Israel Multiplies

AFTER the death of Joseph, the children of Israel became so numerous that the king of Egypt feared that in case of war they might join his enemies, and so get themselves up out of the land. To prevent further increase of their strength and numbers, the king afflicted them with severe bondage, binding heavy tasks upon them, and ordering that every male infant should be drowned.

Then the Lord raised up Moses, a man mighty in word and in deed. He was born of Hebrew parents, but brought up by the daughter of Pharaoh. At the age of forty, he thought to deliver his people, but had to flee into the land of Midian, there to lead a lonely life for many years. Finally, the Lord appeared to him, and commissioned him to bring his people out of the land of Egypt. Pharaoh refused to let them go, so the Lord brought upon the Egyptians a series of terrible plagues. The last plague was inflicted at midnight, when the angel of the Lord smote the first-born of every family in the land of Egypt. Then there came a great cry, and Pharaoh, and the Egyptians rose up, and sent the Israelites out of the land in haste. The people were prepared to journey, for they had just been eating the Passover, with their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their staves in their hands.

Afterward Pharaoh pursued them with his armies, and overtook them at the Red Sea. 

Here the Lord opened the waters of the sea to let the Israelites pass over on dry ground; but when the Egyptians attempted to follow them, the waters returned upon them, and destroyed them all.

After singing a wonderful song of deliverance, the Israelites journeyed on.

At Marah, the bitter waters were made sweet. At Elim, they found cooling shade, and wells of water. At the wilderness of Sin, the people murmured for bread, and manna was given, accompanied by a miracle to establish the sacredness of the seventh day. At Rephidim, there was a battle with the Amalekites, and here Moses brought water from the rock near Horeb. At the wilderness of Sinai, the people entered into solemn covenant to obey the voice of God, which voice they heard three days afterward uttering in awful majesty the ten commandments from the top of Sinai. This terrified the people greatly, and they prayed that God might talk with Moses alone; yet when God called Moses up into the mount to commune with him, the people, becoming impatient, made a golden calf, and worshiped it.

While Moses was in the mount, the Lord gave him the ten commandments, written on tables of stone. He also instructed Moses to build a sanctuary, with its holy vessels, and showed him a pattern of everything pertaining to it.

The people remained in the wilderness of Sinai about a year, building the tabernacle, and receiving instruction from the Lord by the mouth of Moses.