Exodus Chapter 1 to 3 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Jacob’s Family in Egypt

1 Jacob (Israel) traveled to Egypt with his sons. Each son had his own family with him. These are the sons of Israel: 2Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, 3Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, 4Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher. 5There was a total of 70 people who were direct descendants* of Jacob. (Joseph was one of the twelve sons, but he was already in Egypt.) 6Later, Joseph, his brothers, and all the people of that generation died. 7But the people of Israel had many children, and their number grew and grew. The people of Israel became strong, and the country of Egypt was filled with the Israelites.

Trouble for the People of Israel

8Then a new king began to rule Egypt. This king did not know Joseph. 9This king said to his people, “Look at the people of Israel. There are too many of them! And they are stronger than we are! 10We must make plans to stop the Israelites from growing stronger. If there is a war, the people of Israel might join our enemies. Then they might defeat us and escape from us.” 11The Egyptian people decided to make life hard for the people of Israel. So the Egyptians put slave masters over the people. These masters forced the Israelites to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses for the king. The king used these cities to store grain and other things. 12The Egyptians forced the Israelites to work harder and harder. But the more the people of Israel were forced to work, the more they grew and spread. And the Egyptian people became more and more afraid of the people of Israel. 13So the Egyptians forced the people of Israel to work even harder. 14The Egyptians made life hard for the Israelites. They forced the Israelites to work very hard making bricks and mortar. They also forced them to work hard in the fields. They forced them to work very hard in everything they did.

The Nurses Who Followed God

15There were two nurses who helped the Israelite women give birth to children. They were named Shiphrah and Puah. The king of Egypt talked to the nurses. 16The king said, “You will continue to help the Hebrew* women give birth to their children. If a girl baby is born, then let the baby live. But if the baby is a boy, then you must kill him!” 17But the nurses trusted* God. So they did not obey the king’s command. They let all the boy babies live. 18The king of Egypt called for the nurses and told them, “Why did you do this? Why did you let the boy babies live?” 19The nurses said to the king, “The Hebrew* women are much stronger than the Egyptian women. They give birth to their babies before we can go to help them.” (20–21God was happy with the nurses. So God was good to them and allowed them to have their own families. So the Hebrew people continued to have more children, and the people became very strong.) 22So Pharaoh* gave this command to his own people: “Let all the girl babies live. But every time a {Hebrew} boy baby is born, you must throw him into the Nile River.”

descendants A person’s children and their future families. Hebrew Or, “Israelite.” This name might also mean, “descendants of Eber” (Gen.10:25–31) or “people from west of the Euphrates River.” trusted Literally, “feared” or “respected.” Pharaoh A title people used for the king of Egypt. This word means “the Great House.”

Baby Moses

2 There was a man from the family of Levi. He married a woman who was also from the family of Levi. 2The woman became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy. The mother saw how beautiful the baby was, and she hid him for three months. 3The mother was afraid that the baby would be found and killed because he was a boy. After three months, she made a basket and covered it with tar* so that it would float. She put the baby in the basket. Then she put the basket in the river in the tall grass. 4The baby’s sister stayed and watched. She wanted to see what would happen to the baby. 5Just then, Pharaoh’s daughter went to the river to bathe. She saw the basket in the tall grass. Her servants were walking beside the river. So she told one of them to go get the basket. 6The king’s daughter opened the basket and saw a baby boy. The baby was crying and she felt sorry for it. Then she noticed that it was one of the Hebrew* babies. 7The baby’s sister {was still hiding. She stood and} asked the king’s daughter, “Do you want me to go find a Hebrew* woman who can nurse the baby and help you care for it?” 8The king’s daughter said, “Yes, please.” So the girl went and brought the baby’s own mother. 9The king’s daughter said to the mother, “Take this baby and feed him for me. I’ll pay you to take care of him.” So the woman took her baby and cared for him. 10The baby grew, and after some time, the woman gave the baby to the king’s daughter. The king’s daughter accepted the baby as her own son. She named him Moses* because she had pulled him from the water.

Moses Helps His People

11Moses grew and became a man. He saw that his own people, the Hebrews,* were forced to work very hard. One day Moses saw an Egyptian man beating a Hebrew man. 12Moses looked around and saw that no one was watching. Then Moses killed the Egyptian and buried him in the sand. 13The next day Moses saw two Hebrew* men fighting each other. Moses saw that one man was wrong. Moses said to that man, “Why are you hurting your neighbor?” 14The man answered, “Did anyone say you could be our ruler and judge? No! Tell me, will you kill me like you killed the Egyptian yesterday*?” Then Moses was afraid. Moses thought to himself, “Now everyone knows what I did.” 15Pharaoh heard about what Moses did, so he decided to kill Moses. But Moses ran away from Pharaoh. Moses went to the land of Midian.

Moses in Midian

Moses stopped near a well in Midian. 16There was a priest in Midian who had seven daughters. Those girls came to that well to get water for their father’s sheep. They were trying to fill the water trough with water. 17But there were some shepherds there who chased the girls away and would not let them get water. So Moses helped the girls and gave water to their animals. 18Then they went back to their father, Reuel.* Their father said to them, “You have come home early today!” 19The girls answered, “Yes, sir. The shepherds tried to chase us away, but an Egyptian man helped us. He got water for us and gave it to our animals.” 20So Reuel said to his daughters, “Where is this man? Why did you leave him? Go invite him to eat with us.” 21Moses was happy to stay with that man. Reuel let Moses marry his daughter, Zipporah. 22Zipporah became pregnant and had a son. Moses named him Gershom.* Moses gave his son this name because Moses was a stranger in a land that was not his own.

God Decides to Help Israel

23A long time passed and that king of Egypt died. But the people of Israel were still forced to work very hard. They cried for help, and God heard them. 24God heard their prayers, and he remembered the agreement he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25God saw the troubles of the people of Israel, and he knew {that he would soon help them}.

tar Or, “pitch,” a thick oil that must be heated to become liquid. Hebrew Or, “Israelite.” Moses This name is like a Hebrew word meaning “to pull or draw out.” yesterday This word is in the ancient Greek translation, but not in the Hebrew text. Reuel He is also called Jethro. Gershom This is like the Hebrew words meaning “a stranger there.”

The Burning Bush

3 Moses’ father-in-law was named Jethro.* Jethro was a priest of Midian. Moses took care of Jethro’s sheep. One day, Moses led the sheep to the west side of the desert. Moses went to a mountain called Horeb (Sinai), the mountain of God. 2On that mountain, Moses saw the Angel of the Lord in a burning bush. {This is how it happened.} Moses saw a bush that was burning without being destroyed. 3So Moses decided to go closer to the bush and see how a bush could continue burning without being destroyed. 4The Lord saw Moses was coming to look at the bush. So God called to Moses from the bush. God said, “Moses, Moses!” Moses said, “Yes, Lord.” 5Then the Lord said, “Don’t come any closer. Take off your sandals. You are standing on holy ground. 6I am the God of your ancestors.* I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moses covered his face because he was afraid to look at God. 7Then the Lord said, “I have seen the troubles my people have suffered in Egypt. And I have heard their cries when the Egyptians hurt them. I know about their pain. 8Now I will go down and save my people from the Egyptians. I will take them from that land. And I will lead them to a good land where they can be free from troubles.* It is a land filled with many good things.* Many different people live in that land: the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9I have heard the cries of the people of Israel. I have seen the way the Egyptians have made life hard for them. 10So now I am sending you to Pharaoh. Go! Lead my people, the people of Israel, out of Egypt!” 11But Moses said to God, “I am not a great man! How can I be the person to go to Pharaoh and lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” 12God said, “You can do it because I will be with you! This will be the proof that I am sending you: After you lead the people out of Egypt, you will come and worship me on this mountain!” 13Then Moses said to God, “But if I go to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors* sent me,’ then the people will ask, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” 14Then God said to Moses, “{Tell them,} ‘I AM WHO I AM.’* When you go to the people of Israel, tell them, ‘I AM’ sent me to you.” 15God also said to Moses, “This is what you should tell the people: ‘YAHWEH* is the God of your ancestors,* the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. My name will always be YAHWEH. That is how the people will know me for generations and generations to come.’ {Tell the people,} ‘YAHWEH has sent me to you!’” 16{The Lord also said,} “Go and gather together the elders (leaders) of the people and tell them, ‘YAHWEH,* the God of your ancestors,* has appeared to me. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob spoke to me. The Lord says: I have been watching over you and I have seen the things that people did to you in Egypt. 17And I have decided that I will take you from the troubles you are suffering in Egypt. I will lead you to the land that now belongs to many different people: the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. I will lead you to a land filled with many good things.* ’ 18“The elders (leaders) will listen to you. And then you and the elders (leaders) will go to the king of Egypt. You will tell him that ‘YAHWEH* is the God of the Hebrew* people. Our God came to us and told us to travel three days into the desert. There we must offer sacrifices* to YAHWEH our God.’ 19“But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go. Only a great power will force him to let you go. 20So I will use my great power against Egypt. I will cause amazing things to happen in that land. After I do this, he will let you go. 21And I will cause the Egyptian people to be kind to the people of Israel. The Egyptians will give many gifts to your people when they leave Egypt. 22“All of the Hebrew* women will ask their Egyptian neighbors and the Egyptian women living in their houses for gifts. And those Egyptian women will give them gifts: of silver, gold, and fine clothing. Then you will put those gifts on your children. In this way, you will take away the wealth of the Egyptians.”

Jethro He is also called Reuel. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. land … troubles Literally, “a spacious land.” land filled with many good things Literally, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” I AM WHO I AM The Hebrew words are like the name YAHWEH (“Lord”). YAHWEH This name, usually translated “Lord,” is like the Hebrew word meaning, “He is” or “He makes things exist.”  Hebrew Or, “Israelite.” sacrifice(s) A gift to God. Usually it was a special animal that was killed and burned on an altar.

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