God said to Moses: "Stretch your hand to the skies. Let darkness descend on the land of Egypt - a darkness so dark you can touch it."
Moses stretched out his hand to the skies. Thick darkness descended on the land of Egypt for three days.
Nobody could see anybody. For three days no one could so much as move. Except for the Israelites: they had light where they were living.
Pharaoh called in Moses: "Go and worship God. Leave your flocks and herds behind. But go ahead and take your children."
But Moses said, "You have to let us take our sacrificial animals and offerings with us so we can sacrifice them in worship to our God.
Our livestock has to go with us with not a hoof left behind; they are part of the worship of our God. And we don't know just what will be needed until we get there."
But God kept Pharaoh stubborn as ever. He wouldn't agree to release them.
Pharaoh said to Moses: "Get out of my sight! And watch your step. I don't want to ever see you again. If I lay eyes on you again, you're dead."
Moses said, "Have it your way. You won't see my face again."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)