but you must buy back from him every first-born male donkey by offering a lamb in its place. If you do not want to buy back the donkey, break its neck. You must buy back every first-born male child of yours.
In the future, when your son asks what this observance means, you will answer him, "By using great power the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the place where we were slaves.
When the king of Egypt was stubborn and refused to let us go, the Lord killed every first-born male in the land of Egypt, both human and animal. That is why we sacrifice every first-born male animal to the Lord, but buy back our first-born sons.
This observance will be a reminder, like something tied on our hands or on our foreheads; it will remind us that the Lord brought us out of Egypt by his great power.' "
When the king of Egypt let the people go, God did not take them by the road that goes up the coast to Philistia, although it was the shortest way. God thought, "I do not want the people to change their minds and return to Egypt when they see that they are going to have to fight."
Instead, he led them in a roundabout way through the desert toward the Red Sea. a The Israelites were armed for battle.
Moses took the body of Joseph with him, as Joseph had made the Israelites solemnly promise to do. Joseph had said, "When God rescues you, you must carry my body with you from this place." 120
The Israelites left Sukkoth and camped at Etham on the edge of the desert.
During the day the Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud to show them the way, and during the night he went in front of them in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel night and day.
The pillar of cloud was always in front of the people during the day, and the pillar of fire at night. 2