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Exodus 7; Exodus 8; Matthew 15:1-20 (Holman Christian Standard)

1 The Lord answered Moses, "See, I have made you like God to Pharaoh, and Aaron your brother will be your prophet. 2 You must say whatever I command you; then Aaron your brother must declare it to Pharaoh so that he will let the Israelites go from his land. 3 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart and multiply My signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. 4 Pharaoh will not listen to you, but I will put My hand on Egypt and bring out the ranks of My people the Israelites, out of the land of Egypt by great acts of judgment. 5 The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I stretch out My hand against Egypt, and bring out the Israelites from among them." 6 So Moses and Aaron did [this]; they did just as the Lord commanded them. 7 Moses was 80 years old and Aaron 83 when they spoke to Pharaoh. 8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 "When Pharaoh tells you: Perform a miracle, tell Aaron: Take your staff and throw it down before Pharaoh. It will become a serpent." 10 So Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent. 11 But then Pharaoh called the wise men and sorcerers-the magicians of Egypt, and they also did the same thing by their occult practices. 12 Each one threw down his staff, and it became a serpent. But Aaron's staff swallowed their staffs. 13 However, Pharaoh's heart hardened, and he did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The First Plague: Water Turned to Blood

14 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Pharaoh is unresponsive: he refuses to let the people go. 15 Go to Pharaoh in the morning. When you see him walking out to the water, stand ready to meet him by the bank of the Nile. Take in your hand the staff that turned into a snake. 16 Tell him: The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me in the wilderness, but so far you have not listened. 17 This is what the Lord says: Here is how you will know that I am the Lord. Watch. I will strike the water in the Nile with the staff in my hand, and it will turn to blood. 18 The fish in the Nile will die, the river will stink, and the Egyptians will be unable to drink water from it." 19 So the Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron: Take your staff and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt-over their rivers, canals, ponds, and all their water reservoirs-and they will become blood. There will be blood throughout the land of Egypt, even in wooden and stone [containers]." 20 Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord had commanded; in the sight of Pharaoh and his officials, he raised the staff and struck the water in the Nile, and all the water in the Nile was turned to blood. 21 The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad the Egyptians could not drink water from it. There was blood throughout the land of Egypt. 22 But the magicians of Egypt did the same thing by their occult practices. So Pharaoh's heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. 23 Pharaoh turned around, went into his palace, and didn't even take this to heart. 24 All the Egyptians dug around the Nile for water to drink because they could not drink the water from the river. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the Nile.

The Second Plague: Frogs

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go in to Pharaoh and tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me. 2 But if you refuse to let them go, then I will plague all your territory with frogs. 3 The Nile will swarm with frogs; they will come up and go into your palace, into your bedroom and on your bed, into the houses of your officials and your people, and into your ovens and kneading bowls. 4 The frogs will come up on you, your people, and all your officials." 5 The Lord then said to Moses, "Tell Aaron: Stretch out your hand with your staff over the rivers, canals, and ponds, and cause the frogs to come up onto the land of Egypt." 6 When Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, the frogs came up and covered the land of Egypt. 7 But the magicians did the same thing by their occult practices and brought frogs up onto the land of Egypt. 8 Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Ask the Lord that He remove the frogs from me and my people. Then I will let the people go and they can sacrifice to the Lord." 9 Moses said to Pharaoh, "Make the choice rather than me [by saying] when I should ask for you, your officials, and your people, that the frogs be taken away from you and your houses, and remain only in the Nile." 10 "Tomorrow," he answered. Moses replied, "As you have said, so you may know there is no one like the Lord our God, 11 the frogs will go away from you, your houses, your officials, and your people. The frogs will remain only in the Nile." 12 After Moses and Aaron went out from Pharaoh, Moses cried out to the Lord for help concerning the frogs that He had brought against Pharaoh. 13 The Lord did as Moses had said: the frogs in the houses, courtyards, and fields died. 14 They piled them in countless heaps, and there was a terrible odor in the land. 15 But when Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Third Plague: Gnats

16 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron: Stretch out your staff and strike the dust of the earth, and it will become gnats throughout the land of Egypt." 17 And they did this. Aaron stretched out his hand with his staff, and when he struck the dust of the earth, gnats were on the people and animals. All the dust of the earth became gnats throughout the land of Egypt. 18 The magicians tried to produce gnats using their occult practices, but they could not. The gnats remained on the people and animals. 19 "This is the finger of God," the magicians said to Pharaoh. But Pharaoh's heart hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.

The Fourth Plague: Swarms of Flies

20 The Lord said to Moses, "Get up early in the morning and present yourself to Pharaoh when you see him going out to the water. Tell him: This is what the Lord says: Let My people go, so that they may worship Me. 21 But if you will not let My people go, then I will send swarms of flies against you, your officials, your people, and your houses. The Egyptians' houses will swarm with flies, and so will the land where they live. 22 But on that day I will give special treatment to the land of Goshen, where My people are living; no flies will be there. This way you will know that I, the Lord, am in the land. 23 I will make a distinction between My people and your people. This sign will take place tomorrow." 24 And the Lord did this. Thick swarms of flies went into Pharaoh's palace and his officials' houses. Throughout Egypt the land was ruined because of the swarms of flies. 25 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Go sacrifice to your God within the country." 26 But Moses said, "It would not be right to do that, because what we will sacrifice to the Lord our God is detestable to the Egyptians. If we sacrifice what the Egyptians detest in front of them, won't they stone us? 27 We must go a distance of three days into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He instructs us." 28 Pharaoh responded, "I will let you go and sacrifice to the Lord your God in the wilderness, but don't go very far. Make an appeal for me." 29 "As soon as I leave you," Moses said, "I will appeal to the Lord, and tomorrow the swarms of flies will depart from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people. But Pharaoh must not act deceptively again by refusing to let the people go and sacrifice to the Lord." 30 Then Moses left Pharaoh's presence and appealed to the Lord. 31 The Lord did as Moses had said: He removed the swarms of flies from Pharaoh, his officials, and his people; not one was left. 32 But Pharaoh hardened his heart this time also and did not let the people go.

The Tradition of the Elders

1 Then Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked, 2 "Why do Your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they don't wash their hands when they eat!" 3 He answered them, "And why do you break God's commandment because of your tradition? 4 For God said: Honor your father and your mother; and, The one who speaks evil of father or mother must be put to death. 5 But you say, 'Whoever tells his father or mother, "Whatever benefit you might have received from me is a gift [committed to the temple]"- 6 he does not have to honor his father.' In this way, you have revoked God's word because of your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said: 8 These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. 9 They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men. "

Defilement Is from Within

10 Summoning the crowd, He told them, "Listen and understand: 11 It's not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." 12 Then the disciples came up and told Him, "Do You know that the Pharisees took offense when they heard this statement?" 13 He replied, "Every plant that My heavenly Father didn't plant will be uprooted. 14 Leave them alone! They are blind guides. And if the blind guide the blind, both will fall into a pit." 15 Then Peter replied to Him, "Explain this parable to us." 16 "Are even you still lacking in understanding?" He asked. 17 "Don't you realize that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immoralities, thefts, false testimonies, blasphemies. 20 These are the things that defile a man, but eating with unwashed hands does not defile a man."
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