Exodus 7; Exodus 8; Matthew 15:1-20

1 The Lord said, "I am going to make you like God to the king, and your brother Aaron will speak to him as your prophet. 2 Tell Aaron everything I command you, and he will tell the king to let the Israelites leave his country. 3 But I will make the king stubborn, and he will not listen to you, no matter how many terrifying things I do in Egypt. Then I will bring severe punishment on Egypt and lead the tribes of my people out of the land. 5 The Egyptians will then know that I am the Lord, when I raise my hand against them and bring the Israelites out of their country." 6 Moses and Aaron did what the Lord commanded. 7 At the time when they spoke to the king, Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three. 8 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9 "If the king demands that you prove yourselves by performing a miracle, tell Aaron to take his walking stick and throw it down in front of the king, and it will turn into a snake." 10 So Moses and Aaron went to the king and did as the Lord had commanded. Aaron threw his walking stick down in front of the king and his officers, and it turned into a snake. 11 Then the king called for his wise men and magicians, and by their magic they did the same thing. 12 They threw down their walking sticks, and the sticks turned into snakes. But Aaron's stick swallowed theirs. 13 The king, however, remained stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron. 14 Then the Lord said to Moses, "The king is very stubborn and refuses to let the people go. 15 So go and meet him in the morning when he goes down to the Nile. Take with you the walking stick that was turned into a snake, and wait for him on the riverbank. 16 Then say to the king, "The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, sent me to tell you to let his people go, so that they can worship him in the desert. But until now you have not listened. 17 Now, Your Majesty, the Lord says that you will find out who he is by what he is going to do. Look, I am going to strike the surface of the river with this stick, and the water will be turned into blood. 18 The fish will die, and the river will stink so much that the Egyptians will not be able to drink from it.' " 19 The Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron to take his stick and hold it out over all the rivers, canals, and pools in Egypt. The water will become blood, and all over the land there will be blood, even in the wooden tubs and stone jars." 20 Then Moses and Aaron did as the Lord commanded. In the presence of the king and his officers, Aaron raised his stick and struck the surface of the river, and all the water in it was turned into blood. 21 The fish in the river died, and it smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink from it. There was blood everywhere in Egypt. 22 Then the king's magicians did the same thing by means of their magic, and the king was as stubborn as ever. Just as the Lord had said, the king refused to listen to Moses and Aaron. 23 Instead, he turned and went back to his palace without paying any attention even to this. 24 All the Egyptians dug along the bank of the river for drinking water, because they were not able to drink water from the river. 25 Seven days passed after the Lord struck the river.
1 Then the Lord said to Moses, "Go to the king and tell him that the Lord says, "Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 2 If you refuse, I will punish your country by covering it with frogs. 3 The Nile will be so full of frogs that they will leave it and go into your palace, your bedroom, your bed, the houses of your officials and your people, and even into your ovens and baking pans. 4 They will jump up on you, your people, and all your officials.' " 5 The Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron to hold out his walking stick over the rivers, the canals, and the pools, and make frogs come up and cover the land of Egypt." 6 So Aaron held it out over all the water, and the frogs came out and covered the land. 7 But the magicians used magic, and they also made frogs come up on the land. 8 The king called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the Lord to take away these frogs, and I will let your people go, so that they can offer sacrifices to the Lord." 9 Moses replied, "I will be glad to pray for you. Just set the time when I am to pray for you, your officers, and your people. Then you will be rid of the frogs, and there will be none left except in the Nile." 10 The king answered, "Pray for me tomorrow." Moses said, "I will do as you ask, and then you will know that there is no other god like the Lord, our God. 11 You, your officials, and your people will be rid of the frogs, and there will be none left except in the Nile." 12 Then Moses and Aaron left the king, and Moses prayed to the Lord to take away the frogs which he had brought on the king. 13 The Lord did as Moses asked, and the frogs in the houses, the courtyards, and the fields died. 14 The Egyptians piled them up in great heaps, until the land stank with them. 15 When the king saw that the frogs were dead, he became stubborn again and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron. 16 The Lord said to Moses, "Tell Aaron to strike the ground with his stick, and all over the land of Egypt the dust will change into gnats." 17 So Aaron struck the ground with his stick, and all the dust in Egypt was turned into gnats, which covered the people and the animals. 18 The magicians tried to use their magic to make gnats appear, but they failed. There were gnats everywhere, 19 and the magicians said to the king, "God has done this!" But the king was stubborn and, just as the Lord had said, the king would not listen to Moses and Aaron. 20 The Lord said to Moses, "Early tomorrow morning go and meet the king as he goes to the river, and tell him that the Lord says, "Let my people go, so that they can worship me. 21 I warn you that if you refuse, I will punish you by sending flies on you, your officials, and your people. The houses of the Egyptians will be full of flies, and the ground will be covered with them. 22 But I will spare the region of Goshen, where my people live, so that there will be no flies there. I will do this so that you will know that I, the Lord, am at work in this land. 23 I will make a distinction between my people and your people. This miracle will take place tomorrow.' " 24 The Lord sent great swarms of flies into the king's palace and the houses of his officials. The whole land of Egypt was brought to ruin by the flies. 25 Then the king called for Moses and Aaron and said, "Go and offer sacrifices to your God here in this country." 26 "It would not be right to do that," Moses answered, "because the Egyptians would be offended by our sacrificing the animals that we offer to the Lord our God. If we use these animals and offend the Egyptians by sacrificing them where they can see us, they will stone us to death. 27 We must travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, just as he commanded us." 28 The king said, "I will let you go to sacrifice to the Lord, your God, in the desert, if you do not go very far. Pray for me." 29 Moses answered, "As soon as I leave, I will pray to the Lord that tomorrow the flies will leave you, your officials, and your people. But you must not deceive us again and prevent the people from going to sacrifice to the Lord." 30 Moses left the king and prayed to the Lord, 31 and the Lord did as Moses asked. The flies left the king, his officials, and his people; not one fly remained. 32 But even this time the king became stubborn, and again he would not let the people go.
1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the Law came from Jerusalem to Jesus and asked him, 2 "Why is it that your disciples disobey the teaching handed down by our ancestors? They don't wash their hands in the proper way before they eat!" 3 Jesus answered, "And why do you disobey God's command and follow your own teaching? 4 For God said, "Respect your father and your mother,' and "If you curse your father or your mother, you are to be put to death.' 5 But you teach that if people have something they could use to help their father or mother, but say, "This belongs to God,' 6 they do not need to honor their father. In this way you disregard God's command, in order to follow your own teaching. 7 You hypocrites! How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! 8 "These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. 9 It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!' " 10 Then Jesus called the crowd to him and said to them, "Listen and understand! 11 It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean." 12 Then the disciples came to him and said, "Do you know that the Pharisees had their feelings hurt by what you said?" 13 "Every plant which my Father in heaven did not plant will be pulled up," answered Jesus. 14 "Don't worry about them! They are blind leaders of the blind; and when one blind man leads another, both fall into a ditch." 15 Peter spoke up, "Explain this saying to us." 16 Jesus said to them, "You are still no more intelligent than the others. 17 Don't you understand? Anything that goes into your mouth goes into your stomach and then on out of your body. 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that make you ritually unclean. 19 For from your heart come the evil ideas which lead you to kill, commit adultery, and do other immoral things; to rob, lie, and slander others. 20 These are the things that make you unclean. But to eat without washing your hands as they say you should - this doesn't make you unclean."
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