD. The song records how the *LORD defeated the *Egyptians (verses 1 to 12). Then it talks about the future (verses 13 to 18). The *LORD will defeat many nations. And he will bring the *Israelites into the country that he promised to their *ancestors.
This song is about God and they sang it to him. He showed himself to be greater than all the powers of Egypt. God their *LORD defeated *Israels enemies. The song is about the *LORD. His name the *LORD comes 10 times in this song.
The *LORD saved them from the *Egyptian army. He threw the horses and their riders into the sea.
Verses 2-3: This is why the *LORD was so important to each *Israelite. He is their God and the God of their *ancestors. The *LORD fought on their behalf against the *Egyptians. The *Israelites did not need to fight.
The *LORD saved them. This means that the *LORD rescued them from the *Egyptians.
Verses 4-5: The last battle was the defeat of *Pharaohs *chariots and his army. The *LORD caused them to follow the *Israelites into the sea. The *LORD made the walls of water and the flow of the water to fall on them. They sank in the deep water.
Verses 6-7: The right hand means strength and power. The *LORD was so powerful that he broke the enemy. His anger was like a fire that burns the straw. So, he defeated *Pharaoh and his people who had opposed the *LORD.
Verse 8: When the *Egyptians pursued the *Israelites, the *LORD was angry. By means of a powerful wind, he made the deepest part of the sea into a solid path. He caused the waters to pile up as walls on each side.
Verse 9: The *Egyptians were proud. They thought that they were strong. They had no doubts that they would succeed. They came with their fast *chariots to pursue the *Israelites. They expected to catch them. They would take back all the goods that the *Israelites had. The song imagines that the *Egyptians would kill the *Israelites. Probably that was not their intention. They needed the *Israelites as labour.
Verse 10: Then the *LORD freed the water to continue its normal course. The sea crashed down with great force. It covered all the *chariots and men who were in the sea. They were in the deepest part and they sank like heavy metal.
Verse 11: There is no god like the *LORD. The *LORD defeated all the gods of Egypt. All other gods are false. The *LORD is superior to all gods.
The *LORD is great and he is wonderful above all gods and people. The *LORD is so holy that people are afraid of him. They praise him because he does wonderful things.
Verse 12: The *LORD reached out his right hand. That means that the power of the *LORD caused the earth to swallow the *Egyptian army. The waters seemed to swallow all the *Egyptians who were in the sea. Here the earth included the sea. Maybe the earth refers to the grave as well. The grave is where the dead men would go.
Verse 13: The *LORD loved his people. He freed them from their situation as slaves in Egypt. He led them out of that country. He would guide them to the country that he had promised to their *ancestors. He would lead his people to his holy place.
Verses 14-16: The news about the power of the *LORD over the *Egyptians would reach the nations. They would know that God is with his people. They would be afraid. The *LORD and his people would scare them.
Those countries included the *Philistines, Edom, Moab and *Canaan. As the *Israelites approached those nations, the fear of the *LORD would come upon them.
Verses 17-18: The *LORD would bring the *Israelites to the country called *Canaan. The mountain is the country that the *LORD promised to give to their *ancestors. In that country, the *LORD would choose a place to be his holy place. And the *LORD would be their ruler.
Verse 19: This verse repeats what happened at the Red Sea. The *LORD covered with water the *Egyptians who had gone into the sea. But the *Israelites went through it on dry or solid ground.
Verse 20: Miriam was a female *prophet. She was sister to Aaron and Moses. The text says that she was Aarons sister. It says that because Aaron was the oldest brother. She took a musical instrument in her hand. The *Israelite women followed her. They played their musical instruments and they danced. Their musical instruments were like little drums.
Verse 21: Miriam sang her song to them. It was a song to praise the *LORD. It was right to praise him like this because he defeated the enemy at the Red Sea.
Verse 22: Moses led the *Israelites from the Red Sea into the *desert called Shur. We do not know where the *Israelites crossed the Red Sea. We do not know the route that they travelled on. Many experts have suggested various answers. However, we cannot be certain that any of them is correct.
They travelled in this *desert for three days. With their animals, they probably went about 10 miles a day. They probably found some plants for the animals to eat. But they did not find any water.
Verse 23: After three days, they came to a place where there was water. But they could not drink the bitter water at Marah. Marah means bitter. The people and the animals were probably desperate for water. Maybe they had carried some water when they left the Red Sea. But they could not go much longer without fresh water.
Verse 24: The people complained against Moses. He had brought them into the *desert. But there was no water there that was suitable to drink. Without fresh water they would die. That included their wives, children, and animals. They blamed Moses. They said that it was his fault.
Verse 25: Moses cried out to the *LORD. Then the *LORD showed a piece of wood to Moses. He told him to throw it into the water. By this means, the *LORD made the waters fresh. So then the people could drink the water.
This event was part of the *LORDs plan for the *Israelites. He used it to teach them. It taught them that the *LORD could save them from the worst sort of danger.
Verse 26: The *LORD spoke to the people. Probably he spoke by Moses or by Aaron. He reminded them that he was the *LORD their God. If they obeyed his commands, he would take care of them. He had punished the *Egyptians with various diseases. If the *Israelites obeyed Gods rules, he would not bring any of those diseases on them. The *LORD was the God that would cure them.
Verse 27: They travelled on from Marah to a pleasant place called Elim. They camped there where there was plenty of water in the 12 wells. There they could eat the fruit from the 70 tall trees that grew there.
To the *Israelites, the numbers 12 and 70 may have meant complete or perfect. Elim was the ideal place to camp.
We do not know where Elim was. But it may have been in the Valley called Charandel. To this day, there is plenty of water in that valley. And there are a lot of trees there.
Verse 1: The 15th day of the second month was one month after the *Israelites had left Egypt. The second month was called Ziv (or Iyyar). During that month, they had camped 7 times. They camped at Succoth, Etham and Pi-hahiroth. Then they crossed over the Red Sea. From there, they marched 3 days to Marah. They left Marah and they went to Elim. When they left Elim, they camped near the Red Sea. But by this time they had arrived at the *desert called Sin. (See Numbers 33:5-11.) There they camped between Elim and *Mount Sinai.
Verses 2-3: Probably the *Israelites brought food from Rameses. But they would have eaten it all by this time. They complained against Moses and Aaron because they had no food. They did have their animals that they could have killed for meat. However, for some reason they would not do it. Maybe they kept the animals for milk and cheese. Also, many of the *Israelites would not have had any animals.
They were hungry for meat and bread. They said that things were very much better in Egypt. There, they had all the meat that they wanted. There they had plenty of food. Probably that was not true. As slaves, they would not have had much meat. Here in the *desert they would starve, they said. And it was the fault of Moses and Aaron. It would have been better if the *LORD had allowed them to die in Egypt.
Verses 4-5: The *LORD heard the people as they complained against Moses. And he spoke to Moses. The *LORD promised to rain down bread from heaven. However, there would be a test. This would show whether the *Israelites would obey him. Each day they must gather enough of this bread for that day. On the day before the *Sabbath, they must gather twice as much. There would be no bread on the *Sabbath.
The *LORD had not yet given his rules about the *Sabbath day to the *Israelites. However, on the 6th day of the week they must gather bread for two days. They must prepare that bread when they had gathered it. On the 7th day, there would be no bread. The *Israelites would be aware that the 7th day was special.
Verses 6-8: Moses and Aaron said to the people that they should not complain against them. They had not rescued the people from Egypt. It was the *LORD who had done that. And in the evening and in the morning, the people would see the *LORDs *glory.
The *LORD would give meat to them in the evening. And he would give bread to them in the morning. They would know that those things came from the *LORD. Moses did not yet know how the *LORD would do that.
When they complained against Moses, they were complaining against the *LORD.
Verses 9-12: Aaron called the people to come together. As they looked toward the *desert, they saw the *LORDs *glory in the cloud. The *LORD spoke again to Moses and by Moses to the people. He had heard when they complained. They would eat meat in the evening and they would have bread in the morning. Then they would know that he was the *LORD their God.
Verses 13-15: That evening, quails covered the ground. Quails were fairly common birds in that area. At this season of the year, they flew north from the south. In the autumn, they flew back south. The *LORD had caused them to land at the camp. The birds would have been tired from their flight. It was easy for the *Israelites to gather them. Then they could prepare them for food.
In the morning, the ground was damp. When the sun came up it dried the ground. On the ground, there were white pieces that seemed like ice. The people asked what it was. What is it in the *Hebrew language is *manna. Moses told them that it was bread. The *LORD had provided it for them.
Many experts have tried to discover what *manna was. We can only say that the *LORD provided it. He provided it for them to eat. The *LORD continued to provide *manna all the time that the *Israelites travelled in the *desert.
Verses 16-18: The average person would eat an omer of *manna each day. An omer was a dry measure probably about 2 litres or 3.5 pints. Some people would eat more and other people would eat less. But all of them would be satisfied. However much they gathered, it was always the right amount. Those who gathered a lot did not have too much. Those who gathered a little did not have too little.
Verses 19-21: Moses told the people not to keep any of the *manna until the next day. Some of them did do that. And then, in the morning, there were a lot of insects in the *manna. The smell of the bad *manna was awful.
The sun melted any *manna that the people had not gathered. They must gather the *manna early in the morning before the heat of the sun melted it.
Verses 22-26: In the morning of the day before the *Sabbath, they gathered double the amount of *manna. They must cook on that day all the *manna that they wanted to cook. They prepared their food that day because the *Sabbath was a day for rest. They would eat half of it and they would keep the rest for the *Sabbath day. The *manna that they kept for the *Sabbath day would not go bad. They would eat it on the *Sabbath.
The *Sabbath was a holy day for the *LORD. On that day, there would be no *manna on the ground. They must gather the *manna on 6 days. They must not go out to gather it on the 7th day. There would not be any.
Verse 27: Some people did not listen to Moses. They went out on the 7th day. There was no *manna. They had to be hungry that day.
Verses 28-29: The *LORD spoke to Moses. He said that the people were still refusing to obey him. They did not seem to know that he is the *LORD. The *Sabbath was a gift from him to them. It was for their benefit. Jesus said, God made the *Sabbath for people. He did not make people for the *Sabbath. (See Mark 2:27.)
The *Sabbath was not for the *Israelites to work. It was for rest. For that reason, he gave enough bread to them for two days on the 6th day. So, the people would not need to leave their homes on the 7th day.
Verse 30: This time, the people obeyed the *LORD and they stayed at home on the *Sabbath.
Verse 31: The *Israelites did not know what this bread was. Therefore, they called it *manna, which means what is it? The *manna was white like coriander seeds. The coriander seed is a small grain. It is white or grey in colour. Cooks use it to give flavour to food.
*Manna tasted like thin biscuits that a cook made with honey and *olive oil. The people made the *manna into a kind of flour. Then they cooked it in a pot or they made it into cakes. (See Numbers 11:8.)
Verses 32-34: The *LORD ordered that they should keep some *manna. Then future *generations could see the bread that the *LORD gave to the *Israelites. This was their food while they were in the *desert. Moses told Aaron to put an omer (about 2 litres, 3.5 pints) of *manna in a jar. This amount was what one person would eat in a day. Aaron did as Moses asked him to do. Later they put this jar in the box for the *covenant in Gods special tent. And when Solomon built the *temple, they put the box for the *covenant in it. This *manna did not go bad. It remained fresh while it was in the jar. They made that jar with gold. (See Hebrews 9:4.)
Verses 35-36: The *LORD provided *manna for the 40 years in the *desert. The supply of *manna stopped when the *Israelites had their first *Passover meal in *Canaan. They were in the place called Gilgal. After they had eaten some local bread, the *manna stopped. (See Joshua 5:10-12.)
Verse 1: The *Israelites obeyed the *LORD. They travelled from the *desert called Sin to Rephidim. On the way, they camped at Dophkah and at Alush. (See Numbers 33:12-14.) They expected to find water at Rephidim but there was no water there. At that time of the year, the stream dried up.
Verses 2-3: Because of this disappointment, the people quarrelled with Moses. They demanded that Moses should give water to them. Of course Moses could not produce water. They continued to complain against Moses. They blamed Moses because he had brought them out of Egypt. They had plenty of water there. But here, they and their children might die because there was no water.
They thought that they were complaining against Moses. But in fact they were complaining against the *LORD. The *LORD had led them to the *desert called Sin. And there was no food there. But he had a good reason for that. He satisfied their hunger there. But this time he had led them to Rephidim where the people were *thirsty. However, they did not believe that the *LORD would provide water for them.
Verse 4: There was one thing that Moses did. He always took his difficulties to the *LORD. Here again he cried out to the *LORD. He did not know what to do with these people. He called them, these people. He did not say my people. They seemed to be angry enough to kill Moses.
Verses 5-6: The *LORD told Moses to walk ahead of the people. He took some leaders with him and he took his stick. He went to a certain rock in Horeb. Horeb was not a long way from Rephidim. The *LORD had first met Moses near Horeb. (See Exodus 3:1-4.) God showed Moses which rock to hit.
As the *LORD told him, Moses hit the rock. Out of the rock, there flowed sufficient water for all the people to drink.
There was a similar incident toward the end of their journey. In that incident, the *LORD told Moses to speak to the rock. However, Moses hit that rock. Because he did not obey, the *LORD would not allow Moses to go into *Canaan. (See Numbers 20:1-13.)
Verse 7: Moses called that place Massah and Meribah. Those names mean test (or proof) and argue (or quarrel). The people tested the *LORD and they quarrelled with Moses there.
Verse 8: The *Amalekites lived in the *desert, south of *Canaan. Amalek was the son of Eliphaz (Esaus oldest son) by a woman named Timna. (See Genesis 36:12.) He became a chief in the *tribes of Esau. (See Genesis 36:15-16.) So, the *Amalekites *ancestor, Esau was the brother of the *Israelites *ancestor, Jacob. They came and they attacked *Israel at Rephidim.
Verse 9: Moses appointed a younger man to lead the *Israelites in battle. Joshua was probably about 45 years old. He was from the *tribe of Ephraim (Josephs son). His name was Hoshea the son of Nun. (See Numbers 13:8.) Later, Moses changed Hosheas name to Joshua. (See Numbers 13:16.) Joshua means the *LORD saves. That name in the *Greek language is Jesus.
Joshua selected the men for the *Israelite army to fight against the *Amalekites. On the next day, they would fight the battle against them. Moses would find a hill that he could see the battle from. He would stand on top of that hill with his stick in his hand. The stick was Gods stick. Moses and Aaron had used it to perform many *signs. The *signs showed that the *LORD was with his people.
Verses 10-13: Aaron and Hur went with Moses to the top of the hill. This is the first time that we read about Hur. He was an important man among the *Israelites. Probably Hur was the son of a man called Caleb and Ephrath his wife. (See 1 Chronicles 2:19.) However, some experts think that it was a different man with the same name. Later, Moses put Aaron and Hur in control of the camp when he went up the mountain. (See Exodus 24:14.) There is a *Jewish tradition that Hur was the husband of Moses sister Miriam.
Joshua led his army and they fought against the *Amalekites. Moses lifted up his hands. While he held his hands up, the *Israelites were winning the battle. Probably he held the stick in the air as well. When he got tired, his hands fell lower. Then the *Amalekites did better than the *Israelites. Therefore, Aaron and Hur brought a stone for Moses to sit on. Then they held up Moses hands. They did that until sunset. By that time, Joshua had defeated the *Amalekites.
The text does not say that Moses held up his hands in prayer. However, that is a possible explanation. Moses trusted God to defeat the enemy. So he raised his hands. It meant that he was trusting God.
Verse 14: The *LORD told Moses to write a report of this battle in a book. He wanted the *Israelites to remember it and to read the book. Moses then read the report to Joshua.
The *LORD said that he would kill all the *Amalekites. The nation of Amalek would disappear. The other nations would forget about Amalek. The *LORD used Saul and David to destroy the *Amalekite nation. (See 1 Samuel chapters 15 and 30.)
Verses 15-16: Moses built an *altar to *worship God. He called it the *LORD is my Flag. Like a flag, Moses had raised his hands to the *LORD. While he held his hands up, the *LORD caused Joshua to win. The *LORD would always fight against the *Amalekites.
Verses 1-2: On his way back to Egypt, Moses had taken his wife and sons with him. However, there was a strange incident at a camp. After that incident, it seems that Moses sent his wife and sons back to Jethro. (See Exodus 4:24-26.) Jethro wanted to know about everything that God was doing with Moses and with the *Israelites. Moses told him about the struggle with *Pharaoh. And he told him about how the *LORD had brought the *Israelites out of Egypt.
Verses 3-4: Moses had given the name Gershom to his first son. That name meant a stranger there. Because Moses was a stranger in a foreign country, he gave that name to the boy. He gave the name Eliezer to his second son. That means God is my helper. Probably Eliezer was born after Moses had spoken with God at the burning bush.
Verses 5-6: Jethro came to meet Moses and the *Israelites in the *desert near Gods mountain. That mountain was *Mount Sinai. Another name for *Mount Sinai was *Mount Horeb. Moses wife Zipporah and her two sons came with her father. Jethro had sent a message to Moses. The message said that he was coming. He said that he would bring Moses wife and his two sons with him.
Verses 7-8: Moses went to Jethro and they greeted each other. They asked each other about their health and their families. They asked all about their personal situations. That was the normal way that people greeted each other. Then Moses took Jethro into his tent.
Because Jethro was older than Moses, Moses showed great honour to him. And Moses appreciated Jethros advice. Moses told Jethro about everything that the *LORD had done. He told him about everything from his arrival in Egypt to the battle with the *Amalekites. He told him about all the troubles during the journey from the Red Sea. Moses was a humble man. He did not talk about what he had done. He spoke about all the things that the *LORD had done.
Verses 9-11: Jethro already knew about the escape of the *Israelites. But Moses told him more about how the *LORD had rescued his people. That pleased Jethro and it made him very happy. His immediate reaction was to praise the *LORD.
He praised the *LORD for the way that he had defeated *Pharaoh and the *Egyptians. He praised the *LORD because the *LORD had proved himself greater than all other gods. The *LORD had rescued his people from the proud and wicked slave-masters in Egypt.
Jethro was a priest in Midian. (See Exodus 3:1.) We do not know what gods he may have *worshipped there. Perhaps the events in Egypt had caused him to believe in the *LORD.
Verse 12: Then Jethro made a *sacrifice by fire to God. Also, he brought other *sacrifices to God. Aaron and other leaders came to share a meal with Jethro and Moses. And they *worshipped God together.
Verses 13-14: All the *Israelites came to Moses for instruction and with their problems. Probably that did not happen every day but only on certain days. But this day was such a day. He was the only judge among them. There were very many requests. So it took all day to listen to them. And some people waited for many hours for their opportunity to speak.
Jethro saw that Moses worked too hard. It would be impossible for him to continue with this amount of work. So, Jethro told Moses that he was doing too much. There should be more than one judge. He asked Moses for an explanation.
Verses 15-16: Moses told him the two reasons why the people came to him. They wanted to ask what God says. And they came to him when there were arguments. They would ask Moses to decide who was right.
Verses 17-18: Jethro told Moses that this was not a good idea. It was not a good way to deal with the problems. It would wear out both Moses and the people. There was too much work for one man.
Verses 19-20: Jethro agreed that Moses must speak to God on behalf of the people. Moses must teach Gods rules and laws to the people. He must show to them how God wants them to live.
Verses 21-22: However, Jethros advice to Moses was that he should give much of the work to other men. Those men must be capable. They must be men who respect God. And they must be honest men that Moses could trust. He must choose those men very carefully. Some men would be responsible for 1000 people, and other men for 100 people. There would be other men who were responsible for 50 or 10 people. They would be the judges of their groups. They would settle problems as far as they were able. If a problem were too difficult, each judge would pass it to a more important judge. Then Moses would deal with the most difficult problems.
Verses 23: This was a good plan if God approved it. This plan would remove much of the work from Moses. It would much reduce the waiting time that people had previously. It would be a good thing for them all.
Verses 24-26: Moses did what Jethro said. He appointed men to be the judges over their groups. Those judges settled all the easier problems. Only the most difficult problems came to Moses.
Moses did not select these men by himself. He asked the people to select wise men from each *tribe. And Moses appointed them to have authority over the people. (See Deuteronomy 1:13.)
Verse 27: After this, Jethro went back to his own country, called Midian.
altar ~ a table where people give gifts or *sacrifices to God or to a false god.
Amalekite ~ a *descendant of Amalek. Amalek was the grandson of Esau. The Amalekites lived in the country between southern *Israel and Egypt. They were enemies of *Israels people.
ancestors ~ people in your family who lived before you.
angel ~ a servant of God who sometimes brings messages from heaven; or an angel that was good but now he is bad; angels are not human.
BC ~ years before Jesus Christ was born.
boil ~ a way to cook; or, a nasty, painful lump under the skin.
Canaan ~ the country that God gave to the *Israelites. People called Canaanites lived there. And people called Amorites, Hittites, Hivites, Jebusites and Perizzites also lived there.
chariot ~ a box with wheels that soldiers ride in. Horses pull it.
covenant ~ This meant that the *Israelites were special to God as his people. And the *LORD was special to them as their God. Because of this covenant, the *LORD gave rules to them about how they should live. If they obeyed those rules, he would cause them to succeed. If they did not obey them, the *LORD would punish them. But when two people or groups of people had a covenant, it was just an agreement.
descendant ~ a child, grandchild, their grandchild and so on.
desert ~ a wild place where there are small bushes and not much water. It has poor soil and people cannot cause crops to grow there. So, not many people live there.
Egyptian ~ someone from the country called Egypt; anything with a relationship with Egypt. The *Israelites were slaves in Egypt before God freed them.
ephah ~ the *Israelites used an ephah to measure dry things; it was about 22 litres (5 gallons).
generation ~ a period of about 20 to 30 years. During that time, children become adults and they have their own children; or, the *descendants of a person or people during that time.
glory ~ great honour and beauty like the beautiful light round God; splendid beauty.
Greek ~ people and things from the country called Greece, and the language that they speak; the language that the authors used to write the *New-Testament.
Hebrew ~ the language that the *Israelites spoke; the language that the authors used to write most of the *Old-Testament; a Hebrew is a *Jewish person or an *Israelite.
Israel ~ the nation of people from the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the name of the country that God gave to that nation.
Israelite ~ a person from the nation called *Israel; or any thing or person that has a relationship with *Israel; Israelites is another name for the *Jews.
Jew ~ a person who belongs to the *Israelites. Jews are *descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Jewish ~ a word that describes a *Jew (an *Israelite) or anything that belongs to the *Jews.
Lord ~ a name for God. It translates the word Adonai in the Hebrew language, which means my ruler. The word lord (without a capital letter) means an ordinary ruler.
LORD ~ God gave this special name to himself. It translates the word Yahweh in the Hebrew language. It is the name for God in the *Covenant. It links to the words I am; it means that God has always been here.
manna ~ a food like bread. God provided this food in a special way for the *Israelites to eat in the *desert. In the *Hebrew language, manna means what is it?
Mount ~ mountain. For example, Mount Sinai means the mountain called Sinai.
New-Testament ~ the second part of the Bible, which the writers wrote after Jesus lived on earth. It is about the life of Jesus. And it is about what Christians believe.
olive ~ a tree with small fruits (or the fruits themselves) that people used to make oil. They burned the oil to give them light. They used it in other ways too.
Passover ~ an important holy day for the *Jews. They eat a special meal on this day every year. The Passover reminds the *Jews about how God rescued them from Egypt. They remember that God passed over their houses. And he protected their oldest sons.
Pharaoh ~ a word that means the king of Egypt.
Philistines ~ a group of people who lived near the south coast of the country called *Canaan; they fought with the *Israelites.
prophet ~ a person who hears Gods words and tells them to other people. But someone who was not Gods prophet might pretend to be one.
Sabbath ~ The seventh day of the week, when *Israelites did not work. It is from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday. There were also special Sabbaths that were not always on a Saturday. The word can also mean anything that has a relationship with the Sabbath.
sacrifice ~ something valuable that people give to God, or to a false god; or, to give such a thing to God. God would forgive *sin only if they gave a certain *sacrifice.
sign ~ an unusual event that God uses to teach people something. But sometimes people who were not really Gods *prophets promised signs.
sin ~ when people do something wrong against God or against other people; or, not to obey God.
stubborn ~ stubborn people refuse to change their attitudes or actions.
temple ~ the chief place for *worship for the *Jews. King Solomon built the first temple for God in Jerusalem. But the word can refer to a similar building for a false god.
thirsty ~ a thirsty person needs a drink.
thunder ~ the loud noise that you may hear in a storm.
tribe ~ a group of people from the same race, who are all *descendants of one person. The tribes of *Israel were the 12 large families of Jacobs sons.
worship ~ when people show honour to God, or to a false god. People may sing or they may pray. Or they may kneel down or they may give a *sacrifice.
Adam Clarkes Commentary on the Bible ~ Baker Publishing Group; Abridged edition (Aug. 1983)
Albert Barness Notes on the Whole Bible
Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary of the Bible ~ Zondervan Classic Reference Series
John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible
John I Durham ~ Exodus ~ NELSON/WORD Publishing Group, 1987
R Alan Cole ~ Exodus ~ Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries ~ Inter-Varsity Press
Umberto Cassuto, Israel Abrahams (Translator) ~ A Commentary on the Book of Exodus ~ The Magnes Press, 1967
Walter C Kaiser ~ Exodus ~ The Expositors Bible Commentary ~ Zondervan, 1990
Hilda Bright and Kitty Pride ~ EasyEnglish commentary: Exodus: Israel becomes a nation
They used the following:
New International Version Study Bible
New International Readers Version 1998
Todays English Version
New English Bible
Contemporary English Version
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This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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