Exodus 1; Exodus 2; Exodus 3; Matthew 14:1-21

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Exodus 1

1 These are the names of the sons of Israel (that is, Jacob) who came with him to Egypt with their families:
2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah;
3 Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin;
4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.
5 Joseph was already in Egypt. The total number of Jacob's descendants was 70.
6 Eventually, Joseph, all his brothers, and that entire generation died.
7 But the descendants of Israel had many children. They became so numerous and strong that the land was filled with them.
8 Then a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, began to rule in Egypt.
9 He said to his people, "There are too many Israelites, and they are stronger than we are.
10 We have to outsmart them, or they'll increase in number. Then, if war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country."
11 So the Egyptians put slave drivers in charge of them in order to oppress them through forced labor. They built Pithom and Rameses as supply cities for Pharaoh.
12 But the more the Israelites were oppressed, the more they increased in number and spread out. The Egyptians couldn't stand them [any longer].
13 So they forced the Israelites to work hard as slaves.
14 They made their lives bitter with back-breaking work in mortar and bricks and every kind of work in the fields. All the jobs the Egyptians gave them were brutally hard.
15 Then the king of Egypt told the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah,
16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth, look at the child when you deliver it. If it's a boy, kill it, but if it's a girl, let it live."
17 However, the midwives feared God and didn't obey the king of Egypt's orders. They let the boys live.
18 So the king of Egypt called for the midwives. He asked them, "Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?"
19 The midwives answered Pharaoh, "Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women. They are so healthy that they have their babies before a midwife arrives."
20 God was good to the midwives. So the people increased in number and became very strong.
21 Because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own.
22 Then Pharaoh commanded all his people to throw into the Nile every [Hebrew] boy that was born, but to let every girl live.

Exodus 2

1 A man from Levi's family married a Levite woman.
2 The woman became pregnant and had a son. She saw how beautiful he was and hid him for three months.
3 When she couldn't hide him any longer, she took a basket made of papyrus plants and coated it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in it and set it among the papyrus plants near the bank of the Nile River.
4 The baby's sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.
5 While Pharaoh's daughter came to the Nile to take a bath, her servants walked along the bank of the river. She saw the basket among the papyrus plants and sent her slave girl to get it.
6 Pharaoh's daughter opened the basket, looked at the baby, and saw it was a boy. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. She said, "This is one of the Hebrew children."
7 Then the baby's sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Should I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"
8 She answered, "Yes!" So the girl brought the baby's mother.
9 Pharaoh's daughter said to the woman, "Take this child, nurse him for me, and I will pay you." She took the child and nursed him.
10 When the child was old enough, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. Pharaoh's daughter named him Moses [Pulled Out] and said, "I pulled him out of the water."
11 In the course of time Moses grew up. Then he went to [see] his own people and watched them suffering under forced labor. He saw a Hebrew, one of his own people, being beaten by an Egyptian.
12 He looked all around, and when he didn't see anyone, he beat the Egyptian to death and hid the body in the sand.
13 When Moses went there the next day, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. He asked the one who started the fight, "Why are you beating another Hebrew?"
14 The man asked, "Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?" Then Moses was afraid and thought that everyone knew what he had done.
15 When Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he tried to have him killed. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian. One day, while Moses was sitting by a well,
16 seven daughters of the priest of Midian came. They drew water and filled the troughs to water their father's sheep.
17 But some shepherds came and chased them away. So Moses got up, came to their defense, and then watered their sheep.
18 When they came back to their father Reuel, he asked them, "Why have you come home so early today?"
19 They answered, "An Egyptian rescued us from some shepherds. He even drew water for us and watered the sheep."
20 Reuel asked his daughters, "Where is he? Why did you leave the man there? Go, invite him to supper."
21 Moses decided to stay with the man. So Reuel gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses as his wife.
22 She gave birth to a son. Moses named him Gershom [Foreigner], because he said, "I was a foreigner living in another country."
23 After a long time passed, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites still groaned because they were slaves. So they cried out, and their cries for help went up to God.
24 God heard their groaning, and he remembered his promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
25 God saw the Israelites [being oppressed] and was concerned about them.

Exodus 3

1 Moses was taking care of the sheep of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. As he led the sheep to the far side of the desert, he came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
2 The Messenger of the LORD appeared to him there as flames of fire coming out of a bush. Moses looked, and although the bush was on fire, it was not burning up.
3 So he thought, "Why isn't this bush burning up? I must go over there and see this strange sight."
4 When the LORD saw that Moses had come over to see it, God called to him from the bush, "Moses, Moses!" Moses answered, "Here I am!"
5 God said, "Don't come any closer! Take off your sandals because this place where you are standing is holy ground.
6 I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The LORD said, "I have seen the misery of my people in Egypt, and I have heard them crying out because of the slave drivers. I know how much they're suffering.
8 I have come to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them from that land to a good land with plenty of room [for everyone]. It is a land flowing with milk and honey where the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites live.
9 I have heard the cry of the people of Israel. I have seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them.
10 Now, go! I am sending you to Pharaoh so that you can bring my people Israel out of Egypt."
11 But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the people of Israel out of Egypt?"
12 God answered, "I will be with you. And this will be the proof that I sent you: When you bring the people out of Egypt, all of you will worship God on this mountain."
13 Then Moses replied to God, "Suppose I go to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' What should I tell them?"
14 God answered Moses, "I Am Who I Am. This is what you must say to the people of Israel: 'I Am has sent me to you.'"
15 Again God said to Moses, "This is what you must say to the people of Israel: The LORD God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you. This is my name forever. This is my title throughout every generation.
16 "Go, assemble the leaders of Israel. Say to them, 'The LORD God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me. He said, "I have paid close attention to you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt.
17 I promise I will take you away from your misery in Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey."'
18 "The leaders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the leaders must go to the king of Egypt and say to him, 'The LORD God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please let us travel three days into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God.'
19 I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go, even if he is forced to.
20 So I will use my power to strike Egypt. After all the miracles that I will do there, he will let you go.
21 I will make the Egyptians kind to the people of Israel so that, when you leave, you will not leave empty-handed.
22 "Every Hebrew woman should ask her Egyptian neighbor and any woman living in her home for silver and gold jewelry and for clothes. Put them on your sons and daughters. This way you will strip Egypt of its wealth."

Matthew 14:1-21

1 At that time Herod, ruler of Galilee, heard the news about Jesus.
2 He said to his officials, "This is John the Baptizer! He has come back to life. That's why he has the power to perform these miracles."
3 Herod had arrested John, tied him up, and put him in prison. Herod did this for Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
4 John had been telling Herod, "It's not right for you to be married to her."
5 So Herod wanted to kill John. However, he was afraid of the people because they thought John was a prophet.
6 When Herod celebrated his birthday, Herodias' daughter danced for his guests. Herod was so delighted with her that
7 he swore he would give her anything she wanted.
8 Urged by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptizer on a platter."
9 The king regretted his promise. But because of his oath and his guests, he ordered that her wish be granted.
10 He had John's head cut off in prison.
11 So the head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
12 John's disciples came for the body and buried it. Then they went to tell Jesus.
13 When Jesus heard about John, he left in a boat and went to a place where he could be alone. The crowds heard about this and followed him on foot from the cities.
14 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw a large crowd. He felt sorry for them and cured their sick people.
15 In the evening the disciples came to him. They said, "No one lives around here, and it's already late. Send the crowds to the villages to buy food for themselves."
16 Jesus said to them, "They don't need to go away. You give them something to eat."
17 They told him, "All we have here are five loaves of bread and two fish."
18 Jesus said, "Bring them to me."
19 Then he ordered the people to sit down on the grass. After he took the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and blessed the food. He broke the loaves apart, gave them to the disciples, and they gave them to the people.
20 All of them ate as much as they wanted. When they picked up the leftover pieces, they filled twelve baskets.
21 About five thousand men had eaten. (This number does not include the women and children who had eaten.)