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Signs of theÂ Lordâ€™s Power
4Â But Moses protested again, â€œWhat if they wonâ€™t believe me or listen to me? What if they say, â€˜TheÂ LordÂ never appeared to youâ€™?â€
2Â Then theÂ LordÂ asked him, â€œWhat is that in your hand?â€
â€œA shepherdâ€™s staff,â€ Moses replied.
3Â â€œThrow it down on the ground,â€ theÂ LordÂ told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back.
4Â Then theÂ LordÂ told him, â€œReach out and grab its tail.â€ So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherdâ€™s staff in his hand.
5Â â€œPerform this sign,â€ theÂ LordÂ told him. â€œThen they will believe that theÂ Lord, the God of their ancestorsâ€”the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacobâ€”really has appeared to you.â€
6Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to Moses, â€œNow put your hand inside your cloak.â€ So Moses put his hand inside his cloak, and when he took it out again, his hand was white as snow with a severe skin disease.Â 7Â â€œNow put your hand back into your cloak,â€ theLordÂ said. So Moses put his hand back in, and when he took it out again, it was as healthy as the rest of his body.
8Â TheÂ LordÂ said to Moses, â€œIf they do not believe you and are not convinced by the first miraculous sign, they will be convinced by the second sign.Â 9Â And if they donâ€™t believe you or listen to you even after these two signs, then take some water from the Nile River and pour it out on the dry ground. When you do, the water from the Nile will turn to blood on the ground.â€
10Â But Moses pleaded with theÂ Lord, â€œO Lord, Iâ€™m not very good with words. I never have been, and Iâ€™m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.â€
11Â Then theÂ LordÂ asked Moses, â€œWho makes a personâ€™s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, theÂ Lord?Â 12Â Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.â€
13Â But Moses again pleaded, â€œLord, please! Send anyone else.â€
14Â Then theÂ LordÂ became angry with Moses. â€œAll right,â€ he said. â€œWhat about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.Â 15Â Talk to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with both of you as you speak, and I will instruct you both in what to do.Â 16Â Aaron will be your spokesman to the people. He will be your mouthpiece, and you will stand in the place of God for him, telling him what to say.Â 17Â And take your shepherdâ€™s staff with you, and use it to perform the miraculous signs I have shown you.â€
Moses Returns to Egypt
18Â So Moses went back home to Jethro, his father-in-law. â€œPlease let me return to my relatives in Egypt,â€ Moses said. â€œI donâ€™t even know if they are still alive.â€
â€œGo in peace,â€ Jethro replied.
19Â Before Moses left Midian, theÂ LordÂ said to him, â€œReturn to Egypt, for all those who wanted to kill you have died.â€
20Â So Moses took his wife and sons, put them on a donkey, and headed back to the land of Egypt. In his hand he carried the staff of God.
21Â And theÂ LordÂ told Moses, â€œWhen you arrive back in Egypt, go to Pharaoh and perform all the miracles I have empowered you to do. But I will harden his heart so he will refuse to let the people go.Â 22Â Then you will tell him, â€˜This is what theÂ Lordsays: Israel is my firstborn son.Â 23Â I commanded you, â€œLet my son go, so he can worship me.â€ But since you have refused, I will now kill your firstborn son!â€™â€
24Â On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, theÂ LordÂ confronted him and was about to kill him.Â 25Â But Mosesâ€™ wife, Zipporah, took a flint knife and circumcised her son. She touched his feetÂ with the foreskin and said, â€œNow you are a bridegroom of blood to me.â€Â 26Â (When she said â€œa bridegroom of blood,â€ she was referring to the circumcision.) After that, theÂ LordÂ left him alone.
27Â Now theÂ LordÂ had said to Aaron, â€œGo out into the wilderness to meet Moses.â€ So Aaron went and met Moses at the mountain of God, and he embraced him.Â 28Â Moses then told Aaron everything theÂ LordÂ had commanded him to say. And he told him about the miraculous signs theÂ LordÂ had commanded him to perform.
29Â Then Moses and Aaron returned to Egypt and called all the elders of Israel together.Â 30Â Aaron told them everything theLordÂ had told Moses, and Moses performed the miraculous signs as they watched.Â 31Â Then the people of Israel were convinced that theÂ LordÂ had sent Moses and Aaron. When they heard that theÂ LordÂ was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.
Moses and Aaron Speak to Pharaoh
5Â After this presentation to Israelâ€™s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, â€œThis is what theLord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go so they may hold a festival in my honor in the wilderness.â€
2Â â€œIs that so?â€ retorted Pharaoh. â€œAnd who is theÂ Lord? Why should I listen to him and let Israel go? I donâ€™t know theÂ Lord, and I will not let Israel go.â€
3Â But Aaron and Moses persisted. â€œThe God of the Hebrews has met with us,â€ they declared. â€œSo let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness so we can offer sacrifices to theÂ LordÂ our God. If we donâ€™t, he will kill us with a plague or with the sword.â€
4Â Pharaoh replied, â€œMoses and Aaron, why are you distracting the people from their tasks? Get back to work!Â 5Â Look, there are many of your people in the land, and you are stopping them from their work.â€
Making Bricks without Straw
6Â That same day Pharaoh sent this order to the Egyptian slave drivers and the Israelite foremen:Â 7Â â€œDo not supply any more straw for making bricks. Make the people get it themselves!Â 8Â But still require them to make the same number of bricks as before. Donâ€™t reduce the quota. They are lazy. Thatâ€™s why they are crying out, â€˜Let us go and offer sacrifices to our God.â€™9Â Load them down with more work. Make them sweat! That will teach them to listen to lies!â€
10Â So the slave drivers and foremen went out and told the people: â€œThis is what Pharaoh says: I will not provide any more straw for you.Â 11Â Go and get it yourselves. Find it wherever you can. But you must produce just as many bricks as before!â€12Â So the people scattered throughout the land of Egypt in search of stubble to use as straw.
13Â Meanwhile, the Egyptian slave drivers continued to push hard. â€œMeet your daily quota of bricks, just as you did when we provided you with straw!â€ they demanded.Â 14Â Then they whipped the Israelite foremen they had put in charge of the work crews. â€œWhy havenâ€™t you met your quotas either yesterday or today?â€ they demanded.
15Â So the Israelite foremen went to Pharaoh and pleaded with him. â€œPlease donâ€™t treat your servants like this,â€ they begged.16Â â€œWe are given no straw, but the slave drivers still demand, â€˜Make bricks!â€™ We are being beaten, but it isnâ€™t our fault! Your own people are to blame!â€
17Â But Pharaoh shouted, â€œYouâ€™re just lazy! Lazy! Thatâ€™s why youâ€™re saying, â€˜Let us go and offer sacrifices to theÂ Lord.â€™Â 18Â Now get back to work! No straw will be given to you, but you must still produce the full quota of bricks.â€
19Â The Israelite foremen could see that they were in serious trouble when they were told, â€œYou must not reduce the number of bricks you make each day.â€Â 20Â As they left Pharaohâ€™s court, they confronted Moses and Aaron, who were waiting outside for them.Â 21Â The foremen said to them, â€œMay theÂ LordÂ judge and punish you for making us stink before Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hands, an excuse to kill us!â€
22Â Then Moses went back to theÂ LordÂ and protested, â€œWhy have you brought all this trouble on your own people, Lord? Why did you send me?Â 23Â Ever since I came to Pharaoh as your spokesman, he has been even more brutal to your people. And you have done nothing to rescue them!â€
Promises of Deliverance
6Â Then theÂ LordÂ told Moses, â€œNow you will see what I will do to Pharaoh. When he feels the force of my strong hand, he will let the people go. In fact, he will force them to leave his land!â€
2Â And God said to Moses, â€œI am Yahwehâ€”â€˜theÂ Lord.â€™Â 3Â I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddaiâ€”â€˜God Almightyâ€™â€”but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.Â 4Â And I reaffirmed my covenant with them. Under its terms, I promised to give them the land of Canaan, where they were living as foreigners.Â 5Â You can be sure that I have heard the groans of the people of Israel, who are now slaves to the Egyptians. And I am well aware of my covenant with them.
6Â â€œTherefore, say to the people of Israel: â€˜I am theÂ Lord. I will free you from your oppression and will rescue you from your slavery in Egypt. I will redeem you with a powerful arm and great acts of judgment.Â 7Â I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am theÂ LordÂ your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.Â 8Â I will bring you into the land I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give it to you as your very own possession. I am theÂ Lord!â€™â€
9Â So Moses told the people of Israel what theÂ LordÂ had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.
10Â Then theÂ LordÂ said to Moses,Â 11Â â€œGo back to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, and tell him to let the people of Israel leave his country.â€
12Â â€œButÂ Lord!â€ Moses objected. â€œMy own people wonâ€™t listen to me anymore. How can I expect Pharaoh to listen? Iâ€™m such a clumsy speaker!â€
13Â But theÂ LordÂ spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them orders for the Israelites and for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. TheLordÂ commanded Moses and Aaron to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt.
The Ancestors of Moses and Aaron
14Â These are the ancestors of some of the clans of Israel:
The sons of Reuben, Israelâ€™s oldest son, were Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. Their descendants became the clans of Reuben.
15Â The sons of Simeon were Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jakin, Zohar, and Shaul. (Shaulâ€™s mother was a Canaanite woman.) Their descendants became the clans of Simeon.
16Â These are the descendants of Levi, as listed in their family records: The sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. (Levi lived to be 137 years old.)
17Â The descendants of Gershon included Libni and Shimei, each of whom became the ancestor of a clan.
18Â The descendants of Kohath included Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. (Kohath lived to be 133 years old.)
19Â The descendants of Merari included Mahli and Mushi.
These are the clans of the Levites, as listed in their family records.
20Â Amram married his fatherâ€™s sister Jochebed, and she gave birth to his sons, Aaron and Moses. (Amram lived to be 137 years old.)
21Â The sons of Izhar were Korah, Nepheg, and Zicri.
22Â The sons of Uzziel were Mishael, Elzaphan, and Sithri.
23Â Aaron married Elisheba, the daughter of Amminadab and sister of Nahshon, and she gave birth to his sons, Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
24Â The sons of Korah were Assir, Elkanah, and Abiasaph. Their descendants became the clans of Korah.
25Â Eleazar son of Aaron married one of the daughters of Putiel, and she gave birth to his son, Phinehas.
These are the ancestors of the Levite families, listed according to their clans.
26Â The Aaron and Moses named in this list are the same ones to whom theÂ LordÂ said, â€œLead the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt like an army.â€Â 27Â It was Moses and Aaron who spoke to Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, about leading the people of Israel out of Egypt.
28Â When theÂ LordÂ spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,Â 29Â he said to him, â€œI am theÂ Lord! Tell Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, everything I am telling you.â€Â 30Â But Moses argued with theÂ Lord, saying, â€œI canâ€™t do it! Iâ€™m such a clumsy speaker! Why should Pharaoh listen to me?â€
The Death of John the Baptist
14Â When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee,Â heard about Jesus,Â 2Â he said to his advisers, â€œThis must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.â€
3Â For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herodâ€™s brother Philip).4Â John had been telling Herod, â€œIt is against Godâ€™s law for you to marry her.â€Â 5Â Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.
6Â But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodiasâ€™s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him,Â 7Â so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted.Â 8Â At her motherâ€™s urging, the girl said, â€œI want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!â€9Â Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders.Â 10Â So John was beheaded in the prison,Â 11Â and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.Â 12Â Later, Johnâ€™s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
13Â As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns.Â 14Â Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15Â That evening the disciples came to him and said, â€œThis is a remote place, and itâ€™s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.â€
16Â But Jesus said,Â â€œThat isnâ€™t necessaryâ€”you feed them.â€
17Â â€œBut we have only five loaves of bread and two fish!â€ they answered.
18Â â€œBring them here,â€Â he said.Â 19Â Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people.Â 20Â They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers.Â 21Â About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children!
Jesus Walks on Water
22Â Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home.Â 23Â After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
24Â Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves.Â 25Â About three oâ€™clock in the morningÂ Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.Â 26Â When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, â€œItâ€™s a ghost!â€
27Â But Jesus spoke to them at once.Â â€œDonâ€™t be afraid,â€Â he said.Â â€œTake courage. I am here!â€
28Â Then Peter called to him, â€œLord, if itâ€™s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.â€
29Â â€œYes, come,â€Â Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.Â 30Â But when he saw the strongÂ wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. â€œSave me, Lord!â€ he shouted.
31Â Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.Â â€œYou have so little faith,â€Â Jesus said.Â â€œWhy did you doubt me?â€
32Â When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.Â 33Â Then the disciples worshiped him. â€œYou really are the Son of God!â€ they exclaimed.
34Â After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret.Â 35Â When the people recognized Jesus, the news of his arrival spread quickly throughout the whole area, and soon people were bringing all their sick to be healed.Â 36Â They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.