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The Exodus–Part 1

personally in a burning bush and hears God’s name revealed for the first time: “I Am Who Am” (Exodus 3:14). From this moment on in history, God is seen as one who has a personal relationship with

humanity. Yahweh tells Moses that he has been chosen as the one to set the Israelites free from their enslavement by Pharaoh.

God Provides Moses with Support Moses’s acceptance of God’s call is not immediate. He has a number of reasons why he’s not the one for the job. But God pro- vides him with what he needs. First God gives him a staff to reveal the signs and to provide him with the authority and power that will allow him to speak with Pharaoh. Second God provides Moses with his brother Aaron as a supportive presence in helping him to get over his concerns about speaking publicly to both Pharaoh and the Israelites.

God Versus Gods One of the biggest story lines occurring throughout the Book of Exodus is the battle between the many Egyptian gods and Yahweh, the God of the Israelites. During this time period, people believed that each country or area was ruled by the gods of that area, so that when one entered a new territory, they had to begin worshiping the particular gods recognized in that area. Moses tried to convince both Pharaoh and the Hebrew slaves that there is but one God, Yahweh, who is God of all (“I Am Who I Am”) and who is not con- fined to any border, river, or boundary. This ongoing “battle” is played out in the unfolding of the ten plagues that are sent upon Pharaoh and the Egyptian people.

The Plagues One can choose to examine the plagues through a variety of lenses: as miraculous events that happened as written, as the result of some natural phenomenon such as a comet striking Earth or a volcano erupting or the Nile flooding, or as a storytelling mode that helped to explain the struggle between Pharaoh’s gods and Yahweh, the God of the Israelite patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) and the God who revealed himself to Moses. No one knows for sure exactly how the plagues came about or whether they all did, which

is doubtful because numerous inconsistencies exist among them. For example, the fifth plague was supposed to kill all the livestock be-

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