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THE NIGHT WHEN A NATION WAS BORN
Exodus xi: 1, to xiii: 22.
HILE all these terrible plagues, of which we read in
the last story, were falling upon the people of Egypt,
the Israelites in the Land of Goshen were living in
safety under God's care. The waters there were not
made blood; nor did the flies or the locusts trouble
them. While all was dark in the rest of Egypt, in the land of
Goshen the sun was shining.
This made the Egyptians feel that the Lord God of the Israelites
was watching over his own people. They brought gifts to the
Israelites, of gold and silver, and jewels, and precious things of
every kind, to win their favor, and to win the favor of their God.
So the Israelites, from being very poor, began suddenly to be very
Now Moses said to the people:
"In a few days you are to go out of Egypt, so gather together,
get yourselves in order by your families, and your twelve tribes;
and be ready to march out of Egypt."
And the people of Israel did as Moses bade them. Then
"God will bring one plague more upon the Egyptians, and
then they will let you go. And you must take care, and obey
God's command exactly, or the last terrible plague will come upon
your houses with the Egyptian houses. At midnight, the angel
of the Lord will go through the land, and the oldest child in every
house shall die. Pharaoh's son shall die, and every rich man's
son, and every poor man's son, even the son of the beggar that
has no home. But your families shall be safe if you do exactly as
I command you."
 Then Moses told them what to do. Every family was bidden
to find a lamb and to kill it. They were to take some of the blood
of the lamb and sprinkle it at the entrance of the house, on the
door-frame overhead, and on each side. Then they were to roast
the lamb, and with it to cook some vegetables, and to eat it standing
around the table, with all their garments on, ready to march away
as soon as the meal should be ended. And no one was to go out
of his house that night, for God's angel would be abroad, and he
might be killed if the angel should meet him.
The children of Israel did as Moses commanded them. They
killed the lamb, and sprinkled the blood, and ate the supper in
the night, as God had told them to do. And this supper was
called "the Pass-over Supper," because when the angel saw the
doors sprinkled with blood, he passed over those houses,
not enter them. And in memory of this great night, when God
kept his people from death, the Israelites were commanded to eat
just such a supper on that same night every year. This became
a great feast of the Israelites, and was called "The Passover."
Does not that slain lamb, and his blood sprinkled to save
the people from death, make you think of Jesus Christ, who was
the Lamb of God, slain to save us all?
And that night a great cry went up from all the land of Egypt.
In every house there was one, and that one the oldest son, who
died. And Pharaoh the king of Egypt saw his own son lie dead,
and knew that it was the hand of God. And all the people of
Egypt were filled with terror, as they saw their children lying
dead in their houses.
PHARAOH'S OWN SON LAY DEAD
The king now sent a messenger to Moses and Aaron, saying:
"Make haste; get out of the land; take everything that you
have; leave nothing. And pray to your God to have mercy upon
us, and to do us no more harm."
So suddenly at the last, early in the morning, the Israelites,
after four hundred years in Egypt, went out of the land. They
went out in order, like a great army, family by family, and tribe
by tribe. They went out in such haste, that they had no time
to bake bread to eat on the journey. They left the dough in the
pans, all ready mixed for baking, but not yet risen as bread is
before it is baked: and they set the bread-pans on their heads,
as people do in that land when they carry loads. And as a memory
 of that day, when they took the bread without waiting for it to
rise, the rule was made that for one week in every year, and that
same time in the year when they went out of Egypt, all the people
of Israel should eat bread that is "unleavened," that is bread
made without yeast, and unrisen. And this rule is kept to this
day by the Jews, who belong to the Israelite family.
And the Lord God went before the host of Israel, as they
marched out of Egypt. In the day time there was a great cloud,
like a pillar in front; and at night it became a pillar of fire.
So both by day and night, as they saw the cloudy and fiery pillar
going before, they could say, "Our Lord, the God of heaven and
earth, goes before us."
When the pillar of cloud stopped, they knew that was a sign
that they were to pause in their journey and rest. So they set up
their tents, and waited until the cloud should rise up and go forward.
When they looked, and saw that the pillar of cloud was
higher up in the air, and as though moving forward, they took
down their tents, and formed in order for the march. Thus the
pillar was like a guide by day and a guard by night.
You remember that when Joseph died (see the end of Story
Nineteen), he commanded the Israelites not to bury his body in
Egypt, but to keep it in a stone coffin, unburied, as long as they
should stay in the land. When they were going out of Egypt, the
two tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, who had sprung from Joseph,
his descendants, as they are called,—took with them on their
journey this stone coffin which held the body of Joseph their father.
And thus the Israelites went out of Egypt, four hundred years
after they had gone down to Egypt to live.